So far we’ve identified players in the National League East, West and Central and American League East and Central divisions that you should shy away from in fantasy baseball drafts for the 2013 season. And finally: the AL West.
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Lowrie is a guy who has long been more promise than production. The shortstop, who will turn 29 a few weeks into the season, hasn't played in more than 97 games in his career. He was having a productive 2012 until -- stop me if you've heard this one before -- ankle and knee injuries caused him to miss two months. Still, Lowrie's 16 home runs were a career-best, and the A's traded for him this offseason in hopes he could be their everyday answer at shortstop. The problem for Lowrie is now twofold: he's a near-certainty to miss time due to injury, and the ballpark he calls home is one of the most extreme pitchers parks in the league. Lowrie has never been a good bet for average, so playing 81 games at O.co Coliseum will make Lowrie that much less attractive. Pass.
If anyone needs reminding that pitching is volatile, consider the case of Hanson. In 2009, Hanson was one of the game's up-and-coming pitchers. Slowly, Hanson began losing velocity -- his fastball went from 92.7 in 2010 to just 89.6 last season -- and with it went his effectiveness. Despite winning 13 games, the right-hander posted a 4.48 ERA in 174 2/3 innings last year. One of the biggest effects of the decreased velocity has been Hanson's propensity for allowing the longball, giving up 1.39 HR/9 in 2012. A challenge trade sent him to the Angels in the offseason, and reports this spring don't lend much cause for optimism on the 27-year-old. It's not out of the realm of possibility that he experiences a return to form, but we won't be the ones paying to see it.
For the first half of 2012, Trumbo -- not big-ticket free agent acquisition Albert Pujols -- was the first baseman to own on the Angels. But Trumbo cooled considerably in the second half, hitting just .208 with a .552 OPS over the last two months. Buoyed by the unsustainable first half in which he walked more and struck out less than his career rates, Trumbo finished with a fairly attractive .268/.317/.491 line. In truth, Trumbo is neither as good as his stellar first half nor as bad as his terrible second half would suggest. He's a plenty useful fantasy player for his power and the counting stats that will come with hitting in the Angels lineup, but first base is deep this year. Don't reach for the mirage.
Fool me once, shame on you. But fool me twice...I won't be fooled again. Harrison has defied the conventional wisdom of new-age metrics for two straight years, making him one of the league's better starters and wholly dislikeable as a person. Unfortunately, he's a lot less useful in a fantasy format, even having won 32 games the past two seasons. Harrison struck out just 15.2% of batters he faced in 2012, well below the league average of 19.8%. The fact that he pitches half his games in Arlington, a notorious hitters park, doesn't help his cause. Harrison is obviously doing something right, but the strikeouts aren't magically going to come and chasing wins is a losing proposition. We're willing to be fooled a third time before we buy in completely.
Moss's numbers grew fat on a rolling stone in 2012, steadily improving after his call-up in June and eventually peaking with a .369 average and 1.123 OPS over the season's final month. The power is legitimate, but very little else is for the 29-year-old outfielder/first baseman. Moss swings through an inordinate number of pitches, and his .291 average in 2012 was propped up by a .359 BABIP. There's no reason to expect that number to hold steady. Add in the fact that Moss plays his home games in the O.co Coliseum, and it looks like the music will die for Moss in 2013.
Norris has been intriguing to fantasy owners since he broke into the league for his ability to generate swings and misses. But the 28-year-old offsets the strikeouts by walking too many batters and giving up too many home runs. Now Norris and his Astros teammates are moving to the American League, where the pitcher's spot in the lineup will be replaced by a professional hitter. The strikeout ability still exists, and if the right-hander ever gets his control issues worked out he'll likely break out in a big way. But with the move to a new league and the rebuilding Astros a longshot to win 70 games, don't count on that breakout to be in 2013.
Moreland doesn't inspire many strong emotions, except maybe boredom. Despite hitting 15 home runs in 357 plate appearances last season, there's little upside left for the 27-year-old first baseman. He's stuck in a timeshare -- Moreland has a career .232/.294/.328 line against left-handed pitching -- so he'll never log a full workload of at-bats. And last season's .306 BABIP was the highest of his three-year professional career, making a .275 average his approximate ceiling. Moreland is worth rostering in AL-only leagues, but there are plenty of other useful options at first in mixed leagues.