|Giancarlo Stanton won't have many MLB worthy players around him, but he's a one man show. (Getty)|
After reviewing my first ranks for the Top 12 players, something struck me. What struck me though was one of those things where when I had the epiphany I wasn't sure if it as one of those things where everyone already knew this/had this idea or I had found clarity in unlocking this mystery of the universe.
Like when you only wash your jeans once every couple of months unless there's a noticeable stain or smell on them. You think you may be the only one that does this, but in reality ... everyone does this.
So when I reviewed my ranks, and recalled how annoyed I would be when other fantasy rankings would be, by and large, by the book - I always found that boring. If these analysts like a certain player, then why not show it? Make a note that I'm expecting this player to finish way above expectations - so that's why I ranked him 8th and not 38th like everyone else has them.
When I had done rankings more or less by the book - I realized that what I'm ranking isn't how I think these players will finish the season, but rather where I would draft these players if I did a draft today. I may think that Manny Machado will have a huge year and be the next Mike Trout, but I wouldn't rank him in my top 12 based on that. If I truly thought that about Machado, then I'd just take him rounds and rounds earlier than anyone projected him.
Aside from certain concessions, like moving Joey Votto to 4th and ranking Robinson Cano (initially at 11, but now) in the 8th spot make my rankings unique in certain ways, but even if I would bet my life that Machado is destined for 30/30, I wouldn't pick him above either of those guys. Only early enough to secure his services. It's really about drafting value, not drafting where you think a player will end up.
That really helped put things in perspective for me. Not necessarily in my Top 25, but further down my rankings approaching the 100's. So do I think Stephen Strasburg can end up the #1 SP in fantasy this year? I do. Would I draft him and his risk factors ahead of proven players like the 3 SP's I have in front of him? No. For some people, Strasburg's upside might be worth that risk.
The only other notable ranking, at least I think, is valuing Justin Upton at 17. At this point, heading into 2013 - you're either on the Justin Upton bandwagon or not. There have been stories about his production, trade value, and potential that cover every possible outcome. There's no telling how this saga will end, but while I have been discouraged by a lot of the Upton stuff, I still think he can be a superstar fantasy player. His initial career arch of multiple MVP's may never happen, but I'd be surprised if he slipped and became an average baseball player. Where he ends up getting traded will certainly have some affect on his stats, but at this point any move away from Arizona would be welcomed. I can't imagine he'd be happy or still want to play for this team.
A lot of the early projections I see have him slightly improving on his year last year; bringing that homerun total over 25 and approaching 100 RBI and 20 steals. Those are conservative estimates based on how down his 2012 was from 2011. If he really was hampered by injury for most of the season (he posted an .898 OPS in September) then he could easily regain his value as a top 10 pick. This is a big year for him though. There's been a lot of distractions, and it will be telling to see how the 25 year-old handles them. Hopefully the D-Backs move him to greener pastures.