Another season, more fantasy projections.
As the 2013 Major League Baseball season sets to throw out the first pitch on Sunday night, March 31, TSN has projections to prepare for your fantasy drafts/auctions.
At the top of the board, second-year Angels outfielder Mike Trout, offers a rare blend of power and speed. Maybe he can't duplicate his phenomenal rookie campaign, so there is risk, but if he does anything remotely similar, the upside is too great to ignore.
For those seeking safer solutions, both Ryan Braun and Miguel Cabrera have track records of elite production that could easily warrant being taken first. There may be lingering suspicion over Braun's involvement with the Biogenesis clinic in Miami and whether that could ultimately cost him a suspension from Major League Baseball, though that doesn't appear to be forthcoming, but that kind of risk could make Cabrera the safest of the elite performers.
Robinson Cano, Albert Pujols, Buster Posey, Justin Verlander, Josh Hamilton, Clayton Kershaw and Hanley Ramirez (depending on the severity of his injury, suffered in the World Baseball Classic) round out the Top 10. The top Canadian, Joey Votto of the Cincinnati Reds, is ranked 11th.
There is no one way to win your fantasy baseball league, but the best approach is to find value in your selections. Whether that means finding players due to bounce back, targeting players at positions of scarcity or nailing the right breakthrough players, some combination of those approaches, along with a little luck for health, should go a long way towards determining whether your team is going to be a contender.
Given the importance of health and the likelihood of pitchers missing time due to injury, it's probably worthwhile to wait a few rounds before taking the plunge on pitchers. Maybe exempt the super-elite, Justin Verlander and Clayton Kershaw but, after that, the field opens up and it starts to make more sense to pick those ace starters once a few bats are already on board.
Going one step further, when it comes to pitching, don't go overboard when it comes to valuing closers. There just aren't that many sure things in that position -- even Mariano Rivera got taken out by injury last season -- and the turnover between the guys who are closing on Opening Day and those that are in the role by midseason is significant. Sometimes close to half of the league has made a change at the back end of the bullpen. That doesn't mean to ignore closers, but it's better to look for opportunities later, if possible.
Once you've done your research, sign up for TSN's Fantasy League Manager, where you can create your own league with your friends or join an existing league in an attempt to manage your team to greatness.