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Fantasy Baseball 2013: Big Names Guaranteed to Be Overvalued Busts

Timothy RappFeatured ColumnistMarch 19, 2013

Fantasy Baseball 2013: Big Names Guaranteed to Be Overvalued Busts

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    Every year it happens—one guy in your fantasy league is convinced he's had the most epic draft ever and brags about how stacked his lineup is or how deep his pitching rotation will prove to be.

    And then it happens. A key player goes down to an injury. A guy here or a guy there turns out to be a bust. Before he knows it, your buddy has a team of chronic underachievers and a full disabled list.

    I know you don't want to be that guy, which is why I've identified five players I think have the biggest bust potential at your draft. From players who have proven to be injury risks in the past to 2012 breakout stars who I don't believe can sustain last year's production, these are guys you should label with a red flag.

Josh Hamilton, OF, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

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    2012 Stats: .285 batting average with 43 home runs, 103 runs scored and 128 RBI

    Average Draft Position: 17.7 in ESPN drafts and 18.5 in Yahoo! drafts

    Why He'll Be a Bust: No player scares me in fantasy more than Josh Hamilton. I'm terrified to draft him in the second round, and I'm terrified to pass on him.

    I know he missed 29 or more games for three straight seasons before last year. I also know he's an MVP candidate if he stays healthy. But I worry that Hamilton will simply start to regress, huge contract and all. 

    His batting average has dropped for three straight seasons, and if he misses 30 or more games his power numbers will take a serious hit. I simply don't see Hamilton playing an entire season, and that level of risk in the second round, for an outfielder, isn't worth it.

    Look, if Hamilton played shortstop or second base, I would snag him with a second-round pick and live with the consequences. But with plenty of value in the outfield later in the draft, I'm not touching Hamilton. 

    He may be a bust with pretty good numbers, but I still think he'll be a bust for fantasy owners.

Jose Reyes, SS, Toronto Blue Jays

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    2012 Stats: .287 batting average with 11 home runs, 57 RBI, 86 runs scored and 40 stolen bases

    Average Draft Position: 28.0 in ESPN drafts and 29.6 in Yahoo! drafts

    Why He'll Be a Bust: Reyes played in 160 games last year, the first time since 2008 he's missed less than 29 games in a season. He may be a stud at a weak position in fantasy, shortstop, but he's a huge injury risk.

    He's probably not going to hit .300, which he's only done once since 2007, and he's unlikely to ever reach the 50-steal plateau again, as he'll turn 30 this June.

    I would imagine his run totals will go up given the dangerous Toronto Blue Jays' lineup, but given his injury history, I simply don't think he's worth a second- or third-round pick, which it will take to add him to your team.

    Reyes will be productive when he's healthy, but this is a player reaching the end of his prime and one that has killed fantasy owners with injuries in the past. I'd go a different route.

R.A. Dickey, SP, Toronto Blue Jays

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    2012 Stats: 20-6 with a 2.73 ERA, 1.05 WHIP and 230 strikeouts

    Average Draft Position: 58.1 in ESPN drafts and 50.7 in Yahoo! drafts

    Why He'll Be a Bust: For Dickey, two things are very likely to regress—wins and strikeouts. And if they do, he'll take a serious plunge in value.

    Look, anytime a guy can consistently throw a knuckleball 80 mph and somewhat control the pitch, he's dangerous. And Dickey has posted an ERA under 3.30 and WHIP under 1.25 in three straight seasons, so he should still be effective.

    Plus, he's on a vastly improved Toronto Blue Jays team now, so he should pick up a few wins for that reason alone.

    But I can't get past those 20 wins and 230 strikeouts. I can't ignore that such an output seems unsustainable for Dickey, and a regression from those numbers will take him from being a guy worth a sixth-round pick to one you should be selecting in the 10th round at the earliest.

    Don't draft Dickey to be your second starter, draft him to be your fourth. He won't be nearly as valuable for fantasy owners this season.

Bryce Harper, OF, Washington Nationals

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    2012 Stats: .270 batting average with 22 home runs, 59 RBI, 98 runs scored and 18 stolen bases in 139 games

    Average Draft Position: 32.0 in ESPN drafts and 32.5 in Yahoo! drafts

    Why He'll Be a Bust: It might be more accurate to predict that Harper will be a fantasy "bust" this year, relatively speaking.

    Look, I love Bryce Harper's talent and I think he'll be a really solid fantasy player this season. But I also think the 20-year-old is being dramatically over-drafted in the third or fourth round.

    I believe in the sophomore slump. It happened to Jason Heyward two years ago. It bit Eric Hosmer last year. I even think Mike Trout's numbers will regress—how could they not?—though a regression from Trout still probably means he'll hit .300 with 20 home runs, 70 RBI, 40 stolen bases and 110 runs scored.

    That's still worth a first-round pick.

    But if Bryce Harper regresses —or improves slightly on last year's numbers in a full season—are you really going to be happy you used a third-round pick on him?

    And let's be honest—the closer we get to the season, the more likely it is that some owner will draft him in the second, or perhaps even first, round. I think Harper is a future MVP and mainstay atop fantasy baseball drafts, but I don't think that ascension will happen this year.

    Don't overpay for Harper. Not yet. He won't be a complete bust, but he's not going to put up the numbers worthy of where he's being drafted. Expect his rise to prominence to take a little more time than two years.

Chase Headley, 3B, San Diego Padres

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    2012 Stats: .286 batting average with 31 home runs, 115 RBI, 95 runs scored and 17 stolen bases

    Average Draft Position: 50.6 in ESPN drafts and 62.7 in Yahoo! drafts

    Why He'll Be a Bust: Let me count the reasons.

    From 2008-11, Headley hit a grand total of 36 home runs. His previous high in RBI was 64. He hits in the middle of a really weak San Diego Padres lineup, making you wonder how many RBI opportunities he'll get or runs he'll score.

    Headley's batting average and on-base percentage have remained steady over the past few years, and at 28 years old he may have finally put it all together.

    But Headley isn't going to be surprising any pitchers this year, that much is for certain, and I just can't imagine him replicating those power numbers. Plus, he fractured his thumb and will be out for a month (if he doesn't require surgery), according to Corey Brock of MLB.com.

    I wouldn't draft Headley this season.

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