Fantasy Baseball 2012: Every Position's Most Overvalued Draft Target
Some players get hyped up entirely too much.
For some reason or another, fantasy owners will reach for a player and draft someone way before they should.
There are three types of players to be wary of: guys coming off of career years, guys coming off of contract years and unproven youngsters.
Here's a list of every position's overvalued draft target.
All Average Draft Position numbers (ADP) are based off Mock Draft Central.
Starting Pitcher: Tim Lincecum, San Francisco Giants
ADP: 35.2 Average pick for SP: fourth
Tim Lincecum is one of the biggest overvalued players for the 2012 season.
Lincecum is a great pitcher, don't get me wrong, but he shouldn't be the fourth starting pitcher selected. I actually have him as No. 11.
Lincecum just isn't the same pitcher anymore. Most fantasy owners think Lincecum's 2.74 ERA last year got him back on track, but there are more important numbers to look at.
While his ERA was 2.74 in 2011, his FIP (Fielding Independent Pitching) was at 3.17. In fact, since 2008, Lincecum's FIP has increased every season (2.62, 3.15, 3.17).
That's not all though. Lincecum's K/9 rate has fallen every year in that same span and his BB/9 has increased. Plus, since averaging 94 MPH on his fastball in 2008, Lincecum was down to 92.2 last year.
Lincecum is still a great pitcher, but I wouldn't take him before Cliff Lee, CC Sabathia, Jered Weaver, Cole Hamels or Felix Hernandez.
Catcher: Matt Wieters, Baltimore Orioles
ADP: 73.1 Average pick for C: fifth
The 73rd pick is way too high for Wieters. I would rank him outside of the top 100 (around 110) and he should be the ninth catcher drafted.
There are a few warning signs of why Wieters might not put up the same numbers from 2011.
1. His home-run/fly-ball rate was a career-high last year. Wieters was averaging 8.2 percent for his first two seasons and last year he was at 13.6 percent.
2. His fly-ball percentage was almost identical from 2010 (38.3 percent to 38.8 percent). It seems rather lucky for Wieters to double his home-run total from 2010.
3. ESPN Home Run Tracker plots every homer hit. Of his 22 home runs in '11, Wieters had eight "just enough" homers, two "lucky" homers and only three "no-doubt" homers.
Don't overpay for Wieters. If he's available after 100 picks, then feel free to take him.
First Base: Justin Morneau, Minnesota Twins
ADP: 191.2 Average pick for 1B: 17th
This average draft position is much too high for Morneau. The former AL MVP is an injury concern that you don't want to have.
He's being drafted ahead of Kendrys Morales, Carlos Lee, Mike Carp and James Loney.
Morneau has the potential to be better than those four first basemen, but he hasn't played in more than 85 games the last two seasons. He's certainly not worth the risk.
Additionally, Morneau hit zero home runs in 118 at-bats at Target Field last season. He also struggled at home in 2010 as well; he had just four homers in 152 at-bats two seasons ago.
Don't think Morneau will be able to return to his MVP days. He's an emergency option that shouldn't be drafted as a starter.
Second Base: Dustin Ackley, Seattle Mariners
ADP: 106.4 Average pick for 2B: 10th
I am not a huge Dustin Ackley fan, and there is no way he should be taken 106th overall. He has to be closer to 150th overall and the 14th best second baseman option.
There's not really much to love about Ackley. He's a fine player, but he shouldn't be drafted before Jason Kipnis or Neil Walker.
Ackley isn't, and never was, a power hitter. He only had 14 home runs in 118 Triple-A games over two years. You cannot expect more than 10 from him this year, especially playing half his games at Safeco Field.
And if you're not going to hit home runs, then you better steal some bases. Yeah, Ackley doesn't do that either. At every level he's been at, he's never had more than eight steals (he had eight at Double-A in 2010).
Throw in a mediocre batting average (around .270), and Ackley is very overvalued right now.
Shortstop: Jimmy Rollins, Philadelphia Phillies
ADP: 59.8 Average pick for SS: sixth
Jimmy Rollins as the sixth-best shortstop isn't right; he belongs more at No. 10. According to Mock Draft Central, Rollins is being drafted before Asdrubal Cabrera and Alexei Ramirez. How is that possible?
Rollins, like almost every other Phillies staple, is getting older and being plagued by the injury bug. He has missed at least 20 games in three of the last four seasons.
Rollins numbers are fading every year as well. Since hitting .296 in 2007, Rollins has hit .277, .250, .243 and .268 in consecutive years.
For 2012, I expect Rollins to hit around .260 with 15 home runs and 30 stolen bases. Rollins will be a decent stolen base/runs guy in the later rounds. He just deserves to be taken around 115th overall and not 59th.
Third Base: David Freese, St. Louis Cardinals
ADP: 124.0 Average pick for 3B: 11th
David Freese was the darling of the 2011 postseason, but don't let that sway your thinking on him.
Clearly it is affecting many fantasy owners' minds if he's being drafted as the 11th third baseman. Just remember this: In his career, Freese averages one home run for every 44.47 at-bats (significantly higher than the one for every 12.60 at-bats in the '11 postseason).
Don't fall trap in selecting the World Series MVP higher than you should. He is closer to being the 16th or 17th best third baseman.
He has never played in more than 100 games in any season, and he's only good for 13-15 home runs with one or two stolen bases.
On average, Freese is being taken before Ryan Roberts and Mike Moustakas—don't make the same mistake.
Outfield: Michael Bourn, Atlanta Braves
ADP: 53.8 Average pick for OF: 16th
Don't reach for Michael Bourn just because of his stolen bases. The fact is, Bourn is basically a two-stat player (stolen bases and runs).
If Bourn consistently hit for a higher average, then his fantasy stock would rise—but he's a career .271 hitter.
Plus, he's a slugging and OPS killer. If you have those stats in your league, be prepared to suffer a huge loss with Bourn. He has a lifetime .358 SLG and a .694 OPS.
At outfield, you can put together a trio of outfielders who combine for as many stolen bases as Bourn and still have power numbers.
Bourn is essentially an expensive Brett Gardner. Bourn will swipe a few more bags, Gardner will hit more home runs and they'll both hit around .270. You can just get Gardner much later.
Relief Pitcher: Jose Valverde, Detroit Tigers
ADP: 149.4 Average pick for RP: ninth
Jose Valverde was a perfect 49-for-49 on save opportunities in 2011, but he was far from perfect. Valverde had a great season, no doubt, but he certainly ran into tons of luck.
Valverde was able to pick up 49 saves with a 3.55 FIP season. Then you look at someone like Brandon League, who had a 2.78 FIP with just 37 saves.
Valverde benefited from playing on a very good team that got him a lot of save opportunities. It's impossible to project save opportunities, but I expect Valverde's to go down in 2012.
Valverde's K/9 rate has declined in each of the last five years, and during that span, his BB/9 rate has hovered around 4.0.
And let's not forget about the last time a closer was perfect in a season. Brad Lidge was 41-for-41 in the regular season in 2008 and then posted an ERA of 7.21 in 2009.
Valverde is a good pitcher, but he doesn't belong in the top 10.