RBI’s are tricky to predict. It takes a combination of clutch hitting, a good surrounding lineup and a good ballpark. Although the season has started, not too many RBI have been accrued yet, so here is my list for the top RBI men for 2014.
Top Ten in RBI for 2014
Miguel Cabrera is as sure a thing as I have ever seen in fantasy baseball. He will break the 100 mark, and probably do so with ease. Furthermore, the Tigers have added the great Ian Kinsler to the leadoff spot, which should only boost Cabrera’s RBI numbers. However, the loss of Prince Fielder in the cleanup spot may give pitchers the ability to intentionally walk Cabrera, as Victor Martinez has been inconsistent and injured the past few years. This of course would hurt Cabrera’s RBI numbers. Still, expect Cabrera to break 115 RBI easily, I just wouldn’t expect 130 RBI again.
2. Chris Davis
The league RBI leader last season, Chris Davis, should wind up at the top of the list again in 2014. Don’t expect 138 again however, as Crush probably won't repeat 53 HR, and his second half numbers dipped big time last season (37 homers before the all-star break and just 16 after). Still, he has enough power and lineup protection to break the 110 mark easily.
With the signing of Mark Trumbo, Paul Goldschmidt finally has some protection. Last year Goldschmidt was walked intentionally 19 times, and took 99 base on balls, some of which were clearly a result of pitching around him. Pitchers will now be forced to throw to Goldschmidt now that Trumbo is there to make them pay. Look for close to 110 RBI.
Encarnacion has now put up back-to-back 30+ HR/ 100+ RBI seasons. He’s the number three hitter on a great offensive team with one of the best leadoff men (when healthy) in the league ahead of him in Jose Reyes. He has Jose Bautista protecting him, and is in the midst of his prime years. All systems go for Edwin Encarnacion. Expect him to walk the parrot plenty of times this season.
If we couple Prince Fielder’s natural hitting ability with his position batting in a great lineup, we have the making for a great season for former Brewers and Tigers great. The addition of Shin-Soo Choo will really help the Rangers set the table for their big bopper. Expect around 110 RBI for the Prince, not to mention a ton of homeruns.
6. Ryan Braun
Questions about his post PED production kept Ryan Braun from being a top five pick this season, but all signs, including his great play in spring training, point to Braun keeping up with his previous numbers, which we all know are hall of fame worthy. The lineup is shadily really good in Milwaukee, and with a healthy Aramis Ramirez and Jonathan Lucroy behind him, Braun will have some protection and also have guys to drive in in Segura and Gomez.
If he can stay healthy, Evan Longoria should just about crack the 100 RBI mark. That’s a big if however. Don’t expect much more than that out of him considering the Rays lineup is pretty weak overall.
8. Mark Trumbo
This is my sleeper for RBI in 2014 and I hope you snagged Trumbo on your team. Trumbo has averaged 32 homeruns a year since entering the league. He is a tried and true power hitter who has just moved to a great hitters park. Furthermore, he is just now entering his prime with the great Paul Goldschmidt batting in front of him.
Batting directly behind Prince Fielder will be Adrian Beltre. He has had over 100 RBI four out of the past 5 years. Last year he only had 92, but I would chalk that up to not having much protection behind him or on base guys ahead of him. This year he has Prince Fielder and Shin-Soo Choo ahead of him, and Alex Rios behind him. So sit back and watch the RBI flow!
10. Jay Bruce
There really isn’t much to discuss about Jay Bruce, besides the fact that he is an RBI machine. He doesn’t hit for average and he strikes out in bunches, but he simply drives in runs and hits bombs. It doesn’t hurt that he has Joey Votto batting in front of him either.
Just Missed the Cut:
Robinson Cano: I’m predicting a down year for Cano (even though I’m a Yankee fan, and he is/was my favorite player).
Carlos Gonzalez: He’s a great hitter in a hitters ballpark but just can't seem to stay healthy.
Mike Trout: I’m afraid to predict a 2-hitter to drive in over 100 RBI - he should be moved down in the lineup.
Adrian Gonzalez: I doubt he will make it through this season injury free.
Adam Jones: Had 33 HR last year and just barely cracked 100 RB. I don’t think well see another 33 HR or 100 RBI season from him.