Tuesday, December 23, 2014


1.  Robinson Cano:  Still the best but Cano dropped below 20 home runs for the first time since becoming a regular due to Safeco Field.  The average was top-notch however as Cano remains one of the best pure hitters in baseball.  Just don't pay the Yankee sticker price and instead adjust the cost to his current form as a Mariner.
2.  Anthony Rendon:  Hitting 21 home runs and stealing 17 bases while possessing a .300 bat is the quick way to becoming a fantasy baseball star which Rendon now is after his monster 2014 breakout.  The kid is for real as his bat was already above-average coming to the majors and he now has grown into his pop. Here to stay as a top guy.
3.  Jose Altuve:  Wow what a season.  Altuve was always a guy you could depend on to hit .280 and steal 30-plus bases but what he did in 2014 was ridiculous when you look at the .341 average and 56 steals.  Those two numbers look like clear outliers to us as they stand out big-time when looking at Altuve's career.  Still Altuve is still very young so growth was not unexpected.  The steals are much more dependable and likely to stay above 40 this season as opposed to the .341 average.  As long as you dial the average back a bit to around .315, Altuve will do great for you.
4.  Dee Gordon:  The Dodgers didn't buy into Gordon's 2014 breakout as they sold high in dealing him to the Miami Marlins.  Gordon can run like the wind and will steal a base every time he is given the chance but getting on first base was a big problem until he hit .289 last season.  He slumped in the second half as his utter lack of patience got him into trouble again.  Gordon has pronounced hitting issues that could turn him right back to a .260 hitter so don't go overboard cutting the check. 
5.  Ian Kinsler:  Kinsler surprised even myself as he refuted all those who thought he would be a bust in moving from Texas to Detroit.  Instead Kinsler filled up all five categories again despite aging a bit.  Keep in mind Kinsler's speed is starting to slip noticeably as he is clearly no longer even a 25 steal guy and his average was shaky even in the good days.  The injury bug also as a major issue that needs to be factored into his cost. 
6.  Josh Harrison:  Yet another breakout guy who infused this position with youth.  Harrison did a little of everything for the Pirates after failing to be more than a backup infielder his first few years in the league.  There is some bust potential here as Harrison has to prove last year was not a fluke but the power/speed ability is very intriguing to go along with the good eligibility. 
7.  Brian Dozier:  We all know Dozier will hurt you in batting average so that has to come along for the power/speed ride.  If you can look past that aspect of his game, Dozier is a terrific top ten guy who will boost you in the other four categories. 
8.  Neil Walker:  The classic guy you draft late if you waited on second base or the first injury replacement when your starter goes down except that Walker had a top ten year in 2014 among second baseman.  Will do a little of everything without blowing up any one category and draft cost remains dirt cheap.  Could be nice value again.
9.  Daniel Murphy:  For two years now Murphy has quietly been a very good starting second baseman who can hit .300 while accumulating nice counting stats.  Murphy also was the rare guy who figured out how to steal bases midway through his career which helps make up for some lack of pop.
10. Javier Baez:  Clearly one of the top prospects in baseball, Baez has some major holes in his swing a la Brian Dozier.  The average could be ghastly early on but the power/speed ability is immense. 
11. Danny Santana:  What a find this kid was as Santana came up and played like a top five guy the second half of 2014 among second baseman.  While we are not totally buying the home runs he hit, Santana could bat .300 and steal 30 bases easy.
12. Jason Kipnis:  We warned you about not overpaying for Kipnis last season as his very high K-rate has destroyed his average and impacted his power as opposing pitchers refuse to give him anything to hit in knowing his lack of plate discipline.  Onus is on Kipnis to adjust and that is no given. 
13. Kolten Wong:  Like the direction this kid is going as Wong cleared his head when demoted to the minors last season and came back up showing his nice power/speed blend.  Could turn into a star in 2015.
14. Dustin Pedroia:  If you ignore the name, you would say that Pedroia was one of the worst impact players in fantasy baseball last season.  His slight frame manning the rough second base spot is causing premature aging that took down Carlos Baerga and Juan Samuel among others in their late 20's and early 30's.  The speed looks shot, the average is slipping badly, and health is a big problem. Enough. 
15. Ben Zobrist:  Still doing enough to warrant usage but Zobist is aging as well and his numbers are leaking everywhere. 
16. Martin Prado:  Was intrigued if he stayed with the Yankees but the move to Miami destroys his value. 
17. Mookie Betts:  Right now has to open the Red Sox give him a shot in the outfield in order to show off his tremendous talent.  If Betts has the inside track to a job this spring, bump him up.
18. Chase Utley:  Move on here for good as Utley joins Pedroia, Zobrist, and Brandon Phillips as aging veterans who are fading quick. 
19. Brandon Phillips:  Phillips has virtually been useless the last two seasons as he speed is long gone and his power is diminishing as well.  Not much left to discuss. 
20. Howie Kendrick:  The Dodgers like what they saw out of Kendrick last season and truth be told he was solid.  Solid won't win you any championships however. 
21. Brett Lawrie:  The move from Toronto to Oakland destroyed what little value this injury-prone mess had left to his name. 
22. Dustin Ackley:  Somewhat intriguing for one more year but the home ballpark is pretty much a non-starter overall. 
23. Aaron Hill:  Went completely bust last season as Hill continues to make a career out of doing the opposing of what we think he will do with his numbers. 
24. Jurickson Profar:  Injuries really stunting the growth of this former top prospect.  Continue to monitor as the talent is still immense. 
25. Jordy Mercer:  Does just enough to stay on the radar but that is not saying much.

There you have it.  Let us hear your thoughts.



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