Fantasy Baseball preview: Ranking the top 100

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Fantasy Baseball preview: Ranking the top 100
March 17, 2014, 10:00 am
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Based on standard 5x5 scoring leagues, we're ranking Mike Trout atop the list of MLB's top 200. (USA Today Images)

With baseball season less than two weeks away and most fantasy baseball drafts taking place over the next 10 days, we conclude our preview series with a look at the top 200 players.

Today, we rank players 1-100.

The rankings below are based on standard 5x5 scoring leagues that count Batting average, runs, home runs, RBIs and stolen bases for offensive players, and wins, ERA, WHIP, strikeouts and saves for pitchers.

Most leagues treat all outfielders as one position, but we've broken them down by LF, CF and RF in case your league specifies. 

1. Mike Trout, LF/CF (LAA)

2. Miguel Cabrera, 3B (Det)

3. Andrew McCutchen, CF (Pit)

4. Robinson Cano, 2B (Sea)

5. Ryan Braun, LF (Mil)

6. Joey Votto, 1B (Cin)

7. Paul Goldschmidt 1B (Arz)

8. Carlos Gonzalez, LF (Col)

9. Clayton Kershaw, SP (LAD)

10. Chris Davis, 1B (Bal)

11. Troy Tulowitzki, SS (Col)

12. Adrian Beltre, 3B (Tex)

13. Adam Jones, CF (Bal)

14. Prince Fielder, 1B (Tex)

15. Bryce Harper, LF/CF/RF (Was)

16. Jason Kipnis, 2B (Cle)

17. Edwin Encarnacion, 1B/3B (Tor)

18. Giancarlo Stanton, RF (Mia)

19. Yu Darvish, SP (Tex)

20. Carlos Gomez, CF (Mil)

21. Hanley Ramirez, SS (LAD)

22. Evan Longoria, 3B (TB)

23. David Wright, 3B (NYM)

24. Felix Hernandez, SP (Sea)

25. Jose Bautista, RF (Tor)


· Important position changes: Miguel Cabrera will also be eligible at first base after the first week of play; Carlos Gonzalez is no longer CF eligible, at least to start the season; Jose Bautista has lost his 3B eligibility.

· Beltre and Fielder may be ranked a bit high, but consider that they're batting behind on-base machine Shin-Soo Choo and speedster Elvis Andrus. Both Rangers corner infielders will have plenty of RBI opportunities, with whoever bats third scoring more runs and whoever bats fourth getting more RBIs.

· I'm not sold on taking Darvish or Hernandez in the 19-25 range, but I have them there because the offensive talent is also a bit uninspiring. Ramirez, Wright and Bautista are always injury risks; Gomez has been a stud for just one year; and Longoria has always been better in real life than in fantasy.

26. Shin-Soo Choo, CF (Tex)

27. Freddie Freeman, 1B (Atl)

28. Jose Reyes, SS (Tor)

29. Buster Posey, C/1B (SF)

30. Cliff Lee, SP (Phi)

31. Adam Wainwright, SP (StL)

32. Albert Pujols, 1B (LAA)

33. Dustin Pedroia, 2B (Bos)

34. Matt Holliday, LF (StL)

35. David Ortiz, 1B (Bos)

36. Jose Fernandez, SP (Mia)

37. David Price, SP (TB)

38. Stephen Strasburg, SP (Was)

39. Max Scherzer, SP (Det)

40. Ian Desmond, SS (Was)

41. Jacoby Ellsbury, CF (NYY)

42. Jean Segura, SS (Mil)

43. Jay Bruce, RF (Cin)

44. Starling Marte, LF/CF (Pit)

45. Chris Sale, SP (CHW)

46. Madison Bumgarner, SP (SF)

47. Justin Verlander, SP (Det)

48. Ian Kinsler, 2B (Det)

49. Allen Craig, 1B/LF/RF (StL)

50. Yoenis Cespedes, LF/CF (Oak)


· Cliff Lee and Adam Wainwright are as consistent as it gets, and consistency is why I have them about five spots ahead of Jose Fernandez (did it for one year), David Price (injuries in 2013), Stephen Strasburg (health risks) and Max Scherzer. 

But there isn't much separation between Lee (my fourth-ranked SP) and Madison Bumgarner (No. 11 SP).

· Allen Craig's first base/outfield eligibility, high batting average, knack for driving in runs and placement in a solid lineup make him a valuable, underrated fantasy asset.

· If Yoenis Cespedes is going to put it all together, you'd think it would be in Year 3. 

51. Yasiel Puig, CF/RF (LAD)

52. Joe Mauer, C/1B (Min)

53. Matt Carpenter, 2B/3B (StL)

54. Jason Heyward, CF/RF (Atl)

55. Justin Upton, LF/RF (Atl)

56. Jordan Zimmermann, SP (Was)

57. Adrian Gonzalez, 1B (LAD)

58. Wil Myers, CF/RF (TB)

59. Carlos Santana, C/1B (Cle)

60. Craig Kimbrel, RP (Atl)

61. Alex Rios, RF (Tex)

62. Mat Latos, SP (Cin)

63. Homer Bailey, SP (Cin)

64. Hunter Pence, RF (SF)

65. Zack Greinke, SP (LAD)

66. Yadier Molina, C (StL)

67. Josh Donaldson, 3B (Oak)

68. Josh Hamilton, LF/CF/RF (LAA)

69. Eric Hosmer, 1B (KC)

70. Matt Cain, SP (SF)

71. James Shields, SP (KC)

72. Doug Fister, SP (Was)

73. Ryan Zimmerman, 3B (Was)

74. Billy Hamilton, CF (Cin)

75. Billy Butler, 1B (KC)


· Not nearly as high on Yasiel Puig as most others. As the season went on and pitchers focused more on jamming him in, his batting average declined. 

· This is the year to snag Joe Mauer, because he'll still have catcher eligibility despite playing first base full-time. That's a major bonus, because it also means he'll play more than he did when the Twins were worried about nicks and bruises behind the plate.

· Carlos Santana will likely be eligibile at 3B in addition to C/1B. The Indians plan to play him at third base at least part-time.

· Wouldn't be surprised to see Homer Bailey make the leap from "very good" to "ace" this season.

· Josh Hamilton had a pitiful 2013, but faces less pressure this season, and is still a power bat in a formidable AL lineup.

76. Manny Machado, 3B (Bal)

77. Mark Trumbo, 1B/LF/RF (Arz)

78. Masahiro Tanaka, SP (NYY)

79. Jered Weaver, SP (LAA)

80. Pedro Alvarez, 3B (Pit)

81. Alex Gordon, LF (KC)

82. Elvis Andrus, SS (Tex)

83. Matt Kemp, CF (LAD)

84. Ben Zobrist, 2B/SS/RF (TB)

85. Carlos Beltran, RF (NYY)

86. Koji Uehara, RP (Bos)

87. Aroldis Chapman, RP (Cin)

88. Anibal Sanchez, SP (Det)

89. Gio Gonzalez, SP (Was)

90. Kenley Jansen, RP (LAD)

91. Austin Jackson, CF (Det) 

92. Shane Victorino, CF/RF (Bos)

93. Brett Lawrie, 2B/3B (Tor)

94. Pablo Sandoval, 3B (SF)

95. Jayson Werth, RF (Was)

96. Greg Holland, RP (KC)

97. Gerrit Cole, SP (Pit)

98. Michael Wacha, SP (StL)

99. Shelby Miller, SP (StL)

100. Curtis Granderson, LF/CF/RF (NYM)


· Jered Weaver is way under the radar after missing 8-10 starts last season. Still had solid numbers -- 3.27 ERA, 1.14 WHIP.

· Austin Jackson projects to bat fifth in the Tigers' lineup, behind Ian Kinsler, Torii Hunter, Cabrera and Victor Martinez. That's a lot of RBI opportunities, and Jackson has always been better suited for that kind of role than the leadoff spot.

· Like Brett Lawrie a lot this year. Eligible at two relatively thin positions, and if he ever plays a full season, has the ability to hit .280 with 22-25 homers and maybe 20 steals.

· Also really like Victorino, who will lead off in Boston with Jacoby Ellsbury gone. Could see Victorino batting .286 with 14 homers, 70 RBIs, 100 runs and 25 steals.

Coming tomorrow: Players 101-200