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?
Derek Jeter, New York Yankees
Can Hamilton hack it?
He's The Captain, not Superman. Jetes, turning 39 in June, expects to dress on Opening Day. His 2012 thump, however, will struggle to follow suit.
Hitting leadoff here will continuing bolstering his runs column, but that 16.1 percent HR/FB will erode via his 60-plus grounder percentages. As if statistical regression weren't enough, recovery from an ankle fracture often saps plate and bag-taking potency. It's on his front hitting foot, which may hinder him upon planting early on in, if not throughout, his return. Will he remain at leadoff or the two-hole if he can't catch up to fastballs?
His value as an in-season buy-low candidate isn't a bad wager - certainly not as devastating as throwing your chips into an outdated perception of his value. -TH
Jurickson Profar, Texas Rangers
Undoubtedly, baseball's top prospect is a player whom fantasy owners want on their rosters. He has the kind of ability that would allow him to succeed in the majors, even at age 20, as Mike Trout and Bryce Harper did last season. Well, maybe not quite as they did. Profar batted .281 with 14 home runs and 16 stolen bases in the Double-A Texas League, where he was one of the youngest players on any roster.
The Rangers aren't in a rush to make room for their prized middle infielder, however. An injury to Elvis Andrus or, likelier, Ian Kinsler would obviously clear the way, but the more probable scenario involves an eventual trade of or position switch by Kinsler, whose deal expires at the end of this season. Zealous spenders may become frustrated if they have to wait for a long time. -NM
Billy Hamilton, Cincinnati Reds
Late-rounds speed can do damage, but the inflexibility of most single-year formats for rostering minor leaguers impedes situations like Hamilton's. He's slated to begin 2013 with his christening of Class AAA Louisville; owning him requires patience. His patience, at the plate, worked in the lower levels, but will he when on the big-league doorstep?
Moving to center field doesn't count him as an easy backup if Zack Cozart continues breeding mediocrity. Shin-Soo Choo could be a disaster in center, but his bat stays in the lineup. A fly-catcher injury could prompt his summons, but that's a lofty preseason mixed gamble.
Hamilton's wheels are unique, but have people not learned from Dee Gordon? Though Hamilton's call-up warrants a pickup everywhere, let's see Hamilton handle the highest farm level before crowning him the king of thieves. -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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