Well ladies and gents, its officially Fantasy Baseball season! And since I only write a blog once or twice a month, I figured I would take my time with this one, instead of writing it on my phone when Moose has nothing to post and needs a quick hit.
Last year you were probably sitting pretty with the first pick when you took Albert Pujols or Miguel Cabrera or Ryan Braun, well besides the fact that all three of those guys are probably on steroids, not much is going to change at the top of the board this year. There are a few guys that could make a push for the number spot (i.e Matt Kemp, Carlos Gonzalez, Troy Tulowitzki) but in about 99% of the leagues, the aforementioned studs will be taking 1 or 2. So whether you play for money, pride, or dead babies like the Jam does, let me make things easy for you and outline the top player at every position, and when you should take them. Here is Scal’s official draft board for the 2012 MLB Fantasy Baseball Season.
Albert Pujols – LAA
Switching to the American League can only help Pujols this season. He now can take a rest if hes tired and play DH for a night. So the few games he missed last year could all change this season. Playing in the debacle that is the AL West, Pujols should and most likely will hit over .300, with 30 HR’s and 120 RBI. Great candidate for your number one pick
Robinson Cano – NYY
Cano proved last year that having dynamic pieces around you makes you that much better of a player. With the likes of Jeter hitting in front of him, and Granderson, Teixiera, and A-Rod behind him, Cano put up stellar second base numbers. Cano will be a .300 guy with over 20 HR and drive in 100 RBI while also scoring 100 runs. If still around, Cano is a great pick anywhere from round 2 – 5.
Troy Tulowitzki – COL
Power short stops are few and far behind, and with 30 HR’s and 100 RBI’s Tulowitzki was the best SS in the league last year. He should be able to follow that season up with another All-Star performance. With Carlos Gonzalez in the lineup behind him, Tulo will see some sweet pitches and be able to launch some dingers in that Little League park in Colorado. A great first to second round pick.
Miguel Cabrera – DET
The move from first to third after the acquisition of Prince Fielder will benefit the fantasy baseball world greatly. Having Fielder in that lineup will also benefit Cabrera and his numbers. The perennial All-Star and triple crown threat will put up his usual numbers of .320, 30 HR, and 100 RBI, and 100 Runs. If you have the number one pick, you have a serious decision on your hands when deciphering between Pujols and Cabrera.
Ryan Braun – MIL
Despite the steroid scandal which we all know is bullshit and Braun got off on a technicality, Braun should still put up MVP-like numbers. Anticipating a slight drop off in power numbers due to lack of cycling (no Lance Armstrong fans I do not mean biking), with Braun’s aggressive Pedroia-like swing, he will still notch around 30 HR and be up over .300. Great pick anywhere from round 1 to 2.
Matt Kemp – LAD
The man who flirted with the NL triple crown last year, is another stellar pick from round 1 to 2. He will fit in with the rest of these guys by hitting over .300, 30 HR’s, 100 RBI, 100 runs, but will also give you 30 SB’s. 30-30 guys are hard to come by, and last year is Kemp hit one more home run he would have been the first 40-40 guys I can remember since Jose Canseco. (By the way, follow Canseco on twitter, hes a lunatic)
Jacoby Ellsbury – BOS
There has been some debate at the Jam HQ’s about this pick. Am I doing it because I am a homer. Why is he ahead of Justin Upton and Jose Bautista? Simply because look at what Ellsbury has around him that neither Upton or Bautista have. Gonzalez, Pedroia, Youkilis, Ortiz Crawford all hitting behind him. Driving in 105 runs, while scoring 119 runs, is a managers dream for a lead-off hitter, and that’s what Ellsbury was last year. By the way, he crushed 32 home runs and stole 39 bases. A much anticipated drop off in power numbers, but increase in average and stolen bases is what you should expect out of Jacoby, but I would still pick him up in the second round if he is available.
Justin Verlander – DET
Last years MVP and Cy Young award winner, should be the first pitcher taken off the board. With the addition of Prince Fielder in that lineup, a few of those close games that Verlander lost last year should be switched into the Win category. Everyone knows he is going to strike out at least 225 batters, and keep his ERA under 2.75 while grabbing 18 wins. I cant see the same results of last year for 2012, but should still be your first pitcher taken somewhere in round 3.
Jonathan Papelbon – PHI
A lot of people are making a push for Atlanta’s young closer Craig Kimbrel, or Yankees not so young closer Mo Rivera, but I just see Pap having an enormous season.The hitting of the NL has been taken by the AL, but the pitching staff of the Phillies remained the same (besides the loss of Roy Oswalt). With that staff you have a great chance of having a lead going into the 9th inning leading to more save chances for Papelbon. Still has an effective 94+ fastball, and drops some dirty off speed stuff on hitters. Look for Pap to have 40+ saves, keep that ERA under 3.00 and notch anywhere from 75-100 K’s. But do not waste an early move on a closer, big mistake I learned when I took Jonathon Broxton, what an asshole.