Average Draft Position (“ADP”) data available from websites like Mock Draft Central give a fairly accurate view of where players are expected to be drafted in similar format leagues. Ah, but is that ADP number justified, or is the player getting far more credit than they deserve?
As astute fantasy players, that is what we need to assess—which players are the most undervalued, and which players are the most overvalued, otherwise known as sleepers and busts.
I gave you my All-Sleeper Team the other day. Here are the players I expect will underperform compared to what is being forecast by the users at Mock Draft Central, my All-Bust Team.
C Jorge Posada , NYY—Posada is will not get a lot of at bats this season. As he ages, his body can only take so much of a beating behind the plate. With the addition of Nick Johnson, Posada will see little time at 1B and DH in 2010 and he will get a lot of rest in preparation for an expected long October stretch of games. Look for less than 300 AB and a proportionally low grouping of statistics.
1B Joey Votto, CIN—Votto is getting close to that magical age of 27, when players seem to “come into their own”. But I think we’ve seen most of what Votto is capable of. He’s a good player, one I’d be proud to see on my favorite MLB team or my fantasy squad, but I wouldn’t pay a third round pick for him. That’s where he’s going at MDC and I just don’t think he’s going to produce numbers anywhere close to the value you should get in the third round.
2B Ben Zobrist, TB—I know I’m in the minority on this one, but I think Zobrist just played out of his mind in 2009. There is nothing in his minor league or previous major league stats that would suggest he should have posted anything close to .297/27/91/17 or ever will again. I’m just not a believer that he’ll continue to perform at that level and his value is nowhere near the 4.13 draft pick used on average to pluck him off the board.
3B Alex Rodriguez, NYY—It’s hard to imagine that a guy projected to go .281/30/91/15 will be a bust, but that’s what he is when you consider everything else. He’s one of the all-time greats (with or without his cousin poking him in the butt with a needle) but he seems to live on his reputation a little bit when his next contract isn’t riding on his current performance. There are five other third basemen that should post similar or better numbers and all can be had after 1.04 in your draft. Don’t pay for the name, wait a round or two for Pablo Sandoval or Ryan Zimmerman and get a better value.
SS Jason Bartlett, TB—Bartlett is a solid hitter with a great glove. But it looks like the users at MDC are paying for his glove, something that is completely worthless in fantasy baseball. Because of his leadership skills, he will be in the Rays lineup every day that he is healthy, but he just isn’t worth a sixth round pick. If you wait, you can get Jhonny Peralta, Ryan Theriot or Erick Aybar 7-11 rounds later and still get similar stats.
OF Curtis Granderson, NYY, Jayson Werth, PHI and Alfonso Soriano, CHC—These three will all have good seasons, but they are going way too high in fantasy drafts. Granderson had a super 2007 and many expect him to do it again at the new Yankee Stadium, playing with the Bombers. Werth had a career year last year and is in a contact year this season, so many are looking for him to be even better. Soriano was one of the best players in baseball in the mid-2000s, but his skills are declining and so is his health. They would all be excellent picks in the seventh through ninth rounds, but they will most likely be off the board by that time. Let someone else waste a high pick on them while you find your value elsewhere.
DH Vladimir Guerrero, TEX—Vlad has landed in a hitter’s haven. Hitting in the hot Texas sun might help his stats early in the season, but his body is breaking down and he will wilt under that same hot sun by the end of the summer. Guerrero is a shell of his old self and will not return much value to your fantasy squad and he’s certainly nowhere near the 11.10 ADP that he is showing at MDC.
SP Jake Peavy, CWS—Peavy was traded at the deadline last season and then proceeded to post a 1.35 ERA with a 0.85 WHIP. Don’t look for that to continue as he pitches in a stadium that is much more hitter friendly than his old home PetCo Park and in a league that will be a lot less forgiving. Peavy will struggle at times this season and isn’t worth a sixth round pick.
RP Mariano Rivera, NYY—Mo is 40 years old and is a major injury risk. Like Posada, the Yankees will sacrifice individual stats for the opportunity to hang a 28th banner at Yankee Stadium. Look for the Yankees to rest Rivera during some save situations. Also, with such a powerful offense, the Yankees will win a large number of games by more than the three runs required to record a save.
Most of these players have earned their reputations with quality play over the years. If they slip in your draft, then that is great, feel free to pull the trigger. However, right now they are going too high in mock drafts and you should not take them as early as the consensus currently has them pegged.