I can’t believe it, but the Major League Baseball season is already winding down. Postseason play will be here before we know it! Crazy how time flies…
That said, my fantasy baseball team’s season has been long and grueling. My guys have their eyes on the calendar, praying for September 28th to arrive, as they limp towards the finish line.
Anyway, the idea to get a few participants together and project 2015’s Top 10 fantasy baseball players was submitted to MHB by one Mr. Clark Meshey (who recently contributed to MHB’s KISS draft). The kicker – to compare and contrast with ESPN’s 2015 projected list when it’s released before the start of the 2015 season. Pretty cool stuff in my opinion.
So I recruited a few committed fantasy managers from the league I play in to contribute. With this objective in mind: To each project what they believe to be 2015’s top 10 fantasy players (with some commentary as to why) and see how each projection stacks up against ESPN’s pre-rank list when it’s released late February/early March.
Some of the analysis refers to stat categories in our 8×8, 16 team rotisserie league. Here are those categories:
Hitters – Runs, Doubles, Triples, Home Runs, Runs Batted In, Stolen Bases, Strikeouts, and On-Base Percentage
Pitchers – Quality Starts, Home Runs Allowed, Strikeouts, Complete Games, Earned Run Average, Walks/Hits Per Inning, Saves, and Holds
Without further ado, here are MHB & Company’s 2015 Top 10 fantasy projections!
|Name, Position (Age entering 2015 season)|
|Clark Meshey||Matt Riggleman||Doug Nilsen||Matt Horn|
|Mike Trout, OF (23)||Mike Trout, OF (23)||Clayton Kershaw, SP (27)||Mike Trout, OF (23)|
|Andrew McCutchen, OF (28)||Andrew McCutchen, OF (28)||Miguel Cabrera, 1B (32)||Clayton Kershaw, SP (27)|
|Miguel Cabrera, 1B (32)||Paul Goldschmidt, 1B (27)||Mike Trout, OF (23)||Andrew McCutchen, OF (28)|
|Giancarlo Stanton, OF (25)||Miguel Cabrera, 1B (32)||Robinson Cano, 2B (32)||Paul Goldschmidt, 1B (27)|
|Paul Goldschmidt, 1B (27)||Jose Bautista, OF (34)||Jose Bautista, OF (34)||Jose Abreu, 1B (28)|
|Clayton Kershaw, SP (27)||Giancarlo Stanton, OF (25)||Carlos Gomez, OF (29)||Miguel Cabrera, 1B (32)|
|Troy Tulowitzki, SS (30)||Edwin Encarnacion, 1B (32)||Troy Tulowitzki, SS (30)||Troy Tulowitzki, SS (30)|
|Yasiel Puig, OF (24)||Clayton Kershaw, SP (27)||Adrian Beltre, 3B (36)||Edwin Encarnacion, 1B (32)|
|Jose Bautista, OF (34)||Jose Altuve, 2B (24)||Giancarlo Stanton, OF (25)||Carlos Gomez, OF (29)|
|Victor Martinez, 1B (36)||Jose Abreu, 1B (28)||Jonathan Lucroy, C (28)||Jacoby Ellsbury, OF (31)|
Goldy, No-way-Jose Abreu, Miggy (who will lose his 3B for next season), Encarnacion… Just off the cusp on my total top ten players also included Buster Posey [who’d most people would (and should) play at catcher], and Anthony Rizzo. Top 50 will probably still include Pujols, A. Gon, and Freeman too. There was a cloud of uncertainty over 1B’s heading into the 2014 draft room. 2015 – those clouds will be long gone!
Anyway, about my list… Mike Trout and Clayton Kershaw (and I want to include McCutchen too, but he’s just off this tier) are the best players in baseball. They’re also the best players in fantasy baseball – easy 1, 2 for me. I know some will argue about taking a pitcher that high, but Kershaw’s impact tilts the scales in a way few (if any) players can.
McCutchen at 3 for me due to his contributions across the board – certainly in the prime of his career. If the players around him develop even more, he could be that more dangerous.
4, 5, and 6 – my first base clump. Pujols started his decline in his year 31 season. I saw the same happen with Miggy in 2014. Not necessarily a skill demise. But when the injuries start to linger longer than they used to, and affects your overall power numbers like that, it’s a cause for concern. That’s why I have Goldy and Abreu ranked higher than Cabrera. Obviously, I still have faith in Miggy, but his time in the top 10 could theoretically be ending in the near future. Plus, the loss of 3B eligibility for Cabrera hurts the value a bit as well. All three of these hitters are elite middle of the order power sources.
Troy Tulowitzki @ 7. If anyone noticed anything in 2014, it should have been that SS production was kinda horrible all around. EXCEPT for Tulo. Unfortunately, the catch with Tulo is the health risk/scare/whatever other description that fits the bill here… He is the sole fantasy super-stud at this position. Stay healthy already!
Edwin Encarnacion had a season’s worth of production during the 2014 season in a 6 week span. Anyone who can do that is automatically a top 10 pick in my book.
Carlos Gomez may be a hot head. And I might not like him so much. But when it comes to fantasy, I can’t ignore his production anymore. This dude is a 25-25, possible 30-30 threat. Gomez and McCutchen are probably the only players on the radar with that potential. Trout too, if and when he decides to run again. Trout can do what he wants to do whenever he wants to do it…
Ellsbury was the toughest call to include in the top 10. Jose Bautista and Robinson Cano were the two dudes he notched out. He was ranked pretty high by ESPN heading into 2014 and I didn’t agree with it. But he put up a very solid season during a up-and-down season for the Yankees as a whole. His pure hitting skills, ample power, and base-path prowess can be a lethal combo. In a post-Jeter Yankees line-up next season, Jacoby Ellsbury will step in and step up.
The guy is currently the highest ranking position player on our league’s player rater, he’s young, and relatively stable. Stability AND upside – atop a World Series-caliber lineup equals money in the bank for 2015. 1 and not that close.
2. Andrew McCutchen – OF
3. Paul Goldschmidt – 1B
4. Miguel Cabrera – 1B
5. Jose Bautista – OF
6. Giancarlo Stanton – OF
7. Edwin Encarnacion – 1B
8. Clayton Kershaw – P
9. Jose Altuve – 2B
10. Jose Abreu – 1B
2B – Robinson Cano – The OBP, lack of Ks, tons of ABs, hard to find that with THAT many at bats. Actually hit more homers at home than away, so could rise?
2B – Dee Gordon – This all comes down to how much you believe here. The fact that the guy went from not being able to hit to being one of best players pound for pound on our rater is impressive, and he’s young enough for more. I couldn’t pick him, but with that level of output from a middle infielder – the case could be made. Wouldn’t do it in a standard league though
OF – Jacoby Ellsbury – He profiles the same, with a longer track record, as the guys above here. Only the fact that he’s an OF keeps him lower for me. He’s capable of more power than the big speed guys too – though I’d say a lower OBP than Altuve.
McCutchen proved again this year that he’s a solid player in every batting category. His only downfall is the players around him, which keeps his numbers lower than they should be.
Miguel Cabrera is producing.. But not producing as well as last year. I think he’s becoming injury prone, and this may hurt his numbers for the rest of his career. Plus, I don’t like him…
Stanton is having a stellar year, and comes back next year putting up more homers and doubles. The Marlins lineup is more experienced and will also raise his numbers.
Kershaw. No commentary necessary. He gets you enough CG alone to win the category.
Tulo plays at Coors Field. We don’t know where he’ll be next year, or the year after, but he’ll always produce. He’s got an eye for the ball and is a great athlete. He reminds me of Mike Trout.
Puig proved that he’s good enough to be a top 10 player. He has too many threats around him in the lineup to not see mistakes over the plate (unlike Cutch).
Joey Bats continues to perform well every year. It’s time for him to get taken really early. Number 9 is even a stretch to me. I think he could possibly be a top 6 or 7. He drives in runs and has a killer OPS. He’ll do it again next year.
I had to go with Victor here. He’s always had the potential, and I think he’s finally figured out the long ball. The guy doesn’t strike out, and he walks a ton. Even though he doesn’t hit triples (or steal much), he’s worth a top 10.
***The contributors opinions are solely their own. I’d like to thank each of them for their time and thoughts.***
Be sure to check back when ESPN releases their 2015 fantasy baseball pre-ranks!