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From Bust to Bargain?

Robinson Cano is high on everyone's list for a bounce-back season.
Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - There is nothing worse than evaluating your team after the season and spotting the one player you counted on who didn't come through as expected. If it was because of an injury, you shrug it of as "just one of those things." But if the player simply played below expectations and in doing so ruined your strategy, it strikes at the core of your being.

On the other hand, there is no greater pleasure than finding the "diamond in the rough," whether it is a youngster who you determine will blossom or the previous season's bust, who you determine will return to glory.

Carlos Delgado would be a perfect example of the latter. Let's see if we can find this year's "Carlos Delgado."

I have listed below 10 players who disappointed based on their 2008 Average Draft Position (ADP) and whether they will bounce back in 2009.

Carl Crawford (2008 ADP 15) - For years Crawford has been drafted too high because of that dreaded word - potential. People saw his 18 HR, 58 SB year in 2006 and thought he would become a 25-70 outfielder. That would be someone worthy of a first or second-round pick as Crawford has been over the past three years. But he has not developed into that kind of player. He suffered through an injury-plagued 2008, but I wouldn't expect that "dream" season anytime soon...in fact I wouldn't ever expect him to be a 25 HR, 75 SB guy. He'll be overpriced on draft day (early season ADP is in the 30-31 range) and no bargain.

David Ortiz (2008 ADP 16) - Despite an injury-filled 2008 and the loss of Manny Ramirez from the lineup, it appears as if Ortiz is still a high pick with early season ADP set at around 23. Ortiz didn't play a single game at first base in 2008 making him only eligible at the DH position. He missed 50 games with a wrist injury and even when he came back, he didn't have the power stroke. His HR totals have declined from 54 in 2006 to 35 in 2007 to 23 last season. He should hit 30+ HRs in 2009, but he certainly isn't a bargain at this price.

BJ Upton (2008 ADP 26) - Upton was one of the most disappointing players in 2008. He has the speed and power to become a multidimensional player like Hanley Ramirez, but he hasn't put it all together. At least not in the regular season - he hit 24 HRs in 2007, but that number slipped to single figures last year (9). His batting average dropped to .273, but at least he doubled his stolen base total. Then Upton and Evan Longoria put on a post-season hitting display that saw Upton hit seven homers, knock in 16, steal six bases and slug at a .652 rate. So much for getting a bargain in 2009, his ADP is around 21 at this point. If he'll stop the mental lapses he could live up to his ADP, but he won't be a bargain.

Travis Hafner (ADP 40) - Fantasy owners seem finally ready to give up on Hafner. His ADP for 2009 is around 131 and the drop is well deserved. He is no longer the 42 HR, 117 RBI guy of 2006 or even the 24-100 player of 2007. If Dr. James Andrews' shoulder surgery has him back on the field, he might hit 15-18 HRs, but that should be the upper limit.

Troy Tulowitzki (ADP 42) - As great a year as Tulowitzki had in 2007 (24 HR, 99 RBI one vote short of Rookie-of-the-Year), his fall was just as fast. He started 2008 batting under the "Mendoza Line." and didn't hit his first homer until three weeks into the season. Then he tore a quadriceps muscle and was on the disabled list until late June. With a 2009 ADP of 122 and at the age ripe old age of 24 he should bounce back. He's still got star talent and could be a top-five shortstop. Bargain.

Chone Figgins (ADP 50) - Figgins used to be a multi-position eligible player which made his 50 steals a valuable commodity. Now that he is the Angels everyday third baseman and only eligible to play there, he is much less valuable and given his lack of power, dropping runs scored total and batting average is barely worth his 2009 ADP of 103. No bargain.

Eric Byrnes (ADP 56) - Byrnes was coming off a stunning 21 HR, 50 SB year in 2007 and was all the rage as we drafted in 2008. But multiple injuries destroyed his season and that of many fantasy owners. He played in just 52 games hit six homers and stole four bases. He's already had hamstring problems in spring training although he is hitting .429 through mid-March. Still, without the speed he's just an average fantasy value. Given that he's barely on the radar screen, he might be worth a late-round selection, but don't expect a lot unless his legs get healthy.

Robinson Cano (ADP 62) - Cano is high on everyone's list for a bounce-back season and I'm no exception. After two very good seasons (2006-07), Cano was expected to do big things in 2008 and his 14 HR, 70 runs, 72 RBI, .271 season was not up to expectations. Now he's the ninth-ranked second baseman based on his 2009 ADP of 83 and you will get a bargain if you pick him. Keep in mind that he's a great second-half hitter and don't panic when he gets off to a slow start. He'll hit close to 20 HRs and bring his batting average back over the .300-mark where it belongs. Bargain.

Miguel Tejada (ADP 63) - When Tejada signed with Houston, many owners thought he would get his home run stroke back. They were disappointed as Tejada continued his trend of hitting less homers than the previous season for the fourth consecutive year (34-26-24-18-13). I see nothing to reverse the trend. No bargain.

Chris B Young (ADP 65) - Young looked to be a fantasy superstar in the making after a rookie season in which he hit 32 HRs, scored 85 runs and stole 27 bases. He hit just 22 homers last year, some of which can be attributed to a wrist injury, but the low batting average (.248), drop in stolen bases (14) and high strikeout total (165) is cause for concern. He's just 25-years-old and should improve. He's not being selected in the top-150 and could easily be a bargain if he returns to 2007 form. He's now hitting lower in the lineup (sixth) which should take some pressure off of him and make him a bargain in 2009.

To summarize, I have Tulowitzki, Cano and Young as 2008 "busts" who will be fantasy bargains in 2009.

Comments? Criticism? Applause? Contact Steve Schwarz at sschwarz@sportsnetwork.com.