Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) -
Rookie Mike Trout and his historic fantasy production was the biggest story during the 2012 baseball season. And the media hype machine has continued to lavish praise on the talented young Angels' outfielder through the offseason and into spring training.
For fantasy owners, however, last year is long over and we have to look forward, not backward.
What will Trout do in 2013 and should he be your No. 1 overall pick?
It would be easy to look at last year's totals - .326, 129 runs, 30 homers, 83 RBI, 49 stolen bases, 0.963 OPS and say Trout should be your top selection.
In fact, many experts have recommended just that.
On the other hand, there seem to be enough reasons to avoid making him the first pick in your fantasy draft.
Let's look at some of these:
History is not on Trout's side. His ability to repeat last year's numbers must be questioned. In the history of baseball, there have only been two players who produced 30-HR, 50 SB seasons (Eric Davis - 1987, Barry Bonds - 1990). Therefore, to expect Trout, who came within one stolen base of joining this exclusive club to put up a similar season is fighting against long odds.
Here's why. In three full minor league seasons, Trout never hit more than 11 homers in a season. He hit a total of 23 homers in 1,117 minor league at-bats. Yet he blasted 30 homers in just 559 major league at-bats.
The pitchers had no idea how to pitch to Trout at the beginning of the season and through July he was batting an extraordinary .353 with a 1.019 OPS. From Aug. 1 through Oct. 3 he batted .287 with a .883 OPS.
Was he just tiring from a long season or did pitchers begin to learn how to pitch to him?
Trout arrived at training camp 20 pounds heavier than last season. This may help his power numbers, but it could also hurt his ability to steal bases.
"Betting the farm" on any second-year player has built in risk. Ever heard of the "Sophomore Jinx"? He's only produced at this level for one season.
The safer play would be to choose a guy like Milwaukee outfielder Ryan Braun or Detroit third baseman Miguel Cabrera who have been very good for many seasons.
All Braun did last season was hit .319 with 108 runs, 41 HR, 112 RBI, 30 stolen bases and a 0.987 OPS. With Braun you know he can repeat those numbers because he's already done it for the past six seasons.
Cabrera was the first Triple Crown winner in 45 seasons, batting .330 with 109 runs, 44 homers and 139 RBI. He's been a fantasy stud for the last nine seasons.
The bottom line is I'm not saying you should avoid Trout. If he's available in the middle of the first round you should scoop him up. I'm just suggesting that there are more reliable options for the first overall selection.