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2015 Fantasy Baseball Rankings

RotoWire's fantasy baseball rankings for the 2015 MLB season.

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Player stats shown are 2015 Preseason projections. Click headings to sort.
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Mike Trout 
Los Angeles Angels  OF     #1 Overall

2015 Preseason Proj:   154 G   591 AB   .305 AVG  32 HR  102 RBI  24 SB  115 R  

After finishing second in the MVP voting to Miguel Cabrera in each of the previous two seasons, Trout took home the hardware for what may have been his worst performance in the big leagues in 2014. His numbers weren't bad by any stretch of the imagination, as he tallied a career-high 36 home runs and a .939 OPS, but he led the American League in strikeouts while tallying a career-low batting average (.287) and on-base percentage (.377). The strikeouts in particular did not sit well with Trout, as he admitted that he swung at a lot of high pitches in 2014. However, it was actually Trout's contact rate on pitches in the zone that took a tumble last year, as he made contact on swings at pitches in the zone just 85.1% of the time, compared to an 89.0% mark in 2013. While the strikeouts are a bit concerning, it's difficult to bet against Trout having another monster season in 2015, considering what he accomplished despite a career-high 26.1% strikeout rate last season.

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Andrew McCutchen 
Pittsburgh Pirates  OF     #2 Overall

2015 Preseason Proj:   155 G   581 AB   .317 AVG  28 HR  91 RBI  19 SB  99 R  

A rib avulsion fracture forced McCutchen to the disabled list for the first time in his six big-league seasons, but he still suited up for 146 games in 2014. The 28-year-old batted .314/.410/.542 with 25 homers and 18 steals in 648 plate appearances, making his third straight appearance as an NL MVP finalist (he won in 2013). Opponents continue to pitch McCutchen carefully; his zone percentage (pitches thrown inside the strike zone) dropped for the sixth consecutive campaign to a career-low 42.2%, but the center fielder still found a way to put up big numbers. He led the NL with a .952 OPS and is primed for yet another big season in 2015.

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Paul Goldschmidt 
Arizona Diamondbacks  1B     #3 Overall

2015 Preseason Proj:   158 G   587 AB   .298 AVG  30 HR  108 RBI  13 SB  103 R  

Last season was a mirror image of 2013 for the fantasy stud in terms of his batting average, on-base percentage, and slugging percentage. That is where the good news ends. Goldschmidt missed 51 games with a broken hand and was unavailable to owners for the final two months of the season. At the point of his injury, his RBI total was just 55 percent of what it was in 2013 because the team around him was rather awful. With a full season, he would have likely matched his stolen base total from 2013 and swiped at least 10 bases for a third straight season, as a first baseman. Even for a young player, Goldschmidtís skills are stable. His strikeout rate is slightly below league average, but he offsets that with a well-above-league-average walk rate. He doesnít get himself into trouble chasing pitches and in a time where offense is tapering off, this guy flat out rakes. Goldschmidt is first-round material again in 2015.

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Miguel Cabrera 
Detroit Tigers  1B/DH     #4 Overall

2015 Preseason Proj:   149 G   570 AB   .311 AVG  30 HR  108 RBI  0 SB  99 R  

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 Cabreraís 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. Cabreraís surgery was more serious than anticipated, as he had two screws inserted to stabilize a stress fracture in the navicular bone. He wonít 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, heíll remain one of the premier options at first base as he enters his age-32 season.

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Clayton Kershaw 
Los Angeles Dodgers  SP     #5 Overall

2015 Preseason Proj:   33 G   218 IP   22 W  0 SV  229 K  2.06 ERA  0.94 WHIP  

What could Kershaw possibly do to improve upon his three straight ERA and WHIP titles with a pair of Cy Youngs and a second-place finish in between? Surely, he canít get better, so even though you can expect greatness, itíll likely be regressed from 2013. Well, not exactly. Left with the seemingly impossible task of one-upping himself, Kershaw somehow did just that and then some, winning titles in the aforementioned categories, including career-bests in each, as well as his third Cy Young and his first NL MVP. And all of that despite missing April and failing to reach the 200-inning mark. At this point, it would be foolish to suggest he canít possibly best himself yet again. How about a 1.00 ERA? He is the unquestioned best pitcher in the game and a surefire first-rounder regardless of league size and format.

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Jose Altuve 
Houston Astros  2B     #14 Overall

2015 Preseason Proj:   154 G   635 AB   .317 AVG  6 HR  51 RBI  50 SB  85 R  

Altuve turned in a remarkable season for Houston, earning the second All-Star nod of his young career en route to winning the AL batting title with a .341 average. The 24-year-old led the majors with 67 multi-hit games and 225 hits, which far surpassed Craig Biggio's club record of 210 hits in a single season. Altuve's success at the plate can be attributed to an improved approach, which saw his contact rate (92%) rise by six percent and his strikeout rate (7.1%) dip significantly compared to the year prior. Altuve's .414/.566/1.013 slash line against lefties was particularly impressive, and while he only slightly improved his walk rate (5.1%), he terrorized opponents on the basepaths with an AL-leading 56 steals. His 86 percent success rate on stolen base attempts may prove to be an outlier, however, considering his success rate for his career coming into last season was 73.5 percent. While it might be wise for fantasy owners to anticipate regression from Altuve this season, there's no denying his value as an elite source of steals who will score plenty of runs and get on base at a healthy clip.

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Robinson Cano 
Seattle Mariners  2B     #25 Overall

2015 Preseason Proj:   155 G   573 AB   .314 AVG  17 HR  83 RBI  6 SB  78 R  

Cano's power was the subject of much debate last offseason after he signed a 10-year deal with the Mariners. But he actually showed more power at Safeco Field than on the road with nine homers and a .470 SLG at home in 37 fewer at-bats than on the road (five home runs, .440 SLG). Still, his homers and doubles were the fewest since 2008. As for his average, he simply picked up where he left off in New York, batting .314 for the second year in a row. He also struck out in just 10.2% of his plate appearances, a five-year low. Cano's RBI count dropped by 25 thanks to his offensively inferior new team. Perhaps that changes this year with the addition of Nelson Cruz to the lineup. With Cruz hitting behind him, it shouldn't take much for Cano to surpass 100 runs scored again. If nothing else, pitchers can't simply pitch around Cano as they too often did last season (his 9.2% walk rate was the second highest of his career).

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Anthony Rendon 
Washington Nationals  2B/3B     #40 Overall

2015 Preseason Proj:   146 G   564 AB   .278 AVG  18 HR  72 RBI  14 SB  92 R  

Rendon's first full season in the majors was a resounding success. Not only did he begin to shake off the "injury-prone" label that had dogged him since college by playing in 153 games, he cranked out 21 home runs, swiped 17 bases on 20 attempts and slashed .287/.351/.473 while playing above-average defense at both second and third base and collecting a Silver Slugger Award at the latter position. Now established as one of the more exciting young players in baseball and a franchise cornerstone for the Nationals, the 24-year-old will likely settle in as the club's long-term solution at third base, with Ryan Zimmerman's ongoing shoulder issues forcing a move across the diamond. It's always possible, however, that the Nats could eventually acquire a third baseman and shift him back to the keystone. As ridiculous as it may seem, given Rendon's hit tool, plate discipline and developing power from the right side, Edgar Martinez comparisons aren't entirely out of line. The kid is legit.

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