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
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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