1) Mike Trout, OF, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
Team: Josh Shepardson, Baseball Prospectus | Roster
Compelling arguments could be made for Ryan Braun or Miguel Cabrera being the top pick, but I couldn't pass up Trout. Regression from a historically great season is likely, but picking up extra games as a result of not opening 2013 in the minors, as he did in 2012, should help offset it.
2) Ryan Braun, OF, Milwaukee Brewers
He's pretty good, too
Team: Mark Bloom, RotoExperts | Roster
Hard to go wrong with both Braun and Miguel Cabrera on the board. Some people are worried about a possible 50 game suspension based on the Biogenesis clinic evidence, but I will take my chances that Braun escapes punishment. He is a 5 category monster and the easy pick for me here.
3) Miguel Cabrera, 3B, Detroit Tigers
Team: Ray Flowers, Baseball Guys/SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio | Roster
The most consistent hitter in the game. He lacks the speed of others taken at the top of most drafts, but he makes up for it with unmatched consistent excellence. I would never have taken Mike Trout here, so I was very pleased when this future HOFamer fell to me.
4) Matt Kemp, OF, Los Angeles Dodgers
Team: Bill Macey, Baseball HQ | Roster
Recovering from off-season shoulder surgery, Kemp may seem to be a risky pick, particularly before he's demonstrated his health in spring training games. But recall that he was the #1 player in 2011 and began 2012 even hotter before injuries derailed his season. If he's healthy, he should challenge to be the best player in fantasy baseball again in 2013. And if he's not fully healthy ... well, he still managed to swat 6 HR in September after tearing his labrum - that's a pretty high floor.
5) Robinson Cano, 2B, New York Yankees
Team: Jeff Paur, RTSports | Roster
After learning I received the fifth pick, I figured my choice would be Matt Kemp or Cano when I had to pick. Kemp goes before me, so I get Cano, which is just fine by me. I love getting the top player at a scarce position. He is as steady as it gets in fantasy baseball, posting a .300 average with 25-plus home runs and about 100 RBIs each of the last four seasons.
6) Andrew McCutchen, OF, Pittsburgh Pirates
Team: Michael Stein, The Hardball Times | Roster
I assumed my top 5 picks would be off the board, so I knew it would come down to a choice of McCutchen or Joey Votto. I went with McCutchen who is a star on the rise and a major contributor in all five roto categories. I expect a big season of .300 with 30 home runs, 100 RBI, 100 runs scored, and 30 stolen bases. You can't ask for much more from your 1st round pick.
7) Joey Votto, 1B, Cincinnati Reds
Team: Steve Gardner, USA TODAY/Sports Weekly | Roster
There seems to be a pretty clear dividing line between the top six players and the rest of the first round. Votto's skills are rock-solid, but there are those lingering questions surrounding a knee injury that kept him homerless after June 24. Will the power come back? He's such a great hitter, I'm banking it will.
8) Albert Pujols, 1B, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
Steve had his eye on Votto
Team: Mark Chamberlin, Baseball Sharks | Roster
Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder. Some may look at Pujols' 2012 and see the beginning of the downward spiral. I look at his 2012 and I see an awful slump to start the season followed up by the same ole' Albert. He's still a top 5 player at a position that is losing its value.
9) Carlos Gonzalez, OF, Colorado Rockies
Team: Tim Heaney, KFFL | Roster
This is where the first round gets dodgy, but CarGo, despite his flaws with injuries and home-road splits, just keeps posting five-category numbers. In a healthy year, he's a top-five fantasy player, and, unlike in past years, I don't mind sacrificing infield security in favor of optimal dollar production..
10) Prince Fielder, 1B, Detroit Tigers
Team: Nicholas Minnix, KFFL | Roster
I debated between the surest thing left at first base, a position that's kind of top-heavy, and my favorite shortstop this season, Jose Reyes. I figured that Reyes was a great bet to be available on the comeback, so Fielder was an easy choice. Reyes is risky enough as it is.
11) Giancarlo Stanton, OF, Miami Marlins
Team: Howard Bender, FanGraphs | Roster
This kind of power is just too hard to pass up, regardless of position scarcity. Might not see growth in runs or RBI total given the surrounding lineup, but few 23-year olds hit 37 home runs and still have more to come. Thought about Troy Tulowitzki and even Buster Posey here, but again, the power trumps the position.
12) Josh Hamilton, OF, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
Team: Pasko Varnica, Mastersball | Roster
Hamilton is annually one of the tougher calls to make, since it has always been about health. However, even without the coveted 600 AB, his unquestionable power will give my team the production required from a first round pick. I expect 30+ HRs, 100+ RBIs and a BA close to .290.
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