2014 Fantasy Baseball Prediction: Top 10 for Runs

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Richie Smith - RotoBaller

While pitching has seemingly dominated the past several seasons, there are still many players scoring a plethora of runs. Last year, there were nine players who scored more than 100 runs, and 22 who scored over 90.

What follows is a forecast for how the runs leaderboard will look at the end of the upcoming 2014 season:


10.  Andrew McCutchen, Pirates

2013 runs total: 97

Andrew McCutchen

The reigning NL MVP, needless to say, had an outstanding all-around 2013 season. While he may not have put up the gaudy numbers one would expect from an MVP, he had a very balanced offensive year. He had an OBP over .400 and swiped 27 bags, while hitting .317 with 21 homers. Even though his walk rate of 11.6% was a tad low for a player like McCutchen, his speed on the bases should keep him in the top of the league in runs scored.

2014 runs prediction: 95


9.  Joey Votto, Reds

2013 runs total: 101

Despite Votto’s high batting average and OBP, he’s received some criticism from fantasy owners over the past couple of seasons for not hitting for more power. Ever since his 37 HR output in 2010, expectations were that he would be swatting 30+ HR per year. Fantasy owners will simply have to come to terms that Votto is never going to be the Prince Fielder type of hitter. Nevertheless, Votto still gets on base at an incredibly high rate, and will continue to score upwards of 100 runs year in and year out.

2014 runs prediction: 98


8.  Paul Goldschmidt, Diamondbacks

2013 runs total: 103

Goldy is a legit MVP candidate. He’s as close to a complete player offensively as you can find. However, he won’t catch anybody by surprise this season, and teams now have a full year to scout his tendencies. But his speed and power combo, plus the added protection from the newly acquired Mark Trumbo, will ensure Goldy will be rounding the bases quite often this season.

2014 runs predication: 100


7.  Matt Carpenter, Cardinals

2013 runs total: 126

Carpenter had an unbelievable season last year, scoring an MLB best 126 runs, while hitting .318. The Cardinals lost Carlos Beltran, but the middle-of-the-order of Allen Craig, Matt Holliday, and Matt Adams means a ton of scoring chances again for Carpenter. His total from last year is likely untouchable, especially since Craig was unconscious hitting with RISP, but still expect a very good runs output from Carpenter.

2014 runs prediction: 101


6.  Jason Heyward, Braves

2013 runs total: 67

Heyward missed significant time in 2013, first because of an appendectomy, and then surgery to repair a broken jaw suffered from a HBP.  I still love Heyward’s ability and potential, and if he ever puts an entire season together again, it will be a thing of beauty. I think that season is here. There’s also a decent chance Heyward hits leadoff for the Braves, and that potent lineup full of run producers will give him the opportunity to score….a lot.

2014 runs prediction: 102


5.  Jacoby Ellsbury, Yankees

2013 runs total: 92

In just 134 games last year, Ellsbury scored 92 runs and stole 52 bases. Now, he moves a bit further south to the Bronx, which I think is a perfect fit for him. Ellsbury will be hitting leadoff as part of a retooled Yankees lineup, and the short right field porch will likely lead to some higher power numbers as well. While he doesn't walk a lot, I think he’ll improve on his .355 OBP and hit for a higher batting average. Yankee fans should be excited for Ellsbury in pinstripes.

2014 runs prediction: 104


4. Miguel Cabrera, Tigers

2013 runs total: 103

I've heard that Miggy isn’t a bad hitter. All he does is hits for high average, tons of power, and leads the league in OBP (.442 in 2013). There aren't many signs of Cabrera slowing down any time soon, and the fact that he’ll get to play almost exclusively at first base will take some of the wear and tear off his body. With Prince Fielder now in Texas, one could bring up the protection behind him in the lineup as a slight concern, but something tells me he’ll be just fine.

2014 runs prediction: 105


3. Dustin Pedroia, Red Sox

2013 runs total: 91

Pedroia represents everything that’s the Red Sox: tough, gritty, and does anything to help the team win. Even with a good season in 2013, it felt to be a little down for Pedroia’s standards. He still scored 91 runs and hit over .300, while mounting an solid .372 OBP.  More of a gut call, but I think Pedroia will have an MVP type of season this year, and score over 100 runs.

2014 run prediction: 105


2. Mike Trout, Angels

2013 run total: 109

Trout is probably the best all-around player in the game and it’s only a matter of time before he starts racking up the MVP awards.  What’s even more impressive is that Trout has put up outstanding numbers in one of the worst home ballparks for offense. Angels Stadium has consistently ranked in the bottom third in the league for overall offense, in part because of the heavy marine layer that engulfs South California summer nights. Barring injury, I see no reason why Trout’s high run totals shouldn't continue in 2014.

2014 run prediction: 110


1. Shin-Soo Choo, Rangers

2013 run total: 107

For some strange reason, I heard mixed reviews about this signing for the Rangers when it occurred this winter. In my opinion, it was a homerun for both Choo and the Rangers. Choo was second in the league in OBP last year (.423), only behind Miguel Cabrera. He now gets to hit in front of huge run producers Adrian Beltre and Prince Fielder, while playing in one of the best parks for offense in baseball. He’s a guaranteed 20/20 guy for the foreseeable future. This is a no-brainer fit, and Choo should thrive in Arlington.

2014 run prediction:  116