On Saturday, I mentioned on Twitter that Reds first baseman Joey Votto may be a little overrated in fantasy leagues due to his low home run and RBI totals. I wrote about the same in Sunday's Roto Roundup as well. I received a lot of responses, which I expected, as Votto is a favorite of many in fantasy circles. Don't get me wrong, he is very valuable in leagues where OBP and OPS are used as scoring categories, but in standard 5 x 5 leagues, he provides excellent value in runs scored and batting average, and that is it. Maybe this will change down the road, but right now, his home run and RBI totals diminish his value a bit, and knock him into the mid-second round for me.
Today, I am going to take an early look at my top 20 hitters for 2014, along with some brief comments on each. So, let's dive in.
Top 20 Hitters for 2014
1. MIguel Cabrera, DET
Best hitter in the game, capable of winning the Triple Crown categories for the next few seasons.
2. Mike Trout, LAA
Could be the best fantasy hitter over the next decade, capable of hitting 25-30 home runs and stealing 40+ bases in any given season.
3. Chris Davis, BAL
Davis proved his 2012 breakout season was no fluke and currently leads the majors in home runs with 46, and is second in runs scored and RBI. Barring injury, he could put up another 40 home run season in 2014.
4. Carlos Gonzalez, COL
He is injury prone, but hits in a hitters park, hitting for average, and had put up 20+ home runs and 20+ stolen bases four times in his career.
5. Ryan Braun, MIL
Oh, he has risk. We don't know how long Braun has been using PEDS, right? Well, I think he will be hell-bent on proving himself to his team, his coaches, the Brewers fans and other players in baseball.
6. Troy Tulowitzki, COL
For me, he and Hanley Ramirez are the top two fantasy shortstops, but both have proven to be injury prone. Tulo is capable of a 30-100-.290 season every year.
7. Andrew McCutchen, PIT
Not many hitters are as consistent as McCutchen is. McCuthen is on pace for his third consecutive 20-20 season.
8. Hanley Ramirez, LAD
One of the top two fantasy shortstops in the game. Projecting his 2013 stats over a full season puts him at 30 HRs and 100 RBI with 20 stolen bases.
9. Paul Goldschmidt, ARI
Goldschmidt is now one of the top power hitters in the game, and will rank as my 2nd ranked fantasy first baseman for 2014 behind Chris Davis.
10. Robinson Cano, NYY
Coming into the season, Cano was the number one fantasy second baseman for the last three years, but he now has competition from the hitter just below. Cano will be a free agent at the end of the season, and should he leave New York for another team, he may fall out of my top 20 hitter rankings.
11. Adrian Beltre, TEX
Beltre is one of the more consistent hitting hitters in baseball, and age has yet to catch up to him. He is on pace for another 30-100-.300 season for the second straight season, and just missed by .004 in batting average in 2011.
12. Edwin Encarnacion, TOR
Encarnacion is another hitter proving his 2012 breakout is for real, and is on pace to duplicate his 42 HR, 110 RBI 2012 season.
13. David Wright, NYM
Wright is always good for solid power, speed and batting average and will probably rank third in my third base rankings heading into 2014, just behind Miguel Cabrera and Adrian Beltre.
14. Bryce Harper, WAS
I projected Harper to put up a 25 HR, 25 stolen base season in 2013, then he ran full speed into the right field wall at Dodger Stadium, missing a month of the season. I will project the same in 2014, with a chance for 30 bombs.
15. Giancarlo Stanton, MIA
This list is filled with guys who can't stay healthy and Stanton might be at the top of the list alongside Tulowitzki. In a year where he can stay healthy and play 150 games, Stanton is a slam dunk for 40+ home runs, with a chance at 50. Best power hitter in the game. When healthy.
16. Jason Kipnis, CLE
I will probably go back and forth about 50 times before our 2014 consensus position rankings are published in January about who to rank as my #1 fantasy second baseman: Kipnis or Cano. I am leaning Kipnis due to the overall power-combo he provides.
17. Joey Votto, CIN
I have discussed Votto above, so I won't rehash my thoughts about him here.
18. Matt Kemp, LAD
i think Kemp's shoulder injury affected him all season, and he couldn't stay healthy in 2013. I think he returns to the 2011 Matt Kemp next season with 30 HRs and 20 stolen bases.
19. Adam Jones, BAL
Jones proved that his 2012 season was for real and is pace for a career high in home runs, runs scored, RBI and stolen bases.
20. Evan Longoria, TB
Longoria is on pace for a career high in home runs and strikeouts this season, but if he ever puts it all together, he could duplicate what Beltre is doing for Texas.
21. Jose Bautista, TOR
Bautista is one of the more consistent power hitters in the game, but is beginning to show his age as he has missed time due to injury a few times this season.
22. Carlos Gomez, MIL
Gomez has quietly put up another terrific season at the plate, and is on pace for a 20+ HR, 35+ stolen base season for the first time in his career.
23. Yasiel Puig, LAD
Well, we will certainly find out whether his 2013 rookie season was for real or not in 2014. Puig has all the tools to put up a 20-20- season with a .300 batting average for several seasons.
24. Buster Posey, SFG
Posey is the best fantasy catcher in the game, but the power is down this season, but he still hits for a high average, and is on pace for 17 home runs and 80 RBI.
25. Jacoby Ellsbury, BOS
Ellsbury is a free agent at the end of this season, so there is no telling where he will land. Ellsbury is on pace for 50+ stolen bases, leading the major leagues, and 100+ runs scored. Depending on where he lands will determine whether he stays in the top 25, moves up or drops out altogether.