Fantasy Baseball 2012: Josh Johnson and 5 Pitchers to Avoid

Adam Spencer@AdamSpencer4Correspondent IFebruary 29, 2012

Fantasy Baseball 2012: Josh Johnson and 5 Pitchers to Avoid

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    I’ve never liked drafting pitchers early in my fantasy drafts. I’d much rather draft hitters that play every day.

    But, obviously, pitchers are an important part of fantasy baseball, too. So, knowing which pitchers to avoid is a major key to success.

    No one wants to be burned by a guy like Ubaldo Jimenez or Josh Johnson after spending an early-round draft pick on him.

    So, which five pitchers should you avoid in your draft this year?

    Let’s take a look at five guys who are bound to under-perform in 2012.

5. A.J. Burnett, Pittsburgh Pirates

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    Don’t expect a change of scenery to help Burnett.

    He’s posted two straight ERAs above 5.00, so it appears as if he’s losing some of his ability.

    He’ll be a little bit better this year, but that will be mostly the result of going to a division that just lost Albert Pujols and Prince Fielder.

    And, of course, in the National League, the pitcher has to bat every once in awhile.

4. Jordan Walden, Los Angeles Angels

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    Walden amassed an impressive 32 saves for the Angels last season, but still struggled at times.

    He had 10 blown saves, the most in the majors.

    If he converted some of those, the Angels would have had a much better chance of catching the Rangers.

    He needs to develop his complementary pitches this offseason so he doesn’t have to rely on his fastball so much.

3. Josh Beckett, Boston Red Sox

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    Beckett really struggled down the stretch last season, when his team needed him the most.

    In his four September starts, the Red Sox went 1-3 and Beckett posted a 5.48 ERA for the month.

    He also can’t seem to make it through a season without developing some sort of blister problem, so he’s a risky pick in the early rounds of your draft.

    You’re probably better off avoiding him all together.

2. Michael Pineda, New York Yankees

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    Pineda had a fantastic rookie season with the Seattle Mariners in 2011, posting a 9-10 record and a 3.74 ERA.

    But, even though the Yankees offense is infinitely better than the Mariners offense, don’t expect Pineda’s numbers to improve this season.

    Not only will he have to deal with playing in the largest media market in baseball, he’ll have to pitch in an incredibly hitter-friendly stadium.

    He’ll be missing the spacious SafeCo Field by the end of April.

1. Josh Johnson, Miami Marlins

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    Johnson is one of the best pitchers in baseball when he’s healthy.

    The problem is that he’s hardly ever healthy.

    He was only able to make nine starts last year. They were all fantastic outings, but a guy who makes only nine starts isn’t worth a high-round draft pick.

    If you can get him in the middle rounds, he might be worth it, but be careful when drafting him.