With the first pick in the 2013 Fantasy Baseball Draft, you select…
Ryan, no wait. Miguel, umm maybe not. How about him?
After three standout 2012 campaigns, almost every fantasy analyst will have their top three rankings consist of Miguel Cabrera, Mike Trout and Ryan Braun.
That’s the easy part.
Unlike year’s past, there is no distinct number one overall choice. Any one of these three guys make a clear case to be the first pick in fantasy drafts. Of course, you can’t go wrong with any of them, but I figured fantasy owners should take a look at each guy individually before ultimately deciding who to take. Let’s get started.
Miguel Cabrera, Detroit Tigers
Baseball’s first Triple Crown winner since 1967, Cabrera took home more hardware in 2013, winning the American League MVP award. And after posting a stat line of 44 home runs, .330 batting average and 139 RBI, Cabrera is without a doubt one of the top options in all of fantasy baseball. It was an especially impressive campaign from Cabrera, considering he had to make the adjustment to the third base position, which isn’t very easy. He’ll turn 30-years old in April, keeping him within his prime, so there shouldn’t be any sign of regression. Especially when you consider he will remain batting in the heart of a very powerful Tigers’ lineup that added Tori Hunter. Drafting Cabrera first overall may benefit fantasy owners because third base isn’t necessarily as deep as the outfield position. He will almost be a lock to lead his position in almost all of the major hitting categories. “Miggy” is also as durable as they come, playing in at least 150 contests every year since the 2004 season. During that span, he has hit at least 30 home runs every year but one. Consistency and durability? What is there not to like with the reigning MVP?
Mike Trout, Los Angeles Angels
What an historical rookie campaign we saw from Trout last season. 30 home runs, 83 RBI, a .326 batting average and a ridiculous 49 steals made him one of, if not the premiere fantasy option in 2012. Can 2013 be a repeat performance from the Angels’ outfielder? Maybe not, as some regression is certainly expected after an out of this world season. However, how much? He is batting ahead of guys like Albert Pujols and Josh Hamilton, giving him a tremendous chance to post a plethora of runs. Also, the advantage he has over the other too guys is his speed. Cabrera won’t really give you anything in the base stealing department, while Braun can. However, is Braun a threat to reach 50 or 60 stolen bases like Trout is? Not quite. The 21-year old has a terrific combination of power and speed and heading into just his second season in the pros, can easily make a case for the number one pick.
Ryan Braun, Milwaukee Brewers
Consistency is a common trait of Braun’s. The Brewers’ left fielder has played in at least 110 games in every season throughout his entire career and has batted at least .300 in every season expect for one. Not to mention, only one season in his entire career without hitting 30 home runs or more. 2012 was no different for Braun, as he batted .319, hit 41 home runs (1st in NL), 112 RBI (2nd in NL) and stole 30 bases. Looks like all the signs of a number on fantasy draft pick to me. It seems the departure of former teammate Prince Fielder isn’t having much of a negative impact on Braun, which doesn’t surprise me, considering how great he is. Of course, the lineup around him may hinder his RBI and run totals, but nothing to be worried about.
Clearly, all three of these players are rare talents and elite players in the game today. But, if I had to choose one to anchor my fantasy roster, it would be Braun.
Don’t get me wrong, I love Trout and Cabrera. However, Trout should certainly see some regression and we just haven’t seen enough of him to make me choose him over a trustworthy guy like Braun. Also, he is certainly known to be very aggressive when trying to make a play in the field, presenting more of an injury risk. Cabrera, on the other hand, definitely has the better lineup around him, however the gap in the steals department is much too large for my liking. Braun stole 30 bases last season compared to Cabrera’s four.
I love consistency in my fantasy players and Braun as about as safe as it gets. He has literally been putting up terrific numbers throughout his entire career and with my number one overall pick, the safer the better.
But really, don’t you wish you could have all three?
Adam Pfeifer is a featured fantasy columnist for Rant Sports.
You can follow him on Twitter @aPfeiferRS.