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February 15, 2012 posted by Collin Hager

2012 Fantasy Baseball – Yankee Busts

2012 Fantasy Baseball – Yankee Busts
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Alex Rodriguez, Yankees 3B

It is really easy to pick on the Yankees. They have a bloated payroll, they play in what has become a band box of a ball park, they win too much, pick a reason. In the fantasy world, there is even a “tax” to draft them simply because the lineup is so powerful.

Whether you want to own Robinson Cano, Mariano Rivera, or even Freddy Garcia, a premium becomes associated with selecting them off a draft board. That can cost owners and lead to some major busts and disappointments. Two such players are the focus here – Alex Rodriguez and Curtis Granderson.

Granderson is the more intriguing. Without a doubt he performed at an incredibly high level in 2011. His 41 home runs to go with 119 RBI and 136 runs scored made him one of if not the most desirable outfielders. Throw in 25 steals and you had a four-category player that certainly was able to mitigate a .262 average.

The problem comes in that there is an expectation level being set that is largely unrealistic. Drafts already have Granderson going as high as the number six overall selection with his average being pick 19. Those numbers are decidedly based on his ability to duplicate 2011. Historically, that does not seem to be in the cards.

In 2011, Granderson hit a full 33 percent more home runs than his previous single-season career high. Additionally, it was the first time that he had ever driven in more than 90 runs, leaving alone the fact that he nearly had 120. It is certainly within the realm of possibility to see his average at or above .270 to go with 100 runs scored and 20 steals again, but the other categories are likely to see some retreat.

The home runs just do not mesh with his career. Granderson’s HR/FB ratio was 6 points better than his previous career-best mark though he had a similar percentage of overall fly ball totals. His ISO, slugging percentage, and OBP were all career-high marks.

The point being that with a first-round selection, it seems many would be expecting another career year for the outfielder. While he stands a reasonable chance to hit better than 25 home runs and drive in 80, fantasy owners need to set the bar there as opposed to the potential disappointment they may feel if not.

Rodriguez is a health and age concern. The problem becomes amplified because he plays a thin position at Third Base. We often forget that Rodriguez will be 37 this year and has not played more than 140 games in a season since 2007. With that his home run totals have fallen in every year. Overall, he is still being drafted around the 60th pick, making him a top-five round selection in 12-team formats. The top five rounds is not an area where fantasy owner can afford a big mistake. Rodriguez provides enough risk that the bust potential outweighs the history.

Rodriguez is drafted sixth overall at the position, just behind Brett Lawrie and ahead of Pablo Sandoval, Kevin Youkilis, and Aramis Ramirez. Can Rodriguez justify the selection with performance? His speed is no longer there as he has stolen more than 20 bases just once since 2006. He has not hit .300 since 2008. Rodriguez is becoming a two-category player at best. He should be able to drive in 100 runs but very few projections have him coming close to 30 home runs.

The line for him in 2012 probably looks like .280/25/100 with 85 runs scored and maybe 10 steals. Add in the risk factors associate with his age and his overall health and there are problems to be had in using a selection on Rodriguez in the first five rounds.

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