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Tim Dierkes' Picks For 2014 - Position Players

All four of my drafts and auctions are in the books, and before the season begins in earnest I'm going to put down all my favorites for 2014.  It will be fun to look back in October and see how I did.

Catchers

The RotoAuthority League has 12 teams and two catcher spots for each, and historically, the best players at the position have come off the board extremely early.  In 2013 most of the top-tier catchers went in the sixth round; this year most were getting snapped up in the fifth.  Even though I had taken Buster Posey at #29 overall, I found Jonathan Lucroy hard to pass up at #77 in the seventh round.  I think Lucroy is on par with bigger names like Carlos Santana, Wilin Rosario, Yadier Molina, Brian McCann, and Joe Mauer.  For those seeking later value at the position, my picks are Wilson Ramos and Yan Gomes.

First basemen

There is profit to be had with Edwin Encarnacion outside of the first round, as he's a first-round talent if healthy.  Eric Hosmer has five-category potential in the fourth round or later.  But the biggest profit may come from Jose Abreu, who I feel has top five potential at the position this year.  I believe in Anthony Rizzo as well.  Chicago bias, maybe.

Second basemen

Aaron Hill is on a lot of my teams.  I'd rank him seventh or eighth at the position, but he typically goes after guys like Brandon Phillips, Brett Lawrie, Martin Prado, and sometimes Jedd Gyorko.  I'm also a big fan of Brad Miller to fill my MI spot.  Dustin Ackley and Anthony Rendon are a couple of good end-of-the-draft wild cards.

Shortstops

I was pretty high on Jose Reyes as a fourth or even third-round pick, as we all know he can be a #1 shortstop in a full season.  Then his recent hamstring injury shook me out of my haze; I'd rather let someone else take the risk.  The remaining value at shortstop is in what I'd call the Elvis Andrus-lite type guys, Everth Cabrera and, to a lesser degree, Jonathan Villar.  40-60 steals, no power, and hopefully batting average and run numbers that don't hurt you too much.  Villar's average should hurt, though.  I hate drafting unbalanced players, but Ian Desmond is going too early these days.  Javier Baez projects to go deep at a 40 home run pace once he comes up, and he's worth rostering in the endgame in case the Cubs choose to go to him in late April or May rather than the more likely June.

Third base

I've mentioned Encarnacion, and I also think David Wright is a solid second-round pick despite the health gamble.  In some leagues Pedro Alvarez's low batting average drives him down further it should and profit can be made, but generally I fill this position early rather than overpay for a Matt Carpenter, Ryan Zimmerman, or Josh Donaldson.  In the end game, I like to take Todd Frazier.

Outfield

I think the backlash is a little strong on Domonic Brown, who is still a solid second or third outfielder.  Nelson Cruz still has 35 home run potential.  Kole Calhoun is a 20 home run, 15 steal candidate, and Khris Davis could hit 25 bombs.  Calhoun and Davis are pretty typical sleepers, but I think it's justified since you can get them late.  If you're willing to roster him for potentially a couple of months, George Springer should break in at a 30/30 pace.  Both Springer and Baez seem likely to hit worse than .250, however.


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