Fantasy Baseball Round Table: If Miguel Cabrera is No. 1, who's No. 2?
Yeah, I know. You can't win a draft in the first round but you can lose it. But with some recent goings-on, the early picks in a snake draft have gotten even more interesting. As such, I posed the following scenario to the Knights.
You have the second pick in a draft and Miguel Cabrera was drafted first. Who do you take?
Perry Van Hook
Easy - go fish!
If Cabrera is off the board, I'm taking Ryan Braun and not looking back. If I am picking that high, I would like to get a five-category player when possible. Cabrera might be the exception, but if he's gone I am going Braun over the other options available. Braun is the only player to go 30-30 the last two years, and he hit over .319 in both years as well. He has played in at least 150 games five years in a row. For me, that track record of reliable production and good health keeps him ahead of Matt Kemp or Mike Trout on my board. Yeah, people are going to whisper about a potential PED suspension coming from his involvement with the Miami health clinic, but there just isn't anything that points to anything happening on that front anytime soon.
Kemp is coming off shoulder surgery on top of the leg issues he had last year. He may not run as much as he has in the past. Trout will be hard pressed to match last year's production and doesn't have the track record for me to take him over Braun just yet. Robinson Cano doesn't steal bases, and with the injuries around him he's slid down my board quite a bit after starting the year in my personal Top 4.
You're right, I was unaware. I'm not sure how much this changes things for me, but I have to admit that Braun now has a bigger flag on his ledger than he did before. I have to explore this a bit more, but if MLB is going to come down hard on these guys for just being listed, then that is indeed something you have to consider. Braun of course will have the best lawyers working in his defense and already has one win against MLB. Still, if you are risk-averse, I guess you go Mike Trout, who at least isn't in danger of getting suspended.
Sophomore slump … blah, blah, blah … weight gain … blah, blah, blah … position change … blah, blah, blah … Trout. End of discussion.
I don't know Brian. I don't think you can write off the weight gain when we are talking about a guy whose stolen base total makes up a big chunk of his perceived value. Of all of his numbers, the 49 steals is the one I expect to fall the most, maybe all the way down to the mid-30s. Even putting the weight gain to the side, I think he may run less and likely be less successful than last year when he does run.
Of all the arguments thrown around regarding Trout, the one that sticks out to me is his extremely high BABIP of .383. That is another number due for some regression, possibly enough to make him a borderline .300 hitter. Unlike some out there, I still believe he is a first-round pick, but if he hits .290 with 35 steals then his lack of triple-digit RBI's tips the scale to Braun for me.
I was at a spring game where Trout was thrown out trying to steal, and the mumbling in the press box was rooted in "he'll have a tougher time this year."
I do think we must remember that Trout's year was one of the best of any player in recent memory, and realistically, as has been written ad nauseam, repeating, let alone improving, is a hard row to hoe.
But I think at this juncture, if Trout keeps his head down and forgets about what he did and just tries to play his best game, he will be both fine and very good.
However, the question at large was "If Miggy is gone, do you go Braun or Trout?" (Or at least that was the implication.)
Well, I had the #1 in an NFBC Draft Champions League, and I took Braun. But I really wanted to take Matt Kemp. It is just that little voice inside me kept saying "don't be stupid."
Usually my instincts fare better than the little voice does. I kind of wish I had followed it that one time already.
Were I drafting #2, I certainly would go there - Matt Kemp.
Kemp is the wild card for me now, as I have jumped him ahead of Robinson Cano and the next group of players on my board. But I fear he also will run much less this year after last year's hamstring problems, on top of the questions about his shoulder. When I have drafted Kemp so far this year, it has been when others have passed him down the board to me later in the first round.
Todd may be setting us up here with this debate, but I guess it is worth noting that our fearless leader did draft Prince Fielder with the sixth pick in the recent LABR Mixed draft, and cited that he chose the guy he thought was the fourth most likely return first-round value, passing over Andrew McCutchen, Joey Votto, Albert Pujols and others. Can new doubts about Braun, Trout, Kemp and Cano have moved the needle towards Fielder even more? I guess we'll have to wait till the end of this to find out.
About Todd Zola, MastersBall.com
Focusing primarily on the science of player valuation and game theory starting in 1997, Todd Zola and Mastersball carved out an important niche in the fantasy industry. In 2006, Todd became the Research Director for fantasybaseball.com, and in 2009, he relaunched Mastersball and is now a managing partner.
Todd competes in Tout Wars and the XFL, and has been a multiple-time league champion in the National Fantasy Baseball Championship. He has been a contributor to the fantasy content at MLB.com and SI.com, is a frequent guest on Sirius/XM and Blog Talk Radio and is an annual speaker at the spring and fall First Pitch Forum symposiums.
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