It’s never too early to discuss baseball.

As spring training fast approaches, fantasy owners are already planning their draft strategies for the upcoming 2013 season.

Here are five guys who should be considered top-five picks.


1. Miguel Cabrera, Detroit Tigers

2012 stats: .330, 44 HR, 139 RBI, .999 OPS

The baseball gods will sacrifice someone if the reigning Triple Crown winner and AL MVP isn’t the No. 1 overall pick in all fantasy baseball drafts.

Cabrera put together one of the most historical seasons in baseball during his 2012 campaign while setting career-bests in the home run and RBI departments.

For a guy with so much production, Cabrera stayed extremely healthy, playing in 161 games and striking out just 98 times last season while posting a 7.1 WAR (h/t Fan Graphs).

If Cabrera isn’t your No. 1 pick this season, there’s something seriously wrong with you.


2. Mike Trout

2012 stats: .326, 30 HR, 83 RBI, 49 SB

Like Cabrera, newcomer Mike Trout had one of the best seasons the MLB has ever seen.

And he only played in 139 games in 2012.

Aside from his gaudy numbers above, Trout posted an MLB-leading 10.0 WAR and led the AL in runs scored, with 129.

If Trout stays healthy in 2013, we could see the first 40-40 player since Alfonso Soriano in 2006.

He averaged a strikeout per game in 2012, but I think owners can forgive him with all of the other production he’s going to put up.

In a stacked Los Angeles Angels lineup, look for Trout to benefit immensely.

3. Josh Hamilton

2012 stats: .285, 43 HR, 128 RBI, .931 OPS

Hamilton didn’t exactly close out his 2012 season on good terms with fantasy owners, but that shouldn’t matter.

Now hitting in the middle of a powerful Angels lineup, Hamilton has plenty of protection to put up some stout fantasy numbers in 2013.

Hamilton’s torrid start to last season is just a small sample size of what he’s capable of, as he ranked second in the MLB in home runs and RBI.

With a change of scenery and a world of help around him, look for Hamilton to put up another big season for fantasy owners.


4. Ryan Braun

2012 stats: .319, 41 HR, 112 RBI, 30 SB

Because of Cabrera and Trout, it seems that Ryan Braun’s outstanding 2012 campaign was overshadowed.

Braun led the NL in home runs, finished second in hits and RBI and ranked third in terms of batting average.

He has an unheralded combination of power and speed and has played in at least 150 games in every season since 2008.

With consistent seasons of a 300-plus average, at least 25 home runs and more than 100 RBI, Braun is absolutely a top-five pick in your fantasy draft.


5. Andrew McCutchen

2012 stats: .327, 31 HR, 96 RBI, 20 SB

He’s one of the best up-and-coming stars in the MLB and Andrew McCutchen looks like he’s here to stay.

In his third complete season in the big leagues, “Cutch” put up career numbers across the board, ranking second in the NL in batting average and first in hits, with 194.

With McCutchen‘s numbers elevating every season thus far, one has to think he’ll collect more than 100 RBI in 2013 to help your fantasy team.

With McCutchen spreading the love in multiple fantasy categories, the Pittsburgh Pirates’ center fielder should be a top-five selection.


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