Koji Uehara had a historic season, leaving him only one direction to go. (Sportsblogs.star-telegram.com)
The 2014 RotoRob MLB Draft Kit is back in action today with one of our beloved top 10 lists. So while Yu Darvish owners panic, let’s take a look at 10 players we’re avoiding — or at least not overpaying for — this season.
1. Koji Uehara, RP, Boston Red Sox: A waiver wire darling last year, Uehara won’t sneak up on anyone this season, and that’s the problem — we like him, but not at the price you’ll have to pay. What he did last year was historic (hell, he even ended a World Series game with a pickoff — see video below), so good luck getting a repeat. The fact that at age 38 (39 next month), he had a career high in games and IP is also worrisome. Don’t overpay here.
2. Jimmy Rollins, SS, Philadelphia Phillies: Rollins’ reputation now outstrips his performance and, as we intimated in our Shortstop Rankings, he has likely been reduced to an NL-only asset. He’s been durable the past couple of years, but if that’s the best thing we can say about him…
3. Ian Kinsler, 2B, Detroit Tigers: Kinsler is injury-prone, 31 years old (which is entering that danger area for keystone cornermen) and barely looks like a 20-20 man anymore, never mind a perennial 30-30 threat. He’s still an above average hitter, but is no longer even an average baserunner. Kinsler remains a strong starting second baseman, but if you’re paying for the 2011 version of him, you are going to be disappointed.
4. Bobby Parnell, RP, New York Mets: Parnell’s pain in the neck created an equal or greater pain in the posterior for his owners last year. This spring, his velocity is down as he continues to work his way back from neck surgery. Until recently, he was struggling to reach 90 mph, and while there have been recent improvements, we’re putting Parnell near the top of our list of closers likely to lose their job early this season.
5. Johnny Cueto, SP, Cincinnati Reds: Slotted 74th in our Starting Pitcher Rankings a couple of months ago, Cueto is dealing with a wonky back this spring and it’s still unclear if he’ll be good to go when the bell rings. It’s not a promising sign for a hurler that barely cracked 60 IP last season thanks to ongoing shoulder woes. Here’s a Red that is waving a huge red flag.
6. David Ortiz, DH, Boston Red Sox: Ortiz seems ageless, and many will be seduced by his super human performance in the 2013 World Series and wind up drafting him before his time. But that would be a mistake. His overall work at the plate slipped last year, he is 38, and while it wouldn’t be surprising if his production declined only slightly, we can’t help but worry about his ability to stay healthy. Big Papi is still the best DH to own, but do not overbid.
7. Chris Johnson, 3B, Atlanta Braves: Slotted 16th in our Third Base Rankings, Johnson will get a boost from hitting cleanup for the Braves this year, but expecting him to duplicate his 2013 numbers is foolhardy. He somehow managed to finish second in the NL batting race despite his poor contact skills. Of course, an MLB-leading .394 BABIP sure helped. Can Johnson continue to defy the odds (career .361 BABIP)? It’s possible. But how much do you want to gamble on this happening?
8. Jered Weaver, SP, Los Angeles Angels: Weaver, 29th in our recent Starting Pitcher Rankings, took longer to get through innings last season as his ability to dominate continues to diminish. Many experts believe he’s fallen so far in the rankings that he is now a sleeper, but we think there is still further to fall here. As Weaver’s velocity falls, his ERA will rise, so don’t be shocked if it escalates north of the 4.00 mark this season.
9. Domonic Brown, OF, Philadelphia Phillies: Check out this player: 387 at-bats, 48 runs, 102 hits, 17 doubles, three triples, 15 homers, 58 RBI, five steals, .264 BA. Not exactly an enticing outfield option, is he? Well, this is Brown last year, stripped of his phenomenal May. Makes you think, doesn’t it?
10. Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Miami Marlins: Many of Saltalamacchia’s homers turned into doubles last year. Expecting that trend to reverse itself in spacious Marlins Park is unwise. And that career-best .273 BA last year? Um, ya. It was fuelled by an unsustainable .372 BABIP. Salty’s a good offensive catcher, but don’t expect miracles.
Now it’s your turn. Let us know in the comments below which players you’re avoiding this season.
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