Thoughts on some of the Hot Stove's heaviest hitters so far:
Robinson Cano, 2B, Seattle Mariners
As the Safeco Field overlay of Cano's 2013 homers points out (thanks, Nicholas Minnix), all but one would've clearly surmounted the Seattle fences. Cano boasts the raw power to hit 'em out anywhere.
The concern rests in his surrounding lineup, which as of this writing is quite similar to the bats that have cost Felix Hernandez many a win. Though such circumstances don't always hold back hitters of this caliber, you shouldn't expect Cano to top 100 RBIs. Though he'll probably be pitched around and intentionally walked often, 100 runs will be even more difficult to come by since he hasn't shown aggressiveness on the base paths and ... well, again, this isn't exactly a Murderer's Row.
Old home away from home: new home
Even with these negatives, Cano remains worthy of first-round consideration. He's arguably the top second baseman and will do enough of his own thumping to justify buying into his history of production. Still, you have to dock him a little bit for his new home park. He slots closer to the top of the second round than he would as a Yankee, and the gap is shrinking between Cano and Dustin Pedroia for top keystoner honors.
Jacoby Ellsbury, OF, New York Yankees
In healthy years, Ellsbury is a 30-steal (basement level) and .280-plus-BA juggernaut. The 32-homer 2011 has been his true outlier so far, but what prompted the lefty stick's breakthrough was his pull pop (25 dingers to right field), and it's harder for his kind to homer to the same field at Fenway Park than it is in the Bronx. Hitting coach Kevin Long should bring that quick trigger back to Ells' wrists as he now calls a new but familiar ambience home.
As a result, New York's newest Johnny Damon will probably lose a bit of his clip, but you want him to have a more complete statistical line for fantasy anyway. A dip to .260 is a loss taken for the greater good. (Hint: Stop paying BA surcharges.)
Before you throw the injury-prone label around, consider the nature of his more significant trips to the disabled list. Most were from collisions, and while you could argue aggressive play puts a player in a bigger position for serious injuries, it's not as if he's damaging himself simply by running the bases.
In 2014, he's a potential top-five fantasy weapon. If your opponents are afraid of his DL history and he falls into the second half of Round 1, pounce.
Another new Bomber....
About Tim Heaney
Tim's work has been featured by USA Today/Sports Weekly, among numerous outlets, and recognized as a finalist in the Fantasy Sports Writers Association awards. The Boston University alum, who competes in LABR and Tout Wars, has won numerous industry leagues in both baseball and football.
During baseball and football season, he appears on Sirius XM Fantasy Sports Radio on Thursdays and Sundays, and every Wednesday on 1570 AM WNST in Baltimore.
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