Monday, September 30, 2013

Fantasy Funkhouser: 2013 Season Wrap-up and 100 Predictions/Comments for 2014

Chris Davis was fantasy's breakout star in 2013. (
Fantasy Funkhouser will review all things Fantasy Baseball. After all, life is a small sample size.

I always feel bad near the end of the fantasy baseball season. I read, write, focus a lot of time and energy into it, but much like the actual baseball season, as the conclusion of the regular season approaches it becomes harder and harder to focus on. Especially when you try to write about it semi-monthly the approach, advise, and outlook of things becomes so narrowed. I mean if Craig Gentry is the 2nd most valuable player in the final two weeks of the season, what kind of advice can one really give? 

That's not to say I don't follow all of my teams through to the end. If you're going to dedicate so much time throughout the year, then it's foolish to just bail out of disinterest in the last week or so. Overall though this was a great fantasy year. I had a lot of nice calls early on, and outside of some mismanaged teams of my own, I finished in the top 3 in every league - including a clean sweep of my ESPN leagues (a championship auction and 12 team roto). Yes, I will be participating in some Yahoo! Winner's Leagues as well.

The best thing about fantasy baseball for me is that it's a perfect combination of endurance, skill, and luck to make it through a season. Predictions and hopes may be greatly exceeded or frustratingly underminded, but that's what playing this game is all about. Shockingly a lot of my predictions (the first time I've put them out for the public to see) weren't embarrassing. Even the round for round rankings I did had some decent insight. Every time a season comes to a close, I immediately miss fantasy, but at the same time you need to take a break and recharge your batteries and clear your head. 

So as we depart and before the free agents and trades and injuries and hopefully recoveries (Matt Harvey!) I want to close this season with 100 predictions/comments for 2014.

1 Mike Trout should be the #1 player taken in all drafts next year. No question.
2 Clayton Kershaw should be the #1 pitcher taken in all drafts next year. No question.
3 Chris Davis is no fluke. Even if his average dips a bit, he still has 50 HR potential. Top 10 player.
4 Yasiel Puig will be a good player, but people will draft him more for his first half of the season than his second.
5 It really was the year of the Cubans. Jose Fernandez should continue his dominance on the lowly Marlins.
6 Ryan Braun is a Top 15 player next year.
7 My starting SS in many leagues next year will be Andrelton Simmons.
8 Cliff Lee keeps on ticking. One of his best seasons to date.
9 I'm glad Manny Machado avoided serious injury, but his 2nd half slide can't be ignored. 
10 Paul Goldschmidt, welcome to the Top 10 in the fantasy ranks for a long-time coming.
11 Pedro Alvarez will join the 40 HR club next year.
12 Edwin Encarnacion will bash 40 HR's next year too.
13 Albert Pujols returns in fine form. Looking like he did his last year in St. Louis.
14 Jason Kipnis avoided a 2nd half swoon. Showed us what kind of player he is.
15 Adam Jones is always under valued, but his high K/BB rate always gives me pause.
16 Josh Hamilton is the reason Robinson Cano won't be getting $305M.
17 I think Cano stays a Yankee, unless the Dodgers really, really want him.
18 Domonic Brown was a pleasant surprise. Let's hope he's found a comfort zone in Philly.
19 I won't be completely comfortable with Giancarlo Stanton until he is out of Miami.
20 Joey Votto has become a better reality baseball player than fantasy.
21 Do not draft Brandon Phillips. He is not a top 10 2B next year.
22 It'll be interesting to see where Tim Lincecum lands.
23 Brandon Moss. Platoon star (.904) OPS against RHP.
24 Where will David Price go in the off-season? Hopefully not Texas.
25 Happy to see Eric Hosmer come into his own. I thought we'd see this next year, but he's back on track.
26 Matt Kemp should be just fine in 2014. Not as many steals, but he should come around from his shoulder issues.
27 Intrigued by Brett Lawrie at 2B, not at 3B.
28 I'd really like to see what Pablo Sandoval can do when he's in shape.
29 Stephen Strasburg will be over-drafted yet again.
30 I still believe in Anthony Rizzo.
31 Salvador Perez and Wilson Ramos. Draft them.
32 I'm not sure how long David Ortiz can keep this going, but I can't bet against him anymore.
33 The non-OF player with the 3rd highest SB total? Everth Cabrera, who was suspended for 50 games. 
34 Bryce Harper's career numbers thus far: 42 HR, 117 RBI, 29 SB, .272 AVG. Seems like a good baseline for his 2014 production.
35 Justin Verlander fixed whatever is wrong with him. He's a Top 5 pitcher next year. Better than Scherzer.
36 Still don't see Homer Bailey as an "ace" or SP2. He's just too inconsistent and gives up too many HR balls.
37 Austin Jackson fell short of my expectations and was injured yet again. Might be time to reassess him overall.
38 Not sure what to make of Jean Segura's stats declining each month of the season. Can't be a good thing.
39 I'm out on Ben Zobrist. Versatility thy name has been replaced by Matt Carpenter.
40 Justin Upton is running out of time to be great.
41 Billy Butler is who we though he was. Not that good.
42 Mike Napoli is the 2nd ranked catcher. He's the 16th ranked 1B. He won't have C-eligibility next year.
43 Minus a severe ankle injury, Jose Reyes had a great first year in Toronto.
44 Michael Bourn. Black listed.
45 Joe Mauer IGWH (Is Good When Healthy).
46 Chase Headley showed some signs of life. He's not as good as 2012, not as bad as 2013.
47 Depending on the ranks, I'd be thrilled to have Cole Hamels as my SP3 next year.
48 How'd Coors treat Nolan Arenado? I'm not buying him.
49 Avisail Garcia. Keep your eye on him.
50 Alex Rodriguez won't play an inning of baseball in the majors next year.
51 Zack Wheeler is still a couple of years away from becoming dominant.
52 Matt Moore will not be on any of my teams next year.
53 1B is not deep and there doesn't appear to be any top prospects coming along any time soon outside of a certain Cuban.
54 If Elvis Andrus can keep stealing 40+ bases then he deserves to be in the Top 60 players.
55 Pitchers will adjust to Billy Hamilton. That doesn't mean he still can't lead the league in steals. By a lot.
56 Matt Carpenter will be underdrafted next year. 
57 I'm out on Lance Lynn. Never again.
58 What Jason Heyward does in the post-season will greatly affect how I rank him in 2014.
59 Drafting a catcher early in a standard league continues to be a useless endeavour. Mike Piazza isn't walking through that door.
60 Will Venable is hitting LHP better than ever, but tends to get streaky in August. If he gets regular starts, 20/20 is one again doable.
61 Patrick Corbin overrated. James Shields underrated.
62 Not sold on Wil Myers yet. 
63 It will be tough for me to put Hanley Ramirez in my Top 10 next year, but I really want to.
64 Will Middlebrooks has earned the 3B spot in the Sox line-up next year.
65 That means Xander Bogaerts should be next to him at SS. Xander didn't produce as well as hoped, but inconsistent playing time will do that.
66 I see Bogaerts as a lesser version of Manny Machado. Not creative, I know.
67 Some other pitcher on the Marlins is getting all the attention, but don’t sleep on Nathan Eovaldi.
68 I still believe in Jeff Samardzija.
69 Ike Davis. Black listed.
70 More big production rookies are coming in early 2014.
71 Depending on what the Yankees do in the off-season, this might be the start of many missed playoffs to come.
72 Ian Desmond now has two straight 20/20 years.
73 Oswaldo Arcia. Draft him.
74 Kyle Seager completely collapsed in the last month of the season. Don't let this dissuade you from taking him.
75 Chris Johnson probably won't get drafted next year, and rightfully so.
76 Looked like Prince Fielder was due for a down year, but he straightened himself out. Would still rather have Chris Davis than him in 2014.
77 Christian Yelich will get you double digit homers and steals. If only he played 1B.
78 Matt Wieters. Offensive catchers develop late.
79 Matt Harvey will pitch in the Arizona Fall League, but due to ineffectiveness opt for Tommy John surgery.
80 No thank you to B.J. Upton. Ever.
81 Alejandro de Aza is always underrated. 
82 I still believe in Michael Saunders.
83 Jimmy Rollins is not a Top 12 SS next year.
84 Remember Nate McLouth's first half in 2013? Ride em while they're hot.
85 David Robertson could struggle as the new Yankees' closer. Not Jim Johnson struggle, but struggle.
86 Ubaldo Jimenez back? He has seemed to figure something out.
87 Jurickson Profar need playing time, but I'm not sure how he gets it on the Rangers in 2014.
88 Andrew Cashner ended the year healthy and productive.
89 Josh Donaldson is not a fraud. He's a Top 10 3B.
90 I still believe in Starlin Castro.
91 Daniel Murphy underrated.
92 There is just something I enjoy about Michael Brantley.
93 I'm shocked Freddie Freeman is this good. Last year people were saying he's better than Heyward. Turns out he might just be.
94 I'm not drafting Jonathan Papelbon.
95 Put the entire Houston Astros roster on my do not draft list in standard leagues.
96 Greg Holland has turned into the AL Craig Kimbrel.
97 The St. Louis Cardinals will be doing themselves a disservice if Matt Adams and Oscar Taveras aren't in the starting line-up on Opening Day.
98 Pitching is just so deep, and with the high rate of injuries, I'm just waiting and waiting next year. 
99 Trevor Rosenthal will be valuable in whatever role he fills in 2014.
100 Most of these will probably be wrong, but I'm already missing 2013 and looking forward to 2014.

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