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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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Troy Tulowitzki 
Toronto Blue Jays  SS     #15 Overall

2015 Preseason Proj:   127 G   448 AB   .324 AVG  27 HR  77 RBI  1 SB  87 R  

The star-crossed Tulowitzki certainly justified his high-round sticker price through mid-July, as he led the majors with a Bondsian 1.035 OPS to accompany his usual slick defense at shortstop. Even on a Rockies squad headed for a losing season, he was still a leading MVP candidate behind what was shaping up to be a career year, but such talk would come to an end by early August. A supposedly minor thigh injury was viewed as a temporary setback for Tulowitzki, but he was later diagnosed with a torn labrum in his left hip, ending his season after 91 games. Tulowitzki is expected to be at full strength for the spring, but given that heís missed at least 30 games three seasons in a row, those who invest in him certainly need a reliable insurance option on hand. Furthermore, the Rockiesí acknowledgement this offseason that they would entertain trade offers for the shortstop adds a wrinkle into Tulowitzkiís valuation in the event he lands in a more hitter-neutral park, as an unconscionable .417/.497/.748 line at Coors Field weighed heavier than normal into his numbers in 2014.

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Ian Desmond 
Washington Nationals  SS     #27 Overall

2015 Preseason Proj:   155 G   597 AB   .276 AVG  25 HR  81 RBI  20 SB  75 R  

Once again, Desmond ranked among the elite in terms of fantasy production from a middle infielder, turning in his third straight 20-20 season while racking up a career-high 91 RBI, but it was actually a bit of a down year for him. An ugly strikeout total (183, another career-high), driven primarily by more swings and misses on pitches outside the strike zone, led to a big drop in his batting average even as the rest of his batting profile remained relatively consistent. Desmond turns 30 in September and isn't likely to become more selective at the plate, so his days of making a positive contribution in batting average could be behind him, but hitting in the middle of a potent Nationals lineup should continue to supply him with plenty of offensive opportunities. If you're a believer in the big-contract-year theory, note that Desmond will become a free agent after 2015, although with no one ready in the system behind him, expect the Nats to make a big push to get him signed.

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Hanley Ramirez 
Boston Red Sox  SS     #32 Overall

2015 Preseason Proj:   142 G   512 AB   .291 AVG  21 HR  84 RBI  11 SB  79 R  

A laundry list of injuries -- shoulder, calf, oblique, and hand -- limited Ramirez to 128 games in 2014, and it's fair to wonder just how many of his 512 plate appearances came at a level close to 100 percent health. With free agency on the horizon, Ramirez had every incentive to try and tough it out and prove that his injury-riddled seasons in 2011 and 2013 were truly behind him. Instead, his defense at shortstop regressed further, and he slugged just .411 in the second half. Overall, his performance at the plate was acceptable, as he led qualified shortstops in OPS (.817) and wOBA (.362) while providing double-digit home runs (13) and steals (14) for the ninth consecutive season. Ramirez has struggled to stay healthy over the better part of the past four seasons, but he'll remain shortstop eligible despite the expected move to left field with Boston, and there is some justifiable optimism about his power returning as he just one year removed from a career-high .293 ISO in 2013.

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