Fantasy Baseball: Top 25 Draft Picks for 2012

Dominic KopekCorrespondent IISeptember 1, 2011

Fantasy Baseball: Top 25 Draft Picks for 2012

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    As some of you are preparing for your fantasy baseball playoffs, others are already looking toward next year. 

    Hey, it's never too early to start preparing. 

    There have been a lot of new up-and-coming players breaking out this year to become fantasy baseball studs, such as Curtis Granderson and Jacoby Ellsbury.

    Along with those two players, here are the top 25 draft picks for next year's fantasy baseball draft.

25. Jose Reyes

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    Jose Reyes has returned to being a fantasy superstar. With 35 steals and a .335 average to go along with his 81 runs, he has proven he can still play.

    With shortstop being a weak position anyways, Reyes is a solid top-25 pick.

24. Andrew McCutchen

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    The Dread Pirate has had a great season in his third year as a major leaguer. McCutchen finally broke the 20-home run plateau and will just continue to improve. 

    It's hard to not love a 20/20 guy and with a .274 average; he won't hurt you too bad.

23. Michael Bourn

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    The speedster, Michael Bourn, is a rockstar on the basepaths. Leading the majors with 47 steals right now, he is a true fantasy asset. He is also hitting a stellar .301 for the season. 

    Atlanta got a good deal when Bourn arrived, and you wont be disappointed with No. 23 on this list.

22. Hanley Ramirez

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    If you drafted Hanley Ramirez this year, you probably are not winning. 

    The perennial top-three pick has had a terrible year, batting only .243 with only 10 home runs. He also has only played in 92 games, and everyone knows about his issues. 

    Ramirez has way too much talent, though, and isn't done dominating fantasy squads yet. He still has the speed with 20 steals, and the power will return. 

    Don't give up on this stud, and he will repay you graciously.

21. Mark Teixeira

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    Mark Teixeira has had a great season. With his 35 bombs, he is only three short of league leader and teammate Curtis Granderson, along with slugger Jose Bautista.

    Teixeira's .249 average is a little scary, but he is a .282 career hitter, so it's unlikely he will hit under .250 again.

20. CC Sabathia

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    CC Sabathia is always a fantasy commodity. He is always atop the leaderboard in wins and strikeouts, and this year is no different, as he is third in strikeouts with 201 and second in wins with 18.

    Take him at 20, and you will be a happy camper, as he will win you 20 games.

19. Dustin Pedroia

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    The Boston Red Sox second baseman is a fantasy stud. 

    It seems like he is over .300 and goes for 20/20 every year, but he really doesn't. He will this year though and will continue to do it throughout his career. 

    Pedroia is a great fit for your 2B position at No. 19. 

18. Roy Halladay

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    How does Roy Halladay do it?

    At 34, he is still a Cy Young pitcher, and with his ridiculous 25 walks on the season, he still has pinpoint control. 

    Oh yeah, his 191 K's, 2.47 ERA and 1.04 WHIP are nice too.

    Philly has the nastiest pitching staff led by Doc Halladay, and he will do the same next season.

17. Prince Fielder

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    With 29 bombs and 102 RBI, Prince Fielder is really working that body for a paycheck. He should get paid this offseason and continue to smash baseballs like it was his job. 

    Oh wait, it is.

    Pick him at 17 and get first-round value out of him.

16. Carlos Gonzalez

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    After his breakout 34/26/.336 season last year, Carlos Gonzalez has not disappointed. With 24 HR and 19 stolen bases, he is likely to come close to matching those totals this year.  His average has dipped a bit from last season, but it is still .300. 

    Pick him at 16 and put a smile on your face.

15. Clayton Kershaw

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    Clayton Kershaw is money, and he is only 23. With a sparkling 1.02 WHIP and 212 K's, it will be hard to improve. 

    At 23 though, you know his best season is not behind him, so snag him up at the beginning of the second round and see what the youngster will give you.

14. Justin Upton

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    Now 24, Justin Upton is entering his prime. He has yet to show his full power potential and already has 26 home runs. 

    Upton will continue to be a 20/20 candidate year in and year out with an average around .300. This is his best season yet, slugging .539, but the best is really yet to come.

13. Joey Votto

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    Joey Votto is a Canadian hitting machine. He hasn't hit less than .322 since his first full year in the bigs. 

    He also helps in the power area with 26 home runs to go along with some nice speed (seven SB so far, down from 16 last year). It is always nice to get a little speed out of your 1B though, so take Votto in the first and reap the benefits.

12. Jacoby Ellsbury

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    Jacoby Ellsbury has quietly become one of the best center fielders in all of baseball. He already has one 70-SB season under his belt, and with 36 this year, he hasn't disappointed. 

    Ellsbury also has a surprising 23 home runs to go along with a .312 average, and with that combination, he locks up a first-round draft pick in my eyes. 

11. Curtis Granderson

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    Curtis Granderson is finally showing his full potential. He has a league-leading 38 home runs to go with 24 stolen bases. 

    Oh yeah, and he is leading the league in RBI (107) and runs (123).

    It will be hard to match this magical season, but Granderson is clearly now worth a top draft pick.

10. Justin Verlander

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    Another player having a magical season is Justin Verlander. 

    No doubt, this AL Cy Young winner is MLB's first 20-game winner and has a minuscule .90 WHIP! 

    Oh yeah, he also has a league-leading 218 strikeouts and a 2.38 ERA. 

    JV is a workhorse, and he will be for your fantasy team if you pick him in the first round next year.

9. Troy Tulowitzki

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    Troy Tulowitzki is like fantasy gold. He and Hanley Ramirez are pretty much the only shortstops who can hit 30 home runs, steal you some bases and hit for average consistently. Tulowitzki currently has 28 bombs and is looking for his first 100-RBI year at 94 right now.

    Take him eighth, and you wont have to worry about your SS position all year.

8. Robinson Cano

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    Another Yankee on this list, Robinson Cano is probably the surest bet for your second base position you can get. 

    Like Tulowitzki, Cano is at a position where there are not many elite players, so when you hit close to 30 home runs, hit consistently over .300 and steal some bases, you are worth a top pick.

7. Ryan Braun

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    Let's see, if you were going to tell me you were going to give me a 30/30 season and hit .330, what would your answer be to drafting you? 

    I think it's "yes." 

    Although this is a career-year for Braun, he consistently hits more than 25 home runs, steals a ton of bases and has a career average of .311. 

    Take him at No. 6 and be relieved.

6. Matt Kemp

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    Matt Kemp has supplanted Ryan Braun as my top fantasy outfielder. 

    Finally breaking out and showing all he's got, Kemp already has 31 home runs, 35 stolen bases and he's hitting .321. 

    I foresee Kemp consistently hitting these numbers the rest of his career, and he is definitely worth a top-five pick.

5. Evan Longoria

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    Yes, Evan Longoria is having a horrible season, but he will surely bounce back. 

    Still only 26, Longoria will be back above 30 home runs and more than 100 RBI consistently. I am not too worried about it, so go ahead and snag him in the middle of your first round—you won't be disappointed.

4. Jose Bautista

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    The slugger has answered all questions after his 54-home run season. 

    Currently tied with Granderson for the league lead at 38, Bautista is having another great year. 

    Oh yeah, did I mention he raised his average from .260 to .311 as well?

    With eligibility at 3B and OF, Bautista is a fantasy superstar and worth a top-five pick.

3. Albert Pujols

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    Albert Pujols is pretty much the guarantee of fantasy baseball. The surefire first overall pick of the past couple years has slipped to third in my rankings, but is still an elite player. 

    I am pretty sure Pujols is playing with a broken forearm and still has 31 home runs. He will bounce back next year and bring his average back up to closer to his career numbers at .328. 

    Draft him at No. 3 and be shocked he fell to you.

2. Adrian Gonzalez

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    Adrian Gonzalez has lived up to all the hype and better.

    Hitting an astounding .342 with more than 100 RBI and 23 home runs, he is a stud. 

    Just imagine what he will do next year when he gets more comfortable in the AL East. There is no doubt he will once again reach 40 home runs, as he is still slugging at a .554 clip. 

    Pick him at No. 2 and be grateful.

1. Miguel Cabrera

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    It's almost unfair to be Miguel Cabrera

    After his tumultuous offseason, he has just gone on to hit .327 and blast 24 home runs. 

    He is obviously one of the best, if not the best, hitter in baseball, and pitchers know it; Cabrera will likely reach 100 walks this year. Cabby is slugging at a .551 clip, and he is entering his power prime at 28 years old.

    If he can stay sober this offseason, Cabrera is going to be a surefire No. 1 pick in next year's draft.

    So there you go, an early look at the top 25 fantasy baseball players for the 2012 season.