Every fantasy owner should be poring over all the fantasy baseball rankings available on the internet, including our rankings here at Fake Teams, to figure out who they want to target at each position. In addition, owners should take a look at the Average Draft Positions over at Mock Draft Central to see who is being drafted too soon, and what bargains you can grab later in your draft.
Owners should also review what players they want to avoid in 2012. You don't have to make a specific list, you can of course, but you can just as easily make a mental note that you want to stay away from player A, and want to target player B.
With that said, here are five hitters I am avoiding on draft day:
1. Hanley Ramirez, MIA- Hanley currently has an ADP of 18.78 over at MDC, but that is way too early for my liking. I have stated here several times that 1) he is coming off shoulder surgery and we won't know how his shoulder will hold up over 162 games, and 2) his power is in a 3 year decline and I worry that it will continue. His ISO has dropped from .239 in 2008 to .136 in 2011. I won't draft him in the second round of mixed league drafts, let alone the second round of NL-Only league drafts in 2012.
2. Buster Posey, SFG-Posey is another star coming off a serious injury, and we heard just last week that his ankle is still not 100%, and it is still stiff when he wakes up in the morning. Posey's power dropped off a bit before his terrible injury last May, and I worry that it won't be all the way back in 2012. He is coming off knee and ankle surgery, which is difficult for any player to return from, but Posey is a catcher and needs his legs to hold up to remain at the position and effective at the plate. Talk of playing some first base this season has already started. He has an ADP of 59.69 currently and I think there are several catchers who will be drafted after him who will outperform him this season.
3. Ryan Roberts, ARI-Roberts' 2011 performance came out of nowhere, didn't it? He didn't hit for a ver high average and his triple slash line - .249-.341-.427 - was not great, but he did hit 19 home runs, score 86 runs, drive in 65 and steal 18 bases. What jumps out at me when reviewing his player page over at FanGraphs is his 24.3% line drive rate last season. Prior to 2011, Robert's best line drive rate was 19.2% in just over 300 at bats in 2009. His line drive rate was so good last year that is ranked as the 7th best line drive rate in baseball. According to Baseball-Reference, Roberts hit .682 in his 85 at bats that resulted in a line drive, so should his line drive rate drop this season, so will his batting average, runs scored and RBI.
4. Drew Stubbs, CIN- Stubbs was a popular pick in 2011 drafts after hitting 22 home runs and stealing 30 bases in 2010, but although the stolen bases increased to 40 last season, his home run total dropped to 15. Stubbs may again be a popular choice on draft day this season, but his strikeout rate worries me and with the emergence of Chris Heisey, Stubbs could lost some playing time to him in 2012. Stubbs strikeout rate has increased in the last two seasons and he struck out over 200 times last year. Is he the outfield version of Mark Reynolds?
5. Alex Avila, DET-Avila had an outstanding season at the plate in 2011, hitting .295-.389-.506 with 19 home runs, 82 RBI and 63 runs scored, but his .366 BABIP jumps out at me saying "regression imminent". Avila's BABIP in 2010 was just .278, but that was his first full season in the big leagues, so it could have been the result of normal rookie struggles. Maybe Avila can continue to be a top 5-6 catcher in 2012, but I think his BABIP will drop and take his BA and power with it.