It happens every year. We set our sights on a player who we think will carry us to a championship, and we overpay. Last year, I choose to ride the Ricky Nolasco express based on all the pre-season hype. I missed him in the draft but decided to pay for him via trade. I paid for the mistake by going on that bumpy ride all season long.
Looking through some early mock drafts, I came up with a list of players that I feel are being drafted too high in these pre-season drafts. Now don't get me wrong, I would like to have some of these players on my team as some of them are very good. The problem that I have is with the position in which they are being taken.
Some of their average draft positions (ADP) make me shake my head with disgust knowing that people are planning to take these players at that given time. I will attempt to explain why I think these nine players are ranked too high in 2011 mock drafts.
I will also try to provide a list of players from the same position that are being taken after that said player to prove that their are better options at a cheaper price: A true win/win scenario.
Roberts is the only one of the nine on my list that is going outside the top 10 rounds. He is going on average with the sixth pick in the 11th round. I still believe that is too high.
Roberts is 33 and on the wrong side of his prime. He dealt with major back issues all of 2010, only playing 59 games. His numbers in limited time last year: 28 R, 4 HR, 15 RBI, 12 SB, .278.
Not too impressive, even considering he played over a third of a season.
Roberts' numbers have also been in decline. His SB totals have dropped every season dating back to 2007. His chronic back problems don't seem like they would help the numbers rise again, i'd actually be surprised if he stole more than 20 bases this year.
So basically what we have with Roberts is an injury prone, weak hitting 2B that might hit 10 home runs and steal 20 bases. Pick 126 is too high.
At this point, i'd rather have these players who will be 2B eligible:
Ben Zobrist (127)
Gordon Beckham (203)
Aaron Hill (157)
Bourn is currently being drafted in the middle of the 10th round, and I am here to tell you that drafting a guy who is good at one category, average at another, and an outright liability in three categories that high in a draft is just plain dumb!
Bourn posted this line in 2010: 84 R, 2 HR, 38 RBI, 52 SB, .265 AVG.
Of course he is an elite source of speed, but I don't even want a guy on my roster who will produce on average a home run every three months and an average of 1.5 RBI's a week. That's pitiful.
Bourn has played four major league seasons. Never once has he sniffed .300, scored 100 times, drove in more than 40 runs, or hit over five home runs. He simply stinks at everything except stealing bases. Ironically, steals are the easiest category to find post-draft.
Last year, Rajai Davis, Angel Pagan, Brett Gardner, Coco Crisp, and Nyger Morgan were all in the top 15 of SB, and they were also left undrafted in a majority of leagues. Steals come cheap, don't pay for them, don't pay this price for Bourn.
Guys I'd rather have at this spot:
Michael Stanton (134) Might hit 40 home runs.
Adam Jones (173) Could break out for a nice five category season.
Drew Stubbs (177) 20/20 last year as a 25-year-old.
Juan Pierre (125) One round later, better in every category than Bourn except HR (2 for Bourn, 1 for Pierre)
I could keep going but I think we get the point.
I'll admit it, I am one of those Illinoians that bought a Soriano jersey a few years back. The future looked bright and the man had 40/40 written all over him, right?
Well I may have been dumb enough to shell out a $100 on the jersey, but I wouldn't use a top 100 pick to grab Soriano in 2011. I don't even see how people are choosing him at this spot. The guy is 35-years-old and nothing about his stat line is appealing. With his age, you expect the numbers to only get worse.
In 2010, Soriano posted this very mediocre line: 67 R, 24 HR, 79 HR, 5 SB, .258 AVG.
Nothing about that screams take me in the ninth round, but that is where he is going in mock drafts. I would expect another campaign like 2010 from Soriano in 2011. I'd expect an injury he played in 147 games last year, the most since he joined the Cubs four years ago.
Guys I'd rather have that are going later than him:
Nick Markakis (103)
Delmon Young (104)
Corey Hart (108)
Michael Stanton (134)
BJ Upton's ADP falls every year, but the top of round seven in 2011 is still too high. BJ has all the promise in the world, but it's his dedication we all question. The dogging of fly balls and the loafing on the base pads is something I don't want on my real team or my fake team.
Upton produced a 2010 stat line that looks like this: 89 R, 18 HR, 62 RBI, 42 SB, .237 AVG.
The steals are nice, but as I touched on before, they are pretty easy to come by. The average is just awful, the home runs and the runs scored are decent. Are they seventh round worthy?
I don't think so. There are players drafted way behind him that are capable of producing much better numbers or at least equal numbers without drowning you with a poor average. His average has declined each of the last four years, and his strikeouts have increased over the last three.
I wouldn't mind a guy like BJ on my team simply because of what he could be, but maybe around the 11th or 12th round I would feel more comfortable.
Guys I'd rather have at this time:
Hunter Pence (83)
Michael Stanton (134) If you haven't figured this out yet, it's a man crush
Outside of the position you could grab Tommy Hanson and Matt Cain after this point; both of whom i'd much rather have than BJ.
After changing into pinstripes last year, everyone expected Grandy to be a 30-20 guy with ease if not better. After all he was batting from the left side in the band box we call Yankee Stadium. But Grandy left most of his owners like me feeling cheated.
This year however he is still being mock picked in the middle of the sixth round. I just think that is way too high. He ended up producing a 76 R, 24 HR, 67 RBI, 12 SB, .247 AVG.
That's right, him and Soriano were almost twins in 2010. I do think that Granderson has more upside than Soriano, but this guys isn't sixth round material.
He's in the middle of his prime years (27-33) and all he has done is gotten worse each year since he turned 27. His batting average has taken this slope the last four years: .302, .280, .249, .247. And unless he gets put back in the two hole this year he isn't batting in a favorable position. Granderson is kind of like BJ Upton, i'd take him, but about five rounds later than where he is going.
Guys I'd rather have:
Alex Rios (67)
Hunter Pence (83)
Outside of the position I would grab Mat Latos, who is going around pick 73 before grabbing Granderson.
*I guess the Stanton man crush stops here.
In 2007, he was MVP; today, he's everyones favorite Philly but a early fourth round pick for Rollins scares me for numerous reasons.
He is on the wrong side of 30, his batting average is horrible the past two years, and all of the sudden he can't stay healthy. Rollins had always been the mark of health playing in more than 150 games eight of his first nine years. But in 2010, the hamstring was not in good shape. Could it be a sign of things to come?
Back to the batting average, ever since the MVP year the trend has been negative. The last two years Rollins posted a BA well below the league average. His speed is also disappearing. In 2009, he stole 16 less bases than 2008 despite making 100 more plate appearances. In 2010, he only stole 17 in 88 games.
The full stat line looked like this: 48 R, 8 HR, 41 RBI, 17 SB, .243 AVG.
His recent three year trend only tells us he is going to get worse, so why waste a fourth round pick?
Guys I'd rather have at this point:
Elvis Andrus (70)
Outside of the position:
Buster Posey, Andrew McCutchen, CC Sabathia, Jason Heyward, and David Price are all being taken well after Rollins.
Let me say this first: I like Ichiro and I respect the way he plays the game. He may be one of my favorite players, but it is time to stop taking the Seattle slapper in the first three rounds of a fantasy draft.
Ichiro turned 37 this year and plays in one of baseball's worst offenses. He's a fine fantasy player but he's not even top 50 worth in my book any longer. Ichiro's 2010 looked like this: 74 R, 6 HR, 43 RBI, 42 SB, .315 AVG.
The .315 is nice but the only thing that jumps off the page is the 42 SB, again, remember they are cheap to get. His power numbers are bad, and even the runs scored is very low. Seattle won't get any better in 2011. Ichiro should still go in rounds six through eight, but not the third.
Guys I'd rather have at that pick:
Nelson Cruz (33)
Andre Ethier (37)
Justin Upton (39)
Andrew McCutchen (44)
Jason Heyward (52)
How can taking a guy who has produced 13 straight 30 home run, 100 RBI seasons be a bad thing? He seems like a sure thing right? Well I am not so sure A-Rod is worth his current draft position.
Here's why. Ever since winning the 2007 MVP, A-Rod has seen a statistical decline in runs scored from 143 to 74, home runs 54 to 30, stolen bases 24 to 4, and batting average .314 to .270. The decline has been pretty steady over the three years between the MVP award and today. The only statistic that has hasn't declined is RBI which was on a two year decline until last year when he drove in 125.
I expect 2011 to be another decline. It's hard to think that A-Rod, who is now clean, would be able to turn around this decline when he turns 36 in the middle of the season. I would still roster A-Rod, but I wouldn't spend a second round pick on him.
Guys who I would take before him at this time:
Ryan Zimmerman (19)
Third Base is rather shallow but I'd still rather have:
Felix Hernandez, Ryan Howard, Joe Mauer, and Matt Kemp before A-Rod.
If he is there in the fourth round I'd be all over it, but there is better second round options.
I might take some heat for this one, but trust me I have my reasons.
Longoria is a great young player, but in my opinion he is more of a borderline first-second round pick, somewhere around pick 12-14. Seeing him at five seems too high.
Longoria actually regressed in three of five roto categories last year. He still had a mighty fine season but I don't see how a guy can get statistically worse and have his ADP increase significantly. On top of that, Longoria will spend 2011 sandwiched between BJ Upton and Ben Zobrist as opposed to Carl Crawford and Carlos Pena; a fact that does not work in his favor.
Longoria will still be a top 15 producer, but I am not sold that he can carry the Rays on his own; he may have more promise than any of the current third basemen but he hasn't proved he's a top five player in the game.
Guys I'd rather have at pick five before I took Longoria: