Fantasy

2014 Fantasy Baseball: Early Fantasy Baseball Player Rankings

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The 2014 MLB season is quickly approaching, and for fans, there’s nothing more exciting than fantasy baseball. While it still may be a little bit early for some fans to get out of football mode, there are some fans who cannot get enough of baseball. Here are the top 101 players entering the 2014 Fantasy Baseball Season.

  1. OF Mike Trout – Has been stealing the spotlight for the last two seasons. Can hit for power, average, and steal 40 bases. Health is not an issue as he played 157 games last year.
  2. 1B Miguel Cabrera – Reigning two-time American League MVP. Has hit at least .324 with 30 home runs in each of the last 5 seasons. However, he loses valuable protection from Prince Fielder.
  3. OF Andrew McCutchen – Reigning National League MVP. Hits home runs, drives in runners, steals bases, posts a high average consistently. He has played at least 154 games in each of his last 4 seasons.
  4. 1B Paul Goldschmidt – Breakout performer of 2013 and fantasy MVP for most teams. Led the National League with 36 home runs and 125 RBI.
  5. OF Carlos Gonzalez – One of the best all around players in the game. Capable of hitting 30 home runs and stealing 20 bases. Benefits from stellar protection and playing at Coors Field (high altitude). Injuries are often an issue.
  6. SS Hanley Ramirez -  Rebounded from an injury with a career year in 2013. Capable of being in the 30-30 club year in and year out. Posted career highs in batting average (.345), slugging percentage (.638), and OBP (1.040).
  7. SP Clayton Kershaw – Turned in one of the most impressive pitching season in major league history in 2013. Has led the National League in ERA in each of the last three seasons. Led the National League in strikeouts in two of the last three.
  8. 1B Chris Davis – Biggest fantasy sleeper of 2013. Led the American League with 53 home runs and 138 RBI last season. Health is not a concern as he played 160 games.
  9. 1B Prince Fielder – Posted career lows in home runs last year with only 25. Will benefit from a stacked Texas lineup. He’s missed only 1 game total over the last 5 seasons.
  10. SP Yu Darvish – Finished second in American League Cy Young voting last season. Struck out a league leading 277 batters. Posted incredibly low ERA (2.83) and WHIP (1.07).
  11. 2B Robinson Cano – Has hit at least .300 in five consecutive seasons. Capable of hitting 30 home runs and 40 doubles. Will get pitched around in Seattle lineup.
  12. SS Troy Tulowitzki – Rare breed of shortstop capable of hitting over 30 home runs in a season. Has posted an OPS over .900 in four of the last five seasons. Injuries are a concern, however, as he’s played over 150 games only twice in his career.
  13. 1B Joey Votto – Possibly the best hitter in the National League. Has led the National League in walks and on base percentage in each of the last three seasons. Can hit for power and a high average. Played all 162 games last year.
  14. 3B Adrian Beltre – Led American League with 199 hits last season. Can hit for both power and average. Will benefit from newly acquired Prince Fielder and Shin-Soo Choo.
  15. 3B David Wright – A career .300 hitter. Has shown signs of power before and should receive more to hit after the Curtis Granderson signing. Injuries limited Wright to just 112 games last year.
  16. SP Max Scherzer – Reigning American League Cy Young. Posted outstanding 21-3 record last season. Led the American League with a minuscule 0.97 WHIP.
  17. OF Adam Jones – Posted career highs in both home runs (33) and RBI (108). Gets superb protection from Chris Davis. Has only missed 2 games in the past two seasons combined.
  18. SP Adam Wainwright – Workhorse year in and year out. Led the National League in wins (19), complete games (5), and shutouts (2) last season. Has struck out at least 200 batters and recorded an ERA under 3.00 in three of the past four seasons.
  19. OF Yasiel Puig – Burst onto the scene in 2013 by posting Mike Trout like rookie numbers. Hit .319 with 19 home runs in only 104 games. Capable of joining the 30-30 club if he plays an entire season.
  20. SP Felix Hernandez – One of the American League’s most reliable pitchers. Has struck out at least 216 batters in each of the last four seasons. Posted 3.04 ERA and 1.13 WHIP in 2013. Never wins many games thanks to lack of run support.
  21. OF Jacoby Ellsbury – Capable of stealing over 50 bases a year. Has shown flashes of power before and will benefit from short porch at Yankee Stadium. Reason to be concerned with his injury history.
  22. 1B Freddie Freeman – First time all-star last season who enjoyed a career year. Hit .319 with 23 home runs and 109 RBI. Won’t steal many bases but has had good health throughout his career.
  23. SP Chris Sale – Struck out 226 batters last year while posting a 3.07 ERA. Led the American League with four complete games. Posted a poor 11-14 record due to a terrible offensive support.
  24. OF Jose Bautista - Missed a handful of time last season due to injury. Capable of hitting 40 home runs. Won’t hit for a high average but will drive in runs.
  25. SP Stephen Strasburg – Has a career 10.4 K/9 rating. Posted tremendous 1.05 WHIP and 3.00 ERA in 2013. Has still never reached 185 innings in a season.
  26. 3B Evan Longoria – One of the most consistent third basemen in the game. Hit 32 home runs last season but posted only a .269 average. Finally returned to good health last year and played 160 games.
  27. OF Carlos Gomez – Became the star of Milwaukee’s offense in Ryan Braun‘s absence. Posted career highs in batting average (.284), home runs (24), and stolen bases (40). Doesn’t walk much and struck out 146 times last year. Will benefit from Ryan Braun’s 2014 return.
  28. OF Matt Kemp – Tremendous talent when not injured. Capable of hitting 40 home runs, stealing 40 bases, and hitting over .300. His health will need to be looked in to as injuries limited him to only 73 games last season.
  29. OF Giancarlo Stanton – Has more raw power than any hitter in the major leagues. Averages 39 home runs through 162 games. Has a history of injuries already in his young career. Will lose out on RBI chances and pitches to hit in the middle of a disappointing Marlins’ lineup.
  30. SP Jose Fernandez – 2013 National League Rookie of the Year. Posted an unbelievable ERA (2.16), WHIP (0.98), and led the league in H/9 (5.8). Won’t get too many wins and still may be on an innings limit as it is unlikely that the Marlins will contend for the postseason.
  31. DH Edwin Encarnacion – Followed up his breakout 2012 campaign with a stellar 2013 season. Has hit 78 home runs over the last two seasons and driven in over 100 runs in both of them. Hardly strikes out and consistently posts an average around .270-.280.
  32. OF Ryan Braun - Played only 61 games last year after being suspended for PED use. Former MVP who is capable of hitting 40 home runs and stealing 30 bases. The career .312 hitter will now have to shake the rust off and attempt to return to pre-suspension form.
  33. 3B Matt Carpenter – Breakout performer of 2013. Led the National League in runs scored (126), hits (199), and doubles (55) while also hitting .318. His health his not a concern as he played 157 games last year.
  34. OF Hunter Pence – Very quietly enjoyed a career year in 2013. Hit a career high 27 home runs and stole a career high 22 bases. He was one of only 4 players to play all 162 games in the 2013 season.
  35. SP Cliff Lee - Posted tremendous 2.87 ERA and 1.01 WHIP in 2013. Has struck out at least 200 batters in each of the last three seasons. Led the National League with a 6.94 K/BB ratio.
  36. OF Jay Bruce – Has hit at least 30 home runs in each of the last three seasons. Hit a career high 43 doubles last year. Has missed only 14 games over the past three seasons.
  37. OF Shin-Soo Choo – One of the best leadoff hitters in the game because of his ability to get on base. Can hit for both power and average and steal 20 bases. Change of scenery from Cincinnati to Texas will help him statistically.
  38. SP David Price – Rebounded nicely from injury last season. Led the American League with four complete games and a 5.59 K/BB ratio. Still surrounded by trade rumors, so it is unclear exactly where he will be pitching next year.
  39. 3B Josh Donaldson – Broke out in stellar 2013 season. Hit .301 with 24 home runs in his first full season. Health is not a concern as he played 158 games last year.
  40. SP Zack Greinke – Won double-digit games for the past 6 seasons. Posted a 2.63 ERA in 2013. Not much of a strikeout pitcher as he only struck out 145 batters in 28 starts last season.
  41. SP Justin Verlander – Did not live up to his ace status last year, but he was still an all-star. Has led the league in strikeouts in 3 of the last 5 seasons. Capable of throwing over 230 innings a season.
  42. SS Jose Reyes – Had a very down year last season. Stole only 15 bases and hit 0 triples. Still has potential to hit .300 and steal 40 bases. Played only 93 games in 2013 due to injury.
  43. OF Matt Holliday – Career .311 hitter. Can hit 25 plus home runs and drive in more than 100 in the middle of the Cardinals’ lineup. Won’t steal a lot of bases and grounds into a lot of double plays.
  44. DH David Ortiz – Has hit at least .300 in each of the past three seasons. Hit 30 home runs and drove in 103 runs in only 137 games. Full time DH so he won’t have much positional value.
  45. OF Alex Rios – Has a chance to shine in the Rangers’ star-studded lineup. Stole a career high 42 bases last season. Capable of hitting .280 and has potential to drive in over 100 runs this season hitting behind Prince Fielder and Adrian Beltre.
  46. 2B Ian Kinsler – Has gone 30-30 twice in the past 5 seasons. Will likely score over 100 runs atop the Tigers’ lineup. Has never struck out more than 100 times in a season.
  47. 1B Joe Mauer – Making full-time transition to first base so he will be able to play every day. Career .323 hitter who has shown flashes of power here and there. Will most likely still qualify as a catcher for fantasy owners.  A lot of injury history in the past.
  48. OF Mark Trumbo – Tremendous raw power. Hit a career high 34 home runs and drove in a career high 100 runs in 2013. Posted a dismal .234 average last season.
  49. C/1B Buster Posey – Qualifies as a catcher that can hit for a high average. Hit only 15 home runs and drove in only 72 runs last season. Plays first base when he’s not catching so he plays almost every day.
  50. RP Craig Kimbrel – Undoubtedly the best closer in the game after the departure of Mariano Rivera. Saved 50 games and recorded a 0.99 WHIP in 2013.
  51. SP Cole Hamels – Posted poor 8-14 record despite 3.60 ERA. Has struck out at least 200 batters in 3 of the past 4 seasons. Gives up fair share of hits and home runs.
  52. OF Bryce Harper – Still a lot of hype surrounding this young star. He’s hit at least 20 home runs and posted at least a .270 batting average in each of his first two seasons. He struggles to drive in runs and played only 118 games last year due to injury.
  53. SP Madison Bumgarner – Upcoming lefty who took over the Giants’ rotation last year. Posted a 2.77 ERA and 1.03 WHIP in 2013. Has struck out at least 190 batters in each of the past three seasons.
  54. RP Aroldis Chapman – Flamethrower who posted a career high 15.8 K/9 ratio last season. He recorded 38 saves and posted a 2.54 ERA.
  55. 2B Dustin Pedroia – Valuable middle infielder who has a career .302 batting average. He’s eclipsed the 15 home run plateau 4 times in his career and has stolen at least 20 bases 4 times. Always near the top of the league leaders in doubles.
  56. SS Jean Segura – Had tremendous success in his first full season. One of only three National League hitters to record at least 10 doubles, triples, and home runs. Stole 44 bases but only walked 25 times.
  57. SP Anibal Sanchez – Led the American League with a 2.57 ERA. Won a career high 14 games. Allowed a league leading 0.4 home runs/9 innings.
  58. SP Jordan Zimmermann – Emerged as the ace of the Nationals’ staff. Led the National League with 19 wins and 2 shutouts. Only struck out 161 batters in 213.1 innings.
  59. 1B/OF Allen Craig – Has hit over .300 in three consecutive seasons. Drove in a career high 97 runs. Played only 134 games due to injury. Lacks power for a first baseman as he only hit 13 home runs last season.
  60. 2B Jason Kipnis – Rebounded tremendously after a dismal April and May. Posted career highs in batting average (.284), home runs (17), and RBI (84). Stole 30 bases for the second consecutive season.
  61. OF Justin Upton – Got off to a red-hot start but fizzled out by season’s end. Hit 27 home runs and drove in 70 runs. Stole less than 10 bases for the first time since 2008.
  62. SP Gio Gonzalez – Had a solid 2013 campaign amidst the biogenesis scandal. Recorded a 3.36 ERA and struck out 192 batters. Gives up few home runs but has the tendency to walk batters.
  63. SP Hisashi Iwakuma – Great Japanese arrival overshadowed by success of Yu Darvish. Finished 3rd in American League Cy Young voting in 2013. Posted a 2.66 ERA and 1.01 WHIP.
  64. 1B Albert Pujols – Still one of the greatest hitters of this generation. Has yet to hit above .300 with the Angels. Played only 99 games last year due to injury.
  65. RP Kenley Jansen – Great young closer who saved 28 games for the Dodgers last year. Posted a 1.88 ERA and 0.86 ERA. Struck out 111 batters in only 76.2 innings.
  66. C Yadier Molina – One of the best offensive catchers in the game. Hit over .300 for the third consecutive season. Drove in a career high 80 runs in 2013. Has had great health as he’s caught at least 130 games in each of the last five seasons.
  67. SP James Shields – Total workhorse led the American League in games started (34) and innings pitched (228.2) in 2013. Won double-digit games for the seventh consecutive season. Consistency varies year in and year out without reason.
  68. 1B Eric Hosmer – Posted a career high batting average of .302 and drove in a career high 79 runs last season. Hit 17 home runs and doubled 34 times. Still seems to be getting better going forward. Capable of being the next Paul Goldschmidt.
  69. OF Starling Marte – Did a tremendous job of leading off for the Pirates last season. Tripled 10 times and added 12 home runs in just 135 games. Stole 41 bases but was caught 15 times.
  70. DH Billy Butler – Had a relatively quiet year in 2013 as he hit only .289 with 15 home runs. However, he’s capable of hitting 30 home runs and 50 doubles each season. Plays only designated hitter so he plays every day, but won’t get much positional value.
  71. 2B Brandon Phillips – Hit 18 home runs and drove in a career high 103 runs last year. Doesn’t have the ability to steal 30 bases anymore like he used to. Still an effective bat who could be traded anytime before or during the season.
  72. OF Alex Gordon – First time all-star has put up tremendous, but under appreciated number for the past three seasons. Hit 20 home runs and collected 81 RBI in 2013. He’s a doubles machine who’s also capable of touching .300.
  73. RP Koji Uehara – Unbelievable dominating first-time closer broke through in 2013. Posted a 0.57 WHIP and 1.09 ERA. Had a streak of 37 consecutive batters retired last season. Also had a 12.2 K/9 ratio.
  74. OF Jason Heyward – Disappointed many fantasy owners last season but still had blazing hot streaks. Hit only .254 with 14 home runs, 38 RBI, and stole only 2 bases in 2013. Capable of joining the 20-20 club year in and year out barring injuries. Played only 104 games last year due to injury.
  75. RP Jason Grilli – Took over as full-time closer for the first time last season. Recorded 33 saves before going down with an injury late in the season. First time all-star posted a nice 1.06 WHIP and strong 13.3 K/9 ratio.
  76. SP Masahiro Tanaka – Perhaps the second coming of Yu Darvish. Japanese pitcher went 24-0 in 2013 with a 1.27 ERA and 0.94 WHIP.
  77. 2B/OF/SS Ben Zobrist – Great versatile player who can be plugged into any position for the Rays. Has recorded at least 35 doubles in three consecutive seasons. Hit .275 last year but only slugged 11 home runs. Healthy has never been a concern.
  78. RP Joe Nathan – Should have no problem making the transition to Detroit. One of the most consistent closers year in and year out. Posted a 1.39 ERA and 0.90 WHIP in 2013 with Texas. Allowed a career low 2 home runs.
  79. 1B Adrian Gonzalez – Had a quieter 2013 but still put up terrific numbers. Hit .293 with 100 runs batted in. His 22 home runs showed that his power is continuing to diminish.
  80. SP Julio Teheran – Another tremendous rookie performer from last season. Won 14 games while posting a 3.20 ERA. Walked only 45 batters but hit 13.
  81. 3B Pedro Alvarez – Tied Paul Goldschmidt for the National League lead in home runs last year with 36. Drove in 100 runs for the first time in his career. Career .235 hitter will never post a high average as he also struck out a league leading 186 times.
  82. 3B Ryan Zimmerman – Not the same offensive player than he once was. Still finished top ten in the National League with 26 home runs while posting a respectable .275 batting average.
  83. OF Jayson Werth – Finished fifth in the National League with a .318 batting average. Also hit 25 home runs in a comeback year. Has dealt with a fair share of injuries over the past two seasons.
  84. OF/DH Alfonso Soriano – Had a tremendous second half after being traded to the Yankees. Combined to hit 34 home runs and drive in 101 runs. Never has hit for that high of an average and doesn’t have the speed that he used to have, but he can be relied on for a lot of extra base hits.
  85. 3B Kyle Seager – Enjoyed a stellar first half before hitting just .212 after the all-star break. Will get great protection with Robinson Cano hitting behind him this year. Potentially this year’s Josh Donaldson.
  86. 1B Mike Napoli – Made a great transition to full-time first baseman last year. Has hit at least 20 home runs in each of the past 6 seasons. Drove in a career high 92 runs last year. However, he’s only a career .259 hitter who strikes out a ton.
  87. OF Carlos Beltran – Never seems to slow down as he gets older. Hit .296 with 24 home runs in 2013. His transition to New York may inflate his stats even more going forward.
  88. C/1B Carlos Santana – Power hitting catcher hit 20 home runs and 39 doubles in a career 2013 campaign. Plays first base and designated hitter when he’s not catching, so he plays nearly every day. Doesn’t hit for a high average but draws a fair share of walks.
  89. 3B Manny Machado – Will enter 2014 coming off of major knee surgery. Led the American League with 667 at-bats and 51 doubles in 2013. If healthy, should be capable of raising his average above .300 for the first time.
  90. OF Yoenis Cespedes – Disappointed fantasy owners by hitting only .240 last season. Has tremendous power and has hit 49 home runs in his first two seasons since coming over from Cuba. However, he has spent time on the disabled list in each of his first two seasons.
  91. 2B Chase Utley – Nearing the end of his career, but still putting up solid numbers. Hit .284 last year with 18 home runs in 2013. Has serious injury history that needs to be looked into.
  92. OF Wil Myers – Had a tremendous rookie season and took home Rookie of the Year honors at the end of it. Hit .293 with 13 home runs. Has potential to hit for a .300 average with over 30 home runs in a full season. Strikes out a tad too much and can walk a little bit more.
  93. C/DH Brian McCann – Headed to New York where he will receive the opportunity to play every day. He’s been an all-star in 7 of the past 8 seasons. Consistently hits 20 plus home runs a season. However, his average has dropped off a little bit in the past two seasons.
  94. C Salvador Perez – First time all-star in 2013. Has hit at least .292 in each of his first three seasons. Has a chance to be the next Yadier Molina.
  95. RP Greg Holland – He was one of the of the most unhittable closers in 2013. Saved 47 games and posted an ERA of 1.21 and a WHIP of 0.87. Also posted a terrific 13.8 K/9 ratio.
  96. SP Matt Moore – Finished third in the American League with 17 wins in 2013. Posted a respectable 3.29 ERA but a not so great 1.30 WHIP. Only struck out 143 batters in 150.1 innings pitched.
  97. SP Hyun-jin Ryu – Another tremendous rookie from the 2013 class. Won 14 games and posted a 3.00 ERA. Only struck out 154 batters in 192 innings pitched, but only walked 49.
  98. OF/1B Michael Cuddyer – Led the National League with a .331 batting average last year. Capable of hitting about 20 home runs away. Benefits from a good Rockies’ lineup and playing at Coors Field (high altitude).
  99. SP Clay Buchholz – Arguably was the best pitcher in the American League last year. Posted a 12-1 record, 1.74 ERA, and 1.03 WHIP. Unfortunately he has a big injury history.
  100. OF Curtis Granderson – Performed poorly in 2013 in his last season with the Yankees. Hit a career low .229 and hit only 7 home runs. He’s also seen his stolen base totals diminish over the years and will lose out on home runs after shifting to Citi Field. Still capable of hitting a ton of extra base hits but won’t hit for a high average.
  101. OF Nelson Cruz – Still unsure of where he will sign. Coming off a 50-game suspension for performance enhancing drugs. Has good power but doesn’t drive in many runs or hit for a high average.

Obviously, these rankings will change over time, as many players will surprise us and disappoint us. While you still have plenty of time to plan for your fantasy draft, take these rankings into consideration. I hope you have a great draft and check back frequently for updated rankings and fantasy news.

About Michael Dweck

Always like to talk baseball. Go Mariners.

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