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9 Players You Should Reach For In 2014

Adam thinks Tulo is a clear-cut 1st round pick. Do you agree?

Adam thinks Tulo is a clear-cut 1st round pick. Do you agree?

Sticking with lists that have something to do with our early 2014 fantasy baseball mock draft, this next list idea comes courtesy of a reader who said, “Hey, enough of this sleeper stuff, I want the goods. Who are top 100 players worth reaching for or paying a bit more for in an auction?”

Well, Mr. (or Mrs.) Question Asker, I couldn’t agree more! I ‘m no stranger to the ambitious draft pick. This list is all about guts, and I’ve got ’em. After all, if I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a thousand times — Fortune favors the bold!

Let’s get to it with list number 7: the top 9 players I’m gunning for in 2014.

Top Players Worth Reaching For in 2014

Troy Tulowitzki —  There’s death, taxes, and me owning Tulo <3. Once you get past the first three picks (Andrew McCutchen is clearly #3, sorry Robinson Cano fans) there will be a log jam of players socially acceptable to use a first round pick on (and you don’t want to upset your nerdy league mates with a socially unacceptable picks). No only should Tulo be considered in the first round, but he absolutely SHOULD be drafted in the first round. He’s one of the most complete players in the league, and him plus any undrafted SS (for the days he’s out of the lineup) is a fantasy superstar.

Hanley Ramirez —  Another SS I’m really, really, really bullish about. So what if I buy into the change of scenery mumbo jumbo? I say, “Welcome back to the first round Han-Ram!” He may have missed some time in 2013, but even so, he hit 20 HR and had 10 SB. Same as Tulo, Hanley + Undrafted SS = elite player.

Jason Kipnis — Easily a top-two second baseman, and I think there’s a legit chance he passes Cano in 2014. Kipnis has improved every year and clearly has a great combination of power and speed. Do you know what Cano did when he was 26? He hit .271 with 14 HR, and when Cano was 27 he improved to 25 HR and a .320 BA. Maybe it’s an arbitrary comparison (OK, probably), but the point is Kipnis is turning 27 next April, so he’s just entering his prime. I fully expect him to take another noticeable leap forward.

Dexter Fowler — First of all, his nick name is Daddy Long Legs — that’s worth a round right there. Things were going really well for Fowler early in the year, then he stumbled-slash-got hurt down the back stretch. He ended up starting just over 100 games, which really dug into his final numbers. I still believe he can score over 90 runs, hit 15+ home runs, and steal 25 bases. That’s a very solid line and worth reaching for a round or two early.

Freddie Freeman — I’m easily letting people take Paul Goldschmidt, Joey Votto, and Prince Fielder, while I sit back laugh, draft Freeman and call them fools! Let me be clear: I agree that Goldscmidt is a stud and is a better player than Freeman. However, I would not say the same for Votto and Fielder.  While those shlubs decline, Freeman, only 24, should just keep getting better and better. I’m happy to take him 10 picks earlier than most or pay additional dollars for him in an auction, even though you probably wont actually need to.

Shin-Soo Choo — He should be a top 30 pick, but I bet he lasts ends up going around pick 40. Choo needs to be taken before any closers, pure speed guys, and absolutely in front of outfielders like Matt Kemp and Jason Heyward.  He consistently hits for a good average and scores a ton of runs, and don’t underestimate the 20/20 threat.

Gerrit Cole — His ERA was a full run lower over his final 70 innings compared to his first 40. Likewise, his K/9 increased from mid-5.00s to just under 9.00 once he decided pitching to contact is for losers who don’t care about their fantasy draft stock.  His tremendous performance down the stretch is completely sustainable, and I think there’s a great chance he’s just as good (or better) next year than pitchers like James Shields, Gio Gonzalez, Matt Latos, and Shelby Miller.

I’m also just going to group Homer Bailey and  Mike Minor together because I think next year they both take a big step forward and push for top 15 status. Take them a round earlier than you think you need to.

As always, if there is a list you would like to see please suggest one. You can also read the rest of my Offseason Lists here!

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  • Diebel

    Still hating on the rays I see… haha Can Alex Cobb get some love? This guy was easily the best arm in Tampa last year and is set to take another big step forward. I’d take him over Bailey or Minor…

  • Adam Nodiff

    Thanks for the comment…who knew I was such a Ray basher.

    I was actually very close to adding Cobb to this list, and in the mock draft we are doing right now I actually drafted both Minor and Cobb…someone beat me to the punch on Bailey.

    I would say all three are very close, but the reason why Bailey and Minor make this list and Cobb doesn’t is because a lot of people will see Cobb’s ERA and automatically think he should be drafted high. Whereas with Bailey for example, I think he ERA will actually push him down on a lot of people’s draft board.

    Even straight up though, I do prefer Bailey out of this group because of the combination of his K/9, GB%, LD% and more sustainable LOB%. Cobb would be my third choice, because although he throws lots of grounders too, the HR/FB rate is a bit concerning and his LOB% was much higher than his career average,

    These are all really good pitchers though, and I would be happy with any of them on my fantasy team.

  • Everyone Loves Freeman

    Forgot where I read it, but another site that is posting results of a mock-draft they’re currently doing had Freeman drafted in the 1st Round. Crazy or not (definitely crazy), I’d say that that indicates he won’t be cheap next year. Probably a 25-30 ADP I’d bet.

    • Adam Nodiff

      Wow. First round is definitely much higher than I think most people are willing to go. My guess is that drafter is trying to prove a point by planting a flag in the player. It is possible I am not alone on the Freeman island that I thought I was. Either way, I think he is going to have a huge year and will be targeting him in all drafts.

  • Jimeo722

    This is one of those posts I decided to save, then revisit near the end of the year to how things turned out. Oh, boy. Predictions are difficult, especially when they concern the future. This post is an example. No knock on Mr. Nodiff. This was a good try’ but . . . You can never foresee injuries, but only one guy on this list had a *great* year interrupted by injury. And it wasn’t exactly clairvoyant to say that TT would put up good numbers. Better luck in 2015.

    • Adam Nodiff

      Jimeo…when you are right you are right. I missed on this list! However, if you check some of my other lists I think you will see my “hit” rate was a bit better.

      I will also say I did get 2 things right on this list:

      1. Tulo did play like a first rounder and hime + any decnet SS available on wire when he got hurt will still probably equal the number 1 SS in the game.
      2. My statement on Votto and Fielder being disappointments was dead on

      • Jimeo722

        Yeah, you got some things right. And if you saw my mid-to-late round draft picks in my roto/fantasy leagues, you’d fall off you
        r chair with laughter. I wasn’t trying to by snarky, just pointing out how hazardous it is to predict sports outcomes. I’ll check out your picks for ’15, hoping to compliment you on them next year, Good luck!

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