Originally written February 04, 2013 on Taking Bad Schotz:
We’re about to hit February in the new year, and before you know it pitchers and catchers will be reporting to camps. The month of spring training games seems to blow by each year, and we’ll hear “Play Ball” sooner rather than later. With the new season brings new fantasy seasons, making each manager think this year is their year. Take these guys to help win your league’s fantasy championship.  1) Mike Trout – OF – Angels: Is this even a question? Mike Trout is hands down the best player in baseball and he’s only been able to (legally) throw down brews with the rest of the gang for a couple months. His combination of speed, power, and average is truly unheard of from players these days. It’s almost a lock, barring injury, that he’s going to net you a .300 average with 50 steals and 30 homeruns, and that’s on the low end of the spectrum. The kid is a superstar and he better be the first player taken in every draft. via mashable.com 2) Ryan Braun – OF – Brewers: If you still correlate Ryan Braun with the scandal of his MVP season, go home, you’re drunk. Braun has put together back-to-back 30-30 years, and there’s no reason for that to change this season. Those types of players are heralded by MLB teams, and should be by your fantasy team as well. When you draft guys with power-speed combos, it really frees up the rest of your picks to go take a specialist later in the draft. via tumblr 3) Miguel Cabrera – 1B/3B – Tigers: Even though the Triple Crown is the most overrated stat in baseball, it’s damn impressive that someone could pull it off. Cabrera is such a pure hitter, and can spank the ball all around the yard. He’s going to give you tremendous amounts of power numbers to go along with one of the top averages in the game, like he does each year. Safely expect 40 HR / 120 RBI with Miggy, but he won’t help you on the base paths like the guys above him on the list. Photo Credit: AP 4) Andrew McCutchen – OF – Pirates: Cutch has that lethal power-speed combo, but still has a little catching up to do with Braun and Trout. He’s as exciting to watch as any player in the game, as he glides around the outfield and base paths, definitely one of the fastest guys in baseball. His power has increased each year he’s been in the bigs, and I think this is the season he finally breaks the 30-30 mark. The MLB 13: The Show cover athlete is a great guy to build your team around. via blogs.suntimes.com 5) Albert Pujols – 1B – Angels: What? This guy played miserably last year. And what were those numbers? Pujols hit .285 last season, with 30 HR, 50 2B, and 105 RBI. IN A DOWN YEAR. Expect Pujols to be back to his MVP type numbers this year, hitting in the middle of one of the best lineups in baseball that features phenom Mike Trout, rising star Mark Trumbo, and the biggest free agent signing this offseason in Josh Hamilton. If you believe in the protection factor, does it get better than this for Albert? Big years are ahead for all four of those players mentioned. Photo Credit: DARRON CUMMINGS/AP 6) Jose Bautista – OF – Blue Jays: There may not be another hitter in the league with as much raw power as Bautista. Everything seems to be checking out for Jose health wise, and there’s no reason for him not to go back to leading the league in dingers. In fewer than 100 games last year, Bautista still managed to put almost 30 over the fence. He may not hit for the greatest average, expect him around the .265 mark, but his power is too great to pass up. The mega-trade that GM Alex Anthopolous pulled off only adds more weapons to the Jays lineup, and will increase Bautista’s fantasy value. Photo Credit: Nathan Denette/Canadian Press 7) Matt Kemp – OF – Dodgers: It’s easy to see the ridiculous amounts of talent that Kemp has, evidenced by his 2011 campaign, where he was a homer away from a ridiculous 40-40 year. But now injuries are somewhat a concern for Kemp. They impacted his swing and ability to swipe bags last year, and he had offseason shoulder surgery, which doesn’t help the cause. When he’s at 100%, there aren’t many that are better than Kemp. How much will we get to see of that this year? via larrybrownsports.com 8) Robinson Cano – 2B – Yankees: Cano is the epitome of consistent, hitting over .300 with 25 homers and 100 runs scored each of the past four seasons. The Yankees lineup isn’t as stacked as it has been in recent years, but you know what you’re going to get from Cano. He doesn’t run much for a middle infielder, but more than makes up for it with the bat. Cano is easily the best fantasy 2B and worth your first pick. Photo Credit: KEIVOM/NEWS 9) Carlos Gonzalez – OF – Rockies: CarGo is coming of three straight 20-20 seasons and all signs point towards him doing it again. It looks as if his wrist is finally at 100%, and teammate superstar Troy Tulowitzki is back in the lineup from his groin injury. You’re not going to find many 3-4 combos better than that duo.  It was just a couple years ago they combined for 61 homeruns and 212 RBI. If everyone in the Rockies lineup can stay healthy, these numbers can be reached again, with Gonzalez leading the way. Photo Credit: Tim Heitman-US PRESSWIRE The next 5: Prince Fielder, Evan Longoria, Giancarlo Stanton, Justin Upton, Clayton Kershaw -Edwards
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