Predicting Every MLB Team's Top Fantasy Stud in 2013
With pitchers and catchers set to report this week, fantasy baseball players around the country are starting their research.
They're looking for that one player who will make their season.
While MLB teams care nothing about fantasy stats, each team has players that will dominate the fantasy world.
Whether it's from the mound or at the plate, many owners will be pleased with what these players do.
Here's a look at each team's top fantasy stud.
Baltimore Orioles: Adam Jones
2012 Stats: .287 BA, 32 HR, 82 RBI, 16 SB, 103 runs
However, the Orioles decided against it, and it immediately paid off as the team made the playoff for the first time since 1997.
With the loss of Mark Reynolds, there is a hole in the middle of the lineup...at least in terms of power.
Jones provides good numbers in three of the five offensive categories normally associated with fantasy baseball. Plus, he brings a good average and decent stolen-base numbers, giving owners five categories he can make a difference in.
Boston Red Sox: David Ortiz
2012 Stats: .318 BA, 23 HR, 60 RBI, 65 runs
David Ortiz was limited to 90 games for the Boston Red Sox last year.
Don't get used to it.
Last year was an aberration as Ortiz had played in at least 145 games in seven of the eight previous years.
Ortiz is almost a guaranteed 30-home run, 100-RBI player.
He's never going to steal any bases and it's unlikely for him to score more than 100 runs. But, he'll put up good numbers in the power department.
New York Yankees: Robinson Cano
2012 Stats: .313 BA, 33 HR, 94 RBI, 105 runs
Robinson Cano not only brings a lot of value in the middle of the lineup for the New York Yankees, but he also brings a lot of value for fantasy owners.
As a second baseman, Cano is at the top of a relatively weak position in fantasy baseball.
For owners that are lucky enough to snag him, they'll get more production from him than any owner in their league will get out of second base.
Tampa Bay Rays: David Price
2012 Stats: 20 wins, 2.56 ERA, 205 Ks, 1.100 WHIP
David Price won the AL Cy Young with the Tampa Bay Rays last year.
He's consistently putting up numbers to put him in the Cy Young conversation and is going to put up strong numbers again this year.
Price puts up solid numbers in four pitching categories and will be one of the top fantasy pitchers in 2013.
Toronto Blue Jays: Jose Bautista
2012 Stats: .241 BA, 27 HR, 65 RBI, 64 runs
Jose Bautista had an awful season by his standards in 2012.
However, the Toronto Blue Jays outfielder will look to rebound in 2013 with a much better lineup surrounding him.
Bautista hit 97 home runs and drove in 227 runs in the two previous seasons, and he'll look to put up those same kind of numbers in 2013.
What helps is the extra protection he has in the lineup with the Blue Jays, having acquired a table-setter in Jose Reyes for the top of the lineup.
Chicago White Sox: Chris Sale
2012 Stats: 17 wins, 3.05 ERA, 192 Ks, 1.135 WHIP
Some may be surprised to see Chris Sale as the selection for the Chicago White Sox and not Paul Konerko.
However, Konerko is getting older and there are a ton of good first basemen in baseball.
One thing there is not a lot of is solid starters under 25 with a ton of upside.
Especially in keeper- or dynasty-format leagues, Sale is someone an owner can build around, as he'll be putting up those same type of numbers over the next decade.
Cleveland Indians: Nick Swisher
2012 Stats: .272 BA, 24 HR, 93 RBI, 75 runs
When the Cleveland Indians signed Nick Swisher to a four-year deal, they knew they were getting a gem.
Having putting up good numbers in the Bronx, Swisher will now get his chance to shine in the middle of the order.
Although Progressive Field is more of a pitcher's park, Swisher should still be able to have success with the huge gaps in left-center and right-center fields.
Detroit Tigers: Miguel Cabrera
2012 Stats: .330 BA, 44 HR, 139 RBI, 109 runs
This was the easiest pick for any team in baseball.
Miguel Cabrera is the reigning Triple-Crown winner in the American League.
There's no reason why the third baseman for the Detroit Tigers can't do it again this year.
He's constantly putting up numbers that will compete in the Triple-Crown categories, and I wouldn't be surprised to see if he completes a second-straight season completing the feat.
Kansas City Royals: James Shields
2012 Stats: 15 wins, 3.52 ERA, 223 Ks, 1.168 ERA
One has to wonder if James Shields will see his numbers go down since he's been traded to the Kansas City Royals.
It's easy to say that the numbers will, since he's going to Kansas City, but don't be surprised if he continues to dominate.
Kauffman Stadium is ranked in the middle of MLB Park Factors in most categories, which means it all depends on the pitcher.
Unlike other starters the Royals have had over the last few years, Shields is a legitimate No. 1 in any rotation.
He'll definitely put up solid numbers and be a fantasy stud for the Royals.
Minnesota Twins: Josh Willingham
2012 Stats: .260 BA, 35 HR, 110 RBI, 85 runs
The Minnesota Twins have a huge gem in Josh Willingham.
However, that's about all they have (outside of Joe Mauer) that will be relevant in fantasy baseball.
Willingham has put up monster numbers at the plate the last two years.
The one area he does hurt fantasy owners in is his batting average. But, with power numbers like that, that is easy to overlook.
Houston Astros: Bud Norris
2012 Stats: 7 wins, 4.65 ERA, 165 Ks, 1.372 WHIP
To call any player on the Houston Astros a fantasy stud is an uncomfortable feeling.
To be honest, there is no player on the roster that is a must have on any fantasy roster.
With that, Bud Norris was the best selection mainly for his strikeout numbers.
For owners who have wins, ERA and WHIP taken care of, Norris is a good supplement for their strikeout numbers.
Los Angeles Angels: Mike Trout
2012 Stats: .326 BA, 30 HR, 83 RBI, 49 SB, 129 runs
Mike Trout is a true five-tool player for the Los Angeles Angels.
His ability to contribute in all five offensive categories will leave owners salivating for the first pick in their draft.
Trout has yet to play a full season at the MLB level. In 2013 (barring injury), we will see that happen and see what kind of numbers he can put up over the course of an entire season.
Could he become the first player to hit 40 home runs and steal 50 bases in the same season?
Oakland Athletics: Josh Reddick
2012 Stats: .242 BA, 32 HR, 85 RBI, 85 runs
Josh Reddick finally showed what he could do when given a full-time position with a team.
The Oakland Athletics gave him that chance and look what it got them.
While the batting average isn't worth noting, Reddick did put up some solid power numbers in 2012.
For owners who took a flier on him in 2012, it definitely paid off.
Reddick will continue to produce in the middle of the lineup and should have the same kind of year he did in 2012.
Seattle Mariners: Felix Hernandez
2012 Stats: 13 wins, 3.06 ERA, 223 Ks, 1.14 WHIP
The one thing I like about Felix Hernandez is that he could literally throw a no-hitter every time he took the mound.
The Seattle Mariners pitcher is that good.
While nobody can reasonably expect a pitcher to go out and do it game after game, King Felix has it in him to pitch lights-out every game.
He's in the same class as Justin Verlander. There are no two pitchers better in baseball than those two.
Hernandez has a better offense in Seattle this year, which means he'll get more run support. And more run support means more wins.
Texas Rangers: Adrian Beltre
2012 Stats: .321 BA, 36 HR, 102 RBI, 95 runs
Adrian Beltre is now the focal point in the middle of the lineup for the Texas Rangers.
With Josh Hamilton gone, Beltre will be that guy in the middle of the order getting those RBI opportunities Hamilton was getting last year.
Playing third base also gives Beltre a huge advantage in the fantasy world, as Miguel Cabrera is the only player at that position ranked ahead of Beltre.
Beltre will provide good numbers in four offensive categories and will soften the blow for those who don't get Cabrera.
Atlanta Braves: Jason Heyward
2012 Stats: .269 BA, 27 HR, 82 RBI, 21 SB, 93 runs
With Chipper Jones now gone, Jason Heyward knows he has to step up and be a leader on the Atlanta Braves.
The Braves acquired brothers B.J. and Justin Upton in the offseason, and look to have a dynamic lineup throughout.
While you wouldn't expect your No. 2 hitter to be the most valuable fantasy asset, that's exactly what Heyward is, as he'll be a key cog in the offensive success of the Braves this year.
Miami Marlins: Giancarlo Stanton
2012 Stats: .290 BA, 37 HR, 86 RBI, 75 runs
If any expects someone other than Giancarlo Stanton to be the fantasy stud for the Miami Marlins, they are sadly mistaken.
Stanton is the only real offensive force the Marlins have left after every other big-name player was traded away in 2012.
He'll still hit for power, but don't be surprised to see his RBI totals stay the same, or go even lower, as there is not much of a lineup around him.
New York Mets: David Wright
2012 Stats: .306 BA, 21 HR, 93 RBI, 15 SB, 91 runs
The New York Mets will be, once again, led by franchise superstar David Wright.
While 2011 saw Wright spend more than 50 games on the disabled list, 2012 was Wright getting back to what New York fans expect out of him.
He's a force in the middle of the lineup and is a very good fantasy player at third base.
Sure, you may want Miguel Cabrera or Adrian Beltre to fill that slot. But, Wright would also slide in nicely if he's available.
Philadelphia Phillies: Cliff Lee
2012 Stats: 6 wins, 3.16 ERA, 207 Ks, 1.11 WHIP
To say 2012 was a fluke would be an understatement for Cliff Lee.
The Philadelphia Phillies struggled to score runs when he was on the mound and it showed in his record.
In fact, Lee didn't pick up his first win of the season until July 4.
Don't expect the same to hold true this year, as Lee should have a little more offensive support with key guys coming back from injuries.
Washington Nationals: Stephen Strasburg
2012 Stats: 15 wins, 3.16 ERA, 197 Ks, 1.155 WHIP
There is no innings limit this year for Stephen Strasburg.
Known to have been displeased with his benching last year during a playoff run, Strasburg comes into 2013 knowing he's going the distance.
With that being the case, Strasburg will firmly be in the Cy Young discussion, as he has the numbers to compete with the best in the National League.
Strasburg is one of those pitchers that is a must-have on any fantasy roster, as he's a threat to strike out 10 every night.
Chicago Cubs: Alfonso Soriano
2012 Stats: .262 BA, 32 HR, 108 RBI, 68 runs
Soriano goes unnoticed around the league with the power he provides on the North side of Chicago.
While the Cubs don't look to have a team that will compete for a division crown, Soriano is still a fixture in the middle of the lineup who will produce.
He may not be the No. 1 choice for most fantasy owners, but is a solid No. 2 or No. 3 outfielder in any lineup.
Cincinnati Reds: Joey Votto
2012 Stats: .337 BA, 14 HR, 56 RBI, 59 runs
Joey Votto was limited to 111 games for the Cincinnati Reds last year.
While 2012 was a bad power year for Votto, 2013 will be a different story.
He generally produces well in four of the five offensive categories and is in the second tier of first basemen in the league.
He's a player any owner would love to have on their roster.
Milwaukee Brewers: Ryan Braun
2012 Stats: .319 BA, 41 HR, 112 RBI, 30 SB, 108 runs
Ryan Braun is one of the best five-tool players in baseball.
In fantasy terms, Braun does it all on the field for the Milwaukee Brewers.
He's going to hit for power and average, and steal a bunch of bases to help his owners out.
Braun is ranked No.1 in ESPN's fantasy rankings, as well as many others.
Pittsburgh Pirates: Andrew McCutchen
2012 Stats: .327 BA, 31 HR, 96 RBI, 20 SB, 107 runs
Andrew McCutchen has really become a star for the Pittsburgh Pirates.
In fantasy terms, McCutchen is gold with his blend of power, average and speed.
He was in the MVP discussion in 2012 and will be there again in 2013, especially with more support around him in the lineup.
St. Louis Cardinals: Matt Holliday
2012 Stats: .295 BA, 27 HR, 102 RBI, 95 runs
Matt Holliday may not be producing the same fantasy numbers he did in Colorado, but he's still a solid fantasy contributor for the St. Louis Cardinals.
Holliday is one of the main reasons the Cardinals have had a lot of success over the last few years and is a solid piece in any fantasy outfield.
Don't expect much of a change to his numbers this year with not much change in the lineup.
However, his numbers are still solid as a No. 2 outfielder.
Arizona Diamondbacks: Ian Kennedy
2012 Stats: 15 wins, 4.02 ERA, 187 Ks, 1.301 WHIP
Last year was an off year by Ian Kennedy's standards.
The Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher expects to have an ERA below 4.00 every year and 20 wins, especially after his 2011 campaign.
With Justin Upton now gone from Arizona, Kennedy is the new fantasy stalwart in Arizona.
He's the ace of the pitching staff and will set the tone starting Opening Day.
Colorado Rockies: Carlos Gonzalez
2012 Stats: .303 BA, 22 HR, 85 RBI, 20 SB, 89 runs
If only Carlos Gonzalez had a little more support around him, he'd be in the top five of outfielders in fantasy baseball.
However, if Troy Tulowitzki can remain healthy this year, that should be all Gonzalez needs to have a successful fantasy season for the Colorado Rockies.
The one knock on Gonzalez is that he's played in 135 games or less in the last two years.
Injuries have limited him in some form. Owners take a risk when drafting him, as his injuries come with the territory.
Los Angeles Dodgers: Matt Kemp
2012 Stats: .303 BA, 23 HR, 69 RBI, 74 runs
Matt Kemp was having an excellent fantasy year in 2012 as he was ranked No. 1 for the first part of the season.
However, the Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder dealt with multiple injuries and wasn't the force he was at the beginning of the season.
This year should see Kemp return to form, as he's recovered from all of his injuries.
While some owners may be hesitant to use a top pick on him in the draft, he's a guy that will provide huge dividends throughout the year.
San Diego Padres: Chase Headley
2012 Stats: .286 BA, 31 HR, 115 RBI, 17 SB, 95 runs
Chase Headley came out of nowhere for the San Diego Padres last year.
He hit more home runs in 2012 than he did in the three previous years combined and never slowed down from his hot start.
The question is, was 2012 a fluke or something fantasy owners can get used to?
While he's likely not worth the risk of a first- or second-round pick in a fantasy draft, many owners will start looking at him towards the third or fourth round as top-tier guys come off the board.
San Francisco Giants: Buster Posey
2012 Stats: .336 BA, 24 HR, 103 RBI, 78 runs
In terms of fantasy value, San Francisco Giants catcher Buster Posey is the most valuable at his position.
There is no catcher more important to his team than Posey, as was evident during the 2011 season when Posey was injured in a collision at the plate.
Posey has a great mix of power and average, and will be the first catcher off the board in any fantasy draft.
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