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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 projections. Click headings to sort.
2015 MLB Player Outlooks
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Mike Trout 
Los Angeles Angels  OF     #1 Overall

2015 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 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 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, Goldschmidt’s skills are stable. His strikeout rate is slightly below league average, but he offsets that with a well-above-league-average walk rate. He doesn’t 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 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 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.

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Clayton Kershaw 
Los Angeles Dodgers  SP     #5 Overall

2015 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 can’t get better, so even though you can expect greatness, it’ll 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 can’t 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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Josh Donaldson 
Toronto Blue Jays  3B     #21 Overall

2015 Proj:   157 G   592 AB   .270 AVG  30 HR  93 RBI  5 SB  89 R  

There was much discussion last offseason as to whether Donaldson's 2013 season was a fluke, but after a second straight year of finishing in the top-10 of the AL MVP vote, it is pretty clear that Donaldson is here to stay. Donaldson improved on his power stats with 29 homers and 98 RBI, but the one black eye on his season was his large drop in batting average. After a sparkling .301 in 2013, Donaldson managed to only hit .255 in 2014. This drop can be attributed to a horrific slump from early June until the All-Star break where Donaldson hit .158 over a 133 at-bat stretch that was spurred by a ridiculously low .165 BABIP. His overall BABIP fell from .333 in 2013 to .278 in 2014. Traded to the Blue Jays in late November, Donaldson will move into a more hitter-friendly environment and an excellent lineup, which could further bolster his counting stats – particularly in the power categories – in 2015.

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Todd Frazier 
Cincinnati Reds  1B/3B     #29 Overall

2015 Proj:   150 G   591 AB   .264 AVG  26 HR  93 RBI  12 SB  83 R  

One of the shames of the 2014 season for the Reds is that they wasted the breakout seasons of Frazier and Devin Mesoraco. But was this season Frazier's peak, or one of a few more that we can expect in the future? Many of the underlying metrics suggest that this is his level -- his strikeout and walk rates have been remarkably stable the last three years, and his ISO was actually higher in 2012 when he first established himself as a regular player. The only stat that appears to be an outlier was his 20 stolen bases -- even in the minors he had never run that often. Assuming that Joey Votto is healthier this year, the Reds will finally leave Frazier at third base rather than move him all over the diamond, but you'll have the capability of slotting him at first if you'd like, which may be more of an advantage than in previous years, considering the state of the first base pool.

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Adrian Beltre 
Texas Rangers  3B     #31 Overall

2015 Proj:   147 G   537 AB   .315 AVG  20 HR  81 RBI  0 SB  79 R  

The future Hall of Famer (yeah, we said it) finally started to show a bit of decline in 2014. While he hit over .295 for a fourth consecutive season, his power numbers fell off as he failed to hit at least 25 home runs for the first time in five seasons. The drop in home runs led to a drop in runs batted in for a fourth consecutive year, and marked the first time since 2009 that the third baseman failed to drive in at least 90 runs. The time missed early in the season with a quad strain was partly to blame, but he’s also 35 and father time always wins out in the end. In Texas, he’s still going to be a strong three category player at third base, but the days of 30 homers and 100 runs driven in are likely behind him. He has been an elite fantasy third baseman for many years, but he is now downshifting into the next tier.

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