It is time for another season of fantasy baseball. This list will highlight my top 10 rankings for the 2013 MLB fantasy baseball season. The list is based on consistency, production, past results and future upside.
#10. Robinson Cano – New York Yankees 2B
Drafting Robinson Cano is a smart move for your fantasy baseball team no matter how high you draft him. Robinson is one of the only power hitters in the league who is eligible at 2nd base, a spot on your team that usually brings with it very little production. Cano had 33 home runs and 94 RBI, both highest among 2nd basemen. Look for Cano to put up similar numbers in the upcoming season.
#9. Albert Pujols – Los Angeles Angels 1B
Even after a rough start, Albert Pujols was able to hit 30 home runs and for the 11th time in the past 12 years, drive in over 100 runs. Even after having his lowest home run total since his rookie year, Pujols is one of the most dangerous hitters in baseball and a top pick for 2013.
#8. Matt Kemp – Los Angeles Dodgers OF
Matt Kemp might have fallen off of your radar because of an injury plagued 2012 season, but it is time to once again consider him a top 10 fantasy player. Even with his injuries, Kemp had a .303 average in 106 games, 69 RBI and 23 home runs. If he can stay healthy, expect 100+ RBI with around 30 home runs and a batting average over .300. You may be able to draft Kemp in the second round due to injury concerns, but he is a top 10 talent.
#7. Josh Hamilton – Free Agent OF
The team that signs Josh Hamilton is getting one of the most productive hitters in all of baseball. In 2012, Hamilton was second in home runs with 43, and second in RBI with 128. Even with a history of injuries and a couple of slumps, Hamilton has played in at least 120 games four of the last five seasons, and in those seasons has had over 90 RBI, 25 home runs or more, and a batting average of at least .285. Count on Hamilton to finish in the top five in home runs and RBI in 2013, no matter what team he signs with.
#6. Andrew McCutchen – Pittsburgh Pirates OF
Andrew McCutchen had the best season of his career in 2012 and is only getting better. The center fielder had 31 home runs, 96 RBI, 20 stolen bases, and the third best batting average in all of baseball at .327. McCutchen’s numbers are similar to Mike Trout with less stolen bases. McCutchen has potential to have an even better 2013, but count on him to at least be a top 10 fantasy player.
#5. Justin Verlander – Detroit Tigers SP
Justin Verlander is the most dominant pitcher in the game and a great pick for your team even in the top ten of your fantasy draft. Verlander was third in MLB with an ERA of 2.64, eighth in wins with 17, and led the league in strikeouts. The upside of this pick is that the Tigers look like an even better team for the 2013 season, and Verlander may be able to come close to his 2011 win total of 24. Depending on your league format, you may be able to score extra points with Verlander due to complete games (6 in 2012), and he is a threat to throw a no-hitter almost every time he steps on the mound. Over the past four years, he has had at least 17 wins each season and over 215 strike outs. Expect a similar performance in 2013 with a higher win total.
#4. Buster Posey – San Francisco Giants C
Fantasy baseball is all about strategy and drafting a winning team. Buster Posey makes this list not only for his breakout performance last season, but because of his position, catcher. There are certain positions in baseball that often come with low production, and the catcher position is one of those. Among catchers, Buster led all of baseball in hits, doubles, RBI, and batting average while being second in runs scored and fourth in home runs. Buster dominates the catcher position and will help bring production to a position that usually drags fantasy teams down.
#3. Ryan Braun – Milwaukee Brewers OF
Ryan Braun has been a fantasy baseball powerhouse over the past five years, remaining consistently great. Braun has had over 100 RBI each of the past five seasons and has a career .313 batting average. Expect Braun to match these numbers next season and to repeat his career high 41 home run performance. Drafting Braun in any spot in the top 10 is a solid choice. Although he does not have the upside of Trout or Cabrera, he is one of the most consistent performers in all of baseball over the past five seasons.
#2. Mike Trout – Los Angeles Angels OF
Mike Trout had a season of epic proportions and deserves respect in your fantasy baseball draft. Trout led all of baseball with 46 steals and 129 runs. What makes those numbers even more impressive is that he missed 22 games during the season due to injury. Trout had an average of .326, 30 home runs and 83 RBI. It is scary to think that Trout may improve on his numbers from 2012 with a completely healthy season in 2013.
#1. Miguel Cabrera – Detroit Tigers 3B
Miguel Cabrera is the top fantasy baseball player for the 2013 MLB season. Cabrera had career highs in home runs, runs batted in, and hits while batting an impressive .330 average. Cabrera is the best option for the overall #1 pick in your fantasy baseball draft. He has averaged 117.8 RBI, a batting average of .322, and 34.3 home runs over the past 9 seasons, and there is no reason to think that he will not match those numbers if not improve as a part of a better Tigers lineup in 2013.
It is hard to go wrong with drafting any of these 10 players in your MLB fantasy baseball draft. Good luck.