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?
Mike Trout, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
When it comes to 2013 expectations for Trout, no one puts it better than Ron Shandler. Baseball HQ's founder and the author of the annual Baseball Forecaster guessed that the probability of 2012 being Trout's career year was, oh, roughly 99 percent or so.
Bryce's price ain't that nice
Trout's 30 home runs last season are anomalous in comparison to his power production at any of his minor league stops - and he grew up in the California League and Pacific Coast League, two associations loaded with good hitting environments. He batted a robust .383 on balls in play. His contact rate is only a shade greater than 80 percent. Pitchers began to figure some things out and keep him in check, relatively, in the season's final two months. He's gained some weight. He's 21 freakin' years old.
Just about everything went right for Trout last year. Unquestionably, he's an immense talent. He'll go in the first round of any redrafter. There will be some regression. There is considerable risk that he'll underperform. Just let someone else take it, and draft a player you can carry to the bank. -NM
Bryce Harper, Washington Nationals
This doesn't dismiss the 20-year-old's promise. Keeper owners shouldn't sweat a tiny backslide.
Redrafters, however, must apply to Harper, on a slightly smaller scale, the caution we've presented over Trout. In a full season, Harper's power and base thievery should move forward, but while his violent cuts can help expand his late-2012 explosion, they also present hacker problems early in his growth curve. He's heady, but how will he respond to more rough spots?
Harper won't see many third mixed rounds or reasonable auction prices. Similarly grouped outfielders don't boast his pedigree but carry less downside. Taking a first- or second-round chance on an exponential step toward his peak is almost as lofty as thinking Trout will have a second career year. -TH
Josh Hamilton, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
Take Hamilton's propensity for injury. Throw in the tradeoff of The Ballpark in Arlington, one of the best home yards in the game, for Angel Stadium, one of the worst. Sprinkle some change-of-scenery anxiety on top of his status as a recovering addict. This concoction has a potentially nasty bite.
The forecasted fantasy production of Hamilton, 32 in May, still has a pretty high ceiling, but that combination of factors working against him has lowered it. The svelter version (he dropped about 20 pounds this past offseason) may help to fuel optimism that he's prepared to rise above the challenges he'll face. Or, perhaps it's the .285 average and 43 homers he put up in 2012. Folks, scale back those expectations a bit. -NM
Mark Trumbo, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
His extra qualifications at first base and, in some leagues, the hot corner augment owners' desire to land him, if they plan around what his .227-10-38 second half reminded us. That first half was a fun wave, but many are looking to ride it too far even after the correction set a new, clearer-headed statistical bar.
Plenty of wipeouts await those counting on him as anything more than homer filler. Even with his stout surrounding lineup, he might not be an everyday fixture if he slumps, as his profile is wont to do. There's little to indicate he won't serve as, at least for this year, anything beyond a slightly more beneficial Mark Reynolds. -TH
Anyone besides the Angels' OF?
Fantasy baseball sleepers, undervalued: C | 1B | 2B | 3B | SS | OF | SP | RP
Fantasy baseball busts, overvalued: C | 1B | 2B | 3B | SS | OF | SP | RP
About Nicholas Minnix
Minnix is baseball editor and a fantasy football analyst at KFFL. He plays in LABR and Tout Wars and won the FSWA Baseball Industry Insiders League in 2010.
The University of Delaware alum is a regular guest on SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio and Baltimore's WNST AM 1570.
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