With the 2014 MLB season is just around the corner, it’s time to start preparing for draft day. Let’s take a look at our Top 10 Fantasy Baseball Draft Picks for 2014, and compare our rankings to their current ADP (average draft position) in mock drafts. As always, if your thoughts differ from these, please comment below or make use of our Fantasy Baseball Forum to share.
1. Miguel Cabrera
Miggy Cab won the Triple Crown in 2012. Impossibly, he was actually better in 2013. 44 HR, 137 RBI, .348 AVG, .442 OBP….he’s just a machine. Without a doubt the pre-eminent batter of his era, Miggy occupies our entire top tier of 3B, and the top overall spot in our rankings. His ADP of 1.8 (just under 2.0) suggests what we’ve all thought at least once: If you have the top pick, are you really sure you have to take Trout? We’re not.
2. Mike Trout
There really isn’t much to analyze when it comes to Trout. At age 22, he’s the pre-eminent talent in the game, and he’s still improving. He hits for average and power, gets on base a ton, and steals bases. He looks like he was born to play the game, and makes everything he does look easy. FST has him in an OF tier by himself, and it’s not really that close.
3. Paul Goldschmidt
In 2013, Goldy hit .300+, hit 30+ bombs, stole 15 bases, scored 100+ runs, and drove in 120+ RBI. In his spare time, he also saved multiple cute fuzzy animals for good measure. Point being, there isn’t much he didn’t do in his breakout campaign. He’s been arcing up for several years, is still only 26, and plays in a strong lineup in a park that favors hitters. What’s not to like?
4. Andrew McCutchen
We like Cutch at #4 overall – he went 20/20 last year, hit .317, posted an OBP over .400, and tallied 80+ Runs / RBI. He’s 27 and in his prime, and hits in the middle of what should continue to be a formidable Pirates lineup. And, believe it or not, his 2013 was actually a ‘down’ year from his 2012, when he was even better. The sky is the limit.
5. Clayton Kershaw
Kershaw posted eye-popping numbers in 2013: 16 Wins, 232 K’s, an ERA of 1.83, and a WHIP of 0.93. The first two stats are ridiculously good, but the latter two are just absolutely absurd. While there’s almost no chance he’s that good again in 2014, the distance between Kershaw and the field was so great that he’s still the #1 SP off the board even figuring in regression. He’s just 26, and deservedly in a SP tier by himself and the only SP within the top 10.
6. Robinson Cano
Yankees or no Yankees, Cano is still king of the second sackers. Do we expect SafeCo to mess with his power numbers a bit? Sure. Will the lack of the short porch in New York hurt him overall? Probably. But we’re undeterred in ranking him as the #1 second baseman. He’s arguably in a stronger, younger lineup this year, and may even have better protection. He’s rarely injured and generally a lock for 600 AB’s, 20+ HR, and a .300+ AVG. He stopped stealing bases years ago, but with an OBP of .383, who cares? He’s an obvious, no-brainer choice in the top 10.
7. Prince Fielder
After a messy divorce / trade with the Tigers, Price managed to land in yet another prime situation for power hitters – The Ballpark at Arlington. It’s an offensive launching pad, and acts as a trampoline for offensive numbers. Prince’s ‘down’ year in 2013 included 25 HR, 106 RBI, and a .362 OBP. That’s one of the highest floors of anyone, and he doesn’t miss games due to injury. He’s not yet 30, in an even stronger lineup, and could easily provide top 5 value for a second round ADP. We’ve got him ranked as the elite player we believe he will be this season.
8. Joey Votto
If you’re one of those drafters who want their top picks to have the highest fantasy floor possible, then Votto is your guy. Like Fielder, Votto had a ‘down’ year in 2013 that was good for 24 HR, 73 RBI, 101 Runs, and an absolutely obscene .435 OBP. He hits in the middle of an excellent lineup that may get exponentially better if the Billy Hamilton hype is true – his 73 RBI are indicative only of the troubles that the Reds 1 & 2 hitters had getting on base in 2013. You can pencil him in for 2013’s numbers with a little room for growth. Without a doubt, Votto is one of the safest picks out there at any ADP.
9. Hanley Ramirez
A myriad of injuries limited HanRam to 20 HR, 10 SB, and a .345 AVG in 304 AB’s in 2013. So, if he had kept that pace up all year, he would have gone 40/20 and run away with the NL MVP. He’s always had the pedigree and burgeoning talent, and now is finally surrounded by a lineup capable of both protecting and putting men on base in front of him. If he stays healthy, there could be a career season in the offing…but that’s a big ‘if’. He’s a massive upside player with corresponding massive injury risk in the first round of fantasy drafts for 2014
10. Troy Tulowitzki
Tulowitzki is an elite player playing in an elite offensive park, at an offensively talent starved position, who has never failed to produce when healthy. The man’s career averages (per 162 games) are 29 HR, 100+ Runs and RBI, and near a .300 AVG. Unfortunately, the keywords of note for Troy are “when healthy”. Since his breakout year in 2007, he’s only once played more than 145 games, and his resume includes years of 101 and 47, with his average games played falling somewhere near 125. If you’re taking him this early, you had better invest in another SS as backup – it’s virtually a lock he’ll miss 25-30 games. But when he’s in the lineup…man is it sweet.