Fantasy Baseball Round Table: Preseason Awards

by Todd Zola, MastersBall.com on April 3, 2013 @ 13:44:47 PDT

 

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Maybe it's cliché, but reader feedback over the years tells me you guys like this sort of thing, so it's time for the second annual Knights of the Round Table pre-season fantasy awards.

American League Fantasy MVP

Oakland Athletics OF Yoenis Cespedes
MVP hype continues here

Tim Heaney: Evan Longoria with Yoenis Cespedes a close second - My disclaimer is I'm going to choose the fantasy value picks, so for instance, Miguel Cabrera isn't my choice.

Nick Minnix: Jose Reyes - If he hits 18, 20 HR (entirely possible in that division, especially with half of his contests in Toronto), he's your guy.

Greg Morgan: Yoenis Cespedes

Lawr Michaels: Miguel Cabrera - What has changed for him not to be this?

Zach Steinhorn: Miguel Cabrera

Ryan Carey: Yoenis Cespedes

Todd Zola: I'll join Tim using the value pick to add a different flavor with Jose Bautista being the choice. The power looks like it's back. He could lead the league in HR and RBI.

National League Fantasy MVP

TH: David Wright if he steals enough bags, with Jason Heyward right behind him.

NM: Ryan Braun - Fear the BioGenesis. Seriously, he's good. So is Joey Votto.

GM: Jason Heyward

LM: Matt Kemp - I really rate him #1 overall this year.

ZS: Justin Upton

RC: Allen Craig - A dark-horse candidate, but if he stays healthy, he's going to deliver as compelling a case as the favorites.

TZ: Justin Upton - Back to being a top-10 pick next season, maybe top-5.

American League Fantasy Cy Young

TH: Yu Darvish

NM: Brandon Morrow - All the tools are there, so I'll throw a dart that he puts it all together. Justin Verlander is a boring choice (but probably the correct one).

GM: Chris Sale

LM: Justin Verlander - Best pitcher in baseball.

ZS: Justin Verlander

RC: Yu Darvish - He's going to strike out a ton of guys and simply dominate.

TZ: Felix Hernandez - has made the transition to being a pitcher from a thrower.

National League Fantasy Cy Young

TH: Mat Latos

NM: Johnny Cueto - Think there was a legit argument that he deserved the real award last year. Clayton Kershaw is sick, but Cueto is a complete, mature pitcher (and adding back those fancy K's, I think).

GM: Adam Wainwright

LM: Matt Cain - Thought he would do it last year.

ZS: Clayton Kershaw

RC: Mat Latos - The Reds are going to be good. One of their starters will win 20 games. I am betting on Latos.

TZ: Cole Hamels - Was my choice before opening day, and I'm not going back on that now.

American League Fantasy Fireman of the Year

Philadelphia Phillies 2B Chase Utley
No longer inactive ... for now

TH: Chris Perez

NM: Chris Perez - He gave up half of his runs in total blowout situations. Deeper rotation, bullpen should help him to keep ERA down, and Indians should generate plenty of SVOs for him.

GM: Ernesto Frieri

LM: Mariano Rivera - Last hurrah.

ZS: Mariano Rivera - Still hard to bet against him.

RC: Addison Reed

TZ: Tom Wilhelmsen - Pour me another save.

National League Fantasy Fireman of the Year

TH: Huston Street

NM: Aroldis Chapman - He's happy. Maybe stretching him out in the spring will turn out to have been a good thing for his endurance.

GM: Kyuji Fujikawa

LM: Sergio Romo - Best slider in baseball, and well, those who doubt his skills should check his last three years.

ZS: Aroldis Chapman

RC: Rafael Soriano - He's going to finish off a lot of W's.

TZ: Craig Kimbrel - Though if Jonny Venters is out, he could lose a couple chances unless Jordan Walden steps up.

American League Fantasy Comeback Player of the Year

TH: Jon Lester

NM: Justin Morneau - If Evan Longoria plays in 140 games, different story, but Morneau is healthy and should have a very good year.

GM: Jhonny Peralta of the Saberhagenmetric club.

LM: Mariano Rivera - Continuing to laugh at us.

ZS: Kendrys Morales - Numbers won't be tempered by any sort of platoon situation this year.

RC: Victor Martinez - Quietly will go about his business, making that lineup even better. (Although Mo could get this on sentimentality.)

TZ: Jacoby Ellsbury - Shows power is real, though not 30-HR real.

National League Fantasy Comeback Player of the Year

TH: Carl Crawford with Dan Haren runner-up

NM: Chase Utley with Ryan Howard close behind

GM: Chase Utley

LM: Carlos Quentin - So good, so broken.

ZS: Ryan Howard - Cheapest 30-100 player in drafts this year.

RC: Carl Crawford (Ryan Howard will be in the mix as well)

TZ: Chase Utley - I'm going to regret not owning any shares of Utley this season.

American League Player outside of the Top 50 most likely to finish in the Top 10

TH: Alex Gordon - Great five-category production says uptick in power might be all he needs to do it. Austin Jackson a possibility, as well.

NM: Kendrys Morales - 2012 second half portends pre-injury form in store for 2013.

GM: Brett Lawrie - Has the tools. He needs to make adjustments, though.

LM: Howard Kendrick - Big year in there somewhere.

ZS: Matt Wieters - Might finally be ready to live up to "Joe Mauer with Power" hype. 

RC: Jason Kipnis - He has the talent to end up as the top overall second baseman in fantasy, just has to put it all together and stay healthy.

TZ: Austin Jackson - If he keeps improving contact, a fantasy stud in the making.

National League Player outside of the Top 50 most likely to finish in the Top 10

TH: Freddie Freeman - Will have to go nuts in the non-SB categories, but definitely possible. Shin-Soo Choo is my zany choice.

NM: Adam Wainwright - Kind of hedging bets for NL fantasy Cy Young Award ... he should be back to pre-TJS form.

GM: Wilin Rosario - Maybe not top-10 but is better than everybody thinks. He could sneak into the top 25 if he plays to his ceiling.

LM: Ike Davis

ZS: Anthony Rizzo

RC: Ike Davis

TZ: Carlos Gomez - A nod to Cory Schwartz of mlbn.com for pointing out Gomez has a three-year trend of rising HR/FB and fly ball percent so power could sustain plus should get full season of at bats.

American League First-Rounder most likely to finish outside of the Top 100

TH: Albert Pujols - Would've picked Mike Trout except for fact that SB buoy his value.

NM: Mike Trout - Call me regression police or whatever else you want. The game isn't that easy.

GM: Jose Reyes - Only due to injury risk. He should be fine, but he's the most likely.

LM: Josh Hamilton - Age and drugs catch up.

ZS: Josh Hamilton - Injury-prone and could have trouble adjusting to new environment.

RC: Josh Hamilton - He seems like the safest bet to crash this year.

TZ: Albert Pujols - Tim took the words right off of my keyboard.

National League First-Rounder most likely to finish outside of the Top 100

TH: Buster Posey

NM: Buster Posey - He's a catcher who hasn't been hurt in either of the past two years. He might be due.

GM: Troy Tulowitzki

LM: Andrew McCutchen - Talented, but his team is not.

ZS: Troy Tulowitzki - Constant health woes the main reason.

RC: Buster Posey

TZ: Andrew McCutchen - Ironic that most stable skill is power. Can hit .260 as easily as .300, and I'm worried about steals as his success rate is poor and Starling Marte will take over the leadoff spot.

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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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