I had so much fun with the first piece Done and Doner, that I had to come out with the sequel. Just like the movies, things are never better the second time around. Thankfully our 2015 rankings start next weeks; I’m not sure Done and Donerer wouldn’t have cost me a few readers. I’m not sure my daughter would have tolerated the poor grammar either.
Editor’s Note: Doesn’t Ryan Braun look an awful lot like Brendan Fraser in this picture?
Anyway, the idea once again was to highlight players I have no intention of ever owning again, particularly in keeper and dynasty leagues. These guys are done, and in some cases they’re doner.
Ryan Braun: OF – Milwaukee Brewers
“I’m expecting decent numbers from Braun in 2014, but nowhere near what would be expected from a 1st round pick. (yep, he’s going in the first round in early mocks) An escalating K rate (22%) combined with a rising GB rate (52%) would be cause for concern on its own. Add in the fact that he’s been using PEDs and I’m not paying that kind of price. 25 HR 15 SB .280 is all I am expecting.”
Back in December I wrote that during our Twelve Days of Christmas in our Five Golden Sombreros feature. Right now, Braun is on pace for 20 HR, 11 SB, and a .273 AVG so I had that pretty bang on. The K rate did drop slightly to 20.1% and the GB rate came down a little as well to 48%. Unfortunately his BB rate went down, as well as his contact rate. You can look at his numbers as much as you’d like looking for encouragement, but the bottom line is that Braun will enter the 2015 season at 31 years old with back injury concerns, nerve issues in his hand, and declining skills. He’s now two years removed from fantasy excellence without (presumably) any further performance enhancing drugs. The gig is up on Mr. Braun.
Brandon Phillips: 2B- Cincinnati Reds
In three weeks, we’ll be at the second base portion of our rankings; not only for 2015 but also for keeper leagues. I ranked Phillips #14 for 2014, but he won’t be sniffing my top 20 on either list this time around. Let’s look at 2014 vs 2013 to understand why the drop in rankings:
Nothing really there as far as I can see. The truth is Phillips has been declining ever so slowly for the past 5 years. Once a perennial threat for 20/20, it soon became 15/15, to the point now that we’d be fortunate to see 12/5 out of the Cincinnati Reds second baseman. It’s been a great ride, but he’s not just done, he’s doner!
Joe Mauer: 1B- Minnesota Twins
Joe Mauer was a top 10 option in points leagues at Catcher for 2014 without playing a single game there. Unfortunately for Mauer owners, he will have no such eligibility there in 2015. As a first baseman, he didn’t crack the top 30. In fact, even going back to our collective preseason ranks, Mauer came in as the 21st first baseman off the board. Nobody was expecting the .222 ISO like Mauer produced in 2009, but an increase from 2013 where it was .153 wasn’t unreasonable when you factored in the reduced wear and tear on his body from not catching. Instead it was .094, just less than the .095 from Alcides Escobar. Heck, Escobar even chipped in 30 stolen bases and I’m not sure I’d draft him as a first baseman either. It was a nice run for Joe Mauer and fantasy excellence, but he’s not relevant any longer, particularly at first base.
Dustin Pedroia: 2B- Boston Red Sox
I like Dustin Pedroia an awful lot, in much the same way that I like Joe Mauer. Neither player is particularly old at 31, yet without any power (or stolen bases) they don’t hold a lot of fantasy value any longer.
Let’s look at Pedroia’s last four seasons:
Pedroia has been dealing with hand/thumb injuries and it would be easy to suggest that once these issues are behind him, he’ll get back to his high level of performance. Pedroia himself believes his best days are ahead of him, but he would need to double his power output and double his speed score in order to achieve this. I’ll rank Pedroia higher than Phillips obviously for 2015, but whatever gain Pedroia has will be more than offset by his higher draft cost. With Hill already featured last week, and Pedroia and Phillips this week, there is a changing of the guard happening at second base. I’ll target Wong, Baez, Gyorko, Odor and Betts next year and beyond.
Allen Craig: 1B/OF- Boston Red Sox
I didn’t remember this bold prediction, but a site search of Allen Craig landed me on it:
“Justin Morneau puts up better numbers than Allen Craig. It’s 2009 all over again in Colorado. Not quite, but his 25/90/.285 is more than what you’ll get out Craig.”
I also suggested it would be Fredi Gonzalez to be the first manager fired. Poor Frank Wren ended up being the fall guy this week. Anyway, Allen Craig was always going to be an injury risk, but his bat was supposed to be enough to justify carrying him. Craig was the beneficiary of some very good fortune in 2013 with a .368 BABIP and a .454 average with RISP. To say that he came crashing down to earth wouldn’t be giving his collapse due justice. In 441 at bats in 2014, Craig is hitting .218/.283/.322 while his last month with the Red Sox was even worse, as he hit .122 with 30 strikeouts in 74 at bats. Derek Jeter, for all the talk of his poor year, is hitting .255/.303/.311. While Jeter will walk away from the game (with a lower career WAR than Lou Whitaker but who is counting), it’s Allen Craig that fantasy owners need to walk away from.
While these two pieces outlined 10 players that I done with forever, there are some younger players that I haven’t given up all hope on yet. I suspect these players won’t bring a lot to the table perhaps in 2015, but their youth and skills make them difficult to write off permanently. Rather than simply not mentioning, I admit to considering the following players: Elvis Andrus, Eric Hosmer, Jean Segura, Brett Lawrie and Wil Myers.