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Ten Players to Avoid on Draft Day

March 22, 2008 | By Tim McLeod | comment on this post
Torii Hunter should be taken before Hunter Pence.
When hunting for a Hunter, we’d take Torii over Pence. (AP Photo/Ric Francis)

To help prepare you for your upcoming baseball draft, we’ve prepared some very top ten lists, which will be unveiled over the next few days.

1. Ryan Braun: I like Braun, just not as high on the totem pole as we’re currently seeing him reside. When I look at a late first round/early second round pick, I want a little bit more history. Ponder this one for just a second. Braun is currently going one slot ahead of top outfielder Carl Crawford according to the most recent Average Draft Reports at Mock Draft Central. What combination of players provides the best scenario? Crawford and Adrian Beltre, or Braun and the three closest outfielders to Beltre in the ADP rankings in Jermaine Dye, Juan Pierre, or Delmon Young?

2. Hunter Pence: Pence most certainly has the potential, but we are talking about a player that has never stolen more than 17 bases at any level in his relatively short career. Granted, this certainly doesn’t mean it won’t or can’t occur, but seeing him currently being drafted ahead of Torii Hunter, Dan Haren, Chipper Jones, Carlos Zambrano and Ian Kinsler just doesn’t cut the mustard for me.

3. Derek Jeter: The face of the Yankees is supporting his current draft position based on a combination of past performance and his real-life value. We play fantasy ball and his contributions other than the batting average have fallen into the marginal levels. Drafting Jeter five slots ahead of Troy Tulowitzki just isn’t a solid play.

4. Any closer drafted before Round Ten: I’m simply not a believer in drafting for the closer slot early. With a position as volatile as this one is, the better gamble is in those second- and third-tier closers as compared to the Jonathan Papelbon, Francisco Rodriguez types. Does your team really need more than one (J.J.) Putz at the helm?

5. Aaron Rowand: Can we all say “career year?” If so, and you want the joy of paying for it, Aaron’s your man. Let’s just take a quick look at the past three years.
2005 – .270 BA, 13 HR, 69 RBI, 16 SB
2006 – .262 BA, 12 HR, 47 RBI, 10 SB
2007 – .309 BA, 27 HR, 89 RBI, 6 SB

Moving to an offensive jugger”not” in the Giants should do nothing but improve the odds on a repeat of that not-so stellar 2005 season.

6. Jorge Posada: A peak year at the age of 36 does not bode well for success heading into 2008. When was the last time that Posada broke .290 in batting average? The answer would be never, and to expect anything remotely close to that 2007 batting average of .338 would fall into the major reach department. At this stage of his career, a Ryan Zimmerman or Shane Victorino, both in the same ADP range as Posada, have the chance to provide better value, as does a late round gamble at catcher.

7. Dontrelle Willis: A trend has developed here and a move to the Detroit Tigers should not help. The ERA and WHIP keep climbing upwards and the strikeouts keep falling. Stay away; the trend is going to continue especially in light of the fact that Willis now faces the designated hitter and not the pitcher. American League hitters are anxiously looking forward to teeing off on the D-Train in 2008.

8. Travis Hafner: I had the opportunity to watch Hafner flail away in person last summer, and it was not pretty. He looked totally lost last year and his numbers most certainly reflected it. A rebound can’t be ruled out, but I’d rather be gambling with a Carlos Pena or Adam Dunn, if I was looking for that big bopper in the 3-4-5 rounds.

9. Alex Rios: A top 30 player? Not on my draft lists. I certainly believe there is some potential for improvement, but with an ADP that’s currently at 29, is this value or overhype? I’m betting on the second choice here. Having never exceeeded 17 stolen bases means he is not a five-category stud. I’d be looking at a Corey Hart or Nick Markakis long before Rios would be part of my starting outfield.

10. Juan Pierre: If you’re looking for stolen bases and batting average, Juan Pierre is your man. Hmm, did I fail to mention that things are getting awful crowded in the Dodgers’ outfield? Matt Kemp, Andre Ethier, Andruw Jones and Pierre with no designated hitter, means someone is gonna suck up a few games on the bench. No thanks Juan, I’ll find my stolen bases elsewhere.

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14 Responses to “Ten Players to Avoid on Draft Day”

  1. ESTSN says:

    Hmmm.. let’s see how I did based on your guidlines:

    1) Didn’t take Braun, I did in fact pick up Beltre in a later round.

    2) Didn’t take Pence, or any of the guys you name. Pence went in round 5, I picked up John Lackey.

    3) No Jeter for me this year – took Reyes in round 1 as my SS (still kind of wishing I’d taken Wright or Cabrera)

    4) Uh oh. I drafted 2 closers (Papelbon and Saito) before round 10. In my defense I was burned bad at closer last year. Missed out completely and got killed in saves all year.

    5 and 7) Hmm, I picked up both Aaron Rowand and Dontrelle Willis, but both in the late rounds – sort of a wash I think because I don’t need either to do that much.

    6) Seriously considered Posada, but he went way too early in my draft (round 9!) I waited until round 18 and picked up Varitek.

    8) Skipped Hafner who went in round 4 and did in fact pick up Adam Dunn. I waited 7 more rounds and picked Delgado for first base instead.

    9) Top 30?! That’s early 3rd round in my draft. No thanks man. I went for Magglio Ordonez instead.

    10) No thanks to Pierre for me too – he makes too many outs to stay in the lineup ahead of the other guys competing for those outfield slots. I’m getting my SBs from Beltre and Reyes, and my mediocre outfielder in the form of Jose Guillen.

  2. ESTSN says:

    Question for you Rob:

    The guy in my league who has Pujols is looking to trade him – he’s in desperate need of help at 3B and SP.

    I have Beltre and Chavez at 3B and Lackey, Carmona, Maine, Oliver Perez, Pedro Martinez, Dontrelle Willis, Ian Kennedy and Schmidt at SP.

    I imagine I’d need to offer Chavez and a blue chip pitcher, or Beltre and a solid SP to make. Pujols would be a huge upgrade for me in BA, and probably give me a few more HR, but cost me some serious wins, or weaken me a lot at 3B.

    Given the uncertainty about Pujols physical condition this year, is there a trade you would make?

    Alternatively, Giambi is sitting on the pile, and I could switch out Chavez for Giambi as my CI.

  3. Todd says:

    Just a few things of note. First, if you’re in a league with Tim you won’t get Beltre because Tim always drafts him before anyone else would think of it.

    Second, good point about Braum. Maybe he turns into Pujols. Maybe he turns into Pat Listash. Who knows.

    Third – Never believe eyes as old as Tim’s. Take a flyer on Hafner if he falls. I’m betting on the rebound.

    And lastly. Juan Pierre rules. Ok, he really does suck. But if you’re desperate, this is a risk you might as well take, especially since he’s falling way down in most drafts I’ve seen. 50 steal potential can’t be overlooked, even from Juan Pierre.

  4. tlmcleod says:

    Well lets deal with first things first here. Thanks for the question ESTSN. I think with the news to-nite that the A’s are shutting down Chavez indefinetely until the back pain isuue is resolved and the fact that Lackey is looking at a 4-6 week stint at best on the dl sort of makes this pretty much a moot point. You’re going to need the balance of your rotation until Lackey returns. The trade off it would potentially cost you to acquire Albert would negate any real value in making the move. I do think cutting Chavez for Giambi would be a solid move at this time. Good fortunes in 08!

  5. tlmcleod says:

    Without a doubt I am very high on Beltre this year. Whats really not to like? Entering into what should be his peak power years and coming off a solid 26-99 14 sb season bodes well for 2008.
    I will agree Todd that a re-bound for Hafner is a possibility, and my eyes are old, but the last 3 months of 07 were just flat out ugly. To ugly for my liking.
    That leaves us with Juan Pierre. I think without a doubt that Pierre will in get you a fair share of sb’s, but being a proponent of shoring up the sb category early he has just never been a part of a planned strategy on my behalf. You have perked my curiousity somewhat, and maybe I’ll head over to MDC and try and build a team around Pierre just to see how things shake down. My question to you Todd would be, is Pierre a strategic move or a move made by most in desperation to maintain some form of adequacy in the stolen base category? My guess would be the latter.

  6. Todd says:

    Pierre should always be looked at as a holding off disaster option.And in my case it was a situation of being desperate. That said, I could form a strategy of getting Pierre late and building a speed base around him. Not that I would advocate that, just saying it could be done and be pretty successful. I’ll let you know how that works out this year. Oh wait, you can watch it for yourself – just look up in the standings.

  7. tlmcleod says:

    Hmmm, two key phrases caught my attention here. “Holding off disaster option” and “situation of being desparate”. These two phrases lead me to believe that the only thing I’ll have to “look up” is your e-mail address when it’s time to be adding roster fillers for my stretch run!

  8. RotoRob says:

    Thanks for the notes, guys. ESTSN, just to let you know…we have fantasy experts willing to answer any and all questions, but prefer they be submitted via e-mail (there’s a “Fantasy Question?” link on the left side of the site. That way we can compile them in a full article every week and share them with all our readers. You’ll receive your answer almost immediately, but will later be immortalized on the site, assuming your question has enough value to the masses.

    Thanks, man.


  9. ESTSN says:

    Thanks. Sorry about the breach of etiquette there – I didn’t see the link, but will use it next time.

  10. RotoRob says:

    No worries, man. I just like to let everyone in on the answers to increase the value of the questions.

    Sort of like multi-tasking, ya know?


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