Fantasy Articles

Here are the AtHomePlate.com fantasy baseball rankings at all four infield positions. We'll release starting and relief pitchers soon with a top 100 cheat sheet.

 

First base

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Barring any mishaps at the hot corner, Miggy is due for a big season.
1.      Miguel Cabrera - More walks than strikeouts, 1.000+ OPS, added protection with the signing of Fielder, third-base eligibility, what's not to like? 

2.      Albert Pujols - He's 1B to Cabrera's 1A in my books, great numbers despite playing through a nagging wrist injury last year. With health given his floor is .300, 30 HR, 100 RBIs and 100 runs and that might be underselling the future Hall-of-Famer

3.      Adrian Gonzalez - Expecting more home run production this year as his 27 dingers last season were the lowest since 2006 despite playing in Petco during that span. The Red Sox lineup, playing in the AL and past power production gives him edge over Votto.

4.      Joey Votto - Highly unlikely you'll regret grabbing any of the top four first basemen on draft day. Votto's power ceiling isn't quite as high as the first three but is a top performer in the other four stats for his position.

5.      Prince Fielder - 28, 50, 34, 46, 32, 38. Those are his home run totals over the past six seasons, showing his inconsistency. Never finished a season with a .300 average, either.  Not saying I don't think Fielder can't have one of this great seasons this year, but I want more of a sure thing at the very top of my drafts.

6.      Mark Teixeira - His ground ball/fly ball ratio suggests his batting average will remain in the .250-.280 range but he was unlucky on balls in play last year with a .239 BABIP. Playing in the Yankees lineup helps in every way.

7.      Michael Morse - I'm a believer, turning 30 just before the start of the season and has been a top per-game performer for the past two seasons. Ground ball/fly ball ratio suggests he can hit for average. HR/FB ratio suggests elite power from the 6-5 230 pound monster.

8.      Pablo Sandoval - Would draft him above Morse if I was playing him at 3b but for 1b purposes he slots one below. 2010 average a mirage, bank on '09 and '11 performances. Only negative is the lineup around him.

9.      Eric Hosmer - My thoughts on the former elite prospect can be found here but to sum up: potential to hit for a high average with respectable power, plays in an underrated lineup, and a likely source for 10-15 steals on an aggressive Royals squad.

10.  Lance Berkman - He wasn't nearly as good after his hot start but still hit .300 with 90+ runs/RBIs and 30 dingers. If you exclude his 2010 season he's never stopped hitting, interested to see if father time will catch up to him in his age 36 season.

11.  Paul Konerko - As is the case with Fielder, career numbers suggest a wide array of possibilities. Not betting on another .300+ average from the 36-year-old. White Sox lineup could use some work.

12.  Ike Davis - I believe in what I saw last year. 129 at-bats, 20/7/25/.302. Once touted in the minors as someone who could hit 40 home runs, could be the steal of your draft.

13.  Kevin Youkilis - Like Sandoval would draft him above some of these names if you play him at third base. Skills decline and hasn't had 500 at-bats in the past three years. Still should hit .280+ with respectable power in a potent Red Sox lineup.

14.  Freddie Freeman - See Hosmer minus the steals and a little power production.

15.  Ryan Howard - Recent news on torn Achilles isn't good, can hit 30 HR, 100 RBIs and 90 runs in his sleep, though. You could do worse than James Loney in the first half and Ryan Howard in the second half.

All catchers and second-basemen with 1b eligibility were excluded because you simply shouldn't play them at first outside of the occasional Monday/Thursday spot-start.

 

Second base

 

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Robinson Cano is surrounded by elite hitters which further helps his numbers.
1.      Robinson Cano - .300 average, 25 homers and 100 runs in each of the past three years. 100 RBIs in each of the past two. Based on talent and team context should be no reason to take another second-baseman over him.

2.      Ian Kinsler - Difficult decision between Kinsler and Pedroia, comes down to liking Kinsler's chance of going 30/30 more than Pedroia's chances of going 20/20. Injury risk is overblown, the Texas two bagger played full seasons two of the past three years. BABIP of .243 (career .282) sheds some hope of an improved batting average.

3.      Dustin Pedroia - If you prefer Pedroia's contributions in batting average over Kinsler's counting stats I won't argue. Linked to an elite offense, easy to root for. I'll co-sign a late second round investment.

4.      Dan Uggla - Before the All-Star break, .185 average, 15 homers and 34 RBI in 92 games. After the All-Star break, .296 average, 21 homers, and 48 RBI. Career low BABIP of .253 makes a .265 average and 35 long balls attainable. Great player to target if you draft a speed heavy player like Jose Reyes early.

5.      Ben Zobrist - Solid 20/20 option with some inconsistencies with his batting average but the counting stats will be there no matter what.

6.      Michael Young - Consistency king, Swiss-army knife. Hasn't accounted for less than 500 at-bats since 2002 and will hit for a very good average in one of the league's best offenses. Pencil him in for a .300 average, 10-15 home runs, and 180+ runs/RBIs.

7.      Brandon Phillips - A little lower than most due to Phillips' declining speed. The Reds second baseman is 30 for his last 51 on the base-paths which should lead to less running opportunities. Has never been a great hitter for average.

8.      Howie Kendrick - If he's going to put it together, this will be the year. Addition of Pujols helps everyone in the Angels lineup. His 18 home runs last year was the product of a fluky 16% HR/FB rate, but if he can get his K-rate under control his strong ground ball and line drive tendencies suggest the much hyped average breakthrough might be on the horizon.

9.      Michael Cuddyer - Moving from Minnesota to Colorado is helpful but his second-base eligibility while playing in the outfield every day is what entices me the most. Would be happy to have him serve as my squad's second-baseman.

10.  Rickie Weeks - Has the ceiling to outperform this value, has the floor and injury risk to be a big-time bust. Never been a fan for fantasy purposes.

11.  Dustin Ackley - You don't hit for .400 in a big time college conference by accident. Don't love the park or team context but like the pedigree and the potential for a good spot in the order.

12.  Jason Kipnis - His seven home runs in 136 at-bats aided by an extremely fluky 20% HR/FB rate. Never stole more than 12 bases in a single season in the minors. Expecting a solid average and 15 round-trippers and 10 steals.

13.  Neil Walker - If Neil Walker was Forest Gump's box of chocolates an all-time great movie quote would have never come to fruition. Copy and paste his stats last season with his .273 batting average as a floor.

14.  Jemile Weeks - No power production at any point in his career but will hit for a pretty good average and steal you some bags. Team context limits his upside, Ackley, Kipnis, Walker and Weeks are all relatively interchangeable.

15.  Jose Altuve - Excellent bargain at drafts as many Astros are. At 5-7 and 170 pounds he's pocket sized but packs a little pop and projects to steal 20-25 bags. Excellent contact skills, wouldn't be surprised if he's hitting first or second for Houston by mid-season.

 

Shortstop

 

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Can Tulo stay healthy for 600+ AB?
Photo by SD Dirk used under creative commons license.
1.      Troy Tulowitzki - Hasn't exactly been durable to this point in his career but has fallen victim to some fluky injuries. Average stats over the past 3 years - 525 at-bats, 90 runs, 30 home runs, 97 RBIs, 13 steals and a .305 average. Would be scary if he handles 600+ at-bats.

2.      Hanley Ramirez - I believe the 28-year-old will bounce back, though the stats from 2007 are a thing of the past. One of few high upside, low floor players I'd be willing to take a risk on in the early rounds.

3.      Jose Reyes - Was simply ridiculous at the plate last year. 90.1% contact rate, struck out in just 7% of his at-bats, 21% line drive rate. Atop a better lineup with a more aggressive manager, if he stays healthy another big season in store.

4.      Starlin Castro - Unbelievable what he was able to accomplish as a 20- and 21-year-old. No reason he can't once again improve on last season's performance. HR/FB rate doubled in his sophomore year, I'm banking on a .310 average, at least 10 homers, 30 steals, and he might hit third for the Cubbies.

5.      Jimmy Rollins - Project similar stats as Castro with a little more pop, a .270 average, and more health risk. Will hit in a high leverage spot in the Phillies order. Top five separate themselves from the pack in my book.

6.      Elvis Andrus - Won't find me owning any shares of the young Ranger. At his current ADP you're lucky to break even. Provides very good steals and runs, passable RBI and batting average and no power. Pass.

7.      Asdrubal Cabrera - Like most I don't expect a repeat of last season's stats. With that said there's some pedigree here and he'll hit in a high leverage spot in the Indians lineup. Don't let the regression police overcompensate for his 2011 campaign.

8.      Derek Jeter - Old reliable at a decent value. Struggled mightily with average early in 2011 season but still finished with a .297 mark. Will gladly take the vet and reap the benefits of hitting at the top of the Yankees lineup.

9.      Erick Aybar - In the prime of his prime at 28 and now hits with Albert Pujols. Wouldn't be shocked if he finished with a better season than Andrus.

10.  Dee Gordon - Take away 15-20% of Andrus' runs and RBI and sprinkle in a little average risk, and you have Dee Gordon. Similar player who can be had at least 50 picks later.

11.  Alexei Ramirez - Shouldn't eclipse 10 steals and his average will likely be no more than passable but his contributions in runs, RBI, and homers makes him a solid mid-round grab.

12.  Emilio Bonafacio - Ridiculous how many players can get you production similar to Andrus' at a much cheaper cost. Carries 3b and OF eligibility as well.

13.  J.J. Hardy - Starts to get a little sketchy here, not a fan of Hardy at all but can't argue with 30 home runs from a shortstop. Not a question of whether he'll duplicate last year's season, he won't, but a question of how far he'll drop.

14.  Jhonny Peralta - Not likely to duplicate last year's .299 average but has hit 80 RBIs each of the past three seasons and hits in a good AL lineup. Younger than you might think, turns 30 in May of this season.

15.  Mike Aviles - Upside play here with 2b, 3b and SS eligibility. Seems to be the favorite to get everyday at-bats for Boston at shortstop and has always been a pretty good hitter. If he sticks, he'll be a steal.

 

Third base

 

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Can Jose Bautista beat out Miggy and the field for MVP?
1.      Jose Bautista - 40 homers, 100 runs, 100 RBI and 9 steals in 2010 and 2011, wouldn't bet on anything below a .280 average this year. Miguel Cabrera edges him once he gains eligibility but until then Jose is your number one third-baseman.

2.      Evan Longoria - Forgive his struggles as a 25-year-old as some bad luck played a part. Career low .239 BABIP was more than 60 points under career average. However, his fly ball tendencies suggest you shouldn't temper your expectations in the batting average department.

3.      Adrian Beltre - Despite only netting 487 at-bats the Rangers third baseman collected 32 homers 105 RBIs and 82 runs. Great position for success in that lineup and ballpark.

4.      Pablo Sandoval - 2010 average a mirage, bank on '09 and '11 performances. Only negative is the lineup around him. Allow the panda into your life.

5.      David Wright - Would be hesitant to draft him with the preseason injury news after a down year in 2010 but if the price is right would be willing to take a stab on the five category asset who is still just 29.

6.      Ryan Zimmerman - Power numbers down last year in large part to more ground balls but his batting average didn't reflect a positive change. Realistic to expect he'll put 25 out of the park if given a full year of health.

7.      Aramis Ramirez - Don't pay for the career year, don't pay for the contract year. Because of those ideologies I almost had Ramirez significantly lower. However, his 23.2% line drive rate and modest HR/FB suggest he still has plenty left in the tank. Hit 25 or more home runs in 7 of the past 8 years.

8.      Alex Rodriguez - While I'm not going to predict he'll stay healthy, if he is able to play an entire season or only miss limited time he'll be a huge steal. Yankees lineup allowed him 139 combined runs/RBIs in only 373 at-bats. Can still hit.

9.      Brett Lawrie - A little too buzzy for my taste, but should someday produce like David Wright in his prime. Not expecting that to be in 2012, or 2013 for that matter.

10.  Kevin Youkilis - Skills decline and hasn't had 500 at-bats in the past three years. Still should hit .280+ with respectable power in a potent Red Sox lineup.

11.  Michael Young - Consistency king, Swiss-army knife. Hasn't accounted for less than 500 at-bats since 2002 and will hit for a very good average in one of the league's best offenses. Pencil him in for a .300 average, 10-15 home runs, and 180+ runs/RBIs.

12.  Mark Reynolds - Tough to pull the trigger on a guy you expect a .230 average from. The counting stats will be there though and he's averaged 38 homers the last three years. Still in his prime at 28-years-old.

13.  David Freese - If you want a mid-round guy who could help your average, this is your guy. GB/FB ratio of 2.27 and a line-drive rate of 24.6 and 22 percent in 2010 and 2011 respectively suggest he'll outdo his career .298 average this season. Don't expect more than 13-18 home runs and you won't be disappointed.

14.  Martin Prado - Not sure what happened last year, .266 BABIP would suggest bad luck if he didn't hold a line drive rate of 14.6%. Previous three years his lowest mark was 19.8%. Still just 28, I'll take the body of work over the outlier 2011 season.

15.  Mat Gamel - May not qualify here in all formats but the former top prospect will finally be given a chance to play this year. Gamel's impressive track record at AAA track and the fact that he's just entering his prime at 26 makes him an enticing upside play.