Every year, as I prepare for draft season, I come across players I don’t like. There are a number of reasons I might dislike a guy. Maybe it’s his statistical profiles, maybe he’s burned me in the past, or maybe there is no good reason and I just don’t like him. On my cheat sheet heading into the draft these players are all marked in red, and under no circumstances will they end up on my roster.
I know that many of you out there are thinking that completely ruling out certain players is idiotic, and that everyone has “value” if they fall far enough in the draft. But as I’ve stated before, I only want to roster players I like, and players I have a high level of confidence in. Especially in the foundation rounds of a draft, you have to be comfortable with the guys you are drafting and believe they will return the numbers you expect them to.
No matter what my reason is for not liking a specific player, if he’s on the red list, it doesn’t matter how far he falls. I’m not taking him. I recommend you take the same course. For starters, if you think you are catching falling “value,” remember that 14 other teams passed on that same guy for a reason. Also, to compete successfully at the highest level, you have to have confidence in your player projections. If you feel strongly that a player has too much risk or you believe he is going to under-perform compared to most expectations, then trust your gut instincts and don’t draft him. If you’re putting months of hard work and dedication into your projections and your carefully constructed draft strategy, why would you change everything based on a specific player falling an extra round? It just doesn’t make sense to me.
I use my own personal projections and evaluations of players, rather than trusting an outside source or someone else’s opinion. The more I’ve learned to trust myself, the better my results have been.
Without further ado, here are a few players who will populate the red list on my rankings this season with explanations for what they’ve done to deserve their spots. If you disagree with any of these, or if it’s someone you feel very strongly will have a terrific year and outperform expectations, that’s fine.
Nelson Cruz, OF, TEX: I’m not disputing how dominant Cruz can be when he’s healthy, we all witnessed it firsthand as he pummeled the Tigers pitching in the ALCS last season. The problem with Cruz is that he can’t stay healthy. In the last 3 years of full time play, Cruz has only averaged 120 games per season. Another very disturbing trend is that Cruz has dealt with numerous hamstring injuries which have severely limited his speed. Once considered a 20/20 threat, Cruz only managed 9 steals last year. Cruz’s current ADP puts him at pick 44, which is the end of Round 3 in 15 team leagues. Personally, I’m looking for much more than 120 sporadic games from my 3rd round pick, and I’ll gladly let someone else assume the risk here.
Asdrubal Cabrera, SS, CLE: For one, I don’t believe that his massive HR/FB spike is repeatable. I think he’s more likely to finish with around 14 home runs in 2012 than he is to repeat his 25 homer performance from last season. In my eyes, he’s a .275/80/14/70/15 kind of player. Now don’t get me wrong, that’s solid overall production from your shortstop, but he’s currently being drafted as the 4th shortstop off the boards at pick 52. He won’t be on my teams.
Jayson Werth, OF, WAS: This one falls more into the category of a guy that I just don’t like as much as the general public. After signing his massive contract in Washington, he turned in an absolutely abysmal performance in 2011. While a minor rebound can be expected, I still see a .260 hitter with declining power and speed tools.
Carlos Quentin, OF, SD: Another low average power hitter that I was never a huge fan of to begin with. Now he moves from the cozy confines in Chicago to PetCo National Park. I’d be absolutely shocked if he cracked the 25 home run plateau.
C.J. Wilson, SP, LAA: This one definitely falls into the category of a player who for no logical reason I just don’t like. While the results have been great since moving into the rotation, something about him just rubs me the wrong way. He simply isn’t a player that I have confidence in, and therefore won’t be a target of mine on draft day.
Ubaldo Jimenez, SP, CLE: After one of the greatest half-seasons in modern history to begin 2010, Jimenez fell off of a cliff and hasn’t been the same since. Many pundits are predicting a rebound in 2012, but I’m skeptical. When I see pitchers that rely mainly on their dominating fastball suddenly lose over 2 MPH, it raises a red flag.
And I can’t forget to mention Justin Morneau, Brian Roberts, Jason Bay and anyone else who is dealing with concussion issues. Counting on players with an injury history is bad enough (which these players all have), but adding the lingering effects of a concussion means these players simply aren’t worth the risk.
As always, if you agree or disagree with anything I’ve brought up here I’d love to hear about it. Sell me on why these players should remain on my draft board and could help lead me to fantasy glory this year!