I love fantasy players that go 20/20, meaning they have 20 home runs on the season to go along with 20 stolen bases. The bad news is that these guys tend to go early drafts. They’re your more balanced players so you need to pay a premium.
But if I’m given up an early pick on a guy I want a guarantee. So below are the players I think have the best shot at joining the 20/20 club in 2014. They are ranked most likely to least likely, meaning the guys at the bottom of the list are long shots.
1. Mike Trout. Unless he’s hit by a bus he’ll blow past 20/20, and has a puncher’s chance at 30/50 in 2014. In fact, if a bus hits Mike Trout you will first want to check the bus for damage, because Mike Trout probably just got up, brushed himself off, and then stole second. Now that’s a hit and run! Hay-Oh!!
2. Andrew McCutchen. While no virtual lock to get to 30 in either category, it’s highly likely he again joins to 20/20 club. In fact, his homers – which dropped from 31 to 20 last season – should rebound as well.
3. Ryan Braun. A lot of uncertainty surrounds Braun because if his suspension, but let’s not forget that he was perennially one of baseball’s elite before that. His slow 2013 further suppressed his stock, so there is a chance he comes back with a ch
4. Carlos Gonzalez. The only question with Cargo is if he’ll play in enough games to reach 20/20. Certainly the talent is there, but if he only plays in 110 or 130 games as he has in year’s past, he may just eek over the 20 plateau in each.
5. Carlos Gomez. GoGo has had nearly 1000 plate appearances to prove his change of approach at the plate is for real. He’s no longer chopping the ball into the dirt the way he did his first couple of years in the league. Instead, he’s hitting it into the air and often out of the park. Certainly the speed is there and he’ll run right past 20 steals, but there’s a strong chance he’ll bang in 20-22 home runs as well.
6. Ian Desmond. While he hasn’t cleared the bar by much, Ian Desmond has had two straight 20/20 seasons. He’s gone from a seemingly overmatched hitter into one of the games more well rounded players. On top of that he’s still right in his prime.
7. Alex Rios. Rios has long been know for having erratic swings in his numbers, but he’s settled into an excellent all around player the past couple of seasons. On top of that he’s playing in a great hitter’s park in Arlington and for a team that isn’t afraid to run. I may have ranked him too low on this list.
8. Shin-Soo Choo. Choo, on the other hand, may be ranked too high on this list. While a solid all around player, he’ll just tick above 20/20 if he gets there in either homers or steals. On top of that, it’s unknown what type of ballpark he’ll play in or if he’ll be playing for a manager that likes to run.
9. David Wright. Wright’s best are now just in the rearview mirror. While he’s an absolute talent when on the field, there is no guarantee he’ll play in enough games to reach 20/20. But it’s hard to bet against him.
10. Yasiel Puig. I’m not sure Puig knows any of his manager’s signs, but he sure is fun to watch. I wouldn’t put anything past him on the baseball field, including doing naked cartwheels across the outfield. I plan to write much more on him soon.
11. Hanley Ramirez. Hanley is another player who may be ranked too low on this list, because what he did in limited at bats last season was fantastic. His head seems to be back in the game and he appears ready to play a full season.
12. Jason Kipnis. He has shown he’s easily capable of hitting the 30 stolen base plateau, but he’ll have to grow into his power to hit 20 homers. At a thin second base position, that’s more than worth it.
13. Bryce Harper. If he’d stop crashing into walls we might be able to finally see what he can truly do. The homers will be there for certain and his aggressive play on the base paths should allow him to eek out 20 steals as well.
14. George Springer. We’re getting into long shot territory here as the Astros may not call him up until June. Even then Springer might strike out in half of his at bats. Still, you can’t overlook the fact that he teased 40/40 in the minor leagues, a feat that very few have accomplished.
15. Jason Heyward. Remember that he’s still young. He also started to show real life at the plate late in the season. It’s disappointing because we may always talk about Heyward in ‘if only…’ tones, but you have to think that one of these seasons he stays on the field and puts it all together.
16. Alejandro De Aza. Here’s where you might get some sneaky value. There is little upside left to wring out of De Aza, but there is a glimmer of hope that he can hit just enough out to get 20 homers, while chipping in 22-25 steals as well.
How about it? Was there anyone I missed? I thought about including Brian Dozier, but realized that was an atrocious case of fanboy wishful thinking.
Would you change the order on any of these? Let me know in the comments.