Five to Avoid

Craig Kimbrel: The best closer, yet a player to consider avoiding. - Mike Zarrilli

Kevin Nielsen points out 5 players in the top 75 ADP to consider avoiding drafting altogether.

An important part of drafting well is to nail your picks early on. Having a pick within the top 5 rounds perform terribly can cost any GM their league. There are other reasons to avoid a player other than a possible poor season, such as inappropriate value at their ADP and/or the likelihood of acquiring similar production later in the draft. Here are the 5 players in the top 75 ADP (according to Mock Draft Central) that I won't be drafting in ANY of my mixed 10-15 team leagues, barring a drastic slip during the draft from their respective ADP's.

Jose Bautista 9.91

Bautista's power could be affected by his wrist surgery. His projected production is just too similar to Giancarlo Stanton (19.76) and Jay Bruce (23.83) to be of great value here. On top of that, he very well might hit .260 with just a handful of SB's, making him a 3-category contributor, something I don't encourage taking in the 1st Round.

Adrian Beltre 16.97

Beltre has had 3 impressive seasons in a row, managing to stay healthy for the most part and very productive. I still categorize him as a slight health risk given his injury history and his age. However, this isn't the main reason I have him here. There are just so many 3B who can be picked after Beltre that have great chances to put up similar production. David Wright is going at 26.96, Evan Longoria at 31.03, and Aramis Ramirez at 41.38 just to name a few.

Craig Kimbrel 30.90

I don't care who the closer is or how good he is, 31st overall is way too early to select a closer. There is nothing wrong with Kimbrel at all but I don't even give thought to selecting a closer in the top 100 picks. Waiting on saves is a great strategy and it works if you are savvy enough to add closers later on, but you don't need to employ a wait-for-saves strategy to avoid drafting Kimbrel in the first 2-3 rounds. There is value to be had later on with guys who will have similar save totals. Kimbrel's ERA/WHIP would be nice but won't help you as much as you think given his IP total. He just won't provide enough benefit to justify this draft position, even if he repeats last season.

Chase Headley 42.67

Headley is going to be overrated in the majority of drafts this season. He is one of the biggest regression candidates for 2013 and should be avoided unless he drops around 20 picks from this ADP. Do not expect Headley to double his 2012 second half production. While he could still have a strong enough season to justify a pick around here, there is too much risk and uncertainty here to go with him.

Ryan Howard 74.23

1B is deep and very talented this year. Combine that with Howard's signs of regression before the Achilles injury and after and you have yourself a possible huge drop-off in production from his career norms. There's a real chance he has a season like Adam Dunn's 2011. There's even a chance he has a season like Adam Dunn's 2012. Look for Ike Davis and Eric Hosmer around pick 90 or Adam LaRoche after pick 100 for safer, yet still very productive options. Howard's floor is just too low to justify picking him here in my opinion.

I'm not going to claim that picking any of these will definitely result in disaster. You can certainly pick any one of these around their ADP and still have an impressive draft, great team, and win your league. However, just as important as targeting certain players can be, avoiding specific players can result in a similar benefit. Avoiding these 5 is part of my effort to make the beginning of my draft as strong as possible with a combination of talent, certainty, upside, and value while minimizing risk.

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