Fantasy Baseball Advice - An Early Look at 2014 Drafts

RotoBaller Ryan Rufe celebrates the final week of the 2013 season by looking forward to the first few rounds of the 2014 fantasy baseball draft.

Ryan Rufe - RotoBaller

It's the last week of baseball's regular season, and fantasy baseball is winding down, as well.  But here at RotoBaller, it’s never too early to start looking toward next season, so let's start to think about 2014's draft. Pick numbers one and two overall should come as no surprise, but who else among baseball’s elite fills out the rest of Rounds One and Two?  Who misses the cut? Let’s take a look at how these early rounds might play out next year:


Round 1

  1. Miguel Cabrera (2011)Miguel Cabrera - 3B, DET
  2. Mike Trout - OF, LAA
  3. Andrew McCutchen - OF, PIT
  4. Robinson Cano - 2B, NYY
  5. Paul Goldschmidt - 1B, ARI
  6. Edwin Encarnacion - 1B, TOR
  7. Chris Davis - 1B, BAL
  8. Hanley Ramirez - SS, LAD
  9. Clayton Kershaw - SP, LAD
  10. Carlos Gonzalez - OF, COL
  11. Troy Tulowitzki - SS, COL
  12. Joey Votto - 1B, CIN


Round 1 Analysis:  Coming off historic seasons in 2012, you had to figure that Miguel Cabrera and Mike Trout would regress at least a little bit in 2013, right?  Nope.  “Miggy” may not win the Triple Crown this season-- he has Chris Davis's mopnster power production to thank for that-- but he’s actually on pace to surpass his home run and RBI totals from 2012 and finish with a batting average that is 18 points higher.  Incredibly, he would be doing so while playing in eleven fewer games.  Frankly, I’m surprised Marvel hasn't named a super-hero after him yet.  A quick look at Mike Trout’s numbers shows that he did regress a smidge in a few categories (runs, stolen bases), but please don’t misinterpret that as Trout regressing overall.  In fact, he got better in 2013 by raising his batting average, on-base percentage (by drawing more bases on balls) and slugging percentage.  Furthermore, he drove in a lot more runs when Albert Pujols was out of the lineup.  So who is number one overall pick?  Going into 2014, we will have the very same ‘Miggy vs. Trout’ debate that we had prior to our 2013 drafts.  And while debating is fun, you really can’t go wrong with either player-- both are the clear-cut top choices for picks one and two overall.

After Cabrera and Trout, I could see a half-dozen players draw consideration for pick three in the draft.  Personally, I’d go with Andrew McCutchen in that spot, who has proven himself to be “Mike Trout Lite” with comparable five-category stats.  No doubt, we will see Chris Davis go third overall in some 2014 drafts, and  Robinson Cano, Clayton Kershaw and even Hanley Ramirez will likely have their supporters.  Fun fact about Hanley: his current stats projected over a 162 game season would put him in line to finish with a .350 BA, 40 HR, 114 RBI, 20 SB and 124 R.  That’s just insane.  Of course, the concern with Hanley is and always will be his durability-- project all you like, but you can't expect that he will ever play in 150+ games.

Others who have similar durability concerns are the two guys I have going with picks #10 and #11 in Round One.  Injuries have hampered Carlos Gonzalez and Troy Tulowitzki in recent years, but I can’t ignore the fact each will deliver first-round production if healthy.


Round 2

  1. Red Sox 094 Jacoby EllsburyJacoby Ellsbury - OF, BOS
  2. Yu Darvish - SP, TEX
  3. Prince Fielder - 1B, DET
  4. Bryce Harper - OF, WAS
  5. Adam Jones - OF, BAL
  6. Ryan Braun - OF, MIL
  7. David Wright - 3B, NYM
  8. Jason Kipnis - 2B, CLE
  9. Jose Reyes - SS, TOR
  10. Jose Bautista - OF, TOR
  11. Adrian Beltre - 3B, TEX
  12. Carlos Gomez - OF, MIL


Round 2 Analysis: Jacoby Ellsbury kicks off Round Two, but he could well be a first-rounder if you’re willing to look past the fractured foot he suffered in early September.  Yu Darvish might surprise you as the second starting pitcher off the board over Max Scherzer, but Darvish is likely to finish the 2013 season with the second-highest strikeout total in MLB since Randy Johnson recorded 290 punch-outs as a member of the Diamondbacks in 2004.  Always give me the high strikeout guys, especially in Rotisserie leagues.  Bryce Harper might be ranked a little high for some at #16, but a healthy season in 2014 should make him a first-round lock in 2015 drafts.  He will be a perennial 40-HR guy very soon.

After Harper, Adam Jones and the ever-controversial Ryan Braun go off the board.  I’ll probably avoid Braun in 2014 drafts, but I do realize that he could provide immense value if he’s there in Round Two or later.  Perhaps I’ll change my stance on him as 2014 draws closer.

David Wright, Jose Reyes and Jose Bautista all carry some risk, but they are elite options when healthy and shouldn’t fall any further than Round Two.  Carlos Gomez might be ranked a little high for some, but you just can’t ignore the fact that he’s nearly had 20-40 seasons two years in a row.  Plus, he raised his batting average 20 points in 2013 and driven in a lot more runs with Ryan Braun out of the lineup.

Just Missed the Cut:  Max Scherzer, Evan Longoria, Dustin Pedroia, Giancarlo Stanton, Matt Harvey, Jose Fernandez, Matt Carpenter, Buster Posey, Albert Pujols

Ryan Rufe booked his first fantasy sports win at eleven years old.  He’s a RotoBaller through and through and also contributes as an MLB Beat Writer for For more from him, follow him on Twitter @RyanRufe.