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Fantasy Baseball 2013: Aging Stars You Must Avoid Drafting

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Fantasy Baseball 2013: Aging Stars You Must Avoid Drafting
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As our knowledge and understanding of baseball has increased over the last decade, we know that there is a certain age where most players hit a wall and their numbers start to drop faster than a politician's approval rating. 

When you are filling out your fantasy draft board, there are a few names that used to be at or near the top of the sport who are likely going to see their performance drop, if it hasn't already started to. 

Fans tend to fall in love with names rather than trends, which is understandable. But you need to avoid making mistakes whenever you can if you want to win your league. Here are the players to avoid drafting. 

 

Roy Halladay, SP, Philadelphia Phillies

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Just one year ago it would have been reasonable to think that Halladay would be the first pitcher drafted. He was one of a select few starting pitchers you knew were going to throw 220 innings with a great ERA, WHIP and win at least 18 games. 

However, a sore right shoulder in May wound up costing Halladay nearly two months and he was never right. His ERA (4.49) and wins (11) were the lowest totals he has had since 2004, while his innings pitched (156.1) was the lowest since 2005. 

Halladay will spend most of this season pitching at the age of 36, well beyond the peak of most pitchers. He was so fantastic for so long that it will be hard to completely abandon him, and certainly if the only issue was Halladay, I would have no problem telling you to draft him. 

The bigger issue is figuring out what the Phillies are doing. The moves they have made this offseason prove they are going backwards. Michael Young and Delmon Young are two of the worst defensive players in baseball at their positions. 

Ryan Howard can't play defense at first base. Jimmy Rollins is still a quality shortstop, but he is going to have to cover the entire left side of the diamond to make up for Young's lack of range. 

Add to that the fact that half of Philadelphia's games are played in the hitter-friendly Citizens Bank Park and division rivals Washington and Atlanta figure to have two of the better offenses in the National League, and you have a mediocre starting pitcher. 

 

Mark Teixeira, 1B, New York Yankees

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When you are a first baseman whose only skills are hitting and power, you are not going to age gracefully.

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Teixeira's performance has been declining for a couple of years, as his on-base percentage has dropped from .410 in 2008 to .332 last year and his slugging percentage has fallen by 90 points since joining the Yankees. 

The 24 home runs that Teixeira hit in 2012 was a career low. His 84 RBIs tied a career low. He also missed 39 games due to calf injury, which undoubtedly contributed to his low power output. 

To his credit, at least Teixeira had the guts to admit in an interview with Daniel Barbarisi of the Wall Street Journal that, at 33 and seeing where his performance is at, he is overpaid.

I looked at the first six or seven years of my career, I was in my 20s, it was easy. I wasn't searching for the right formula. To think that I'm going to get remarkably better, as I get older and breaking down a little bit more, it's not going to happen.

There was a time when Teixeira was one of the best power hitters in fantasy baseball. He still has enough pop in his bat to get back to that level in 2013, but the decline in performance over the last four years and his age is troubling. 

First base is not a loaded position for fantasy players anymore anyway, so you have to pick and choose your spots. Teixeira is on the downside of his career and doesn't figure to get back to the level that earned him that big contract with New York in the first place. 

 

Victor Martinez, C/DH, Detroit Tigers

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Following along the lines of injured, one-dimensional players, Martinez has the deck stacked against him even more than a player like Teixeira. 

Unlike Teixeira, Martinez never had that kind of power. He hit just 12 home runs in 145 games with the Tigers in 2011. He is also coming off a serious knee injury that kept him from stepping on the field at all last season, meaning his timing is going to be off until he gets back in the swing of things. 

Martinez is one of the best pure hitters in baseball when he is on, almost a lock to hit over .300 as long as he had enough at-bats to qualify for the batting title. But he is 34 years old and hasn't played a game in 17 months. 

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