Do some names look out of place on your fantasy baseball rankings? A deeper look reveals many busts and overvalued players when preparing for your fantasy baseball draft.
SP Max Scherzer, Detroit Tigers
This RHP spent the few years prior to 2013 working toward what is likely to be his signature season. Continual gains in K/9 and, more importantly, BB/9, plus improvements in the mental side of the game, culminated in Scherzer's first 20-win, 200-inning campaign. The relatively large leaps in some of his indicators last year simply suggest that he won't maintain a notable portion of them. Justin Verlander is still the better pitcher (and value). -NM
SP Gerrit Cole, Pittsburgh Pirates FOOL'S GOLD
Cole discovered his breaking stuff near the end of last season, and he was assertive around the black for his 19 MLB starts. He picked up a higher strikeout rate -- a positive change from his underwhelming ability given his raw stuff.
Eventually, he may become one of the league's best arms, but one month of successful self-discovery doesn't make him an ace. His opponents hit him hard, and in-play results may have been some of the luckiest in the league. Handing him a core role on a fantasy team based on a tiny sample will hurt you, at least for 2014. -TH
SP Julio Teheran, Atlanta Braves REGRESSION DEPRESSION
Soriano: sloppy dresser, too
Re-installing his old delivery gave him the necessary torque to find his nastiness, both in velocity and physical deception. His long-term potential is resurrected, and he owns a fine pedigree at age 23.
But he maxed out his good fortune with indicators, especially the LOB% column, where he posted an 80.9% figure that some of the game's most established relievers would love to own. Like his teammate Kris Medlen in 2012, Teheran was too good and should be valued more as a SP3 than a 2 in dual-universe games.
SP Michael Wacha, St. Louis Cardinals
Wacha's rapid path to the bigs culminated in a 2.11 second-half ERA. His stuff suffocates. Two warning signs: his high rate of stranding base runners, and the possibility St. Louis limits his frames for the organization's greater good. He may come at a better value than Cole and others on this list, but if your room establishes a SP2 price because of his postseason run, it'll make him even riskier. -TH
SP Jon Lester, Boston Red Sox
In a good year anymore, the BoSox's front-of-the-rotation southpaw is sort of a WHIP killer. His ceiling these days is almost surely no higher than a mixed-league SP3 or SP4. That's about where his cost places him ... so there's no room for profit and a good bit of room for a loss. -NM
SP Francisco Liriano, Pittsburgh Pirates REGRESSION DEPRESSION
Alterations to his delivery extracted latent elite performance. PNC Park helps any pitcher. Liriano hardly has been a beacon of health, though, and he played a dangerous game stranding and walking runners.
If you can absorb the blowback in exchange for his top-notch K rate, he'll be fair game if others let him fall to the late rounds. Making him one of your aces, however, leaves little room to account for negative corrections. -TH
SP Patrick Corbin, Arizona Diamondbacks
A fine value pick last year due to his adept work getting ahead in counts, Corbin's second-half dip violently balanced out his overachieving start. At least we already have a logical statistical explanation thanks to that correction.
Now people know that, as is the case with most other 'Zona SPs, Corbin will show steady but not elite performance. That first half was his peak, and it won't be sustained again without a lot of breaks. -TH
SP Shelby Miller, St. Louis Cardinals
Fatigue (and probably shoulder issues) hindered his control in the second half. The Cards know how to hatch SPs, and Miller could yield a better gain as a SP4. Folks aren't letting him fall to there, though, and this two-pitch guy will tumble before he progresses toward stardom. He's a better buy in 2015. -TH
SP Matt Moore, Tampa Bay Rays
You may be correct. This may be the year that Moore puts it together. He has the talent to be a top-15 pitcher ... eventually. The control problems that he's displayed since his dazzling 2011 debut are highly discouraging, however. It would take incredible leaps in multiple disciplines for him to hit that mark. In 2014, the competition is still unwilling to discount him. He'll have to make significant gains just to meet those expectations. -NM
RP Addison Reed, Arizona Diamondbacks
Chase Field is neutral, not pitcher-friendly, so Reed's fly-ball issues will persist. That IFFB% was too high. J.J. Putz and David Hernandez aren't slouches. Many will underestimate the immediate shortness of Reed's leash. -TH
RP Rafael Soriano, Washington Nationals
Sure, he's lost weight, but why are so many so strong on a 34-year-old with waning velocity and dominance, plus a waxing rate of pitches getting waxed? Don't forget Tyler Clippard and Drew Storen, and don't let his recent save totals overshadow his flaws. -TH
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 LABR and Tout Wars, has won numerous industry leagues in both baseball and football.
During baseball and football season, he appears on Sirius XM Fantasy Sports Radio on Thursdays and Sundays, and every Wednesday on 1570 AM WNST in Baltimore.