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Monday, February 24, 2014

2014 FANTASY BASEBALL ISSUES: PLACING RISK AMONG FIRST ROUND NAMES

2014 fantasy baseball drafts are already well underway and a general consensus is out there regarding the 12-15 names who will make up most of the first rounds of all leagues.  Some of these names present more risk than others and it is always a great idea to get a read on where these guys fall in that regard.  Blowing your first round pick is a great way to set yourself up for early struggles and your goal should be to minimize as much risk as you can with that first choice.

CONSENSUS FIRST ROUND PICKS

Mike Trout
Joey Votto
Andrew McCutchen
Miguel Cabrera
Paul Goldschmidt
Robinson Cano
Clayton Kershaw
Chris Davis
Carlos Gonzalez
Edwin Encarnacion
Prince Fielder
Adam Jones
Bryce Harper
Troy Tulowitzki

There are 14 names above and these are the guys who are almost certain to make up your entire first round of choices.  With that established let's group these 14 into one of three classes:  SAFE CHOICE, BUST POTENTIAL, and NEUTRAL (could go either way).

SAFE CHOICES
1.  Paul Goldschmidt
2.  Miguel Cabrera
3.  Mike Trout
4.  Adam Jones
5.  Edwin Encarnacion
6.  Joey Votto
7.  Prince Fielder
8.  Andrew McCutchen

Analysis:  Every guy on the list above are what we consider safe first round investments.  Each has a proven track record of production and are all generally durable players who are in their prime years. Encarnacion may be one to slightly quibble with since this is his first foray into Round 1 and has had some injuries but this is a guy who would have bettered Paul Goldschmidt's numbers if he didn't sit in September.  Do your best to take one of these 8 in Round 1.

NEUTRAL
1.  Carlos Gonzalez
2.  Chris Davis

Analysis:  The two guys listed above can go either way for different reasons.  CarGo is as dynamic a hitter as there is in fantasy baseball and he was headed for an easy MVP award if he didn't injure his finger which cost him the second half of the year.  I didn't put Gonzalez in the bust column though despite his annual DL stint due to the fact he could go 30/30 this season and bat .300 which would be top five numbers.  I guess I have always made excuses for the guy and are doing it again.  Davis meanwhile is durable but is facing an uphill battle replicating last season's crazy home run and RBI output.  It would not shock me in the least if he lost 15 home runs and large chunk of RBI.  In addition Davis is not a .280 hitter as he benefitted from BABIP luck last season to reach that mark.  I hate buying career years and make a point to not do so. 

BUST POTENTIAL
1.  Bryce Harper
2.  Troy Tulowitzki
3.  Clayton Kershaw
4.  Robinson Cano

Analysis:  Harper and Tulowitzki are on the fringe of Round 1 and both are as talented as any hitter in the game.  However both have continually been undermined by injury and even as second round picks present bust potential.  It is always gambling when drafting these two and that continues this season.  Meanwhile I include Kershaw here as it is never a good idea to use your first round pick on a pitcher and the injury rate is as high among starters as any other position by a wide margin.  In this era of pitching dominance, you want a stud hitter locked up before you even think of taking a starter.  Also remember Kershaw had a scary hip injury a few seasons ago that many thought would lead to surgery.  Those injuries tend to return.  Finally Cano is going from one extreme to another and not in a good way when it comes to his home ballpark.  In addition he has zero lineup support and will see a sizable amount of stats washed away.  Also drafting a second baseman in Round 1 is foolish unless he is a 20/20 guy. 

So what do you think of this list?  Where would you rate these guys?  Post below.






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