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
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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 .
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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.