When it comes to positional scarcity - you gotta love the abundance of start-able outfielders - which allows you to pursue good players at tougher positions to fill. Most will tell you to wait on catchers and wait on relievers. I say nay, wait on outfielders. That's not to say that you shouldn't take Kemp in the first, or Upton in the second. We're not telling you to draft Beltre over CarGo because the latter plays outfield. But we see no sense in rolling with a CarGo/Holliday/Bruce outfield while you're rocking Steve Cishek/Jose Veras at reliever and Jarrod Saltalamacchia as your catcher. Take your time with outfielders - almost a LIMA (low investment mound aces) type plan. We'll call it a BOP (Bargain Outfielders Plan). Without further ado - here comes on heck of a long list.
1. Mike Trout - We don't think this needs much explanation. Unless you're a Kemp fan.
2. Matt Kemp - Give this guy his wheels back and he'll pay major dividends.
3. Ryan Braun - This ranking is under the assumption that he'll be playing a full season.
4. Andrew McCutchen - Gets the nod over CarGo. .300, 25+ HR and 25+ SB looks nice.
5. Giancarlo Stanton - Every stat but SB is trending in the right direction. Love the power.
6. Carlos Gonzalez - Late first round pick will contribute in every stat category.
7. Justin Upton - We have him higher than most, but should improve in Hotlanta.
8. Jose Bautista - Great hitter, but don't like the injury risk and decline in AVG, OPS, SLG.
9. Bryce Harper - Will keep getting better. Breakout is possible 30/20?
10. Josh Hamilton - 100R, 40HR, 100RBI is very possible, but not all that likely at 31.
#2 OF's (#1's in the BOP):
11. Yeonis Cespedes - Another one of the outfielders with 30/20 potential in 2013.
12. Jason Heyward - Only 23. Another possible 30/20 guy. Don't like AVG, though.
13. Adam Jones - Turned it way up in 2012. His age 27 season should be more of the same.
14. Jay Bruce - Eerily similar output to Heyward is likely. Just 23 and love the CIN lineup.
15. Jacoby Ellsbury - Should have a great season - it is an odd numbered year. Easy 20/20
16. BJ Upton - We love his situation in ATL. Not going to hit .300 but will get you 20/30.
17. Desmond Jennings - Outfield sleeper. Will go later than this but should produce 10/40.
18. Austin Jackson - We love the potential for a .300/110/15/60/25 season. Relatively cheap.
19. Matt Holliday - We love consistent players with falling prices. Expect .300 and 27/100.
20. Adrian Gonzalez - Where he wants to be and has 1B eligibility. Like the price.
21. Allen Craig - Clone to Matt Holiday, only younger and cheaper. Like the 1B elig.
22. Ben Zobrist - Like the odds of producing a very useful fantasy season. SS/2B, too.
23. Hunter Pence - Most have him lower than this but love the cheap HR and RBI's.
24. Melky Cabrera - Melk man should approach .300 with 15/15 and 100 RBI.
25. Alex Rios - Has settled in nicely with CWS but alternating hot/cold years. 20/20.
26. Michael Bourn - Lots of speed at the top of a young Indians lineup.
#3 OF's (#2's):
27. Martin Prado - Should love playing in Arizona and can hit .310 and won't kill any stat.
28. Curtis Granderson - Should he come back in May ready to go will still smack 30 HR.
29. Shin-Soo Choo - We think he will enjoy the change of scenery. Decent power/speed.
30. Angel Pagan - Bold prediction and should be available >15th round - .290/100/10/60/30
31. Alex Gordon - Another season hovering around .300 20/20.
32. Norichika Aoki - Quietly put together a nice season. Will be a steal late.
33. Alejandro De Aza - See above.
34. Shane Victorino - We think 15 HR and 35 SB is a possibility in Boston.
35. Andre Ethier - Matt Holliday lite should produce another solid campaign.
36. Nelson Cruz - Big name, bargain bin price should he play a full season.
37. Mark Trumbo - Getting 35 homers this late should be a crime. Won't kill you in any cat.
38. Josh Willingham - Another guy who can get you around 30 homers after round 10.
39. Carlos Beltran - Revival season in StL, should be good for another 25 long balls.
40. Dexter Fowler - Similar to Austin Jackson should produce across the board.
#4 OF's (#3's):
41. Ben Revere - Great young hitter will absolutely kill your power #s.
42. Carlos Gomez - We think the 19 homers was a bit flukey. Temper expectations.
43. Torii Hunter - Speed is declining but love his situation in Detroit.
44. Jayson Werth - Says he's not 100% but double digit SB/HR is nice this late.
45. Carl Crawford - Not healthy yet, but could be the steal of the draft after round 10 or so.
46. Nick Swisher - Like the 1B elig., should be a lock for 100 RBI.
47. Brett Gardner - Forgotten speedster could be comeback POY.
48. Adam Eaton - Super breakout special, might not be such a sleeper anymore.
49. Todd Frazier - Probably better suited as a UTIL or 1B/3B, but cheap nonetheless.
50. Josh Reddick - Still don't know if the 32 HR was for real, but should be worth a gamble.
51. Michael Cuddyer - Getting older, but more patient. Great UTIL guy with 1B elig.
52. Chris Davis - Broke out in a major way in 2012, but watch the price. Good value later.
53. Ryan Doumit - Great versatility as you can plug him into your C slot, too.
54. Jason Kubel - We think season close to his 2010 season - .250/21/92
Guys to take a late round flier on (Or pick up via FA):
55. Ichiro Suzuki - Will post solid, but unspectacular stats in the Bronx.
56. Denard Span - Should like his new home. Low level 5 tool guy.
57. Ryan Ludwick - Nothing by way of speed, but with the AB's could hit 25HR and 80RBI.
58. Cody Ross - Human powder keg should love playing time in ARZ. 27-28 HR possible.
59. Lorenzo Cain - Double digit SB/HR in the last round/FA should prove useful.
60. Starling Marte - Needs to settle in with Pirates, but could be a huge, huge sleeper here.
61. Alfonso Soriano - Could help with power #s, not much else.
62. Coco Crisp - Gets the playing time, and should swipe 40 bags.
63. Emilio Bonifacio - Will have more value at 2B, and will score lots of runs.
64. David Murphy - Double digit HR/SB is clutch this late.
65. Will Venable - We have him as a very deep sleeper. 10 HR/20 SB should come easily.
66. Carlos Quentin - Power #s late, if you need them.
67. Tyler Colvin - Could prove useful with similar numbers to 2012.
68. Garrett Jones - We like the potential here for 25-30 HR facing only righties.
69. Brandon Moss - 400 AB's should mean 25+ homers.
70. John Jay - More of a role player in StL, but could break out a bit in 2013.
Guys like Prado, Hanley, Seager, and Frazier are eligible at other positions. Aramis Ramirez and Beltre are nearing the second half of their 30's. Chase Headley and Arod are both now injured and out for significant parts of the season. Third base is no longer looking like the hot corner. Think of it more as the opportunity corner. Pedro Alvarez finally learned how to get the ball over the fence; Will Middlebrooks and Manny Machado will look to move up into the upper echelons of the position over the coming seasons. Consider it the changing of the guards, leaving a huge middle tier of players. Grab the usual suspects early: Cabrera, Beltre, Wright, Longoria. And if you can't - you can probably wait it out and get some nice value while stocking up on pitching and outfielders. Let's take a gander.
1. Miguel Cabrera - Arguably the best hitter in baseball. Hope for a top three pick.
2. Hanley Ramirez - We have him ranked as the #2 SS too so his price tag could get high.
3. Adrian Beltre - Getting up there in age, but should be a lock for .300-30-100.
4. David Wright - Love the value of a possible 2nd rounder on him. Tough lineup to be on.
5. Evan Longoria - If this guy could just stay healthy, he'd be a top 10 pick, easily.
6. Ryan Zimmerman - Putting it all together. You can realistically hope for .290-90-30-100
7. Brett Lawrie - 23 year old oozing with potential. Could top 100 runs and 20/20.
8. Aramis Ramirez - Extraordinarily consistent. Even at 34.
9. Pablo Sandoval - Extraordinarily inconsistent. But has shown the ability to rake.
10. Martin Prado - .300 with double digit steals and homers for Prado should come easily.
11. Will Middlebrooks - Surprisingly even-keeled in his first half-season, 15 HR in 267 ABs.
12. David Freese - One cool customer. A legit threat for a guy you can wait on.
13. Kyle Seager - Great sleeper/value pick. 2B eligibility, too. 15/15 should be no problem.
14. Pedro Alvarez - The Adam Dunn of 3B. Can he post 35 HR with a .240 BA?
15. Manny Machado - Much higher in keeper leagues. Just 20. Could push 20HR/10SB.
16. Todd Frazier - We love the 1B/3B/OF eligibility, and the Reds lineup.
17. Chase Headley - Out at least 4-6 weeks. More of a flier pick but can surely hit.
18. Mike Moustakas - Just 24 and will continue to develop. Hopefully he can bring up AVG.
Guys to take a flier on or grab via FA:
19. Kevin Youkilis - Will get plenty of AB's in '13 - getting back to 25 HR a possibility.
20. Michael Young - We think he still has some value here. Pray for .290-80-10-80
21. Mark Reynolds - Could win a lumberjack contest. .220 hitter with 35 HR potential.
22. Trevor Plouffe - Will see plenty of ABs and has OF eligibility too. 25 HR and no AVG.
23. Marco Scutaro - Probably more valuable at a utility player, and won't kill any stat
24. Chris Nelson - Keep your eye on his playing time. .284, 13HR, 6SB over 550 career ABs.
25. Chris Johnson - If he gets the ABs in ATL could be a great #2 3B on your team, cheap.
I'm so old school with fantasy baseball sometimes, that I still think of Nomah, Tejada, and Jeter when I talk about the shortstop position with people. Back then, if you missed out on those three, you were going to wait to grab a shortstop. And wait some more. But things have changed for the better. And this year, the good news seems to be that there are at least 15 legitimate shortstops that you can utilize on your team. The trend for 2013 is that at most positions, you can wait for the depth, and target the guys you actually want on your team in the early rounds. With so many players eligible at shortstop, you don't have to sacrifice any particular stat if you choose to wait for a player.
1. Jose Reyes - May be a shock, but he is consistent and won't kill any stat. 100 runs easily.
2. Hanley Ramirez - 5 tool stud if he can bring the average up to the .270 range.
3. Troy Tulowitzki - Don't pay for potential in the 1st. Topped 540AB just twice in 6 years.
4. Starlin Castro - .297 career average and should approach 20/20 in 2013.
5. Ben Zobrist - Gets the nod over Desmond with the better average and eligibility.
6. Ian Desmond - If he can repeat 2012, consider him in the top 4 heading into 2014.
7. Martin Prado - We think his lousy 2011 was the fluke. Great bet for .310 and 15/15.
8. Elvis Andrus - Slap/Gap hitter should get better in 2013. .290 with 10/30 is within reach.
9. Jimmy Rollins - Getting old, but should continue to put up 20/20.
10. Derek Jeter - 39 but still in great shape. Put up double digit HR/SB in 16 MLB seasons.
11. Alcides Escobar - Could prove more valuable with later pick than Andrus/Rollins/Jeter.
12. Asdrubal Cabrera - Dont see him topping 17 HR or 10 SB. We think 2011 was a bit fluky.
13. Josh Rutledge - Moving to second base with a healthy Tulo. 500 AB's will mean 15/15 +.
14. Erick Aybar - Rollins Lite should provide adequate runs and SB's.
15. Everth Cabrera - Could post 65 SB in 2013. Put up 44 in 398 AB's in 2012.
16. Danny Espinoza - Many have him higher, but we don't like the AVG/OPS output.
17. Andrelton Simmons - Might not shine in any one category but will certainly help you.
Guys you should take a gamble on or pick up via FA:
18. Zach Cozart - Thinking he'll improve on '12 numbers. .260/70/12/70/10 possible late.
19. Jean Segura - Just 23; could post Simmons type numbers, un-drafted in your league.
20. Marco Scutaro - We envision him mirroring his '12 numbers, worthy of a bench spot.
21. JJ Hardy - The Dan Uggla of SS. All power, no speed, no patience at the plate.
22. Eduardo Nunez - Plenty of AB's in 2013. Career line over 450 AB's is .272/64/7/48/38.
Remember the days when a guy like Robinson Cano was ranked as the 9th or 10th second baseman in the league? The good old days, when Chase Utley was a fantasy god, Brian Roberts and Mark DeRosa were fantasy relevant, and Alexei Ramirez qualified at the position? I remember a time when I looked at the rankings and felt as I could hold out until the late rounds to grab a serviceable 2b. Not much has changed since those days, other than the names you see on your rankings lists. With so many players shifting to second, or keeping eligibility at second, you can look down a long list of guys you can strategically grab for the position to help you over the long haul. Guys like Espinosa, Prado, Zobrist all can play multiple positions, adding that much more value to your roster. Let's take a peek at the rankings we have compiled this off-season.
1. Robinson Cano - Easy pick for #1. At least .302-28-94 over the past three seasons.
2. Dustin Pedroia - Should he stay healthy will push Kinsler for #2 because of his AVG.
3. Ian Kinsler - One of the best bets in MLB for a 20/20 season.
4. Ben Zobrist - Eligibility gives him the nod here. Great bet to contribute in 5 cats.
5. Jason Kipnis - Kinsler light - expect 15 HR and 30 SB for 2013.
6. Jose Altuve - Michael Bourn of the infield. Good bet for .300 and 40 SB this year.
7. Brandon Phillips - Extraordinarily consistent. 18 HR and ~15 SB in each of last three.
8. Martin Prado - Consummate ballplayer. Won't kill you in any stat - 2b,3b,SS,OF elig.
9. Danny Espinosa - Should be good for 20/20 but watch the average.
10. Rickie Weeks - Hopefully he can bring his average up.
11. Chase Utley - Expect a bounce back season from Utley. Won't hurt your team healthy.
12. Dan Uggla - 0 average potential, but huge power potential in revamped ATL lineup.
13. Aaron Hill - Was his 2012 season in ARZ a fluke?
14. Kyle Seager - 2b/3b is nice. Should approach 20/20.
15. Neil Walker - If you look at his #s you'll see how consistent he really is.
16. Omar Infante - Love this guy in the DET lineup.
17. Howie Kendrick - Solid, but unspectacular source of decent across the board stats.
Guys you could take a gamble on or pick up via FA:
18. Jurickson Profar - Should scoot up this board should he get some AB's in the majors.
19. Dustin Ackley - Should he put it all together, will be a steal here.
20. Daniel Murphy - Very sneaky late round value - without the power numbers.
21. Emilio Bonifacio - Could score 100 runs in Jays lineup with sneaky speed.
22. Marco Scutaro - Love the versatility, but not going to put up huge numbers in any cat.
23. Jedd Gyorko - Having a great spring and could win the full time job.