OF Giancarlo Stanton of the Miami Marlins
It is very rare for someone this good to appear on a list of players with great values. However, I think Stanton should easily be the second overall pick, but I have seen him go as late as sixth. Stanton is as obvious at #2 as Mike Trout is at #1. If Trout is gone, then Giancarlo Stanton is the next best option. I have a few more thoughts on him here.
1B Lucas Duda of the New York Mets
Guess who the following HR/RBI totals in 2014 are for: 34/98, 30/92, 29/102, and 25/109. The answers are Edwin Encarnacion, Lucas Duda, Justin Upton, and Miguel Cabrera. Duda posted power numbers comparable to some of the biggest sluggers in the game. Lucas Duda’s .830 OPS only trailed Upton by .003. He will very likely go outside the top 100 picks and provide elite power.
2B/3B Anthony Rendon of the Washington Nationals
Rendon is receiving incredible hype after a great season with loads of promise in the future. I currently have Anthony Rendon 13th overall on my preliminary rankings, and I wish I drafted him in the second round of the mock draft instead of Felix Hernandez (who I now have at 14th overall). Rendon is an obvious top ten keeper because of his age and his 2B/3B eligibility is the cherry on top.
1B Anthony Rizzo of the Chicago Cubs
Rizzo is a second-rounder to most people, but I have him at #12 overall based on a few things. Rizzo hit both lefties and righties in 2014, he hit for consistent distance and power, and he has a very high floor. As a bonus, Anthony Rizzo should be in a better offense this year and that will help his R/RBI production. Here are a few more thoughts on the burgeoning fantasy star.
OF Khris Davis of the Milwaukee Brewers
Khris Davis was a sleeper in 2014, and I think that he panned out fairly well. While his .244 BA and .299 OBP were a disappointment after seeing his 2013 slash line of .279/.353/.596, Davis still put up nice counting stats. I was happy with his 22 homers and 70 runs and 69 RBI’s is solid production for an inexpensive OF. He will probably fly under the radar this year.
2B Neil Walker of the Pittsburgh Pirates
In probably what is one of my more controversial predictions, I have Neil Walker ranked as my seventh second baseman above Jason Kipnis, Kolten Wong, and Dustin Pedroia. I think now is where you are supposed to call me crazy, but I think Neil Walker goes for roughly a 70/20/70/5/.285 season, which is better than what I expect from those other three second basemen. He will probably be available after the 100th pick, so you can just grab him there and read more about his quiet power here.
3B Pedro Alvarez of the Pittsburgh Pirates
It looks like Pedro Alvarez will shift to first base in 2015, which should marginally help his fantasy profile, but I would just leave him at third base on my roster. Despite another year littered with strikeouts and a poor batting average, Alvarez still has major power. In 2012, he hit an even 30 homers. Pedro Alvarez even went for 36 HR and 100 RBI in 2013. I kind of forgot about Alvarez until a friend recently reminded me about him. You should probably remember him as well.
2B Aaron Hill of the Arizona Diamondbacks
Aaron Hill will be 33 this season, but he will always be one of my favorite fantasy baseball players. His career has yo-yoed quite a bit, but he has produced multiple great fantasy years. In 2009, Aaron Hill was a fantasy stud with a 103/36/108/6/.286 line. The following year saw him hit another 26 homers for Toronto. He discovered his stolen base ability in 2011 with 21 SB despite a power outage. By 2012, Aaron Hill pieced it all together with an excellent line of 93/26/85/14/.302.
In the last two years, Aaron Hill has stopped stealing bases (almost assuredly due to his age), but he still has intriguing pop. I would absolutely take a chance on a cheap veteran who could hit 15-20 homers from the second base position.
3B Nolan Arenado of the Colorado Rockies
I have seen Arenado ranked all over the place, so I am going to assume that he generally will be drafted below where I have him ranked at 29th overall. You may think that ranking is crazy high and you would be correct, but Arenado will only be 24 this season and I think he easily hits 25+ homers this year. In only 111 games, Nolan Arenado sent 18 over the fence and his power should continue to grow.
However, there is a concern about Nolan Arenado’s home/road splits. He hit 16 homers at Coors and only 2 on the road. While that difference is staggering, I love the fact that he could have as many as 81 games at Coors Field this season. With a slugger that is not even 24 yet, the glass is always half full.
OF Drew Stubbs of the Colorado Rockies
Did you know that Drew Stubbs had the second best average fly ball distance in 2014? I bet not many people did even though his performance was significantly skewed by Coors. In 68 home games, Drew Stubbs was a monster.
He hit 12 homers to go along with 46 runs, 33 RBI’s, 11 SB, and a ridiculous .356 batting average. Over a full 162 game season, that pace would translate to a 110/29/79/26/.356 line. While that insane pace is not really sustainable, it means that Drew Stubbs is a must start at home. I wrote up a fairly extensive piece on Drew Stubbs during the 2014 regular season.
SS Jimmy Rollins of the Los Angeles Dodgers
In the weakest offensive position, one player hit 17 homers and swiped 28 bases and people are still rushing to draft Elvis Andrus and Alcides Escobar. Do not let the age scare you. Rollins is still one of the best fantasy shortstops in the game and arguably the best value at his position outside of maybe J.J Hardy. You can read a little more about Jimmy Rollins.
1B Adrian Gonzalez of the Los Angeles Dodgers
While RBI’s are not entirely determined by the player himself because he has to be fortuitous to hit with runners on-base, Adrian Gonzalez is an RBI master. Here are his RBI totals since his first season as a full-time starter in 2006: 82, 100, 119, 99, 101, 117, 108, 100, and 116. While the offensive recession has affected almost everyone, the A-Gone RBI stock has remained steady.
OF Wil Myers of the San Diego Padres
I was really hoping Wil Myers was going to fly under the radar in Tampa where the off-season was a bit of a disaster when Andrew Friedman and Joe Maddon left for the Dodgers and Cubs, respectively. The Rays decided to send the young, promising bat of Wil Myers to sunny San Diego to form an All-Star OF with Matt Kemp and Justin Upton. I think Myers will hit 20-25 homers and reminds us why he was the 2013 AL Rookie of the Year.