Last Year's Bums Team

It's nearly always the case that the market overreacts to recent performance, and so often players who were disappointing last year wind up being good values. This was the case with Vernon Wells, Alex Rios, Josh Hamilton, Vlad Guerrero, Geovany Soto, Delmon Young, Chris Young (AZ), Corey Hart, Aubrey Huff, Francisco Liriano and Ervin Santana among others in 2010. The key is to target players who are mostly healthy, reasonably assured of playing time and underperformed expectations a year ago for whatever reason. Here's my preliminary list for 2011:

C: Matt Wieters, Russell Martin, Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Alex Avila
1B: Derrek Lee, Carlos Lee, Lance Berkman, Matt LaPorta, Carlos Pena
2B: Gordon Beckham, Chone Figgins, Ben Zobrist, Aaron Hill
3B: Alex Rodriguez, Aramis Ramirez, Pablo Sandoval, Mark Reynolds, Ian Stewart, Chipper Jones
SS: Jimmy Rollins, Alcides Escobar, Jason Bartlett, J.J. Hardy
OF: Justin Upton, Denard Span, Dexter Fowler, Alex Gordon, Julio Borbon, Manny Ramirez, Michael Brantley
SP: Javier Vazquez, Josh Beckett, A.J. Burnett, Homer Bailey, Randy Wells, Mark Buehrle, Rick Porcello
RP: Joe Nathan, Jonathan Broxton

I almost think you could invest blindly in these guys, i.e., just bid $1 more than the room for as many of them as your budget allows, and you'd probably finish in the money. I'll have more thoughts over the next few weeks as to which players I like in particular, but this underperforming 2010 group as a whole will very likely deliver more than its collective draft day price.


By: Scott Pianowski
On: 2/15/2011 10:41:00 AM
Salty is a bum *every year.*

Derek Jeter belongs on the shortstop list. He's never been this (relatively) cheap; he's similar to the A-Rod case.

I'd make it a "two Escobars" list and add Yunel to the shortstop pool. As for Alcides Escobar, he's been a little trendy in some early leagues, a little expectant.
By: Chris Liss
On: 2/15/2011 10:51:00 AM
Thought about Jeter, but don't think he'll be much cheaper than he was (maybe $3-4). Salty will cost you almost nothing, and he's got a job. Agreed on Alcides - probably trendy in our circles.
By: ScoresheetOwner
On: 2/15/2011 11:23:00 AM
I think Wieters is the cream of the crop - it is amazing to me how far his stock is fallen. He is only 24, and two years ago you would have had to sell the farm to get him for your team.
As far as Berkman, I wonder how playing the OF in St Louis this year will effect him. He (and Derrek Lee) sure did not look good at the plate last year.
By: kennruby
On: 2/15/2011 2:07:00 PM
One of the best thing about bidding on guys like these is there's always at least one owner who wants nothing to do with them - the guy who owned him *last* year.

someone who owned Carlos Lee in the first half of 2010.
By: tumanic
On: 2/15/2011 2:10:00 PM
Good write up and good perspective. I am a strong believer in the "buy low" strategy as long as injury isn't involved. Still, it will take a real good bargain and a bottle of whiskey for me to take Rollins and Arod again this year! :)
By: matthewthill7
On: 2/15/2011 3:02:00 PM
Another trend that you inadvertently identified? Nobody should be scared to wait on outfielders, especially after 2010 gave us the perfectly useful Bautista, Torres, Pagan, Swisher, Gardner, Raburn, Rasmus, Luke Scott and Drew Stubbs, in addition to the eight guys you listed above. Personally, that information makes me a little less apt to spend a 4th round pick on a Shin-Soo Choo. That type of starting-level talent is simply not typically available so cheaply/easily for the IF positions.
By: lvtdude
On: 2/15/2011 4:47:00 PM
The only reason I wouldn't spend a high pick on Choo is that you can get nearly identical production from Hunter Pence, 4 to 5 rounds later. Choo is #25 on the Rotowire ADP, whereas Pence comes in at #81.
By: Mark Stopa
On: 2/15/2011 4:58:00 PM
Hard to say Nathan was a "bum" when he was out for the year. It's not like anyone got burned by him.
By: Chris Liss
On: 2/15/2011 5:18:00 PM
Tell that to Lawr Michaels who bought him at AL LABR an hour before the news broke.
By: Chris Liss
On: 2/15/2011 6:01:00 PM
Agreed about the depth of the OF pool. Actually, it's not that it's necessarily deep, but that there are so many players who are hard to value and who could be good that you might as well gamble later in the draft.
By: Chris Liss
On: 2/15/2011 6:04:00 PM
Also agree on Wieters - would have no problem getting stuck with him once the top-5 guys (V-Mart, Mauer, Posey, McCann and Santana) are long gone.
By: Scott Pianowski
On: 2/15/2011 6:29:00 PM
I wouldn't call Wieters a post-hype sleeper, necessarily, though he'll get that tag in some places. I think he's a reduced-hype sleeper. Hopes and expectations are still lofty on him, just not ridiculous.

Let me frame it this way - at the current Wieters ADP, you still need his stats to improve to break even. Nothing wrong with that; I'm just pointing out that there are expectations here, and you need growth to occur for it to work. Many of these other players, they just have to revert back to a level of production that they've already demonstrated.

By: rsteingall
On: 2/15/2011 6:30:00 PM
Good list, and I agree with Pianow on Yunel.

Jason Bay fits this mold, as does Sizemore. At the very least, those two could patrol the outfield of the Injury Related Bums team.
By: Chris Liss
On: 2/15/2011 6:41:00 PM
True - Wieters won't be cheap, but he'll be cheaper than in years past. He's not yet Alex Gordon.
By: Chris Liss
On: 2/15/2011 6:42:00 PM
Bay probably qualifies, but I think Sizemore still comes with real risk given his injury and so his discount is more warranted.
By: Dalton Del Don
On: 2/15/2011 8:10:00 PM
"Agreed about the depth of the OF pool. Actually, it's not that it's necessarily deep, but that there are so many players who are hard to value and who could be good that you might as well gamble later in the draft." - Bingo. Well put.
By: Dalton Del Don
On: 2/15/2011 8:12:00 PM
I also agree with Pianow regarding Salty and Wieters.
By: mvbb17
On: 2/21/2011 7:06:00 PM
I'd also add the following: Lind, Quentin, Ellsbury, Crisp, Damon, and Francoeur. I like J.J. Hardy - he can be the Alex Gonzalez of last year.

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