or retool your team it’s probably a better idea to do it right now than to wait. Right now we have about 1/3 of a season’s worth of data on these players, and if you notice a trend and predict an upswing or a downswing for a player it might
be easier to land him or deal him now since some owners might still be clinging to preseason ranks.
1. Mike Trout – Duh.
2. Giancarlo Stanton – Stanton is having a career year right now, he is on pace for 42 homers and 132 RBI. Power is getting harder and harder to find these days, and I’m going to value a 24 year old that can hit 40 homers for the next 7-10 years pretty high. Sure there are some injury/batting average concerns, but I believe in his talent and think he can hit .280 with 40+ homers for a long time.
3. Paul Goldschmidt – Goldy is another young guy with gobs of power. He’s 26 and resembles Godzilla on
the diamond, with all other NL west pitchers being the fleeing Japanese. He’s currently on pace for 31 homers and 12 steals, but more importantly has a .308 average and a .372 OBP. He’s not a batting average risk, and still provides huge power numbers. Those guys are pretty tough to find, and he still has room to get even better.
4. Bryce Harper – Harper is 21, and has the talent to be #2 on this list, but right now he still hasn’t hit more than 22 homers in a season.
5. Yasiel Puig – Puig is one of the most polarizing players in real baseball, and in fantasy. Preseason I didn’t want to touch him, thinking his great rookie year seemed like a bit of a fluke. I’m thinking I was wrong on that one, he’s on pace for a 26 homers and 17 steals with a .329 average, but more impressively he has a .423 OBP which is #4 in baseball. This year his walk rate is up 3% and his strikeout rate is down 3%. So he’s putting up monster numbers as a 23 year old, and improving his approach at the plate. What’s not to like?
6. Clayton Kershaw - Kershaw is the best pitcher in the bigs, and at 26 I feel like the injury concerns aren't as high as they are with a 21 year old, plus he is still just entering his prime. He's the #1 pitcher, it's just a matter of when you think is the right time to draft one.
7. Andrew McCutcheon – Cutch got off to a slow start in the power department this year, but he’s turned it on lately, and trails only Troy Tulowitski in OBP at .434. I do have a fear that his steals are going to start to drop off, but he’s one of the best hitters in baseball and still could go 20/20 for another 5-10 years with an elite batting average and OBP.
8. Carlos Gomez – Gomez is probably the player who has moved up the most for me this year. He’s on pace for a near 30/30 season, plus he’s hitting .310 with a career high walk rate. Gomez took a long time to develop, but I think he’s turning into one of the best fantasy and real life outfielders there is.
9. Troy Tulowitski – Tulo suffers from the same problems that his outfield teammate in Colorado does; constant health concerns. However he plays SS and when he’s on the field he puts up hall of fame numbers. It’s hard to feel to good taking 31 year old in the top ten, but I’ll make an exception for Tulo, since a full season out of him could be the most valuable player in all of fantasy.
10. Miguel Cabrera – Cabrera is #2 in every redraft league, but I can’t put him there in dynasty. I don’t doubt that he will be great the next year or two, but I’m concerned by his walk rate. He’s at 7.5% which is his lowest since his rookie year, and his strikeout rate is also at 16.2% which is the highest it’s been since his first year in Detroit. He’s still a great player, but I’m concerned that he could have a Pujols like decline the next 3 years. And even though Pujols is still good
now, is he a top 10 fantasy player anymore?
11. Carlos Gonzalez – Cargo could very easily be #3 on this list if he could stay healthy, but there’s one major problem. He can’t. He is extremely frustrating to own, and has actually never had a 30/30 season. However he has had four different 20/20 seasons, so you can’t let him drop too far in your dynasty draft, take him but just realize that he’s probably never going to put it all together and have that magical year where everything comes together and he goes .325 40/40.
12. Justin Upton – Justin Upton would have been top 5 on most dynasty lists in 2012. He was coming off a 31 homer season and was only 24. Well now he’s 26 and has had a couple maddeningly inconsistent seasons, yet he is still young and has clearly shown that he has 30 homer power in Atlanta. He is on pace for 34 homers and 15 steals this year. The speed might go down in the coming years, but I’ll take a guy who’ll hit close to 30 homers and have double digit speed potential for the next 5-7 years.
13. Josh Donaldson – Donaldson is a 28 year old who is coming off a career year in 2013 and is having another one in 2014 as he is on a 41 homer pace right now. Donaldson developed late and didn’t have much prospect hype, but there is nothing in his numbers to suggest this is a fluke. He’s probably the player on this list that I’d be the most interested in buying.
14. Jose Abreu – Abreu is on pace for 45 homers this year, and his .264 average won’t hurt you, plus his .277 BABIP suggests the average might climb even more. So if he’s this good as a 27 year old in his first season in the bigs why don’t I have him higher? I’m not sure, but I need to see it for a longer period of time before I trust him, and his 27% K rate is concerning.
15. Edwin Encarnacion – There are 0 concerns for me about E5 and the numbers he’s going to put up the next couple years. The only reason he isn’t higher is because he’s 31, and it’s hard to know what he’s going to look like at 34 or 35 years old. Will he age like Adrian Beltre or David Ortiz, or fall off a cliff? I don’t know but I do have some falling off a cliff concerns.
16. Freddie Freeman – Freddie Freeman bores me, or at least he did. He seemed like a guy that would hit for a good average but not have much power, play good defense and always be talked about as an underrated player. But as a 24 year old who’s on pace for his 4th straight 20 homer season maybe it’s time to get excited about him.
17. Adam Jones – Jones is a stud who is coming off 5 straight years with at least 19 homers, and who has 25 homers and 14+ steals the past 3 years while hitting over .280. But there is one problem, he thinks that it against the rules to walk. With a 2.5% walk rate this year, and 4.5% for his career I’d be worried that he might fall off a cliff soon if he loses a little bat speed.
18. Ryan Braun – Braun has been downgraded the past couple years due to injuries, and PED controversies. I didn’t want to rank him this high, but he is still on pace for 20 homers and 15 steals in 119 games. Is he missing time because he’s off the juice, or is it a fluke? I say it’s more likely a fluke, but there is no way to really know.
19. Manny Machado – This one is going to be a little bit hard to defend. Machado is a great athlete and supposedly was a great character guy as a 21 year old in the big leagues. Then he went crazy. I’m a huge fan of his talent, and I think his antics and lack of power this year coming off injury could present a chance to buy.
20. George Springer – Springer just had one of the hottest months that any major leaguer has had so far in 2014 at the age of 24, and he’s coming of a near 40/40 season in the minors, but there still seems to be a lot of debate as to whether or not he will be a fantasy star in the years to come. Sounds like something I should go in depth on later….