It may sound foolish to say, “Don’t draft these Fantasy Baseball players,” as every player reaches a draft cost where the value outweighs that price. It may also seem crazy that I, the All in Kid with this LABR team, would say, “I won’t draft these Fantasy Baseball players,” but here we are. It actually makes perfect sense to give you a “Fantasy Baseball do not draft list” because if there are players costing you significantly more than their projected return, well, you definitely don’t want to draft them. Risk and draft cost are two different things, and this piece is solely about draft values.
Dustin Pedroia, BOS – He’s done. Okay, Pedroia is still worth owning in all leagues, but he’s far from a great option anymore and certainly doesn’t belong as the 8-9th second baseman off the board or inside the Top 100. I’ve seen people say Pedroia will bounce back and provide 10/10. What? We’re getting excited about 10 homers and 10 stolen bases? Please. That’s Ben Zobrist… just with a better average. Give me Mookie Betts (did you see he added 25 pounds of muscle?), Jason Kipnis, Brian Dozier and Kolten Wong. You can have Pedroia, as I gleefully take Wong’s 10/20 line 50 picks later.
Matt Carpenter, STL – Carpenter is undervalued as a baseball and team player, but he’s enormously overvalued as a Fantasy player. In fact, Carpenter has a case to be No. 1 on the Fantasy Baseball do not draft list. Carpenter is now only third base eligible and returned value similar to Aramis Ramirez, Lonnie Chisenhall and Casey McGehee last year. That’s around the 90-100 range for just hitters. Carpenter’s current ADP is in the 95-105 range overall. Do people want to overpay for runs that bad? Carpenter’s perceived value came 2013 when he dominated in runs with 126 and had second base eligibility, while carrying a .318 AVG. Carpenter won’t hit .300, he won’t top 10 home runs, won’t score more than 100 runs and will chip in just a few stolen bases. Let’s talk about drafting Carp around ARam or Xander Bogaerts – in other words, not until 175 players are off the board.
Danny Santana, MIN – Sorry folks, Santana isn’t going to hit .319 again. In fact, he’ll be lucky to hit .290. If you didn’t notice, Santana carried a ridiculous BABIP last year of .405. For reference, Jose Altuve and Andrew McCutchen had BABIPs of .360 and .355, and those guys, Santana is not. Plus, Altuve hit .341 and McCutchen .314, so you can see how Santana actually should have done better. The problem is that Santana doesn’t have their plate discipline, shown in his Swinging Strike Percentage (SwStr%) of 10.7 and Outside the Zone Swing Percentage (O-Swing%) of 40.3, eighth highest last year. Santana still has plenty of value, especially with shortstop eligibility, but he warrants a Round 14 or 15 selection, not Round 10 or 11.
Carlos Carrasco, CLE – Remember Danny Salazar last year? Most everyone considered Salazar a 2014 breakout candidate, and his ADP had him inside the Top 30 for starters. After all, how could you not like a pitcher with a 3.12 ERA and 11.3 K/9, who also had seven-plus strikeouts in six of his 10 starts? Sound familiar? It should if you’re looking at Carrasco’s 2014 season, as he posted a 1.60 ERA and a 10.2 K/9 after entering the rotation again in August. Oh, Carrasco also had seven-plus strikeouts in seven of his last eight starts. There is a common concern here. Did you catch it? Both Salazar and Carrasco posted terrific numbers in August and September. You should always be a bit wary when a pitcher has great numbers late in the season only, as it’s often lesser quality competition. That’s not to say Carrasco can’t break out and become the next Corey Kluber instead of Salazar; he did carry a 21.0 SOBB for the entire season after all. However, Carrasco is currently the 29th starter off the board and inside the Top 100. Funny… that’s where Salazar was in 2014. I simply won’t be paying that price when I can have Gio Gonzalez, Hyun-Jin Ryu, Zach Wheeler, Marcus Stroman, Anibal Sanchez, etc. at a lesser cost. Drafting Carrasco inside the Top 100 negates the return value, unless he’s nearly as good as Kluber.
Sonny Gray, OAK – Last year was very likely the peak of Gray’s value, and now, owners are paying over that value. Gray’s value was in the mid to upper 20s for all 2014 starters. People see the 14 wins, 183 strikeouts and 3.08 ERA and think, “Gray is only going to get better.” Not so fast. Let’s start with the strikeouts. It’s highly unlikely Gray finishes with 180-plus this year, as his SOBB (StrikeOut percentage minus Base on Ball percentage) is only average at 12.1. On top of that, Gray’s First Strike Percentage (F-Strike%) is among the lowest in the league at 58.5 and his Swinging Strike Percentage (SwStr%) is in line with Kyle Gibson and Tim Hudson… in other words, mediocre. You can expect strikeouts more in the 160 range. Add in a mid-3.00 ERA and solid/not-great WHIP in the mid-1.20s, and you have Jose Quintana. Ouch, huh? To be fair, Gray will return more value than Quintana, but not close enough to be the 19th starter and 75th player off the board. There are close to 20 starters I’d rather have, and by the way, Quintana’s ADP sits as the 50th starter and in the 170s overall.