2014 Fantasy Baseball: Preseason Awards & Statistical Predictions
Fantasy Preseason Awards & Predictions
After weeks of flipping through magazines and obsessing over fantasy baseball rankings, it is almost draft day. Drafts are being scheduled all over the country and fantasy fans are nervously counting the days.
There are dozens of potential breakout stars this fantasy season for owners to look for. Big name prospects like WIl Myers and Jurickson Profar will be very popular picks this spring after cementing their starting spots, but fresh prospects Billy Hamilton and Xander Bogaerts will be just as sought after in 2014 drafts.
Then there is the famous Miguel Cabrera/Mike Trout debate that is heating up the web right now. Both players are rightfully deserving of the first overall selection, and when it is all said and done, it basically becomes a matter of preference. Either way, both players will carry their weight all year long and be as safe as they come in the first round.
There are plenty of things to think about before finalizing a draft strategy, though. So before you start compiling your cheat sheets and setting up mock drafts, here are my full preseason fantasy baseball predictions awards.
3B Miguel Cabrera, Detroit Tigers - Cabrera has a three-year average of 39 HRs, 127 RBIs, 108 runs, and a .339 batting average. It doesn't get any better than that.
Fantasy Cy Young
SP Clayton Kershaw, Los Angeles Dodgers - After winning the NL Cy Young in 2011 and 2013, there is no doubting that Kershaw is the best hurler in fantasy.
1B Adrian Gonzalez, Los Angeles Dodgers - Gonzo has averaged 159.3 games and 28.5 home runs over the last eight seasons. He also has a career .294 batting average. It is hard to argue with that kind of consistency. Gonzalez has been ranked well outside of the top-six first basemen, and as a result, the four-time All-Star has actually developed into a great early-round sleeper.
SP Danny Salazar, Cleveland Indians - Salazar displayed outstanding command as a 23-year-old last year. He struck out 65 batters through 52 innings, while only walking 15 batters. He will be one of the best mid-round hurlers to lock up this season.
Deep Sleeper Stick
2B Jedd Gyorko, San Diego Padres- The former West Virginia Mountaineer blasted 23 longballs last season. He has become a sudden source of power in the middle infield and will be a steal anywhere after the 10th round.
Deep Sleeper Pitcher
SP Sonny Gray, Oakland Athletics - Gray really showcased his stuff last postseason with a 2.08 ERA and 12 strikeouts in 13 innings of work. The 24-year-old is the future of Oakland’s rotation and will be worth keeping tabs on this spring.
3B Nolan Arenado, Colorado Rockies - Arenado is next big name to breakout at the hot corner. He will be able to hit for average, despite reports of him having power limits, Arenado should develop into a 20-homer bat in his second season.
SP Masahiro Tanaka, New York Yankees - After capturing the attention of the entire world this off-season, Tanaka will instantly become a viable fantasy option in the Bronx. He will get plenty of run support and a top-20 finish isn’t too far-fetched.
Biggest Bust – Stick
3B Josh Donaldson, Oakland Athletics - Donaldson has become a hot commodity in fantasy circles, but his .301 average last year came out of nowhere. He hit .241 in 2012 and posted a meager .261 batting average in the four minor league seasons in which he played over 85 games. He is simply too unproven to grab as a starter.
Biggest Bust - Pitcher
SP Bartolo Colon, New York Mets - Colon was unbelievable last year as he recorded a 18-6 record with a sizzling 2.65 ERA. Unfortunately, Colon will be turning 41 this May and now pitches for the lowly Mets. Look for him to hit a major wall this summer.
OF Josh Hamilton, Los Angeles Angels - Hamilton was swinging at everything last season. He struck out 158 times in 151 games and posted a meager .250 batting average. Hambone is simply too good to mirror those numbers again, and he should be primed for a resurgent fantasy season in 2014.
SP Matt Cain, San Francisco Giants - Cain’s 2013 performance (8-10, 4.00 ERA) was an utter mess and will cause the right-hander’s draft stock to plummet this spring. Cain has a career 3.35 ERA and will assuredly bounce back to become a top-20 pitcher again.
Injury Concern – Stick
SS Jose Reyes, Toronto Blue Jays - Reyes missed 69 games last year, 36 games in 2012, 29 games in 2010, and 126 games in 2009. He may be one of the most eclectic players in the game, but he will always come with a good deal of risk.
Injury Concern – Pitcher
SP Clay Buchholz, Boston Red Sox - Buchholz went 12-1 with a 1.74 ERA in 16 games last year, but he was forced to shut it down with a shoulder injury. Buchholz has never made it through an entire season and it is highly unlikely that he will accomplish that feat this season.
Batting Average Leader
2B Robinson Cano, Seattle Mariners - .336
Cano has a career .309 batting average and the second baseman has hit .300 or higher in five consecutive seasons.
Home Run Leader
3B Miguel Cabrera, Detroit Tigers – 48 HRs
Over the last two seasons alone, Miggy has incredibly crushed 88 home runs. He finished second last year in homers to Chris Davis, but Cabrera should be able to reclaim his power crown in 2014.
Stolen Base Leader
OF Billy Hamilton, Cincinnati Reds - 86 SBs
Hamilton’s raw speed is something that legends are made of. The converted shortstop stole 155 bases in 132 games last year and have some calling for him to steal over 100 bases in his rookie season. I don’t think he will reach that plateau in year one, but he will still end up with his first of many SB titles.
SP Adam Wainwright, St. Louis Cardinals – 21 wins
In three of the last four years, Wainwright has finished with at least 19 wins. He will always benefit form having a strong team behind him and this will be the year he finally finishes with the MLB lead in W’s.
SP Yu Darvish, Texas Rangers – 255 Ks
Darvish led the majors with a staggering 277 strikeouts in 2013. He has baffled opposing hitters with his cutter and the Japanese sensation has quickly become the most dangerous strikeout pitcher in baseball.
SP Clayton Kershaw, Los Angeles Dodgers – 2.03 ERA
Kershaw has recorded an ERA under 3.00 in five consecutive seasons, including an unthinkable 1.83 ERA last season.
SP Clayton Kershaw, Los Angeles Dodgers – 238 innings
Kershaw has averaged an impressive 232.3 innings over the last three years alone. The big southpaw remains one of the only hurlers without a pitching limit and he should easily go over the 230-plateau again in 2014.
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