By Adam McGill @adammcgill83twitter.com on March 29, 2014
Opening Day of the 2014 fantasy baseball season is just days away. Before the season kicks off, though, there are plenty of question marks still floating out there. Here are some of the top fantasy story lines for Opening Day this year.
It is no secret that Hamilton is a speed demon on the bases. He stole 155 bases in the minors in 2012 and has been a top-tier prospect ever since. He will likely start the year as Cincy's center fielder and he will get a chance to run every time he is on base. Hamilton should easily eclipse 60 stolen bases in 2014 and a 80-steal season isn't out of the question for the rookie.
After striking out 187 batters in 172.2 innings in 2013, Fernandez has quickly become one of the top arms in fantasy. The 21-year-old is fearless out on the mound and can pummel the strike zone with a 95 MPH heater. Fernandez is the real deal and will be a fixture within the top-10 fantasy arms for years to come.
After a disappointing 2013 season (13-12, 3.46 ERA), Verlander has been absolutely phenomenal this spring. The right-hander has a flawless 0.00 ERA in 20 innings and has struck out 17 batters. The emergence of Max Scherzer will only take more pressure off Verlander this season and he should be able to get back to work. Look for him to have another Cy Young fantasy campaign.
Uehara had a dream fantasy season in 2013, as he struck out 101 batters and walked just nine. He had a glimmering 1.09 ERA in 73 appearances to go along with a 0.57 WHIP. He only amassed 21 saves, but he didn’t take over the job until May 17th.
Now it may be impossible for him to post the same sub 1.10 ERA and staggering strikeout numbers, but he can collect a ton of saves as the full-time closer and easily record an ERA under 1.50.
The Japanese sensation may be listed as the team's fourth starter on Opening Day, but Tanaka is a bonafide fantasy superstar. He has the best split-finger fastball on the planet and will be a constant 180-K threat. He should win between 12-15 games and be a serviceable SP3 this year.
Adams has been featured on millions of sleeper lists this off-season. He has finally earned the everyday gig at first for the Cards and he seems all but guaranteed to breakout this year. He hit 17 home runs last season, but the fact that he finished with eight in the final month of the season shows his true potential. Look for him to easily hit over 25 homers in 2014.
The move to Texas was rather unexpected, but it won't impact Fielder's fantasy value too much. The veteran will still be a 30 HR-100 RBI threat and be an obvious top-five fantasy first baseman.
Cano will always hit. He has a career .309 batting average and the second baseman has hit over .300 in five straight seasons. Cano's home runs will decrease, since he isn't playing in the Bronx anymore, but he should contend for a batting title all year long.
Puig joined the team in June and was the team's spark plug down the stretch. He finished the year with a .319 batting average and added 19 home runs in 104 games. The outfielder has become a legitimate fantasy stick and should be coveted in all formats.
Darvish led the majors with 277 strikeouts last season. He has baffled opposing hitters with his fastball/splitter combo and will be good for another 250-plus K's in 2014. A second straight strikeout crown seems almost inevitable for Darvish.
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