This is part one of three in a 2012 season’s end report on fantasy baseball. The first installment will be the top overall producers at each position, the second installment will be the bust’s at each position, and the third installment will be the overachiever’s that more than likely put a lot of fantasy teams over the top. I will choose a C, 1B, 2B, 3B, SS, 3 OF’s, a SP, and a RP to fill out the team. I hope you enjoy it!
Catcher MVP: Buster Posey
This is a great starting point because I was totally wrong about Buster Posey. I didn’t think he would have such a great season coming off a 2011 where he only played in 45 games. I thought he would struggle for most of the 2012 campaign and not gain full strength until 2013. Boy was I wrong. Posey managed to hit .336/.408/.549 with 24 home runs and 103 RBI’s. That is just incredible. This is no doubt the top catcher headed into 2013 and you should feel confident drafting him as early as the third round. He’s a stud.
First Base MVP: Miguel Cabrera
I chose Miguel Cabrera at First Base instead of Third Base for a specific reason. Scroll down three spots and you’ll see why. The guy that could have swapped spots with Cabrera ended up qualifying at First Base for next season, while Miggy C staked his claim at third going into 2013. What can anyone say about Miguel Cabrera though? He won the Triple Crown! With a line of .330/44/139, I challenge you to find me a surer bet in Fantasy Baseball on a year-in, year-out basis. I had Cabrera ranked number one headed into 2012 and even though Mike Trout and Ryan Braun produced better overall fantasy numbers, I don’t regret that ranking.
Second Base MVP: Robinson Cano
This should come as no surprise, Robbie Cano is a sure and steady as they come. He (along with Cabrera) come with the least amount of question marks for first round picks. With Cano you know what you’re going to get, a .300 average, 28 homers, with 100 runs and 100 RBI’s. Cano’s power was up slightly this season as he hit a career high 33 home runs. At the same time, he failed to eclipse the 100 mark in RBI’s. I know firsthand that he put a lot of teams over the top in the final week of the season. Between September 25th and October 3rd he batted .615/.628/1.026. He was absolutely on fire the final week of the season! Too bad that hasn’t translated in the playoffs to this point (.091 through 5 games). Nonetheless, Cano is a no-brainer first round pick next year and his consistency alone makes him a possible top 5 pick.
Third Base MVP: Edwin Encarnacion
If you follow me on Twitter (@askrotobaseball), you know I’m a huge Edwin Encarnacion fan. Boy, did he finally come into his own in 2012. He clubbed 42 home runs to go with his 110 RBI’s and most impressively (to me) was his 84/94 BB/K rate (0.89). I love guys that get on base and E5 did exactly that. He had a career year in 2012, but the real question is whether he can carry that over to 2013. I say yes. I’m a true believer in Encarnacion and wouldn’t think twice about drafting him in the mid-late second round. I think he’s figured it out and much like his teammate Jose Bautista, he figured it out late and he’s primed to become a fantasy force. Remember though, he’s only eligible at first next season.
Shortstop MVP: Jose Reyes
This was super close, as I almost named Ian Desmond my Shortstop MVP. I went with Reyes because he played in 160 games this season and swiped 40 bags. He even chipped in with 11 home runs which is decent for a guy whose career high in homers is 19. It’s a shame that Desmond battled injuries all season because he could have had a real shot at reaching 30/30. Even as I type this I think I may have made the wrong choice, but I’ll stick with it. Reyes is a steady player that should at the very least get 40 plus steals with a solid average and a lot of runs scored, year in and year out. Don’t be scared to draft him by the third or fourth round next season. Shortstop is still weak.
Honorable Mention: Ian Desmond, Ben Zobrist
Outfield MVP(s): Ryan Braun, Mike Trout, Andrew McCutchen
It wouldn’t surprised me if any combination of these three players took the top three spots in any Fantasy Baseball draft in 2013. All three possess what is the most coveted attribute you want in your first round pick, 5-tools. All three players hit .319 or higher, stole 20 or more bases, and hit 30 or more home runs. Could they be the top three outfielders next year? Possibly. You have to expect bounce back campaigns from Matt Kemp and Justin Upton, not to mention usual solid seasons from other studs in the crop like Carlos Gonzalez, Josh Hamilton, and Giancarlo Stanton. If I had to pick right now, I’d probably draft Trout first overall, but the safe pick is certainly Braun.
Starting Pitcher MVP: R.A. Dickey
He captured the NL CY Young award, though I think a strong argument could have been made for Clayton Kershaw. With that said, overall, I think he was the best Starting Pitcher in 2012 from a fantasy perspective. Though Wins are overrated they are important in Fantasy Baseball and Dickey won 20 games. The most glaring stats that put him over the top for this spot were his 230 strikeouts and his stellar 1.05 WHIP. Fantastic stats all while playing for the Mets! Can he even come close to these stats next year? Probably not. Especially if he gets traded. Keep in mind Robert Allen Dickey is 37, but due to the fact that he is a knuckleball pitcher, he could pitch several more years and be very successful. He’ll probably get over-drafted next year and I’d let someone else take that chance on him before I’d hedge my bet on a repeat performance.
Relief Pitcher MVP: Craig Kimbrel
To put it quite simply, Craig Kimbrel is a machine. In 2012, he dropped his ERA from 2.12 to 1.01 and his WHIP from 1.04 to 0.65. That is practically defining “unhittable”. Speaking of hits, he only gave up 27 in 62 2/3 innings pitched! He fell 11 strikeouts (116) shy of his 2011 total (127) and had four less saves from 2011 to 2012 (46-42), but it didn’t really matter, especially with those huge drops in ERA and WHIP. When it came to the rest of the Relief Pitchers in baseball, no one else was really THAT close. Aroldis Chapman was the closest to Kimbrel, but he missed a lot of September with shoulder fatigue. Fernando Rodney had one heck of a year, but he lacked the K’s. Both were excellent, but there is no doubt that Craig Kimbrel was the unequivocal best reliever in Fantasy Baseball this past year.
Honorable Mention(s): Aroldis Chapman, Fernando Rodney
Next up will be the 2012 Fantasy Baseball busts at each position. They should be out within the next week.
Filed under: Digging Deep - Analysis, Fantasy Tagged: | Andrew McCutchen, Buster Posey, Craig Kimbrel, Edwin Encarnacion, Fantasy, Jose Reyes, Miguel Cabrera, Mike Trout, R.A. Dickey, Robinson Cano, Roto, Ryan Braun