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Scott White's 2013 Rankings Snapshot

Senior Fantasy Writer
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Editor's Note: We will be providing owners three unique points of view by position this offseason. Our Scott White, Al Melchior and Nando Di Fino will each be sharing their initial views on the 2013 Fantasy Baseball season by position. Teams listed are either a player's current team or the team they ended 2012 on.

Catcher

So many more options here than in years past. You'll still have to pay top dollar for catchers like Buster Posey, Joe Mauer and Carlos Santana, but why invest so much at a position with such high injury risk when you can fall back on a 30-homer guy like Wilin Rosario or an assured .300 hitter like Salvador Perez?

What is this, first base?

Add Carlos Ruiz and Jonathan Lucroy to the mix, and suddenly stud-in-waiting Jesus Montero actually ranks lower than he did last year even though he's almost certain to hit more home runs with a reduced left-field fence. And while nobody expects A.J. Pierzynski to hit 27 home runs again -- myself included -- who'd have thought he wouldn't even be a projected starter in standard 12-team leagues coming off the season he had? Insane.

One player who might seem out of place is Yasmani Grandal, who's suspended for the first 50 games after testing positive for testosterone. Sorry, but 16th is as far as I'm willing to drop him. With his high on-base percentage and potential for more power with the fences coming in at PETCO Park, I'll happily wait him out, especially in two-catcher leagues.

Editor's note: Victor Martinez's eligibility in CBSSports.com Fantasy Baseball leagues in 2013 will be as a designated hitter and will not include catcher. However, if you're using our rankings to prepare for drafts where Martinez might be eligible at catcher, he would be No. 5 catcher in my rankings.

Scott's 2013 Catcher Rankings
2012 Roto
Rank
2012 H2H
Rank
2012 Roto
Rank
2012 H2H
Rank
1. Buster Posey, Giants 1 1 11. Mike Napoli, Red Sox 12 17
2. Joe Mauer, Twins 3 2 12. Jesus Montero, Mariners 15 15
3. Carlos Santana, Indians 9 4 13. A.J. Pierzynski, Rangers 4 7
4. Yadier Molina, Cardinals 2 3 14. Carlos Ruiz, Phillies 6 8
5. Miguel Montero, Diamondbacks 7 6 15. Ryan Doumit, Twins 10 9
6. Matt Wieters, Orioles 8 5 16. Yasmani Grandal, Padres 22 29
7. Wilin Rosario, Rockies 5 10 17. Alex Avila, Tigers 21 20
8. Brian McCann, Braves 14 12 18. John Jaso, Mariners 17 18
9. Salvador Perez, Royals 20 22 19. J.P. Arencibia, Blue Jays 19 21
10. Jonathan Lucroy, Brewers 11 16 20. Russell Martin, Pirates 16 13

First Base

Albert Pujols still No. 1? Albert Pujols still No. 1. His willingness to play through aches and pains will occasionally backfire now that he's more often playing through aches and pains at age 33, but given the way his last two-thirds of 2012 went, he's still got it. I'm a little more willing to turn the page on Mark Teixeira. After three straight seasons with a sub-.260 batting average, a turnaround is beginning to look not only unlikely but also infeasible for the soon-to-be 33-year-old.

First base features its share of up-and-comers in Paul Goldschmidt, Freddie Freeman and Anthony Rizzo, but the one who seems to go unnoticed is Ike Davis, who some Fantasy owners are sure to mistake for an all-or-nothing slugger based on the numbers he put up in 2012. But keep in mind his early-season bout with valley fever had him hitting only .158 on June 9. His per-game production from that point forward was actually better than Goldschmidt's and Freeman's over the full season.

Perhaps more difficult than ranking the top 20 first basemen was deciding who to leave out. I would have liked to see Adam LaRoche in there, but you wouldn't want to overpay for a career year. Adam Dunn and Mark Trumbo also missed the cut. Unlike Davis, they really are all-or-nothing sluggers.

Scott's 2013 First Base Rankings
2012 Roto
Rank
2012 H2H
Rank
2012 Roto
Rank
2012 H2H
Rank
1. Albert Pujols, Angels 4 4 11. Carlos Santana, Indians 26 17
2. Joey Votto, Reds 21 19 12. Paul Goldschmidt, Diamondbacks 7 11
3. Prince Fielder, Tigers 3 3 13. Freddie Freeman, Braves 15 12
4. Buster Posey, Giants 5 6 14. Corey Hart, Brewers 8 10
5. Edwin Encarnacion, Blue Jays 2 2 15. Ike Davis, Mets 22 21
6. Adrian Gonzalez, Dodgers 10 7 16. Anthony Rizzo, Cubs 40 49
7. Joe Mauer, Twins 12 8 17. Paul Konerko, White Sox 18 15
8. Allen Craig, Cardinals 11 16 18. Nick Swisher, Indians 17 14
9. Billy Butler, Royals 6 5 19. Justin Morneau, Twins 25 27
10. Mark Teixeira, Yankees 23 20 20. Ryan Howard, Phillies 52 68

Second Base

Yuck. A position that seemed to be on the upswing a year ago has quickly turned to mush. Dan Uggla sank like a rock in 2012. Dustin Ackley and Jemile Weeks didn't pan out. Chase Utley is liable to miss another two weeks with his same old creaky knees. Here's hoping Aaron Hill's breakthrough was legitimate.

If a secret weapon exists at this position, it's Rickie Weeks, whose continued recovery from a significant ankle sprain in 2011 dragged down his numbers in the first half of 2012. But his Fantasy points per game from June 16 on were about what Ben Zobrist averaged over the full season.

On the other hand, Jason Kipnis and Jose Altuve are candidates to disappoint. Yes, they have upside, but that's the problem. So few players have upside at second base that you'll have to reach for the ones who do. Because both took significant steps back in the second half of 2012, I have a feeling their development will be slower than their drafters had hoped for.

One player to watch is Logan Forsythe. No, he won't revolutionize the position, but if he wins a starting job, he could perform on the same level as potential reaches Neil Walker and Howard Kendrick.

Scott's 2013 Second Base Rankings
2012 Roto
Rank
2012 H2H
Rank
2012 Roto
Rank
2012 H2H
Rank
1. Robinson Cano, Yankees 1 1 11. Dan Uggla, Braves 16 13
2. Dustin Pedroia, Red Sox 6 7 12. Danny Espinosa, Nationals 10 14
3. Ian Kinsler, Rangers 3 3 13. Neil Walker, Pirates 14 20
4. Ben Zobrist, Rays 7 4 14. Dustin Ackley, Mariners 17 18
5. Aaron Hill, Diamondbacks 2 2 15. Howard Kendrick, Angels 13 19
6. Rickie Weeks, Brewers 11 11 16. Marco Scutaro, Giants 8 8
7. Brandon Phillips, Reds 5 9 17. Jemile Weeks, Athletics 39 31
8. Jason Kipnis, Indians 4 6 18. Logan Forsythe, Padres 27 36
9. Jose Altuve, Astros 9 12 19. Gordon Beckham, White Sox 19 22
10. Chase Utley, Phillies 22 27 20. Daniel Murphy, Mets 15 17

Third Base

At third base, you have Miguel Cabrera, and then you have two big, homogenous blobs.

The first such blob I'll call "players who are already good." Any of Evan Longoria, Adrian Beltre, Ryan Zimmerman, David Wright and Chase Headley could conceivably rank No. 2 at the position, and Aramis Ramirez outscored them all on a per-game basis in 2012. Hanley Ramirez is also part of the blob, but mostly because of his shortstop eligibility. You should know better than to draft him as your starting third baseman.

The second such blob I'll call "players who could be good." Some, such as David Freese and Kyle Seager, have most likely maximized their potential, but others, such as Brett Lawrie, Pedro Alvarez, Will Middlebrooks, Todd Frazier, Mike Moustakas and Manny Machado, most assuredly have not. While on the one hand, you don't want to miss out on the early run of elite talent at the position, you have plenty of fallback options if you do.

The only losers I can envision at third base are the ones who overvalue Pablo Sandoval because of his postseason performance, overvalue Alex Rodriguez because of his name or overvalue Kevin Youkilis because they don't realize just how bad he was even after joining the White Sox.

Scott's 2013 Third Base Rankings
2012 Roto
Rank
2012 H2H
Rank
2012 Roto
Rank
2012 H2H
Rank
1. Miguel Cabrera, Tigers 1 1 11. David Freese, Cardinals 10 13
2. Evan Longoria, Rays 26 38 12. Brett Lawrie, Blue Jays 14 22
3. Adrian Beltre, Rangers 4 4 13. Kyle Seager, Mariners 11 11
4. Ryan Zimmerman, Nationals 7 8 14. Pedro Alvarez, Pirates 13 19
5. Hanley Ramirez, Dodgers 8 9 15. Will Middlebrooks, Red Sox 29 41
6. David Wright, Mets 6 6 16. Todd Frazier, Reds 18 26
7. Chase Headley, Padres 3 3 17. Mike Moustakas, Royals 16 18
8. Aramis Ramirez, Brewers 5 5 18. Kevin Youkilis, Yankees 24 25
9. Martin Prado, Braves 9 7 19. Manny Machado, Orioles 50 78
10. Pablo Sandoval, Giants 22 30 20. Michael Young, Phillies 8 10

Shortstop

Shortstop isn't what it used to be, which is both bad and good. The bad: The first tier isn't as safe as usual, whether because of injury, age or inconsistency. The good: The second tier is deeper than ever.

It's so deep, in fact, that mainstay Elvis Andrus is on the verge of dropping out of it. By now, we can safely conclude he's a one-trick pony with the stolen bases. If he doesn't get 35-40 of those -- and he didn't come close in 2012 -- he doesn't measure up at the position. Players like Ian Desmond, Starlin Castro and (if he can hold on just a little longer) Derek Jeter are simply too well-rounded by comparison.

But all is not lost after Andrus. Even the back end of the top 20 has its share of gems. Danny Espinosa is going to put together a 20-20 campaign one of these years. Erick Aybar's contributions in batting average and steals are perennially undervalued, and he had an .868 OPS in his final 50 games in 2012. Everth Cabrera is the defending NL stolen bases leader, for crying out loud.

I personally wouldn't be willing to invest so much in the free-swinging slugger types like Josh Rutledge, J.J. Hardy and Zack Cozart, but perhaps that's my Head-to-Head bias showing.

Scott's 2013 Shortstop Rankings
2012 Roto
Rank
2012 H2H
Rank
2012 Roto
Rank
2012 H2H
Rank
1. Troy Tulowitzki, Rockies 37 51 11. Josh Rutledge, Rockies 27 31
2. Jose Reyes, Blue Jays 1 1 12. Alcides Escobar, Royals 8 11
3. Hanley Ramirez, Dodgers 4 6 13. Danny Espinosa, Nationals 11 14
4. Ben Zobrist, Rays 7 3 14. Erick Aybar, Angels 14 16
5. Jimmy Rollins, Phillies 2 2 15. J.J. Hardy, Orioles 15 12
6. Ian Desmond, Nationals 3 10 16. Everth Cabrera, Padres 16 24
7. Starlin Castro, Cubs 5 7 17. Marco Scutaro, Giants 9 8
8. Asdrubal Cabrera, Indians 12 13 18. Alexei Ramirez, White Sox 13 15
9. Elvis Andrus, Rangers 10 9 19. Jed Lowrie, Astros 25 25
10. Derek Jeter, Yankees 6 5 20. Andrelton Simmons, Braves 20 20

Outfield

After the top eight, these rankings are open for debate. I feel like players such as Adam Jones, Justin Upton and Jason Heyward are just beginning to meet their potential, but others might prefer the assured home run totals of Curtis Granderson or Jay Bruce. From my perspective, you lose about as much as you gain with them, but whatever.

What about Allen Craig, huh? How much growth potential does he have at age 28? Maybe none, but he averaged as many Fantasy points per game as Giancarlo Stanton last year by producing the same .300-ish batting average and .900-ish OPS he's had at every other stop in his professional career. How much growth potential does he need? Nick Markakis is another favorite of mine. The pop returned last year, in case you hadn't noticed.

So who don't I like? Hopefully, I've buried Josh Willingham and Carlos Beltran enough that they'll be gone before I have a chance to consider them. No chance those two stay healthy for a full season again. Beltran actually did begin to fall apart after the All-Star break in 2012, but his first half was so healthy and productive that few Fantasy owners noticed. I also have serious doubts about Alex Rios' ability to repeat his 2012. Given his up-and-down career, the time to target him in Fantasy isn't when he's coming off a career-best season.

Scott's 2013 Outfield Rankings
2012 Roto
Rank
2012 H2H
Rank
2012 Roto
Rank
2012 H2H
Rank
1. Ryan Braun, Brewers 2 1 21. Alex Gordon, Royals 30 12
2. Mike Trout, Angels 1 2 22. Alex Rios, White Sox 5 6
3. Matt Kemp, Dodgers 38 51 23. B.J. Upton, Braves 13 31
4. Andrew McCutchen, Pirates 3 3 24. Corey Hart, Brewers 22 23
5. Jose Bautista, Blue Jays 57 62 25. Desmond Jennings, Rays 48 48
6. Giancarlo Stanton, Marlins 15 35 26. Austin Jackson, Tigers 19 26
7. Josh Hamilton, Rangers 4 4 27. Shane Victorino, Red Sox 40 25
8. Carlos Gonzalez, Rockies 7 16 28. Michael Bourn, Braves 12 20
9. Matt Holliday, Cardinals 9 7 29. Hunter Pence, Giants 33 22
10. Adam Jones, Orioles 6 5 30. Carlos Beltran, Cardinals 11 18
11. Justin Upton, Diamondbacks 17 23 31. Josh Willingham, Twins 14 10
12. Jason Heyward, Braves 10 15 32. Martin Prado, Braves 31 13
13. Allen Craig, Cardinals 28 39 33. Nick Markakis, Orioles 70 68
14. Jacoby Ellsbury, Red Sox 95 111 34. Andre Ethier, Dodgers 41 36
15. Ben Zobrist, Rays 34 9 35. Michael Morse, Nationals 68 83
16. Curtis Granderson, Yankees 8 8 36. Melky Cabrera, Blue Jays 25 40
17. Jay Bruce, Reds 16 11 37. Nick Swisher, Indians 42 33
18. Bryce Harper, Nationals 26 29 38. Dexter Fowler, Rockies 53 53
19. Yoenis Cespedes, Athletics 20 34 39. Josh Reddick, Athletics 29 21
20. Shin-Soo Choo, Reds 24 19 40. Angel Pagan, Giants 23 23

Starting Pitcher

Stephen Strasburg, R.A. Dickey, Cliff Lee and CC Sabathia. Among the elite starting pitchers -- which encompasses the top 15 or so -- those four figure to be the most polarizing. Strasburg is the one I'm least confident will live up to his draft position. Just because the Nationals shut him down early in 2012 doesn't mean workload is no longer an issue for him. He didn't even reach 160 innings. You think the Nationals are going to let him make the jump 220 all of a sudden, as careful as they've been with him so far? I don't.

Madison Bumgarner isn't quite as polarizing, but I have a feeling I'm higher on him than most. The mechanical issue that caused him to slide over his final seven regular-season starts disappeared in the postseason, which means he should get back to putting up Cole Hamels-like numbers in 2013. Why rank him any differently than Hamels?

C.J. Wilson and Jeff Samardzija are also favorites of mine. Wilson's midseason cliff-dive coincided with the appearance of bone spurs in his left elbow, so I'm guessing the two events were related. Samardzija, unlike most first-time starting pitchers, actually got better with the accumulation of innings and has strikeout-per-inning potential.

I'm not so high on Yovani Gallardo or Kyle Lohse. Gallardo is forever condemned to a higher WHIP than the pitchers drafted around him, and Lohse is only on this list to remind me not to reach for some of the pitchers I've ranked behind him. Someone else will draft him earlier than No. 40.

Scott's 2013 Starting Pitcher Rankings
2012 Roto
Rank
2012 H2H
Rank
2012 Roto
Rank
2012 H2H
Rank
1. Justin Verlander, Tigers 2 2 21. Mat Latos, Reds 26 14
2. Clayton Kershaw, Dodgers 4 4 22. Max Scherzer, Tigers 20 21
3. Felix Hernandez, Mariners 14 10 23. Yovani Gallardo, Brewers 30 20
4. David Price, Rays 3 3 24. Adam Wainwright, Cardinals 40 35
5. Cole Hamels, Phillies 7 6 25. Jordan Zimmermann, Nationals 34 26
6. Jered Weaver, Angels 8 11 26. Jake Peavy, White Sox 24 19
7. Stephen Strasburg, Nationals 19 27 27. Jon Lester, Red Sox 147 68
8. R.A. Dickey, Blue Jays 1 1 28. Josh Johnson, Blue Jays 84 56
9. Matt Cain, Giants 6 5 29. Brandon Morrow, Blue Jays 62 80
10. Madison Bumgarner, Giants 15 17 30. C.J. Wilson, Angels 60 36
11. Cliff Lee, Phillies 36 23 31. Doug Fister, Tigers 61 64
12. CC Sabathia, Yankees 18 16 32. Ian Kennedy, Diamondbacks 43 33
13. Zack Greinke, Dodgers 21 13 33. Jeff Samardzija, Cubs 59 58
14. Gio Gonzalez, Nationals 5 7 34. Tim Lincecum, Giants 144 89
15. James Shields, Royals 16 12 35. Jonathon Niese, Mets 38 30
16. Johnny Cueto, Reds 9 9 36. Lance Lynn, Cardinals 32 34
17. Yu Darvish, Rangers 27 28 37. Matt Moore, Rays 71 63
18. Roy Halladay, Phillies 95 71 38. Hiroki Kuroda, Yankees 22 18
19. Chris Sale, White Sox 12 15 39. A.J. Burnett, Pirates 29 24
20. Kris Medlen, Braves 23 39 40. Kyle Lohse, Cardinals 17 8

Relief Pitcher

As always, a relief pitcher's Fantasy value is mostly dependent on whether or not he's getting saves, so this list is highly subject to change as roles shift throughout the offseason and into spring training.

Kris Medlen and Alexi Ogando are exceptions. They're currently projected to start for their respective teams -- which, for Fantasy owners, is even better than closing. Usually. Maybe not for Aroldis Chapman. I actually dropped him a spot on this list when I learned he was moving to the starting rotation. I don't know that he has the efficiency or command to survive in that role, but as a closer, he's lights out.

Tom Wilhelmsen, Greg Holland and Glen Perkins are probably higher on my list than most, but all three have swing-and-miss stuff and little competition for ninth-inning duties. I could see each of them taking a big step forward. On the other hand, I don't assign much value to the unproven Sergio Romo or the inconsistent Jonathan Broxton. Plenty of saves to be had out there. No need to gamble any further at a position that has historically been a roll of the dice.

Scott's 2013 Relief Pitcher Rankings
2012 Roto
Rank
2012 H2H
Rank
2012 Roto
Rank
2012 H2H
Rank
1. Craig Kimbrel, Braves 10 3 11. Tom Wilhelmsen, Mariners 47 13
2. Kris Medlen, Braves 23 10 12. J.J. Putz, Diamondbacks 74 24
3. Aroldis Chapman, Reds 11 5 13. Joel Hanrahan, Red Sox 50 12
4. Jonathan Papelbon, Phillies 28 9 14. Alexi Ogando, Rangers 178 77
5. Jason Motte, Cardinals 25 6 15. Huston Street, Padres 90 37
6. Fernando Rodney, Rays 13 1 16. Greg Holland, Royals 79 38
7. Mariano Rivera, Yankees N/A N/A 17. Grant Balfour, Athletics 58 22
8. Joe Nathan, Rangers 42 11 18. Chris Perez, Indians 76 26
9. Drew Storen, Nationals 232 N/A 19. Glen Perkins, Twins 82 33
10. Jim Johnson, Orioles 35 4 20. Ryan Madson, Angels DNP DNP

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 .

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