MLB Fantasy Baseball 2012: Top Four 2011 Breakout Players To Avoid In 2012

Every year a player takes that “leap to super stardom” with a performance that was neither expected or even explained. Some make that leap and stay there as Brian McCann did back in 2006. McCann was a “tweener” prospect at best when he was coming up with the Atlanta Braves; good enough bat to stick, but nothing spectacular. Now a six-time All-Star and five-time silver slugger winner, McCann is arguably the best offensive catcher in the game. Then there are others who, for one reason or another, never quite figure it out after that career year (Geovany Soto ring a bell?).

These players can sink a fantasy roster because you put your eggs in their basket and expect them to duplicate those numbers. Meanwhile, you’re missing out on a rookie or someone else who could be helping your roster tremendously. Not only that, you’ve sold yourself so hard on said player, you don’t know when to cut him loose because frankly you’re still holding out hope he’ll be that guy again. Plus if he does it for another team you will never live it down.

Can you tell I speak from personal experience?

Fret not, my friends. I’m going to highlight some players you’ve probably been salivating over for an entire hot stove season but should definitely take a pass on; Perhaps for a hot shot rookie even. Either way, listen carefully.

  1. Asdrubal Cabrera, Cleveland Indians, Stat Line 2011: 25 HR, .273 BA, All-Star: I know I’ve already made some folks mad with this first choice, but hear me out. Cabrera is a fine shortstop selection, but if you’re looking to choose him over an Elvis Andrus, Erick Aybar, or Starlin Castro you may want to reconsider. Cabrera showed considerable pop last year for a guy who never hit more than eight at any stage of his career. He’s also very streaky, and last year the only thing he was consistent with from May to October was his drop in production (May-.330, June-.297, July-.266, August-.239, Sept/Oct-.234). Don’t be fooled by the sudden jump in production. I see Cabrera as a Mike Bordick-type.
  2. Ryan Vogelsong, San Francisco Giants, Stat Line 2011: 13 wins, 2.71 ERA, All-Star: I’ve heard this name bantered around as a “solid “W” guy” and I think that is the biggest mistake someone can make is following that advice. Stay as far away from Vogelsong as humanly possible. I’ll admit, his story last year was a very interesting one. Being 33 and making his first All-Star game and having an ERA under three are accomplishments for sure. Behind all of that, though, was a guy who saw opponents average, OBP, and slugging percentage spike as the season progressed. I’m not one to take away what he has accomplished (although many thought Tommy Hanson was an All-Star over him last season), but as for using a pick on your team on him I say no. Scour the waivers for the hot hand and call it a good one.
  3. Michael Morse, Washington Nationals, Stat Line 2011: 31 HR, .303 BA: Mike Morse was all-world from the first pitch of 2011. He followed up a spring in which he hit nine home runs with 31 more in the regular season. That being said, I’m still having a hard time buying into the hype. His numbers were solid across the board, but he struck out too much, his numbers in the minors and before last year had no indication of a player on the rise. He’s one I advise you to shy away from because this could be your classic “happy to be here” year. After years toiling with the Mariners he go his chance with the Nationals and did well. But even he out-kicked his coverage on this one. While I feel he will regress, someone very well could prove me wrong and have a Luis Gonzalez, Jose Bautista, Jayson Werth type stretch in them.
  4. Miguel Montero, Arizona Diamondbacks, Stat Line 2011: 18 HR, .282 BA, All-Star: I know catching options are slim, and Montero might be a top-10 guy by virtue of the position he plays (a la Kenji Johjima/Michael Barrett). But he isn’t fooling me. While Montero is a solid catcher, he isn’t one I would look towards first to fulfill my catching needs, or feel comfortable banking on throughout the season. Expect a significant dip in numbers across the board from his 2011 season and particularly in home runs and RBI’s. Where he was a top-ten catcher in both departments. I see a 7/42/.260 line for Montero, which if history holds, are his even year averages.

Most have their own opinion for sure. I’m sure there are some especially angry fans in Washington and Arizona. But I will not be banking on these four to lead me to the promised land of September fantasy glory. 2011 was a great year, but I’m ready to be strong and not get sucked into the hype of a career year.

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