2014 Fantasy Baseball Top 10’s & Draft Strategy

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With two teams reporting to camp, the madness, chaos, joy, heartbreak, but most importantly, the pure enjoyment of baseball is near. Having watched Jay Leno’s last episode, I began to think about all the Jimmy Fallon’s out there in the Fantasy Baseball landscape.  The folks that really want to get to the pinnacle of their passion. With drafts about to begin, are you a Jay Leno, a Jimmy Fallon, or a fan just watching and enjoying the daily sport of it?  Well if you answered, Jimmy Fallon, then keep reading my top 10 at each position and draft accordingly. You are the kind of person that is hungry and looking to get better. For the Jay Leno’s out there, enjoy winning the past few years but get out of the way!  You are going down this year! You can’t keep relying on the same old ways and/or players. As Jay said, “it’s going to be fun to sit back and see what the next generation brings.”

So with that, here is my Top 10 at each position going into this year’s drafts. This projection is based on non-keeper leagues. These rankings are to win THIS YEAR. To be the Jimmy Fallon and TAKE OVER your fantasy league!  Out of respect for those pitchers and catchers that have to report first, we will start with them.

2014 Fantasy Baseball Top-10’s

Starting Pitchers

  1. C. Kershaw
  2. Y. Darvish
  3. M. Scherzer
  4. F. Hernandez
  5. J. Fernandez
  6. A. Wainwright
  7. C. Lee
  8. S. Strasburg
  9. D. Price
  10. J. Verlander

Kershaw is probably the easiest pick to be #1 at their respective position. He is a lock. Injury is only thing slowing him down. SP is very deep this year so if you can’t get the top 6-10 guys, feel free to wait til put drafting a SP til later in draft.  J. Fernandez would be fighting for second place if it wasn’t for a possible innings cap for a second straight year. He is as filthy as filthy gets in the varsity circuit of baseball.  After Kershaw’s minimal peripherals and Darvish’s lock to lead in K’s, the rest are all very solid picks with no clear difference.  Top 10 is a strong group this year. If you are lucky enough to have 2-3 of them, a halfway decent bullpen will get you the strong finish in the pitching categories.

 

Relief Pitchers

  1. C. Kimbrel
  2. A. Chapman
  3. K. Jansen
  4. G. Holland
  5. K. Uehara
  6. D. Robertson
  7. T. Rosenthal
  8. J. Nathan
  9. R. Soriano
  10. G. Perkins

Relief pitching is always a touchy subject this early in the spring training schedule. Several spots are a lock, however, most bullpens are a F. Rodney signing away from being in flux. If you are unable to grab a couple of these top 10 guys, make sure to handcuff your pick with another reliever in the pen. Closing is a finicky thing. “Anybody can close” is often said but don’t believe. Grab good peripherals (especially low WHIP’s) and enjoy insurance. Robertson is probably a surprise for a few of you but put your worries to ease. He will have every chance to be closer and his K/9 have got better and better every year. Mr. Hook will be just fine. But can you imagine following up Mariano? Wow, now you are starting to appreciate what the previously mentioned Jimmy Fallon is going through.

 

Catchers

  1. B. Posey
  2. J. Mauer
  3. B. McCann
  4. Y. Molina
  5. C. Santana
  6. W. Rosario
  7. J. Lucroy
  8. M. Wieters
  9. E. Gattis
  10. M. Montero

Two of the better swings in baseball lead this group.  Posey and Mauer are two of the best and it will continue. Montero is due for a bounce back, being near the top of hard hit balls last year. He was one of the unluckiest guys in all of baseball last year.  It will be interesting to see Gattis’ HR total after getting an everyday gig. 

 

First Baseman

  1. P. Goldshmidt
  2. P. Fielder
  3. C. Davis
  4. J. Votto
  5. E. Encarnacion
  6. E. Hosmer
  7. A. Pujols
  8. F. Freeman
  9. A. Gonzalez
  10. M. Trumbo

Fielder is absolutely due to bounce back with a stacked lineup around. Maybe this is the year he gets some MVP love.  Votto has a new leadoff man and that person will almost assuredly not have a .430 OBP that Choo brought to the table. Votto still has a lethal eye and a “Great” Ball park to hit in. Watch for Trumbo to flirt with 40 round trippers hitting in AZ.

 

Second Baseman

  1. R. Cano
  2. M. Carpenter
  3. D. Pedroia
  4. I. Kinsler
  5. J. Kipnis
  6. J. Altuve
  7. A. Hill
  8. M. Prado
  9. J. Gyorko
  10. J. Profar

Cano will not skip a beat, as the Yankee lineup was nothing scary last year and he still managed .300 and 100+RBI’s. Draft him and enjoy his everyday play. The laziest looking great player, I’ve ever seen. Smooth should be somewhere in a nickname for him. Cardinals saw very little change in their lineup so take Carpenter with confidence, especially in rotisserie leagues.  Kinsler will be hungry after getting traded. But if you are traded, it sure is nice to get traded to an almost lock playoff team.  You can’t be a sure fire #1 prospect and fall flat on your face, so chalk up Profar’s rought ’13 to inexperience and watch this 20 year old blossom this year.

 

Third Baseman

  1. M. Cabrera
  2. A. Beltre
  3. E. Encarnacion
  4. D. Wright
  5. R. Zimmerman
  6. E. Longoria
  7. M. Carpenter
  8. J. Donaldson
  9. P. Alvarez
  10. A. Ramirez

No need to discuss Miggy. Just enjoy if you got him. If not, well, maybe that groin injury will linger. Alvarez is not a far off bet to blast 40 HR. Ramirez will enjoy having Ryan Braun back.  Great 3-4 punch for the Brewers.  Zimmerman will most likely be hitting in front of B. Harper so if he is going to have a career year, this one is a good one to bet on. Nationals are on a mission after such a wasted “13 season. Matt Williams is a diligent guy who will manage this group of talent to a playoff appearance for sure.

 

Shortstop 

  1. H. Ramirez
  2. T. Tulowitzski
  3. I. Desmond
  4. J. Reyes
  5. E. Andrus
  6. E. Cabrera
  7. J. Segura
  8. S. Castro
  9. A. Ramirez
  10. B. Zobrist

If Hanley stays healthy,  his second half last season showed just how lethal his bat can be. Add a healthy Kemp and a more seasoned Puig, wow! Dodgers are certainly going to be entertaining to watch. Castro HAS to improve this year for Cub fans not to revolt on him. Yes, he is 24 but he has been up in The Bigs long enough.  A. Ramirez is a classic late round guy that produces solid all around numbers. Look for that to continue.

 

Outfield

  1. M. Trout
  2. A. McCutcheon
  3. R. Braun
  4. A. Jones
  5. B. Harper
  6. C. Gonzalez
  7. J. Ellsbury
  8. Y. Puig
  9. A. Rios
  10. C. Gomez

I’m excited to see if a healthy Harper takes that leap to the next level we have all expected after being shown an outstanding first month last year. With his lineup, he is in the early year MVP race. Braun will not skip a beat. His numbers never showed much of a difference and if he was juicing throughout his career, that would be more of a shock than his original lie of having never done it. Carlos Gomez gets a boost hitting behind Braun and RamirezRios and Puig are also thankful for such powerful lineups surrounding them. Outfield talent is off the charts in ’14!

 

Draft smart, and get the comparable pieces your team needs.  Remember, balance wins.  Don’t get too heavy in one category. If your draft takes you in that direction, utilize your pieces to trade for categories you need. You might have to take a discount but remember,  balance is key!  I hope you all enjoy a solid draft!  Let me know how things went in the comments section below!

 

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