Building your core around the wrong fantasy baseball players can lose your league. Many players coming off a big season often wind up as fantasy baseball busts or overvalued players. Who should you avoid in your fantasy baseball drafts this season?
Howard Kendrick, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
Here we go again.
The power breakout that everyone was waiting for appeared to climax in 2011; Kendrick's 18 homers almost doubled his output of 10 from each of the previous two seasons. It won't be fair to write off that he finally started tapping into some of the natural pop growth that lends itself to those at ages 27 and 28.
Don't let him suck you in again
The problem with Kendrick's growth was, like an awkward middle schooler's, its arrival in spurts: six in March/April, six in August, four in September, two combined over the other three months. Kendrick has an identity crisis. He hits a ton of grounders and frequently lines offerings, but how much longer can he work around his poor BB/K? His contact rate and on-base percentage are usually reserved for power hitters. He isn't one, regardless of his 2011 output.
Sure, Albert Pujols will create more runs, but he can't instill more guaranteed power into Kendrick without donning his jersey. Besides a flawed batting average profile that has commonly outperformed its indicators, Kendrick doesn't offer anything outstanding that puts him in another echelon of keystoners.
It looks like .290 is his ceiling. That's not bad, but many are still reaching for something more than that. When you're relying on surface power stats without looking at the underlying shakiness of its foundation, you're setting yourself up for disaster. -TH
Ryan Roberts, Arizona Diamondbacks
Arizona lucked out with this platoon-player-turned-late-bloomer. Roberts should continue to attempt swipes as long as he's in this offense, and he mashes left-handed pitching, so his multi-positional eligibility works in the right setting and matchup play.
But last season was highly over his head. Despite a notable bump in line-drive percentage and a solid batting eye, his platoon splits will limit what he can offer over a full season with expected regression. He won't go 19-18 again; knock a few taters and taken bags off. He's useful if the room doubts him, but reaching because you expect him to grow will bite you back. Roberts fills fantasy needs. He doesn't fulfill fantasy dreams. -TH
Fantasy baseball sleepers and undervalued: C | 1B | 2B | 3B | SS | OF | SP | RP
Fantasy baseball busts and overvalued: C | 1B | 2B | 3B | SS | OF | SP | RP
About Tim Heaney
Tim's work has been featured by USA Today/Sports Weekly, among numerous outlets, and recognized as a finalist in the Fantasy Sports Writers Association awards. The Boston University alum competes in Tout Wars and LABR and has won several industry leagues in both baseball and football.
During baseball and football season, hear him every Wednesday on 1570 AM WNST in Baltimore. On Thursdays, he visits 106.1 FM WMTI in New Orleans and Sirius XM Fantasy Sports Radio, where he often crashes other shows, as well.
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