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Fantasy Baseball 2012: Most Consistent Lowest Risk Players in First 5 Rounds

Jay BrunoContributor IIINovember 3, 2016

Fantasy Baseball 2012: Most Consistent Lowest Risk Players in First 5 Rounds

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    One of the biggest challenges in fantasy baseball is balancing potential, consistency and risk throughout the draft. I have previously gone over the most high risk high reward players for 2012 fantasy baseball—if you overload on high risk players you could have your best team ever, but you're more likely to have your worst.

    On the other hand, if you don't take risks and draft consistency, you might find your team lacking the firepower to rise to the very top.  

    Mixing high risk high reward players with players who have a track record of consistency gives you the best chance of putting together a team with a solid foundation, and a team with players who could outplay their draft position and lead you to a championship.

    The following is a compilation of the most consistent players going in each round. I have assumed a standard 5x5, 12-team mixed league, and the draft order is according to the current average draft positions compiled by KFFL.

Round 1, Picks 1-12

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    1. Matt Kemp

    2. Miguel Cabrera

    3. Albert Pujols

    4. Jose Bautista

    5. Troy Tulowitzki

    6. Justin Verlander

    7. Jacoby Ellsbury

    8. Justin Upton

    9. Joey Votto

    10. Adrian Gonzalez

    11. Robinson Cano

    12. Evan Longoria


    Lowest risk, most consistent hitters

    Albert Pujols: Pujols has an unbelievably consistent track record, racking up at least 100 runs, 30 home runs and 100 RBIs every season over the past decade (with a couple 99s mixed in). Pujols continues to age, so you never know when Pujols is going to return to the land of the mortals, but until it does consider Pujols the most consistent player in the game.

    Joey Votto: In 2011 Votto wasn't able to match his MVP 2010 season, however still put up huge numbers with 101 runs, 29 home-runs, and 103 RBIs while batting 0.309. That was good enough to finish as the 14th best fantasy hitter in 2011.

    Votto is still in his prime at 29 years old, and should provide high-end numbers with little risk of regression. 

    Miguel Cabrera: I projected Cabrera as a high risk high reward player for 2012 due to his dropped weight and move to third base, however you can't argue with his past track record.

    Cabrera has had at least 100 RBIs every year since 2004, at least 100 runs in five of the past eight years and at least 30 home runs in seven out of the past eight years. These numbers point to consistent dominance, and should give you confidence his success will continue if he can handle the position switch.

    Robinson Cano: Cano's production has been consistent, including at least 100 runs and 25 home-runs over the past three years, and at least 100 RBIs two out of the last three seasons. With the Yankees continuing to put up potent together, look for Cano to continue to put up strong numbers. 


    Lowest risk, most consistent pitchers

    Justin Verlander: Verlander is the only pitcher being picked on average in the first round. Although I would never draft a pitcher in the first round, Verlander does have a history of consistency.

    Verlander finished with at least 17 wins in five out of the past six seasons, over 200 strike outs with a WHIP under 1.2 the past three years and is coming off an MVP and Cy Young season. He should continue to be one of the game's top pitchers in 2012. 

Round 2, Picks 13-24

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    13. Carlos Gonzalez

    14. Prince Fielder

    15. Roy Halladay

    16. Clayton Kershaw

    17. Dustin Pedroia

    18. Curtis Granderson

    19. Hanley Ramirez

    20. Jose Reyes

    21. Cliff Lee

    22. Mike Stanton

    23. Ian Kinsler

    24. Tim Lincecum


    Lowest risk, most consistent hitters

    Prince Fielder: The second round is full of high risk hitters, however the most consistent hitter is probably Prince Fielder. Fielder is entering a new situation in Detroit, and you never know what will happen when a player changes scenery, but judging by past stats he should continue to rake.

    Fielder has at least 90 runs and 100 RBIs in four out of the past five seasons, and at least 30 home runs since 2007.

    Detroit has a strong lineup, and Fielder could be in line for one of his best seasons.  


    Lowest risk, most consistent pitchers

    Roy Halladay: For all the risky hitters in the second round, there are just as many consistent pitchers.

    Two-time Cy Young winner Roy Halladay has been one of the most dominant pitchers in the game over the past decade, and has pitched at least 30 games six years running. Over that time, he has four season with an ERA under 3.00, six seasons with a WHIP under 1.13, and four seasons with at least 200 strike outs. He should again be a 20-win threat pitching for the Phillies.

    Clayton Kershaw: Kershaw is coming off a Cy Young season, and has a good chance to do it again in 2012. He has three seasons in a row with a sub-3.00 ERA, and two seasons with at least 200 strike outs. Kershaw is only 23 years old, so the best may be yet to come.

    Cliff Lee: Lee is another Cy Young award winner, winning the AL honor in 2008, and has been dominant since then. Lee has had an ERA under 3.22 over the past four years, and struck out 238 while winning 17 in 2011. Look for Lee to rack up the wins again on a strong Phillies team.  

    Tim Lincecum: The two-time Cy Young winner has pitched at least 30 games four years in a row, and exceeded 220 strike-outs with an ERA under 3.00 four out the past five years. Lincecum is turn 28 this season, and should again be a relatively safe fantasy selection.   

Round 3, Picks 25-36

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    25. Andrew McCutchen

    26. Felix Hernandez

    27. Mark Teixeira

    28. Ryan Braun

    29. CC Sabathia

    30. Cole Hamels

    31. Adrian Beltre

    32. Josh Hamilton

    33. David Wright

    34. Jered Weaver

    35. Carlos Santana 

    36. Matt Holliday


    Lowest risk, most consistent hitters

    Mark Teixeira: As far as third-round picks go, Teixeira is a home run from a consistency standpoint. There have been some disappointments form Teixeira going earlier in the draft in the past, however if you can get him in the third-round, he'll give you third-round numbers on the low end. Teixeira has collected 90 runs or more every year since 2008, with last year the only year he didn't exceed 100, and has at least 108 RBIs and 33 home runs per season over the past four seasons. In a potent Yankees lineup, Teixeira should again put up nice numbers.


    Lowest risk, most consistent pitchers

    Felix Hernandez: Hernandez won the Cy Young in 2010, and didn't disappoint in his followup campaign posting 222 strike outs, with a 1.22 WHIP and 3.47 ERA for the Mariners. Look for another big year from Hernandez in 2012.

    CC Sabathia: It's easy to see Sabathia as a risky option, since it's hard to imagine him staying injury free as he ages due to his weight. However up to now, Sabathia has been as consistent as they come, pitching in at least 30 games nearly every season of his career. Since 2006, Sabathia has six seasons with an ERA under 3.37, five seasons with a WHIP under 1.19 and is a constant threat for 200 strike outs. With the Yankees, he has averaged nearly 20 wins per season, and that shouldn't change in 2012.

    Cole Hamels: In the past five years, 2009 has been his only down year. With Hamels entering his age 28 season, and pitching on a very good Phillies roster, 2012 should be closer to the past two seasons, where he posted and ERA of 3.06 and 2.79, and a WHIP of 1.18 and 0.99. 

Round 4, Picks 37-48

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    37. David Price

    38. Carl Crawford

    39. Jay Bruce

    40. Starlin Castro

    41. Ryan Zimmerman

    42. Dan Heren

    43. Elvis Andrus

    44. Hunter Pence

    45. Mike Napoli

    46. Paul Konerko

    47. Nelson Cruz

    48. Zack Greinke


    Lowest risk, most consistent hitters

    Hunter Pence: Pence isn't that exciting, but that's the nature of drafting consistency. Pence doesn't have as long a track record as some of the players in the earlier rounds, however over the past two years Pence collected 84 and 93 runs, 22 and 25 home runs, 97 and 91 RBIs and batted .314 and .282. At 28 years old, and in a more potent offense in Philidelphia than in Houston, Pence should continue to put up fourth-round numbers.


    Lowest risk, most consistent pitchers

    Dan Haren: Since 2007, Haren has finished with an ERA under 3.33 four times and amassed nearly 200 strike-outs each season. In 2012, he finished with a 1.02 WHIP, and should again be good for 15 or more wins pitching for a solid Angels team. Dan Haren is a relatively safe bet in the fourth round on draft day. 

Round 5, Picks 49-60

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    49. Yovani Gallardo

    50. Brian McCann

    51. Jon Lester

    52. Eric Hosmer

    53. Dan Uggla

    54. Brett Lawrie

    55. Michael Bourn

    56. Desmond Jennings

    57. Craig Kimbrel

    58. Buster Posey

    59. Matt Cain

    60. Brandon Phillips


    Lowest risk, most consistent hitters

    Dan Uggla: Uggla was one of the most frustrating players to own last season, and was borderline startable for the first half of the season. That said, by the end of the season he managed to finish with stats not too far off his career average. In 2012, he should be settled in with the Braves and a slump like we saw to start 2011 is highly unlikely.

    Uggla would be a risky pick earlier in the draft, however if he's still around in the fifth-round, he provides almost a guaranteed 30 home runs and easily puts up fifth-round numbers on the low end in 2012.  

    Brandon Phillips: Phillips is another unexciting fantasy player, however you are almost guaranteed 80-100 runs, 20 home runs, 80-95 RBIs and 15-20 stolen bases. He may not be the the centerpiece of your team, but he'll provide steady production.


    Lowest risk, most consistent pitchers

    Yovani Gallardo: Gallardo consistently provides an ERA near 3.50, a WHIP between 1.20 and 1.30, and over 200 strike outs. If you need strike outs by the fifth round and can deal with a player who provides average ratios, Gallardo is a safe option. 

    Jon Lester: Over the past four years, Lester has finished each season with an ERA under 3.50 and a WHIP under 1.27. Lester also provides strike outs, and twice racked up 225 in a season. Boston should be rearing to go in 2012 after the 2011 collapse, and Lester should be able to threaten 20 wins once again. 

    Matt Cain: Over Cain's previous three seasons, he finished with an ERA of 2.88, 3.14, and 2.89, a WHIP of 1.08, 1.08, and 1.18, and a strike out total of 179, 177 and 171. Those numbers are consistent, and you should have no reservation about drafting him in the fifth-round.  

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