A list of the top designated hitters to draft for 2015 fantasy baseball.
1. Miguel Cabrera Detroit Tigers
For most players, a slash line of .313/.371/.524 with 25 homers, 191 hits, 109 RBI, 101 runs and an All-Star berth would be considered a career-defining campaign, but for a back-to-back AL MVP award winner, it was considered a down year. Cabrera undoubtedly took a slight step back in 2014, as his .895 OPS was the lowest since he joined the Tigers in 2008. His ISO dropped to .211, which was the lowest since his 2003 debut season. On a positive note, Cabrera continued to hit the ball on a line most of the season, posting a career-best 24.8% line-drive rate while also posting a contact rate above 80.0% for the seventh consecutive season. He also finished the regular season on a tear, hitting .379/.409/.709 with eight homers and 18 RBI in September. There were some obvious reasons for Cabrera’s statistical dip. The Tigers' slugger saw his HR/FB rate dip to a career-low 14.0%, well below the 23.0 and 25.4% he posted in 2012 and 2013, respectively. He also dealt with a lingering bone spur in his ankle for much of the season, which eventually led to offseason surgery in late October. Cabrera’s surgery was more serious than anticipated, as he had two screws inserted to stabilize a stress fracture in the navicular bone. He won’t be evaluated again until late January, and depending on those results, his availability for Opening Day could be in question. Assuming Cabrera makes a full recovery by spring training, he’ll remain one of the premier options at first base as he enters his age-32 season.
2. Jose Abreu Chicago White Sox
Things could not have gone much better for Abreu in his first MLB season. The Cuban expat entered the year with some questions about whether his swing would hold up to advanced pitching, but Abreu displayed an advanced work ethic that made the transition nearly seamless. He raced to 29 home runs before making the AL All-Star squad, and finished his Rookie of the Year campaign leading the majors with a .581 slugging percentage. He proved himself to be more than just a slugger in the second half, hitting .350 after the break. He swings more than you would like and misses more than he should, so it would not be a surprise to see his average suffer a bit in 2015 if he can not sustain his .356 BABIP. However, his power should continue to rank him in the upper echelon of AL first basemen in 2015, and he should have a spot in the heart of the White Sox's order for several years to come.
3. Edwin Encarnacion Toronto Blue Jays
The Home Run Parrot was out in full force once again in 2014 as Encarnacion hit at least 34 home runs for a third consecutive season, despite playing in just 128 games. He fell two shy of equaling his 2013 home run total in nearly 80 fewer plate appearances. Encarnacion takes plenty of walks and rarely strikes out, and when he puts the ball in play, he is trying to smoke it to the left side as nearly all of his home runs in recent seasons have been to left field. He has low BABIPs because he is often overshifted, but Encarnacion still hits for a good average because of the amount of balls he hits over the fence that no shift can prevent. He is a two category stud, three if you play in an OBP league, and contributes in four categories. With a talented lineup around him and a hitter-friendly home park, Encarnacion is a safe early investment on draft day.
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2015 Fantasy Rankings
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