With Opening Day just over three weeks away, fantasy baseball drafts are well under way.
Assembling one’s roster with the best possible all-around talent is the key for dominance in every league. But, what hitters are people eying? What fielders are going to be most reliable? Better yet, which pitchers are going to be taken in the opening rounds of each draft?
With the good comes the bad.
Here are three star players to avoid in fantasy baseball this season.
New York Yankees first baseman Mark Teixeira was surely a big name in the pool of power hitters in each fantasy baseball league. But when work spread that Teixeira suffered a strained tendon in his right forearm before Team USA’s first exhibition game against the Chicago White Sox Tuesday, his value plummeted.
“He took about three or four light swings as he was starting to get loose and he felt something here,” U.S. manager Joe Torre said, courtesy of ESPN.com. “I asked him if there had been any indication of it before, and he said, ‘No, nothing.’ He never had this before. He was just shaking his head.”
Teixeira might be doing more than just shaking his head.
Despite hitting 24 home runs to accompany his 84 RBI, Teixeira's injury could linger into the regular season. Make no mistake, this isn't an ordinary injury. This type of injury is both problematic and alarming for any power hitter. Bat speed is centered on strength in the hands and forearms—something Teixeira could be without for an extended period of time.
Another player to avoid is St. Louis Cardinals shortstop Rafael Furcal. When healthy, Furcal has provided a healthy bat as the leadoff hitter for the Cardinals, and has a stellar arm in the field.
But, the key phrase there is “when healthy.” Furcal is anything but healthy.
His right throwing arm is twisted in knots.
Furcal suffered a torn ligament in his right elbow Aug. 30, and was shut down for the remainder of last season. After arriving in spring training, Furcal was dealt another setback, this time bothered by a bone spur in his right elbow.
What’s worse is Furcal’s elbow isn’t responding to various treatment and rest. Rather, his condition has worsened.
“What do you want me to do?” Furcal said, courtesy of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “It’s not getting better. I wish I could do whatever I could to make it better, so I could play.”
From the looks of things, it doesn’t appear Furcal will be ready by Opening Day, and his return remains a mystery.
Out West, Albert Pujols made his first spring training start today after spending a considerable amount of time rehabbing his right knee, which he had surgery on in October.
“I’m not going to get a hit and try to stretch a single into a double or triple,” Pujols said, courtesy of the Los Angeles Times. “As long as I can see some live pitching and get some at-bats, that’s the most important thing.”
Though Pujols has been given the green light, there’s still cause for alarm.
The slugger’s numbers have tailed off over the last four years. In 2009, Pujols tallied 186 hits. A year later, he notched 183. Over the last two seasons, he’s recorded 173 hits. His home run totals have also declined. In 2009, he blasted 47 round-trippers. Last season, he amassed just 30. His average has taken a hit as well. In 2009, Pujols held a steady .327 mark, but in 2012, he hit just .285.
The pool of talent is huge, but these are three players to avoid in fantasy baseball this season.