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MLB Trade Rumors: Top 10 Most Overvalued Fantasy Baseball Players

Nathan PalatskyCorrespondent IIJanuary 27, 2011

MLB Trade Rumors: Top 10 Most Overvalued Fantasy Baseball Players

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    Tom Pennington/Getty Images

    There are some guys in baseball I must accept I will never own. This is because their prices are projected so far ahead of their realistic value in fantasy baseball, that their owners will stubbornly demand my left arm for them, regardless of the statistics that place their value more in the appendix vicinity.

    Some of them are overvalued because they are mediocre producers at very shallow positions, and others are superb producers at a position loaded with stars.

    One way or the other, they just aren’t worth inquiring about anymore. 

#10 Ricky Nolasco

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    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    Nolasco’s name will always be connected with the word “upside.”

    He has played five seasons, and in 2008 he was 15-8 with a 3.52 ERA, 1.102 WHIP over 212 IP.

    Outside of that season, he has never had an ERA below 4.51, never topped 185 IP and has never come under 1.25 WHIP.

    Nolasco is coming off a 14-9 season, with a 4.51 ERA, 1.281 WHIP and a shade over 8 K/9 but in only 157 innings of work.

    However, ask his owners about him and you will get a stream of projected numbers and expectations. And you will get the price tag of a top-25 starting pitcher. Just shake your head and walk away. 

#9 Ichiro Suzuki

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    Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

    He will bat over .300 and he will PROBABLY steal 30 bases. But if you were in a roto or category league last season, you know his .315 and 42 didn’t quite balance out six home runs, 43 RBI and 74 runs scored.

    Despite those who say he is “a lock for 40 steals and 100 runs,” he has only stolen 40+ four times in 10 years and his runs have diminished every year since 2007, most recently to 88 in 2009 and 74 in 2010.

    Unfortunately, he is routinely priced like a top-10 outfielder. They bank on his consistency, but since 2006, his batting average has changed by 25 points (one way or the other) every season. Since '06, his averages have been .322, .351, .310, .352 and .315.

    Useful? Absolutely, but with that amount of fluctuation, the 36-year-old is anything but safe. Aging tends to touch the legs first and Ichiro’s value is strapped to his legs. 

#8 Chase Utley

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    Al Bello/Getty Images

    Utley has been the unquestioned top fantasy second baseman for a few years now and probably would be this season had his 2010 not been cut short by injury.

    However, at 32 years old, Utley’s position drives his price up.

    Just ask his owner about a trade of Dustin Pedroia for Utley. He would probably demand another very good player on top. This is true for most of the shallow positions and the consensus top player is worth exponentially more than the second option in the rankings.

    You are better off targeting Pedroia or Robinson Cano at 2/3 the price and getting an elite second baseman in the midst of his prime instead of on the back end of it. 

#7 Pablo Sandoval

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    Elsa/Getty Images

    King Fu Panda shot up the rankings during and after 2009 when he hit .330 with 25 HR and 90 RBI at 22 years old, but his value didn’t adjust accordingly when he proceeded to hit .268 with 13 and 63 in 2010.

    Ask an owner about trading for him and you are likely to get the 2009 statistics and the fact he is 24 years old, along with being a third baseman.

    The argument can be made that he could revert or at least fall somewhere in the middle, but you will likely have to give up a safer option to get him. Sandoval owners ignore 2010 and focus all their attention on 2009.

    If they can get that kind of value for him, good for them, but don’t be the one who gives it to them. 

#6 Brian McCann

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    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    Try to trade for McCann and you are likely to hear “his eyes were bad” and “he’s the safest catcher in fantasy.”

    Well, his batting average has gone down three straight seasons and his OPS, hits and total bases have dropped all three years as well. 

    The 26-year-old is going the wrong way. With bats like Dan Uggla, Jason Heyward and Freddie Freeman in the lineup, McCann will likely fall in the batting order and that will cost him RBIs.

    He should be drafted among the top five catchers, but after Mauer (and maybe Posey), no catcher should require stars in return. He finished 2010 at .269 with 21 HR and 77 RBI. Those numbers can be had very deep in drafts at most other positions, and some catchers (Napoli, Suzuki, Soto, Wieters, etc.) are capable of the same numbers 10 rounds later or for near scrubs in trade. 

#5 Ryan Howard

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    Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

    You draft or trade for Howard to be a HR/RBI guy. He won’t hit for high average or steal bases. He did hit 45+ HR and knock in 135+ RBI in four straight years from '06-'09, but those numbers fell to 31 and 108 in 2010.

    Believe it, to trade for him, you will have to pay for 45/135. You might get those numbers back, but you might also get 30/100.

    At another position, that would still be thrilling, but at first base, there are between 10 and 15 options that could give you that at a 30/100 price. Howard is 31 years old and looked it at times last season.

    Be wary of the numbers you pay for. They might be available for less.

#4 Albert Pujols

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    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    Pujols is the best player in the game. He is an elite source of AVG, HR, RBI, OPS and runs scored.

    BUT he will cost you more than any other player as well, to the point of not being worth it.

    I recently saw Albert Pujols change hands in exchange for Hanley Ramirez and Jered Weaver.

    Congratulations, you are now the proud owner of the best at a very deep position, in exchange for the best at a very shallow position plus an elite source of strikeouts. Owners fall in love with the idea of owning the best.

    Don’t. The second best can often be had at a significant discount without too severe a loss in production. 

#3 Carl Crawford

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    Elsa/Getty Images

    Two centerfielders played a season in 2009.

    Player A .305, 15 HR, 68 RBI, 96 R, 60 SB

    Player B .301, 8 HR, 60 RBI, 94 R, 70 SB

    Player B is going 14 rounds later in drafts. Of course player A is Carl Crawford and player B is Jacoby Ellsbury.

    I compared 2009 stats as Ellsbury was hurt much of last season. Crawford is being ranked as one of the top three outfielders in baseball, and ultimately, he will score a lot of runs and steal a lot of bases.

    Owners will demand first-round types in exchange for him, but his specialty is a category that can be had much cheaper. Pass on Crawford. 

#2 Justin Upton

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    Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

    Matt Kemp could share this spot, but Kemp at least has one elite season under his belt to show some ability to live up to said hype.

    In four years, Upton has one season over .280, one with 20 HR and one with 20 SB. He has never approached 30 in either category. Meanwhile, his owners rave about his 30/30 skills and his “five-tool potential.”

    It may come, but don’t pay elite prices for “may.” Look into Drew Stubbs, Jay Bruce, or Colby Rasmus, who can provide similar numbers for a much cheaper price. 

#1 Jason Heyward

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    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    No question here. I’ve never seen hype distort a player’s value like Heyward’s did last year.

    He was being traded for Ryan Braun or Matt Holliday and not even in keeper leagues but in season ones.

    He became as streaky as any rookie, and while .277, 18 HR, 72 RBI is a good line for a rookie, it's not when you gave away .300, 30, 100 to get him.

    People will point to his 11 stolen bases as a bonus, but his six times caught stealing means he has some growing to do before his steals will be consistent. He may yet become a superstar, but don’t trade away superstars who put up numbers NOW that he MIGHT put up someday

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