There are are plenty of overrated fantasy baseball players, but these guys are a bit unique. Plenty of people we call “overrated” just don’t belong on any fantasy team at any team.
That’s not the case with any of these guys. They all belong on your fantasy teams, just not where they’re going to be drafted. When you’re looking at all three of these guys, you should be looking at least a round below their average draft positions.
1. Yasiel Puig — Los Angeles Dodgers
I’ll start here by handling what I’m sure people who disagree with me will say. So, yes, I am a Giants fan and yes, Yasiel Puig is far from my favorite player.
It’s all true, it’s just not why he lands here. I am just having a hard time getting past that .214 batting average in September and wondering if the league made a bit of an adjustment to him that will manifest in a bigger way throughout 2014.
Normally, I wouldn’t be too skeptical. But Puig is an incredibly aggressive hitter at the plate who has most of his success early in the count — often on the first pitch. What will happen when the incredibly aggressive hitter is swinging at pitches he can’t put in play? He’ll fall behind in the count and then hoping the pitcher makes a big mistake. It’ll happen sometimes, but it’s not a great recipe for long term success.
Now, Puig’s a talented enough player and I’m certainly not saying that he shouldn’t be on fantasy rosters in 2014. He can absolutely be a starting player on a championship team, as long as said team doesn’t go too crazy for him. In 2014, I’d have a hard time justifying taking him in the first 20 picks or so. After that, go for it.
If we’re talking about 2015, go for it? Puig will have a fine career. If we’re talking about a third round pick or later, Puig is fine. But Puig’s potential is going to cause him to be overrated in the drafts this year.
2. Carlos Gonzalez — Colorado Rockies
At first glance, there’s nothing to not like about Carlos Gonzalez. Other than Mike Trout, he’s got more potential to be dominant in all five fantasy categories than anyone in the game. As if all of that wasn’t enough, he plays all of his games at Coors Field. So why in the world would I call him overrated? Well…
Carlos Gonzalez Games Played
In his Age 28 season, you wouldn’t think that injuries would be a concern, but you’d also think that someone would have managed to play at least 150 games in his Age 24, 25, 26, or 27 seasons. Yet as you can see, Gonzalez has never hit that number.
The overrated part comes from the fact that we’re consistently looking at Cargo as a first-round draft pick, and I just can’t do that from a guy that I know is good for at least 20 missed games during a season and could possibly miss as many as 40-50. I wouldn’t think about Gonzalez until the middle of the second round, despite the potential. I just need a little more certainty from first round picks.
Now, a lot of this can be said about Gonzalez’s Colorado running-mate Troy Tulowitzki, as well. While I personally wouldn’t draft Tulo that high either, his position’s scarcity makes it justifiable.
3. Brandon Belt — San Francisco Giants
Here’s a prototypical “better real player than fantasy player” type of guy. He can hit behind the runners, run the bases well, and play good defense. Unfortunately, none of that will do much for his fantasy value.
The hard thing to get past with Brandon Belt is that he’s never put together a strong start-to-finish season. Yes, he’s had some nice hot streaks to help make his numbers okay, but you can’t rely on hot streaks all the time, not in San Francisco, not when you’re a lefty.
When you’re projecting Belt’s numbers, AT&T Park, specifically right field at AT&T Park, makes it awfully challenging to get past 20 homers. The right field porch is short in San Francisco, but you’re also fighting a typically strong wind that blows the ball into a deep right-center field gap.
We’ll see what happens to Brandon Belt when he gets a full year batting in front of Buster Posey in the San Francisco order. But for now, I’m fine with Belt as the first baseman on my favorite MLB team, but I’m not crazy about him as anything more than CI/UT guy in normal sized leagues. Probably somewhere in he 11-13 range for first basemen.