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.