Fantasy Baseball 2012: Projecting Your Mock Draft's Top 100 Picks
It's that time of the year to start preparing for draft day.
Spring training games just started, so that means the regular season is right around the corner. Remember, the Mariners and A's kickoff the MLB season in about three weeks in Japan.
Here's a mock draft for the first 100 picks for your fantasy league.
1. Miguel Cabrera, 1B, Detroit Tigers — Going into 2012, Cabrera was the best fantasy player. Now with Prince Fielder protecting him, he's a no brainer for No.1 overall. He's going to gain 3B eligibility making him even more valuable. Cabrera should get 100-plus runs, 30-plus homers, 115-plus RBI and a .310-plus average. He's going to have a typical monster year.
2. Ryan Braun, OF, Milwaukee Brewers — When Braun was exonerated of his 50-game suspension, his stock skyrocketed. The reigning NL MVP won't miss a beat. Even with Fielder shipped off, he'll still have Aramis Ramirez hitting behind him. Expect another .300-plus average with 30-plus home runs, 20-plus steals and 100 runs.
3. Albert Pujols, 1B, Los Angeles Angeles — Pujols failed to hit .300 or better and drive in 100 or more runs in 2011, but expect him to reach that plateau again this year. Although I have concerns about who will be protecting Pujols (Torii Hunter currently slated to bat fourth), he's still going to mash. Look for Pujols to have 35-plus homers with 100-plus runs and RBI.
4. Matt Kemp, OF, Los Angeles Dodgers — Kemp said he wants to become MLB's first 50/50 guy. That's very unlikely, but you have to love his attitude and focus coming into the new year. Kemp is coming off a phenomenal season, but don't expect his average to be that high again. He'll still have his 30/30 season, but his average should be down around .300 in 2012.
5. Joey Votto, 1B, Cincinnati Reds — Since becoming a full-time starter in 2008, Votto's lowest batting average is .297. He's also an OBP machine. He has posted clips of .424 and .416 in 2010 and 2011 respectively. He's going to be on base a lot for a very solid Reds offense. The former MVP will put up great numbers again.
6. Prince Fielder, 1B, Detroit Tigers — Fielder's move to Comerica isn't going to hurt his numbers. According to ESPN Home Run Tracker, Fielder was third in the NL last year with 11 no-doubt home runs. He also had the farthest "true distance" home run in 2011 with 486 feet.
7. Jose Bautista, 3B/OF, Toronto Blue Jays — Bautista, or should I say Bomb-tista, backed up his 2010 campaign with an even better 2011 season. The biggest knock on Bautista was his batting average, but he hit .302 last year. He should hit 40-plus homers again this year with 100 RBI with a .280 average.
8. Troy Tulowitzki, SS, Colorado Rockies — If Tulowitzki could stay healthy, he would be higher on the list. But he's injury-prone, so he slips out of the top five. Tulo is best shortstop to have. He has incredible power and the average to go along with it. Just cross your fingers he plays a full season.
9. Adrian Gonzalez, 1B, Boston Red Sox — A-Gon had a great debut in Beantown in 2011. Hitting behind Ellsbury, Crawford and Pedroia and in front of Ortiz and Youkilis, Gonzalez is in for another great season.
10. Clayton Kershaw, SP, Los Angeles Dodgers — Yes, I have Kershaw as the No. 1 pitcher. Verlander and Halladay are great, but I feel Kershaw is a little better. He's only going to be 24 years old (in two weeks) and he won the NL pitcher's Triple Crown last year.
11. Jacoby Ellsbury, OF, Boston Red Sox — Ellsbury put up ridiculous numbers last season. Look for the home run total to drop (he had 32 last year and had 20 in his first four years combined), but he should still hit 20-plus. He'll have close to 50 steals with a .300-plus average.
12. Roy Halladay, SP, Philadelphia Phillies — Can someone tell Halladay that he's getting older? He hasn't gotten the memo. At the age of 34, Halladay had a career-best ERA of 2.35 and a career-high of 220 strikeouts last year. Expect the same; he's going to be in contention for the NL Cy Young Award again.
13. Robinson Cano, 2B, New York Yankees — Cano has one of the prettiest swings in baseball. He's a lefty playing his home games in Yankee Stadium on one of the best teams in baseball. Yeah, what's there not to love? He'll be good for 25-plus homers and a .300-plus average.
14. Dustin Pedroia, 2B, Boston Red Sox — Pedroia and Cano are very close, but I give Cano a slight edge. Nonetheless, Pedroia is still a very good second base option. If you're in the market for more stolen bases, then Pedroia is more valuable than Cano. He should swipe 20-plus bags.
15. Evan Longoria, 3B, Tampa Bay Rays — Longoria missed 29 games in 2011, yet he still managed to hit 31 home runs and 99 RBI. His average was very low (.244), but expect that to jump at least 30 points. Longoria also had a career-high in BB percentage, which is a good sign for the future.
16. Carlos Gonzalez, OF, Colorado Rockies — CarGo, when healthy, puts up MVP-caliber numbers. He's going to be hitting in front of Tulowitzki, so he'll have the protection. Gonzalez is capable of hitting .300 with 30 home runs, 20 stolen bases, 100 RBI and 100 runs.
17. Cliff Lee, SP, Philadelphia Phillies — After rejoining the Phillies last year, Lee enjoyed another great season. He had a career-best 2.40 ERA. He also saw his H/9 decrease to 7.6 and his K/9 improve to a career-high 9.2.
18. Mark Teixeira, 1B, New York Yankees — It seems like the high batting average days might be over for Teixeira, but he still remains as one the game's best power hitters. He has hit 30 or more homers and driven in at least 100 runs every season since 2004.
19. Justin Verlander, SP, Detroit Tigers — Verlander had one of the best performances by a starting pitcher in 2011. He certainly earned the AL MVP award, but don't expect the same magical numbers in 2012. Prior to last year, Verlander never had an ERA under 3.00. He'll still be a stud though.
20. Justin Upton, OF, Arizona Diamondbacks — Upton is getting a lot of love and his ADP is at eight, but I don't think he's a sure-fire first-rounder just yet. He has all the potential in the world, but don't forget about his 2010 season—he hit .273 with just 17 homers.
21. Hanley Ramirez, SS, Miami Marlins — HanRam will still have SS eligibility and that helps his stock. He had an atrocious 2011 season, but he'll look to put that behind him. Expect a .290 average with 20-plus homers and 30-plus steals.
22. Mike Stanton, OF, Miami Marlins — Stanton hits absolute bombs. Of his 34 home runs a year ago, 15 of them were declared as "no-doubters" on ESPN's Home Run Tracker, which ranked second behind Jose Bautista. Stanton strikes out a lot, but he could reach the 40-HR plateau this year.
23. Curtis Granderson, OF, New York Yankees — Granderson came to life in his second season with the Yanks. He's currently slotted in the 2-hole, which is a perfect spot for him. He'll hit 35-plus homers with 20 steals and 100 runs scored.
24. Hunter Pence, OF, Philadelphia Phillies — Pence is already off to a good start in the spring with home runs in each of his first two games. Pence is being overlooked because his ADP is 43. Pence has the ability to hit .300 with 25 home runs, 100 RBI and 10 stolen bases.
25. Jered Weaver, SP, Los Angeles Angels — Weaver was terrific last year winning 18 games with a 2.41 ERA. I don't think the numbers will be quite that good again, but he should get 15 wins and a low-three ERA.
26. C.C. Sabathia, SP, New York Yankees — Sabathia is a workhorse; he has thrown at least 230 innings in each of the last five seasons. There's no reason why he shoudn't reach that mark again in 2012 with very good numbers.
27. Andrew McCutchen, OF, Pittsburgh Pirates — McCutchen is one the premier young stars in baseball. He was a 20/20 guy last season and he has the potential to reach the 30/30 mark in the future.
28. Michael Young, 1B/2B/3B, Texas Rangers — Young has been one of the most consistent players the last few years. Young is getting up there in age (will be 36 this year), but he's still productive. Plus, he's versatile.
29. Carlos Santana, 1B/C, Cleveland Indians — Although Santana's average will be pretty low, he's still going to get on base and hit home runs. It's a bonus if you have a catcher that will hit 25-plus home runs.
30. Mike Napoli, 1B/C, Texas Rangers — Napoli's ankle seems to be fine through the first couple spring games. Like Santana, he provides great value at the catcher position. He could crank out 30 homers again this season.
31. Ian Kinsler, 2B, Texas Rangers — Kinsler recorded his second 30/30 season in three years in 2011. Kinsler has the potential to be the best second basemen, but he gets injured too often. Kinsler can be a great boost for home runs and steals at a shallow second base position.
32. Stephen Strasburg, SP, Washington Nationals — Strasburg came back from Tommy John surgery at the end of last season and looked great. Although he'll have an innings cap this year, he can rake up the strikeouts and keep a low ERA for most of the season.
33, Felix Hernandez, SP, Seattle Mariners — King Felix didn't follow up his Cy Young year in the best way last season. Nonetheless, he's still a great pitcher. Expect him to return to dominance in 2012.
34. Paul Konerko, 1B, Chicago White Sox — Konerko is getting older, but he's still putting up solid numbers. Konerko seems to get overlooked with all the young talent out there. Konerko is still good for 30 home runs, 90 RBI and a .280 average.
35. Jay Bruce, OF, Cincinnati Reds — Bruce is one of the most frustrating players to own (he hit 12 homers in May, but then just five in June and July combined), but he has too much talent to ignore. He plays in a hitters' stadium and can easily reach 30 home runs again.
36. Pablo Sandoval, 3B, San Francisco Giants — Sandoval rebounded nicely after having a forgetful 2010 campaign. Sandoval should be in store for another 20-plus homer and .300-plus season.
37. Matt Cain, SP, San Francisco Giants — Cain is the best pitcher on the Giants staff and he's ready to have a fantastic season. I'm expecting Cain to notch 16 wins with a low-three ERA.
38. Michael Morse, 1B/OF, Washington Nationals — Morse was a gem in the rough last year. He shouldn't take fantasy owners by surprise this season. Although the .300 average should fall, Morse will hit close to 30 home runs with around 90 RBI.
39. Starlin Castro, SS, Chicago Cubs — The youngster Castro led the NL in hits with 207. Castro should be able to put the sexual assault allegations behind him. He's a very good SS option.
40. Eric Hosmer, 1B, Kansas City Royals — Hosmer broke onto the scene last year and he made his mark. The young first basemen should have a fine sophomore season. He brings the threat of double-digit steals, which at first base is a welcomed bonus.
41. Jesus Montero, DH, Seattle Mariners — Montero would be higher on this list if he started the year with C eligibility. But he doesn't, so you'll have to wait a couple weeks. Even in a more spacious ballpark, Montero will put up good power numbers. He's the real deal.
42. David Ortiz, DH, Boston Red Sox — Big Papi is getting older, but he can still mash. He had his best season since joining the Red Sox last year. He can only play DH, but he should get around 30 homers and 100 RBI.
43. Buster Posey, C, San Francisco Giants — After winning NL Rookie of the Year, Posey's second season was cut short after the home plate collision. Unlike Carlos Santana, Posey provides a good average. If you need average more than power, go with Posey.
44. Billy Butler, 1B, Kansas City Royals — If Butler has first base eligibility in your league, this is a good spot for him. If not, then he'll be lower on the list. Butler is overlooked because he isn't flashy, but he's very consistent. Butler found his power stroke in the second half of 2011.
45. Jose Reyes, SS, Miami Marlins — Reyes could be an elite fantasy player if he stays healthy, But that's one big IF. He hasn't played in more than 135 games in any of the last three years. With that said, he's still worth a shot. He can be a shot in the arm for runs and steals.
46. Cole Hamels, SP, Philadelphia Phillies — Hamels looked every bit of his World Series MVP self in 2011. After a hiccup in 2009, Hamels looks to be back on track. Hamels had a career-best 2.79 ERA last year and he also increased his ground ball rate.
47. Brett Lawrie, 3B, Toronto Blue Jays — Injuries delayed Lawrie's MLB arrival last year, but he delivered when he finally showed up. In just 43 games, Lawrie hit .293 with nine home runs and seven steals. He should be a 20/20 guy this year.
48. Matt Holliday, OF, St. Louis Cardinals — Holliday missed a lot of time last year, and he still hit 22 home runs. If Holliday can stay healthy in 2012, there's no reason to think he can't hit close to 30 home runs with 100 RBI.
49. Brian McCann, C, Atlanta Braves — McCann got off to a terrific start last year, but faded fast after the All-Star Break. He's still a good catcher option because the position is very shallow.
50, Dan Uggla, 2B, Atlanta Braves — Uggla is a very consistent power hitter, but at the same time, a very consistent low-average hitter. Uggla hit just .233 even with a 33-game hitting streak last year. He has more value than someone like Mark Reynolds because second base isn't packed with superstars.
51. Tim Lincecum, SP, San Francisco Giants — Lincecum is farther down on the list than most would expect. I just don't think Lincecum is as dominant anymore. Managers will look at his 2.74 ERA last year and think he got back on track, but his 3.17 FIP suggests otherwise. He's still solid but no longer a top 10 guy.
52. Josh Hamilton, OF, Texas Rangers — Hamilton would be much higher on the list, but you know he's going to get injured. Hamilton has missed 143 games combined the last three years. He's worth the risk, but not a first or second round chance.
53. Zack Greinke, SP, Milwaukee Brewers — Greinke got a little unlucky last year with a 3.83 ERA because his FIP was 2.98. Another great positive from Greinke is that his K/9 shot up to 10.54 last year. With another year in the NL, his K totals should remain high.
54. Lance Berkman, 1B/OF, St. Louis Cardinals — Berkman resurrected his career with a brilliant 2011 performance. From 2001-09, Berkman hit no fewer than 24 home runs. Everybody was ready to write him off, but he'll have another good year in St. Louis.
55. David Price, SP, Tampa Bay Rays — Although Price finished 2011 with a 12-13 record, he pitched better than that. He'll put up better numbers in 2012. Expect 15 or 16 wins with a 3.20 ERA.
56. Desmond Jennings, OF, Tampa Bay Rays — Jennings hit 10 home runs in 63 games last season. Now ready for a full season in the Bigs, Jennings is capable of hitting 20 homers and stealing 50 bases.
57. Shin-Soo Choo, OF, Cleveland Indians — Don't overlook Choo because of his injury-plagued 2011 season. He hit exactly .300 in both the 2009 and 2010 seasons. If he stays healthy, he'll be a 20/20 guy again.
58. Craig Kimbrel, RP, Atlanta Braves — Kimbrel ranks as the top closer for 2012. How can you argue against a guy who picked up 46 saves with a 2.10 ERA and a 14.84 K/9?
59. Adrian Beltre, 3B, Texas Rangers — Many people argue that Beltre can only hit at home (which is partly true), but who cares. He's still playing half his games in Texas. The ball flies through the Texas air and Beltre should be able to hit 25-plus homers with close to 100 RBI in 2012.
60. David Wright, 3B, New York Mets — Wright reached 30/30 in 2007 and was at 14/13 in 102 games last year. Wright will be one of the few bright spots for the Mets. He could have a .290 average, 25 home runs, 20 steals and close to 90 RBI.
61. Ben Zobrist, 2B/OF, Tamba Bay Rays — Zobrist's last three seasons have been a roller coaster. He had that terrific 2009 season, but then backed it up with an awful 2010 campaign. He got back on track last year. He has the makings to be a 20/20 guy.
62. Dan Haren, SP, Los Angeles Angels — Haren had a great first half in 2011, but struggled after the break. He tied his career-high with 16 wins and threw a career-high 238.1 innings.
63. Adam Jones, OF, Baltimore Orioles — Jones will be hitting cleanup for the O's, so he'll put up worthy power numbers. He hardly ever walks, so his OBP will be very low.
64. Josh Johnson, SP, Miami Marlins — JJ is the definition of injury-prone. He has the ability to pitch with the best of them. He posted a 1.64 ERA in nine starts last year. Take a gamble on him.
65. C.J. Wilson, SP, Los Angeles Angels — Wilson won a career-high 16 games last year, and he should be around the same mark in 2012. Although I think the ERA jumps above 3.00 this year, he's still a safe play.
66. Brandon Phillips, 2B, Cincinnati Reds — Phillips isn't great in any category, but he's average in almost every one. He has averaged 19.25 homers and 19.5 stolen bases the last four years.
67. Ryan Zimmerman, 3B, Washington Nationals — Zimmerman has been riddled with injuries the last couple of years. It's hard to expect him to get more than 600 plate appearances. If he does, he can hit 25-plus homers.
68. Ian Kennedy, SP, Arizona Diamondbacks — Don't think Kennedy is going to be a one-year wonder. While that 21-4 record last year will most likely not happen again, he has still put together good back-to-back seasons. He had a 3.80 ERA in 2010 that most people forget about.
69. Tommy Hanson, SP, Atlanta Braves — Hanson is inching closer to his spring debut. If he can stay healthy, Hanson is a good source for strikeouts (he had 142 in 130 innings last year). He should start on Opening Day.
70. Elvis Andrus, SS, Texas Rangers — Andrus is still maturing into a Big League hitter. He was able to cut back his strikeout rate by three percent last year. He's going to be a menace on the base paths, but he just needs to get that average higher.
71. Aramis Ramirez, 3B, Milwaukee Brewers — A-Ram should fit in pretty nicely in Brew Town. He's a safe bet for 20-plus homers and 90-plus RBI. The only concern: who is going to be protecting him?
72. Madison Bumgarner, SP, San Francisco Giants — There were only three pitchers who had a lower FIP than MadBum last year: Roy Halladay, Clayton Kershaw and Cliff Lee. That's great company to be with.
73, Cory Luebke, SP, San Diego Padres — Forget about Lubke's 6-10 record in 2011, he's going to win at least 11 games this year. He pitches in a great pitcher's park and he has the stuff to have a sub-3.00 ERA.
74. Alex Gordon, OF, Kansas City Royals — Gordon finally delivered on the the hype that surrounded him coming into the MLB. Hitting leadoff, Gordon could get to 100 runs, 20 homers and 15 steals.
75. Michael Pineda, SP, New York Yankees — The 23 year-old should have a strong sophomore season in pinstripes. He'll have way more run support in New York. Expect 16 wins for Pineda.
76. Asdrubal Cabrera, SS, Cleveland Indians — There's no way you can expect Cabrera to hit 25 home runs again in 2012. He never had more than six in his five-year MLB career. He drops down to a 15/15 guy this season.
77. Yu Darvish, SP, Texas Rangers — Darvish isn't going to be a bust like previous Japanese hurlers. He's proven he's durable and he'll be pitching for one of the best offenses. 15 wins are certainly attainable.
78. Logan Morrison, OF, Florida Marlins — Morrison hit 23 home runs in just 525 plate appearances last year. If he gets 100 more, he can hit close to 30 home runs. His average should also increase to around .270.
79. Joe Mauer, C, Minnesota Twins — With Mauer's power outage, he loses a lot of value. With that said, he still remains as one of the game's best pure hitters. He's still going to hit .320-plus.
80. Brandon Beachy, SP, Atlanta Braves — Although Beachy was only able to notch seven wins in 25 starts last season, he had 169 strikeouts in 141.2 innings. He should double his win total in 2012.
81. Matt Moore, SP, Tampa Bay Rays — The young lefty throws easy gas. He got his feet wet in 2011 and impressed everybody. He could be the second straight Rays pitcher to win AL ROY.
82. Shane Victorino, OF, Philadelphia Philliles — Victorino's average is a little low for my liking, but he has more pop than people think. Everybody knows about his speed. He should be in line for 15 homers and 20-plus steals.
83. Yovani Gallardo, SP, Milwaukee Brewers — Gallardo had the best season of his career in 2011, and he looks to build on that. The K/9 dropped last year, but he should still win 15 games with a mid-three ERA.
84. Freddie Freeman, 1B, Atlanta Braves — Freeman was the runner-up in the NL ROY vote last year. He could bump up to the 25-HR plateau in 2012 with 90 RBI.
85. Michael Bourn, OF, Atlanta Braves — Bourn is being very overvalued as his ADP is 53. Don't reach on Bourn just because of the stolen bases, unless you desperately need them.
86. B.J. Upton, OF, Tampa Bay Rays — Upton's average can really bring down your team. He makes up for it with the rare combination of power and speed. He could end up with 20-plus homers and 40-plus steals.
87. Miguel Montero, C, Arizona Diamondbacks — Montero had a productive 2011 season. He should put up very similar numbers this year. He has the potential to blast 20 home runs.
88. Alexei Ramirez, SS, Chicago White Sox — Ramirez is a solid play at shortstop. He's hit at least 15 home runs in every MLB season. The average will hover around .275.
89. Adam Wainwright, SP, St. Louis Cardinals — Wainwright is expected to throw two innings this Friday. I don't think Wainwright returns to form this season but expect him to get 14 or 15 wins with a mid-three ERA.
90. Jonathan Papelbon, RP, Philadelphia Phillies — Papelbon shaved off almost a full run on his ERA last year. He's certainly capable of picking up 40 saves for his new team.
91. Rickie Weeks, 2B, Milwaukee Brewers — Weeks is another injury-prone player. I don't think he's worth a high pick, but he could be a great value this late in the draft.
92. Jon Lester, SP, Boston Red Sox — The K/9 went down and the ERA went up for Lester in 2011. I don't think there's reason to worry. Lester could get 16 wins in 2012.
93. Mariano Rivera, RP, New York Yankees — The greatest closer of all-time. If that wasn't enough, he hasn't shown his age. His 1.91 ERA last year was the highest in four years. Yeah, he still has it.
94. Howie Kendrick, 1B/2B/OF, Los Angeles Angles — Kendrick found his power stroke last year by blasting a career-best 18 homers. He'll be a 15/15 guy with a .290 average in 2012.
95. James Shields, SP, Tampa Bay Rays — Shields is coming off a career year, but don't overdraft him. He never had an ERA lower than 3.50 before last season. He returns closer to his career averages this year.
96. Mat Latos, SP, Cincinnati Reds — Latos moves from one of the friendliest pitcher's parks to one of the worst. But, this is still the kid who has the MLB record for most consecutive starts going five or more innings and allowing two or fewer runs (15).
97. Nelson Cruz, OF, Texas Rangers — Cruz is capable of winning the MVP every single season. The only problem is that he can never stay healthy; he has never played more than 130 games. Even if he only gets 550 plate appearances, he can still hit 30 home runs and close to 100 RBI.
98. Jimmy Rollins, SS, Philadelphia Phillies — J-Roll is a far cry from his MVP days, but he's still a decent shortstop option. He's still capable of 15-plus homers, 20-plus steals, and 90-plus runs scored.
99. Dee Gordon, SS, Los Angeles Dodgers — Gordon is scary fast. He virtually has no power, but 50 steals is attainable for the young speedster. The average will also be around .290.
100. Matt Garza, SP, Chicago Cubs — Garza was incredibly unlucky last year when he posted a 10-10 record with a 2.95 FIP. Expect the run support to increase and Garza should pick up 13 or 14 wins in 2012.