Draft Day Decision: Five Outfielders To Avoid In 2012

There are a lot of reasons that people may suggest not drafting a player.  It could be based on injuries (both a high risk for one or the recovery of a previous one), potential loss of playing time, diminishing performance or various things in between.  Let’s take a look at five outfielders I likely won’t be drafting in 2012:

1) Jason Heyward – Atlanta Braves
I’ve already shared my feelings on Heyward (click here to view), but it definitely is worth repeating.  All the talk is of injuries in 2011 costing him from producing or that he has been working on improving his swing.  We can also talk about all of the potential in the world, but the fact of the matter is that until we see it on the field, how can we justify drafting him within the first 10 rounds (according to Mock Draft Central he has an ADP of 107.39 and has been drafted as early as 65)?

What do you need to hit home runs?  Fly balls, right?  How is Heyward going to do that when he consistently buries the ball into the ground?  It is not like it was just 2011 that this was a problem:

  • 2010 – 55.1%
  • 2011 – 53.9%

In the past three years 65 players who qualified for the batting title have posted a groundball rate of 50% or greater.  Of those only 4 hit at least 20 HR, so that really should tell us everything we need to know.  I am not about to say that he doesn’t have potential, but I am not about to take the gamble with that high of a draft pick.  Not considering what he’s shown thus far in his career. 

2) Drew Stubbs – Cincinnati Reds
I gave my projection for Stubbs recently (click here to view), which was a line of .255 with 18 HR, 65 RBI, 80 R and 34 SB.  It’s not a bad line by any stretch, but people are overvaluing Stubbs thinking that he can suddenly become something that he’s not.  Actually, its two things that he’s not, as people want to believe that he can be a leadoff hitter and a source of power.  Unfortunately, neither are exactly accurate.

We all saw him hit 22 HR in 2010, but he had never shown that type of upside before.  His minor league high was just 12 HR (in 2007).  In 486 AB at Triple-A he hit just 5 HR.  The 2010 number is probably his ceiling, but it is definitely not his floor.

As far as the leadoff hitter, he just strikes out way too much.  Last season he was at a ridiculous 30.1% mark.  To hit atop a Major League order, with Joey Votto, Brandon Phillips and Jay Bruce behind you, you have to get on base.  If you aren’t making contact, you aren’t getting on base. 

So, you have a player who could struggle to hit for average and is going to hit lower in the order.  That means that he’s not going to score as many runs as we’d like him to, just further hurting his value.  The red flags just keep coming.

3) Curtis Granderson – New York Yankees
As I’ve said before (click here to view), my reasoning for avoiding Granderson has nothing to do with his ability.  He is a tremendous option, but if people are reaching in the early second round for him due to his 2011 success they are likely going to be sorely disappointed.

Does anyone really think that he can come even close to 41 HR, 119 RBI and 136 R?  The 20.5% HR/FB rate is higher than he’s ever posted before (previous best in a season with at least 450 AB was 14.5%).  That alone should be a red flag, but people simply don’t score 136 runs in a season.  He’s going to regress, it is a foregone conclusion.

4) Carlos Lee – Houston Astros
People are going to draft him for his name “value”, but it really hasn’t been there for a few years at this point.  The last time Lee scored more than 67 runs was in 2007, his first year in Houston.  If that alone isn’t enough of a reason to avoid him, there is plenty more.

You don’t want to count the fact that he offers no speed whatsoever (16 SB total the past four seasons), then what about his declining power:

  • 2006 – 37 HR
  • 2007 – 32 HR
  • 2008 – 28 HR
  • 2009 – 26 HR
  • 2010 – 24 HR
  • 2010 – 18 HR

That is a decline in HR for six consecutive seasons.  Do you still have any interest in him, because you shouldn’t.

5) Nelson Cruz – Texas Rangers
If he could ever stay healthy for an entire season he would be an absolute no-brainer.  However, can we really expect that?  He has never had more than 475 AB in a Major League season, nor has he played more than 128 games.

Yes, the numbers are impressive, but according to Mock Draft Central he is currently the 15th outfielder coming off the board (48.47 ADP).  Considering he is almost a given to miss a few weeks, at the least, do you really want to invest that heavily in him?  It just doesn’t make sense to me.

***** Order the Rotoprofessor 2012 Fantasy Baseball Draft Guide, complete with updates from January through the start of the season, for just $6! As an added bonus, if you purchase by 3/15 you will be entered to win a Michael Pineda autographed baseball! To place your order click here. *****

Make sure to check out our look at other players to avoid for the 2012 campaign:


  1. MJ says:

    I will once again STRONGLY disagree with you on Heyward. The fact remains that the outfield position is getting weaker every year….especially in keeper leagues where all the best ones are already gone. So if you have a chance to get a POTENTIAL star in Heyward he is by far and away worth the gamble. Now if you are just talking about re-draft leagues…then I’ll agree with you that he’s not worth the gamble. But in keeper leagues there is no way I am passing on a potential future keeper like Heyward if he is around in the 10th round!!!

    • jmax says:

      I don’t think he really speaks of keeper leagues. He rarely does. The 10th round of a keeper league is a whole different story. A 5 keeper league makes Heyward a 15th round pick. Obviously the odds make for a good gamble at that point….

      • MJ says:

        Our keeper league works differently I guess. If you keep 5 non-rookies then you start drafting in round 6. So when I talk about drafting Heyward in round 10…it is really round 10 of a 12 team league.

    • Rotoprofessor says:

      MJ, jmax nailed it. Obviously league rules are going to change things and, if he’s there later than expected I would consider him also. Everyone’s specific rules are going to change your outlook slightly.

      That said, in yearly leagues he really needs to come at a discount for me to consider him. There is just way too much risk involved at this point.

  2. jmax says:

    Hey it’s me again!!! Totally off topic however. I have a question I’d like a few opinions on. I’m thinking there will most likely be a future article on this but Im getting anxious. This could be a long post but here goes.
    I have a draft on March 9th. It’s the most costly draft Ive participated in and I wanna crush. I prefer to get in drafts later so I can see whats gone on in spring training. My pick is 5 of 14. 5 keepers/points league. I like snatching a 3B early however in a keeper I kinda like Longoria over Bautista bc of ADP and in this league there r Blue Jay fans and there’s a good chance Jose goes before my 5th pick. I’d be ok w Tulo but there’s no gaurantee I get him @ 5 either. Also by the time my 2nd pick comes round Im looking at Stanton or McCutchen. If I stay at pick 5 and take an OF 2nd I definatly wanna have Tulo or Longo. HOWEVER 5th pick is way to early for Longo. Im thinking about moving down to get Longo and cement a better 2nd rd pick.
    MY QUESTION is where do u prefer to pick??? Any comments on my strategy??? If u read all this and commented I greatly appreciate it.

    • yummy says:

      Take Tulo at the 5 pick… then grab Teixeira in Rd 2 and you should still be able to get McCutcheon with your 3rd pick. Or at least Hamilton.

      • jmax says:

        For you to better know my draft strategy u must know my psychology. Myself, I’d take Tulo top 3 so I don’t anticipate getting him at 5. I don’t think McCutcheon should slide that far and I don’t go early on 1B. Hamilton worries me also. I totally shot down ur reply but I do appreciate it.

    • Rotoprofessor says:

      It really depends, honestly. I generally like to be in the middle of the draft so I can adjust to the various runs/swings that inevitably occur.

      However, this season in all the mocks I have done I love being at the end of the draft. There are a lot of players who fall in that late round potential spot (like Longoria), that you can nab two of them and be in great shape.

      That said, I also wouldn’t have an issue standing pat and getting Tulo at 5 (or someone like Adrian Gonzalez, though it sounds like you want to draft based on position scarcity). I think it all comes down to what you can get in the trade

      • jmax says:

        I have a close friend who I’ve made many deals w in the past picking at 12. Longo’s ADP is 12th. It’s yr one of the league so I’d be asking for an additional pick. I’ll tell him I’ll give him a friendly discount and ask for his 4th……

    • Nick Tenaglia says:

      In all honesty I try to ignore ADP when I am drafting players…. Wait that came out wrong. What I mean is that if Longo’s ADP is 12 and I have pick #5, and I want Longo, then I will take him at #5.
      Furthermore, if a guy that I don’t like (eg Nelson Cruz) has his ADP at 48 and that player is still available at pick #59, I don’t feel that I have to pick him simply because he is the best player available.

      My strategy in snaked drafts is to identify 3-4 players that I would definitely take in the first round at my pick. So at pick #5, I would plan to take either Braun, Tulo, Ellsbury or J-Upton. And then each round going forward I will pick another 3-4 players on the fly for each round depending on what my Team Needs are. So if you are doing a h2h league and you are punting steals, then starting loading up on power hitters. Or if its a Roto league, and you have 3 guys who are 30+ HR hitters, then go grab Michael Bourn or Des Jennings.

      So really my advice is two-fold:
      1. Be flexible, both in your Team Strategy as well as your Round-to-Round preparation
      2. Don’t have any sacred cows*. If you want to take a player a round early, or you want to pass on a player that you don’t like, then just do it. ADP is not the Bible to drafting, so don’t be afraid to go against the grain

      *Sacred Cow: Something that is considered immune from question or criticism, especially unreasonably so.

      • jmax says:

        I hear ya but don’t get me wrong, ADP is just a reference (and a very good one) and I know that. But I can’t see myself taking a guy like Longo 5th when I can trade down from 5th to 12th take Longoria and add another draft pick on top. That’s just me.

        • Nick Tenaglia says:

          Right this is a different situation because you know ahead of time that you are in the 5 slot. But what happens if you trade down to 12 to get Longo, but Longo is taken by then?

          To be honest I think you can land Tulo at #5, which is a much better option that Longo at #12, even if you would get an extra 4th Round pick. Not only do you secure a SS (the shallowest position in MLB), but you get a better player…

          -Tulo is basically the same age (26 years old versus 25)
          -Tulo has been playing 2 years longer
          -Tulo is entering his prime
          -Tulo has a higher Average, OBP, Slugging, wOBA
          -Tulo has just as many HR with better SB potential
          -And after locking up SS, you can then draft Beltre is round 2/3, or Lawrie in round 4 or Aramis in Round 5

          • jmax says:

            Believe me I love Tulo. If I knew I was getting him at the 5 spot we wouldn’t be having this convo. But I believe Longo at 12 is a safer bet than Tulo at 5

  3. Ender says:

    “Does anyone really think that he can come even close to 41 HR, 119 RBI and 136 R? ”

    If I thought he was repeating that line I’d be drafting him 1st overall. He has displayed 30+ HR power for 3 straight years. Has always been a 20+ SB guy and is in a great lineup. The AVG stinks so you need to pair him early with someone like Pedroia but he certainly deserves to be going early 2nd round.

    Carlos Lee is being drafted extremely late so I don’t really agree with him either or well I do but so does everyone else. He is still on the board in my 16 team slow draft in the 12th round and at that point he is probably worth it.

    I like Nelson Cruz in daily leagues when you can slot someone else in for him instantly if he gets hurt. I avoid him in weekly leagues though.

  4. Doctor Gonzo says:

    Just read the entire thread, excellent stuff. This is honestly one of the best sites I have found for fantasy insight…and the Professor even responds! It’s almost unheard of!!

    I need help and you fellas seems like a sound bunch to maybe provide.

    Eight keeper league, 14 teams. The roster deadline is TONIGHT at midnight.

    We are keeping ;

    King Felix

    Those six we are keeping, hands down. But we have four players for the final two spots;

    Ian Kennedy
    David Wright
    Moose Tacos

    I am literaly loosing sleep over this and I have a prostate the size of a cantalope.

    Someone please help!!!

    • jmax says:

      I’d go David Wright and Gallardo. Both have high upsides.

      • jmax says:

        I always have after thoughts after originally posting. By the looks of your other keepers you must be in position to make a run for the crown. That would take waiting on moustakous (sp?) out of the equation for me

    • Rotoprofessor says:

      Doctor Gonzo, I truly appreciate your support and am always here to help!

      While I am down on Wright, I do agree that he is definitely one I would consider (as I wouldn’t keep 4 SP). Moustakas could still be a few years away, so there is no reason to wait on him. You might as well take advantage of Wright now, then trade him later if the situation calls for it.

      That leaves us with the two SP and for me, while it’s close, I am a huge fan of Gallardo and would keep him. His strikeout upside is huge and gives him the advantage.

  5. Doctor Gonzo says:

    Gallardo is probably taking the edge based on pure stuff. His happens to be filthy, but Kennedy just seems like a smarter pitcher to me, which tends to make me think stability is a more sure thing.

    As for Moose Tacos, yes we would have to wait, but that is how we wound up with David Wright,Stanton, Strasburg. It’s a deep league, so once you get your hands on young talent, you’re a fool to let it go.

    And i am a Mets fan, Wright just scares me. Two consecutive down years and no one on base in front of him.

    It’s a gamble, but I have always been a Kenny Rogers fan.

    So I spose’ it comes down to Moose or Wright….sigh…as the clock strikes midnight

    • Rotoprofessor says:

      I understand where you are coming from, but you have a roster that can win now. Why look towards the future when you have a player who can help bring hom a championship in 2012?

      I would much rather keep Wright and then draft someone like Nolan Arenado, if you want a 3B of the future, whose upside is probably higher than Moustakas’.

  6. Doctor Gonzo says:

    First of Professor, I want to thank you for all you do. This website has been a true fantasy weenies dream!

    When the clock struck twelve, cooler heads prevailed and Wright and Gallardo both remain on the squad. Also, a tip o’ the cap for the Arenado name drop, most people couldn’t even spell the name.

    We have been in our league for nine years, won it twice and placed in the top three every year but two. We generally always have strong keepers, I just get so stressed dropping such strong preformers.

    Side bar: Honest opinion, where can one go for a sound SS this year? i know you aren’t big on Dee Gordon. How far away is Machado? Or will this be the year the royals finally have a strong SS again?

    I am desperate, lat year we spent our first round pick (9th over all round in our keeper league, we had the final pick as we won the year before) on Ian friggin Desmond. That should you how desperate we are to handcuff a strong SS to Cano.

    Thanks again Proff

    The Doctor-

    • Nick Tenaglia says:

      How deep are you looking for SS help? Is Alexei Ramirez available? He’s currently the 13th SS being taken, and about 16 spots after Dee Gordon. Ramirez is a much safer bet to produce than Gordon. Plus Ramirz will fill up all categories, whereas Gordon is really just a speed guy

      What about Zack Cozart? His ADP is 256, so he must be available. He is in the Alexei mold where he can get 15-15 HR/SB numbers with 65-75 Run/RBI potential.

      If we are talking prospects….
      Machado is still a couple years away
      Profar is further than Machado
      People call Sano a SS, but he is a 3B in-the-making
      Nick Franklin? Eh, still need to wait and see. High K-Rate scares me. Plus, he will be playing at Safeco, which isn’t good for anyone
      Hak-Ju Lee would be worth a flier. He has a chance to hit the bigs this year, and he is a solid hitter. No power, but he could be the future leadoff man for Tampa

    • Rotoprofessor says:

      Doctor – I’ll go into more detail a little bit later, but I actually am a very big fan of Gordon (kept him in an auction league for $2 myself). It all depends on exactly when you are looking to target a SS, honestly, and if you are thinking “now” or “long-term”?

  7. Doctor Gonzo says:

    Nick- EXCELLENT response. Lee was on my radar but they way Maddon coaches, I fear platoons in Tampa. Alexi is being kept, saddly. Cozart may our guy, but with the keepers we have in place, we are looking for average/speed/runs at the postition.


    Honestly, i’ll take it where ever I can get it. We dug Gordon up last year, so we have a tender spot in our hearts for him. He may not even make it all the way down to us, so like I said above, Cozart may be our guy but he doesn’t fit the mold we are looking for balance wise.

    For one reason or another, our first round pick is always a punt anyways. We took Rickie Weeks twice, and as ashamed as I am to admit it, we even took Brett Boone the year he ended up getting cu from the twins.

    It feels so good to get that off my chest. This is like a fantasy support group!

    -The Doctor

    • Nick Tenaglia says:

      If you want speed/average/runs, a sleeper prospect that you might want to look out for is Andrelton Simmons (Atlanta). After getting over 500 AB in High-A last year he should begin the season at AA. While Pastornicky slated to play SS, there is a good chance that he won’t be sticking there. His defensive scouting says that he is better slated for the 2B slot. And his hitting is decent, but nothing special.

      If Simmons can light the world on fire with his bat, then he might get on the fast track and move quickly. His defense is ahead of the curve, although sometimes he tries to do too much. He makes great contact at the plate, leading to low walks and low strikeouts. Put a little speed with that and he might be the answer that you are looking for.

  8. Doctor Gonzo says:

    What’s his MLB ETA? He sounds perfect but I gotta do some research myself to confirm, but you sound wonderfully educated on the subject.

    He sounds like someone I would have to just plop on my bench and let marinate. If Ian Desmond is on my team again, I am going to punch myself in the face, so I need some one in the majors to start the season.

    The JJ hardys, Emilo Bonifacios and Erik Aybars of the world. They should be all there to be had, but I can’t see going wire to wire with any of them, unless there is some kind of major uptick in career trends.

    A name I kick around alot and have been folowing for a few years is Cliff Pennington. After the Bobby Crosby debacle in OAK, I just sorta followed him. I think he has some good days ahead of him. I feel similar to Alicedes Escobar.

    So if I can grab a stop gap SS and maybe have a pup on the bench just waiting to pop, that would be nice.

    -The Doctor

    • Nick Tenaglia says:

      If Aybar is available then grab him…. If I had to rank those guys (keeping in mind your roster needs), I would say Aybar would be the best (25 SBs with 90+ Run potential). Bonifacio would be next, but he is a risky play to start the season. However, once Reyes inevitably goes on the DL, Boni should pick up more value as he would most likely bat leadoff. I love JJ Hardy, purely for his power potential. If I wasn’t giving more weight to the speed aspect of Aybar/Bonifacio, Hardy would have ben my #1. Pennington would be 4th on that last.

      As far as Simmons’ ETA, its tough to say. He has an outside chance of earning some PT this season, but only if his hitting matures (aka, gain some patience). If he cannot fix that aggressiveness, then look to next season (probably middle of the summer). But really anything can happen

  9. Doctor Gonzo says:

    I know ol’ Cliffy ain’t anything sexy, and seeing his name printed under my comment makes me feel sheepish. I don’t know why, I just always see his stat line and he has some nice little hot streaks.

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