Fantasy Baseball Players to Consider Dropping for 2012 Keeper Leagues

Adam Dunn photo taken from Google Images

With the fantasy baseball playoffs looming and the end of the 2011 baseball season in sight, as afantasy owner you will no doubt be looking to make some roster decisions in regard to the players you will consider keeping and those which you will release. When deciding who qualifies as a fantasy baseball keeper for 2012 and who doesn’t, you might want to start thinking about potentially dropping some players that were previously considered to be no-brainer fantasy baseball keepers.

Perhaps because of age, injuries, a change in teams/leagues or just general ineffectiveness, there are a few players that you may consider throwing back instead of using up a fantasy baseball keeper spot. As recently as the beginning of the 2011 season, these names may have been sure fire keepers but for one reason or another, their stock has dropped. As a result, using a keeper spot on the following players represents a degree of risk:

We’ve seen players drop off significantly in the past (Dale Murphy, anyone?). However, Dunn has undergone a complete collapse of epic proportions. Entering the 2011 season as one of the games most consistent sluggers, you always knew what you were going to get from Dunn. In his first at bat for the White Sox, Dunn hit a 2-run homer. In his next at bat, he doubled in 2 more runs. It looked to be business as usual for Dunn. Then the 2011 season wore on and Dunn fell apart. He currently is sitting on 11 HR with an incredible .163 AVG. Sure, there’s the chance he figures things out in the offseason but why take the risk?

Carl Crawford (BOS) –
Who wasn’t salivating at the possibility of Crawford hitting in the Red Sox line up while playing half of his games at Fenway Park? Crawford had produced at an outstanding rate with the Rays and all signs pointed to him reaching another level in Boston: hitting in a potent line up (possibly in the 3rd spot), banging doubles off the Green Monster and playing for a perennial contender. However, once the games started, Crawford disappointed fantasy owners and Red Sox fans alike. Until he starts to show the enticing power-speed combination which made him an elite fantasy outfielder, don’t bother.

Josh Johnson (FLA) –
When Johnson pitches, he is outstanding. In 2010, he led the NL in ERA and HR rate. However, he missed all of September last season with back and shoulder problems and the injury bug struck again this year, only much earlier. Pitchers with such prominent shoulder issues early in their careers are not exactly the cornerstones you want to build your fantasy roster around. Don’t be tempted by Johnson’s talents, as he has managed only one 30-start season in his big league career. Let another fantasy owner deal with the frustration of losing him for large amounts of time in 2012, because it is very likely to happen.

Ubaldo Jimenez (CLE) –
Wow, talk about a fall from grace. At the All-Star break last season, Jimenez was touted as a sure-fire Cy Young winner. Then he came back to earth (4.34 ERA, 1.30 WHIP in the second half of 2010). In 2011, his free fall has continued, only much more precipitously . A trade to the AL hasn’t helped, as he has been worse in Cleveland than he was at Coors Field. A drop in velocity and command are never good signs for a pitcher considered by many to be top-ten material entering 2011. Take a pass on using up a keeper spot on him.

Joe Mauer (MIN) –
The AL MVP in 2009 and consensus #1 fantasy catcher entering 2011 has seen his stock plummet. Mauer’s injuries have frustrated fantasy owners all year but the issue is worse than a few nagging neck issues. Mauer’s 28 HR in 2009 are looking like a career anomaly as he has displayed a complete lack of power in other seasons. In addition, Twins manager Ron Gardenhire has been using him at first base, possibly in an effort to reduce the wear and tear which catching can have on a player. That makes Mauer a high average, low power first baseman. In other words, he’s Billy Butler who is not keeper material either.

Jose Reyes (NYM) –
Even at a position as shallow as shortstop, Reyes is a risky keeper. He hasn’t been able to stay healthy since 2008, he’s not stealing at the same rate as he did from 2005 – 2007 and his power numbers are down. Don’t let that high average this season tempt you too much, as his BABIP in 2011 is 37 points higher than his career mark and is sure to regress to the mean in 2012. All signs point to continued regression and keeper spots are just too valuable to waste. Take a pass.

Heath Bell (SD) –
There is always the debate about whether it is wise to use a keeper spot on a closer, but it actually makes a lot of sense if you have one that displays consistency from year to year. Of all closers not namedMariano Rivera, Bell was the mark of consistency out of the bullpen from 2009 – 2010. However, his future is up in the air as he has stated he would like to return to the Padres but may have to settle for a job as a set-up man for a bigger market club, greatly devaluing his fantasy worth. In addition, his K/9 rate has dropped off alarmingly, going from 11.06 last season all the way down to 6.79 in 2011. He may very well return to his previous levels but it simply isn’t worth the gamble.

Taking risks has always been an integral part of fantasy baseball. However, remember that risks are better saved for the later rounds in your draft, not to be used on your keeper spots. Choosing wisely when it comes to your keepers will help you create a solid foundation upon which to build your fantasy baseballteam. You’ll thank yourself come draft day 2012.

Enhanced by Zemanta

You must be logged in to post a comment Login

Leave a Reply