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My Top-15 Overall for 2013

1. Miguel Cabrera – The most consistent hitter in baseball right now also happens to qualify at third base. He won't steal a base, but that also reduces his injury risk. Since 2004, he has never played fewer than 157 games and has averaged 34 homers and 116 RBI. Cabrera's career batting average is .318.

2. Ryan Braun – Whether or not he was ever on steroids, it's obvious he doesn't need them. Braun's posting a 40-HR, 24-SB season with two weeks to go and hitting .312. This follows a 33/33 year in 2011 where he hit .332. Braun seems to have a lot of nagging injuries, but has played at least 150 games every year of his career (except for his rookie season when he got called up in June).

3. Mike Trout – Despite spending the first three weeks of the year in the minors, Trout has 27 homers, 45 steals and 116 runs scored. He's also hitting .329. That he just turned 21 means there could be further growth, assuming there's still anything upon which to improve.

4. Matt Kemp – Injuries largely derailed Kemp's season, but he's still hitting .302/.369/.526 at pitcher-friendly Dodger Stadium with 18 homers and nine steals. Prior to 2012, Kemp had three straight seasons of 159 or more games, so it's not as if he's particularly injury prone.

5. Robinson Cano – Approaching the Miguel Cabrera class for consistency, Cano's second-base eligibility, 30-home-run power, .300 average, hitter-friendly park and strong lineup around him make him a top-five pick.

6. Giancarlo Stanton – The nagging injuries and knee problems are worrisome, but he still has 34 HR and six steals in 117 games. And unlike most 50-HR-capable players, he won't hurt your batting average.

7. Albert Pujols – He's having an off year by his standards, and perhaps he's in permanent decline, but Pujols still has 30 HR and eight steals with two weeks to play, rarely misses significant time with injuries and will be just 33 next year. Moreover, players don't decline linearly – there will likely be another year or two when his performance spikes even though the overall five-year trend is downward.

8. Andrew McCutchen – The .343 batting average courtesy of a .396 BABIP might not be sustainable, but 30-20-.300 probably is as McCutchen doesn't turn 26 until October ?

9. Joey Votto – Before he got hurt, Votto was arguably the most productive per-at-bat hitter in major-league baseball. He's not an elite power hitter, but we should expect an uptick in home runs considering he has 38 doubles to go along with 14 long balls in just 331 at-bats. He'll also carry you in the batting-average category.

10. Josh Hamilton – He could be No. 1 overall or fall off the map completely. The talent is off the charts, but he's injury prone and has off-the-field risks. He might also be plying his trade away from the hitter's paradise in which he's spent the last five seasons.

11. Carlos Gonzalez – With Coors Field as his home park, Gonzalez is a good bet for 20-20 .300 with upside for more. But his lack of elite power or steals and tendency to get hurt keep him out of the top 10.

12. Dustin Pedroia – Despite missing time with a thumb injury and having the entire team implode around him, Pedroia's still a 15-15-.295 hitter while playing second base. He'll be 29 next year, but that's still his late prime, and his excellent contact rate almost assures a strong batting average.

13. Prince Fielder – Not a very exciting pick, but Fielder's played 157 or more games every year since 2006 and is roughly good for 30-100-.280 at a minimum with power upside. He won't run, and he qualifies only at first base, but that's part of why he's so durable.

14. Jose Bautista – His BABIP was way down this year, but his batting eye was intact, and he hit 27 homers in just 92 games. Hitters coming off wrist injuries are risky, but Bautista's expected to be ready to go in February and offers as much power upside as anyone in the league. Note: He'll no longer be third-base eligible this year.

15. Jason Heyward – With 27 HR, 27 doubles, five triples and 19 SB at age 23, Heyward is starting to live up to his elite prospect pedigree. He still strikes out quite a bit, but you can live with that if the ball goes a long way when he makes contact. He also seems to be over the injuries that plagued him during his first two years in the league.

Honorable Mentions: Edwin Encarnacion, Adrian Beltre, Hanley Ramirez, Adrian Gonzalez, Bryce Harper, Justin Verlander, Felix Hernandez, Stephen Strasburg, Clayton Kershaw, Ian Kinsler, Buster Posey, Jacoby Ellsbury, David Price, Curtis Granderson.

Comments

By: Zenguerrilla
On: 9/17/2012 10:36:00 PM
Holliday, Headley, and especially Dickey want to flip you the bird? No? :)
 
By: Chris Liss
On: 9/17/2012 11:02:00 PM
Probably not Dickey, but Headley I think deserves an honorable mention for sure. Holliday probably, too.
 
By: Zenguerrilla
On: 9/18/2012 11:09:00 AM
That was a weak attempt at sarcasm since they are top 10 in points this year. All 3 won't be in my top 30. Matt burnt me last year and the other 2 are coming off career years(you'll be buying High) which probably won't interest me. Your list is solid. I am pretty sure the Strasburg hype train will probably put him in the top 5 though.
 
By: nayfel
On: 9/20/2012 8:00:00 AM
Carlos Gomez? Just kidding but he has produced some amazing power speed numbers during this second half.

Are you scared of a Trout decline? Why isn't he rated #1?
 
By: nayfel
On: 9/20/2012 8:01:00 AM
Encarnacion?
 
By: nayfel
On: 9/20/2012 8:04:00 AM
Also, Posey? His second half and catcher eligibility must bring him into this conversation. Other than that crazy injury when he blocked the plate, he has proved resilient and healthy. The power and average make him the xlear winner at catcher and thus a potential top 15 pick.

 
By: nayfel
On: 9/20/2012 8:04:00 AM
BTW, I just noticed the honorable mention portion of your list. Didn't see it until just now.
 
By: nayfel
On: 9/20/2012 8:09:00 AM
Using my extremely deep league's parameters, 5*5 mixed auction re-draft league, 30 players per team, 14 teams, I use Baseballmonster.com often for rankings. I especially like to see trends and am always on top of the top players over the last 2 months. Right now, the top overall player over the last 2 months, pitching and hitting, is Kris Medlen.
74.7 innings, 0.72 ERA, 0.82 WHIP, 8 wins and 77 strikeouts.

Has a player ever dominated like this for the last 2+ months of a season and not been a top 20 pick the following season? He wasn't even an honorable mention. And while we can all agree that not many saw this coming, he has only had success in his career at the big league level and was working himself into a capable #2-3 starter back before his big injury a couple of years ago.
 
By: blellef10
On: 9/21/2012 6:46:00 PM
You can have Pedroia all day at that level. Agree with Zen, Strasburg is top five pick next year.
 
By: MaineSkin
On: 11/10/2012 8:28:00 PM
15-15-.295 is 2nd round material...yeah, steroid era is long gone. Now guys are using PEDs which can't even create 20HR power for Melky.
 

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