Written by: John Piper
We are a couple of weeks in from the start of many fantasy baseball drafts and from that we can see some trends that can be looked at from a fantasy perspective. This week I’ll look at three guys you should probably avoid followed by three guys who you should look up when the draft is in the middle rounds.
Three to Avoid
First off I must confess that I would love to have any of these guys on my fantasy squads, but I know the asking price or round of choice will be too high for me. Someone else will pay too much to nab one of these guys; let’s get to it then.
Jose Fernandez (SP – Mia) Currently going 34.7 ADP (Yahoo) near the end of the 3rd round in 12 Team mixed leagues and the 7th SP off the board. This guy had an amazing season last year finishing 12-6 with 187 K’s in 172.2IP. A 2.18 ERA and 0.98 WHIP are decent numbers as well (sarcasm included there). Fernandez earned his trophies last year and would have had a CY Young included if it wasn’t for a certain Dodgers pitcher who also had an amazing season. But here is my beef, and this is a pretty standard feeling from many of the experts in the business. He pitches for one of the worst offenses in baseball which means his 12 wins could quite possibly be the highest he could attain. No other Marlin starter had more than 5 Wins. He could very easily finish with single digits in the Win column and that alone gives me a hesitant feel for drafting him in the early rounds. Also, let’s look closer at last year. On June 1st, Jose was through his first 10 starts of the season with 52.1IP, a 2-3 record, 52K’s, a 3.78ERA and 1.24WHIP. Post that over an entire season and you have about 160IP with a 6-9 record and 157 K’s 3.78ERA and 1.24WHIP. Not terrible numbers (except the Wins) but definitely not worth a 3rd round selection. I’m not buying that the last 4 months of last season (1.50 ERA 0.92 WHIP) are anywhere near sustainable.
Buster Posey (C, 1B – SF) Great hitter, great catcher, not worth the price. Posey is going 39.6 ADP (Yahoo) currently which is early in the 4th round of standard leagues. When it comes to catchers with multiple position eligibility it means absolutely nothing really for the fantasy world because you are not drafting Posey, Mauer, Santana, or Doumit (if you are drafting Doumit at all) and putting them anywhere else except C. Posey is a top 5 catcher every year (minus an injury year), however the difference between drafting Posey early in your draft or at a high price and drafting another top 5 catcher is sometimes 6 rounds or $12. You’re going to have to pay a lot for a big name when you can find cheaper talent who may very well outplay the big name later on in the draft. Leave him for someone else to pony up the price.
Bryce Harper (OF – Was) Again this is a great player, and in a dynasty/keeper league his value obviously increases. Even then, he is not worth the first round selection or the $40+ it will cost in an auction to land him; here is my case. In two seasons he has hit .272 in 957 AB. he has 59 and 58 RBI seasons to his name in two full seasons and 18 and 11 SB in those two seasons. Also his HRs are low at an average of 21 a year, and yet through all of this he is going 9.8 ADP (Yahoo) late in the first round. Your first round selection NEEDS (I emphasize and double emphasize NEEDS) to be a low risk investment. You want a first rounder who has proven to be a first rounder. Harper in his two seasons has not proven he is a top-12 fantasy player. In fact he has only been the #24 OF in 2012 and #37 OF in 2013. That doesn’t scream first round. Don’t buy the name, pay for proven results.
Three to Target:
Matt Cain (SP – SF) This is one of the easier picks. All the experts peg this guy as this years Cliff Lee, namely a guy with great stuff that had a low win total which will scare some fantasy managers away, and those who realize what they are getting will pounce. Cain was a top 11 SP in 2011, and a top 5 in 2012. Last year saw a few hiccups early and his season didn’t finish as well as previous versions. He is going in the 8th round (81.8 ADP Yahoo) and could easily finish in the top 15 SP. Cain could again be top 10 starting pitcher but is being taken as the number 21. Make sure you have a bona fide ace to anchor your rotation but make sure this guy is your number 2.
Carlos Santana (C, 1B and soon 3B – Cle) Alright it hasn’t been confirmed that Santana is going to play 3B this year, but Yan Gomes has a bat that isn’t going to be sitting on the bench so Carlos must play somewhere. A catcher who can throw down a 75-22-80-5 line is worth every penny and Santana could easily surpass those numbers if he is playing nearly every game somewhere else than behind the plate. Again the multi-position is nice but means very little in our realm of sports so enjoy this extra playing time at another position while starting him at the hardest position to find excessive amounts of ABs. He’ll also catch a few games here and there this year and so possibly his C eligibility will remain for a few more seasons. Santana is currently going in the middle of the 7th round (78.5 ADP Yahoo) 4 rounds after Posey and could/should have better numbers than the SF backstop.
Mark Trumbo (1B, OF – Ari) Currently Trumbo is the #15 first baseman going off the board. In fact three catchers that qualify at 1B are being taken before him. Why? Entering his prime at 28 years old, averaging a line of 72-32-94-6 for the last three years, this is clearly a guy you want on your team as power numbers are down considerably across the MLB landscape. But, he is currently going late in the 7th round (81.1 ADP Yahoo). The only knock people have with him is his BA which, lets face it, a .250 average is not as bad as a .250 average 5 years ago. People are just not hitting it like they used to. Case in point, I was in a Roto league last year where the guy who won the BA title had a team BA of .282. I remember when that number needed to be in the high .290’s to be the winner. Helping in 4 categories and really solidifying with the power numbers we can excuse a not so glamorous BA. In fact let him stay down there in BA, that way you can get him cheap every year.