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?
Kyle Seager, Seattle Mariners
Overpriced WMB a WMD
Seager took many roto managers by surprise with his 20 home runs and 13 stolen bases, in addition to a .259 average and 86 RBIs, last year. He was an underrated hitter, with skills comparable to those of teammate Dustin Ackley, coming into that season.
In truth, he exceeded even the expectations of those who viewed him as a value play. This line-drive ripper is a threat to hit about 15 to 20-plus bombs annually. Buyers in 2013 mixed leagues seem to be valuing him as a viable starting third baseman, however, and such ambition suggests that they believe more is coming. Seager is a solid player, but he's more of a consolation prize at the position or a decent CI man.
Seattle's improved lineup means that Seager will hit further down it. Safeco Field's redone fences will benefit right-handed batters much more so than left-handed hitters like him. There's not a lot more upside. -NM
Will Middlebrooks, Boston Red Sox
Though he's acknowledged his lack of plate discipline and will attempt to make adjustments, his occupation somewhere in the middle of the order probably won't play well toward his hacking nature, especially when his statistical sample expands. It seemed like he had trouble reading pitches. He looked like a Little Leaguer with pitches down and away, and even down the middle.
Erasing the 24-year-old's upside because of these struggles is outlandish, but expecting the light bulb to go off immediately to sustain the in-play luck that led to a .288 clip ... also a reach. Someone who walks in only around 5.0 percent of his plate appearances needs to speed through his growth curve to yield top-10 numbers at his mixed position. At a CI spot in those games, he'd have a better chance of shining. -TH
Todd Frazier, Cincinnati Reds
An additional qualification at first base adds to the relative love the post-hyper receives following his breakout 2012. Believe the power, even over a full season. Any Great American Ball Park occupant has a built-in bonus. When he truly connects, ball go far, and at a blistering pace, typically.
Unfortunately, his frequency of putting wood to rawhide is far from ideal for him to sustain even his .273 batting average from last year. His summertime in-play results were a bit too lucky, and his makeup doesn't say he'll sustain that mediocre level of success, even with how hard he hits the ball.
The downside of his clip leaves him with a smaller payoff than a few surrounding hot-corner handlers, so don't bid for continued dollar growth. -TH
Pedro Alvarez, Pittsburgh Pirates
Power that comes in bunches, as Alvarez's did last year, attracts many a drafter and seems like a secure investment among a tricky third-base group. The flaws in his game, however, should temper rational pickers.
Though his second-half clip marked an improvement, it moved up only to .256. An uncharacteristic August of many liners and a .322 BA aided the inflation. Underneath all those spurts of brilliance, he remains a free swinger that sinks versus southpaws, shows frequent slumps and, despite improvement there, hits way too many ground balls to top the 30 fence-clearers from 2012.
Will there be much of a difference, at least for 2013, between the 26-year-old's numbers and Frazier's, Mike Moustakas' or Trevor Plouffe's? It's hard not to expect Alvarez either to plateau or, more likely, to fall a few homers short, meaning the rest of his line will hurt. -TH
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 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, who competes in the prestigious LABR and Tout Wars, has won numerous industry leagues in both baseball and football.
He appears frequently, including every Sunday, on Sirius XM Fantasy Sports Radio, as well as every Wednesday on 1570 AM WNST in Baltimore.
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