Only one team had a less productive outfield than the Mariners in 2014. With 31 combined home runs and a .242 batting average, Seattle finished in the bottom five of MLB in both areas. No one had envisioned this out of the Mariners several years ago as Baseball America once ranked Dustin Ackley and Michael Saunders as top-30 prospects in all of baseball. Both players showed signs of life in 2014. Can Saunders remain healthy and build on his .273/.341/.450 triple slash line?
The move of Prince Fielder to Texas in exchange for Ian Kinsler was not a move about Ian Kinsler so much as it was about salary and the future. They wanted to move Miguel Cabrera to a position where he would be less likely to hurt himself or the team defensively. But it also showed they were confident in the playing ability of Nick Castellanos.
While considered the best defensive left fielder in baseball, overshadowed has been Alex Gordon’s string of strong offensive seasons. The left-handed hitter has hit at least 14 home runs in each of his six full seasons and has managed a career batting average near .270. And while the numbers fail to “wow”, he has been a core piece in a lineup where consistency has been tough to find. Gordon has been good for a double-double each season since solidifying himself as an MLB regular. However, 2015 will be his Age-31 season and accurately predicting the start of the decline phase will be key to gauging future value in dynasty leagues. Can he remain a healthy fantasy baseball contributor for years to come.
Pablo Sandoval finds ways to contribute in the postseason. He did it against Justin Verlander and the Tigers in the 2012 World Series. Two years later, he drove in the Giants first run against James Shields in Game 1 of the 2014 World Series. The “Kung-Fu Panda” is a proven offensive threat in the postseason whose been between 11% and 19% better than league average offensively the past three seasons. Does he have the ability to return to 2009 and 2011 form where he produced at 46-49% above league average with the bat?
The 2014 campaign for Mike Moustakas has been a tale of two halves. He started off 2014 cold as ice and was demoted to Triple-A on May 22. While in the minors, he appeared to regain his form. The Royals gave him another chance and he performed well enough to finish the season at third base for Kansas City. The Royals have reached the World Series with “Moose” batting from the nine spot where he’s been a leading offensive force. Is this a sign of things to come for the former top prospect?
On the list of “Best Hitters in Baseball,” Victor Martinez’s name is overlooked as his numbers have never wowed. He has one silver slugger under his belt, received in 2004 as a member of the Cleveland Indians, but more time at first base and designated hitter has forced comparisons to the elite hitters in baseball. With two-time MVP Miguel Cabrera batting behind him in Detroit, nobody expected Vic-Mart to out slug a triple crown winner. Martinez did in his free agent season, but at 36, what will the reward be?
1-On-1 ROTO Strategy Session
The Best Of RS
- Can Alex "Chi-Chi" Gonzalez Crack the Texas Rangers Opening Day Rotation?
- Fantasy Baseball Trade Deadline 101: A Former MLB GM’s Take
- Felix Hernandez and Solo Home Run Situations: A Blueprint For Longevity
- JR Graham: Is He Still An MLB Arm For The Atlanta Braves?
- Mason Williams: Is It Time To Label Him A Bust For The Yankees?
- Mike Newman's Top-50 Fantasy Baseball Prospects Scouted in 2014
- Nick Kingham Scouting Report (2014)
- Rangers Joey Gallo, Marlins Giancarlo Stanton And Strikeouts
- The ROTOscouting Baseball Podcast
- Top-10 Fantasy Baseball Prospects By Team
- Will Mike Moustakas Finally Put It Together Next Season?