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; itâ€™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.
Yu Darvish: Texas Rangers
Darvish didnâ€™t finish the 2012 season necessarily strong and there are strong indications that Darvish could be more ordinary than extraordinary this year.
A 3.90 ERA for his rookie season (with an unhealthy 4.36 ERA in the second half) isnâ€™t going to earn Darvish a lot of trust in fantasy circles. Granted the strikeout numbers are nice, but Darvish could see limited run support this year seeing that Josh Hamilton, Michael Young and Michael Napoli all left town. So while the strikeouts might be there, he could see a dip in wins.
Darvish is no doubt a talented pitcher, but there is more hype attached to Darvishâ€™s name than actual substance. Relying on Darvish in 2013 for ace-like numbers could get dicey (Ed. Note-he is my Cy Young pick!).
Josh Hamilton: Los Angeles Angels
With a .260/.325/.440 career slash line at Angel Stadium, Hamilton is going to have to improve on those numbers if he is to be taken seriously as a player you can trust drafting in the first round.
Hamilton, who signed a lucrative deal in the offseason, has a lot to live up to. Will Hamilton stumble out of the gate the same way Albert Pujols did last year?
The chances of Hamilton of putting up monstrous numbers at Angel Stadium don’t appear to be in his favor. Besides, Hamilton has never been the picture of perfect health in Texas. Heâ€™s always good for missing at least 20 games each year. In fact, Hamilton has only played in more than 140 games once (last year-148) since 2008.
Add that with a rising strikeout rate (a career-worst 162 strikeouts in 562 at-bats in 2012) and Hamilton could disappoint owners who invest an early-round pick on him.
Edwin Encarnacion: Toronto Blue Jays
Can Encarnacion carry over the success he had in 2012 and put together two solid seasons back to back?
Encarnacion raised a few eyebrows in 2012 to post monster numbers (42 home runs, 110 RBIâ€™s and a .941 OPS). While Encarnacion has shown in the past he has pop in his bat, he hasnâ€™t so much as hit more than 20 home runs in back-to-back seasons. Sure, Encarnacion should easily surpass 20 home runs this year, but expecting north of 40 again could be wishful thinking.
For a guy whose career OPS is .815, Encarnacion is a solid selection, but he could be a disappointment if you reach for him in rounds three or four.
Roy Halladay: Philadelphia Phillies
After making just 25 starts last year and posting only mediocre numbers in the process (11-8, 4.49 ERA), Halladay is showing enough evidence that he is a pitcher in decline.
Even when he was healthy, Halladay demonstrated he doesnâ€™t have the same velocity that he had when he was in his prime. Halladayâ€™s 7.6 K/9 in 2012 is the worst ratio he has had since 2008. Plus, Halladay walked more batters than usual in 2012, posting a 2.1 BB/9, his worst mark since 2004.
The Phillies are getting old and Halladay doesnâ€™t have that much of an imposing offense behind him anymore and at 35, Halladay is not a recommended pitcher to be anchoring your staff.