I hate to be Debbie Downer, but the following players are currently overpriced in NFBC leagues. That’s not to say that they can’t earn their current Average Draft Position, but I wouldn’t count on it. These aren’t your cookie cutter regression picks. I’m going out on a limb here and it wouldn’t surprise me to see a breakout emerge from this list. The problem is that either hype or the “shiny new toy” syndrome has inflated their price, making them unattractive to me on draft day.
Bryce Harper – I love the Nationals starting left fielder. I really do, but let’s be realistic. He has two years under his belt and his high watermark in a single season is 22 home runs. Granted, injuries limited his at-bats, but that’s the knock against him. Staying healthy is a skill and Harper hasn’t excelled at staying on the field. He plays with a reckless abandon reminiscent of Grady Sizemore. That concerns me. I expect a higher floor out of a first round pick. Could he break out just as Trout did and earn $40+? Anything is possible, but it takes something closer to probable to justify his current price.
Yasiel Puig – Pitchers seemed to catch up to Yasiel in early to mid-August, starting to jam him inside. How will he adjust? I will let someone else pay the price of an early second round pick to find out. Over his last 158 at-bats, he produced a line of .234/17/8/11/4. Compare that to Will Venable’s last 158 at-bats (.291/22/7/14/9). I’m just sayin’, the market has stars in its eyes from witnessing Puig’s eye-popping bat speed and scorching pre-All-Star break slash of .391/.422/.616. I have my eyes on the tenuous floor the young Cuban sensation stands on.
Giancarlo Stanton – Some analysts I have a ton of respect for like the 2014 fantasy prospects of the slugger formerly known as Mike. While I share the enthusiasm for his talent, my focus is primarily on his penchant for injuries (failed to reach 450 at-bats each of the last two seasons) and how the incredible wholesale liquidation of the Miami Marlins’ lineup during the off-season a year ago noticeably decreased the right fielder’s counting numbers in 2013. If he can stay on the field, he could club 40 homers, and yet he remains a batting average and health risk. The only problem with that is these risks don’t come with a discount.
Albert Pujols – Those who followed this column back in 2012 knew to stay away from the former Cardinal on draft day. That spring, Phat Albert was anything but, having shed an incredible amount of weight and muscle. He appeared to be a shell of his previous slugging self. Unless I see something different this spring out in Arizona, Winnie the Pujols will remain on my do not draft list.
Billy Hamilton – The Reds rookie doesn’t EXACTLY fit on this list. I say that because the rules of engagement are a little different in a Main Event where you are competing against literally hundreds of other teams. There you have to shoot the moon with at least a half dozen or more of your picks. If he could just get on base, 100 swipes is a realistic target, and therein lies the rub. It’s too early to label him as Dee Gordon volume II, and yet an unimpressive .256 batting average at Triple-A Louisville is an inauspicious sign. The speedster is currently being drafted in the fifth round. A hot spring will likely push that up into the third. I would stay away in stand-alone leagues, but if you’re the type that likes to let it all ride on snake eyes in the Main Event, Hamilton’s potential payoff is very sweet.