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Fantasy Baseball Hitter Rankings: Paul Goldschmidt Is A Legit MVP Candidate
Since the 2014 preliminary keeper/dynasty rankings for Starting Pitchers were published last week, we have had two developments. First, Matt Harvey decided to rehabilitate his arm rather than undergo surgery. He came in at No. 40 on the list because of the injury concern and the fact that he may miss all of 2014. If rehab goes well, he will be moved back up, but still not likely as high as he would have been. Second, the Royals called up Yordano Ventura. He has the talent to be a Fantasy ace, flashing a big fastball and promising secondary offerings. He made his debut Tuesday night, yielding one run along with three Ks in 5.2 innings. In the third inning he ‘touched’ 102.8 MPH on the radar gun, which is one of the fastest pitches ever thrown. He will rank inside the Top 50 the next time the list is updated later this offseason. Let us now discuss the updated hitter rankings for keeper/dynasty leagues.
No. 8 – C Jonathan Lucroy – In a lost season, Lucroy and breakthrough star Jean Segura are two of the only bright spots in the Brewers lineup. In 2011, Lucroy had a solid season in which he hit 12 HRs with 59 RBI and 45 Runs. The following season, he had almost identical counting stats (despite playing in 40 fewer games) with one major difference – his average jumped from .265 to .320. This year, the average has come back down to earth, settling in at a very respectable .279, but he has shown more power with 17 HRs and 78 RBI. While not a top talent, the 27-year-old should be a reliable starting backstop for the next 2-4 years.
No. 1 – 1B Paul Goldschmidt – After a 20 HR / 18 SB season, much was expected of Goldschmidt in 2013. He has delivered in a big way, becoming perhaps the best first baseman in the game and a legitimate NL MVP candidate. He has launched 33 HRs, scored 96 Runs, knocked in 116 and swiped 14 bases. Oh, and he has managed a .303/.405/.551 triple slash line. He does have even more upside in the power department and could push for 40-plus homers in the next few seasons. He is an elite talent.
No. 6 – 2B Jose Altuve – Altuve stands at all of 5’5” and weighs just 175 lbs., but he has big-time upside for your dynasty team. After putting himself on the map with an impressive 2011 season, Altuve has not taken the next step towards Fantasy stardom just yet. He does have solid extra base power and can hit for average, in addition to swiping 68 bases over the past two seasons. The 23-year-old has the potential to hit HRs in the low double-digits as he matures, along with at least 30 SBs annually. The counting stats are low because of the talent around him is subpar. He will be leading the youth movement in Houston and could be sitting at the top of a potent lineup in a couple of seasons. If you have a void at 2B and are in need of stolen bases, Altuve could be a target for you this offseason.
No. 4 – SS Xander Bogaerts – Bogaerts will enter next season as perhaps the top prospect in all of baseball. He made his debut this August, playing sparingly at both third and short. He profiles as an elite shortstop with a lightning quick bat and the ability to hit for above-average power. He does not turn 21 until October and has a very real shot at winning a starting job with the Red Sox out of spring training next year. This aggressive ranking is based on his upside at the position and he could find himself atop the list within the next two seasons. His price in keeper/dynasty leagues is only going to go up.
No. 2 – 3B Manny Machado – Machado made an immediate impact when the Orioles called him up last season as a 20-year-old. He hit seven HRs, swiped two bases, scored 24 runs and drove in 26 over 51 games. Many questioned whether he was ready to be a regular Fantasy contributor this season, but Machado has addressed those concerns with his play. In addition to 86 Runs, 71 RBI and 14 HRs, he has crushed 51 Doubles and hit for an impressive .289 average. The doubles will turn into home runs and Machado could be a regular .300 hitter with 25-plus HRs per season in his prime. The biggest question with his game is whether or not he will move over to shortstop or stay at 3B? It really does not matter; he is already showing flashes of being one of the game’s best.
No. 6 OF Yasiel Puig – Puig may be the story of the year as far as young hitters go. The Cuban defector lit up Dodgers camp this spring, but was assigned to Double-A to start the year. That did not last long, and after 40 games, he found himself in the majors. His debut month, June, was the stuff of legend. He hit .436 with seven HRs, 16 RBI, 19 Runs and four steals in 101 at-bats. While he would obviously cool off after the fast start, Puig has continued to impress. Bouts with immaturity and lack of hustle have found him at times in Don Mattingly’s doghouse, but Puig has too much talent to keep off the field long. With an improved approach at the plate and refinement of his SB technique, his game could be downright scary. His ceiling is one of the highest in baseball, right there with Mike Trout and Bryce Harper. If his owner in your league is looking to sell ‘high’, overpay for him with a smile.
No. 15 OF Carlos Gomez – Not everyone was on board the Gomez hype train this offseason, even after his impressive 19 HR / 37 SB campaign in 2011. He had teased before, having been on the prospect scene since 2004. After years of disappointment in the majors, he had a breakthrough last year and it seemed too good to be true. He still was not walking a lot or hitting for much average, but his defense and power/speed combination made it tolerable for the Brewers. This year, he set out to prove that he was the real deal, and I am sold. He has gotten even better, hitting .286 with 20 HRs and 36 SBs so far this season. Once an elite prospect, Gomez is rewarding extremely patient owners by fulfilling his vast Fantasy potential.
No. 30 OF Oswaldo Arcia –After trading away Justin Morneau and watching golden boy Joe Mauer battle through injuries, there has not been much to cheer about in Minnesota this season. That is where Arcia comes in…giving Twins fans a glimmer of future hope with his middle of the order potential. He has appeared in 91 games thus far in his rookie season, hitting 12 HRs with 31 Runs and 35 RBI. In time, he should hit for above-average power, drive in a boatload of runs and give you a solid batting average. He is never going to be considered an upper echelon Fantasy talent, but his hit tool should lead to plenty of production. By 2015, a 3-4-5 of Byron Buxton, Miguel Sano and Arcia could be one of the game’s scariest trios.
DYNASTY/KEEPER POSITIONAL RANKINGS
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