By Dalton Del Don
1. New York Yankees
2. Tampa Bay Rays (wild card)
3. Boston Red Sox
4. Toronto Blue Jays
5. Baltimore Orioles
Fantasy angle: The Yankees regret the Jesus Montero for Michael Pineda trade, but the platoon at DH with Raul Ibanez and Andruw Jones is plenty productive anyway. Alex Rodriguez returns a nice profit in fantasy leagues, while CC Sabathia doesn’t. Curtis Granderson doesn’t regress all that much, while Mark Teixeira has a better fantasy season than Prince Fielder…David Price wins the Cy Young, while Matt Moore wins Rookie of the Year. Desmond Jennings enters 2013 as a consensus top-five fantasy outfielder.
Dustin Pedroia is more valuable than Robinson Cano, while Andrew Bailey finishes the season with zero saves. Adrian Gonzalez wins the batting title, and Jacoby Ellsbury hits more than 25 home runs…Brett Lawrie disappoints, but Kelly Johnson is a top-10 fantasy second baseman. Sergio Santos leads all American League closers in strikeouts, while Edwin Encarnacion surpasses 25 homers and 80 RBI…Chris Davis, who hit 24 homers in 50 games in Triple-A last season with a .372/.413/.819 line, utilizes a home park that’s among the best for boosting HRs for LHB and finally becomes helpful to fantasy owners.
1. Detroit Tigers
2. Chicago White Sox
3. Cleveland Indians
4. Kansas City Royals
5. Minnesota Twins
Fantasy angle: Miguel Cabrera gets enough starts at third base to become eligible in fantasy leagues, but the experiment ends shortly thereafter. He’s not particularly good while doing so, but Delmon Young reaches 100 RBI…Paul Konerko, who’s hit .306 over the past two seasons after batting .259 over the previous three and is now 36 years old, finishes 2012 with less fantasy value than Alex Rios…Ubaldo Jimenez and Shin–Soo Choo don’t bounce back to the levels their fantasy owners expect, while Asdrubal Cabrera, who finished last season with the second-most “just enough” home runs according to Hittracker, comes crashing back to earth, as teammate Jason Kipnis is the more valuable middle infielder.
Greg Holland is the better pitcher, but Jonathan Broxton finishes with more saves. No starting pitcher drafted later than Luke Hochevar has a better fantasy season, while Billy Butler hits more home runs than Eric Hosmer…Francisco Liriano overcomes his team’s poor defense and is a top-20 fantasy starter, finishing in the top-five in strikeouts. Joe Mauer doesn’t approach the power numbers of Carlos Santana or Mike Napoli, but because of the huge discrepancies in batting average, he produces similar if not better fantasy value and is ultimately the much more profitable pick.
1. Texas Rangers
2. Los Angeles Angels (wild card)
3. Oakland A’s
4. Seattle Mariners
Fantasy angle: Mitch Moreland eclipses 25 homers, Colby Lewis bounces back, and Joe Nathan is an elite closer. Adrian Beltre produces more fantasy value than Evan Longoria, while both Yu Darvish and Derek Holland are fantastic…After throwing the third-most pitches in baseball last season, a whopping 4,118, one year after seeing his innings increase by 130.1, C.J. Wilson is a huge disappointment when compared to where he was taken in fantasy leagues, despite the improvement in home parks. Vernon Wells hits .270 with 30-plus home runs. Albert Pujols wins the MVP.
Jemile Weeks steals 40 bases, while only a trade prevents Grant Balfour from reaching 30 saves. Yoenis Cespedes strikes out 200 times, yet still goes 20/20…Ichiro Suzuki hits between .322 and .350 for the first time in his 12-year career, finishing with a .330 batting average. Justin Smoak has the better fantasy season than Jesus Montero.
1. Atlanta Braves
2. Philadelphia Phillies (wild card)
3. Washington Nationals
4. Miami Marlins
5. New York Mets
Fantasy angle: Dan Uggla goes down as a top-30 fantasy player, while Craig Kimbrel goes down as one of the most over drafted players in 2012…Jonathan Papelbon finishes as the No. 1 fantasy closer, but Hunter Pence, who has never eclipsed 25 homers, scored 100 runs, driven in 100 RBI or reached 20 steals in his career, disappoints compared to his lofty ADP. Chase Utley appears in fewer than 75 games…Stephen Strasburg is the best pitcher in baseball but doesn’t win the Cy Young because he’s limited to just 160 innings. Jayson Werth bounces back, and Wilson Ramos establishes himself as one of the better catchers in the league. Bryce Harper experiences some struggles upon his promotion, but that only keeps his cost down for 2013, when he hits 30-plus homers. Jordan Zimmermann is a top-25 fantasy starter, while Ryan Zimmerman gets a handful of MVP votes.
Hanley Ramirez finishes as a top-three fantasy player, but the new park costs Giancarlo Stanton 10-12 homers…Health prevents Ike Davis from being the N.L.’s second best first baseman, but Jason Bay bounces back. Matt Harvey will be worth adding in mixed leagues sometime after the All-Star break. It won’t be as bad as the Francisco Liriano trade, but giving up Zack Wheeler for two months of Carlos Beltran will be another notch on Brian Sabean’s awful GM belt. Johan Santana ends up being a nice profit for his owners, while Bobby Parnell finishes with the most saves on the team.
1. Cincinnati Reds
2. St. Louis Cardinals (wild card)
3. Milwaukee Brewers
4. Chicago Cubs
5. Pittsburgh Pirates
6. Houston Astros
Fantasy angle: Mike Leake has a better season than Johnny Cueto, while Aroldis Chapman is the team’s best pitcher and is finally unleashed as a starter down the stretch, leading the team to the postseason…Jason Motte is a top-five fantasy closer, and Jaime Garcia makes “the leap,” as does David Freese. Carlos Beltran and Rafael Furcal are both highly productive when healthy, while Adam Wainwright is a top-15 fantasy starter…Zack Greinke wins the Cy Young, and Yovani Gallardo is close behind.
Carlos Marmol is a fantasy bust, and those who drafted Starlin Castro over Elvis Andrus will regret it. Matt Garza is a dark horse Cy Young candidate if he’s not traded…Erik Bedard will be a must-start when healthy, while Alex Presley will finish with more fantasy value than Jose Tabata…Jordan Schafer, Jason Castro and Jose Altuve can all be considered sleepers, but since this team will likely be shopping Wandy Rodriguez at the ASB, the Astros could easily surpass 110 losses.
1. San Francisco Giants
2. Arizona Diamondbacks
3. Colorado Rockies
4. Los Angeles Dodgers
5. San Diego Padres
Fantasy angle: Madison Bumgarner has a better fantasy season than Tim Lincecum, and Santiago Casilla approaches 20 saves. Melky Cabrera doesn’t regress from last year’s production as much as most expect. Only Bruce Bochy and a home park that’s among the worst in suppressing home runs for LHB can prevent Brandon Belt from being a top-10 fantasy first baseman…Aaron Hill and Jason Kubel both approach 30 homers, with at least one of them surpassing it. Justin Upton wins the MVP, while Trevor Bauer wins Rookie of the Year.
Juan Nicasio finishes as Colorado’s best starter, while both Marco Scutaro and Todd Helton are worth using in mixed leagues when not hurt…Clayton Kershaw is a top-five fantasy player, while Andre Ethier bounces back in a big way. Dee Gordon finishes with more steals than any player in baseball and is a top-25 fantasy pick in 2013…Andrew Cashner gets 15-plus saves and helps in your ratios regardless, while Cameron Maybin finishes as a top-15 fantasy outfielder.
World Series: Rays over Reds