With Spring Training in earnest, that could only mean Draft Day is just around the corner. And with fantasy baseball drafts quickly approaching, that means you got to do your homework.
As with any other Draft Day you have to study and prepare. And avoiding busts is something you always want to stay clear of.
It happens to the best of us. No one is immune from drafting busts; it’s an occupational hazard when it comes to fantasy sports.
Here are a couple of busts you may want to avoid in the early rounds of drafts.
Aaron Hill: Arizona Diamondbacks
Hill surprised everyone last year en route to mashing 26 home runs and driving in 85 runs while posting an impressive .302/.360/.522 slash line. Those numbers put him in the upper echelon of second basemen.
However, can Hill, whose career OPS is .759, come anywhere close to duplicating the .882 OPS he posted last year? Well, Hill has never been one to put together productive back-to-back seasons. In 2009, Hill hit for a whopping 36 home runs and drove in 110 RBI’s with a healthy .286/.330/.499 slash line. The next year, while he did hit 26 home runs, Hill was otherwise awful with just 68 RBI’s and a meager .205/.271/.394 slash line while missing a few games.
When factoring in Hill’s durability and consistency-or lack thereof-he should be avoided in the early rounds.
Phil Hughes: New York Yankees
While people may tend to shy away from Hughes because of his recent back injury, the truth is Hughes could be in for a long year regardless of his health.
Always a threat for giving up home runs (1.6/9 rate in 2012), the saving grace for Hughes was the support he was going to get behind him and that he was good for a good amount of wins. Now, with the Yankees losing some offensive punch in the offseason (Nick Swisher, Russell Martin) and Alex Rodriguez missing most of the season, Hughes may find it more difficult to rack up the wins.
With a pedestrian strikeout rate (7.8 K/9) and his recent injury woes, Hughes is nothing better than a late round flier.
Chris Sale: Chicago White Sox
In 2012 Sale’s innings increased to 192, which was up 121 innings from his 2011 campaign. This season, there is the expectation that Sale might go way beyond 200 innings as the White Sox are set to take off the training wheels.
With the increase in workload, Sale started to break down last year as he posted a 4.03 ERA in the second half. That is opposed to the 2.19 mark he put up in the first half.
Sale might lose some of his bite this year, while trying to live up to last year’s standards. While he is still a recommended pitcher to target in the middle portions of drafts, he does come with some red flags.
Jarrod Parker: Oakland A’s
Parker had himself a fine rookie season last season, going 13-8 with a 3.47 ERA and 1.26 WHIP while leading the A’s to the playoffs.
Parker is far bet from repeating those numbers, though. Parker is not a a strikeout pitcher (only 140 in 181.1 innings pitched) and his fly ball tendencies may lead to more home runs this year, despite pitching in spacious O.Co Coliseum. You have to expect Parker will serve up more home runs, given that only six percent of the flyballs he gave up last year went for home runs.
Parker gets by on guile and deception. While not being armed with an overpowering arsenal of pitches and also not inducing many groundouts, Parker’s a perfect candidate for regression this year.