Jose Bautista has the skills to go first overall in fantasy drafts; call me a homer if you want (you would be right). You might ask me if I have ever heard of Miguel Cabrera or Matt Kemp and the answer would be I have, but… Bautista MIGHT be better (a BIG might).
In Yahoo! leagues, Bautista is ranked 5th - Cabrera (1), Kemp (2), Pujols (3) and Tulowitzki (4) rank ahead of him. Personally, I think Cabrera is the only other eligible first overall selection.
I don’t think Kemp is going to sustain his production from last year; his BABIP was .380 which suggests he got lucky, however he is fast, so how many base hits are attributed to luck and how many are attributed to his speed I don’t know. In regards to his proclamation of a 50/50 season, I say get a 40/40 first.
Pujols is as close to a sure thing as you get in baseball, but with a new league and his questionable age I’m staying away from him as first overall (especially in a keeper). As for Tulo, he is a monster on the diamond, hitting .300 with 30 homers and 100 RBI while playing the toughest position in baseball. However, his high rank is more likely due to the lack of positional depth at SS than his offensive production (which is still very good).
So with that, I will compare Bautista to Cabrera.
AFTER the jump, read about the case for Joey Bats, the case for Cabrera, and who I’m taking no. 1 in 2012…
The Case For Joey Bats
Everyone knows Bautista’s story; journeyman for the first five years of his career and then burst onto the scene with the Jays in 2010; hitting 54 dingers and driving in 124 (not that RBI is a significant stat). What impressed me most (well second most next to his home run total) about Jose’s 2010 campaign were the 100 walks he took. He outdid that in 2011 by walking 132 times; he smacked 43 bombs last year and improved his average 42 points to .302.
The real question that will determine if Bautista is a true number one overall is if he can sustain his production. In the two years since changing his swing, he has hit a home run every 9 AB’s and walks 17.3% of the time he steps to the plate. Not to mention Jose was the only player in the MLB to SLG over .600 last year and one of only a handful to have an OPS over 1.
In terms of the statistics that I have mentioned for Bautista, Cabrera has similar numbers, albeit a little lower. Cabrera has hit 38 and 30 homers in 2010 and 2011 respectively, walked 89 and 108 times and SLG .586 last year. Cabrera is a model of consistency. You pretty much know what you’re getting at the start of the year, roughly 30 homers, +100 RBI, .320 AVG, near 1 OPS. This is where the two players differ.
The Case For Cabrera
Cabrera has never had a 40 home run season (38 was his best) and never hit below 30, excluding his rookie season. A large majority of his numbers are similar in the sense they have a defined ceiling and floor.
As I said, you know what you are getting when you draft him. This is quite alright for those who prefer the riskless decision. But for those of us who dream of bigger things (a tough task no doubt) we can look to Jose.
Why I’m Drafting Jose Bautista over Cabrera
In my opinion, Bautista is the only player in the Show right now that can crank 50 home runs. His ceiling, and his floor for that matter, is not nearly as defined as Cabrera. This is true for his offensive line, not just the amount of home runs he hits. You can take a risk on Bautista to have a third consecutive massive year or you can cash in your chips now for Cabrera and his extreme consistency.
For me – I’ll take #19 in blue.