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2016 Fantasy Baseball Rankings

RotoWire's fantasy baseball rankings for the 2016 MLB season.

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Player stats shown are 2016 projections. Click headings to sort.
2016 MLB Player Outlooks
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Mike Trout 
Los Angeles Angels  OF     #1 Overall

2016 Proj:   158 G   580 AB   .317 AVG  40 HR  101 RBI  18 SB  108 R  

How does one write anything new about the best player in the game today? He has scored 100 or more runs in every full season in which he has played and has driven in at least 90 runs in the last three seasons despite the challenges in front of him and behind him in the lineup. He does strike out above the league average rate, but fell a duck snort or two shy of hitting over .300 for the third time in four seasons. There is the issue of his stolen base total declining each of the past four seasons, but that has been offset by the growth in power production. Seriously, there is nothing we could put into this block that could or even should stop you from using the first overall pick on him or dropping $40-plus on him in an auction format. Youíre going to get what you pay for and thatís his true value.

2 2 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 2 1
Paul Goldschmidt 
Arizona Diamondbacks  1B     #2 Overall

2016 Proj:   158 G   559 AB   .313 AVG  35 HR  115 RBI  17 SB  105 R  

Simply put, Goldschmidt is the best first baseman in fantasy baseball. Few players combine batting average, power and speed the way Goldy does. In 2015, his batting average was good for third in the National League, his 33 home runs placed fifth in the circuit, the 118 RBI were second in the NL and he chipped in 21 stolen bases (14th in the NL). All of this came as Goldy played in 159 games, a year after he played in just 109 games due to a hand injury. At just 28 years old, Goldschmidt is in the early stages of his peak years, so his production should remain at this level for a while. Owners may find it hard to pass on the likes of Mike Trout and Bryce Harper with a top-two pick, but Goldschmidt deserves consideration there, and he will come off the board in the first five picks in almost all mixed league drafts.

3 3 1 1 1 1 2 1 1 1 2 1
Bryce Harper 
Washington Nationals  OF     #3 Overall

2016 Proj:   155 G   538 AB   .322 AVG  38 HR  97 RBI  7 SB  112 R  

After a couple of injury-plagued seasons, Harper's status as the Next Big Thing was in serious jeopardy, but he stayed healthy in 2015 and proceeded to post numbers far beyond anyone's expectations. When names like Babe Ruth and Ted Williams come up as comps for what Harper accomplished as a 22-year-old MVP last year, it's fair to say he had a pretty good campaign. His biggest improvement came not when he swung the bat, but when he didn't. Harper racked up 124 walks in 153 games after recording 155 free passes in 357 games during his first three seasons, with opposing pitchers often deciding their best course of action was simply to avoid giving him anything to hit at all. As he continues his development, Harper could start putting up walk totals that haven't been seen since Barry Bonds. Harper gave him a three-season head start, but he's now right back in the conversation with Mike Trout as the best young outfielder in the major leagues.

4 4 1 1 1 1 2 1 1 1 3 1
Josh Donaldson 
Toronto Blue Jays  3B     #4 Overall

2016 Proj:   158 G   611 AB   .286 AVG  38 HR  115 RBI  4 SB  111 R  

Donaldson earned his first American League MVP award behind a brilliant season in Toronto, in which he set career highs in home runs (41), runs scored (122), RBI (123), and OPS (.939). The move from Oakland's cavernous coliseum to the homer-happy Rogers Centre led to by far the best power production of Donaldson's career. Donaldson was a fine .263/.343/.487 hitter on the road, but he hit a blistering .330/.398/.647 in Canada, where he clubbed 24 of his 41 homers. Donaldson has been a great hitter for a few years now ó since 2005, only three players have multiple seasons of 20 home runs for Oakland: Jack Cust, Brandon Moss, and Donaldson. In other words, even though Donaldson had a career year, it wasn't that far above what we already knew he could do. He will be the engine in the Blue Jays' lineup again next year, and there is no reason he can't repeat this effort.

5 5 1 1 1 1 2 1 2 1 3 1
Nolan Arenado 
Colorado Rockies  3B     #5 Overall

2016 Proj:   155 G   601 AB   .290 AVG  38 HR  119 RBI  1 SB  101 R  

Arenado broke out in 2015 and rode his sweet swing to a National League-leading 42 home runs and 130 RBI and his first All-Star appearance. And although Arenado was a far superior overall hitter at Coors Field (.960 OPS compared to .835 on the road), he actually hit 22 of his 42 home runs on the road. Additionally, he is an impatient hitter, and his aggressiveness was particularly exploited on the road (.296 OBP). However, his combination of good contact skills, big-time power and 81 games per year at Coors Field make him a surefire first-round pick in drafts this year. Arenado has also steadily increased his flyball rate every year in the majors ó a key factor in his power explosion. Only four third basemen hit 30 home runs in 2015 and only three managed 100 RBI, so even if Arenado cannot match last year's breakout performance, he will finish high on the leaderboards.

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Carlos Correa 
Houston Astros  SS     #18 Overall

2016 Proj:   155 G   588 AB   .286 AVG  30 HR  95 RBI  20 SB  79 R  

Correa, who entered 2015 fully healthy after suffering a fractured fibula the year prior, showed he had nothing left to prove in the minors, hitting .335/.407/.600 with 10 home runs, 44 RBI, and 18 stolen bases in 53 games between Double-A Corpus Christi and Triple-A Fresno. He made his big league debut in June as a 20-year-old and never looked back, replacing the injured Jed Lowrie as the Astros' starting shortstop. Correa surpassed his already lofty expectations by hitting .279/.345/.512 with 22 home runs, 68 RBI, and 14 steals in 99 games for Houston. The former No. 1 pick also broke several playoff records for his historic performance (4-for-4, two home runs, 11 total bases) in Game 4 of the ALDS. Fresh off a tremendous debut season, Correa is likely to be the first shortstop taken off the board in 2016 drafts and is justifiable as a first-round pick.

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Francisco Lindor 
Cleveland Indians  SS     #51 Overall

2016 Proj:   148 G   586 AB   .300 AVG  15 HR  73 RBI  22 SB  77 R  

Lindor's glovework helped solidify a shaky left side of the infield upon his callup to the big leagues in early June, but that was never in question. It was his ability to handle himself at the plate as a 21-year old that made him a viable Rookie of the Year candidate and a fantasy surprise in the second half of the season. Lindor had held his own in parts of two seasons at Triple-A Columbus, slashing .284/.350/.402 while sporting a nice BB:K ratio (25:38) in 59 games in 2015, but he took it to the next level once arriving in Cleveland. He posted a remarkable .835 OPS with 22 doubles, four triples and 12 homers in just 99 games for the Tribe and got better as the season wore on. His batting average was aided by a .348 BABIP, and that number might actually be somewhat sustainable given his speed and tendency to hit the ball on the ground (50.8% GB%), but that approach does not bode well for adding more power in 2016.

61 48 14 13 2 2 12 5 6 3 25 8
Xander Bogaerts 
Boston Red Sox  SS     #61 Overall

2016 Proj:   158 G   611 AB   .291 AVG  15 HR  79 RBI  12 SB  85 R  

Ever since Bogaerts made his debut in 2013, the baseball world has been waiting for a breakout star to emerge. It didnít happen in 2014 ó he struggled for much of the season, and was moved between shortstop and third base as questions about his defense arose. But a strong finish in September suggested his full potential could be realized in 2015. As it turned out, Bogaerts only tapped into his potential last season, hitting .320/.355/.421 in 156 games while going from a -2.7 UZR in 2014 to 1.0 in 2015 in a full season at shortstop, suggesting he can stick at the position for the foreseeable future. Some of his hitting success was due to an elevated BABIP (.372, sixth in MLB), but even with a little regression cooked in he projects to hit for a high average again this season. The big question is what his power ceiling is, and when he will be ready to reach it. He certainly wonít come cheap for owners who gamble on the power surge coming in 2016.

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