Every year there are players that go far too early in a draft and there are players that seem to slip too late. This list will help you avoid the pitfalls of wasting a high pick on an overhyped player and help you find talented players late in the draft. I’ve done hundreds of mock drafts this offseason, as my beyond patient girlfriend can begrudgingly attest to, and these are the overrated/undderrated players I’ve identified.
Talk of rounds picked in this article is based on a 5×5 15 team format. I will give you an Average Draft Position of a player, this is the number pick the player goes at on average at a draft at mockdraftcentral.com. Average Draft Position(ADP) Courtesy of mockdraftcentral.com.
Josh Hamilton, OF, Rangers, ADP 11.53
He is an immensely talented player but injuries and off the field issues make him far too big a risk to spend your 1st round pick on. He regularly goes ahead of great bats such as Ryan Howard, Mark Teixeira, and Lance Berkman in drafts and those players have none of the headaches Hamilton brings to the table. In the first round go safe, Hamilton’s upside is great, but you know you’ll get 1st round production out of those 3, you can’t say the same for Josh, you may, but why roll the dice?
Raul Ibanez, OF, Phillies, ADP 116.15
A late 7th/early 8th round pick in a 15 team draft for Raul Ibanez is not a good move for your team. I understand that he is moving to the band box in Philly but he’s 37 years old, people don’t have huge years at 37 years old unless it’s chemically induced. Also going to the NL eliminates the possibility of him DH’ing to give the legs a break, increasing the possibility of a DL stint, obviously his age plays into that as well. He goes around the same time as guys like Johnny Damon, Torii Hunter, and Andre Ethier and goes at least a round before guys like Brad Hawpe, Jason Werth, and Pat Burrell. All these players bring alot more to the table than Ibanez, let someone else make the mistake.
Miguel Tejeda, SS, Astros, ADP 116.43
I will not go anywhere near this guy at all, never mind in the 7th or 8th round. An “alleged” roid guy, an old 32 years old, and his possible deportation for legal troubles mixed in with steadily declining numbers across the board for years render this former MVP undraftable in my book.
Joba Chamberlain, SP, Yankees, ADP 99.56
I think Joba has great potential, but some arm injuries very early in his career, probably due to being jerked between the pen and the rotation, make him extremely iffy to make 30 starts, I think he makes closer to 20. A 20 start number 2 in your rotation isn’t going to help you win too many leagues. He goes the same time as guys like John Lackey and Felix Hernandez who are much safer bets and put up great numbers. Joba goes ahead of guys like Dice, Lester, Zambrano, M. Cain, and J. Vazquez all starters you know you’ll get 30 starts out of with very good numbers, pass on Joba.
Rich Harden, SP, Cubs, ADP 119.8
Similar argument that I made for Joba except this guy has a much longer history of injuries making it more likely for that trend to continue. The spot where he goes in the draft will likely make him the number 2 starter on a team, way too important a spot to take a risk on.
Jacoby Ellsbury, OF, Red Sox, ADP 59.21
Getting Ellsbury at the end of the 5th/beginning of the 6th round is an absolute steal. Jacoby is Jose Reyes in CF. A projected line of .290+ BA, 10-15 HR’s, 110+ R’s, 70+ RBI’s, 50+ SB’s is very reasonable and he may exceed those numbers. I understand Reyes has the position advantage over Ellsbury but I think other than position, they’ll end up looking very similar. Snag Ellsbury this year in the 3rd or 4th while you can, he’ll be a 1st or 2nd round pick next year.
Johnny Damon, OF, Yankees, ADP 114.13
The only Yankee OF of any worth this year is a great value in the 8th round. He is the only OF in the Bronx that will get 550+ AB’s and he’s a consistent 5 category contributor. His age is starting to factor in at 35 years old, but he’s averaged 560 AB’s over the last 3 years, going to the DL for the first time in his career last year, I think he’s got a year or 2 of good production left in him before he really starts breaking down. He’s going to be hitting at the top of a very good lineup and has averaged .286, 18 HR’s, 71 RBI’s, 101 R’s, and 27 SB’s in pinstripes over the last 3 years. Being a Sox fan, I don’t like the man personally, but you can’t ignore that type of 5 category production and Damon should be going earlier in the draft than he is.
Erik Bedard, SP, Mariners, ADP 179.6
Remember this guy? Bedard was probably a top 5 pitcher on most lists this time last year, now he’s going in the late 12th/early 13th round of drafts. I know missing last year is the cause of this and a shoulder injury is nothing to ignore, so be sure to keep an eye on him in Spring Training. Reports so far are encouraging. Keep this in mind: 13 W’s, 3.16 ERA, 1.09 WHIP, with 221 K’s all in the AL East in 2007, a great year for a pitcher in a bear of a division. Well worth a shot as a number 3 or 4 starter, but know the risks and pay attention to his Spring. You could get an ace in the 2nd half of your draft.
Adrian Beltre, 3B, Mariners, ADP 201.01
Now I realize the chemically induced Dodger year is far behind Beltre but he is an absolute bargain at 3B in the 14th round. Beltre regularly goes 100+ picks after Aubrey Huff, Ryan Zimmerman, and Edwin Encarnacion, he is more than capable of matching the numbers of these players 6+ rounds after they come off the board. Don’t forget that Beltre is in his free agent year, his other walk year he was an MVP candidate, don’t expect those numbers, but a line of .270, 25 HR’s, 90 R’s, 100 RBI’s, and 10 SB’s is attainable.
Chien-Ming Wang, SP, Yankees, ADP 218.6
The 15th round is far too late for the Yankees number 2 starter to go in the draft. He is not going to give you big K numbers but 18 W’s, sub 4 ERA, and a good WHIP make him very valuable. I expect his K’s to keep moving up as well. His injury was a broken foot which is fully healed and he’s looked good so far this spring. Scoop him up as your 4th starter and get 2nd starter production.