The Sports Nutt Has Your FIRST Look At Fantasy Baseball!

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So yesterday I decided to try my first fantasy baseball mock draft of the 2014 season, in preparation for the regular season in a couple of months. I went in and thought I did pretty well for myself, as I drafted Hanley, Fielder, Sale, Choo, Cespedes, Carpenter, Altuve, and Hamilton in the first eight rounds, before having to leave and help my children around the house. It was a 12 team mock draft, and I purposely drafted 12th, just to see what would happen. The rest of my team looked decent, but then it got me thinking about the rankings, and what they actually looked like. So, for this week’s column, I’m going to examine those rankings and dig a little deeper (I hope) to see if I (and/or you) agree, disagree or agree to disagree with each other and Yahoo.

So, I found their listing here

And that will be the basis for my discussion here. I’m sure this can and will change on a daily, or weekly basis, but for now, I will use what I’ve been given, as the last update was on January 30, 2014 (at 1:56PM, if that matters to anyoneJ)

#1 Mike Trout and #2 Miguel Cabrera

mag_war_cabrera-trout01jr_576

Let’s start right off at the top, with Mike Trout leading the way at #1 and Miguel Cabrera at #2. While I absolutely LOVE Miggy, the fact that he is now exclusively at 1B limits his potential. If you can grab him with 3B eligibility, I might try and take him first overall, because 3B could be harder to fill than 1B and OF. I like his Triple Crown potential, and, he won’t be playing against top name pitching like Trout will. That being said, Trout did a lot last year with no real help in the lineup, and that will change in 2014. He’s also another year older and wiser, and will most likely improve.

#3 Paul Goldschmidt

goldschmidt

This ranking seems a bit high in my books, as although he did drastically improve last season, do we really think he’s going to get that much better? Is he a 40-20 guy who will hit over .300 this season? Some may say yes, but I tend to think he will regress a bit. He does get the bat of Trumbo in his lineup for protection, but there isn’t much of a ceiling for the rest of his clan. Saying he is the third best fantasy baseball player is a bit much in my books.

#5 Clayton Kershaw

kershaw

I don’t care that he had an ERA under 2.00, and WHIP under 1.00, and a strikeout per inning. I am not taking a pitcher of any sorts in the first round. That being said, his numbers last season were incredible, and better than any other pitchers, without question. Is this the norm for him? Who knows, since his ERA has never been under 2.50 until last season, but he has always been able to strikeout batters and keep his WHIP around 1.00. Personally, I would wait on pitching, get that stud hitter first, and then rack up some solid pitching numbers with #2-#5 starters, especially in Roto leagues where numbers are added up over time.

#7 Hanley Ramirez

hanley

He will have a fantastic season, barring injury. When he returned last season and was 100% healthy, he was a big reason why the Dodgers went from obscurity to royalty. I see him being the league’s #1 shortstop, and going at least 20-20, possibly more…..much more.

#12 Robinson Cano

cano

Sure he’s in Seattle now, but that ballpark isn’t what it used to be. It is more hitter friendly now, and he’ll have some offensive help in that lineup, coupled with some fantastic young players. He’s a career .309 hitter at SAFECO Field, and his position of 2B is rather thin. Furthermore, he has rare power at that position, and should be the best 2B when it’s all said and done. If you’re in a 10 team and you snag him 12th overall, you’re laughing. Imagine….Hanley #1, Cano #2? If that happens, you’re getting the best player at each of the most scarce positions in fantasy baseball.

#20 Carlos Gomez

This guy really snuck up on some people, yours truly being one of them. Under the radar for years, he finished with 24 HR and 40 SB last season, without Ryan Braun in the lineup for some. Will this continue? I really don’t know. It would be tough for me to take a 3rd round flier on him, especially since guys like Giancarlo Stanton and Jason Kipnis  are ranked around him, both of which I think will have career years. Personally, I would take a wait and see approach on him, as I would like to see him return 3rd round value this season, but if you’re feeling lucky, go ahead and pull the trigger.

#32 Jose Fernandez

What an amazing rookie season for the young Cuban, and his stock is only going to rise. He does play for the Marlins, so his win total will dwindle, but he did still win 12 games last season. It was pretty impressive for a guy who also struck out more per inning than #5 Kershaw. If you can sacrifice on wins, I would take a flier on him in the 4th round, and POSSIBLY make him my ace on my fantasy team. That being said, it’s only February and my opinion will probably change before then. He has Kershaw-like numbers for 85 cents on the dollar.

#42 Chris Sale

Sale had such bad luck last season, playing for the woeful White Sox. They just couldn’t score runs for the guy who was pitching the lights out. He did finish with the highest ERA of his career, but had a WHIP around 1.00 and he did strikeout well over 1 per inning. He’s entering his prime and should improve this season.

#49 Craig Kimbrel

Why anyone would draft a closer this early is beyond me. Please only do it in leagues I am in with you.

#52 Yoenis Cespedes

I REALLY like him going forward from here. He was a second year player, and, well, they typically do struggle (ie Puig this season at #26? PLEASE no!), but Cespedes will get better. He will have more power, more speed and more plate discipline. His average will go up, as will other numbers. Count me in here at #52, and watch the rewards come flying in. He will hit at LEAST 30 HR this season and swipe at LEAST 20 bags. You read it here first.

#54 Joe Mauer

A 1B with catcher eligibility that can hit well over .300? Yes ma’am! I want this, I need it, and I will wait for it, since the catcher position is a bit deeper in most years, meaning that other owners might wait and draft someone else down the line. However, draft him around here, and you’ll love what you see, because the risk of injury is nearly gone. I could be wrong, but when I drafted yesterday, I seem to recall him being listed in the 70’s, which makes me even happier. By the way, he’ll be much better than Buster Posey who is ranked well ahead of Mauer.

#60 Matt Kemp

Here’s a guy that could get lost within the rankings, as he’s a former #1 pick, now relegated because of injuries. I really don’t have an opinion of his 2014 season just yet, but he’s ranked around guys like Hunter Pence, Anibal Sanchez and Jason Heyward. Of those players in the mid 60’s, I’d take Kemp in a heartbeat. So, if the 6th round starts, and you have a pick, and you need a OF, perhaps taking a shot on Kemp isn’t the worst thing to do.

#67 Billy Hamilton

Part of the reason why he was held down so long was because of the fact that he could not get on base. Since leaving high school, he never once had a batting average over .300, yet in the small sample size that was 13 games for the Reds, he batted .368. What makes him so intriguing is his speed, as he did steal 258 bases from 2010-2011. However, will he be able to get on base? I see him as a Dee Gordon type player who didn’t necessarily pan out and left owners reeling. I don’t see him as that level, but I can see some disappointments here. If I’m drafting in the 6th round, I still want my players to succeed at 6th round of better quality, and I just don’t see it here. Take Jose Altuve later and get his 40+ steals and batting average.

#77 Carlos Santana

If I have Mauer, and Santana is available here, just imagine having both of these premium-type catchers with 1B eligibility…..I can see Santana improving on last year’s solid numbers, and providing more power than ever before. Take him while you can, especially at this slot or lower, and enjoy.

Some Quick Hits on others

#87 Elvis Andrus – I would rather take a guy later on like Cabrera, Castro, Simmons, Bogaerts and Profar than try another disappointing season of Elvis, who’s left my building.

#91 Carlos Beltran – Should do well in hitter-friendly Yankee Stadium.

#93 Manny Machado – Those doubles he hit like crazy last season will start turning into HR. I’ve been trying to trade for him like mad in my AL-Only Dynasty League and the other owner is not budging. I don’t disagree with him.

#110 Billy Butler – Had a disappointing 2013 season as he wasn’t as consistent as he usually is. You could do worse at 1B.

#125 Brian McCann – See Beltran.

#127 Kyle Seager – So under-rated, it’s beyond funny. He will improve yet again, and become noteworthy to those who don’t follow baseball as closely as others.

#137 Danny Salazar – He scratched the surface last season, and will now tear through it.

#142 Jose Abreu – I’d be willing to take a risk on him, especially when some are saying he’s better than Cespedes. Furthermore, the hot summers in Chicago will lead to some nice numbers.

I stopped at 150 players for now. Agree? Disagree? Agree to disagree?

And there you have it.