I sure wish Grey would do his 2014 fantasy baseball rankings. Wait, I am Grey and this is those rankings. Holy crapballs, this is the greatest day ever! Now, only 400,000 words more until I finish my top 400 and I’ll be done. Worst day ever! Damn, that excitement was fleeting. Well, not for you because you don’t have to write all the rankings. You lucky son of a gun! I wish I were you… *wavy lines* Hey, why am I balding and wearing sweatpants? *wavy lines* Hmm, maybe we’re okay with how we are. Now before we get into the top 10 for 2014 fantasy baseball (though I imagine every single one of you has skipped this intro paragraph), I’m gonna lay some ground rules. First, keep your hands and legs inside the trolley. Second, send me all your money. Damn, tried to trick you! Okay, here’s our fantasy baseball podcast. Here’s where you follow us on Twitter. Here’s where you follow us on Facebook. Here’s our fantasy baseball player rater. Here’s our fantasy baseball team name generator. Here is all of our 2014 fantasy baseball rankings. Here’s the position eligibility chart for 2014 fantasy baseball. And here is a picture of my son. What a punim! You may not get all of those links in such a handy, easy-to-use format ever again this year, so make proper note. Now my expositional half insists I breakdown some generalizations about these 2014 fantasy baseball rankings. The 2014 fantasy baseball rankings will be an ever-evolving mass like the blob. This fantasy baseball top 10 for 2014 list is as of right now and could potentially change with a big injury or Mike Trout quitting baseball because he’s bored with being the best and wants to play competitive Mahjong. So while it is the 2014 fantasy baseball gospel, take it with a tablet of salt. Tomorrow we will cover the rest of the top twenty for 2014 fantasy baseball, then we will go around the horn with a top 20 list for every position. Then for pitchers and outfielders, I’ll turn the dial to 100. Listed next to each player are my 2014 projections. Did I consult with whoever else does projections? It would be ignorant not to, but in the end they are my projections. Players need 10 games at a position to get included in the positional rankings. Finally, as with each list in the 2014 fantasy baseball rankings, I will be mentioning where I see tiers start and stop. I look at tiers like this, if Miguel Cabrera and Mike Trout are in the same tier, it doesn’t matter if one guy is ranked 1st and one guy is ranked 2nd, they’re both very close. It comes down to personal preference. I would prefer the guy at number one better than the guy at two, but you do you, I’ll do me and let’s hope we don’t go blind. Anyway, here’s the top 10 for 2014 fantasy baseball:
1. Mike Trout – This is the first tier. This tier goes from here until McCutchen. I call this tier, “The babysitter’s sweet, sweet can.” If you get a chance to draft Trout, you won the f**king lottery, homes. F**kin’ lottery, homes! In 2013, the Angels had a down year that is best illustrated by Arte Moreno’s words to his spiritual adviser this past October, “I’m not sure I want to live in a world where five-hundred and seventy million can’t buy a championship.” If you heard from Poo Holes last year, it was his farting. If you heard from Josh Hamilton, it was about his dandruff. Both looked like shizz. Yet, Trout bumped up his walk rate and lowered his strike out rate when he could’ve easily started swinging at everything because no one in their right mind needed to throw him a good pitch. If fantasy baseball involved simply fantasy and no baseball, Mike Trout would be Kate Jackson in the 1970′s and I’d be tight-fitting pants. I think that would also mean my nose was the bulge in my own pants. 2014 Projections: 115/30/102/.319/35
2. Miguel Cabrera – Wanna hear something weird? I recently looked up to see if Anne Murray was touring. How weird is that?! Wanna hear something weird regarding Miggy? He’s my biggest concern in this tier. I’m sure he’ll be fine, but — and this is a J. Lo-sized but — he’s not getting younger. I know, shocker. Call the Detroit Free Press, Miguel Cabrera isn’t getting younger. That’s assuming when you read this there still is a Detroit newspaper and it hasn’t been converted into a crack house. “Let’s run a story on new crack pipes being found on Fullerton Avenue!” 148 games played for Miggy last year sticks out at me. Can I ignore it? As Fonzie’s horse says, “Nay.” It could be nothing. Maybe his move to 1st base will reduce the strain on his body and he’ll stay healthy for 162 games in 2014. Maybe his lack of exercise will help him age gracefully; that’s what I keep telling my Cougar when she asks if I’m gonna sit on the couch all weekend. It works for Miggy, baby! I think 2013 might’ve been the peak for a long terrific career. Do I think Miggy completely falls off the map? Not unless the world really is flat, but then there’s some cartographers with some esplainin’ to do. 2014 Projections: 97/36/112/.319/2
3. Paul Goldschmidt – Think we’re about to enter a five year span where Goldschmidt bounces around the top ten. He’s a lock for 30 homers, 10 steals and a .280 average. That doesn’t sound like the meow’s cat until you realize only 14 guys hit 30 homers last year. Only three of those had 10 steals, and only two of them hit .280 — Adam Jones and Goldschmidt. Those stats are all worst case scenarios too. Au Shizz could do much better, and is entering his prime, so now would be the time for that. If he topped off at 40 homers and 15 steals, it wouldn’t surprise me. Last year, I told you to draft Goldschmidt in the 2nd round when others were telling you to draft him in the 6th or 7th. He won’t be a bargain this year, but he also shouldn’t be looked at as a guy that could disappoint. Now, a poem. I call this, “I Know Why The Caged Bird Swings.”
While you’re pickin’ boogers like the Biz,
I’m doin’ my teams like my cheesesteaks — wit’ Au Shizz,
You ain’t got Sodastream? Then you got no fizz.
Goldschmidt makes us go so delirious we’re Germaniacs,
And his surprising steals are zany to the max,
There’s baloney in my slacks.
The black girl on The Real World: Brooklyn looked like a man I think her name was Devon,
If Goldschmidt’s on my team I’m in heaven,
His 2014 Projections are 92/34/110/.295/eleven.
4. Andrew McCutchen – Here’s what I said at the end of last year, “The Dread Pirate was way off in power and not terrific in counting stats (in 2013), but still put together a solid season and he’s in his prime. Oh! I didn’t hear you come in. I was just talking through my reasoning for McCutchen 3rd overall next year and not Goldschmidt. Oh, who am I kidding? I’m gonna go with Au Shizz…” And that’s me anticipating me! The scary thing is that was all accurate, The Dread Pirate did have a slight down year, but, due to the lack of offense, he won the MVP. (Sure, it also had something to do with the Pirates making the playoffs, but still — he didn’t even have 100 runs or RBIs, and 21 homers isn’t amazing. Hmm, I’m ready to get out of this parenthetical now. Voila! Uh…Fin? Alakazam? Uh, a little help? Thanks!) I ended up putting Goldschmidt in front of McCutchen because, well, dur. Of course I was going to. Hopefully, the Pirates go back to sucking and McCutchen feels the need to do everything, and does. 2014 Projections: 91/25/94/.320/24
5. Adam Jones – This is a new tier. This tier goes from here until Fielder. I call this tier, “They lack excitement, until you’re winning your league.” I ranked Jones 13th overall last year and nearly nailed his projections, so he gets a bump this year due to having a bit more of a track record and the lack of offense in the league. He’s actually going on back-to-back seasons producing top ten hitter numbers if it wasn’t for his low RBI total in 2012. That year he had 32 homers with 16 steals and a .287 average. Last year, he had 33 homers and 14 steals and a .285 average. If that sounds like a top ten season to you, you’re paying attention. It is. Offense is down across the board and a 30+ homer, 15+ steal threat without killing you in average is a top hitter. Really, he could be above The Dread Pirate, but for whatever reason, Jones just comes off as boring. Predictable. Yay. I get it. You’re above it all. You have dandelions in your shorts and when you sneeze, you say, “As long as I ain’t you.” It’s cute. 2014 Projections: 94/32/105/.282/15
6. Robinson Cano – I already went over my Robinson Cano fantasy when he signed with the Mariners. For what it’s Jayson Werth, I’ve ranked Cano fifth overall for the last three years and he’s failed to, uh, fail. Don’t be one of these douchetards that doesn’t draft a guy just because your gut is telling you this is the year Cano will disappoint. Only thing your gut is telling you is you shouldn’t have had that third McMuffin this morning. Cano only got knocked down below Jones because of the signing with the Mariners. Last year with 81 runs in a junky Yankees lineup, he still ranked 7th for all of hitters according to our Player Rater. This year, he should come close to the same production, just no huge rebound. 2014 Projections: 84/26/105/.312/4
7. Prince Fielder – This offseason I had a dream. I was standing in a kiddie pool, wearing water wings, and next to me was the world’s largest trampoline and Prince Fielder standing above it on a step ladder. Pitbull walked out onto the porch with a Little Havana-type t-shirt, gold chains, rings and pants your grandfather would wear. He yelled timber and Fielder fell towards the trampoline. I shot up in bed and realized Fielder was going to have a bounce back. I already went over my Prince Fielder fantasy when he was traded to the Rangers. I debated with myself longer than I care to admit (47 seconds) on whether or not to put Fielder in this boring, but tried-and-true tier or the next one or at the bottom of the top 20. I ranked him here because unlike the players in the next tier, Fielder just feels safer. I know, it’s boring to think about safe in the first round, but there will be time to gamble on upside or fill a scarce position. With Choo and Andrus in front of Fielder, there could be a guy standing on 2nd base two hundred times next year when he comes up to bat. With Beltre behind him, there won’t be any pitching around him. Behind Beltre is Rios. The Rangers are going to be good with Fielder right smack in the middle of it. I don’t think Fielder is a 40-homer hitter anymore, but I also don’t think he’s a 25-homer hitter, and, even if he is, I’d take a safe 25-homer, 100 RBI guy over the guys in the tier I’m about to get into. It’s the first round and there’s already as many question marks as you’d find on the Riddler’s underwear. 2014 Projections: 89/33/108/.282/1
8. Carlos Gonzalez – This is a new tier. This tier goes from here until the top 20 for 2014 fantasy baseball. I call this tier, “UGH.” I preferred when the first round had a tier named HGH, now we have UGH. There shouldn’t be this many questions in the first round, but as my childhood Polish neighbor would say, “What can do?” CarGo is getting the benefit of the doubt with this ranking, which means we’re friends with benefits only we’re not friends. Best case scenario, CarGo wins the MVP with his 40-homer, 20+ steal season. Yes, he’s going to hit 40 homers and steal 20 bases if he stays healthy. He hit 34 homers with 26 steals in 145 games when he was only 25 and he’s still firmly in his prime. If he’s going to have that huge year, it’s going to be this year or next. As for CarGo’s emergency appendectomy the other day, at least it wasn’t in June. Though, knowing CarGo, he’ll grow a 2nd appendix and have it explode like fireworks over the 4th of July weekend. Hopefully, CarGo needs the full two months to recover from the surgery so it’ll give him less time to injure himself in any other way during Spring Training. What it really comes down to is his worst case scenario — 25 homers, 15 steals, .300+ average and you pick up an outfielder off waivers to fill in for him when he’s hurt for 40 games. That won’t kill you. Yes, we’re in the first round hoping guys don’t kill us. What happened to the days when guys just murdered the ball? 2014 Projections: 91/28/92/.307/20
9. Chris Davis – Everything about Davis’s 2013 was illogical. His HR/FB rate was 29.6%. Since 2000, that would tie him with the 12th highest rate. Chris Davis had a 29.7% K-rate. That’s bad. If you just grab the guys of the last 13 years with a 29.6% HR/FB rate and an obscene K-rate, you’re filtered down to Jack Cust and Ryan Howard. Cust was a bit worse with strikeouts. Cust kayin’. Howard is a better match. One year Ryan Howard had a 30.7% K-rate and a 31.5% HR/FB. That’s about as close as we’re gonna get for a comparison to Davis. That year Howard hit .268. Last year, Davis hit .286. So, unless the scorekeepers are dyslexic, that’s not happening again. You can’t buoy a batting average with fly balls and homers. Last year Davis’s line drive rate was much worse than Howard’s that year he was comparable. Davis could hit 45 homers, but he won’t .286 again. He could hit .260. Or he could hit .245. 2014 Projections: 83/39/104/.259/3
10. Bryce Harper – Harper didn’t have a good 2013. Or did he?! Damn you, reversal question, you always get me. Or do I?! Last year Harper crashed into a wall doing 12 MPH and Dodger Stadium’s wall ended up looking like this. It still wasn’t that bad of a year when you look at his 20 homers, 11 steals and the fact his hair didn’t make him look like a cock. That’s a cock as in a rooster. 20 homers in only 118 games from a 21-year-old is damn good, actually. Now is not the time to back off of Harper. The only thing that held back Harper’s year was his runs and RBIs and you should never judge a guy on that. He could easily get 100 runs and 110+ RBIs this year. His big UGH is he’s never given first round numbers in his career, only the possibility of it, but hitters are so poor there’s no guys to be in the top ten this year, so here’s Harper. That’s ughtastic, and Harper is King Ughtastic. 2014 Projections: 86/29/101/.291/17