RotoBaller Rankings Analysis and Preview
RotoBaller takes a ton of pride in the exhaustive research and analysis we do to ensure that you receive the best possible preseason rankings for your fantasy baseball drafts. We've worked exhaustively to build tiered rankings that will help you win your 2014 fantasy baseball league. New for 2014, RotoBaller's Fantasy Baseball Draft Kit gives you access to all the exclusive pre-season material you need to bring you up to speed and help you find those diamonds in the rough on draft day.
Let's discuss a few positions and preview some of our draft strategy and rankings, starting with third base.
Third Base Rankings Analysis
Our rankings provide detailed insight into the specific position-by-position rankings that we use for our own drafts. This year, for example, we have identified a severe deficit in the quality of the corner infielders, especially at third base. Our analysis clearly shows a pronounced drop-off in high-quality third basemen once you get past our top 10. Starting at #11 on our list with a player like Will Middlebrooks, or Todd Frazier at #12, we can see that both these guys have one- or two-dimensional skillsets (mostly power and some run-production ability that stems from playing for fairly good offenses). Thus at third base, it's important to take a player in the top 10-- Josh Donaldson, ranked as our #5 third baseman heading into 2014, is a big RotoBaller favorite. He has a more proven track record of bringing an extra one or two offensive skills to the table. In Donaldson's case, investing a few rounds earlier at third base will almost surely yield you a higher batting average potential as well as more guaranteed playing time for a guy in an established role on a winning team. Once a player has demonstrated the ability to showcase an advanced skillset at the major league level, he should be considered a more valuable asset on fantasy draft day. Another player we like a lot in the top ten is the underrated Nationals third baseman Ryan Zimmerman. Zimmerman has the ability to go .285-25-90-90-5, which will be close to top-5 production at the position.
Shortstop Rankings Analysis
Conversely, the often exaggerated topic of shortstop "position scarcity" can be clearly dispelled by a quick glance at the top 10. As we have them listed today, Xander Bogaerts (a very high-upside pedigree shortstop for the Boston Red Sox) rounds out our top ten, and solid options Andrelton Simmons and J.J. Hardy sit at #8 and #9. These guys are solid producers and relatively healthy, and we wouldn't be surprised to see them put up good numbers that compare favorably to nearly all the other shortstops out there. The drop-off doesn't really start in earnest until you break the top 21, giving you buffer zone of about ten players to work with. With guys like Lowrie, Profar and Zobrist in the teens, and even a 40-SB upside guy like Jonathan Villar (shortstop for the Houston Astros) rounding off the top 20 in RotoBaller's Shortstop Rankings for 2014, you can clearly find tremendous value later in the draft. In 2014, if someone tells you that there's huge position scarcity at shortstop, smile inside and let him draft Hanley or Tulo in the first round while you wait it out and go with a solid, dependable option much later in the draft.
Catcher Rankings Analysis
Similarly to shortstop, catcher is a shadily deep position in 2014. There's no reason to reach for Buster Posey-- even though he is RotoBaller's #1 catcher for 2014-- when 20-HR/75-RBI players like Wilson Ramos, Jason Castro and Matt Wieters (ranked 12, 11 and 10 respectively) can be drafted 12-15 rounds later. None of these players will match Posey's elite batting average for a catcher, but is it really worth paying a third- or fourth-round price just for the batting average advantage? Posey is one of MLB's darlings, and he is likely a better real baseball player than he is a fantasy guy, so once again you should smile as one of your opponents someone drafts Posey, then wait, wait wait, and finally pounce on a sleeper catcher in the late rounds.
That's it for now! Our 2014 RotoBaller Draft Kit provides our full positional rankings and also our top 300 with tons more articles and content.