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?
Hanley Ramirez, Miami Marlins
Power-speed combinations with Ramirez's track record and batting eye are what drafters dream about landing. Add impending third-base eligibility to his existing place among another position with a weak distribution ... and many will blindly pay for his track record.
Too many warning signs
He's only 28, but heading into his seventh season, he's getting older in baseball terms. His homer total saw a decline in each of the previous two seasons before his 2011 was cut short due to back and shoulder problems. The latter should stay foremost in your mind heading into 2012. Last year, his left shoulder was the operating room focus, four years after it underwent arthroscopic measures.
Docs defined his newest procedure as "open repair," which basically means they could've found multiple things wrong with him and needed to rectify several issues. Ramirez was cleared to return to spring drills, but how will this affect him as the season wears on? Will he be able to extend fully and sustain the naturally high, one-handed finish to his swing that coaches haven't forced him to change?
Though you can place some blame on his woeful upper body for last year's demise, the 51 percent grounder rate he put into play in 2010 wasn't a result of a debilitating injury; it was a flawed approach at the dish and another chapter of failed mechanics. He has tinkered for several seasons - switches from open stance to closed stance and all the way back around.
He's inside his own head in an even worse way: Some perceive he's still not feeling good about switching to the hot corner in favor of new arrival Jose Reyes. Ozzie Guillen - always a calming influence - mans the dugout now, and Han-Ram has a history of tiffs, pouting and questionable effort.
Han-Ram's 2011 wasn't simply a write-off due to poor health. It piled on some frightening tendencies - with both his stick and attitude - that are doing their best (worst?) to counteract his endless talent.
The more cautious approach if you're still tantalized by his abilities: Procure two or three securer players before taking the chance on him. But that's unlikely to happen; someone will call his name in the second stanza in mixed leagues or make him the high-priced stud for their NL-only squad.
You're comfortable buying him in a single-year setup at such a commitment without seeing how he responds in game situations to his upper-body reconstruction? Ramirez could very well wind up as a bargain in 2013 setups. In 2012, he's a dice roll with heavily slanted house odds. -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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