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?
Mike Napoli, Texas Rangers
Napoli a trapoli
Following a deep slump and a DL stint from a strained oblique before the All-Star break, Napoli had a second half for the ages before a standout Fall Classic. As a result, Napoli has been considered among the top two catchers this draft season because of his hitter-friendly environs, outlets for at-bats, prodigious power for the position, and the fact Mike Scioscia isn't his manager anymore. On paper, it makes sense.
What doesn't: that .320 batting average from 2011. He took more walks and whiffed less, but his batted-ball results didn't change much from recent seasons yet somehow produced a .344 hit rate, a career high. Napoli wasn't even playing full-time early in the season!
Heading into camp, the ankle injury Napoli suffered in Game 6 of the World Series isn't expected to cost him any time, but he probably won't be 100 percent for the near future. That's a concern for any baseball player, let alone a croucher.
He'll sit in the mid-20s for homers in a typical Napoli season - which typically includes time on the sidelines - but the inflated clip from last year had the same impact on his final value. While it won't necessarily be a crippling regression, his likely return to a batting average around .275 should remind you that he isn't overwhelmingly better than other top-rated backstops.
Of course, Napoli's downside - via injury and statistical reckoning - could have him finishing 2012's statistical rankings alongside the likes of, say, Miguel Montero, who's noticeably cheaper. Napoli must repeat 2011 to meet his high tag. Feelin' lucky? -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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