Friday, February 1, 2013

Who’s On Top? Fantasy Baseball

Article by Oliver Spohngellert
 SportsWiseGuy Contributor

Fantasy Baseball's #1 Second Baseman Robinson Cano

As the fantasy baseball season approaches, there is one big question that every fantasy owner needs to answer. Who, if the owner had the first pick in the draft, would be chosen? Most years, there are two main candidates for this honor. Last year it was a battle between Miguel Cabrera and Albert Pujols (Cabrera being the more popular choice). This year, in the minds of many, it is once again a two-player race. The two most popular choices for first overall are Mike Trout, and Miguel Cabrera. Some experts also rank Braun first overall, but generally it’s Trout or Cabrera. Trout rocked the fantasy world last year, and Cabrera rocked the real world, winning the Triple Crown and MVP. However in my mind, there is a fourth choice. Let’s play the game of Player A and Player B (and C).

Player A: .313 AVG/.379 OBP/33 HRs/94 RBI/105 Runs/3 SB

Player B: .256 AVG/.326 OBP/17 HRs/72 RBI/105 Runs/21 SB

Player C: .290 AVG/.347 OBP/15 HRs/65 RBI/81 Runs/20 SB

Who would you rather have? Well, you probably already know that Player A is Robinson Cano. B is Kinsler and C is Pedroia. Cano’s stats literally blow the other two out of the water, and this is considered possibly an off year for Cano with ONLY 94 RBI. In the past seven years Cano has hit above .300 in six seasons, has had 25 or more homers in the past four seasons straight, and has had over 100 runs in the past four. Even with a diminished Yankees lineup, it is a safe bet that he will reach and exceed these totals again. In the prime of his career at the age of 30, Cano is unquestionably the best two-bagger in the game. And this is the reason why he would be my first pick overall. He excels far past anyone at his position. Here are some players you can get at the 20th overall pick at 1B/3B and OF:

Prince Fielder (Maybe), Mark Texiera, Adrian Gonzalez (Maybe), Buster Posey, David Wright, Adrian Beltre, Evan Longoria, Hanley Ramirez (unsure if eligible, depends on format), Justin Upton, Matt Kemp, Curtis Granderson, Giancarlo Stanton…

The list goes on. Most of these guys (I’ll exclude Hanley, not a fan), are much closer to Cabrera’s/Trout’s numbers than the other second basemen are to Cano’s. You cannot find Cano’s numbers compared to position depth anywhere else. He has ten more homers than anyone else at his position. At 1B you can draft Ike Davis in the 9th/10th round, get what I expect to be a line of .250-.270/25-35/80-100. Compared to Cabrera, this is not amazing, but will fill the hole well. At 3B it is less deep, and it is understandable to draft Cabrera for this reason. But 2B is by far the shallowest position in baseball. Furthermore, no matter how stable Cabrera looks, I don’t know when his stats will start to deteriorate, considering his past problems with drinking. In the OF, you have the deepest or second deepest position in the sport. You can find a very good substitute for Trout easily in the later rounds.

The main concern with taking Cano is the lack of steals. But once again, steals are not hard to find in later rounds. Michael Bourn due to the long wait may be a steal this year. You can even pick up speedy guys as they get hot during the season. Honestly, don’t worry about stolen bases, they can be found elsewhere. In the end, it is a matter of preference, but if I have pick #1 on draft day, Cano will be my man.

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