Fantasy Baseball Edge: Overrated Players At Each Position
By Moe Koltun, Matt Cott, and Matthew Schwimmer of Roto Analysis
This week we at RotoAnalysis are going to break down some of the players around the league that we find to be overrated. With one at each position it should be a quick hit that helps you value players correctly, and get rid of them if they’re on your team!
Catcher: Matt Wieters, Baltimore Orioles
There comes a point when it’s just easier to be lazy as a fantasy baseball owner than to be diligent. Matt Wieters is fine, but he’s universally owned and being started in 94% of formats, and he was also the number four catcher drafted heading into this season. Wieters is good for .250-.260, 20-25 homers and mediocre runs and RBIs. He’s fine, but he can no longer (and may never be) considered a top five option at the position.
First Base: Ryan Howard, Philadelphia Phillies
Howard has never been able to hit lefties, with a career triple slash of .227 AVG/.303 OBP/.432 SLG against lefties. While that problem is getting progressively worse (.214/.241/.375 vs lefties this season) his stat line against righties, who have always been in Howard’s wheelhouse, is starting to resemble his career rate against lefties this season, now at .270/.316/.460. Long story short: Howard is no longer the player he was, and time progressing will only worsen matters. The fact that he’s still owned in 91% of leagues and started in 67% is pure laziness.
Second Base: Neil Walker, Pittsburgh Pirates
It isn’t Neil Walker’s fault that he’s overrated, it’s the fact that second base is an extremely weak position and Walker just happened to be widely rated at the top of a very deep tier of sub par second basemen. He hits lots of line drives, but Walker’s bat speed is his only dangerous tool, and across the board he will put up sub par fantasy stats. Neil Walker isn’t truly a top 15 second base option, and it would behoove any fantasy owner in the future to wait on a different option from the tier rather than hop at the chance to grab Neil Walker in the thirteenth round.
Shortstop: Ian Desmond, Washington Nationals
After a breakout season last year, it appears Desmond is back to his old ways in 2013. His strikeout rate is the highest of his career, and it’s just really hard to maintain a good batting average when he’s striking out in nearly a quarter of his at-bats. While his power/speed combo is nice, there are better options for the taking.
Third Base: Ryan Zimmerman, Washington Nationals
Sticking with the Nationals, at the hot corner stands a former star in Zimmerman. This season, however, his power has dropped and three of his six home runs came in one game. Zimmerman’s bat just doesn’t hold the pop it used to – he’s actually hitting the fewest fly balls of his career, which points to this drop in home runs being legit. He should be good for a solid average, but there are a lot of great third basemen out there this year.
Outfielder: Starling Marte, Pittsburgh Pirates
While Andrew McCutchen is the clear superstar in the Pirates outfield, Marte has been off to a fantastic start to his career. The issue is – he’s not quite a superstar. In the minor leagues scouts never regarded him as that kind of a prospect and he appears to be playing a little out of his head. His speed is legit, but expect his power and average to slow down as the season goes on.
Starting Pitcher: Matt Moore, Tampa Bay Rays
I love Matt Moore’s long-term outlook just as much as the next guy, but this season has not been nearly as successful as most think it has for the youngster. With an xFIP a full two runs higher than his ERA, 4.06 walks per nine, and his only pitching into the seventh inning once in the last seven outings, now is the time to sell high on Matt Moore.
Relief Pitcher: Tom Wilhelmsen, Seattle Mariners
Although he has a pretty 2.13 ERA to go along with 13 saves, there are some serious red flags for the Mariners closer. Despite posting a career high 9.87 K/9 last season, that has jumped all the way down to 6.75/9 while his walk rate has raised to above four batters per nine. Although it’s a short sample size, Wilhelmsen needs to turn things around quickly.
Agree? Disagree? Questions? Tweet @RotoAnalysis and be sure to follow Moe @MoeProblems and Matt @Schwimingly. Check out their work on RotoAnalysis.com, as well as The RotoAnalysis Fantasy Sports Podcast.