Drew Silva

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Players To Avoid: NL West

Tuesday, March 18, 2014


This is the final chapter of our six-part series that has attempted to identify players who are likely to be over-drafted in fantasy leagues for the 2014 season.

 

You can find the American League West, American League Central, and American League East breakdowns at these bolded links. National League Central and National League East are also in the books.


Now we finish in the National League West ...


Editor's Note: Rotoworld's partner FanDuel is hosting a one-day $100,000 Fantasy Baseball league for Opening Day's games (March 31). It's $25 to join and first prize is $15,000. The contest starts at 1:05 p.m. ET on Opening Day. Here's the FanDuel link.


Jorge De La Rosa, SP, Rockies


De La Rosa posted a career-best 3.49 ERA (127 ERA+) in 30 starts last season for the Rockies and was officially named Colorado’s 2014 Opening Day starter last week by second-year manager Walt Weiss. But De La Rosa’s career ERA of 4.70 suggests that regression is coming -- Coors Field will assist in that -- and the Opening Day nod was issued by default after rotation mate Jhoulys Chacin had to be ruled out because of an early-spring shoulder strain. De La Rosa owns a decent 7.6 career K/9, but he fanned just 112 batters in 167 2/3 innings last year for a K/9 of 6.0. And don’t get lured in by his 16 wins from 2013. The Rockies have a nice offense to back him, but few things are more unpredictable these days than a pitcher’s win-loss record.


Matt Kemp, OF, Dodgers


Kemp was one of the very best players in baseball in 2011 when he hit .324/.399/.586 with 39 home runs, 126 RBI, 40 stolen bases, and 115 runs scored in 161 games. But injuries limited him to 106 games the following season and he appeared in just 73 games in 2013. Durability is an ongoing concern for the 29-year-old center fielder, who needed ankle surgery last October and is still in recovery mode this spring. He has already been ruled out for the Dodgers’ season-opening series (March 22-23) against the Diamondbacks in Australia and he might not be ready to play regularly when the club returns to North America a week later. Kemp’s potential fantasy production remains intriguing, but we’d let another owner deal with the headaches at his current Yahoo! average draft position (ADP) of 67.7.


For all the latest spring training news and notes, keep it locked on Rotoworld's player news page. You can also follow @Rotoworld_BB and this article's author, @drewsilv, on Twitter. To get all the help you need for an upcoming fantasy draft, purchase the 2014 Rotoworld Draft Guide. It's jam-packed with all sorts of helpful stuff for fantasy owners, including projections, tiers, cheat sheets, mock drafts, closer reports, ADP data, and much more.


Addison Reed, RP, Diamondbacks


The Diamondbacks were so hungry for a closer that they traded top third base prospect Matt Davidson to the White Sox this winter for Reed. The attraction with Reed is that he’s young, under contractual control through the 2017 season, and saved 40 games last year in Chicago despite the White Sox going 63-99. Now to the concerning stuff. Reed owns a 4.17 ERA (103 ERA+) in 133 2/3 career major league innings -- a very underwhelming mark for a closer. He averaged 94.9 mph with his fastball when he broke into the bigs in 2011, but that fell to 94.6 mph in 2012 and then took a significant dip to 92.8 mph in 2013. Reed has looked sharp this spring in Cactus League play and the Diamondbacks have a talented enough offense to generate regular save chances for him throughout the summer, but he’s being drafted ahead of too many dominant ninth-inning guys.


Marco Scutaro, 2B, Giants


Scutaro was a late-season fantasy savior in 2012 when he hit .362 with an .859 OPS, 44 RBI, and 40 runs scored in 61 games for the Giants after they acquired him on July 28 from the Rockies. That run helped San Francisco to its second World Series championship in three years and earned Scutaro a three-year, $20 million free agent contract from the Giants the following winter. But it’s already safe to call that deal a bust and Scutaro no longer belongs on the radar for a fantasy owner entering a standard mixed league draft. The veteran middle infielder batted .297 with a .726 OPS in 2013 for the Giants, netting only two home runs and 31 RBI. He battled finger and back injuries throughout the year, and the back problem is still hampering him this spring. Don’t bite on Scutaro’s name recognition; second base is deeper than it’s been in a long time.


Huston Street, RP, Padres


Street had a solid 2013 campaign, posting a 2.70 ERA, 1.02 WHIP, and 46/14 K/BB ratio in 56 2/3 innings while converting 33-of-35 save opportunities. But that didn’t stop the Padres from signing Joaquin Benoit -- last year’s primary closer in Detroit -- to a two-year, $14 million contract this winter. Benoit had better numbers than Street last summer and boasts a 10.2 K/9 in 259 1/3 innings since the start of the 2010 season compared to Street’s 8.6 K/9 in 201 1/3 innings over that same span. Street is poised to open 2014 as the Padres’ ninth-inning man, but a couple of early hiccups could lead to a change. Benoit is already under contract with San Diego’s front office for the 2015 season. Street, on the other hand, carries a $7 million club-controlled option. In the 2014 Rotoworld Online Draft Guide, we have Benoit ranked ahead of Street by a considerable margin.


Trevor Cahill, SP, Diamondbacks


Arizona lost Patrick Corbin this week to Tommy John reconstructive elbow surgery and the year-long rehab process that comes with it. Corbin became the Diamondbacks’ ace last season with his 14 wins, 3.41 ERA, and 1.166 WHIP. Now the No. 1 starter in the desert is Cahill, but educated fantasy owners know that’s only a label. Cahill registered a 96 ERA+ in 2013 -- below league-average -- and an ugly 1.42 WHIP that shows he’s both hittable and overly wild. He also struck out just 102 batters in 146 2/3 innings for a K/9 of 6.3. These are not the numbers of a useful fantasy starter, and yet we’ve seen him plucked off the board in the mid-to-late rounds of drafts this spring. Pass on Cahill and instead take a flier on Diamondbacks top pitching prospect Archie Bradley, who could get a shot much earlier than expected.


Jhoulys Chacin, SP, Rockies


Chacin finished the 2013 season with an outstanding 3.47 ERA in 31 starts. His park-adjusted ERA (presented previously in this article as ERA+) was 127, better than Cardinals ace Adam Wainwright, who checked in with an ERA+ of 123 because of the pitcher-friendly dimensions at Busch Stadium in St. Louis. But, unlike Wainwright, the 26-year-old Chacin is far from a front-line fantasy starter. He struck out just 126 batters in 197 1/3 innings last summer and he carries a rough 3.7 BB/9 for his career. Control issues are a highly dangerous thing for a guy who makes half his starts at Coors Field. Adding to the concern is that Chacin suffered a right shoulder strain near the end of February and still hasn’t made an appearance in this spring’s Cactus League. Just avoid him.



Drew Silva is a baseball editor for Rotoworld and also contributes on NBC Sports' Hardball Talk. He can be found on Twitter.
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