Fantasy MLB

Trout's awesome, but Cabrera's No. 1

By Thomas J. Harrigan, Fantasy Sports Writer

Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - Drafting Los Angeles Angels outfielder Mike Trout No. 1 overall is tempting, what with his potential to do things we have never even seen before on the baseball field.

But owners should play it safe with the first overall pick, and there's no safer choice than 2012 American League MVP Miguel Cabrera.

Cabrera was involved in a similar debate last season with another SoCal outfielder, Los Angeles Dodgers star Matt Kemp.

Coming off a 39/40 season, Kemp was a popular choice at No. 1, but there was also some risk involved since he batted just .249 with a .760 OPS in 2010.

Kemp didn't revert to that 2010 form, but picking against the automatic Cabrera still hurt Kemp owners because injuries caused him to miss 56 games.

Meanwhile, Cabrera played 161 games, the eighth time in nine years he has played at least 157 (he played 150 the other season).

Cabrera is also as consistent as they come at the plate. He has belted at least 30 home runs in eight of the last nine seasons and driven in at least 103 runs in all nine. He has a career split of .318/.395/.561 and has never batted lower than .292 in his nine full seasons while batting .320 or better seven times.

And even as the No. 1 or 2 overall pick last season, he gave owners a massive return on their investment with the first Triple Crown season since 1967.

Cabrera has scored at least 109 runs in three straight seasons and will have the best protection of his career in 2013 with Prince Fielder cleaning up and Victor Martinez returning from a knee injury to bat fifth as the designated hitter.

Delmon Young, who batted fifth most of the time last season, hit a solid .287 with runners in scoring position (RISP) but had a .702 OPS. In his one season with Detroit, Martinez hit .394 with a .990 OPS with RISP and .375 with a .930 OPS with RISP and two outs. If Fielder doesn't get the job done of driving in Cabrera, Martinez most certainly will.

Trout will likely be great again, contributing in every category imaginable, but as a second-year player who plays a speed game, he still carries some risk, and the nearly perfect Cabrera makes that look like a glaring question mark.

02/27 16:13:34 ET