Baseball is almost here, which means mock drafts are in full swing! The “Experts” have their rankings and projections out, and here are three outfielders who I think are ranked a little too high.
2014 Rankings Analysis - Outfielders (OF)
Billy Hamilton - OF, Cincinatti Reds
MLB.com has Hamilton ranked as the 72nd overall fantasy player. In the mock drafts I have been doing, I have seen owners take him before guys like Jason Heyward, Josh Hamilton, Yoenis Cespedes, Carlos Beltran and Alex Gordon. ARE YOU SERIOUS?!?!?!?!? A guy who uses his legs as his main talent isn’t going to do your fantasy team any good when he hasn’t proven he can even get on base at the Triple A level, much less the Big Show. He could have more SB than any other player in MLB, but I wouldn’t say that is worth drafting him above someone that could give you three, four or even five different categories. The Reds even sent him to play winter ball in Puerto Rico to work on his hitting-- that isn't really working out for him, as he hit a mean .205 with five walks in 44 at bats. Hamilton's OBP is horrible (.308 at AAA last year), and he has struck out over 100 times in three different minor league seasons. How do those numbers warrant his high ranking? Oh yeah, I remember-- he hit .368 with 13 SB in 19 AB in his call-up last year. I’m sorry, but I wouldn’t risk my fantasy season on picking him that early based on such a small sample size. Now, don’t get me wrong-- if he were to prove he could get on base at the top of that Reds lineup, I would probably be writing about him being the best leadoff hitter in the game. However, I live in reality, and it looks to me like the so-called “experts” should visit me here. As far as I'm concerned, Hamilton is my most overrated OF going into 2014.
Ryan Braun - OF, Milwaukee Brewers
I bet you're wondering how Braun, a former MVP, made this list, but think about it: I'm not sure even Ryan Braun can know what to expect of himself this year. He is coming off a horrible downward spiral. The Lance Armstrong of baseball has a lot to prove this year. After a 65-game suspension and numerous denial speeches, who is to say he wasn’t on performance enhancing drugs his whole career? With the amount of criticism he is going to be subjected to around the league, I want to see him prove I am wrong before I spend a first-round pick on him. MLB.com has Braun listed at the 12th overall fantasy player, still getting drafted in the first rounds of most mock drafts. I do not think he is super overrated, but with so many question marks around him, is he really worth your first-round pick? I think Braun’s 30+ SB years are over. I don’t even predict he will make it to 20 SB this year. I also don’t think he will top 30 HR-- more like 20-25-- and his batting average is likely to drop below .300, as well. In the mocks I've been doing, I've seen Braun drafted over players like Adam Jones, Joey Votto, Adrian Beltre and others . I would take all the aforementioned and others ahead of Braun. When it's all said and done at the end of the year, I'll bet no one would draft him earlier than late in the second round, and that’s about where I would feel comfortable drafting him if I were forced to. With all the talent available at that position, take a player with fewer question marks and leave Braun on the board. I say stick one of your leaguemates with the enigma that is Ryan Braun.
Curtis Granderson - OF, New York Mets
Injuries held The Grandy Man to just 61 games with the Yankees last year. The offseason brought him to the Mets on a four-year deal. I feel like I am having déjà vu. That’s right, Jason Bay did the same thing. Quick-- tell me where Bay is getting drafted now? That was rhetorical, because that same move ended up killing Bay’s career. The Mets have one of the worst teams in baseball, and no matter where Granderson ends up hitting, I don’t see it working out for either party. Even with the Mets pulling in the fences at Citi Field, it is still a horrible place to hit. The only player that seems to have figured it out is David Wright, and he is on whole other talent level compared to Granderson. MLB.com has Curtis ranked as the 71st overall fantasy player. Just like Billy Hamilton, Granderson is ranked ahead of the guys mentioned above, but also above Pedro Alvarez, Mark Trumbo and Ryan Zimmerman, each of whom I expect will have much better years than Granderson. In my mocks to this point, I see owners reaching for Grandy as high as the tenth round. That is really high for a player that I am projecting to hit .230 with 20-25 HR and fewer than 20 SB. You could be ending up with 2014’s version of B.J. Upton, and we all know how much of a disaster that was. Truth be told, I would hold out and actually draft B.J. Upton (bonus late-round sleeper right there for you) before I took Granderson this year. The Mets are hoping I am wrong, but I wouldn’t risk my chance at another league championship on it.