Last week, this space profiled a handful of starting pitchers you might want to avoid when putting together your fantasy baseball rotation(s). This week examines another set of starting pitchers that due to various circumstances, are suggested to let fall to other managers in your leagues. These arms profiled below have an aspect (or two or three) that leads to a sense that they are riskier than necessary as featured players on your fantasy squad. Let other fantasy managers opt to take the chance that the potential pitfalls do not develop over the course of the season for these hurlers.

Note: The ADP (Average Draft Position) next to each starting pitcher below is derived from the overall averages contained in this year’s MLB Draft Guide (get it here). Depending upon the level of knowledge possessed by your league participants, however, YMMV (your mileage may vary), and you may be able to get any one of these hurlers at greater value than on average.

Second Note: Projections are based on while not best-case scenarios, better than 50% prognostications (closer to 80%). In other words, not the ceiling but far from the floor. Also, with the effects of the shortened spring training yet to be revealed as of the writing of this article, take ALL these numbers with a huge grain of salt. They are, at this juncture, merely a supposition based on expectations that may not come to fruition.



ADP: 69.08

Max Fried has been named the Opening Day starter for the Braves for the second consecutive year, which makes for an odd man to lead off this article about overrated starting pitchers. There are some underlying issues that give pause to blind acceptance of his ace status without question, such as a likely negative regression to his superb .278 BABIP from 2021. Looking a bit deeper, despite his superior results on the hill last season, those efforts hid an significant uptick in both barrel and hard hit rates: 6.3% and 34.3% respectively in 2021 as opposed to 3.3% and 23.2% the prior season. Those trends, if they are maintained in this current season, could result in a fade in the Atlanta ace’s dominance and result in a drifting back toward SP3 status. Not a guarantee, but enough of a potential road bump to knock Fried out of SP1 draft status.

Projections: 180 IP / 4.02 ERA / 1.30 WHIP / 165 K





ADP: 71.08

José Berríos was acquired by the Blue Jays to pump up their rotation as they are poised to dominate the tough AL East division. The move to a new park, especially from Minnesota to Toronto, will have an adverse effect on the righthander’s home run allowed rate at a minimum to start, although he will still provide superb strikeout results for his managers. Berrios' walk rate may increase since the .211 he posted in 2021 was an outlier, although even an uptick should still result in a useful WHIP. The ERA will trend upward, though, making him slightly less desirable to anchor a rotation. Berrios will be a fine SP2, and a steal if he last long enough on the board to be your SP3, but there are other arms to look toward serving as your fantasy ace.

Projections: 190 IP / 3.95 ERA / 1.21 WHIP / 195 K



ADP: 87.86

The final starting pitcher being drafted in the top 100 picks overall, the Cincinnati right-hander Luis Castillo “righted” his floundering ship last season, figuring out how to dominate opposing hitters once again from the end of May until the season wrapped. His biggest impediment to maintaining ace status this season for Castillo boils down to pitching for a team that seems uninterested in rebuilding quickly, and in fact is divesting itself of many of its better players. Collecting victories for the Reds will be a tough row to hoe, with a average at best defense backing him up as well. Add in the diminishing effectiveness of his change up over the past couple/three seasons, and you would do well to allow Castillo to slide down to another fantasy owner.

Projections: 175 IP / 4.10 ERA / 1.30 WHIP / 180 K



ADP: 127.26

There are still positive aspects to consider when evaluating the former Oakland pitcher Chris Bassitt, not the least that his backing offense is significantly better with the Mets than that he had supporting him as a member of the A’s. He is still calling a pitcher’s park his home base, as well. The main concern with the veteran righthander Bassitt is the injury he suffered from a batted ball to the face last August, although he did return in late September to pitch effectively in limited action. Even so, most prognostications, including those below, indicate that Bassitt may be slipping from his near-ace status to merely very good as a SP3.

Projections: 165 IP / 3.90 ERA / 1.22 WHIP / 157 K



ADP: 173.7 

Marcus Stroman has been a “boring” consistent arm who relies on his ability to induce more than an average share of grounders from opposing bats. That rate has been declining over the past few seasons, however, and last year it was just over 50%, which is still a fine rate for a pitcher who strikes out less than the league average pitcher does, although he did have a career best 7.9 K/9 rate in 2021. A second concern is the move to a less pitcher friendly venue, as he will be tossing from the hill in the northside of Chicago now that Stroman is a Cub. He is still more of a back of the rotation fill-in arm, and his ADP reflects that, not unfairly. There are SPs that can be had at a similar point in drafts that offer higher ceilings, such as Tarik Skubal (DET), Tanner Houck (BOS) or Jordan Montgomery (NYY), to name just three arms.

Projections: 178 IP / 4.05 ERA / 1.30 WHIP / 148 K



ADP: 190.12

Hyun Jin Ryu is entering his 35-year-old season with some concerns in his peripheral production that arose last season. His swinging strike rate dropped below 10% last year, and his groundball rate also declined, which led to an uptick in the number of dingers he allowed (1.28 HR/9 over 169.0 IP). Ryu still exhibits great control and his fastball is consistent at 90 MPH, so there is potential for a rebound instead of a gradual decline in production, but again, there are pitchers in the same ADP neighborhood that can be had in your drafts that offer higher potential ceilings, and the probability of a greater strikeout total for your counting stat totals.

Projections: 163 IP / 3.90 ERA / 1.25 WHIP / 135 K

While we await the start of the 2022 season now that spring training is wrapping up, be prepared for the return of the weekly Two-Start Pitcher analysis and the weekly streaming pitcher advice. Opening Day, and its promise of wonderful fantasy baseball results based on your wise draft tendencies and the ability to adjust to injury and underperformance by savvy waiver wire and free agent pickups awaits us all.

As ever, good luck and godspeed in all your fantasy efforts. You can contact this writer with your questions regarding starting pitching or other fantasy baseball issues at


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