Fantasy Baseball 2013: Who’s #1?
As the 2013 MLB season rolls around, so too does fantasy baseball. So what if it's only played at home on our computers. We're still athletes. But maybe last season didn't go too well. You drafted Troy Tulowitzki in the first round, expecting a breakout year. And he doesn't play a game after May. But this year you're ready to rebound. And better yet, you're lucky enough to have the first pick in your league's draft. And this is where the panic sets in. Without question, the top 3 options for the #1 pick are OF Mike Trout, 3B Miguel Cabrera, and OF Ryan Braun. So you go over it in your head; Trout, Cabrera, Braun, Trout, Cabrera, Braun. But don't fret, the fantasy guru is here to settle the debate as to who should be your #1 pick.
Using 5x5 standard yahoo scoring, I've created projections for and analyzed each one of the top 3 players on the board.
Mike Trout OF-Angels
For the fantasy owner who scour minor league stats for the next best thing, you may have noticed Mike Trout tearing it up in Triple-A. The Angels may not have had a need for Trout to be called up when he was, but the organization looked brilliant sliding the youngster into the top of their lineup almost immediately. And if you were lucky enough to add Trout to your team (As I was), your team reaped the benefits. With Trout on your roster, you were almost guaranteed a playoff spot. The sensational rookie had a year for the ages, with an eye popping line of 129/30/83 (runs/homer runs/RBI) to go with 49 steals and a .326 average. And I'll say it again, Trout was a rookie. And he missed the first month of the season playing in Triple-A So the question now is what to expect for this season. Reports out of Angels camp mention a slight weight gain for Trout, but this should be a non-issue. Trout will get his runs for sure, hitting ahead of Albert Pujols and newly acquired Josh Hamilton. His steals may decrease a bit, as catchers will be keen to Trout's intention on the basepaths. But what you're looking for out of Trout is top of the line stats across all 5 categories. Sophomore Slump, I don't see it.
Projections: 132/32/87 43 Steals, .318 AVG
Miguel Cabrera 3B-Tigers
Cabrera loses his 1B eligibility coming into this season, as he moved to 3B last season. Luckily for Cabrera owners, defense doesn't matter in most fantasy leagues. If you draft Cabrera, you know you're gonna get at least 35 HRs, 120 RBI, and a .300 AVG. And that's a guarantee. Cabrera is the model of consistency in baseball. And last season, his numbers jumped off the page, earning him the Triple Crown and an AL MVP award. His stats last season were 109/44/139 with a .330 AVG and 4 steals. Cabrera was most deserving of the MVP, not only because of his numbers, but because of what he means to the Tigers. So for Cabrera and the Tigers, the return of C/DH Victor Martinez won't greatly affect Cabrera. Pitchers will still have to pitch to Miggy, with Prince Fielder and Martinez behind him. Cabrera is clearly the best 3B on the board, but I don't think the change in eligibility will affect Cabrera's draft stock at all.
Projections: 102/39/124 5 Steals, .330 AVG
Ryan Braun OF-Brewers
If the Brewers has played any better last season, Braun would've been the MVP for the second straight season. His numbers in 2012 were almost identical to 2011, with a slight HR increase and a drop in AVG. Braun was looking for the longball more often last year, trying to pick up for the loss of Prince Fielder. Braun delivered, putting up terrific all-around stats, with 108/41/112, 30 Steals, and a .319 AVG. Since entering the league in 2007, Braun has only had less than 30 HRs once, hit less than .300 once, and had less than 100 RBI once. In 6 seasons, with those stats, it's almost unbelievable what Braun has done. For Braun, the question mark will be how he responds to the latest PED Report. Braun was mentioned in the reports out of Miami, as he was in a different PED report after his MVP season. Braun's name has all but been cleared, so he should be set to go with a clear mind. If Milwaukee's top 2 hitters can have similar seasons to last year, Braun should once again have a stellar season.
Projections: 107/38/116 30 Steals, .323 AVG
With all that being said, the #1 in your draft should be the one and only Ryan Braun. The consistency he's had since his rookie year is just too much to pass on. The PED allegations are a thing of the past, and Braun will be free swinging all season. I'm sure the popular choice is Mike Trout, but if you want to win your league, and that should be the goal, then you have to go with Braun. Either way, you can't mess up taking one of these 3 players with the top pick. To all those playing fantasy baseball this year, have a great season, don't pick a closer in the first round, and make sure to trash talk as much as possible.