Some baseball players get far more credit than they deserve by the fantasy community. Like Britney Spears, they are seen as having a lot more talent and potential than they really have and that reputation drives their value up, far higher than they are worth.
People drafting at Mock Draft Central (MDC) are using that website for a variety of purposes, including trying out new draft strategies, so the results certainly aren’t something to take to the bank. However, Average Draft Position of each player does give a fairly accurate view of where players will be drafted in similar leagues.
I project the following players will perform a lot worse than is currently being forecast by the users at MDC. Following up my All Sleeper Team, here is my 2011 All Bust Team:
Jorge Posada, C, NYY – Posada will not get a lot of at-bats this season. As he ages, his knees cannot handle the beating behind the plate any longer and he will be lucky to get a game a week behind home. With Mark Teixeira manning first base, there is little chance of regular duty there. That leaves DH as the perfect fit for Posada’s defensive prowess, old or young, healthy or not. Those knees are likely to be a problem most of the season, and the up and coming designated hitter Jesus Montero is ready to take his job in the heart of the Yankees lineup. Posada’s diminishing skills (both his AVG and OPS were more than 25 points below his career average last season) and creaky knees will provide the New York Yankees reason to find younger and better players like Montero to take away Posada’s opportunities.
Justin Morneau, 1B, MIN – This has more to do with the concussions and the toll they have taken on Morneau. The one sustained last July was his second and he has been told by team doctors that a third will end his career. The side effects of the concussion come and go and some days are better than others for Morneau. If he can shake the cobwebs, he will be good to go, but the team hasn’t cleared him completely yet and he could play tentatively knowing the end might be near.
Chone Figgins, 2B, SEA – Figgins looks to be aging quickly. He has always been a speed guy, but the average is taking a plunge into dangerous territory. Though he will gain 3B eligibility with his move back to the hot corner, his value is still questionable. He’s a notoriously slow starter, so he’s unlikely to do a great deal before Memorial Day anyway. If you really want Figgins, it might be wiser to let someone else draft him and then trade for him in early May as you point out to the other owner that he could do better with a younger player.
Adrian Beltre, 3B, TEX – If you’ve spent any time at all reading my articles in the last month, then you are familiar with my great dislike for Beltre in a non-contract season. He has averaged .310/28HR/89RBI in his three contract seasons, compared to his non-contract season average of .264/18/67. He’s not worth the investment that it will take to land him on draft day, so let someone else go through the pain that Beltre inflicts on anyone who pays too much for his services.
Alexei Ramirez, SS, CWS – This spot is occupied by Ramirez for one reason, and that is because he is worthless before May Day. In his three MLB seasons, Ramirez has never posted a batting average higher than .231 or OPS over .558 in the month of April. Compare that to his career batting average of .283 and career OPS of .751. Like Figgins, let someone else draft him and then trade for him before he heats up in May.
Josh Hamilton and Nelson Cruz, OF, TEX and Andre Ethier, OF, LAD – The Texas outfielders are both big time performers when healthy, but neither can stay on the field for a full season. Since they will both cost you a first or second round pick and there is little room for failure with picks that high, it is better to go with a player that is more of a sure thing. Ethier is probably not as good as his 2009 season, which many fantasy owners are looking for. Considered a disappointment from the perspective of a 27-year old building off a breakthrough season, Ethier’s 2010 will eventually be looked at as a career norm with 2009 the outlier. A projected .287/27/94 season is pretty good, but not where it needs to be to justify his current draft position.
Jason Kubel, DH, MIN – Being on the wrong side of a platoon is never a good place to be. Of course, Kubel will get the at-bats when the Minnesota Twins’ regular outfielders are resting or injured, but he might have a hard time finding 500 at-bats this season.
Trevor Cahill, RHP, OAK – How can you not love a guy who posts an 18-win season with a sub-3.00 ERA? When you consider that the previous season he had a losing record and a 4.63 ERA, you have to wonder where all the good fortune came from. His BABIP was .236, his FIP was 4.19, and his xFIP was 4.11, it is easy to see that he was more lucky than good last year and Cahill benefitted greatly as a result. Since luck averages out over time, the odds against him posting numbers that good again are pretty high. Let someone else deal with that disappointment.
Francisco Liriano, LHP, MIN – Who is Francisco Liriano? Is he the guy who went 12-3 with a 2.16 ERA in 2006? Or was he the guy who posted a combined 11-17 with a 5.12 ERA in 2008-09? Or maybe he was the guy who went 14-10 with a 3.62 ERA last season. He seems to not have a significant enough track record to know what he can or will do to invest a high draft pick on him. There are plenty of safer starting pitcher options around where Liriano is getting drafted on average.
Joakim Soria, RP, KC – Soria’s only crime is that he plays for a crummy team. The Royals have a ton of young talent coming up through the minor league system, but they will not show up this year. Soria will post outstanding ratios as usual, but don’t expect a lot of save chances for a team that won’t win many games.
Most of these players have earned their reputations with quality play over the years. If they slip in your draft, they will probably reward you with a nice value, but they are going way too high in mock drafts and you should not take them as early as the lemmings at MDC.