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Fantasy Baseball: 10 Solid MLB Players Who Are Useless in Fantasy This Year

Howard CowanContributor IIIOctober 12, 2016

Fantasy Baseball: 10 Solid MLB Players Who Are Useless in Fantasy This Year

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    Just because your favorite player keeps his hit streak alive, doesn't mean he's the best choice for your fantasy roster. He may have a great batting average, but if he is not scoring runs or driving them in, he may be better left off your team.

    Many fantasy managers fall into the trap of keeping a player because he produces for his team. Another reason is maybe he had a great season last year, and at "some point" he will break out of his slump.

    Fantasy baseball is just that: fantasy. It's governed by a whole different set of rules than the game we love.

    Even if your starting pitcher has a 4-2 record, it doesn't always mean he is a good fantasy player.

    Despite their early season struggles I left Jose Batista and Albert Pujols off the list because they are elite players and therefore out of consideration.  

    Here are 10 players who have been productive in recent seasons, but have been are downright terrible for their fantasy owners.  

Rickie Weeks: Milwaukee Brewers, 2nd Base

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    Rickie Weeks may be one of the biggest disappointments during the first month-and-a-half of the season. Weeks is batting a paltry .154, with a National League high 53 strikeouts, in only 38 games.  

    Last year Weeks finished with .269 average and 20 HR, in a injury-shortened 118 game season. The year before he crushed 29 bombs. 

    Although Weeks is still owned in 83 percent of ESPN leagues, he is not stealing bases or batting with any kind of power.

    A year ago, Weeks filled a valuable fantasy role at second base with his speed and power. This year he has been nothing short of a flop.

    Look for a waiver-wire replacement, and bench him until he returns to form.   

Erick Aybar: Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, Shortstop

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    Like many of the Angels' players, including Albert Pujols, Erick Aybar is struggling at the plate. In Aybar's case, struggling would be an understatement.

    His stat line is less than impressive .225/.247/.296. 

    Last year Aybar had productive season at shortstop, batting .279 with 10 HR and 30 SB. He also smashed 33 doubles to go with 71 runs scored and 59 RBI.

    Aybar was very versatile for fantasy owners providing production in more than one category.This year Aybar has only four extra-base hits and two stolen bases.

    Until he turns his season around, he has no value on your fantasy team. 

James Loney: Los Angeles Dodgers, 1st Base

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    James Loney may be  great with the glove, but most fantasy leagues give points for defense. Although Loney generally hits for a good average, he is not the best choice for your fantasy first basemen.

    He doesn't put up the big-time power numbers of say a Joey Votto or an Adrian Gonzales. He did bat .288 last year, but with only 12 HR and 65 RBI. 

    This year Loney is actually struggling at the plate and not hitting for power. He is only hitting .258 with one home run and 12 RBI.

    Josh Hamilton had better stats in one series.

    With his lack of versatility and poor batting average, Loney is pretty useless on your fantasy team. 

Alfonso Soriano: Chicago Cubs, Left Field

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    I'm not ready to call Alfonso Soriano over the hill, but with .269 batting average and just three home runs, the 36-year-old seems overmatched.

    Granted, Soriano has not hit the ball well the last three years in Chicago with averages all under. 260, but he has hit for power.

    Although not the numbers he put up in New York or Texas, Soriano has hit 50 HR the last two years. 

    Also once a speedster on the basepaths, he used to be a fantasy force, racking up runs, home runs and stolen bases.

    Now he has a slugging percentage south of .400 (.396) and just one stolen base. Soriano's 22 RBI are a bright sport, but not enough to keep him on my bench. 

Yovani Gallardo: Milwaukee Brewers, Starting Pitcher

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    After an impressive 17-10 record with a 3.52 ERA in 2011, Yovani Gallardo was on track to be one best pitchers in the National League.

    The 2012 season has been anything but impressive. Gallardo has been shelled, giving up 26 runs in 50.2 innings.

    That's a 4.62 ERA for those who are doing the math, to go with his terrible 1.46 WHIP.

    In two starts against the Cardinals he has giving up 14 runs in just 5.2 innings, along with four home runs.

    2012 was supposed to be a break out year for Gallardo, and even though he has dropped his ERA to 3.00 in May, he has been a disappointment to fantasy owners including myself.  

Josh Johnson: Miami Marlins, Starting Pitcher

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    After Josh Johnson missed most of 2011 with Tommy John surgery, most fantasy owners hoped he would return in a big way.

    The only things that have been big are his ERA and WHIP. In eight starts Johnson is 2-3 with a 4.82 ERA and a 1.51 WHIP.

    This coming from a pitcher who was probably the most dominant pitcher in the league, until he went down last year.  

    Johnson has rebounded in his last three starts, giving up two runs or less in all three games. Although it was unclear how good Johnson would be, most people didn't expect him to be this bad.  

Clay Buchholz: Boston Red Sox, Starting Pitcher

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    Clay Buchholz is 4-2, so why isn't there celebration in Boston?

    Considering Buchholz has a 7.77 ERA and a WHIP of 1.91, that's probably the cause for concern. Boston fans are lucky that their starter has had good run support (9.7 runs per game, the highest in the majors). 

    Fantasy owners are not as lucky, with Buchholz giving up 10 HR in just 44 innings pitched. Buchholz only has 25 strikeouts this season and a road ERA of 8.57. 

    After a strong season in 2010, where he went 17-7 with a 2.33 ERA, Buchholz pitched well in 2011, before an injury sidelined him for the year.

    This season it can't get much worse for him, but until he gets it figured out, fantasy owners should stay away.  

Gaby Sanchez: Miami Marlins, 1st Base

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    For the past two years, Gaby Sanchez has been the Marlins' consistent first baseman, hitting around .270 with 19 HR. He was even an All-Star in 2011. 

    This year Sanchez has been in a major slump, batting just .197 with only one home run. He does have nine doubles to his name, but he has only scored five times.

    Sanchez has been even worse in May with only two RBI and a .224 slugging percentage.

    On May 19th, the Miami Marlins sent Sanchez to the minors. Looks like fantasy managers will need to find a new option at first base.

Joe Mauer: Minnesota Twins, Catcher/1st Base

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    Three years ago Joe Mauer was probably the best player in baseball, and after batting .365 with 28 HR he was a fantasy dream. 

    These types of power numbers had not been seen since Mike Piazza, in the mid-90s. Yet in 2011, Mauer missed half of the season and struggled to find his groove batting .287 with just three home runs.

    This year his power numbers are absent once again, with just one big fly to go with 19 RBI. In May, the catcher's batting average dropped from .325 to .293. During that time he has picked up only six RBI.

    Fortunately for fantasy owners he can also play first base, but with his dismal numbers it may be better to keep him behind the plate. For everyone including myself, let's hope Mauer starts to hit. 

Heath Bell: Miami Marlins, Closer

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    After singing a three-year, $27 million contract with the Miami Marlins, Heath Bell has struggled in his new town. In 17 appearances he has four blow saves with a 8.16 ERA and just nine strikeouts, against 12 walks.

    The last two seasons with the Padres, Bell had only eight blown saves in 98 opportunities. In his time with the Marlins, he has giving up 15 earned runs—he gave up 17 all of last year.

    For fantasy mangers who wanted a prolific closer, they got a total bust instead. Bell was once considered one of the best closers in the game, and now he is fighting for his job.

    For right now be wary of Bell because if he continues to pitch the way he has, your overall WHIP and ERA are only going to rise.

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