In baseball, there is a clear difference between an average player and a great player. The same goes for the fantasy side of the game.
Here I am going to breakdown five players, each of whom are ahead of the pack on their respective pro squads, and prove exactly why they are not the right choice for your fantasy baseball team.
This will help you avoid falling into the trap of drafting guys whose names may appear towards the top of their positions, but their stats will not benefit your lineup.
Below, I have compiled a list that I think every fantasy owner will enjoy.
1) Garret Anderson, Atlanta Braves- I probably could have stated this last season as well, but only draft Anderson as a final resort.
I will repeat that: Do not draft Garret Anderson unless you absolutely have to.
His statistics haven‘t been solid since 2004, and he seems to be declining year after year. From a corner outfielder, you are looking for OBP, power, and a run producer. Anderson is none of these. He has not hit over 20 home runs since 2003, and he has also not driven in over 85 runs in any of the past three years.
Do not get me started about his OBP, which barely finds a way over .300 every season. To add on to the misery, in his last two years, he hasn‘t walked less than 30 times.
Not only this, but Anderson is also a huge injury risk. If you wish to view the situation positively, you can hope that the switch to the NL will boost his production. Although, moving to a much weaker lineup in Atlanta seems it can only hurt his status.
2) Yunel Escobar, Atlanta Braves- The prototypical shortstop gets on base, swipes bags, and scores runs.
The reason Escobar finds his name on this list is because, from a fantasy owner’s standpoint, he does not provide any of these.
Escobar stole two bags in 2008 and was caught five times; this leading to a 30 percent success rate. Sure, his OBP was pretty solid for a shortstop, but he also scored only 71 runs in over 500 at-bats.
And what reason is there to believe that this number will increase with the loss of middle of the order machine Mark Teixeira as well as an aging Chipper Jones?
Because of his inability to swipe bags and score runs, I would recommend against taking Yunel Escobar until the end of your draft, making sure your offense is already solidified, as he will not add much offensive production.
3) Jason Varitek, Boston Red Sox- I am sorry to say, but Varitek has been a horrific fantasy player as of late.
He always manages to find his way drafted amongst catchers so far out of his league. This is only because, well, he is Jason Varitek, playing for a monster of a team sitting in a monster of a lineup.
But people, look at his production!
In 2005 he hit for a .281 average, with 22 home runs, 70 RBI, 69 runs scored, and two stolen bases. Since then the numbers have been horrific. He has averaged under 100 hits, 50 runs scored, and 15 home runs per year.
And his 2008 season was the worst of all. He finished with a .220 average, 13 home runs, 43 RBI, and 37 runs scored.
For now, Varitek is almost to the point where he should go undrafted. Really, the only reason I would have take him is if I had no other options in a crowded mixed league. He turns 37 this April, and you'll thank yourself when the All-Star break rolls around and Varitek is struggling to keep his average above the Mendoza Line.
4) Joe Blanton, Philadelphia Phillies- Well, here is the first pitcher on this list.
Blanton might seem like an excellent choice to fill up your bench, but there are plenty of no-name players out there who you should grab much earlier in a draft. Really, what makes Blanton desirable to major league teams is that he is a workhorse and can throw inning-after-inning.
The problem is, most fantasy leagues do not have an “innings pitched” category, and outside of this, Blanton is good for very little.
Blanton's 2008 ERA soared by over half a run, and his career strikeout high is 140, not exactly standout fantasy numbers. Wouldn't you agree?
Blanton is also a contact pitcher, which means that he is going to give up hits and lots of them. So while he may not walk as many guys as most other pitchers, the number of hits he gives up will send his WHIP soaring year-after-year.
Your best hope with Blanton is that his team could provide the offense needed to pick him up a few more wins than he should have. Outside of this, there is no reason any manager should find themselves drafting Joe.
5) Fausto Carmona, Cleveland Indians- This is by far the toughest, because he was plagued by injury for all of 2008 and did not come remotely close to pitching a full season.
But I have a few reasons why I believe that Carmona is a true Fantasy “dud," and I hope to convince you not to draft him unless you are taking a chance or saying "what the heck" in your last round.
First off, he is not a strikeout pitcher. In his best season to date (2007), Carmona had only 137 strikeouts in 215 innings pitched.
Secondly, the Indians offense is not even close to that of ‘07. That year, Carmona received great run support, and the result was a season of 19 wins.
Not only are they lacking a run producing Travis Hafner, but Victor Martinez was not the player during his short 2008 campaign that he was during 2007, virtually displaying no power or run-producing ability.
Lastly, Carmona has shown to be wild at all points in his career, and it picked up drastically during ‘08, when he walked more batters (70 in 120 innings) than he struck out (58).
These numbers are more frightening when they are linked to a contact pitcher like Blanton who could likely give up as many (if not more) hits than innings pitched. This will cause his WHIP to shoot up significantly, perhaps over 1.40.
Like I said earlier, I am not predicting an awful year for Carmona, I just think everything points towards him not continuing the type of success he had in 2007, and for this reason I would avoid drafting him with any valuable pick.
As for the rest of these guys, I am not saying that their production will drop from previous years. What I am saying is this: The numbers they produce are not numbers favorable or desirable to a fantasy team.
Therefore, don’t glance at their status atop their respective MLB squads and take it into account. If you do, you may very well end up with a “dud” to plague your 2009 fantasy baseball season.
This article was originally posted on www.fantasyfootballmaniaxs.com where you can go for advice and news regarding your fantasy teams.