Fantasy Baseball 2014: Mike Trout or Miguel Cabrera for No. 1 Pick?

By Bill Pivetz
Mike Trout
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Fantasy football is winding down and fantasy baseball is only a couple of months away. Some leagues are already beginning to form. Owners are looking at multiple rankings and deciding who to draft in what round. Despite all the possible differences, one thing remains the same — Mike Trout and Miguel Cabrera are at the top of the list.

Trout finished 2013 with a .323 average, .988 OPS, 27 home runs, 97 RBI and 33 stolen bases. He became more patient at the plate, drawing 43 more walks and struck out three less times than in 2012. Trout also played in 157 games in 2013, 18 more than the previous year. If he misses just five games again this year, Trout can have 40 homers, 100 RBI and 40 SBs without a problem.

The outfield position is pretty stacked when compared to other positions. There are seven outfielders in the top 20 and 14 in the top 50, according to ESPN’s Tristan H. Cockcroft’s rankings. If you decide to pass on Trout for Cabrera, a player like Ryan Braun or Giancarlo Stanton should be waiting for you a round or two later.

On the other hand, Cabrera is a highlight to watch. One year after winning the Triple Crown, he missed winning it again by nine home runs. He ended the 2013 season with a 348 average, 1.078 OPS, 44 home runs, 137 RBI and three stolen bases. Cabrera’s strength is surely not found on the base path, but in the batter’s box. There isn’t a single player that can match Cabrera’s numbers in every single stat.

Owners can get stolen bases from other players. Rajai Davis finished third with 45 SBs, but is the 74th-best outfielder. Jean Segura had 44 swipes and is the 59th-best player overall. Stolen bases are an easy stat to win if you find the right players for the right price.

In addition, the third base position is very shallow. There are only three in Cockcroft’s top 20 and four in his top 50. If you miss on Cabrera, you can still get Adrian Beltre or David Wright. After that, however, you’ll be reaching for a Josh Donaldson or Ryan Zimmerman and nobody wants that.

These two players were in the top five in many categories and can fill up the box scores. Trout has the speed and power while Cabrera out-performs all hitters in the power stats. You can’t go wrong with drafting either player. If this is a one-year re-draft league, take Miggy. If it’s a keeper or dynasty, it’s Trout all the way. Regardless, this will be an exciting year in fantasy baseball.

Bill Pivetz is a fantasy sports writer for Rant Sports. Follow him on Twitter @Mr_Piv1127.

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