Fantasy Baseball Sleepers 2012: Joe Mauer and Big Names Not Worth High Pick

Adam WellsFeatured ColumnistMarch 23, 2012

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - AUGUST 20: Joe Mauer #7 of the Minnesota Twins celebrates scoring against the New York Yankees in the first inning on August 20, 2011 at Target Field in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
Hannah Foslien/Getty Images

Marquee names are what drive fantasy baseball. They put up the best numbers year in and year out, so it is vital to the success of your team that they are featured prominently on the roster. 

Unfortunately, there are some big-name players who are still riding the coattails of their once-great success that will be unable to perform anywhere close to that level anymore, either because they are too old, too injury prone or a combination of the two. 

That is not to say that you shouldn't try to draft these players, just make sure you aren't wasting a high pick on them because you believe they will have a bounce-back year. 

Here are the big-name stars you need to avoid wasting an early-round draft pick on. 

 

Joe Mauer, C, Minnesota Twins

ARLINGTON, TX - JULY 27:  Joe Mauer #7 of the Minnesota Twins at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington on July 27, 2011 in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Mauer is the great unknown in fantasy baseball. When he plays, he is as good as any catcher in the game. His hitting prowess is unmatched by anyone, thanks to his keen eye and short compact swing. 

One of the best things the Twins can do for Mauer is move him out from behind the plate. He can still play catcher most of the time, but scaling it back to 95 to 100 games would keep him in the lineup. 

Still, with catching being as deep as it has been in a long time, there are better, more dependable options than Mauer available. 

If you are able to get Mauer in the fifth round, by all means, take that chance. Anything before that is too risky. 

 

Chase Utley, 2B, Philadelphia Phillies

PHILADELPHIA, PA - OCTOBER 01: Chase Utley #26 of the Philadelphia Phillies throws during Game One of the National League Division Series against the St. Louis Cardinals at Citizens Bank Park on October 1, 2011 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Phillies
Drew Hallowell/Getty Images

When Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. announced that Utley would likely not be ready for Opening Day, all the warning sirens went off around the country. 

As tempting as it is to look at what could happen if Utley is able to play in 110 to 120 games, there is too much risk involved to think that he will be on the field that much. 

He has a chronic knee problem that is going to plague him for the rest of his life. There is no magic cure for it, and Utley will be fighting through the pain until the day he retires.

Second base has good depth right now, so unless you just want to take a chance in the later rounds on Utley, look elsewhere for production. 

 

Andrew Bailey, CP, Boston Red Sox

OAKLAND, CA - SEPTEMBER 04: Andrew Bailey #40 of the Oakland Athletics  pitches against the Seattle Mariners in the ninth inning during an MLB baseball game at O.co Coliseum on September 4, 2011 in Oakland, California. The Athletics won the game 8-5. (Pho
Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

With the Red Sox desperate to fill their closer role, they turned to the Oakland A's and Andrew Bailey. 

On raw potential, Bailey should be a star in Oakland. He has a four-pitch power arsenal that will miss a lot of bats, keep his ERA and WHIP low, while bumping his save totals up near the top of the league. 

The problem is, Bailey has problems staying on the field. He has battled injuries the last two years, and has been limited to just 90.2 innings since the start of the 2010 season. 

Don't draft him expecting to get a full season and 35 to 40 saves because he hasn't proven capable of handling that load since his rookie season in 2009.