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?
Brian Wilson, RP, San Francisco Giants
The Beard is a BSOML story: He lost 15 pounds, which he's hoping will increase his flexibility. Wilson has appeared on a spring training game mound and believes he's recovered from the right elbow inflammation that pushed him to the DL in late August.
Papa Grande ready to pop?
The Giants seemingly rushed Wilson and his balky 'bow back in late September because they held postseason hopes. When those were wiped away, they quickly shut him down again. Wilson recently admitted to pitching the entire year with elbow pain and a bad hip, so there can be some forgiveness for his 5.07 walks per nine innings and his notable dip in K/9.
But when he was back for that brief season-closing stretch, his mechanics were off; he looked like he was trying not to exert himself during his windup and was shaking his arm between pitches, perhaps a sign of pain, per San Jose Mercury News reporter Andrew Baggarly.
Pointing to another year with a higher grounder rate as a predictor of future success isn't enough. Wilson doesn't seem like the type to readily admit when he needs rest or is broken in some way; that's often more hurtful to his team and fantasy owners than it would be to rest up.
Can a healthy Wilson, who only in recent seasons has learned to be effectively wild, correct his Carlos Marmolian control slip? Why are many still willing to pay for him like he's an infallible option to find out? He's a max-effort reliever coming off a dinged elbow. Other similarly valued options with shorter or non-existent injury histories present more security than Wilson. Be careful. -TH
Jose Valverde, RP, Detroit Tigers
Anyone who comes off a 49-for-49 saves season is due for a downfall. Sorry, it's science. Brad Lidge will attest.
Valverde, who'll turn 34 in late March, posted his highest first-strike percentage since 2008, but he allowed more contact and saw his WHIP increase while walking at least four per nine in each of the last two seasons. He didn't botch a closing chance, but he proved more hittable. Papa Grande is a fastball-sinker hurler whose 1 dropped nearly 1.5 mph last year. His battles with wildness have put him in extensive trouble - in performance and health - in the recent past.
The burly righty deserves consideration in the top third or half of mixed stoppers, but he's not among the elite shortlist. -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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