Detroit's Miguel Cabrera (30 HRs, 105 RBIs, 111 runs, .344 BA last year) is a strong choice for the No. 1 pick in mixed- and AL-only leagues.
I want to leave room for reader hate mail here, so I'll keep this introduction and explanation to the top 60 fantasy baseball players relatively brief. I factored in three components of assessment when compiling and prioritizing the list: 1) My personal picks for the top players at each position (which can be found throughout this blog); 2) Average daft position value from MockDraftCentral.com; and 3) The average slots for the last 10 mock drafts I've participated in, dating back to March 5.
Was this a perfect means for creating a painfully subjective list? Probably not. But it'll certainly help the fantasy owner who can ignore the minutiae of specific rankings (Miguel Cabrera, Jacoby Ellsbury, Cliff Lee and Carlos Santana come to mind), and focus on landing at least eight of the top 60 in 12-team, mixed-league drafts. To sing a popular refrain from previous blog entries: Good drafting, regardless of scoring rules, is always about getting great value at every turn.
Skinny: Phillips, a perennial 20-20 candidate, has the potential to finish top-5 in all five categories among second basemen. Just don't expect career marks in homers or RBIs.
Skinny: Bruce posted career bests in four categories (32 HRs, 97 RBIs, 84 runs, 8 steals) last year, despite declining OBP, OPS and slugging rates. Targets: 26 HRs, 89 RBIs, 88 runs, 11 steals and .266 average.
Skinny: Strasburg's indicators in ERA, WHIP, strikeouts, K/9 and BB/9 are off the charts for most 23-year-old pitchers. But an innings eater he not, so in a league where innings count matter, his elite ranking has been hurt.
Skinny: It would be a crime to omit this power-hitting third baseman, four-category stud and 30-something master of additional walks/declining strikeouts. Targets: 25 HRs, 85 RBIs, 85 runs and .295 average.
Skinny: Gallardo could be a top-12 pitcher with more WHIP discipline (minds out of the gutter, please). Here's hoping for a return to 17 wins, 207 Ks and 3.52 ERA.
Skinny: Konerko is one of the few healthy locks for 30 HRs and 100 RBIs from Round 4 and beyond. But don't get cute here; grab this first-base anchor in the first 54 picks.
Skinny: Kennedy hardly has the profile of a one-year wonder. He's been a burgeoning fantasy ace since his farmhand days with the Yankees. Targets: 18 wins, 192 strikeouts, 3.28 ERA and 1.06 WHIP.
Skinny: This dynamic shortstop already possesses five-tool potential for a 22 year-old. A boost in HRs (13-15), steals (27-30) and runs (94-97) isn't out of the question in his third season.
Skinny: This sweet-swinging, power-hitting panda needs more runs to justify the bold expectations—and lofty ranking among third basemen. Targets: 23 HRs, 85 RBIs, 68 runs, 4 steals, .312 average.
Skinny: Holliday experienced declining numbers in all five categories last year, a troubling trend that looms larger in the wake of the Albert Pujols' exodus. At 32, Holliday still has 20-100-100 potential; but fantasy owners shouldn't be quick to reach on Draft Day.
Skinny: Napoli deserves all the preseason hype after a dominant 2011 campaign. But it's highly unlikely that he'll replicate the .320 average or 1.046 OPS; hence, the diminished ranking in the countdown.
Skinny: Lawrie's prodigious OPS and slugging trends in the minors seemingly justify the hype of a player with just 150 MLB at-bats and nine homers. Don't let him slide past Round 5.
Skinny: Fantasy owners can expect across-the-board improvements from Boston's ace in four categories. Targets: 17 wins, 194 strikeouts, 3.28 ERA and 1.16 WHIP.
Skinny: This remarkable shortstop is a comfortable lock for 100 runs, 35 steals and .285 batting average. Gems like Andrus must be targeted in Rounds 4 and 5.
Skinny: At 29, Bourn (174 steals from 2009-11) can be a threat for 50-plus steals only so much longer, but don't expect a downturn in 2012. Targets: 53 RBIs, 91 runs, 58 steals and .283 average.
Skinny: If Cain can make the jump to 190 strikeouts, he'll be a top-10 pitcher by season's end. More good news: Fantasy owners can land him in Round 5.
Skinny: This ranking has more to do with Cruz's absurd output during last year's playoffs (8 HRs) than anything he accomplished in the regular season. A return to 31-33 homers seems appropriate for this four-category dynamo.
Skinny: We're giving Zimmerman a mulligan on his sluggish 2011 campaign. When healthy, the age-27 third baseman is a four-category stud. Targets: 27 HRs, 91 RBIs, 90 runs, .304 average.
Skinny: Pence has been a dependable source for 24 HRs, 94 RBIs, 90 runs, 13 steals and .297 average the last four years. And yet, he still has more room for growth this season with Philly. A solid value midway through Round 4.
Skinny: Hosmer's red-hot September (5 HR/19 RBI/.349 BA/.917 OPS) prompted this bold ranking. A top-10 pick among first basemen, Hosmer has 25-HR, 90-RBI, 15-SB potential this year.
Skinny: Price has the tools to join the elite strata of starting pitchers. He'll bring four-category glory to his owners in Rounds 4 or 5. Targets: 14 wins, 196 strikeouts, 3.37 ERA, 1.11 WHIP.
Skinny: Haren is an annual gold mine for the fantasy prospector who revels in the pitcher's uncanny knack for 15 wins, 190 strikeouts, 1.05 WHIP and sub-3.50 ERA.
Skinny: Look for Wright, the No. 4 third basemen, to recapture his dominant form of two years ago (29 HRs/103 RBIs/19 steals), regardless of his fate come the trade deadline.
Skinny: Kimbrel will likely finish top five among closers in wins, ERA, WHIP and saves. But the real separation comes with strikeouts, as his 127 Ks in just 77 innings and K/9 ratios north of 15.9 for three separate months last year were absurd numbers for Randy Johnson at a Mariners' fantasy camp, let alone a young gun. Kimbrel is the No. 1 closer.
Skinny: Beltre's big-time production from the last two seasons warrants the lofty ranking. Mark the third baseman down for 29 HRs, 100 RBIs and .307 average.
Skinny: Fantasy owners can bank on the second baseman notching 32 homers, 92 RBIs, 94 runs and 1-3 steals. The tricky part, however, is finding a soft landing spot when guessing Uggla's erratic batting average.
Skinny: Fantasy owners should embrace the unpredictability of Hamilton, a free agent at season's end. Especially when this masher is averaging 32 HRs, 100 RBIs, 95 runs, 8 steals and .330 average in even-numbered years.
Skinny: Just think of the monster numbers Greinke could have had last year if he didn't get injured in spring training. Targets: 18 victories, 214 strikeouts, 3.57 ERA, 1.19 WHIP.
Skinny: McCutchen has made great strides since 2009. But fantasy owners should expect more bang for their buck in his fourth season, a time when most stars dominate four categories. Targets: 22 HRs, 93 RBIs, 97 runs, 34 steals and .287 average.
Skinny: Just like the No. 23 player in this countdown, Sabathia needs to make drastic cuts with his WHIP totals to rejoin the elite pitchers. Targets: 18 wins, 3.24 ERA, 211 strikeouts, 1.17 WHIP.
Skinny: Even if Hamels should encounter slight regressions in ERA and WHIP this season, he's still entrenched as a top-10 stud. Expect 200-plus strikeouts and 16 wins.
Skinny: Teixeira, the last elite first baseman of Tier I, can be had early in Round 3. So, plan accordingly. Targets: 34 HRs, 107 RBIs, 94 runs, 3 steals, .255 average.
Skinny: Stanton (34 HRs, 87 RBIs last year) a formidable candidate for 40 homers/87 runs at 22. He's also a dark-horse bet for 10 steals, which is double his output of the last two seasons. Say hello to the outfield's next superstar.
Skinny: Kinsler, a dependable Round 3 pick every year, will put together another season of four-category excellence. Targets: 27 HRs, 83 RBIs, 115 runs, 32 steals.
Skinny: The No. 3 shortstop has a new city, new hairdo and new partner on the left side of the infield (Hanley Ramirez). Luckily, Reyes still has the old capacity for great numbers. Targets: 9 HRs, 108 runs, 48 steals and .319 average.
Skinny: For owners holding the No. 1 slot in 12-team drafts, why not solidify the corner-infield spots with Albert Pujols or Migual Cabrera at the top and Longoria at 24? Look for Longo to recapture his numbers from 2010 (22-104-15-.294).
Skinny: My last four mock drafts had Lincecum tabbed at Nos. 25, 27, 26 and 23. I'll take the lowest number for one of fantasyland's biggest wild cards. Lincecum, an annual lock for 220 strikeouts and 3.00 ERA, could use more luck with WHIP and victories.
Skinny: In various preseason rankings, Weaver lies somewhere between 3 and 10 among starting pitchers. I'm siding with the high (and correct) side of the bubble. He's good for 19 wins, 210 strikeouts and sub-2.40 ERA.
Skinny: Most fantasy GMs will likely grab Hernandez over Jered Weaver, based on the abstract reasoning of upside. But I'm worried King Felix won't eclipse 12-14 wins with the rebuilding Mariners.
Skinny: Gonzalez's regression from a 2010 breakout was expected last season. But here's the good news: A majority of stars would have enjoyed Gonzo's production from that down year. Things are looking up in 2012 in the realm of 28 HRs, 103 RBIs, 95 runs, 22 steals and .294 average.
Skinny: At 24, Upton remarkably has one unchecked item on his fantasy bucket list: Make another sizable leap in RBIs and become a five-category machine. Targets: 28 HRs, 97 RBIs, 102 runs, 24 steals and .296 average.
Skinny: Halladay, the best pitcher since 2007, has the potential to finish No. 1 by season's end. He's a reasonable target for 18 wins, 208 strikeouts, 2.80 ERA and 1.04 WHIP.
Skinny: The outfielder Granderson (41 HRs, 119 RBIs, 136 runs, 25 steals) may never consistently hit .300 for the Yankees, but does it matter? Here's to a four-category monster with another 3-4 seasons of potential greatness. Expect 110 RBIs and 125 runs.
Skinny: Last summer, Lee (17 wins, 238 strikeouts, 2.40 ERA, 1.03 WHIP) conjured up wonderful flashbacks of Walter Johnson and Bob Gibson. Let's hope that trend of invincibility continues for the National League's No. 2 pitcher.
Skinny: Pedroia is a popular choice for fantasy owners who demand power, speed and high OBP, OPS and batting rates at second base. Targets: 17 HRs, 86 RBIs, 25 steals, 108 runs, .319 average.
Skinny: Task No. 1 for Fielder in the fantasy realm: Break the seasonal record for most homers at spacious Comerica Park by a left-handed hitter (14-Carlos Pena). Everything falls into place after that. Targets: 34 HRs, 104 runs, 118 RBIs, .303 average.
Skinny: Hanley's move to third base will hopefully spark a midpoint return to his superb numbers from 2009-10. They should be in the ballpark of 23 HRs, 91 RBIs, 97 runs, 28 steals and a .312 average.
Skinny: Expect more HR and runs, but less RBIs and a lower average in Gonzo's second Fenway go 'round. Targets: 31 HRs, 109 RBIs, 110 runs, .320 average.
Skinny: Verlander clipped Halladay in three categories last year, losing only ERA by a razor-thin margin. Does that mean he'll win the battle in 2012? At this point, Verlander warrants the earlier selection. Targets: 19 wins, 234 strikeouts, 2.93 ERA, 1.01 WHIP.
Skinny: I'm okay with Ellsbury ranking this high, as long as fantasy owners don't anticipate 32 homers again in 2012 (a 400-percent improvement from 2009). That won't happen. Conservative targets: 17 HRs, 88 RBIs, 116 runs, 42 steals, .313 average.
Skinny: Kershaw, 24, may not have the long-term track record of Lee or Sabathia, but of the trio, he's the most comfortable lock for 18 wins, 245 strikeouts, 2.50 ERA and 1.02 WHIP this season. In the battle of fantasyland's best southpaw, Kershaw gets the nod.
Skinny: Fantasy GMs would be wise not to take Cano's all-world consistency for granted. There's still room for 30 HRs, 110 runs and/or 12 steals this season, especially with Cano angling for a lucrative extension in the not-too-distant future. Don't let him slide past the 10th pick.
Skinny: In NL-only leagues, where superstar first basemen are dying out, Votto easily stands as the most valuable fantasy commodity. A likely No. 1 pick. Targets: 32 HRs, 106 RBIs, 103 runs, 7 steals, .314 average.
Skinny: With three straight seasons of 27-plus homers and .900 OPS, few infielders can match Tulowitzki's combination of power, speed, plate discipline and capacity for carrying teams for long stretches. Targets: 29 HRs, 104 RBIs, 86 runs, 14 steals, .306 average.
Skinny: Braun is one of the most bankable commodities in fantasyland, a wunderkind whose ceiling hasn't been clearly defined yet. That aside, it'll be interesting to see how Braun fares without Prince Fielder in the Brewers' lineup. Targets: 29 HRs, 104 RBIs, 27 steals, 101 runs and .323 average.
Skinny: Bautista is the Junior Circuit's surest bet for 40 HRs, 100 RBIs and 100 runs. He's also a potential No. 1 pick for leagues that count slugging and OPS rates. There is no downside to his game; and yet, he'll slide to the 5th or 6th pick in some leagues. Go figure. Targets: 43 HRs, 106 RBIs, 104 runs, 8 steals, .311 average.
Skinny: There are zero fears of complacency when assessing this outfielder's 2012 prospects. Yes, he's bound to experience slight regressions from last year's 39 homers, 126 RBIs and 115 runs—all personal highs. But he remains a solid play for 30-30 production in HRs and steals while cracking triple digits once again in runs and RBIs.
Skinny: A change of scenery might do wonders for Pujols. But then again, would fantasy owners even notice a deviation from one of the all-time greats? At 32, Pujols remains a bankable source for 39 HRs, 115 RBIs, 108 runs and .300 average.
Skinny: The Big Cheese stands alone. At some point in mid-April, Cabrera will morph into the most valuable asset in fantasyland, tacking on 3B eligibility. In the meantime, he'll have to settle for being baseball's most coveted first baseman. Targets: 33 HRs, 109 RBIs, 112 runs, .327 average.