A list of the top first basemen to draft for 2014 fantasy baseball.
1. Miguel Cabrera Detroit Tigers
In what has become the norm, Cabrera put together another season for the ages in 2013, besting even his 2012 Triple Crown campaign. Cabrera finished last season hitting .348/.442/.636 with 44 homers, 137 RBI and 103 runs. His 1.078 OPS was easily a career best as he paced the rest of the majors by a wide margin in the category. His plate discipline improved dramatically, bouncing back from a dip in walk rate during the 2012 season (9.8 percent), to 13.8 percent last year. And the scary part is Miggy’s season could have been even better if not for a lingering groin injury, which sapped his production at the plate in September and during the postseason. After the Tigers were ousted from the playoffs, Cabrera was diagnosed with a groin tear. He underwent surgery in late October to repair the injury, but is fully expected to be ready for spring training. To help prevent future injury risk, the Tigers are expected to slide Cabrera back over to first base following the trade of Prince Fielder to Texas in November. At age 30, Cabrera is still in the prime of his career. Barring an unforeseen setback, fantasy owners will once again want to target Cabrera near the top of the draft.
2. Jose Abreu Chicago White Sox
Abreu enters 2014 as one of the bigger mysteries of the season. The newest Cuban superstar to make the trek to MLB is a bit different than the other recent players to defect. He is less athletic than Yasiel Puig and Yoenis Cespedes, and he is also quite a bit older than Puig and a year older than Cespedes was upon his arrival two seasons ago. However, Abreu does come to the states with more alleged raw power. He hit 37 home runs in back-to-back Cuban seasons, and he hit .342/.457/.621 over 799 career games in that league. The scouting reports vary in terms of how those numbers will translate to the big leagues, and some question how he will fare against major league breaking balls. He excelled in the 2013 World Baseball Classic with three home runs and a 1.145 OPS in 25 at-bats. The variance on his projections will likely be great, but he should be projected to start at first and bat somewhere in the middle-third of the White Sox's lineup.
3. Edwin Encarnacion Toronto Blue Jays
With a second big season under his belt, Encarnacion can officially be labeled as a late bloomer rather than a fluke. He followed up his breakout 2012 campaign with an impressive 2013 season that saw him slash .272/.370/.534 on the strength of 36 home runs and a 13.2% walk rate. Perhaps the most intriguing aspect of Encarnacion's profile is that he's lowered his strikeout rate in each of the last four seasons, peaking at a 10.0% mark last season. With Jose Bautista expected to enter 2014 at full health, the Blue Jays should field one of the league's most formidable lineup pairings, and Encarnacion should be primed for another huge season provided that he recovers as expected from offseason wrist surgery.
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2014 Fantasy Rankings
Who are the top players you should be considering in your fantasy baseball drafts this year? Find out by browsing our overall rankings for 2013.
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