Forgot Log-in or  Password? |  Help  Not a member, Register Now!
      
Fantasy Football Today
2013 Draft Prep Guide
Gameday Inactives
Downloadable Draft Kit
Mock Drafts
Get Your Draft Board
Player News
Stats
Players
Depth Charts
Roster Trends
Columns
Injury Report
Projections
Rankings
Red Zone Stats
Teams
Schedules
Scores
Standings
Fantasy Games
Playoff Challenge
Commissioner
Prize Leagues
Free
Office Pool Manager
Game Pick'em
Player Challenge
Fantasy Baseball Today
2014 Draft Prep Guide
Downloadable Draft Kit
Mock Drafts
Player News
Stats
Players
Depth Charts
Roster Trends
Columns
Injury Report
Rankings
Projections
Teams
Schedules
Probable Pitchers
Scores
Standings
Fantasy Games
Commissioner
Free
Prize Leagues
Player News
Stats
Players
Columns
Injuries
Projections
Rankings
Teams
Schedules
Message Boards
Fantasy Games
Commissioner
Free
Player News
Stats
Players
Columns
Injury Report
Projections
Rankings
Teams
Schedules
Mock Drafts
Scores
Standings
Fantasy Games
Commissioner
Free
Prize Leagues
Downloadable Draft Kit
Player News
Stats
Players
Columns
Injury Report
Projections
Rankings
Teams
Schedules
Mock Drafts
Scores
Standings
Fantasy Games
Commissioner
Free
Prize Leagues
No Fantasy Teams Found
 
 
 

Reality Check: The first two rounds of 2013

Senior Fantasy Writer
  •  

Enough with the charade.

By now, you pretty much know if you're in or you're out. The trade deadline has passed, the waiver wire is picked clean and your team is more or less on cruise control.

Which makes now the perfect time to shift gears to next season.

The draft -- you know you've wondered about it. How different will it be? What changes should you make to your approach? Why do you have to wait so long to find out these things?

Well, wonder no more. Over the next few weeks, I'll give you a sneak peak at next year's rankings. Keep in mind these rankings aren't meant to reflect just my own personal preferences but also public perception. If I think Edwin Encarnacion is the best player on earth but no one else does, he obviously shouldn't rank first overall. (Just an example. I don't actually think Encarnacion is the best player on earth.) Also, keep in mind these rankings are subject to change with the developments yet to unfold over the next month and beyond. They're meant as a sneak peak, not the final authority.

We'll begin with the beginning -- that is, the first two rounds.

Check out our Fantasy Baseball podcast!
Stay a step ahead of your competition in 2014 by checking out our popular Fantasy Baseball podcasts. Adam Aizer, Scott White and Al Melchior will get you prepared for Draft Day and beyond.
Latest episode | Subscribe!

Projected first round for 2013:
1. Miguel Cabrera, 3B, Tigers
2. Ryan Braun, OF, Brewers
3. Mike Trout, OF, Angels
4. Albert Pujols, 1B, Angels
5. Robinson Cano, 2B, Yankees
6. Joey Votto, 1B, Reds
7. Matt Kemp, OF, Dodgers
8. Prince Fielder, 1B, Tigers
9. Andrew McCutchen, OF, Pirates
10. Troy Tulowitzki, SS, Rockies
11. Justin Verlander, SP, Tigers
12. Jose Bautista, OF, Blue Jays

I know where your eyes went right away: Mike Trout. And you probably didn't like what you saw. Third? How could he not be first!? He's been far and away the best hitter in Fantasy since his arrival in late April, outscoring Cabrera on a per-game basis by more Head-to-Head points than Cabrera has outscored Adrian Beltre.

Relax. Only on planet kneejerk would ranking a 21-year-old sophomore ahead of first-round mainstays like Pujols, Cano and Votto be considered disrespectful. Trout is no doubt a stud, and you could certainly make the case for him to go first overall. But with my first-round pick (particularly a high first-round pick), I want safe more than anything else. And as we've seen from stud rookies like Eric Hosmer and Jason Heyward over the last couple years, the league often adjusts to second-year players before they're able to adjust back.

Now, I know Heyward's and Hosmer's rookie seasons, as impressive as they were, weren't on the level of Trout's. I also know Trout maintained an other-worldly batting average every step up the minor-league ladder. He's different. I get it. Am I expecting him to take a significant step back next year? No, I'm not. But wouldn't you want to safeguard against the possibility by opting for one of the two most reliable studs in Fantasy, especially when their best is still better than what anyone other than Trout could offer? Maybe it's just me.

So what else stands out here? Probably that Tulowitzki, despite my sincerest efforts to hype him as a potential first overall pick each of the last two years, barely cracks the top 10. That's right: I'm no longer a slave to position scarcity. It has more to do with the changing landscape of the shortstop position than a philosophical revelation. With the emergence of players like Elvis Andrus, Starlin Castro, Asdrubal Cabrera, Ian Desmond and Alcides Escobar, not to mention the newfound eligibility for Ben Zobrist, the gap between the top two tiers at the position is no longer as extreme. And now that Tulowitzki is a definite injury risk, having spent significant time on the DL each of the last three years, the reach is that much harder to justify.

With any assessment of the first round, the pessimist in all of us can't help but pick out the worst place to draft -- the point where you'd essentially be getting a second-rounder with your first-round pick. I detect slight drop-offs after the third pick, the seventh pick and the ninth pick, but I think the pick I'd least want is No. 11. I still wouldn't mind building my team around the best shortstop in baseball, even if he's less of a sure thing these days, but if I had to start with a pitcher, knowing how plentiful aces are these days, I'd feel like I was playing catch-up all draft long.

I suppose I should touch on the last of the three Tigers before moving on to the next round. Fielder hasn't had a career season or anything, so why is he projected to go higher than ever before? Simple: Good hitters are hard to find, and they're becoming increasingly hard to find in the post-steroid era. Fielder may not outclass his position every year, like Cabrera and Cano tend to do, but his numbers are always stud-worthy. And considering he's in the thick of his prime at age 28, they figure to stay that way. By comparison, imagine all that could go wrong for any of the hitters listed here ...

Projected second round for 2013:
13. Josh Hamilton, OF, Rangers
14. Ian Kinsler, 2B, Rangers
15. Clayton Kershaw, SP, Dodgers
16. Giancarlo Stanton, OF, Marlins
17. Buster Posey, C/1B, Giants
18. Felix Hernandez, SP, Mariners
19. Carlos Gonzalez, OF, Rockies
20. David Wright, 3B, Mets
21. Matt Holliday, OF, Cardinals
22. Hanley Ramirez, 3B/SS, Dodgers
23. Dustin Pedroia, 2B, Red Sox
24. Edwin Encarnacion, 1B, Blue Jays

Among all the players listed in these two rounds, Kinsler and Pedroia are the two most likely to strike you as overvalued. That's where position scarcity comes into play. Second base may very well surpass shortstop as the weakest position in Fantasy next year, if it hasn't already, which is why I ranked Cano ahead of Votto in the first round. With Chase Utley, Brandon Phillips and Dan Uggla continuing to decline and Ben Zobrist likely to be drafted as a shortstop, Cano, Kinsler and Pedroia are head and shoulders above the rest at the position. Cano is the most obvious of the three because he's a standout performer in two categories, but the across-the-board production of Kinsler and Pedroia makes up more ground than you think. In standard points leagues, Kinsler has actually outperformed Cano this year -- which, if anything, makes him a bit undervalued.

Follow us, Like us, Join us
Want more? Join the discussion on our Facebook page and Google+ and follow us on Twitter for additional insight while interacting with a community geared toward Fantasy Baseball.

As you can see, Kershaw and Hernandez are the only other pitchers included in my first two rounds, which may not be the way your actual draft goes. But ask yourself: Who would be the fourth guy? David Price? He's a great pitcher who's had a great year, but judging from his peripherals, he hasn't definitively distinguished himself from the Cole Hamels, Madison Bumgarner and Jered Weaver types. He's had the best numbers of the four this year, but if it's a toss-up who'll have the best next year, why reach for one?

Encarnacion is perhaps the most interesting name here, and I'll admit I didn't think I could justify ranking him in the second round. Don't get me wrong: I think his 2012 performance is completely legitimate, but I suspected the majority of Fantasy owners would be too skeptical of it to draft him so early. They still may be, but when I took the time to measure his numbers against everyone else's, I discovered that, on a per-game basis, the only hitters to outscore him so far this year are the top three: Cabrera, Braun and Trout. Knowing that, I don't see how I could justify ranking him lower than 24th overall.

I feel like Posey has provided so much at a weak position this year -- and with the pedigree to back it up -- that I have to rank him as high as I have, but I can tell you right now I won't be the one drafting him there. I learned my lesson with Carlos Santana, Brian McCann, Mike Napoli and Alex Avila this year. Too much can go wrong for a catcher. It's the most physically demanding position on the diamond, which increases the risk of injury. A major one puts him on the DL for weeks at a time. A minor one limits his production for weeks at a time. Either way, the loss might be more than your team can survive.

Likewise, Ramirez is a player I'll probably avoid. I don't think the numbers he's put up this year are the best he can do, which is an exciting thought at a weak position like shortstop, but he -- like Jose Reyes, who was just off this list -- has a history of injury and inconsistency. I'm not saying I'd reach for players like Evan Longoria, Jason Heyward and Adrian Gonzalez over him, but I'd hope I'm not the one who has to make that decision.

Notable omissions (other than those already mentioned):

Stephen Strasburg, SP, Nationals: Yes, we all know how talented he is, but if the Nationals stop him short of 175 innings this year, who's to say they won't stop him short of 200 next year? Until they're ready to turn him loose, he's not ready to be a Fantasy ace. Frankly, Chris Sale, who has outscored both Strasburg and Clayton Kershaw on a per-game basis this year, is a better candidate for the second round -- and he's a stretch himself.

Mark Teixeira, 1B, Yankees: Three straight years of subpar batting averages pretty much tells you everything you need to know. At age 33 next year, Teixeira isn't likely to reverse course, and as things stand now, he's a worse contributor on a per-game basis than up-and-comer Freddie Freeman.

R.A. Dickey, SP, Mets: He's been by far the highest-scoring pitcher in Fantasy this year, but if drafting Edwin Encarnacion is scary, what about a 37-year-old whose success depends on a gimmick pitch? I believe in Dickey, but more to the tune of a fifth-round pick.

Joe Mauer, C, Twins: Even though his power numbers aren't as impressive, Mauer's Fantasy production has been about the same as Buster Posey's this year, and he may actually be the safer option given the Twins' growing hesitance to start him at catcher. Still, we know who Mauer is by now. Posey, on the other hand, might have room to improve.

Allen Craig, 1B/OF, Cardinals: You may have seen the Matt Holliday comparisons this year, but you probably haven't taken them as seriously as you should. On a per-game basis, Craig's production this year is actually closer to Joey Votto's. Yeah, really. I'll be especially curious to see how high he goes in next year's drafts. I have a feeling it won't be high enough.

Stay in touch with the most passionate Fantasy staff in the business by following us on Twitter @CBSFantasyBB or Scott White at @CBSScottWhite . You can also e-mail us at fantasybaseball@cbsinteractive.com .

  •  
 
 
CBSSports Facebook Google Plus
COMMENTS
Conversation powered by Livefyre
 
 
Player News
Chris Synder announces retirement
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(12:41 am ET) Rangers Triple-A catcher Chris Synder announced his retirement Saturday, FOX Sports Southwest reports.

Snyder played 10 seasons in the majors, hitting .224/.328/.382 with 77 home runs and 298 RBI in 2,087 at-bats. He spent seven seasons with the Diamondbacks, also playing for the Pirates, Astros and Orioles.


Kenley Jansen comes away with save No. 6
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(12:16 am ET) Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen worked his way around a base hit and recorded one strikeout in a scoreless frame, securing his sixth save of the season in an 8-6 victory over the Diamondbacks.

Jansen has allowed at least one hit in each of his last three appearances. He is 6 of 8 in save chances with a 4.50 ERA, a 1.90 WHIP and 18:5 K:BB ratio over 10 innings pitched.

Dan Haren picks up third win vs. Diamondbacks
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(12:13 am ET) Dodgers starting pitcher Dan Haren picked up his third win of the season Saturday night against the Diamondbacks. The right-hander yielded five runs -- two earned -- on seven hits and no walks while striking out five over 7 1/3 innings pitched in an 8-6 victory.

Haren owns a 2.16 ERA and 1.00 WHIP along with 20:2 K:BB ratio over 25 innings in four starts. He'll make his next start Thursday at home against Philadelphia.

Mike Bolsinger gets rocked in first start
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(12:08 am ET) Diamondbacks pitcher Mike Bolsinger got rocked Saturday night against the Dodgers, suffering his first loss of the season in an 8-6 defeat. The right-hander, making his first start of the season, surrendered seven runs -- six earned -- on seven hits and one walk while striking out five over four innings pitched.

Bolsinger has allowed eight earned runs over his first seven innings pitched through two appearances. He'll make his next start Thursday against the Cubs in Chicago.

Joakim Soria closes out White Sox
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(4/19/2014) Rangers closer Joakim Soria entered Saturday's game against the White Sox in the ninth inning with a three-run advantage. He made quick work of the White Sox striking out one and needing just nine pitches to secure a 1-2-3 ninth inning and his third save of the season in a 6-3 victory.

Soria owns a 5.14 ERA and 1.00 WHIP with 7:2 K:BB ratio over seven innings pitched.

Colby Lewis collects first win of season
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(4/19/2014) Rangers pitcher Colby Lewis fell two outs shy of a quality start on Saturday, but still managed to come away with his first win of the season in his team's 6-3 victory over the Tigers. He allowed one run on six hits and one walk while striking out four over 5 1/3 innings pitched.

Lewis owns a 4.22 ERA, a 1.41 WHIP and 8:1 K:BB ratio over 10 2/3 innings. He'll make his third start of the season Friday in Seattle.

Pablo Sandoval to get 'mental break' Sunday
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(4/19/2014) Giants third baseman Pablo Sandoval will not play Sunday against the Padres as manager Bruce Bochy feels he needs a "mental break," the San Jose Mercury News reports.

Sandoval went 0 for 3 Saturday, dropping his season line to .171/.256/.286 with two home runs and six RBI in 70 at-bats. The Giants have scored one run in each of their last three games, all losses.


Jose Quintana gets rocked in loss to Rangers
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(4/19/2014) White Sox pitcher Jose Quintana was hit hard and was pegged his with his first loss of the season Saturday night against the Rangers in Texas. The left-hander permitted five runs on nine hits and two walks while striking out one over five innings of a 6-3 defeat.

Quintana has yielded eight runs over his last three starts (18 innings). He owns a 3.75 ERA and 1.38 WHIP over 24 innings pitched. He'll look to make his next start Thursday in Detroit.

Shane Victorino goes hitless in rehab debut
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(4/19/2014) Red Sox outfielder Shane Victorino had an uneventful start to his minor-league rehab assignment at Triple-A Pawtucket Saturday night. He finished 0 for 3 in his first game action since suffering a hamstring injury. He's expected to re-evaluated after his third game before the team can establish a timetable for his return.

Michael Morse hits home run in loss Saturday
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(4/19/2014) Giants outfielder Michael Morse scored his team's only run Saturday, going 1 for 3 with a solo home run in the Giants' 3-1 loss to the Padres.

It was the third home run of the season for Morse, who went deep off San Diego starter Eric Stults in the fifth inning. He has hit .302/.373/.547 with 11 RBI in 53 at-bats.


 
 
 
Rankings