Fantasy Baseball 2013: 5 Players to Avoid at Every Position
Every season there are players who get hyped up. Some of these guys are coming off career years while others were involved in an offseason blockbuster deal. Whatever the case, most of these players will be reached for on draft day. Don't make the same mistake.
Here's a list of five players at every position who you should avoid. The word "avoid" is rather strong, though. Some of these guys you should avoid at all costs, but most of them should be waited on. In most cases, the following players should definitely be drafted and will put up good numbers, I just suggest drafting them later than their current ADP.
Travis d'Arnaud, New York Mets—d'Arnaud is the kid the Mets traded Cy Young winner R.A. Dickey for, and he's generating a lot of buzz. The problem is that he'll most likely begin the year in Triple-A. He should see time in the MLB this season, but how much impact will he have? I just don't see him receiving enough at-bats to be fantasy relevant in 2013.
Salvador Perez, Kansas City Royals—I really like Perez. The only concern I have will be his playing time. He's healthy so far, which is a good sign, but I have a feeling the Royals won't overuse their young star. When he returned last year, he started 78 percent of the games. That would translate into 126 games this season. That's a fine number, but I wouldn't reach on Perez over guys who will get closer to 500 at-bats.
Brian McCann, Atlanta Braves—I think McCann is a good pick, only if it's really late in your draft. He's targeting a comeback for April 16, but that doesn't guarantee it will be in a Major League game. He just began hitting, taking batting practice from coaches and throwing up to 120 feet. He also doesn't participate every day yet. He was once viewed as an elite option, but his health concerns drop him down.
J.P. Arencibia, Toronto Blue Jays—Arencibia has a lot of pop in that bat, but it also has a lot of holes. He has the potential to hit 25 home runs, but can you live with that sub .240 batting average? If you want to concede batting average then Arencibia could be your guy. Personally, I like a little more balance at catcher. I'd rather have Carlos Ruiz even though he's going to miss the first 25 games.
Kurt Suzuki, Washington Nationals—Suzuki is slotted in as No. 1 on the Nats' depth chart, but I'm not sure how long that will last. Over the last three years, Suzuki hasn't hit higher than .245, and he only belted six homers last year. Wilson Ramos is recovering from knee surgery, but he is progressing much to manager Davey Johnson's approval. In the end, I think Ramos wins the job.
Mark Trumbo, Los Angeles Angels—Trumbo showed off his power last year by blasting 32 home runs. He's a very viable power option, but his ADP of 82 is too high for me. His .318 OBP is awful and his .809 OPS is low considering that he's a power hitter. To put that into perspective, Trumbo ranked 53rd in OPS last season, behind guys like Andre Ethier, Austin Jackson and Daniel Murphy.
Kendrys Morales, Seattle Mariners—I don't think Morales is a bad player, but his 183 ADP is entirely too early for me. He had a solid return last year, hitting .273 with 22 home runs and 73 RBI. The problem is that he's now playing for Seattle, and Safeco Field ranked second-to-last in home runs in ESPN's Park Factors last season. Good luck expecting a power spike.
Adam Dunn, Chicago White Sox—If you throw out his dismal 2011 season, Dunn has been one of the most consistent and prolific power hitters over the last five years. The batting average is putrid though. Three or four years ago you could live with the .260 average, but last year Dunn hit 45 points higher than he did in 2011, and he still only hit .204. If you have the other players to make up for the average, then Dunn will hit 30-plus homers for you. If not, I would stay away from him.
Nick Swisher, Cleveland Indians—I wouldn't avoid Swisher, but I also wouldn't take him 150th overall either. That ADP is just too high for me. Swisher is a fine ballplayer, but he has averaged just 23 home runs over the last two seasons at hitter-friendly Yankee Stadium. According to ESPN's Park Factors, Yankee Stadium was eighth in home runs while Progressive Field was 20th last season.
Allen Craig, St. Louis Cardinals—Craig has a ton of potential, but he has never logged more than 500 at-bats. With a player that is injury-prone like Craig, it's hard to project numbers for him. Right now, it's hard to assume that he'll reach the 500 plateau in 2013. That's why I'm going to pass on him for the first few rounds. His 46 ADP is too early for my liking.
Dustin Ackley, Seattle Mariners—Last year, Ackley was labeled as a sleeper by most people. How did that work out? He ended up hitting .226 with 12 home runs and 13 stolen bases. That poor season has dropped him down the rankings, but owners are still considering him. He's going before Marco Scutaro, Michael Young and Daniel Murphy and that shouldn't be happening.
Danny Espinosa, Washington Nationals—Fantasy owners tend to fall in love with guys who have homer potential. While power is important, it's not the only thing. That must be why Espinosa is getting drafted 140th overall. Sure he has the potential to hit 20 home runs, but he also brings a steady sub .250 batting average. Don't chase power at second base. A more complete player is a better option.
Dan Uggla, Atlanta Braves—See above. Except I would take take Uggla before Espinosa. After another tough season with the batting average in 2012, it seems like Uggla won't come close to his numbers in 2010, when he hit .287. It was a down year all across the board for him last season, but I do expect him to hit 20-plus homers. Uggla's saving grace is his OBP. Despite hitting .220 last year, his OBP was .349.
Emilio Bonifacio, Toronto Blue Jays—Bonifacio provides some value with stolen bases, but that's about the only category he'll help in. I'm not interested in going for a player with virtually no power and who has a .267 career batting average. If he was hitting atop the potent Jays lineup, then perhaps I would think about it, but he's projected to hit ninth.
Aaron Hill, Arizona Diamondbacks—Let me preface this by saying I wouldn't avoid Hill. Like many of the other players in this article, I just wouldn't reach for him. He's coming off his best season since 2009. Let's not forget about 2010 and 2011 when he hit .205 and .246 respectively. It appears that Hill is back on the fantasy radar, but his 71 ADP should be bumped down around 20 spots.
J.J. Hardy, Baltimore Orioles—For the last two seasons, Hardy has ranked near the top of the shortstop list in home runs. But he's also ranked near the bottom in both batting average and OBP. Last year, Hardy hit a woeful .238 and recorded a .282 OBP. Sure, he'll get you 20 home runs, but do you want to take on that .260 batting average and no threat to steal?
Derek Jeter, New York Yankees—Jeter had an incredible 2012 season, but it will be hard for him to put up similar numbers in 2013. His .316 batting average should fall under .300, and he shouldn't hit 15 home runs again. Last year was just the second time in seven years that he hit 15 homers or more. He's 38 years old, so he should be in a regression.
Ian Desmond, Washington Nationals—Desmond is coming off of a career year, and someone in your league will most certainly reach for him. That .295 average with 25 homers and 21 steals looks very impressive, but you cannot expect him to have a repeat performance. Thanks to an inflated 18.2 percent HR/FB rate, he was able to nearly triple his previous career high in home runs. He can also thank a .332 BABIP for hitting 23 points higher than his former high mark.
Everth Cabrera, San Diego Padres—Cabrera stole 44 bases last season, and that led all MLB shortstops. Too bad he only hit .246. You would think that having great speed and hitting leadoff would generate a bunch of runs, but think again. Not only does he own a dismal average, but his .324 OBP doesn't look pretty either. It's hard to score runs when you're not getting on base.
Jhonny Peralta, Detroit Tigers—Peralta failed to back up his great 2011 season last year. His average went from .299 to .239, and he saw his home run total go from 21 to 13. It now looks like that 2011 was a fluke. Peralta has hit under .260 in three of the last four years, and he has hit more than 15 home runs just once in the last four years as well.
Chase Headley, San Diego Padres—Most people are probably thinking that putting Headley on here is a joke. How can I say to avoid a guy who hit .286 with 31 homers and 17 steals last season? Well, don't avoid him, but don't reach for either. His ADP of 49 is much too high. Before he turned into Barry Bonds in the second half last season, Headley's career high in homers was 12. Don't overdraft Headley based off his career year.
Kevin Youkilis, New York Yankees—Youkilis is on a steep decline. It's hard to believe that just four years ago, Youk was hitting higher than .300 while belting close to 30 home runs. Now, he's coming off a season in which he hit .235 with 19 homers. He has been a mess over the last three seasons. He has a hard time staying healthy, and when he does, he doesn't produce like he used to. I want nothing to do with him in 2013.
Kyle Seager, Seattle Mariners—Seager broke onto the scene last season with 20 home runs and 13 stolen bases. Can he repeat those numbers? Chances are no. He never possessed power in the minors, except when he hit 14 home runs in High-A back in 2010. The same can be said for the speed. I'm not saying he'll be a complete dud, but a regression has to be expected.
Mike Moustakas, Kansas City Royals—Moustakas belted 20 home runs last year, but it came at the expense of a .242 batting average. He's young and he should improve over the years, but I don't think he should be the 152nd overall player drafted this season. Third base isn't that deep, but Todd Frazier, Pedro Alvarez and Michael Young should go before Moustakas, but they aren't.
Alex Rodriguez, New York Yankees—Despite his injury and PED allegations, Rodriguez is still being drafted before starting third baseman. With everything that surrounds A-Rod, it's hard to project him to get more than 200 at-bats. You combine that low of a number with his recent decline, and you get a useless fantasy player.
Carl Crawford, Los Angeles Dodgers—Crawford hasn't looked right since 2010. He hit just .255 with 11 home runs in 2011, and then he only registered 117 at-bats last year. He'll most likely keep the Dodgers waiting for his debut too. According to Mark Saxon of ESPN Los Angeles, there is no immediate plan to get Crawford into a spring training game. His ADP is 127 right now, and that's very high.
Angel Pagan, San Francisco Giants—Just in case you didn't notice, Pagan is on a speed decline. He stole 37 bags in 2010, then 32 in 2011 and then was down to 29 last season. It used to make him more valuable, but now he should fall down the rankings. The weird part is that he's actually gotten more at-bats during that same span. I don't trust Pagan in that pitcher-friendly stadium with a speed decline.
Carlos Gomez, Milwaukee Brewers—Gomez broke out last year, hitting .260 with 19 home runs and 37 stolen bases. I'm not ready to trust him yet. Especially not at his current ADP of 133. I'll take a shot on Gomez, but definitely not that early. I don't think the homers will come down significantly, but I expect his average to fall closer to .245. Plus, I think he only gets 30 steals this year.
Ben Revere, Philadelphia Phillies—Revere's move to Philly has certainly gotten fantasy owners' attention. He's garnering too much respect, though, because his ADP is 149. He'll be a nice source of stolen bases, but he has no power and he's projected to hit seventh in the lineup. If he was hitting leadoff, then I would feel differently about him, but it doesn't look like he will. That hurts his stock big time.
Hunter Pence, San Francisco Giants—Remember when Pence used to steal bases? He swiped 14 bags in 2009 and then had 18 in 2010. But he's had just 13 combined over the last two seasons, and that hurts his stock. I also think his home runs will come down a bit since he's playing in San Fran. I wouldn't completely avoid Pence, but I'll take him after the 10th round.
Homer Bailey, Cincinnati Reds—Bailey finally lived up to his potential last season. The 26-year-old went 13-10 with a 3.68 ERA. I don't think he'll have as good of a season in 2013 though. His FIP was 3.97 last year, which suggests he was fairly lucky. I also think his 4.9 percent HR/FB rate will climb, especially considering that Great American Ballpark is a very hitter-friendly stadium.
Ryan Dempster, Boston Red Sox—With the Cubs last season, Dempster was 5-5 with a 2.25 ERA and 1.04 WHIP. Then, once he was traded to the Rangers, Dempster went 7-3 with a 5.09 ERA and 1.44 WHIP. It was very unlikely that he would carry over the same exact results, but a 2.84 increase in ERA is very alarming. It's not encouraging that Dempster struggled in the AL and that's where he'll be pitching again in 2013.
Miguel Gonzalez, Baltimore Orioles—Last year, Gonzalez looked very sharp for the Orioles. He went 9-4 with a 3.25 ERA and 1.21 WHIP. I have a hard time believing that he'll continue that success in 2013. His FIP was 4.38 and his xFIP was 4.63. Those numbers suggest that Gonzalez was pretty lucky last season. I expect an ERA well over four this year.
Ervin Santana, Kansas City Royals—After putting up solid numbers in 2010 and 2011, Santana was awful in 2012. He went 9-13 with a 5.16 ERA and 1.27 WHIP. You can't really argue that he was unlucky either because his FIP was 5.63. The trade to Kansas City really hurts him too. According to Jeff Zimmerman of Fangraphs.com, the Angels had a +44 UZR rating and had the best defensive efficiency in the AL. Meanwhile, the Royals had a -10 UZR and ranked last in defensive efficiency.
Ubaldo Jimenez, Cleveland Indians—In 2010, Jimenez went 19-8 with a 2.88 ERA, 1.15 WHIP and an 8.69 K/9 rate. Over the last two years, though, he is a combined 19-30 with a 5.60 ERA. His average fastball was 95.8 mph in 2010, but it dropped to 93.9 mph in 2011 and then 92.5 mph last season. He is on a downward trend, and I wouldn't want anything to do with him.
Bruce Rondon, Detroit Tigers—Rondon was the favorite to win the closer job heading into spring training, but he hasn't exactly been lights out. In 5.2 innings so far, Rondon has allowed three earned runs, nine hits and five walks. I usually don't put a lot of weight into spring stats, but it's not a good sign for Rondon, who is competing for a job. He might win the closer battle, but I'd take someone else who will be closing for sure.
Brandon League, Los Angeles Dodgers—League will begin the year as the Dodgers' closer, but how long will that last? Kenley Jansen is right behind him, and he's a far superior reliever. League filled in nicely when Jansen was sidelined with heart problems at the end of last season, and that's the only reason he is starting as the ninth inning guy. I anticipate Jansen taking the job from League at some point, just like he did last year with Javy Guerra.
Fernando Rodney, Tampa Bay Rays—Rodney will definitely be reached for in your draft. He's coming off a season in which he saved 48 games with a 0.60 ERA and 0.78 WHIP. It was an incredible season, but you can't expect the same magic again in 2013. From 2007-11, he never had an ERA under 4.20 and his lowest WHIP was 1.32. He'll most likely have a regression this season, so don't overpay for him.
Chris Perez, Cleveland Indians—Perez is about as shaky as you can get. He has saved 75 games over the last two years, but he doesn't do it convincingly. Out of the 15 players who saved at least 30 games last season, Perez had the fourth-worst ERA in that group. If you also throw in the fact that he suffered a strained muscle in his right shoulder on February 26, it doesn't look like he's an elite option.
Carlos Marmol, Chicago Cubs—It's not very often you see a closer with a 1.54 WHIP, but that's exactly what Marmol had last year. He has had problems throwing strikes and keeping his job in Chicago. Plus, it looks like he won't be in the Windy City for much longer. D.J. Short of NBC Sports wrote that team officials told Marmol's agent to "expect" a trade this season. Kyuji Fujikawa is waiting in the wings, and it's only a matter of time before he takes over.