MLB Draft Busts

Posted: 03/09/2013 by levcohen in Baseball

Now it’s time to go over some guys who might not preform up to expectations. These guys  might end up playing well, just not up to how they are being drafted today.

Guys drafted between 1-50 that are going too early:

Josh Hamilton: Hamilton is the 16th player going off the board right now, and I think he should be drafted in the third round of a 10 team league instead of the second. The main negatives to Hamilton are his injury history, his high strike out rate, his declining average and his lack of speed. Hamilton missed on a league high 36% of his swings last season, and that was bound to lower his average. It did, to a still solid .285. I don’t see him getting much better than that in terms of average, which means he is below the median in terms of average among players drafted near where he is. Hamilton’s career high in steals is nine; It’s clear he isn’t a five category guy. Hamilton’s runs, home runs and RBI are going to be elite, barring (fairly likely) injury. Based on those three categories, Hamilton should be a top 10 player. But when taking into account his batting average, lack of speed, and stuff that doesn’t show up in stats (injury history), I wouldn’t feel confident drafting him so early.

Dustin Pedroia and Ian Kinsler: Kinsler and Pedroia are both being drafted mid to late in the third round. Pedroia is going 26th overall, with Kinsler going 29th. I’m not disputing the fact that both of these players are very good. In fact, I’d agree with ESPN’s designation of Pedroia and Kinsler as the second and third best 2nd basemen, respectively. But both of these guys have two categories of the core five (most ESPN leagues use R-HR-RBI-AVG-SB) that are below average. You could argue that I could say that about any number of highly drafted players, and I’d agree (not in the top 10, hopefully), but neither Pedroia nor Kinsler can offset their deficiencies with elite stats in other categories. Let’s take a look at each:
Pedroia’s projected stats (via ESPN): .293, 92 R, 17 HR, 70 RBI, 2o SB
Pedroia’s projected stats (via ZIPS- a very good projector): .295, 104 R, 18 HR, 87  RBI, 22 SB
Based on the ESPN projection, Pedroia will be good in average, runs and stolen bases. His worst categories, home runs and RBI, aren’t horrible but they are below average for a top 30 guy. ZIPS gives us a different story. If Pedroia hits like ZIPS thinks he will, he is worth the top 30 pick. . The runs are safely in the elite tier, and ZIPS thinks Pedroia will be above average in RBI, and just about average in HR. I’m banking on the ESPN projection and not ZIPS.

Kinsler’s projected stats (via ESPN): .265, 103 R, 23 HR, 68 RBI, 21 SB
Kinsler’s projected stats (via ZIPS): .263, 103 R, 23 HR, 74 RBI, 24 SBZIPS and ESPN agree with their Kinsler prediction. He is elite in terms of runs, and above average in HR and SB, but his average and RBI should be below average. I don’t think a guy who has two below average stats should be in the top 30 unless their other three stats are elite. If Kinsler were a 30-30 guy, I’d put him up there. But he isn’t.

Jered Weaver: Jered Weaver should not be considered a fantasy ace anymore. Sure, he still puts up great ERA and WHIP. And his win totals always end up high. But those numbers are often based somewhat on luck. ERA and WHIP can vary based on BABIP (batters average on balls in play) and other things like it. Wins can vary based on the runs a team puts up on any given night. What usually isn’t fluky is strikeouts, and that is where Weaver is decidedly not elite. He K’d just 140 guys last year, and the average pitcher K’s more. I’d rather have a guy like Cole Hamels or Cliff Lee or even Madison Bumgarner or Yu Darvish because I know they will rack up the K’s.

Guys drafted 51-100 who are going too early:

James Shields: This might be a little unfair to Shields. Nothing he did hints at possible regression, but I just see it coming. This is partly because of his change of teams this offseason. He went from Tampa Bay, a good team but more importantly a good pitchers park, to Kansas City. His ERA could go up a notch from an already less than stellar 3.52 number. His wins could go down to 13 or 14. The strikeouts are there, but I’m not sure much else positive will be.

Any Reliever: I just don’t see the point of drafting a non-Craig Kimbrel before pick 100. The closer spot varies too much from year to year and even month to month, and relievers don’t throw 1/3 the innings that SP’s throw. It makes them a lot less likely to effect a fantasy team’s pitching numbers drastically.

Michael Bourn: Yes, Bourn is one of the best base stealers in the MLB. And yes, he scored 96 runs last season. He even hit a career high nine home runs. I just am not a fan of serving up a 6th or 7th round pick for a basically one category guy- especially when it is a base stealer who is 30. Bourn hits .270, he will be in the single digits in homers and he won’t drive in more than 60 runs (probably more like 45-50). I just don’t see the appeal of drafting him when you can draft a guy like Ichiro or Angel Pagan a lot later.

Guys drafted outside the top 100 who are going too early:

Actually, once you get outside the top 100 you can’t really be drafting anyone way too early. It is late in the draft, after all. Here are some guys who I think are going to early:
Joel Hanrahan
Nelson Cruz
Mike Napoli
Torii Hunter
Doug Fister


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