And then, of course, there are players I am not too fond of.
Not too long ago, I concocted a list of guys that I am particularly high on heading into the 2013 fantasy baseball season. Don’t let the title mislead you. The following players certainly won’t be disasters, but the title of the article has a nice ring to it, so back off. Instead, I believe these guys will underperform this year (some already have). I don’t necessarily hate these players, but am I in love with their fantasy appeal?
Disasters (sort of)
Roy Halladay, SP, Philadelphia Phillies: Spring tends to be a great time for many involved with baseball. Unless, of course, you’re name is Doc Halladay. The velocity on his fastball is dropping, resulting in decreased strikeouts and ground ball rate. He’s had a horrific Spring, with an ERA over six. Last season’s ERA (4.49) was Halladay’s highest in 12 years. He turns 36 in May, doesn’t seem confident on the mound and on top of that, dealing with a stomach virus. But hey, he’s the Doc, right? Maybe he can heal himself faster. Anyway, not much to like about Halladay heading into 2013.
James Shields, SP, Kansas City Royals: The move to Kansas City may end up killing Shields’ fantasy value. Throughout his career at Tropicana, a dome, Shields has sported an ERA of 3.34. Now, he moves to a very nice OUTDOOR ballpark. His career ERA outdoors? 4.67. Also, in 97 games started outdoors, he has 10 less wins and a higher WHIP than indoors. Sure, he will still get you strikeouts and durability, the Royals defense isn’t nearly as good as the Rays, which also hurts his value. I hope I’m wrong because I love his talent, but it’s hard to trust Shields in his new environment.
Josh Hamilton, OF, Los Angeles Angels: When you talk about injury risk, Hamilton is one of the first guys you might think of. He hasn’t played a full season once in his entire career and has played less than 100 games twice. Now, he’s moving to LA, to a ballpark where he has historically struggled a bit. Over the past three seasons at Angel Stadium, Hamilton is a .235 batter with just two home runs and eight RBI. Keep in mind that is in 85 plate appearances. Obviously, the power is there, and should be a threat to hit 35 home runs wherever he is. But still, the batting average could be a concern and he swung and missed more than anyone in baseball last season, which means his strikeout rate could continue to increase. I still believe he is a top 25 player in fantasy, but he won’t be as dominant as people expect.
Alex Rios, OF, Chicago White Sox: It’s settled. My new nickname for him will be Rollercoaster Rios. Why, you might ask? Well, let’s take a look at some of his numbers since 2009.
Batting average totals: .199, .264, .247, .284, .227, .304.
Home run totals: 3 (41 games played), 14, 17, 21, 13, 25
RBI totals: 9, 62, 71, 88, 44, 91
Considering that 2012 was his up season, it only seems fitting that he significantly regresses here in 2013. I don’t like his every-other-year type of production, much too inconsistent for me.
J.J. Hardy, SS, Baltimore Orioles: Sure, shortstop is a scarce position in fantasy, but despite his power, I’d look elsewhere. Coming off arguably his best season in 2011, Hardy regressed a bit in 2012, hitting eight less home runs and 12 less RBI. Not to mention, his atrocious average of .238 didn’t help either. Hardy will get you power, but that’s really about it. For a shortstop, he has stolen six bases in his career. Six! When building your roster, you want speed at your shortstop position, or at least a combination of some sorts. Hardy is a power hitter who will kill you in batting average (career .259 hitter) and especially stolen bases.
Adam Pfeifer is a featured fantasy sports columnist for Rant Sports.
You can follow him on Twitter @aPfeiferRS.