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Players to avoid at every position

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For every “Players to Target” post, there must be an equal and opposite “Players to Avoid” post. This is that post.

MLB: Chicago White Sox at Philadelphia Phillies Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

You may have read my previous post involving players to seek out in your drafts because they are undervalued, according to me. This post is the exact opposite of that one. These are players that, according to Yahoo! ADP, are being overvalued and should be avoided. You won’t get good value out of selecting these guys. There will be one for every position, except I love starting pitching so much I made an exception for them and I happened to find two outfielders I wanted to highlight.

Catcher

MLB: Spring Training-Houston Astros at Washington Nationals Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Matt Wieters
WAS, Yahoo! ADP of 231, 14th Catcher

I guess Yahoo drafters are really counting on a change of scenery for Wieters helping him out because he hasn’t been much of a fantasy asset since 2013. He’s had injury problems, batting average problems, bad ISO, and other issues. His corrected exit velocity was just 85.5 mph, good for 215th in MLB. His average hit distance was only slightly better at 109th highest. A 31-year-old catcher with a spotty injury history moving from a very good hitter’s park to a neutral park, what’s not to like? I would much prefer the potential upside of Mike Zunino or Austin Hedges or the stability of Stephen Vogt, all of whom are being drafted behind Wieters.

First Base

MLB: Chicago White Sox at Philadelphia Phillies Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Jose Abreu
CHW, Yahoo! ADP of 53, 10th 1B

For a detailed breakdown of why he’s here, check out two of my posts from this offseason: here and over here. I would much rather have Chris Davis, Todd Frazier, Wil Myers, and Hanley Ramirez, all of whom are behind him in Yahoo ADP. That’s why Abreu is on this list.

Second Base

MLB: Spring Training-New York Yankees at Baltimore Orioles Jonathan Dyer-USA TODAY Sports

Jonathan Schoop
BAL, Yahoo! ADP of 173, 17th 2B

I’m just not a fan of the “completely sell out for power with zero discipline” approach of Schoop and others. It’s an all-or-nothing situation that can quickly lead to awful seasons. He never walks, had a 16.2% swinging strike rate, a weak 26.6% hard hit %, an awful 83.2 mph average corrected exit velocity, and a poor 189-foot average hit distance. None of the Statcast data supports the 25 HR he hit. It took him having a lucky 14.9 HR/FB % and playing in every single game to get to 25 HR. Statcast data says his HR/FB % should have been 9%. Power is all he has to offer and he doesn’t really have much of that when you dig deeper. Jose Peraza, Devon Travis, and Logan Forsythe are being drafted behind him on Yahoo for some unknown reason. Go with those options instead.

Third Base

MLB: Spring Training-Boston Red Sox at Tampa Bay Rays Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

Evan Longoria
TB, Yahoo! ADP of 83, 10th 3B

Despite the career high in homers in 2016 with 36, his offensive game is actually in a multi-year decline. His walk rate has declined for four years straight, his infield fly ball% was up to a career high along with a career high fly ball rate, meaning he hit a ton of pop ups. His swinging strike rate also set a career high. All of this is bad news for his average and OBP. Combine that with a relatively weak lineup around him and the reality that he went from 21 HR in 2015 to 36 the next year, and you get a decent amount of risk for the 10th hot-corner-man off the board. I would feel safer with these guys being drafted behind him: Alex Bregman, Anthony Rendon, and maybe Justin Turner and Jake Lamb.

Shortstop

MLB: World Series-Chicago Cubs at Cleveland Indians Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Javier Baez
CHC, Yahoo! ADP of 152, 12th SS

The problem here isn’t Baez’ talent or upside, both of which are certainly worthy of at least the 12th SS off the board. It is really two things: playing time and plate discipline. He has no starting position in the Cubs lineup. Yes, they will find creative ways to find playing time for him by moving Bryant, Zobrist, and Russell around, but those are no slouches with the bat or glove, either, so it might be hard. Fangraphs’ Depth Charts project him for 430 PA in 2017. While other projections give him 458 or 516, the point is he won’t be a full time player. That means he will have to be that much more productive in limited time to be more valuable than the full time good shortstops behind him in ADP.

While his K% has certainly improved since his debut (only 24% last year), his swinging strike rate of 14.4% would have placed him 12th worst in baseball last year if he had enough PA to qualify. That means there is still big risk with his bat. Combine these two factors and I don’t think he should be going ahead of Brad Miller, Jose Peraza, and Dansby Swanson like he is now.

Outfield

MLB: New York Mets at Miami Marlins Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Marcell Ozuna
MIA, Yahoo! ADP of 168, 44th OF

Ozuna had a decent season last year overall, but it was a tale of two halves. In the first half, he hit .309/.360/.533, with 17 homers, but only .209/.267/.342 and 6 homers in the second half. With the power surge in baseball last year, a guy hitting 23 HR with a league-average triple slash (.266/.321/.452) and no steals just isn’t that valuable anymore. The projections basically think he will do the same thing again in 2017.

His 2016 home run total of 23 was only 25th highest among outfielders, and that’s with unusually low power output from Jose Bautista and J.D. Martinez keeping them below him. 23 home runs just isn’t what it used to be. I’ll take the balance of Dexter Fowler, the speed of Jose Peraza, or the upside of Joc Pederson before Ozuna. All three are behind him on Yahoo! ADP.

MLB: Detroit Tigers at Cleveland Indians Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

Michael Brantley
CLE, Yahoo! ADP of 183, 48th OF

Injuries, injuries, injuries! Don’t be fooled and lured in! He hasn’t been fully healthy since September of 2015. He’s had major shoulder issues. There were more than a few reports saying he would never play again. That is just way too much risk for me to pick him as the 48th best outfielder. Joc Pederson, Nomar Mazara, and Keon Broxton are three guys being taken after him that I would rather have.

Starting Pitcher

MLB: Spring Training-Oakland Athletics at Arizona Diamondbacks Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports

Sonny Gray
OAK, Yahoo! ADP of 175, 48th SP

I discussed his issues at length in this post, but I will add that he is already injured and going to miss at least a month. His delivery is not good for staying healthy and it has already caused many core muscle and shoulder issues. I actually think he’s a very good pitcher when healthy (last year was an anomaly), but I just won’t bet he stays healthy. Jake Odorizzi, Sean Manaea, Carlos Rodon, Marco Estrada, and Matt Shoemaker all have their own issues, but I think Yahoo! drafters are wrong to pick Gray before all of them.

MLB: Spring Training-Kansas City Royals at San Francisco Giants Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

Danny Duffy
KC, Yahoo! ADP of 114, 28th SP

Count me in the “Danny Duffy’s breakout will be short-lived” club. It’s a great club with some A-list members. Or just something I made up that’s not even a good name. Anyway, read more here to learn why I’m not in on Duffy this year. I’ll give you a two word summary: velocity decline. I would rather have Michael Fulmer, Aaron Sanchez, Rich Hill, and Dallas Keuchel, but Yahoo! drafters disagree.

MLB: Spring Training-Boston Red Sox at Atlanta Braves Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

Julio Teheran
ATL, Yahoo! ADP of 99, 24th SP

Another guy I wrote a profile on in the offseason. I think he is often overrated and he’s just not as good a pitcher as he is given credit for. I can’t believe Kenta Maeda, Rich Hill, Aaron Nola, Fulmer, Sanchez, and Keuchel are being drafted behind him.

MLB: Spring Training-Seattle Mariners at Colorado Rockies Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

James Paxton
SEA, Yahoo! ADP of 162, 44th SP

Here’s a guy I didn’t write a profile about, at least I don’t think I did. He joins Duffy in the “sudden huge velocity spike destined for big decline” group. They meet on Wednesdays at the Sacramento YMCA to discuss dealing with velocity loss in a meaningful way. The fantasy community is all over him this year thanks to the big velocity jump he had in 2016, but I’m not ready to say he’s going to keep throwing 95+. His velocity was average 97 mph for most of the season, but he lost gas in September and hovered in the 95 mph range.

He has a large injury history and last season set a career high with 171 innings between AAA and MLB. That was his career high, including the minor leagues. The industry is just too in love with him for me to recommend him at his current draft price. Players on Yahoo! are actually surprisingly cautious with him, but even then, they still pick him ahead of Vince Velasquez and Julio Urias. I think, in general, the hype is too high on him and I would go with other options. He’ll be pretty good, but not Cy Young-good, which some are predicting.

Relief Pitcher

MLB: Spring Training-Miami Marlins at New York Mets Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Jeurys Familia
NYM, Yahoo! ADP of 128, 14th RP

Look, the guy just finished a season with 51 saves. That’s obviously a good feature in a closer. He had a 9.73 K/9 (26.2 K%) as well. However, there are a few reasons to be concerned. First, he is likely facing a suspension from the MLB office for domestic violence. This might be a 30-day suspension like Aroldis Chapman received. Second, his setup man, Addison Reed, is one of the best in baseball. Reed put up a 10.55 K/9, 1.97 ERA, 1.97 FIP, and 2.89 xFIP in 2016. All four of those stats were better than Familia. He is more than capable of taking the job from Familia if given enough of a chance. Third, Familia lost almost 1 mph off his fastball and over 2 mph off his slider in 2016.

Despite all this, he still had a GB% over 60%, a Hard% of just 20%, and other positive things. I’m just saying there’s a case to be made that he isn’t the absolute lock that many believe he is. The suspension will cost him some saves and the ability of Reed might cost him a few more. All of that is more than enough to push him below the likes of Kelvin Herrera and Alex Colome in my book, even though they are behind him in ADP.

Check out all the other great Draft Week content we have on Fake Teams to prep you for your drafts this season! Tschus!