I want to take issue with Matthew Berry of ESPN. He is fond of saying that he would rather get off of a player's bandwagon a year too early than a year too late. This is a sentiment with which I agree.
However, he has also decided that this year his big theory is the "proven player coming off a bad year." The idea there is that you can get value with proven veterans who had a dip in production last year. This can also be true. You just can't easily blend the two concepts.
Unfortunately for the Talented Mr. Roto, one of his primary case studies for the PPOBY concept was Kevin Youkilis. He was telling people in the pre-season that drafting Brett Lawrie over Youkilis is absolutely crazy. Who's crazy now, TMR?
I don't own Youk in any of my leagues. I do own Lawrie.
Why, you ask? How did I know? Youkilis has been on a downward trend for a long time and he was completely dreadful after the all-star break last year. Sometimes there is obvious evidence that a player isn't coming back, and that seemed to be the case with Youkilis. I'll admit that Lawrie was a risk coming into the season due to his small body of work, but I didn't see that small body of work as a bigger red flag than the recent performance of Youkilis.
This also goes back to the over-use of Ron Shandler's phrase that, "once you display a skill you own it." That is a very dangerous phrase to wave around like some sort of campaign poster. It says that players can always bounce back because they have the skill. This isn't Tom Watson we're talking about here. Sometimes ballplayers get old or they just lose their ability to compete in the big leagues.
Kevin Youkilis has his .205 since the All-Star break last year. If you own him and can still get 25 cents on the dollar, I say do it. You can't get Brett Lawrie, but I bet you could still get his old teammate Jed Lowrie. Go make that offer right now and save yourself a lot of trouble.