Wednesday, December 24, 2014


2015 fantasy baseball drafts are right around the corner and that means preparing how you will use your first round pick is key.  Get that pick wrong and you already are behind the eight-ball.  Nail it and you are putting yourself on the right path to succeed.  With that in mind here is how a standard 12-team league looks when it comes to how the first round may look.

1.  Mike Trout:  Last year there was a legit debate about whether Trout or Miguel Cabrera should be the top pick but no more.  While the steals were way down as Trout hits lower in the order, the power is picking up as 40 home runs are not possible.  The slam dunk top pick in all formats. 

2.  Miguel Cabrera:  Cabrera was nagged by injuries that stole some of his gargantuan pop last season but he remains the most dominant power hitter in the game.  Cabrera is still flat in his prime and is very easily capable of going back to his .330/40 HR monster ways.  Better yet, he played enough at third base last season for those who have a 5-game qualifier in their leagues. 

3.  Giancarlo Stanton:  Stanton was well on his way to 40 home runs until he took a fastball off his face that ended his season early in 2014.  There is not a more awesome power hitter in baseball and Stanton has managed to keep his average solid enough despite a very high K rate.  He also has added some steals to his repertoire which makes him worthy of going as high as number 2. 

4.  Andrew McCutchen:  McCutchen had another near-MVP season in 2014 as he continues in his prime as a five-tool monster.  While McCutchen is not in Mike Trout's class, no other outfielder measure up to the Pirates gem.

5.  Jose Abreu:  The Cuban Masher fully lived up to the hype last season as a .300-hitting/35-HR monster.  Abreu is capable of more as he enters into his second season and is the rare power hitter who can post both top notch pop with a .300 average. 

6.  Paul Goldschmidt:  Only injury prevented another huge season from Paul Goldschmidt in 2014.  He has completely established himself as a very rare five-category producer at first base.  In fact I wouldn't quibble if you flipped him and Abreu. 

7.  Edwin Encarnacion:  Took a lot of grief early on last season after touting Encarnacion as a first round guy but he fully lived up to my optimism the next five months with his standard power.  Encarnacion retains both first and third base eligibility and 35 home runs are the floor.  Like with his counterpart in Arizona, Encarnacion can steal some bases as well. 

8.  Adam Jones:  No one ever talks about Adam Jones when discussing Carlos Gomez and Andrew McCutchen which is silly.  There may not be a more dependable five-tool player in the game outside of Trout due to extreme durability and numbers that have come in at the same levels across the board the last four years. 

9.  Carlos Gomez:  Gomez is now into his fourth season as a 20-plus HR/30-plus SB outfielder 1.  Still in his prime, Gomez can easily anchor your outfield. 

10. Clayton Kershaw:  I never suggest drafting a pitcher in the first round but I can't deny the ridiculous dominance that Kershaw has shown the last five years.  He is clearly the best among all pitchers but again try to go hitter this early. 

11. Hanley Ramirez:  I elevated Ramirez back up to first round status due to his signing with the Boston Red Sox and the ongoing injury woes of Troy Tulowitzki.  Ramirez will get to hit in a prime offensive park for the first time in his career and as long as he stays healthy, first round numbers are possible. 

12. Robinson Cano:  Cano sank under 20 home runs for the first time as a regular player due to calling Seattle home but he still is the top second baseman in the game by a good margin.  I would go first baseman or outfielder in Round 1 however. 


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