2012 Fantasy Baseball Busts: Position-By-Position

Bros Before Hos’
Photo Credit: Keith Allison

Busts: nobody wants them. Have a couple of overpriced scrubs on your roster, and it could be the difference between first and sixth place. Fortunately, the crew at Sons of Roto have compiled their “favorite” busts for the 2012 season in one easy-to-consume post. You’re welcome.

More after the jump:

Alex Avila
I’ll admit that it was nice to ride the hot hand that was Avila last year. Undoubtedly, he helped many win imaginary championships. That said, his “breakout” campaign will prove to be a mirage. Avila’s 2011 BABIP of .366 suggest some extreme luck last year, especially considering that he suffered a decline in his Contact% from the previous year. Avila was also much more aggressive at the plate last year, increasing his K%, O-Swing%, and Swinging Strike%. The stats forecast a potential decline in BA. Considering that Avila was never touted as a power threat, I don’t see him hitting more home runs. Though he’s young and coming off a good season, the advisable move is to stay away. All he will do is disappoint the masses in 2012. –Justin Occhionero

Alex Avila
You never want to buy high on a guy in general. Although Avila pimped it real hard last year, he strikes out a bunch and the best-case scenario is that he puts up numbers slightly worse than last year. Also, with Victor Martinez out, he will have to catch more games, which will wear down the big guy. –Sweet Potato Fries

Miguel Montero
Over his career, Montero has been a “hot one year, bad the next” type of player. While many are expecting him to build off his solid 2011 campaign, I am expecting him to regress to numbers similar to what he did in 2010. While it could be said that inconsistent hitters are bound to break out and become consistent eventually, we have seen this before from Montero. He might still hit around 15 homers, but I am expecting the average and RBI numbers to drop to about .255-.265 and 50-60. –Jesse Potes

Wilson Ramos
He’s become a pretty popular sleeper pick, but I just don’t see what all the fuss is about. Yeah he showed solid pop last year (.177 ISO), but he doesn’t look like a 20 HR hitter. At best, you are getting 18 HRs, a .290 BA, and 50-65 Rs/RBIs. Those aren’t terrible numbers, but you can get that type of production from a bunch of players available after Ramos. And remember, that’s his ceiling. It’s very possible he endures a mediocre-to-bad season as he rarely walks and posted a pathetic 13.4 LD% in 2011. If you want to spend on him, be my guest. Just don’t be surprised when you feel taken (similarly to how Ramos was in Venezuela this winter). –Starbonell

Adrian Gonzalez
A-Gone is an elite first baseman, that is indisputable. The problem I have with him is his high fantasy stock. Last year, many predicted that his move to Fenway would yield an increase in home runs. This did not happen, as Gonzalez posted 27 dingers in 2011, the second lowest total of his career. Even more troubling, Gonzalez posted an unsustainable .380 BABIP resulting in his .334 AVG, the highest of his career. As such, a major BA decline is likely. The truth is that Gonzalez, albeit a great player, is simply not the monster most believe he is. Sure, he may be a lock for 30 home runs, but does that truly warrant a first round pick? I don’t believe so, especially when his BA comes back down to earth. I’m not saying to completely avoid Gonzalez in 2012 drafts, just don’t expect him to live up to his first round hype. –JO

Ryan Howard
Howard won’t be back until May at the earliest. I just don’t feel comfortable drafting Howard, even on the cheap. –SPF

Mark Teixeira
Over the past three years, his batting average has been steadily declining. Last season, it reached an all-time low (.248). With the batting average already on the decline, any dip in his power numbers would be disastrous. Remember Richie Sexson for the Mariners when he went from a .264 hitter with 34 homers and 107 RBIs in 2006 to a .205 hitter with 21 homers and 63 RBI in 2007? Well, we could be looking at Sexson 2.0 with Teixeira. –JP

Eric Hosmer
I pontificated on the ridiculous hype surrounding Hosmer back in mid-January, but sadly, fantasy owners are still buying. The power simply isn’t there for a fantasy 1B and if you take Hosmer as your starter, you are pretty much rolling with a slightly better version of James Loney. Have fun with that. –Cool WHIP

Dustin Ackley
Ackley a ton of hype last year. I’m not saying he didn’t deserve it, as he did post solid numbers across the board. I do, however, fear that although a talented baseball player, Ackley just doesn’t have the tools that scream “fantasy superstar.” Throughout his career, Ackley has showed us average power numbers and only slightly above-average speed. His strength has always been his plate discipline, but his time in the majors saw him striking out at a 21-percent clip while walking a measly 10.6-percent of the time. Even Ackley’s batting average is set to decline as he posted a high BABIP of .336 last year. I’ll admit that he’s still young, and I’m sure many will expect some progression in his second year in the majors, but I am wary. His stats show that a sophomore slump is evident. Don’t believe the hype. –JO

Brandon Phillips
He used to be a 25/25 guy, but those days are long gone. My fear is that although he hit .300 for the first time last season, B-Phil is still a .272 career hitter and you would be paying for the brand name more than a high ceiling. –SPF

Rickie Weeks
Weeks regressed a bit last year in his OBP and power numbers. The homers dropped from 29 in 2010 to 20 in 2011, and the RBI numbers fell all the way from 83 to 49 over the same span. The strikeout rates also remained high at almost 21-percent. Which Rickie Weeks should we expect to see in 2012? I would predict the Weeks from last season, or even worse. –JP

Chase Utley
Dude has the knees of an 80-year-old hooker who specialized in blow jobs. His power has been in obvious decline the last couple of years and 15 HRs will be hard for him to reach even with a full season of PAs. He simply isn’t the same player he was four years ago and fantasy owners taking a chance on Utley will find out the hard way how much he sucks. –Stat Bundles

Asdrubal Cabrera
Ask anyone, I was the biggest Asdrubal fan boy last year. His injury-riddled 2010 lowered his 2011 draft stock, resulting in me taking him in almost all my leagues. He did not disappoint, and even exceeded my expectations. Cabrera hit 25 home runs, the best of his career, and finished as the third best SS according to Yahoo! Although I do believe he is a solid shortstop, a regression in 2012 is likely. Cabrera was never a power threat, so to think that he will be able to repeat last year’s HR/RBI totals is far fetched. Moreover, looking at his 2011 splits, Asdrubal suffered through a major decline as the season progressed, especially in his BA. In August and September, Cabrera hit .239 and .234, respectively. Considering that a power decline is inevitable, in order for Cabrera to live up to his expected ADP, he will have to hit for a great average. This will not happen, especially considering his abysmal finish in 2011. All in all, despite my fondness for him, I’m not touching Asdrubal Cabrera with a 1,000 foot pole in 2012. –JO

Ian Desmond
I think the Nationals will put up a decent fight this season, but I am thoroughly unimpressed with Desmond. He has minimal pop and a poor stolen base rate. Stay away from this bum. –SPF

Asdrubal Cabrera
The breakout shortstop of the year from 2011 might be looking at a regression back to the mean for the 2012 season. Cabrera has never been a power hitter at any stage of his career until last season. His high for homers in a season before last year was eight in 2007 (in the minor leagues). I fully expect his power number to drop back to around 10-15 bombs. Over the last two months of the season, Cabrera’s average fell from .293 on August 1st to .273 at the end of September. I would put Cabrera at about .265-.275 this season, but with reduced power numbers, that would still mean he is being drafted way too high for my taste. –JP

Stephen Drew
Why do people keep thinking Drew might break out any given year? Dude has been given six years to have that five-tool season people projected… I think we gave this sucka enough time to make good on his potential. Constantly injured, Drew doesn’t really excel in any category, instead opting for the “be mediocre across the board” approach. If that isn’t enough to get you to stop obsessing over him, keep this in mind, he comes from a family of baseball bums. –Count Money

David Freese
Sometimes, a player has a good end to a season and an even better playoffs and people assume that this success will continue into the next season. Although this is a good mantra to follow, David Freese will prove to be an exception to the rule. Yes, he burst onto the scene last year and ultimately was a key contributor in the Cards’ World Series runs, but is Freese truly a breakout candidate in 2012? I don’t think so. Yes, he may hit .300, but he’s never really shown extraordinary power numbers. His .144 ISO in 2011 attests to this. Furthermore, Freese has had injury problems his entire career. What’s to say these troubles won’t follow him in 2012? The undeniable truth is that he is nothing more than a .295/15/70/70/7 type of player, and these numbers simply won’t do considering the price tag. If you’re willing to take a risk on an injury-prone player, go ahead, but don’t come crying to me come season’s end when Freese disappoints you. I’m only going to laugh and say one thing: I TOLD YOU SO! –JO

Alex Rodriguez
A-Rod is a legend but he is getting older and had procedures on his shoulder and knee in the offseason. He will miss games this year and you have to be crazy to expect any stolen bases. Also, word on the street is a number of Yankees will see time at DH this season. On paper that should be great news, but A-Rod doesn’t fuck with DH’ing and hit under the Mendoza line as a DH last year. –SPF

David Wright
Many are expecting a bounce back year from third baseman David Wright, but from what I saw last year, I am taking the opposite approach. I don’t see Wright bouncing back to be the same player that he used to be. Pair this with the fact that he will be surrounded by trade rumors, which he has already said he is not looking forward to, and this could be a rough year for Wright. A player that is already bothered by trade rumors heading into the season is the type of player that will let something like that loom over his head and affect his play. Imagine if he struggles at the beginning of the season. The lack of mental toughness paired with on-the-field struggles could be bad news for Wright. Citi Field is not a hitter-friendly park, even though they have altered the dimensions some to help. I am predicting Wright to hit 15 homers or less and bat around .260. –JP

Ryan Zimmerman
A perfect example of people overvaluing a player based solely on potential. Zimmerman is talented, no doubt, but that has never translated into fantasy success. He has a career .191 ISO which, although good, is not elite. Yet year-after-year he gets drafted as a top 50 or 60 player. Sorry, but a 3B with one 30 HR season under his belt and a lengthy injury history doesn’t do it for me. –Marlo Stat-Field

Lance Berkman
Fat Elvis was expected to leave the building last year. He’s overweight, he’s ugly, and he’s old. I stayed away from him in all my leagues last year. Safe to say that was a big mistake. Berkman provided us with one last hurrah in 2011, posting an impressive line of .301/31/90/94. That’s right, last hurrah. Berkman is an aging vet, and I can’t fathom him living up to his expected draft day price. Keep in mind, he won’t have Albert Pujols in 2012, and as a result I fully expect diminished offensive production from the Cards as a whole. Berkman also posted some of his worst contact percentages last year, which doesn’t bode well for his 2012 average assuming those numbers continue to decline. The truth of the matter is that often times, when us fantasy “experts” get something wrong, we’re usually just a year off. It happens. Don’t draft rip van wrinkle in 2012, he’s my number one bust candidate. –JO

Nelson Cruz
Dude has the skill-set to dominate in roto, but he is simply too injury-prone. Guy has never started over 130 games and his average is all over the place. Fuck him. –SPF

B.J. Upton
Every year I see B.J. Upton ranked way higher than I think he should be ranked, and every year I avoid him in my drafts. I have never regretted that decision. Upton continued his disappointing trend by batting just .243 last season. Yes, he showed some more power, but I predict that he will probably drop below 20 HRs again. He also steals bases, but you can find a lot of shitty guys out there who can steal you some bases. With his average as low as it is, I would not be willing to sacrifice that for just a decent amount of homers and some SBs. I would take guys like Jason Heyward, Cameron Maybin, Jayson Werth, or Ben Zobrist before thinking about taking Upton. –JP

Matt Holliday
No Albert Pujols, an increase in strikeouts, and a big jump in grounders. Yeah, Matt Holliday is simply a name brand buy in fantasy this year. He no longer offers you any steals and is hardly a lock for 30 HRs, yet here he is getting drafted as a top 15 OF on draft day. Maybe he’ll sock 26-28 HRs and hit around .300, but I can rattle off a bunch of players with similar skill sets who will come way cheaper. Take a holiday from Holliday. –ISO Tough

Jeremy Hellickson
The reigning AL Rookie of The Year is a bust? Hell yeah. Hellickson is talented, but looking at his stats last year, it becomes clear that he should have won another award in 2011, luckiest SOB in the world. Hellickson posted an unsustainable .223 BABIP, suggesting that his 2.95 ERA will skyrocket. Want more proof? Hellickson also posted a turrrrible 4.44 FIP, 4.78 SIERA, and 4.72 xFIP. Safe to say, Hellickson is in for some tough times. I usually go cuckoo for young pitchers, but Hellickson is just not worth the risk, especially considering he doesn’t even strike out many batters (5.57 K/9 in 2011). Stay away from the youngster, he truly will live up to his name and be hell for his 2012 owners. –JO

Ryan Dempster
Ryan Dumpster, as I like to call him, had some serious regression last season. The Cubs will blow and I don’t smell a bounce back campaign. –SPF

Michael Pineda
Pineda was completely dominant in the first half of the 2010 season, but started to fall apart a bit in the second half. His ERA from April-September were as follows. 2.01, 2.81, 3.03, 6.75, 4.70, and 4.00. Part of the second-half struggles were probably because he was a rookie and the fatigue of the long season was kicking in, but I believe his lack of a second pitch also played a big role. Pineda has a lights out fastball that is almost untouchable when he is hitting his spots. However, his slider and changeup are still a work in progress. Another alarming statistic is his home and away splits. At home last year, Pineda had a 2.92 ERA, 82 strikeouts, and a 1.01 WHIP in 77 innings. Outside the pitcher-friendly Safeco Field, Pineda had a 4.40 ERA with 91 strikeouts, and a 1.17 WHIP in 94 innings. I am worried about how Pineda will adjust to playing in the hitter-friendly (understatement) Yankee Stadium. I think his ERA might be above 4.00, unless he has been working hard to improve his secondary stuff in the offseason. –JP

Ian Kennedy
Three reasons make me think Kennedy is due for a rude awakening in 2012. First, he gives up a lot of hard contact (21.9 LD% and 38.6 GB% in 2011). Second, his 8.03 K/9 from last year doesn’t sync up with the whiff potential he flashed (8.8 SwStr%). Third, his 7.7 HR/FB looks crazy lucky considering he plays in HR-friendly Chase Field. Add it all up, and you have a SP who should strike out fewer batters, give up more HRs, and thus suffer lousier numbers. The price is much too high for Kennedy considering all the red flags. –Stat Smear

Drew Storen
I like the guy, but where he’s being drafted in early mocks is ridiculous. I’ve seen him go before players like Craig Kimbrel and John Axford. Not cool bro. I’m sure Storen will have a nice 2012 campaign, but to take him where I expect him to go (think sixth to eighth round) would be utterly ridiculous. Storen has some nice stuff (8.84 K/9 in 2011) but he isn’t truly dominant. He also was a tad lucky last year, evident in his .246 BABIP. Storen will get saves, and is definitely a top 10 closer in this league, but he sure isn’t the best. You want to wait on the closer position and Storen just does not fit his draft day price. Thanks, but no thanks. –JO

Jordan Walden
He was pimping it hard for a while last season, but fell apart. He blew more saves than a majority of the closers in the game and I am afraid of a young guy who hasn’t proved he can handle the closer’s role. –SPF

Andrew Bailey
I always worry about how players will adjust to their change of scenery after a trade, especially when they are moving from a crappy team like Oakland to a highly scrutinized team like Boston. Bailey has good stuff, which is not a question. I am just worried about how he will adjust to the big-time pressure of an AL East closer. –JP

Joe Nathan
As a man who shares Nathan’s alma mater (SUNY Stony Brook 4 Life), I have a lot of respect for the man. So it pains me to say that Nathan will not be a very effective fantasy closer this season. Though his 2011 numbers on the surface look swell for a pitcher coming off Tommy John Surgery, his velocity was down and the long ball became more of an issue. Now he’s moving to hitter-friendly Texas, and the HRs should come aplenty against the aging closer (37 years old). Happy trails Joe. –Young Ric Flair



About Starbonell

Starbonell is the co-founder of Sons of Roto and one of the most insightful and colorful fantasy analysts in the game. Mixing intelligent and well-researched advice with an entertaining style of writing that is easy to digest, Starbonell is the king of info-tainment.