Players To Avoid (Fantasy Baseball)
The beautiful thing about fantasy baseball is that we all approach the game from a unique persepctive. As a result, we value players differently, which creates a functioning, liquid market. Below are some players that I’ll be avoiding this year at their current ADP. Let the hate begin!
Rougned Odor (TEX – 2B) – ADP 45 overall
The Rangers second baseman was a beast last season, clubbing 33 home runs and stealing 14 bases. The contact skills are very good and Odor hit the ball harder, with more loft last year. He’s also only 23 years old, so next stop is the Hall of Fame, right? More like To Infinity and Beyond! I have some serious concerns with Odor. He only walked 3% last season, which was the lowest mark in all of baseball. Couple that with the fact he swung at 41.8% of pitches outside the strike zone, and we’ve got a hacker alert! His hyper-aggressive approach would seem to be something that pitchers will be able to exploit. Now, I must mention that he profiles very well with Adam Jones, who has had a very successful career, but outliers happen. For every Adam Jones, there have been more players like Starlin Castro. At least for now, I’m inclined to lean toward the Castro side when projecting Odor.
Ian Desmond (COL – OF) – ADP 60 overall
This one is totally injury related, as Desmond had surgery on his broken left hand. While post-op reports have been positive, with reports coming out that a mid-April return is possible, color me skeptical. And when Desmond returns, I’d imagine there’s going to be an adjustment period. In addition, players in the past that have had wrist or hand injuries had their power sapped or issues gripping the bat. I understand the allure of hitting in Coors for half the games, but there is just too much uncertainty to spend the 60th overall pick on Desmond.
David Price (BOS – SP) – ADP 63 overall
The market has priced down his value because of the elbow injury, but there’s optimism because he returned from a visit to the Grim Reaper, Dr. James Andrews, without having to undergo surgery. No way I’m touching Price, though. I’m a believer in the “where there’s smoke, there’s fire” camp. Even in the best case scenario, I just can’t see the Red Sox pushing Price in any way, so there could be more rest days or games with limited pitch counts.
Zack Greinke (ARI – SP) – ADP 86 overall
Chase Field was the second-most generous ball park for home runs. Any wonder why Greinke’s HR/9 was 1.30 last season? The last time he allowed at least 1 HR/9 was way back in 2011. His fastball was rated as one of the worst in the game (20th-worst to be exact) last year. As a result, the opposition made contact on 90.5% of pitches in the strike zone, which was a 5% increase from the previous year. I’d much rather draft Danny Duffy or Kenta Maeda, both of whom are going 15 spots later.
Javier Baez (CHI – 2B/3B/SS) – ADP 153 overall
Baez has true light-tower power, which is both a blessing and a curse. Because he knows he can crush pitches into the stratosphere, he powers up more often than not. He walked 3.3% of the time and struck out 24%, which is a massive improvement from the days of 40%. The swinging strike rate is a high 14.4% and he swings at 43% of pitches outside the strike zone. He and Odor have a lot in common. Except for one thing…playing time. Joe Maddon prefers to keep Baez in the super-utility role, which limits his projected plate appearances to around 450 on the season. The multi-eligibility that Baez provides is, in essence, a curse.
Dansby Swanson (ATL – SS) – ADP 172
I get it. Swanson is the poster boy. 2015 number one overall selection and College World Series Most Outstanding Player in 2014. In 38 major league games last season, he hit .302 with three home runs and three stolen bases. The thing is, he struck out 23.4% of the time and had a BABIP of .383. An adjustment period is going to come in his first full year in the bigs. Most of the projection systems have him down for .260 with 13 home runs and 9 stolen bases. You can get similar stats from Matt Duffy, who is going 184 picks later.
Once you get into the 200’s, it’s hard to avoid any player due to the low acquisition cost.