Thursday, January 21, 2010

*Whifff* That's the sound of these players falling short of expectations and failing to justify their ADPs

The majority of these guys won't be busts; I simply question where they're currently projected to go. According to ADP, in the first round you'll land a stud. Then things get murky. Here is my list of players who will either not produce to where their ADP warrant, or players who are being mock-selected grossly early when value is to be had later. Let's jump in.

Joe Mauer (13.91, R2 P1) - A catcher near the end of the first round is blasphemy. In short, if you draft Mauer this early, you're destined for an eternity swimming in a lake of fire. You're going to hell. Throughout the 2009 season, I argued with experts who were trying to make the case for Mauer going in the first. He's in his prime, he'll always hit for a superb average and he'll contribute meaningful numbers in runs and runs batted, but those 28 home runs are a mirage. It'll regress. He won't justify his early second round draft position and you don't want that kind of uncertainty tied to such a critical pick.

Jimmy Rollins (22.55, R2 P8) - Doesn't Rollins seem a lot older than 31? So he's going near the end of the second round ... not bad value - shortstop is generally perceived as a scarce position - but pass on him and take Jason Barlett (lost in the rankings at 104.14). I urge you to select a Grady Sizemore- or Justin Upton-type talent at the end of the second. If you're like me, you're also worried about Rollins' ability to sustain his production and stay healthy.

Zack Greinke (27.42, R3 P2) - This guy was brilliance personified during the 2009 season. Like my boy Felix Hernandez (who was robbed of the Cy Young award in my biased opinion), Greinke managed to fix the flaws in his mechanics and delivered exceptional numbers and tremendous value for fantasy owners. Two things regarding Greinke: One, you're looking for this year's Greinke later in the draft. His numbers surely will regress and competing on an inferior Royals club is not a good look. Second, at this point in the draft, generally the second pitcher gets taken off the board. Make it a proven one. I would take Sabathia's documented success (27.70); Felix's competitive team and the cavernous Safeco (28.65); and the workhorse, Halladay (33.27) over Greinke. Or I'd wait. Starting pitching is deep when compared to the hitters available.

Aaron Hill (46.69, R4 P11) - If you're looking at "Hill, Aaron" on draft day and fighting yourself about it, stop. Get it together. Move on, friend. My knock on Hill isn't even about the ADP - you can select him and I wouldn't even be mad at that - it's the uncertainty of his production and ineptitude of the Jays lineup (I think they'll struggle this year). The 24 home run power is real and he's an outstanding hitter but I'd probably take Granderson or Sandoval or Dunn here if I missed on the top 5 second basemen.

[note: I've met Aaron Hill personally. He was riding the subway to the game, iPod in hand, looking particularly pissed. This was in 2008. Why was he so upset? Was it because he was out for the greater part of 2008, or was it because he was riding the TTC to the ballgame? Intimidating fella. I would have asked for an autograph that day, if I didn't think, in return, he'd floor me.]

Michael Bourn (65.58, R6, P4) - Bourn in the sixth? Really? The new wave of fantasy players must have inflated his ADP. He's a burner, no question. But aside from steals, what else does Bourn really offer? He's marginal in four of five cats. Take Nelson Cruz, wait on Victorino. Avoid Bourn as if your life (slight over exaggeration) fantasy title depended on it.

Jonathan Papelbon (68.53, R6, P5), Mariano Rivera (69.07, R6, P6), Jonathan Broxton (69.89, R6, P7), early closers - Extract value out of your relievers by waiting on the position. Position runs are tempting, yes, (why I drafted Fuentes in the ninth of my mock draft disregarding my "no closers before the tenth round" policy) but every single year effective closers emerge for a plethora of reasons: closer A is battling an injury; closer B overtakes closer A due to closer A's sheer ineffectiveness; closer B's exceptional play gets noticed and soon it's a closers battle; or you can be the Washington Nationals and roll out five closers, have two closers reclaim the job twice, and eventually settle on a two-tier closer system where each closer splits one inning.

Select a position player, take a closer in the tenth and twelfth and scour the waiver wire. Roughly half the league changes its closer at some point during the season.

Carlos Lee (70.60, R6, P9) - I finally get a discount on Lee and now I do the polar opposite of an endorsement. I subconsciously draft Lee every year in multiple leagues. That's unlikely to change this year. In my mock draft, though, Lee ended up as my third outfielder. There's depth in the outfield (know when to pounce) and value to be had. If you pass on Lee, presumably Abreu will fall to you next round. Ibanez and Hunter will be there along with similar production out of your OF3 spot after pick 100. This was a painstakingly difficult call for me to make.

Tommy Hanson (83.29, R7, P10) - Solely based on the fact that Beckett will likely still be around. No one questions Hanson's vast potential; you just don't build a fantasy rotation around this guy. Not this early, either. Peavy, reportedly 100%, is a wild card here, too.

Álex Ríos (109.01, R9, P9) was given some consideration in this spot but he can easily outproduce his ADP. Still, go pitcher.

Billy Wagner (146.92, R13, P1) - He's 38 so this can't end well. Take a younger cat.

Carlos Delgado (155.20, R13, P8) - You've put yourself in a bad situation if he's your Util. According to ADP, Rafael Soriano and Bobby Jenks will still be around. You can go that route, or consider a catcher if you missed out.

Juan Rivera (183.67, R15, P8) - Give me the under on 105 games played. Gamble on Ludwick (if he gets at-bats in spring training) or pick Beltre or an arm. Weeks looks tempting late in the draft.
Photos via Getty Images

No comments:

Post a Comment