2016 – Top Outfielders (21-30) – Under 30

21. Adam Eaton 27, CHW – Eaton has become the perfect  lead off hitter for the Chi Sox during the last couple seasons. He has been one of those players that many have not noticed except for savvy owners.. He does not hit a ton of home runs or steal tons of bases. This might be the reason for the lack of respect. With 175 hits that included 28 doubles, 9 triples and 14 home runs and that’s not all. Eaton had 98 runs, 56 RBI,  58 BB and 18 steals. Eaton is a great addition especially in points leagues. His ability to stay on the field was his biggest problem in his first few seasons in Arizona which can be a risk with his all out style of play. He is totally worth the investment. My projections for 2016 are .280/102/11/62/15.

22. David Peralta 28, ARI – Here is a tale of a pitcher who totally reinvented himself in order to realize his dream. Not just to get to the big leagues but to be a very successful hard hitting corner outfielder for the Diamondbacks. Peralta had a great year hitting in the middle of the lineup that Arizona realized they could trade his platoon mate in Ender Inciarte to fill in other needs. Peralta will bat cleanup this season right after Pollack & Goldschmidt. There should be MANY times he comes to the plate with multiple men on base. He hit 28 Doubles, 17 home runs and led the National league with 10 triples. A glaring weakness in his game has been his inability to hit lefties. His stats from last season were primarily against right handed pitchers. A full time job would mean a lower batting average. Watch him closely in the Spring to see if he ends up platooning again which kills his value. My projections for 2016 are .289/74/24/88/6

23. Yasiel Puig 25, LAD – Puig had a very difficult year filled with injuries, slumps and distractions. While he may have more athletic ability and hitting skills then most in the MLB, he has yet to deliver on the maybe too high expectations that were projected on him at this time last year. Yasiel was injured for some if not most of the season and there was an obvious rift between he and Don Mattingly that for some reason spilled out of the clubhouse and into the public view. That  being said maybe with a new season and a new manager  Yasiel will start off hot and that new found confidence will start to make him the force we know he can be. With a better approach at the plate here are my projections for 2016 .288/89/26/86/8

24. Gregory Polanco 24, PIT – It’s kind of hard to believe Polanco is only 24 years old. He was  called up half way into the 2014 season. Unfortunately for him he hit very well. slugging 7 home runs, swiping 14 and knocked in 33 to go with 50 runs scored. So succumbing to the pressure of living up to those lofty expectations Polonco withered at the end of 2014 he was actually sent back to AAA as the ab’s were taken over by Travis Snyder. Polanco played the outfield in Pittsburgh for all of 2015 and while he did manage to have 150 hits he only managed to hit .256. withe a wOBA of .304 and 9 Hr’s it was a very underwhelming season. The bright spot had to be his 27 stolen base. If he could find away to hit 20 hr’s to go with that fantasy owners would be drooling. Since he is just 24 maybe soon he can drive some of his 35 doubles over the fence and there is no reason to say he cant. We just might need to wait a couple years as he enters his prime. My projections for 2016 are .267/80/14/60/25

25. Randal Grichuk 24, STL – Grichuk has carried the burden of being the guy drafted by the Angels before Mike Trout in the 2009 draft. The weight of trying to show people why he  was drafted in that spot made him squeeze that bat a little too tight. He put up good numbers in the minors but as he climbed up the ladder past high A the K  rates when up and the batting average went down. Last season the Cardinals deployed Grichuk due to injuries and boy did he show how hard he can hit the ball. It’s that different kind of sound when he makes contact. K-rates were high and the BABIP was well, fortunate so there is some regression expected in the batting average but the power numbers should be a staple in the Cards lineup for years to came. My projections for 2016 are .252/61/23/74/5

26. Jorge Soler 23, CHC – I heard a rumor that Theo Epstein drove a speedboat to the shores of Cuba one night and returned with an 18 year old Soler. Theo gave him shoes, a bologna sandwich and fifteen dollars in return, Jorge had to join the new Evil Empire on the North side of Chicago. All kidding aside. Soler has all the talent you could want but, he is coming off a terrible season where he struck out every third time he came to the plate. That being said i was ready to buy low while everyone else is scared worth the risk with that high of a ceiling. Now, I see that the Cubs have brought back Dexter Fowler to play center field. That pushes Jason Heyward over to Right Field and Schwarber playing Left Field. Soler seems to be the odd man out. He may be in a platoon situation with Schwarber or to give Heyward a breather every once in a while. Maybe he will pinch hit at the end of games once in a while. Look, if he hits well Joe Maddon will find a way to play him on a regular basis. Either way if you see he is not getting any interest in your draft or auction be prepared to swoop in a grab a guy with this much upside. My projections for 2016 with the hope he plays regularly are .271/63/22/71/5.

27. Marcell Ozuna 25, MIA – So in 2014 after this top prospect hits 23 HR’s & 85 RBI’s in his first full season with the Marlins everyone was smiling. Fast forward to 2015 Ozuna struggled and had a hard time getting going with the bat.  So of course how do the Marlins bestow faith in him to get his confidence  up? You guessed it! Send him back to AAA. This had many people including his agent completely off guard and trying to understand the logic. Might have been lack of effort, lack of focus or maybe he just flipped off his coaches  then tried to harpoon the Marlins mascot. Either way he got going in AAA driving the ball and hitting ball for extra base hits. He got the call back after about a month or so and ended the season with decent stats but only 10 home runs. Some doubt if he is really going to flash the HR power to hit 20 or so per season. He did it 3 times in the minors and once in the Majors. He’s only 25…give the dude a break. My projections for 2016 are .268/65/20/79/5.

28. Stephen Piscotty 24, STL – Yet another talented product of the St. Louis miner league system. Piscotty a former supplemental round pick transitioned from being a third baseman after he was drafted to working a corner outfield spot. He has always been a very talented hitter although some worried that he would never hit enough home runs to justify a right field job.  This may be true for now but, he has a quick bat and makes hard contact so he will hit enough, drive in enough and score enough to be fantasy relevant. Also, he should hit in the middle of the Cardinals lineup that is always productive. I believe Piscotty may be a better draft pick then Grichuk in the next few years (maybe this one). With a  37.4% hard hit rate and a  21.2% line drive rate I would be okay if he hits 10-15 home runs because  it just might come with 40 something doubles. My projections for 2016 are .275/65/15/75/6

29. Joc Peterson 23, LAD – Talk about a tale of two seasons. I think  Fangraphs put it best that Joc’s s terrible second half was not due to a change in his walk to strikeout ratios or in his contact. It was the type of bad contact he was making. This seems like it can be very correctable with some hard work. We all saw what he can do in the first half of last season hitting some of those moon shots. In 2013 he was in AA and had a 20/30 season. 2014 in AAA he had a 30/30 season. The fact that he was able to hit 26 homers in the big leagues last year is a very good sign for whats to come. As he gets more comfortable he will improve on his 4 stolen bases from last year. While others are scared off buy his dreadful second half now is probably your last chance to buy low on this huge upside talent. My projections for 2016 are .257/71/26/84/12.

30. Ender Inciarte 25, ATL – Being traded to the Braves was perfect timing as David Peralta was going to reduce Inciarte’s playing time in that platoon. Now he will play center field and hit lead off for the Braves. Its not a great offense but getting more at bats is always a plus especially in points leagues. He will hit for average, score a lot of runs, Steal 20+ bases and can play all three outfield spots very well. The average looks sustainable due to very rarely striking out. You would think he was just one of the fast slap hitters but he did hit the ball hard 26% of the time and had a line drive rate of 21.7% My projections for 2016 are .279/75/6/42/25.

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2016-Top Outfielders (11-20)- Under 30

 

11. Kris Bryant 23, CHC – Also a very good outfield option. Info on him in my Top 15 at Thirdbase under 30

12. Starling Marte 27, PIT – After Starling began the season hitting home runs at a fast paced people started to covet his already valuable stats. The unusually high pace of power did slow down and regressed to the mean of about 2 per month. He is just starting to hit his prime years of production so don’t rule this out from happening from time to time on top of his usual plus hitting and speed tools. My projections for 2016 are .285/81/18/83/30

13. George Springer 26, HOU – The former 11th overall pick in the 2011 amateur draft has all the tools. He has power, steals bases, hits for average and will take walks. This combo  makes him a fantasy stud. Springer swings hard and a hits the ball hard. The only negative I see is that he swings so hard he tends to strike out a bit more often then one would hope especially in points leagues. I see a next step up in production this year especially for extra base hits. My projections for 2016 are  .271/98/29/102/25

14. Justin Upton 28, DET – Upton is consistent if nothing else. Seems like he is always good for a .270/100/30/100/15 line.Well, despite a small dip in production Justin now brings his services to Detroit and will play in the American League for the first time. An adjustment to new pitchers will be expected but, playing in such a potent batting lineup along with possible use of the DH should lead to an increase in his counting stats. My projections for 2016 are .274/105/32/95/16

15. Jason Heyward 26, CHC – Heyward will most likely make his owners in points leagues the happiest of all. While he hits for a good average and has immense power, the latter is not always good for many home runs. Smack in the middle of the Cubs offense which has opposing pitchers waking up in a cold sweat this Winter   Jason is going to see an everyday job playing outfield. At the plate he is going to hit for average and take walks. His Runs scored will probably be off the charts with the fire power that will reside in Northern Chicago. My projections for 2016 are .281/109/21/83/15.

16. Brandon Belt 27, SF – So we all know how well the Giants do every other season. Last year was an odd year yet Brandon was the teams best hitter not named Brandon Posey. I would not say Belt does anything great but, he does everything above average. Sure to be a constant in the 3 or 4 spot in the lineup this year as he is just entering his prime years I suspect we have yet to see his ceiling quite yet. My projections for 2016 are .282/87/24/92/7

17. Christian Yelich 24, MIA – Here is a case of a very unique type of hitter. Christian after just turning 24 can hit .300 with 150+ hits, 20+ steals,  30+Doubles & 90+ Runs. Thing is he most likely will not hit double digits in home runs. With a 62.5% ground ball Rate. This will not change unless he can create more lift in his swing. He is very serviceable as is but you have to understand what to expect from him as the whole .300 20/20 thing many projected will not likely happen. My projections for 2016 are .295/82/12/68/16.

18. Corey Dickerson – 26, TB – Ah, Plantar Fasciitis sounds like some kind of Gardener from Eastern Europe. Unfortunately for Corey this version can be tougher to get rid of. After all the promise leading into last season and the awesome start he got off to it seems like this is going to be a major red flag for anyone who considers drafting him despite not playing for the Rockies any longer. Guess that is the reason Colorado decided to trade away Dickerson instead of Carlos Gonzalez. Corey is a very talented hitter who could deliver a huge season but, the foot could flare up again at any time. My projection for 2016 are scaled back assuming he gets about 400 AB’s .274/45/15/48/1.

19. Kyle Schwarber – 22, CHC – Info on him in my Top 15 Catchers Under 30

20. Michael Brantley 28, CLE – Brantley would have made my top 10 list but due to shoulder surgery after last season and the prospect of him missing the first 2 months of the season and the possibility that he does not come back with the strength he normally does will temper the expectations. Michael is normally a machine at the plate with a crazy good Batting average and an on base machine. My projections for 2016 are  .282/45/9/50/12

2016 – Top Outfielders (1-10) – Under 30

  1. Mike Trout 24,  LAA – This just in…dude is pretty good. Seems like he’s been mashing the ball for about 7-8 years now. Hard to believe he is only 24. A stat line in 2015 of .299/104/41/90/11. A lot of people were complaining that he had a down year. Wow we have high standards for this guy. With respect to Harper and Goldschmidt, Trout is the best player on earth right now. Last season he had some amazing peripheral stats like a .415 wOBA / 9.0 WAR / .344 BABIP / 40.8 Hard Hit Rate. If he can bring down his k rate from its semi-lofty 23.2 he would see all other stats increase to get even better. How could you not want this guy on your team? If you have the 1st pick in your draft grab him without thinking twice. My projections for 2016 are .307/112/40/109/20.
  2. Bryce Harper 23, WSH – Harper is the closest to Trout and he is coming off a fantastic season that won him the NL MVP trophy. Before I place him #1 on this list I want to see if he can repeat this output for a second year. With a line of .330/118/42/99/6 he truly dominated at the plate. Harper had a k rate of 20% compared to a BB rate of 19%…crazy!!. He had a.369 BABIP / .461 wOBA / 9.5 WAR / 1.019 OPS / 40.9 Hard Hit Rate. I am not seeing anything he can improve on from there. He seemed to avoid the injury bug this season well…it was more running into walls that he avoided. If he can stay healthy and repeat last years stats Hands down best player in the league. My projections for 2016 are  .318/108/41/103/17
  3. Andrew McCutchen 29, PIT – The model of consistent big time production who lives in the shadow of the two men listed above him. “Cutch” has played at least 146 games in each of the last 6 seasons. Last year he did just about everything, as is the case his entire career.  He hit for average (.292) power (23 HR’s) & a (38.9% Hard Hit Rate), Speed (11 SB’s) Ability to get on base (.380 wOBA) For Andrew it was a bit of a down year so here’s hoping he gets things back on track in 2016. My projections for 2016 are .308/90/25/93/12.
  4. Giancarlo Stanton 26, Mia – Some wondered why Giancarlo ( Don’t call me Mike) would want to sign a 10 year contract with the Marlins. Except of coarse for the 30+ million per season. Everyone kept saying he may get 40+ home runs per year but his RBI totals will be around 70. Well, as per Jeffery Loria’s promise they are starting to build a competitive team round him. Jose Fernandez, Dee Gordan, Christian Yelich, Justin Bour & J.T. Realmuto just to name a few show the Marlins are trending up and will get better as long as they stay healthy. We all know that Stanton the 6’6″ tree of a man hits a lot of home runs but if you factor in the that he hits the ball harder then anyone (HHR of 49.7%). If he can lower his 29.9% k rate hitting the ball so hard will raise his BABIP and consequently all of his counting stats. He just needs to spend more time healthy although most of the injuries he suffered were not his fault they were more fluky in nature. My projections for 2016 are .75/90/43/105/10.
  5. Mookie Betts 23, BOS – Last season Mookie Betts sure did deliver on the potential he has flashed in his brief career and probably surpassed the projections that most had for him. A  line of .291/92/18/77/21 tells the story. He sure seems like a Andrew McCutchen clone. Hitting in that Red Sox lineup, home park and frankly the hitter friendly parks of the entire AL East. Mookie is in a great spot and with another year of hitting against MLB pitching he seems to still be on the incline. My projections for 2016 are .302/103/25/108/25.
  6. A.J. Pollock 28, ARI – The best fantasy player that no one knows  knew about. Pollock who was the 17th overall pick in by the D-backs in 2009. I’m looking but i cant seem to find a fault in his game. His hitting line last season was  .315/111/20/76/39. Hitting before Goldschmidt in the lineup helps but,  there seems to be nothing that Pollack cannot do. It’s not like this came out of nowhere . A.J. has hit well at every stop in the minors and has shown a steady uptick in his big league production. I’m not sure if he is going to be able to hit 20 home runs again but everything else seems sustainable. My 2016 projections are .321/110/18/86/33.
  7. Chris Davis  29, BAL – Boy did “Super Agent” Scott Boras work his magic once again. He found a way to make the Orioles panic by calling their bluff. So now that Davis has his super contract in tow which will have him manning first Base / DH for the Orioles until he is 47. For 2016 (as long as MLB allows him to take Adderall) The power hitting first baseman should once again get used to hitting in the very hitter friendly Camden yards and well, the AL East.His 41.4% hard hit rate and the amount of walks he took (88) are amazing but boy does he strike out A LOT! My projections for 2016 are .252/87/41/116/3.
  8. J.D. Martinez  28, DET – J.D. was very good when in the minors but every time the Astros called him up…he was just OK. The Astros gave him some platoon work in 2011,2012 & 2013.  They saw a good hitter but he was a corner outfielder that would average 10-15 Hr’s per year. Aware of his own mortality he overhauled his swing by trying to give up some contact for more lift. It seems the Tigers saw this and brought him in to start at AAA in 2014. Well, he went and hit 10 Hr’s in his 17 games in AAA. Needless to say he was called up to Detroit quickly and has never looked back. A great season in 2014 lead him to an amazing season in 2015.The regression never came. Needless to say i see no reason at age 28 for the fun times to stop. My projections for 2016 are .279/87/34/104/4.
  9. Charlie Blackmon 29, COL – Take away the “Product of Colorado” label for this guy. There may be a few home runs that are helped by it but Charlie Blackmon is not a HR hitter alone. The real words for his game are hitting and speed. Charlie would be the lead off hitter for just about any team in the league. He has a great command of the strike zone (92.3% Zcontact rate) & a (6.2% swinging strike rate). After that he can produce a ton of extra base hits. In 2015 his batting average was .287 and he had a hard hit percentage of 32.7% this explains his ability to amass 176 hits including       31 doubles, 9 triples & 17 HR’s. He also sports a wOBA of .345 which is good but with some added patience at the dish it would be a huge bonus to the numbers he would give you. Oh…I almost forgot to mention that only three players recorded more than 40 stolen bases last season. Billy Hamilton, Dee Gordon and ___? You guessed it Charlie Blackmon had 43 SB’s last season. My 2016 projections are .292/90/15/65/41.
  10. Lorenzo Cain 29, KC – 2015 was a great year for Lorenzo as the game started to slow down for him and he was able to orchestrate a break out year personally and it’s also pretty cool when that breakout helps win your team the World Series. In 2011 Lorenzo enjoyed a full season with the Royals AAA club where he posted a line of .312/84/16/84/16. After a few seasons of trying to adjust to the large leap from AAA to the majors it looked like he figured things out to start the 2014 season in which his stats almost mirrored those in 2011. Except for less power and more stolen bases. 2015 came and so did the power in a jump from 5 to 16 HR’s. He kept the speed as well to make him a very dynamic addition to your team that produces in every category. Some see a regression for him this season but it looks to me as i check his BABIP, k – BB rates and hard hit percentages that this could very well be sustainable at least for the next 2 or 3 seasons of his prime years. My 2016 projections are .301/89/15/71/21.

 

 

 

2016-Top 15 at Third base-Under 30

Third Base is pretty deep this season. Well, as long as you get one of the top 7 or 8. The top 3 may be gone by the end of the first round in your draft. In the age of pitching being as deep as it is now a power hitting infielder is so much harder to find in season.

  1. Nolan Arenado 24, COL – Coming off a big time season in 2015 can he get better? Hitting stats like .287/97/42/130/2 and playing half his games at Coors Field can’t hurt. When I dig a little deeper I noticed that his BABIP last season was .284 this is low for someone with a 35.8% hard hit rate. If things start to level off there then that would give him about a .300 average along with more runs and RBI’s. Then there is his K/BB rate 16.5% k rate and a 5.1% for walks. Not bad for a strike out rate but the walk rate should start working its way up at the very least he should see an uptick for added intentional walks. Nolan will turn 25 in April yet he is already a force. My projections for 2016 are .307/105/36/125/1.
  2. Manny Machado 23, BAL – After a couple seasons of terrible injuries some had him written off as a player that would never be on the field enough to realize his full potential. Well, after a 2015 season that saw him bat .286/102/35/102/20 we now see what he  is capable of. There is always the possibility that he could improve on these numbers as he is only 23. The injury bug is always a concern with Manny so there is some risk attached to him. There are not too many people who would need to think twice about having him on their team.My projections for 2016 are .280/90/32/95/18.
  3. Kris Bryant 24, CHC – I feel like it took forever for Kris to get the call up. I know i had him in my 5 man keeper league at the end of 2014. He sat on my bench for what seemed to be forever till he hit the “magic” day of eligibility. From there he jumped right into the deep end of the pool with the big kids.  After a season that saw him produce 26 home runs with 99 RBI’s while batting .275. What can we expect in his sophomore season? Looking at his BABIP of .378 leads one to believe that his batting average should regress. I would not say regress to the leagues average though.  Looking at his hard hit rate of 37.5% it shows why he has such a high BABIP. Big body, big swing will bring big strikeouts especially when the book comes out on him (it probably already  has). My projections for 2016 are .272/95/29/125/11.
  4. Todd Fraizer 29, CHW –  Seems like every season Fraizer is in the MVP discussions and then comes the second half of the season. I’m sure the White Sox answered the phone from the Reds and said “Ok, I guess we’ll take Todd Fraizer but, you owe us one” As bad as his numbers were in the second half last year he still managed 10 home runs during that time for 35 HR;s total. Todd makes hard contact to the tune of 36.9%. He definitely hit better while at the great American Ballpark in Cincinnati  I think he will get over that with the good hitting parks in the AL + being in a lineup with more protection around him will lead to a big year. My projections for 2016 are .264/75/33/94/10.
  5. Miguel Sano 22, MIN – Miguel was a top prospect for a few years in the Twins systems with lots of big time power at all his stops along the way. When he got the call to join Minnesota he did more then impress, he excelled. Sano has been known for immense natural power and the ability to be placed in the middle of the lineup to be a  big time RBI machine. in 80 games last year he hit .269/46/18/52/1. Talk is that GM Terry Ryan has hinted that they plan to move Sano to RF in Spring Training this may be true but, until i see him out there during the regular season i am going to continue treating him as a third basemen. A BABIP of .396 is unsustainable so his average should be lower. The strikeouts rate of 35.5% is worrisome in points leagues but the power in his swing (49.2% hard hit) and the way the ball jumps off his bat will make him a force in the batters box. My projections for 2016 are .250/80/35/99/2.
  6. Kyle Seager 28, SEA – So many people are talking about Corey Seager, Kyle’s little brother. Thing is Kyle is a reliable productive hitter who you can pencil in for a .265 batting average and about 25 HR’s with 70+ RBI’s. He had trouble getting going from the start of last season but really turned things around in the second half. The reason i feel this was “unlucky” was due to his BABIP of .278 when it is normally like the previous year a healthy .296. Assuming all is good and he starts the year  well, he may be in for a bounce back season that yields more production. Taking a look at his hard hit rate last season of 32.9% and a line drive rate  of 24% he makes good contact with some pop. his SO to BB ratio is 2/1 not bad at all. This could be the year Seager breaks out for a big season. My projections for 2016 are .282/95/34/91/7.
  7. Maikel Franco 23, PHI –  After being called up by the Phillies in September of 2014 Maikel like most rookies starting out did not impress with his 56 ab’s & 10 hits. Fast forward to 2015 and the Phillies decided to go into full rebuilding mode after the all star break. The Phils sent Cody Ashe to AAA to learn how to play the OF. That opened up a spot at 3B for 80 games. This time he he did not disappoint. With a .280/45/14/50/1 line over those 80 games shows his capabilities. Now to temper things a bit. While he shows a very healthy wOBA (.370) his hard hit rate of 28.5% is average at best and i am not seeing this much production in the years he spent in the Minor leagues. My gut is making me think he had some isolated success . While he will be a very serviceable Third baseman. Pitchers are going to make some adjustments on how they pitch to him and it may take him a while to figure things out. My projections for 2016 are .250/53/18/62/2.
  8. Anthony Rendon 25, WSH –  After 2014 Rendon was in consideration for a top 5 spot on this list. Today there are some major concerns over his durability moving forward. Since his days playing college ball at Rice he has battled severe ankle and knee injuries. For two years we saw a healthy Rendon and the 2014 production returned was excellent .287/111/21/83/17. Moving forward its going to be tough devoting your trust in a guy who cant support the top of his body with the bottom. Especially while he is just reaching his prime years. The talent has always been there but he is going to have to stay healthy to prove his worth. My projections for 2016 are .273/60/12/50/5.
  9. Mike Moustakas 27, KC – 2015 saw this second overall pick in the 2007 draft finally breakout. After 5 seasons of not being very impressive it seemed like 2015 would be his last chance to put it all together. So instead of trying to pull everything we saw, Moustakas started to hit the ball the other way. Whatever the pitcher gives him over the plate he has simply gone with it. Driving the ball to all fields with a 31.3% hard hit rate allowed his batting average to reach .284. Also, it helped him to have  a career low of a 12.4%K rate. My projections for 2016 are .275/69/25/85/1.
  10. Nick Castellanos  23, DET **Alert! Sleeper Alert!**– It seems like it’s  taken forever but, this will be the year that Castellanos breaks out. Everyone was so excited when he won the third base job in Detroit. The Tigers management took a look at what Castellanos accomplished in 2013 when he opened some eyes in AAA with a line of .276/81/18/76/4 along with 37 doubles. Since then he has played 2 full seasons with the Tigers and has held his own to keep his starting job. Borderline ownable in mixed fantasy leagues. Not a guy people were sprinting to the waiver wire to pick up. The biggest difference between his success in AAA and his last couple in the MLB has been his BB and K rates. Last season his k rate was at 25.5% and in that last year in AAA it was 16.8% the missing link to being ownable in all formats is his ability to drive down those K’s. Success waits for him this year! My projections for 2016 are .285/79/20/82/2
  11. Matt Duffy 24, SF –  2015 was a magical season for Duffy and it was not easy. He was replacing Pablo Sandoval who left the Giants for the money flashed by the Boston Red Sox. This after he helped the Giants win the World Series every other year.  Matt Duffy stepped in and showed that he is a good ball player. At the start of the season there was some, but not much Intel on him concerning his strengths and weaknesses. He used the unfamiliarity to his advantage and sat and waited for his pitch then turned on it. After the book got out on how to pitch him the pitchers made an adjustment leaving him at a disadvantage. The reason for the sophomore slump is usually it takes these kids a while until they make the right adjustments for renewed success. Matt did not take long at all. He started using the entire field and would not miss many of the chances a pitcher might give you. He is going to be in the middle of a very productive lineup again. The only warning I will advise people of is his BABIP from last year (.336) was about 20 points higher then the norm. A batting average regression should be expected. My projections for 2016 are .280/60/12/65/14.
  12. Pablo Sandoval 29, BOS – After a disastrous first season i n Boston, Pablo is trying to hit that reset button and start again. Word is he has dropped 20-22 Lbs this off season. After John Farrell was a guest on on a Boston Radio show the other day he said that he is hoping Sandoval can get back to the production he had in 2014. If he cant he said “we have guys who can step in and help” Yikes, that sounds like a short leash. This is a guy that is only 29 years old and has flashed a very impressive hitting tool in the past. If you take a close look at Pablo’s numbers from last year compared to those in 2014. The only difference was due to a 30 point drop in BABIP and Batting Average. He struck out less then he did in 2014. He did however have the lowest hard hit rate and % of line drives in a log time. Was he injured? Out of shape? Not sure but it sounds like he is going to be slimmer and in better shape coming into Spring Training this year. Possible bargain in your drafts/auctions. My projections for 2016 are .275/65/15/64/0
  13. Yasmany Tomas 25, ARI – A talented and powerful hitter from Cuba. Tomas is going to have a difficult time playing 3B unless Jake Lamb falls flat on his face returning from an injury that interrupted what was becoming a huge breakout. That would put Tomas in the outfield where  there seems to be one spot open along side A.J. Pollock & David Peralta. An interesting stat i came across for Tomas would be his appearance on the top 10 list for how often he hits the ball hard to the opposite field  32.9%. Also with that oppo field power comes a very healthy percentage of base hits the other way 29.3. These stats are so impressive because of the players who appear there with him to the likes of Ozuna, Harper, Kemp, Pollock, Braun & Yelich. This may lead to a player who has the tools to bat for a high average in the near future. My projections for 2016 are .270/60/16/58/7
  14. Derek Dietrich, 26 MIA – Last season Derek hit 10 home runs and had an excellent hard hit rate of 34% in 250 at bats. Only problem is that  was all the playing time he could get being blocked from the starting lineup. Derek can now play 2nd base 3rd base and outfield. The outlook for more playing time don’t look much better with Dee Gordon at 2nd, Stanton, Ozuna & Yelich in the Outfield. Third base may be his chance that is if he beats out Martin Prado. The Marlins have been fielding a lot of calls concerning teams that want to trade for him but, they have yet to get an offer they cant refuse.My projection for 2016 are .255/45/15/37/0.
  15. Brett Lawrie 25, CWS – It seems that Brett will have most of his playing time at second base that is assuming that Todd Fraiser has dibs on Third. Since he is still eligible at Third base in most formats why not rank him as such? He has not yet lived up to the numbers that his talent level showed in  Toronto. Last season in Oakland Brett played in 149 games which is basically a full season. His hitting line was .260/64/16/60/5. He is now playing in a better hitters park but, we cant forget about that whole playing time thing right? My projections for 2016 are .265/40/10/45/7.

2016-Top 15 Shortstops-Under 30

  1. Carlos Correa 21, HOU – Looking at the stats Carlos put up you would think it was for a full season…oh no. In just north of 400 AB’s Carlos batted .279/52/22/68/14. Correa like his double play partner in Houston, is the total package. He is looking like he will produce big numbers in every fantasy category. SB’s might be his lowest, you know 20-25…That’s it? His wOBA of .365 and hard hit rate 32.9% Give the impression the this league might be too easy for him My projections for 2016 are .285/90/26/95/20.
  2. Xander Bogaerts 23, BOS – When Xander was called up in 2013 he struggled a bit and it seemed like he was only going to be a solid singles hitter. in 2014 & 2015 he turned a lot of those singles into doubles (28,35). Still only 23 years old so there are more “man muscles” to come (one of my favorite lines from last year by Lloyd McClendon referring to Carson Smith) Hitting in a very good lineup, in a great park for talented hitters not to mention the hitter friendly parks in the AL East. Its easy to see that Xander is just scratching the surface. Looking at his K rates they have steadily decreased in each of the three seasons which has helped in wOBA immensely. If he starts to walk once in a while then we may be talking a future first or second round pick in the future. His BABIP of .372 last year seems to be lucky so i do see regression for now in some of his numbers. My projections for 2016 are .295/86/15/75/10.
  3. Corey Seager 21, LAD – Seager’s long awaited debut seemed to take forever but, when Don Mattingly finally gave up on Jimmy Rollins the call was made.After Corey made his debut he had 27 games that made people want to put him on the hall of fame ballot this year. OK, maybe not but they were video game numbers that left his fantasy owners salivating for more. A batting average of .337, a wOBA of .421, BABIP .387, Hard Hit Rate of 45.6%? All of these must regress. He was good in the minors but not that good. My projections for 2016 are .275/70/15/75/2.
  4. Francisco Lindor 22, CLE – Francisco had a great start to his career and while I do think most of what he did is sustainable not all was. His BABIP of .348 was higher then normally expected so a .313 AVG & .358 wOBA will likely come down, for now. His power numbers as well seemed a bit fortunate with 12 home runs in 438 AB’s. Lindor was a highly regarded prospect who is going to be a fan favorite in Cleveland for a long time. My projections for 2016 are .270/75/12/65/19.
  5. Brandon Crawford 28. SF – Here is a case where the Giants had a shortstop that they drafted in 2008. He was a solid defender with good size and developing skill with the bat. In true SF Giants form being that they develop so many home grown major league players with great patience to let them hone their skills. After 1000+ AB’s Crawford through hard work and an everyday job has begun to show the finished product of his hitting tools. armed withe a 32.9 hard hit rate, a wOBA of .332 (he still k’s too often so this should regress) he has shown the talent is there to be a productive hitter. My 2016 projections are .250/60/18/70/8.
  6. Elvis Andrus 27, TEX – It seems like Elvis has been in the league long enough that he should be 32-33 right? Its probably because he has had seven straight full seasons starting at shortstop. only one of those seasons did he have less than 650 PA’s. He is a model of consistency and durability.Elvis has been good for 1/2 a dozen HR , 60+ Runs & RBI’s, 25 SB’s and an AVG around .260-.270. He’s kind of like that chicken rotisserie machine by Ronco. Set it and forget it. My projections for 2016 are .270/65/6/60/25.
  7. Marcus Semien 25, OAK – If you were to take the months of June and July out of the equation Marcus would have had a very successful first season with the A’s. We don’t really have that luxury today. He was bad during those two months. Was he playing hurt? I don’t know. Maybe. The fact that he bounced back to have a successful end of the season. Maybe that was a season he needed to help make him stronger for 2016? Looking at the numbers they were not troubling other than the .311 wOBA. Marcus needs to Start taking more walks (7%) and striking out less (22%). The rest should fall into line with his hitting talents. My projections for 2016 are .265/70/18/70/12.
  8. Ketel Marte 22, SEA – The switch hitting shortstop seemed to fly under the radar of a lot of fantasy owners in the second half of last season. Marte does not look to be the type that will hit you 25-30 home runs but, he could help in many other ways. A good hitting too may see him hit between .265-.280, 20-25 doubles, 4-10 triples 20-25 SB’s. Not bad right? The key is for the Mariners to stay patient with him. Being only 22 he is not going to be as polished as they would prefer. My projections for 2016 are .270/55/5/45/25.
  9. Jung Ho Kang 28, PIT – Kang started off slow as would be expected but, then he turned the corner a lot harder and faster then most expected. Taken out by an “aggressive” slide trying to stop a double play Kang’s season ended early for knee surgery. Working hard at rehab to get back as quickly as possible the Bucos GM says they expect him back sometime in April. So most likely May right? I try to temper expectations when it comes to players returning after missing Spring training. Kang had great #’s last year. Seems as though his BABIP says he was fortunate some so a slight regression would be expected. My projections for 2016 are .270/58/15/65/6.
  10. Addison Russell 21, CHC **Alert! Sleeper Alert!** – This top prospect shortstop took over starting duties as Starlin Castro struggled from the get go. It was a lot thrown on a 21 year old all at once but, as the season progressed you could see the comfort level progressing as well. The 11 overall selection in the 2011 Amateur draft started to settle in despite a 28.5% k-rate which led to a .304 wOBA. Once he gets the strike outs under control I believe you will see a short stop that has plus tools in every facet of the game. Hitting 29 doubles and 13 home runs last year leads me to believe he may be a top 5 shortstop in the next year or two. My 2016 projections are .265/75/16/68/8
  11. Alcides Escobar 28, KC – Coming off a year in which he was the starting shortstop for the World Series Champions you would expect much more buzz surrounding Escobar. That’s not really what he is about. We are looking at a very good contact hitter who runs the bases well along withe stealing 20+ bases, drives in some runs does not walk but rarely a strike out victim either. He will get you about 150+ hits but probably only 30 of those will be for extra bases. Great counting stats guy. Much better for points leagues. My 2016 projections are for .270/70/4/55/19.
  12. Brad Miller 26, TB – Traded to the Rays this off season after a 2015 where we saw the good and bad of Brad Miller. His first half of the season was tough to watch. Luckily the m’s showed patience and he turned things around in the second half. When Seattle realized they had something special and ready in Ketel Marte they started to look around and see what they could get in Miller. Miller is a guy who has hit everywhere he has been and is athletic enough to stay at short stop. No doubt the Rays have seen the same too which led them to trading for him. My projections for 2016 are .260/50/11/55/9.
  13. Eugenio Suarez 24, CIN – Being called up due to an early season ending injury to Zack Cozart, Eugenio held his own and filled in very well. batting .280/42/13/48 is not bad at all for a fill in. looking at his BABIP which was .341 it seems higher than it should be and looking at is BB rate (4.3%) and k rate (23.6%) you can see the red flags from here. There seems to be corrections written on the wall. if there are no improvements on his BB’K rates then we could see his batting average drop 30-35 points which should at the very least lead to Cozart having a chance to win his spot back. My 2016 projections are .250/45/2/45/6.
  14. Didi Gregorius 25, NYY – Who knew? Turns out it was kind of tough to replace Derek Jeter. Didi even looked nervous in the field which was supposed to be his calling card. Luckily for him Jeter set the bar too high in his last season . Somewhere in the middle of the Summer months Didi caught fire. He proved to love hitting in the AL East with their hitter friendly parks. The highlight reel plays at shortstop were a sight to see as well. While Didi had his lowest k rate he has had in years he also had t he lowest walk rate he has shown since AA. Assuming that improves we should see an uptick in his batting average and OBP. My 2016 projections are .275/60/12/70/5
  15. Jose Iglesias 26, DET – Jose seems to improve his hitting every season. He has always been known for his speed and defense. That speed has helped him hit for a .300 average the last couple of injury riddled seasons. This is partly due to his very low rate of strikeouts (9.7%) problem is he does not walk either (5.5%) so while his average was at .300 last year his wOBA was .315. His very low hard hit rate of 16.1% is laughably low enough to categorize him as a slap hitter. My 2016 projections are .275/45/4/40/12

2016-Top 15 2nd Basemen-Under 30

  1. Jose Altuve 25, HOU – He may be the shortest player (5’6″) in the MLB but, Altuve probably has a few teams reconsidering the ideal height they look for when signing players. 425 hits over the last 2 seasons… flat out raking. At least 630+ PA’s in each of the last 4 seasons…Durable. Good for 30-50 SB’s a season…Dude fly’s. Increased his HR total from single to double digits… legit power. No need to mention his stature anymore. He’s a fantasy beast and just about to enter his prime years. My projections for 2016 are .305/90/12/70/30
  2. Matt Carpenter 29, STL– Carpenter saw all his hard work pay off in the power department last season. 28 dingers for the season after never hitting more then 12 any season including the minors. Some say there is no guarantee that he can do it again. This is true but, while Matt had 6 less hits then he had in 2014 he hit 10 more doubles and twenty more home runs.  Either way he is turning more and more of those singles into XBH  Carpenter who walks a lot 12.2% which helps fuel a great wOBA (.372). His Hard Hit rat of 36.8% confirms a great eye at the plate. The fact that he gained 2nd base eligibility towards the end of last season was a huge boost in his value. He is one of my favorite players to own in points leagues he skills seem to perfectly suited for that format. My projections for 2016 are .290/95/25/90/5
  3. Dee Gordan 27, MIA – This just in…dude is fast. His speed and contact rate are his main skills. Dee does not strike out much but, he does not walk either. He is all about slapping the ball and creating havoc on the base paths. Hits, Runs, SB are going to be his main stats each year. At least for a few more years i can see him sustaining these numbers. Its just that, players like Dee never seem to age well especially when their main skill is speed. If he comes up hobbling from a hamstring or groin pull running out a ground ball. If that happens and it lingers for him all season you might as well find a new second basemen off the waiver wire. If he stays healthy and produces like he has in the last two seasons its great. Just keep a close eye on his health. My predictions for 2016 are .292/85/3/40/50
  4. Brian Dozier 29, MIN Dozier has become quite the surprise power hitter. Looking over his numbers in the minors he seemed to be doing everything except hitting for power. Dozier will put up great numbers in runs, home runs, RBI’s. SB and he is in the top half of second basemen in BB rate (8.7%). The only parts of his game that are a negative are his k rate (21%) and batting average (.236) That being said hitting at the top of the order for an improving Twins hitting lineup can help give you some great counting stats especially if he hits lead off. My projections for 2016 are .240/105/22/70/13
  5. Jason Kipnis 28, CLE – Coming off a great 2015 campaign Kipnis hopes to keep thing going in the right direction. Its hard to get a good read on his projections for 2016 as he has been very inconsistent in batting average, OBA and BABIP. his walk to k rate seems to stay close to the same every year. He did have slightly better numbers as far as hard hit rate and line drive %. This could explain the higher BABIP of .356 but it just has the look that some regression is due, Still Kipnis does provide stats i n just about every category and because of that deserves his #5 spot on this list. My projections for 2016 are .275/75/15/65/15.
  6. Rougned Odor 21, TEX – Odor put up quite a nice Sophomore season. In the second season pitchers are usually a lot better informed on ways to get you out. It likes like he adjusted to this adjustment with out missing a beat. He is looking like he has a very productive career ahead of him. That being said there are 2 things to watch closely as Spring training starts up. Odor primarily hit in the seventh hole last year. Not an ideal player to have with less PA. They have tried him in the #2 hole at times and that would be a great spot hitting in front of Prince Fielder. The other thing to watch is the return of Jurikson Profar. After missing the last two seasons he is apparently healthy and ready to go. The former top prospect might eat into some of Odor’s playing time. My projections for 2016 are .271/68/18/72/12
  7. Logan Forsythe 28, TB – Logan has slowly become a very handy player to have on your fantasy roster the last couple seasons. Being a former 1st round pick by the Padres he has (after 4 seasons) become an everyday player for the Rays. Although he played primarily 1B last season he also played enough at 2nd to qualify there as well. His production could be a very nice piece to have if you draft him to play 2nd base for your team. His power numbers of 17HR’s and 68RBI’s are a welcome sight for a second basemen not to mention a .281 AVG, 69R & 33 Doubles to get with a very healthy wOBA of .350.  Even at #7 he is a very solid addition to your team. My projection for 2016 is .275/75/22/78/7
  8. Anthony Rendon 25, WSH – After 2014 Rendon was in consideration for the top spot on this list. Today there are some major concerns over his durability moving forward. Since his days playing college ball at Rice he has battled severe ankle and knee injuries. For two years we saw a healthy Rendon and the 2014 production returned was excellent .287/111/21/83/17. Moving forward its going to be tough devoting your trust in a guy who cant support the top of his body with the bottom. Especially while he is just reaching his prime years. The talent has always been there but he is going to have to stay healthy to prove his worth. My projections for 2016 are .273/60/12/50/5.
  9. Jonathon Schoop 24, BAL – Schoop had a very impressive second half last season. When he was called up in 2014 It was apparent that Schoop had some pop in his bat. It seemed like that may be all because his batting average was near .200 and he never walked. Fast forward to 2015 after coming back from the disabled list Schoop quietly had a very good second half finishing the season batting.279 with 15 home runs and 39 RBI’s in 300+ AB’s. If that was for a full season we might be looking at a 30 home run 80 RBI second basemen. It seemed that he started to figure things out and the game has started to slow down. It should be fun to see what he can do playing a full season of hitter friendly AL East games. my projections for 2016 are .268/65/25/67/3
  10. Kolten Wong 25, STL **Alert! Sleeper Alert!**– While his numbers have not been overwhelming you can watch Kolten play and see he has yet to tap into his full potential quite yet at the plate. Entering his 3rd season and already having 1000+ PA’s under his belt it feels like this will be the season where we see what he is capable of. I believe he is a .300 hitter capable of a 20/20 season with a healthy dose of Runs and RBI’s.to boot. My projections for 2016 are .289/80/18/72/20.
  11.  Joe Panik 25, SF – Here is a guy who reminds me so much of Matin Prado. Panik is just a really good pure hitter. He has 15 HR potential and a hitting skill that should see him in some future batting title races. A great approach at the plate he has a BB to K rate of 1 to 1 as well. One troubling thing would be the lower back problems he has developed. Keep a close eye on his health in the Spring. If he looks healthy then he could be a very good contributor in points leagues or in Roto leagues if you are looking for batting avg help. my projections for 2016 are .305/72/10/65/5.
  12. Brock Holt 27, BOS –  You may be thinking to yourself “Why does a guy who is not a starter on a “top of” anything list?” Brock is not a back up he is a “super sub”. Because he regularly plays every position other then catcher or pitcher. He can effectively rotate around the field giving players a day off each week. He was the first player to make an all-star team that played 1B,2B,SS,3B,LF,CF,RF before the all-star break. Managers that play against the Red Sox gush about how they would love to have Brock on their team. One of these days he will get a full time job and have a chance to show what he can bring to a team. My projections for 2016 are .288/50/8/53/5
  13. Devon Travis 24, TOR **Alert! Sleeper Alert!** –  Ever since the Tigers drafted Devon back in 2011 he has hit the ball well at every stop. He is working his way back from a season ending injury and at the moment he is targeting a return in May. That is of course assuming that Ryan Goins does not run away with the job. Since he is not going to have Spring training or activity until May it will probably take a month or two to get up to speed but that makes him a great sleeper candidate for the second half of the season. In 62 games last season Travis hit .304/38/8/35/3 with a .370 wOBA. My 2016 projections are .290/40/12/45/4.
  14. D.J. Lemahieu 27, COL – In his fourth season in  the big leagues Lemahieu has started to produce at the plate for the Rockies who have been very patient with him. His 2015 line was .301/85/6/61/23. Some very good numbers for a middle infield position. The elephant in the room that many will point to is that he plays half of his games at Coors Field well the only stat that jumps out is batting average .321 at home and .281 on the road. It seems as though the cause of this difference was mostly singles and doubles. With a 26% line drive rate it seems the game might have slowed down for him. My projections for 2016 are .285/65/10/65/20
  15. Yangervis Solarte 28, SD – Solarte proved he is more than just i guy that gets hot for a couple of months and then disappears. He is a  switch hitter that is just really good at making good contact with the ball. It led to  a .270 avg 16 HR ‘s& 63 RBI’s. Its too bad that not many other teams would give Solarte a starting role. The numbers he put up last season sure seem like they are Solarte’s ceiling.  His best attribute moving forward seems to be his ability to play multiple positions without giving up too much on offense. My projections for 2016 are .268/50/12/52/1

2016 – Top 15 First Basemen – Under 30

  1. Paul Goldschmidt 28, ARI, (Zig Zag Score 226) – being in the top 3 on most preseason lists made this a pretty easy choice. After the first half of last season it seemed  he was easily going to be the choice for NL MVP. Joey Votto gets a ton of credit for his wOBA of (.427) and BB rate of (20.6%) not many mention Goldschmidt at a wOBA of (.418) and BB rate of (17%).  Its the all around game that makes Goldy such an elite player. At the prime age of 28 he truly should be mentioned in the same breath as Trout and Harper. I am projecting a line of 100/38/125/14
  2. Anthony Rizzo 26, CHC, (Zig Zag Score 211) – Its been amazing to see how much Rizzo has elevated his numbers each and every year. I’m sure the Red Sox and Padres regret parting ways with him especially San Diego. In 2016 Rizzo will be playing 1B and hitting 3rd in probably the best lineup i have ever seen on paper. There is going to be some major run production on the North side of Chicago this year and Rizzo is going to be right in the middle of it. For a hitter this productive who is just about to start his ” prime” years I would not be surprised if he rattles off a handful of 30-35 HR, 110-120 RBI 10-15 SB all while hitting between .285 – .295 yeah, you can sign me up for that. 2016 projections are .290/100/30/110/10
  3. Chris Davis 29, BAL, (Zig Zag Score 197) – For all the frustration he causes you have to admit Scott Boras is great at his job. Chris Davis and his “super” agent had a staring contest with the Orioles and wow…Baltimore blinked first. So now Davis gets to play half of his games in the hitter friendly Camden Yards. Staying in the AL East didn’t hurt either. The only way this might have worked out better would be if he signed in Colorado but, no DH there for him on off days. He will be qualified for 1B, OF and DH this coming season which should help his value as well.  If Davis can come anywhere close to the 41.4% Hard Hit Rate he produced in 2015 well then 2016 will be a happy year for his owners. 2016 Projections will be .245/100/35/95/2
  4. Eric Hosmer 26, KC, (Zig Zag Score 180) – So everybody has seen when a batter loads up for a big swing the pitch is thrown it looks good. The decision is made. He’s going to swing. The pitch starts to ride up and in. Doubt enters the hitters mind . He tries to check his swing. The ball hits the bat and it ends up being an inadvertent bunt.Yeah Hosmer could do that all season and still bat .300. A beautiful left handed swing that produces hits. Maybe not as many extra base hits / home runs that everyone likes to see but, he is just entering his prime years and i’m sure with a little more lift in his swing he could easily hit 30-35  Home Runs 120-125 RBI’s bat .300. Not too bad right? My 2016 projection is for .305/100/25/100/6
  5. Carlos Santana 29, CLE, (Zig Zag Score 170) – It feels like Santana has been playing for a dozen or so years. I have to admit I had to do a double take when I saw that he is 29 and entering his 7th year in the big leagues. The Indians knew they had something very special in his hitting abilities so after 3-4 seasons at catcher they moved him to out from behind the plate with the hope that they could keep him healthy and productive at the dish. Carlos did have a down year offensively which has led to many saying that he is on a down trend numbers wise. Some have labeled him a bust. I’m thinking this could benefit the people who draft him as the Cost/ADP might be lower. His BB % was only lower than Votto & Goldschmidt with a 16.8% compare that to his K rate of 18% and you get a guy who gets on base. The Indians had a depressing season last year and that lack of help may be the cause of his diminished totals. For 2016 i am thinking his line will be more like .265/80/25/100/5.
  6. Lucas Duda 29, NYM, (Zig Zag Score 164) – Two of my favorite team name over the years has been “Duda, Where’s My Car?” and “The Duda Abides” Other than fun word play with his name Duda has become a “sneaky” pick the last few seasons.  He has been one of the 25-30 HR 85-90 RBI left handed power hitter at first base.  One of his most impressive stats from last year that caught my eye was his  Hard Hit Rate of 39% and his wOBA of .359. He makes hard contact and finds a way to get on base.2016 projections will be .240/60/25/75/1
  7. Freddie Freeman 26, ATL (Zig Zag Score 164) – At his age of 26 we are all waiting for that big break out season. I thought he was due last year but injuries derailed all of that promise. The experts in the fantasy community are divided as to whether that “big season” will actually happen. It has been noted by many that he does not try to hit for power. He is perfectly happy to be a line drive hitter.  This is not usually worth the high price tag he carries. He has just started to swing the bat and he says it is the first time in 7 months he has been pain free. This could be the year? My 2016 projections are .300/70/25/80/3
  8. Jose Abreu 28, CHW (Zig Zag Score 163) – Abreu is a very talented hitter. After taking the league by storm in 2014 he took a small step back last season. People just don’t realize how not much changed in his numbers from the previous season. Plate discipline seemed to be the only real difference. With a lower BB rate came a lower BA and OBA. If you see Abreu being undervalued in your draft/auction be ready to pounce. 2016 projections are .305/95/35/110/2
  9. Brandon Belt 27, SF (Zig Zag Score 159) – This sweet swinging Lefty has a knack for making hard contact with the ball (39.5%). Strike out rate is on the high side (26.4%) so his BB Rate of (10.10%) and ability to hit for line drives has fueled him to a (.359 wOBA) if he can bring the strike outs down then he has a chance to take another large step in hitting production. Assuming he can bring the k rate down a little i will project for 2016 .290/80/25/80/7 .
  10. Yonder Alonso 28, OAK (Zig Zag Score 155) – Honestly nothing about Yonder Alonso has ever caught my eye. When looking at his numbers i pictured a light hitting James Loney. Pretty much assuming he would be discarded soon to toil around AAA for a decade or so with the hopes of becoming a hitting coach in the independent league. That being said he is now the starting first baseman for the Oakland A’s (at least until Ike Davis is all the way back from injury) Alonso does everything at an average rate nothing that will hurt you yet nothing to get you too excited. 2016 projection is .270/50/8/40/4.
  11.  Justin Bour 27  MIA (Zig Zag Score 153) – One of the most telling stats I found on Justin Bour was an article on FanGraphs from last season. It did a study on the average exit velocity of batted balls. Justin was listed as the 7th highest avg velocity with a 95.4 mph. This is impressive in that the players listed with him in the top ten of the list are David Ortiz, Chris Davis and Nelson Cruz. This is a list showing the who’s who of power hitters.With a lineup for the Marlins that also includes Giancarlo Stanton, Dee Gordon and Christian Yelich. Bour has a chance to really improve on his numbers from last season. My projection for 2016 is .265/55/25/80/2.
  12. Wil Myers 25, SD **Alert! Sleeper Alert!** (Zig Zag Score 148) – This is going to be the year that Myers stays healthy and shows everyone why he was such a coveted prospect Royals a few years back. The talent has always been there its just been a matter of staying healthy and spending some time getting used to his league not to mention 1 team. The Padres plan is too supposedly make Myers their starting First baseman in order to attempt to keep him healthy. Hitting in San Diego might actually work out for Myers. He’s known not as a pure power hitter who is projected to hit 30-35 home runs per year. He hits the ball hard and uses the entire field. This is a great trait to start with. As the game starts to slow down for him as he now enters his prime years this would be a great time to “buy low”. My projections for 2016 are .285/65/20/60/8.
  13. Mark Canha 26, OAK (Zig Zag Score 138) – With a regular work for the A’s last year and a 31.3% Hard hit rate Canha turned some heads. Taking a look at his numbers in the Miami minor league levels it seems like he actually under performed last year. Canha had a much higher Batting AVG, BABIP & wOBA in all levels after starting his professional career 5 seasons ago. We know Billy Beane loves to buy low on these guys who just know how to get on base. As he is entering his prime years it looks like the best is yet to come. Canha should get regular work…well as soon as Coco Crisp gets hurt. 2016 Projection is .265/50/18/55/3
  14. C.J. Cron 25, LAA (Zig Zag Score 133) – As things stand right now C.J. is looking like he is going to have a steady job at 1B & DH for the Angels. Each depending on the health of Albert Pujols who is recovering from foot surgery this past November.  The prospect of hitting in the 5th spot behind Trout and Pujols seems enticing for sure. Looking at his numbers in the higher levels of the minor leagues and it shows that he is much more then an all or nothing hitter. A full season in the lineup could help him get 150+ hits with half of those being XBH. This former 1st round pick of the Angels has the pedigree and now has roughly 600+ MLB AB’s. He is due to start putting it all together for a productive season. 2016 projection is .275/60/25/85/2
  15. Ben Paulsen 28, COL**Alert! Sleeper Alert!** (Zig Zag Score 116) – I kind of feel like whatever I say here is going to come with a duh sound under the breath of most readers. Let me go with it anyways…Paulsen is a 6’4″ sweet swinging Left handed hitter who is slated to be the everyday first baseman for the Rockies. It looks like he will hit in the 5th spot in the order behind Blackmon, Reyes, CarGo and Arenado. I know this might be a reach but having all of those excellent hitters on base an awful lot might benifit Ben just a bit. They say the b all travels a little farther when its hit in that mile high air…that could help. All kidding aside I believe the Rockies were very wise to not resign Justin Morneau. In 2013 and 2014 Paulsen received 500 AB’s in AAA. He had a .290+ Batting average both years. Paulsen can rake and as he starts to get some consistent AB’s under his belt, The video game #’s wont be far behind. My 2016 projections are .280/80/20/80/2.