Complete 2014 Projections

Position: All | Batters | Pitchers | C | 1B | 2B | 3B | SS | 2B/SS | 1B/3B | OF | DH | SP | RP
     
PROJECTED 2014 SEASON STATS
1. Miguel Cabrera, Det 3B, 1B, DHYEARABRHRRBIBBKSBAVGOBPSLGOPS
2013 Statistics5551034413790943.348.442.6361.078
2014 Projections5951034412785993.328.413.6081.021
2014 Outlook: Arguably the most skilled hitter in the game today, Cabrera in 2013 came within a Chris Davis power surge -- specifically within nine home runs and one RBI of Davis -- of a second consecutive Triple Crown, something no player in baseball history has done. Cabrera's elite and balanced numbers in those three categories, which comprise three-fifths of the standard rotisserie departments, are unrivaled: He has led all major leaguers in batting average in two of the past three years (2011 and 2013), RBIs in two of the past four (2010 and 2012), and home runs in 2012; and in the past five seasons combined he batted seven points higher, hit 17 more homers and drove in 52 more runs than anyone else. What's more, Cabrera's performance last year is all the more remarkable if you consider that he played visibly hurt the final four months, an injury that required "core muscle repair" surgery in October. Despite this, he missed only 13 of the Detroit Tigers' final 89 games (playoffs included), batting .306/.402/.552 with 21 homers and 62 RBIs in that span. If Cabrera has a weakness, it's his defense, but even that might no longer be so damaging to his Wins Above Replacement (WAR) now that he's returning to first base following the Prince Fielder trade. Cabrera makes a compelling first or second overall pick, regardless of format. Stephania Bell: Cabrera is back on track to start the season despite last fall's surgery, and from a physical-demand standpoint, the move to first base can only help.
2. Edwin Encarnacion, Tor 1B, DHYEARABRHRRBIBBKSBAVGOBPSLGOPS
2013 Statistics530903610482627.272.370.534.904
2014 Projections5669737110837810.297.389.549.938
2014 Outlook: It took eight big-league seasons, but the Toronto Blue Jays finally, in 2012, isolated Encarnacion's best skills: He's a pull-power slugger with a good batting eye, and the team embraced those abilities knowing that their home venue, Rogers Centre, could harness them. Sure enough, he has the third-most homers (78) and eighth-most walks (166) the past two seasons combined, despite his having missed 31 games due to injuries, including a wrist problem that required surgery last September. Encarnacion is expected to make a full recovery in time for the season, however, and the fact that he's a much better contact hitter than people give him credit -- he had a career-best 88.3 percent contact rate in 2013 -- makes him an outstanding early-rounder in any scoring format. He's especially attractive in points-based leagues, and if your format affords a 10-game position qualification, he'll be third base-eligible, propping him up even more. Stephania Bell: After undergoing surgery on his left wrist in September to address cartilage damage, Encarnacion posted a photo of himself working on his swing in January. Appears on track to start the season, but will he hold up?
3. Adrian Beltre, Tex 3B, DHYEARABRHRRBIBBKSBAVGOBPSLGOPS
2013 Statistics63188309250781.315.371.509.880
2014 Projections630923510243791.314.361.540.901
2014 Outlook: At a position with many popular, occasionally overrated name brands, Beltre is an "old reliable." Fact: He is the only third baseman to have managed at least a .275 batting average, 25 home runs and 75 RBIs in each of the past three seasons, and be aware that he has easily eclipsed those numbers, with a .312-33-100 average stat line during that three-year span. While it might not seem as if he's the class of the position, those statistics should cement it, and despite his 34 years of age he's in a tremendous situation in which to potentially repeat (or exceed) those numbers. Beltre garners a benefit from hitting-friendly Rangers Ballpark -- his wOBA there is 61 points higher there than on the road in his three years with the Texas Rangers -- and the team fortified its lineup by adding Shin-Soo Choo this winter, potentially improving Beltre's RBI stock. Other than his 2004 outlier, it took him 13 seasons (until his 2010 with the Boston Red Sox) to develop into a fantasy superstar, but that's simply what he is today.
Stephania Bell: Calf and hamstring injuries have been a theme for Beltre over the past three years. However, he's missed just a handful of games in the past two seasons combined. At 34, can he will his legs through another 150-plus games?
Addendum (3/12): Manager Ron Washington said he plans to use Beltre in a DH role more often, particularly when day games follow night games, to help preserve his health.
4. Alex Rios, Tex OF, DHYEARABRHRRBIBBKSBAVGOBPSLGOPS
2013 Statistics6168318814110842.278.324.432.756
2014 Projections609831877339830.273.312.442.753
2014 Outlook: Once considered one of the more unpredictable fantasy performers, Rios has developed into a remarkably reliable power/speed player: His .278/18/79 per-162-games career rates were spot-on to his .278/18/81 numbers in 2013. The primary difference was his speed: He swiped a career-high 42 bases, 16 of those coming in the 47 games he played following his Aug. 9 trade to the Texas Rangers. Still, even if he regresses on the basepaths at the age of 33, he's a potential 20/20 player who is one of only six in the majors with at least 150 apiece in homers and steals in the past eight seasons combined. This is an early-round Rotisserie performer, one whose only true weakness is a lack of walks; unless your league gives those hefty weight, he's a clear selection in the first four rounds.
5. Shin-Soo Choo*, Tex OF, DHYEARABRHRRBIBBKSBAVGOBPSLGOPS
2013 Statistics569107215411213320.285.423.462.885
2014 Projections589104196410313221.284.408.453.861
2014 Outlook: One of the most disciplined hitters in baseball, Choo chose one of the most offensively advantageous landing spots for his skill set that he could have this winter, agreeing to a long-term deal with the Texas Rangers. Among players with at least 1,000 plate appearances the past five seasons combined, he had the sixth-highest on-base percentage (.392), a substantial gain for a team that had a mere .324 mark from its Nos. 1-2 hitters yet scored the eighth-most runs in the majors in 2013. Choo's gaudy run total of last season therefore has a good chance at being repeated, and he's a 20/20 capable player especially attractive in leagues that reward him for his walks. He's not a player without weakness -- he batted just .220/.333/.293 against lefties from 2011-13 -- but he's well worth regarding as a building block, even in shallow mixed.
6. David Ortiz, Bos DHYEARABRHRRBIBBKSBAVGOBPSLGOPS
2013 Statistics518843010376884.309.395.564.959
2014 Projections51380299374892.298.385.544.929
2014 Outlook: A seemingly ageless veteran, Ortiz continues to rack up All-Star-caliber statistics despite his entering 2014 at the age of 38. In 2013, he became only the seventh player in history to manage a .300-30-100 minimum stat line at the age of 37, and the first in 11 seasons (Barry Bonds, 2002). What's more, Ortiz seems to get more disciplined at the plate each year; he had an 83.8 percent contact rate from 2011 to '13, a substantial improvement upon his 76.1 percent from 2008 to 10, and his walk rate increased slightly, from 13.1 (2008-10) to 13.2 (2011-13) percent. This has come with an occasional penchant for streakiness, but after a postseason like his -- he terrorized left-handed pitchers last October, which answered one of the few questions raised about him earlier in the year -- what cause is there to doubt him? The only reasonable knock on Ortiz is that drafting him locks up your designated hitter spot in the draft's early rounds. But he's also one of the only players who justifies it.
7. Jose Bautista, Tor OF, 1B, DHYEARABRHRRBIBBKSBAVGOBPSLGOPS
2013 Statistics45282287369847.259.358.498.856
2014 Projections50791338787976.266.375.509.884
2014 Outlook: One of the best raw power hitters in baseball -- his 152 home runs since the beginning of 2010 trail only Miguel Cabrera's 156, and they are 26 more than third place in the category during that span -- Bautista has fallen somewhat into injury-risk territory recently, having appeared in only 210 games combined the past two seasons because of wrist, back, ankle and hip issues. His 2013 represented his second consecutive year ended prematurely in August, this time because of a bone bruise in his hip, though all reports on his health during the winter were positive. Bautista's skills might be slowly declining, understandable for a 33-year-old, but he's still capable of approaching 40 home runs at the expense of a middling batting average; his on-base and slugging percentages, however, should remain good. He's an early-round pick in traditional rotisserie leagues, and a more attractive one, albeit with risk, in more sabermetric scoring formats. Stephania Bell: Bautista recovered nicely from wrist surgery a year ago but ended his 2013 season early with a bone bruise in his hip. He was healed by November and enters the spring healthy.
8. Albert Pujols, LAA 1B, DHYEARABRHRRBIBBKSBAVGOBPSLGOPS
2013 Statistics39149176440551.258.330.437.767
2014 Projections56483279754746.280.345.482.827
2014 Outlook: After 12 consecutive seasons of first-ballot Hall-of-Famer statistics, Pujols finally suffered some adversity in 2013. Painful plantar fasciitis plagued him for much of the season, resulting in a partial tear that ended his season in July, and statistics that across the board represented career worsts. Pujols' prognosis for 2014 has improved -- he had resumed taking batting practice in November and was on track for a full spring training -- but at the same time, his home run total, batting average, on-base percentage and OPS have all declined in each season since 2008. He is following the natural downslope of a career that a slugger faces, and the history of comparable Hall of Fame talents isn't positive; at 34 years old, many of them had productive seasons, but hardly numbers worthy of MVP votes. Pujols' power might return -- this bears the closest watching during camp -- but understand that he is not the same player who scored MVPs in 2005, 2008 and 2009. Don't let the name brand cause you to reach in drafts. Stephania Bell: Pujols says his left foot is much improved compared to last year, but one wonders if wear and tear from so many games over the years is catching up.
9. Yoenis Cespedes, Bos OF, DHYEARABRHRRBIBBKSBAVGOBPSLGOPS
2013 Statistics529742680371377.240.294.442.737
2014 Projections5578327934413712.260.320.463.783
2014 Outlook: After a breakthrough 2012 in the States, Cespedes regressed badly in 2013, his strikeout rate rising (23.9 percent, up from 18.9), walk rate dropping (6.5 percent, down from 8.0) and both his batting average and BABIP plummeting by identical 52-point margins. This resulted in a 92-spot decline in Player Rater standing -- 28 spots among outfielders alone -- and a second consecutive season with a DL stint because of a hand injury continued to fuel questions about his long-term health as it relates to his violent swing. Cespedes still has massive power, however, as his isolated power and fly-ball and line-drive rates remained consistent in the two years, and if he enjoys any correction to his BABIP, he could recapture at least some of his 2012 fantasy stock. After all, he did finish 2013 with a .314/.337/.570, six-homer September, and a strong spring could increase his draft stock. It might be prime time to buy a rebound.
10. Joe Mauer, Min C, 1B, DHYEARABRHRRBIBBKSBAVGOBPSLGOPS
2013 Statistics44562114761890.324.404.476.880
2014 Projections553821373801015.311.397.452.849
2014 Outlook: After many years of chatter that his bat was too valuable to risk having him wear the tools of ignorance on a daily basis, Mauer finally was moved off catcher this winter: He'll be the Minnesota Twins' everyday first baseman in 2014. It took a season-shortening concussion in August to force the Twins' hand, but there are many fantasy advantages that result: Mauer should take less wear and tear at first base, increasing his chances at racking up games and plate appearances, and he'll remain catcher-eligible throughout 2014 in ESPN leagues, while accruing the larger number of PAs typical of a first baseman comparative to a catcher. That's big news for this batting-average/line-drive specialist; a .300-plus hitter, not to mention a .400-plus on-base artist, carries much more weight in those categories the more times he comes to the plate. (Incidentally, Mauer's .323 career batting average is tops among active players.) Take this to heart especially in points-based leagues; the case can be made that Mauer will pace the position in the format. But even in rotisserie leagues, he's one of the best at his "position" ... well, his eligible fantasy position of catcher. Stephania Bell: Mauer's season ended in August due to a concussion, the result of a foul tip to his mask. He was symptom-free by October, and with the full-time move to first base this year, he should have an easier time staying in the lineup.
11. Carlos Santana, Cle C, 1B, 3B, DHYEARABRHRRBIBBKSBAVGOBPSLGOPS
2013 Statistics541752074931103.268.377.455.832
2014 Projections542792583961113.262.373.470.844
2014 Outlook: Ah, the possibilities. Santana enters a 2014 of change: He's catcher-eligible in fantasy leagues, but all indications are that the Cleveland Indians will move him off the position -- probably to designated hitter -- though he did dabble in some third base in winter ball. Chances are he'll be a catcher-eligible player who experiences a games played/plate appearances bump as a regular elsewhere on the diamond; such players gain an advantage because of the result on their counting numbers. Santana has made small gains in terms of making contact in each of the past two seasons, and he has always had underrated power. Might a new position help him finally reach the 30-homer plateau? It's that prospect which keeps him high in the catcher ranks, and those in leagues that reward walks or on-base percentage should be especially intrigued.
12. Carlos Beltran, NYY OF, DHYEARABRHRRBIBBKSBAVGOBPSLGOPS
2013 Statistics55479248438902.296.339.491.830
2014 Projections545892681501023.281.341.486.827
2014 Outlook: One of the most successful hitters in postseason history -- he's a .333/.445/.683 career hitter with 16 home runs in 51 such games -- Beltran signed this winter with a team everyone annually assumes is playoff-bound: The New York Yankees. But before you pencil them in again and dream up wild Beltran expectations, remember that the 2013 squad fell short and Beltran, like many of his fellow Yankees, is getting up there in years; he turns 37 in April. He's no longer the base-stealing threat he was during his prime, and his numbers from the right side of the plate have tumbled, though Yankee Stadium coupled with occasional time in the DH spot to ease some of the physical strain might help slow his aging curve. As a middle-of-the-order hitter, Beltran's numbers come season's end might not look much different than they did in 2013. But he's a player with greater odds of regression than progression in 2014.
13. Billy Butler, KC DH, 1BYEARABRHRRBIBBKSBAVGOBPSLGOPS
2013 Statistics582621582791020.289.374.412.787
2014 Projections586752190711072.295.373.454.827
2014 Outlook: Most everyone expected a decline in homers from Butler's career-high 29 in 2012, but not to the extent that occurred. Last season, Butler's already low fly ball rate dropped even further, so when his percentage of fly balls that leave the yard returned to normal after a big spike the previous season, the result was a precipitous drop in power. Butler's contact skills and patience remained intact, so it was not a completely lost season, just very disappointing for those expecting more production. The good news is last season was likely the floor with respect to power. Don't expect a return to 2012 glory, but a return to the roaring 20s, albeit a low-20s expectation, is most reasonable.
14. Josh Hamilton, LAA OF, DHYEARABRHRRBIBBKSBAVGOBPSLGOPS
2013 Statistics576732179471584.250.307.432.739
2014 Projections578792596491576.261.319.458.777
2014 Outlook: Hamilton's 2012 and 2013 stat lines show an astonishing level of contrast: He belted 43 home runs and finished in the top five in the MVP race in the former, but his homer total declined by more than half (to 21) and his slugging percentage plummeted 145 points in the latter. Which version will we get in 2014? Somewhere in between is your best bet, although the .304-hitting version of Hamilton we saw during the first six seasons of his big league career isn't especially likely. He's a much more strikeout-prone player these days, and he's declining in terms of plate discipline, whiffing a major league-high 209 times on pitches outside the strike zone over the past two seasons. Hamilton might be more comfortable in his new digs in Year No. 2, and after playing last year at a lower weight than usual, he's back to his traditional 230 pounds entering 2014. There's bounce-back potential here, but it's probably not to his former MVP-candidate form, but to possible top-20 outfielder form.
Stephania Bell: Hamilton wasted no time sustaining his first injury, a calf strain in late February which forced him onto crutches for several days. He's returned to running and could play in games the third week of March. If all goes well he can still be ready by Opening Day but this is a reminder of what the risks are with Hamilton.
15. Brian McCann, NYY C, 1B, DHYEARABRHRRBIBBKSBAVGOBPSLGOPS
2013 Statistics35643205739660.256.336.461.796
2014 Projections48562298354860.254.332.468.800
2014 Outlook: McCann is one of the game's more consistent power sources; he is one of only 11 players to have hit at least 20 home runs in each of the past six seasons, and the only one to have hit between 20-25 in each, and keep in mind that he scaled the 20-homer plateau in 2013 despite missing the first month recovering from shoulder surgery. His odds, however, of exceeding that group increased once he put on the pinstripes, as his pull-power swing is perfectly crafted for Yankee Stadium's short porch. A player whose injury risk has seemingly increased while his batting-average potential has slipped in recent seasons, McCann might be destined for his best year yet. He's a mixed-league starter regardless of format, and as a player with a 9.5 percent career walk rate, he's especially intriguing in leagues that weight on-base percentage.