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3 Guys I Won’t Buy in 2012 ottoneu Leagues

Twice in the past few days, Howard Bender (whose name I cannot hear without imagining this) has provided a list of guys he will not draft in 2012.

I wanted to add my own list, but with an ottoneu twist. I’ll just add a note that I am very specifically saying I won’t draft these guys. At the right price, I would have held onto any of them as keepers, and I actually have the first one on one of my rosters because his price is so low. And so, without further ado…

Asdrubal Cabrera, SS, CLE – Owners have been able to keep Cabrera as low as $3 this year, but in auctions, his price has been above $20 and as high as $29. So what do you get for that price? Well, if you get 2011 Asdrubal (25 HR, 17 SB, .792 OPS at SS), you are going to be really happy. 2010 Asdrubal (3 HR, 6 SB, .672 OPS and a bunch of injury time), you’ll be cutting him. There are reasons to be optimistic about the Tribe SS (mostly that he’s still young enough to have a legit break out) but a sudden boost in HR/FB rate, a bunch of “just enough” HR, and a weak offensive track record also loom large. I kept Cabrera in a league where he costs me just $6, but I wouldn’t pay him top-5 SS money, which means I am going to have to live without him in my other leagues. Take a chance on the lower-priced J.J. Hardy or Yunel Escobar. Both come with their own issues, but at a much lower price.

Stephen Strasburg, SP, WAS – Strasburg is a stud. No question about it. The numbers are there, the pedigree is there. I wish I had Strasburg last year for $10 so that I could have kept him at $12 this year. But with a 160 inning cap and significant injury questions, he just isn’t worth the front-line starter money he will cost. Instead of paying $35-$40 for Strasburg and, say $5 for a backup SP, you can get two very solid guys in the Daniel Hudson/Matt Moore/Josh Beckett mold. If I have around $90 to spend on three pitchers, I’d rather spend the big dollars on Clayton Kershaw, Justin Verlander or Felix Hernandez, who are a bit pricier, but far less risky, and complement them with two solid but not great starters. Any SP will have question marks – I would just never spend $40 on one where the questions are as big as they are on Strasburg.

Joe Mauer, C, MIN – Mauer has been paid nearly $50 at least once in every ottoneu format. $50. Yeah, he is a catcher who recently neared 30 HR and hits for average as well as anyone. But he is also a guy likely to hit closer to 10 than 30 HR, and doesn’t have the offense around him that he did when he provided 90+ R and RBI in 2009. In the meantime, no one has paid more than $42 to Carlos Santana. Even if you can’t (or don’t want to) get Santana, I’d rather have almost any other catcher at his market price than Mauer at more than $40. If healthy, he won’t be worth $40. And there is an awfully good chance he won’t be healthy. If I can get Mauer closer to $20, sure, he might be worth a shot. But that doesn’t appear to be his going rate in ottoneu leagues, so I’ll pass and happily go to battle with someone else donning the tools of ignorance.