Lefthandsmoke23′s Overrated Fantasy Baseball Players

Apr 15, 2012


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By Jordan Hall
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In the small town where I live we have a celebrated ice cream shop. Having won every local award imaginable, it was even voted America’s best ice cream parlor by Good Morning America.
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Scoops at this shop are huge and the ice cream is just jam packed with your favorite add-ins. The posters and awards on the walls all testify to the dairy’s greatness.
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Taking this ice cream place at face value tells a completely different story than the reality of the situation. While it’s been lauded as the best thing since sliced bread, everyone I know says the same thing; the place is mostly sizzle and little substance.
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It has the look of a world class ice cream parlor and the reputation to match, but really it’s just another drop in the ice cream ocean.
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While there certainly is room in the universe for hype and flair, it really has no place in our fantasy world. Being a fan favorite, a defensive whiz, or the best looking guy in the game helps fantasy owners zero. There are plenty of guys out there who’s reputation belies their actual ability and productivity. The key for owners is to take emotion out of it and not spring for guys who are worse than everybody thinks they are.
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One such example is reigning American League rookie of the year, Jeremy Hellickson. While Hellickson posted tremendous peripheral numbers last year, he only struck out 117 batters in 189 innings. Obviously he is young and can improve in these figures but the people penciling him in as a top 20 starter this year are crazy. There are concerns outside of the strikeout rate as well. He only posted 13 wins on a Rays team that made the playoffs. This year’s Rays team figures to be worse; he can expect his total to decrease. His ERA and WHIP have a good chance of regression as well if he doesn’t start striking out more batters.
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Going from one strikeout challenged hurler to another, Trevor Cahill is someone to stay away from as well. While I love Cahill as an actual pitcher, I don’t think he’s particularly useful as a fantasy one. He’s reliable to take the ball but not so much for great statistics. When you think Cahill you think ace, but a 4.16 ERA and 1.43 WHIP last year tell a different story. 147 strikeouts in 207 innings certainly don’t help his case either. Combine all this with a move from spacious Oakland to the desert and you have someone to post on your trade block.
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Max Scherzer has the sexy stuff. He can light up the gun and buckle you with a slider. It seems like he’s always on the experts’ breakout list, year after year. What he isn’t however, is a proven fantasy starting pitching option. Don’t let the hype fool you into thinking otherwise. Analysts, myself included, fall in love with “stuff” guys like Scherzer but listen to some of these numbers from last year. 4.43 ERA, 1.35 WHIP, 207 hits allowed in 195 innings, and just 175 strikeouts. The production has just not been there to this point. I would pass on the mercurial Scherzer.
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Speaking if mercurial, did you know Brian Wilson had a 1.47 WHIP last year? Yeah, that’s not very good. He managed to save 36 games but his numbers across the board were way down. His velocity has regressed and with it, his strikeout ability. Wilson is widely regarded as one of the best closers in baseball. He’s funny, quirky, and disgusting. All of these things help to sell jerseys and get him appearances on radio shows but they won’t help you win a title. Remember that.
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It appears as if Nick Markakis will never turn into the five tool monster we all thought he would when he broke into the Majors. While this is a non-negotiable fact, he is treated throughout baseball and fantasy as if he were. People widely regard him as one of the best outfielders in baseball while there is virtually no statistical evidence to support this. He hit a pedestrian 15 homers last year. That’s less than Melky Cavrera and the same as John Mayberry and Seth Smith, names not mentioned in the same sentence as outfield greatness. He posted just 73 RBI’s and 12 stolen bases. He does a little bit of everything, with heavy emphasis on the little.
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Adam Lind is still living off the reputation he received from his outstanding 2009 campaign. While he’s a steady source of decent power, he no longer merits the respect he once did. After back to back seasons with less than 26 homers, less than 88 RBI’s and sub .252 batting averages it’s time to call a spade a spade. Lind is on the fringe of being useful and is not an elite slugger. There probably is someone in your league that disagrees so you shouldn’t have too hard of a time ditching him before he kills your team batting average.
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Freddie Freeman is not Eric Hosmer. Hosmer was much more highly regarded in the Minors, had a much better rookie year, and has sustainable power. Don’t let anyone confuse you into believing Freeman is in the same league. Freddie is being billed as an up and coming masher and this simply isn’t true. He struck out a ton in his rookie year and despite all of the accolades he has received, only posted 21 homers last year. Freeman will be a nice Major League first basemen for a long time but he simply doesn’t have elite high end potential. Let the Braves fan in your league pay for the hype, you don’t need it.
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I would be happy to answer your fantasy questions or give advice. Drop me a line at www.twitter.com/lefthandsmoke23

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