2014 Fantasy Baseball: Draft Michael Cuddyer Over Billy Butler

Colorado Rockies Michael Cuddyer
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Oftentimes in a fantasy baseball draft you can find some great value in the mid-rounds that many will incorrectly pass on. Whether it is because the player is on a small market team or they just never quite became a household name is really irrelevant to a fantasy owner, and identifying as many of these players as possible prior to your draft can be the difference between winning a championship and basically floundering for the majority of your season.

Colorado Rockies outfielder Michael Cuddyer is a perfect example of someone who puts up solid statistics but is incredibly underrated. Cuddyer played in 130 games and won the National League batting title in 2013, hitting a stellar .331 while adding 20 HRs and 84 RBIs with a respectable 74 runs scored. He walked 46 times out of 540 plate appearances, resulting in an impressive .389 on-base percentage. While Cuddyer is far from a speedster, he did steal ten bases and had three triples. Adding in his doubles total (31) he accumulated 54 extra-base hits, surprisingly more than Miami Marlins slugger Giancarlo Stanton (51).

Currently, Cuddyer is ranked as the 33rd best outfielder and 104th best fantasy baseball option overall according to the fantasypros.com charts. However, in my opinion, Cuddyer holds more value than that due to the fact that he is also eligible at first base, in which he is ranked as the 19th best option.  His average draft position (ADP) is at 111.2, meaning he is going right in the beginning of the 11th round in most drafts.

The player many owners will be put in the position to pick between when considering Cuddyer during the draft is Kansas City Royals first baseman/designated hitter Billy Butler (ADP 119.6) . In 2013 Butler batted .274 with 15 HRs and 82 RBIs with a .374 on-base percentage. The two players put up extremely similar statistics, but I implore you to take Cuddyer if the situation arises as his eligibility at first base and the outfield gives your roster more versatility than Butler does only being eligible at 1B and DH. Cuddyer should hit no less than .300, good for .025 points higher and 30 to 40 more hits throughout the season.

Timothy Downs is a fantasy sports writer for RantSports.com. You can add him on Google or follow on Twitter @Tidow1212.