There are a lot of reasons that people may suggest not drafting a player. It could be based on injuries (both a high risk for one or the recovery of a previous one), potential loss of playing time, diminishing performance or various things in between.
Let’s take a look at five catchers I likely won’t be drafting in 2012:
1. Elvis Andrus, Texas Rangers
I am one of Andrus’ biggest supporters, but things have gotten a bit out of control. According to Mock Draft Central, his ADP is currently 44.37, a mark that outweighs what he has accomplished thus far in his career. Granted, he has shown speed (at least 32 SB in each of his first three seasons), but what else can we really expect?
He is not going to hit for power, with just 11 career HR and a ground-ball rate of 57.5 percent. He hits near the top of the order, so RBI aren’t going to be there. He should score runs, but 100 is probably his ceiling hitting in the second spot.
You have to keep in mind that he may have to give himself up to advance Ian Kinsler and help produce a run, something a leadoff hitter rarely has to worry about.
Is there potential for him to improve on his .271 career average? Absolutely, but can we reasonably expect him to suddenly become a .300 hitter? That’s what he would need to do and that’s a risk I am not about to make with a fourth-round pick.
You can argue that if he could keep it together for an entire season, he could be a 45+ SB threat. Again, is that a gamble you are willing to take? Dee Gordon has the potential to steal just as many, if not significantly more, bases than Andrus and he is going 100 picks later.
There’s just not enough there to justify selecting him at this spot.
2. Derek Jeter, New York Yankees
His name value alone is going to drive him up draft boards, but we all know that he is not the same player that he once was. He’s coming off one of his worst professional years, having hit .297 with 6 HR, 61 RBI, 84 R and 16 SB.
Yes, hitting atop the Yankees order you would expect better numbers and the potential to push 100 R, but can we say for certain that Jeter will remain on top all year long?
Now at 37 years old, Brett Gardner’s got a significant advantage in the speed department and could be a more dynamic sparkplug for the Yankees offense. Seeing him take over at the top will either send Jeter to hitting second or ninth. Regardless, seeing him return to his “normal” numbers would be a longshot.
3. Rafael Furcal, St. Louis Cardinals
Time and time again owners who have rolled the dice on Furcal have been burned by him missing time due to injury. In the past four years, he’s had more than 383 AB just once (613 in ’09). Even if he played full-time in 2011, do we really think he would’ve done enough to justify using him?
In 333 AB, he hit .231 and stole just 9 bases. He’s never going to be a power hitter, so if he’s not going to be a lock to steal 30-plus bases, he’s a waste of a spot.
I’d much rather roll the dice late on a shortstop with upside (Cliff Pennington, Zack Cozart) as opposed to a player that easily could fail to produce.
4. Yunel Escobar, Toronto Blue Jays
It has nothing to do with where he’s being drafted or anything like that. In my opinion, it's just that he doesn’t bring nearly enough to the table to have him on my roster.
He’s not a source of stolen bases. He’s never hit more than 14 HR. He’s a career .289 hitter. He’s a solid player, but he’s one that is better in real life than he is for fantasy owners.
When I am going to draft someone I want him to bring something to the table. Escobar is average all across the board, but he doesn’t excel anywhere.
5. Emilio Bonifacio, Florida Marlins
I included him as a third baseman to avoid and the same argument holds water when you are going to consider him as a shortstop. Like I said previously, if he were going to be hitting leadoff then he would have avoided all lists, but hitting second in the order is not conducive for his game.
How often is he going to be allowed to run when Hanley Ramirez or Mike Stanton is at the plate? How often is he going to give himself up to advance Jose Reyes, meaning he’s not on base and can’t score runs?
Then you mix in his potential regression thanks to a high strikeout rate (20.1%), inflated BABIP (.372) and lack of power, and there is a ton of risk involved.
What are your thoughts on these five players? Will you be targeting any of them on draft day? Why or why not?
Make sure to check out our look at other players to avoid for the 2012 campaign: