Earlier this week I finished my top-350 rankings, which will contribute to the Round Table composite rankings that will be released next week, and it feels like quite an accomplishment. Full disclosure: I've never done a big board that went 350 players deep before. This is not because I have never put this much time into fantasy baseball preparation, but because I have found such a list for personal use to be unnecessary, as I already know which players I am higher on than everybody else, and I inevitably end up with some mixture of those guys in most of my redraft leagues. However, the idea of our subscribers getting a look at how I have guys valued before the season interested me, so I was happy to work up a top-350 to go with the lists from Jeff Erickson, Derek VanRiper, Clay Link and Michael Rusignola.
There are a few things worth noting about how I went about the process before I give out some spoilers.
First, I ranked 24 players who will be eligible at catcher this season, with the intent of offering enough backstops to start in a 12-team two-catcher league. This may not be something my colleague's factored in, and perhaps some users would prefer simply a true-talent top-350, but it was a conscious decision on my part. Had i not felt the need to fit 24 catchers on the list, Wilin Rosario, Josmil Pinto, Chris Iannetta, Tyler Flowers, Carlos Ruiz and Jarrod Saltalamacchia would have been left on the cutting room floor.
Similarly, I stopped valuing scarce positions after I had ranked enough players to start at said positions in a standard 12-team league. So since I did not think Asdrubal Cabrera, Brandon Phillips or Jose Ramirez were top-36 middle infielders, I did not give them a rankings boost based on the fact that they qualify there, and I left Andrelton Simmons, Nick Franklin and Arismendy Alcantara off the list for the same reason.
Now, here are some spoilers from my top-350, which is subject to change prior to next Thursday.
- Among players who I anticipate will begin the season in the minor leagues, only Kris Bryant (112), Noah Syndergaard (249), Carlos Rodon (329), Jose Peraza (333) and Marco Gonzales (334) made the list.
- Rusney Castillo (60), Jorge Soler (96), Bryant, Steve Souza (126) and Joc Pederson (146) are ranked as the top five rookies for 2015.
- Only three pitchers are ranked in the top 29 – Clayton Kershaw (6), Felix Hernandez (22) and Chris Sale (26).
- Six pitchers are ranked from 30 to 41 – Stephen Strasburg (30), Max Scherzer (31), Yu Darvish (32), David Price (35), Johnny Cueto (40) and Corey Kluber (41).
- Alex Wood (103) is only five spots behind Julio Teheran (98).
- Gerrit Cole (65), Hisashi Iwakuma (71), Jake Arrieta (85) and Alex Cobb (92) are all ranked ahead of Teheran.
- Kershaw, Anthony Rendon (11), Robinson Cano (12), Troy Tulowitzki (14), Adrian Beltre (17) and Ian Desmond (19) are the only non first basemen/outfielders ranked in the top-20.
- Among hitters who I believe will hit below .250, only George Springer (34) and Brian Dozier (83) made the top-100.
- Jason Heyward (42), Christian Yelich (43), Starling Marte (44) and Yoenis Cespedes (47) are all ranked ahead of Michael Brantley (48).
- Mookie Betts (56) and Kolten Wong (75) are ranked ahead of Chris Davis (87) and Prince Fielder (93).
- Jean Segura (152), Xander Bogaerts (153) and Alcides Escobar (163) are ranked ahead of Elvis Andrus (164).
- Yusmeiro Petit (283), Wade Davis (297), Sergio Romo (312), Andrew Miller (324), Jordan Walden (325), Kevin Quackenbush (335), Danny Farquhar (338), Brett Cecil (343), Joakim Soria (344) and Jeremy Jeffress (348) are all ranked, despite the fact that I expect them to start the season in a non-closing role out of the bullpen.
- Kennys Vargas (204) is ranked just four spots behind Joe Mauer (200).
- Three starting pitchers who are expected to open the season on the DL made the list – Jose Fernandez (187), Garrett Richards (193) and Matt Moore (308).
- Eight position players on the Red Sox are on the list, but only three Boston pitchers – Koji Uehara (109), Rick Porcello (229) and Joe Kelly (327) – made the cut.
- Addison Reed (239) was the only Diamondbacks pitcher on the list.
- LaTroy Hawkins (276) was the only Rockies pitcher on the list.
- All five projected starting pitchers on the Angels, Dodgers, Brewers, Cardinals and Nationals are ranked.
- Craig Kimbrel (58) is the top ranked Atlanta Brave.
- Freddie Freeman (61), Nick Markakis (285) and Chris Johnson (330) are the only players in Atlanta's projected Opening Day lineup to make the list.
- Seven position players on each Chicago team made the list .