Avoid the season after a career year

Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - Did you draft Barry Bonds the year after he blasted 73 home runs, only to be disappointed when he hit 46 the following season?

Did you select Tennessee Titans running back Chris Johnson No.1 last fall after his monster 2,509 yards from scrimmage and 16 touchdowns in 2009 only to be unhappy after he produced 1,000 less yards and four less touchdowns in 2010?

Were you dissatisfied with Wilt Chamberlain's 1962-63 season of 44.8 ppg and 24.3 rpg after he posted an NBA record 50.4 ppg and 25.7 rpg in 1961-62?

Ok, just kidding on the last one.

You get the idea, however. It's not a good strategy to go after the player who has just posted a "career year." You will invariably pay too much.

Lets look at this year's candidates for "Most Likely to Disappoint."

Catcher - John Buck, Florida Marlins

Buck has a career OPS of .722 but in 2010 posted an .803 OPS with a career- high 20 home runs. In his previous six seasons, he had only hit more than 12 homers one time (2007).

First Base - Paul Konerko, Chicago White Sox

Konerko's 2010 season (.312 batting ave., 39 HR, 111 RBI, .977 OPS) was his best offensive numbers since 2006. At 35-years-old and in his 15th season, he's much more likely to return to an OPS around .854 with 29 HR, 93 RBI and a batting average of .280. As a fifth-round selection (ADP 60) at a position which is bursting with talent, that is too high a price.

Second Base - Kelly Johnson, Arizona

Johnson showed much more power than in any of the four previous seasons with Atlanta. He averaged 11.25 HR per year in Turner Field, but hit almost that many in April last season (9) and posted a career-high 26 for all of 2010. With an ADP of 88, I would much prefer to wait and pick Gordon Beckham, an undervalued Aaron Hill or the up-and-coming Neil Walker.

Shortstop - Alex Gonzalez, Atlanta

Don't be fooled by Gonzalez's career-high 23 HR and 88 RBI last season. Almost all of his production took place while he was with Toronto, not after being traded to Atlanta. At Turner Field he returned to being a "journeyman" shortstop with just six homers, a batting average of .240 and an OPS of .676 in 72 games.

Third Base - Adrian Beltre, Texas

Two words - Contract Year! In 2004 while with the Dodgers he hit .334 with 48 HR and 121 RBI while playing for a new contract. His next five seasons in Seattle saw him average .266 with 20.6 HR and 79.2 RBI. In Boston he was again playing for a new deal and posted a .321 average with 28 HR and 102 RBI. He may not fall quite as far this time because he signed to play in the hitter's paradise in Arlington, TX, but he'll surely disappoint you if you pick him at No.37.

Outfield - Jose Bautista, Toronto

Bautista's power numbers cry "look out below!" From 2006-2009 he averaged 15 HR a season, but exploded for 54 homers and 124 runs batted in last year. His 2010 OPS was .995 versus his career OPS of .795. He'll cost you a third-round pick (ADP 35) and is sandwiched between Adam Dunn and Shin-Soo Choo. I'd rather have either of the other two guys.

Pitcher - Yovani Gallardo, Milwaukee

Sure, Gallardo set a career high in wins with 14 and struck out 200 batters for the second consecutive season, but he also set career "worsts" in WHIP at 1.37 and ERA at 3.84. He'll go in the late sixth or early seventh round (ADP 78), but the only thing you can depend on is a high strikeout total. That's too steep a price with pitchers like Francisco Liriano, Mat Latos, Tommy Hanson, Tim Hudson, Trevor Cahill and Daniel Hudson still on the board.

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

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