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.
You can also check out some of Adam’s other lists:
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.
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