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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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