Well, everyone, my rankings are done and spring training is over. The regular season even started a week ago but not many people saw. This entry is going to be about what we learned, what changed and some predictions for 2012.
Since I started my rankings with first base I think it’s fair that I start there. What I learned during spring training is that Eric Hosmer was ranked too low. I gave him a top 10 spot but he looks more like a top 5 player. I’m not willing to move him into the A-Gon/Pujols/Votto range but his .416 average, 4 steals, 29 RBIs and 5 round-trippers in 77 at-bats was much more than what I was expecting.
I ranked Miguel Cabrera first in my 1st and 3rd basemen ranking and predict he will be a top 5 fantasy pick overall. I didn’t get a #1 pick in any of my leagues this year, but if I did I would have used my pick on Miggy. He suffered an injury at 3rd earlier in spring training but he returned on Mar 30 and promptly hit two doubles. I’m much less worried about that eye injury now.
I ranked Dan Uggla 6th in my 2nd base rankings. I still feel confident about that but Uggla looks like he is in the best shape of his life. He hit 6 HRs this spring and trails his teammate Freddie Freeman by one HR for the NL lead.
When I ranked Brett Lawrie I mentioned that I thought he had tremendous ability but his inexperience is what affected his low rank. He had some groin issues this spring which may scare some owners but I think his offensive stats are much more important. He only stepped to the plate 39 times this spring but he made the most of his appearances. He batted .538 with nine extra base hits. He didn’t hit a HR yet but I’m sure his power will return when he’s totally healthy.
Another quick first/third base note is that Michael Young is batting .423 this spring. He’s tied for 2nd in the majors.
I ranked Michael Bourn as my #15 outfielder and I regret it. He is an elite base stealer but I think he’s a one-trick pony. I’m dropping him out of my top 20. I don’t think Delmon Young is Bourn’s replacement on the list but his .383 average, 6 HRs and 21 RBIs caught my eye.
1. Justin Upton is going to be really good. Maybe not the top fantasy outfielder but close and he’s my NL MVP choice. He didn’t have a great spring but I’m not worried.
2. The Royals are going to go as far as their offense takes them. I already mentioned Eric Hosmer but Lorenzo Cain has been incredible this spring and I’m high on Moustakas. Pitching and injuries (Soria and Perez) will be their downfall
3. Dee Gordon should have been ranked on my shortstop list. He should be on the list and Erick Aybar can move up while Hardy and Ramirez can compete for the 10 spot.
4. Yoenis Cespedes will be pretty good this year. Not great but he’ll have some fantasy value. The A’s will not be great and Cespedes will be under the radar because of them.
5. The Phillies will be the opposite of the Royals. Their pitching will carry them. Pence will be great while Victorino and Rollins try to step their games up to keep the Phils out of the loss column.