Like all fantasy sports, the key to success in fantasy baseball is understanding value. Failure to understand value can lead an owner to mislabel a player as a disappointment, while understanding value can give an owner a late-round steal.
To determine value, you must consider what you gave up when you selected a certain player in the draft. Did you grab an elite catcher early because of the scarcity of that position? Or did you simply draft the best players, regardless of position?
Jose Abreu, whose ESPN average draft position was 134th (only five spots ahead of Alfonso Soriano), has obviously exceeded the expectations of a 13th-round pick. Yet Yadier Molina and Dustin Pedroia, players considered to be the class of their positions, have vastly underwhelmed. The price paid to grab these players early in drafts has been far higher than their actual production.
For the sake of clarity, the following list of disappointments is composed only of position players. A player can only be considered a "disappointment" if his current ESPN Player Rater ranking is at least 100 spots worse than his average draft position. Also, all players must currently be owned in 100 percent of standard ESPN fantasy baseball leagues. Players who have missed time due to injury, such as Carlos Gonzalez, Jay Bruce and Bryce Harper, are excluded.
Here are the top five fantasy disappointments as we approach the halfway point of the 2014 season.
Statistics are accurate through June 19 and are obtained from MLB.com, ESPN.com, Baseball-Reference.com and FanGraphs.com.