MLB Fantasy Baseball 2012: Top 5 Busts
With the start of the regular season just four short weeks away, your fantasy baseball drafts are also right around the corner. Haven't done your homework yet? Allow me to help you get started with this list of players you should be very cautious about spending a high draft pick on in 2012.
Last season it was guys like Carl Crawford, Adam Dunn and Hanley Ramirez who really doomed fantasy baseball teams—legitimate superstars who were drafted as such and did nothing but drag down team stats and eat up a valuable roster spot all season long.
Of course, the best way to prevent having such disappointing players on your team in the first place is not to draft them. Let someone else call out the following five names on draft day.
1B/OF Michael Morse (WAS)
Many fantasy owners are going to see those 31 HRs and 95 RBI from last year and draft Michael Morse in the fourth or fifth round. Don't get caught up in the hype.
First of all, I need to see Morse do that one more time before I invest a high pick in him. Secondly, there's no way he hits over .300 again striking out as often as he does. Morse will still have decent power numbers in 2012, but don't overpay and expect an improvement. It's not coming.
Projection: .272, 67 R, 25 HR, 81 RBI, 2 SB
SS Jose Reyes (MIA)
This name has a big red flag next to it on all of my cheat sheets.
For a player who provides most of his value with runs and stolen bases, a series of hamstring problems from last year is not a good sign. And let's be realistic: Reyes hasn't swiped 40 bags in any season since 2008.
My first few picks in any fantasy baseball draft have to be sure things, and Jose Reyes just does not fit that bill any longer.
Projection: .289, 98 R, 8 HR, 41 RBI, 36 SB
OF Lance Berkman (STL)
Terrific bounce-back season last year, Lance Berkman—now let's see you do it again.
Berkman turned 36 last month, which, unless your name is Barry Bonds, is not a good thing for a professional baseball player. Also keep in mind that the slugger no longer has Albert Pujols in front of him in the Cardinals' lineup.
Do yourself a big favor and don't pay for last year's Berkman.
Projection: .282, 78 R, 23 HR, 83 RBI, 1 SB
SP Stephen Strasburg (WAS)
It's not his talent that I'm putting into question; there's no doubt Strasburg has top-notch stuff. It's just there's no way I can feel comfortable using a high draft pick on a pitcher with just 17 major league starts and coming off of Tommy John surgery.
Even if Strasburg is healthy, he'll be limited by an innings cap and the offense of the Washington Nationals. I have seen Strasburg taken off the board before true studs like Matt Cain and Jon Lester, and that's a mistake. Temper your expectations on draft day.
Projection: 154 innings, 11-7, 3.27 ERA, 1.14 WHIP, 170 K
SP Michael Pineda (NYY)
Much like Strasburg, many fantasy owners are drafting Michael Pineda as their No. 1 starter. Not a good idea. Pineda is coming off an impressive rookie season with the Seattle Mariners, but dig through his stats a little and you'll see he posted a 5.12 ERA after the break, suggesting that maybe offenses have started to figure him out.
Also keep in mind that Pineda is a fly ball pitcher, which can't be good news since he now calls Yankee Stadium home. Will Pineda go through a sophomore slump? Maybe, maybe not—but I want at least two proven vets on my staff before rolling the dice with Pineda.
Projection: 184 innings, 13-12, 3.93 ERA, 1.21 WHIP, 187 K