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By Tim O'leary of www.thebaseballfix.com
With draft season right around the corner people are getting their practice in using a site called mockdraftcentral.com. I have participated in a bunch of mock drafts already this year and I've started to notice a few trends as well as other key information about the tendencies of how the drafts will pan out. In this article, we'll take a look at some of the worst early picks that I've seen on a consistent basis.
Ryan Braun leads the list of players that I just scratch my head at. Did he put up great numbers last year? Yes. Is it likely that he will duplicate those numbers? Possibly but unlikely. Pitchers will make adjustments, he is young and will go through some slumps. He is a good player and will most likely be a great player for years to come, but how can one justify the risk involved with taking a player in their first or second round pick on an unproved player? Drafting a bust in the first few rounds is the easiest way to spell defeat in fantasy baseball. While you are taking a chance people are drafting sure bets like David Ortiz, Mark Teixeira, Grady Sizemore, and Carl Crawford.
The next player on this list is Chase Utley. Second base has never been so deep. In later rounds (10+) you can get players like Jeff Kent, Dustin Pedroia, Kaz Matsui, Freddy Sanchez, Aaron Hill. Even players like Robinson Cano and Ian Kinsler are around in rounds 5-8. Chase Utley is a great player who can put up great numbers, but is he really worth a first round pick. He is good for 30-35 homers which is great, but the most he will give you is what 22 steals. He is a key part to the Phillies' offense, I don't think he will be running as much as fantasy owners would like him to. In years where there were only 3 good 2B, Utley was deserving of 1st round consideration, not this year.
And this is the one that baffles me almost as much as Ryan Braun. Why does Jose Reyes get drafted so early? Let's look at his numbers: .281 AVG, 119 runs, 57 RBIs, 12 HRs, 78 steals. Well that looks like a 2 category player to me. When I use an early pick on a player I'd expect at least a 4 category player. Are steals really worth that much? One minor, lingering injury to Reyes like a sore quad, makes him useless.
Take Jimmy Rollins for example: .296 avg, 139 runs, 94 rbis, 30 hrs, 41 steals. Are 37 steals really worth taking Reyes over a 5 category player. Steals are worth something, no doubt but players like Willy Taveras, Kaz Matsui, and Jacoby Ellsbury are available in rounds 9+. That's not to mention the players that come out of nowhere and gives us steal production, such as Reggie Willits, Ryan Theriot, Chris Duffy, Nate McLouth, Rajai Davis. How many players come out of nowhere and give us Jimmy Rollins production. Very few if any.
I doubt any of these picks will change going forward into draft season for most people. Alot of fantasy GMs are conditioned to draft a certain way and it is hard to change their ways. However, if you are smart enough to think outside the box you can take advantage of all the sheep who are drafting from the same magazine.