Fantasy Baseball 2011: 10 Avoidable Flops and Foolish Picks

Lake CruiseAnalyst IMarch 29, 2011

Fantasy Baseball 2011: 10 Avoidable Flops and Foolish Picks

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    SCOTTSDALE, AZ - MARCH 14:  Prince Fielder#28 of the Milwaukee Brewers swings the bat against the San Francisco Giants during the spring training baseball game at Scottsdale Stadium on March 14, 2011 in Scottsdale, Arizona.  (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Ge
    Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

    The first month of the fantasy season is perhaps the most crucial. 

    Getting off to a good start is very important for postseason seeding.  A manager with the top fantasy seed in Yahoo! formats, for example, normally need to win only one game to make it to the finals. 

    I'll show you how to make the finals and get in the money by getting your team cracking early.  The fantasy picks in this slideshow, though, could hinder your start.

    Let’s stop the hindrance.  Start the show...

10. RP-Brad Lidge: He's Almost Always Too 'Iffy' for the Phillies

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    PHILADELPHIA - OCTOBER 08:  Brad Lidge #54 of the Philadelphia Phillies pitches against the Cincinnati Reds in Game 2 of the NLDS at Citizens Bank Park on October 8, 2010 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)
    Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images

    Lidge enters this season healthy, but he’s been subject to giving his fantasy managers poor health because of his performances.

    Even when healthy, he blows too many saves and his ERA and WHIP are too high to be an elite closer. 

    While the Phillies should win a bunch of games, Lidge is too much of a risk for champion fantasy managers.

9. SP-Kevin Millwood: The Man Who Would Be an Ace

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    ST. PETERSBURG, FL - SEPTEMBER 29:  Pitcher Kevin Millwood #34 of the Baltimore Orioles pitches against the Tampa Bay Rays during the game at Tropicana Field on September 29, 2010 in St. Petersburg, Florida.  (Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images)
    J. Meric/Getty Images

    His value could tend to be overrated because he’s a starting pitcher with the New York Yankees.  See A.J. Burnett for a hint on how Millwood’s season could go in NYC. 

    Even though the Yankees offense is often A-grade, their woeful pitching is hard to hide.  Last season, New York's sluggers bailed their pitchers out a lot.

    Look for more of the same this year.  Millwood was 4-16 last season, but he could win 10 games this year.  His relatively low number of strikeouts and high ERA, however, could be detrimental to your team.

8. C-Victor Martinez: Beware of Tigers in Comerica Park

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    LAKELAND, FL - FEBRUARY 21:  Victor Martinez #41 of the Detroit Tigers poses for a portrait during Photo Day on February 21, 2011 at Joker Marchant Stadium in Lakeland, Florida.  (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)
    Nick Laham/Getty Images

    While V-Mart is one of the few .300 hitting catchers in the game, his numbers could suffer in Detroit’s cavernous yard.

    The field dimensions of Comerica are 345 feet in left and 420 in center.  Detroit’s offense isn’t exactly spectacular either.

7. CF-Jacoby Ellsbury: Jake the Snake Will Be Slithering Later in the Season

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    SARASOTA, FL - MARCH 05:  Outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury #2 of the Boston Red Sox fouls off a pitch against the Baltimore Orioles during a Grapefruit League Spring Training Game at Ed Smith Stadium on March 5, 2011 in Sarasota, Florida.  (Photo by J. Meric/Ge
    J. Meric/Getty Images

    Always be wary of players coming off injuries to start a season.  Ellsbury fits in that category.  While the Red Sox offense is plenty potent, he could struggle from the jump. 

    If all holds true to form, he’ll be much better in the second half of the season.  If you as a fantasy baseball manager can afford to wait on him, then so be it.  Most of us cannot.

6. IF-Michael Young: Is His Bat Getting Old in Texas' Persistent Heat?

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    SURPRISE, AZ - MARCH 02:  Michael Young #10 of the Texas Rangers hits a single against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim during the second inning of the spring training game at Surprise Stadium on March 2, 2011 in Surprise, Arizona.  (Photo by Christian P
    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    The All-Star infielder has been hacking off about being misled, and he wants out. 

    It appears his bat is getting old in Texas.  Bouncing around the infield—switching positions consistently—could also weigh on his at-bats.

    If you draft him, consider him effective for the first half of the season only. 

    He does have a few Rangers milestones  within reach—including games played, runs scored and doubles.  If he is traded to a NL team, then fantasy managers won’t have time for him to adjust to the new pitching.

5. CF-Grady Sizemore: Size Isn't Better

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    NEW YORK - APRIL 19:  Grady Sizemore #24 of the Cleveland Indians bats against the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium on April 19, 2009 in the Bronx borough of New York City.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
    Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

    Drafting Sizemore—the erstwhile fantasy superstar and versatile hitter, speedster and defender—is much too big of a risk.

    According to his manager, the stated plan is to put Sizemore on an every other game playing schedule for the foreseeable future.  Since he’s coming off knee surgery, don’t be tempted to draft him or any other player coming off surgery.

    Your fantasy team deserves better managing.

4. P-A.J. Burnett: Burn, Baby Burn Him from Your Roster Before He Burns It

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    NEW YORK - OCTOBER 19:  A.J. Burnett #34 of the New York Yankees pitches against the Texas Rangers in Game Four of the ALCS during the 2010 MLB Playoffs at Yankee Stadium on October 19, 2010 in the Bronx borough of New York City. The Rangers won 10-3.  (P
    Nick Laham/Getty Images

    His ERA was a whopping infinity almost it seemed in 2010.  He was up and down—down more than up—and when he was down he was really down.  He stated himself that his struggles were more mental than physical, which means he could turn it around in 2011.

    Who knows how he’ll perform.  To me, it’s not worth the risk.  The vaunted Boston Red Sox, the Tampa Bay Rays and even the Baltimore Orioles offenses will be lurking for him.

3. P-Jake Westbrook: He Could Get Hit Hard West of the Mississippi River

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    PITTSBURGH - SEPTEMBER 21:  Jake Westbrook #35 of the St. Louis Cardinals pitches against the Pittsburgh Pirates during the game on September 21, 2010 at PNC Park in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)
    Jared Wickerham/Getty Images

    He could prove to be a valuable asset, but I don’t see it happening this season.  The NL hitters will adjust to his delivery and give him a taste of ground and pound. 

    The Cardinals combination of Tony La Russa and Dave Duncan are known for working wonders with pitchers. 

    I don’t trust them on this one though.

2. 2B-Chase Utley: Don't Let the Slugger's Reputation Fool You

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    PHILADELPHIA - OCTOBER 23:  Chase Utley #26 of the Philadelphia Phillies hits an RBI double in the first inning against the San Francisco Giants in Game Six of the NLCS during the 2010 MLB Playoffs at Citizens Bank Park on October 23, 2010 in Philadelphia
    Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

    Some managers will be tempted to draft Utley in the later rounds. 

    Don't do it unless you can absolutely afford to and even then it's risky.  With a Dan Uggla or a Robinson Cano under your belt, it could be worth it.

    Utley's return is a mystery, though, and a draft pick could be better utilized to help out early.

1. 1B-Carlos Peña: Cubs Slugger Will Freeze by Lake Michigan

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    MESA, AZ - FEBRUARY 22:  Carlos Pena of the Chicago Cubs poses for a portrait during media photo day at Finch Park on February 22, 2011 in Mesa, Arizona.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
    Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

    With Peña now in the friendly confines of Wrigley Field, he should struggle early in the Windy City season.  Temperatures could be on the frigid side throughout April in Chicago. 

    Starting out, the Cubs play 15 games at home in the first month.

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