Re-ranking the top 50 fantasy baseball players in the 2015 season

Monday June 1st, 2015

Two months of the 2015 MLB season are in the books, and we’re almost halfway through a typical fantasy regular season. Time flies when Bryce Harper is hitting 430-foot homers every other night. With sample sizes becoming actionable as the calendar turns to June, let’s reset and rank the top-50 fantasy players for the rest of the season. Who would be selected first if a draft was held today?

And so you can make fun of us, here are our preseason top 250 rankings.

2015 Fantasy Baseball Re-ranking
  • 1
    1Mike Trout
    OF, Los Angeles Angels
    The fact that we seemingly never hear about Trout even though he's hitting .292/.384/.538 with 11 homers and eight steals tells you all you need to know. He's the best hitter on the planet.

  • 2
    2Paul Goldschmidt
    1B, Arizona Diamondbacks
    If there’s any true challenger for Trout’s throne, it’s Goldschmidt. The scary thing for the rest of the league is that it appears he’s still getting better.

  • 3
    3Anthony Rizzo
    1B, Chicago Cubs
    We knew he’d hit for power and average while being the heart of the Cubs’ offense. What we didn’t know is that he’d suddenly turn into another Goldschmidt thanks to nine steals.

  • 4
    4Bryce Harper
    OF, Washington Nationals
    The great Bryce Harper breakout is upon us. Remember when he was a late-second round pick back in March? That won’t happen again for the next 10 years.

  • 5
    5Miguel Cabrera
    1B, Detroit Tigers
    Cabrera’s the elder statesman in the top five, but he’s still getting it done to the tune of a .341/.442/.605 slash line. You could make an argument for any of the top five as the No. 1 overall player.

  • 6
    6Giancarlo Stanton
    OF, Miami Marlins
    Stanton doesn’t have the batting average or OBP to measure up to the players above him, but he’s the best bet of anyone to hit 40 homers this year.

  • 7
    7Jose Altuve
    2B, Houston Astros
    Altuve’s batting average is down just a bit this year, but he could very well finish the season with 12 homers and 50 steals. He’d likely be the only member of that club in the majors.

  • 8
    8Clayton Kershaw
    SP, Los Angeles Dodgers
    There’s no doubt that his rates aren’t where anyone expected them to be at this point of the season, but he’s still the best pitcher and worthy of being considered a top-10 player for the rest of the year.

  • 9
    9Josh Donaldson
    3B, Toronto Blue Jays
    Donaldson has been everything the Blue Jays, and his fantasy owners, could have hoped for, and then some. A season with 30 homers, 100 runs and 100 RBI is well within reach.

  • 10
    10Michael Brantley
    OF, Cleveland Indians
    Brantley isn’t quite on pace to match last year’s 20 homers, but he could change that with one hot stretch. He’s still slashing .304/.386/.493 and is one of the best all-around hitters in the league.

  • 11
    11Edwin Encarnacion
    1B, Toronto Blue Jays
    Encarnacion got off to a slow start this season, but the power has finally started to come around. He’s still a safe bet to end the year with 30-to-33 homers.

  • 12
    12Andrew McCutchen
    OF, Pittsburgh Pirates
    McCutchen likely caused his owners plenty of heartburn over the season’s first six weeks, but his bat has gotten going over the last few weeks.

  • 13
    13Jose Abreu
    1B, Chicago White Sox
    Abreu’s 2015 thus far could really only be considered a disappointment when held up against his monster rookie year. The homers will come in bunches as the weather heats up.

  • 14
    14Felix Hernandez
    SP, Seattle Mariners
    The King is 8-1 with a 1.91 ERA, 0.89 WHIP and 71 strikeouts against 15 walks in 70 2/3 innings. It’s just another season of casual dominance for one of baseball’s best pitchers.

  • 15
    15Justin Upton
    OF, San Diego Padres
    Upton has taken well to his new home, belting nine of his 12 homers at Petco Park. He’s on pace for his best season since 2011, and could end up with a career year in 2015.

  • 16
    16Max Scherzer
    SP, Washington Nationals
    Scherzer is learning how much fun life in the NL can be for a pitcher. Through 10 starts, he has a 1.51 ERA, 0.88 WHIP and 85 strikeouts in 71 2/3 innings. With a strikeout rate at 30.4 percent, he could surpass last year’s 252 whiffs.

  • 17
    17Nelson Cruz
    OF, Seattle Mariners
    Cruz’s power hasn’t dampened at all this year, but it’s worth noting that 14 of his 18 homers have come away from Safeco Field. He’s on pace for another 40-homer season.

  • 18
    18Adam Jones
    OF, Baltimore Orioles
    Jones’s power numbers are down slightly from his 2012-'14 pace, but he’s offsetting that with a .314 batting average and .355 OBP. You can still bet on him reaching the 25-homer plateau.

  • 19
    19Starling Marte
    OF, Pittsburgh Pirates
    Marte has been billed as a potential 20-30 player since the Pirates signed him in 2009. In his third full season, he’s on pace to achieve that feat.

  • 20
    20Jose Bautista
    OF, Toronto Blue Jays
    Both the Blue Jays and Bautista’s fantasy owners desperately need him to get the power bat going, and the bet here is he will sooner rather than later.

  • 21
    21Corey Kluber
    SP, Cleveland Indians
    Kluber has found his stride recently, and is worthy of being considered the best pitcher after the obvious top three of Kershaw, Felix and Scherzer.

  • 22
    22Madison Bumgarner
    SP, San Francisco Giants
    Bumgarner’s strikeouts are down a bit this season, but everything else is right in line with his career averages.

  • 23
    23Adrian Gonzalez
    1B, Los Angeles Dodgers
    Gonzalez was the hottest hitter in baseball for the first three weeks of the season, and while he has cooled off a bit since then, he still sports a .341/.417/.628 slash line with 10 homers, all while hitting in the middle of a potent lineup.

  • 24
    24Carlos Gomez
    OF, Milwaukee Brewers
    Gomez’ season has been beset by injury, but now that he’s healthy, he should be able to get back to being one of the league’s most prominent power-speed threats.

  • 25
    25Hanley Ramirez
    SS/OF, Boston Red Sox
    Speed is no longer an element of Ramirez’ game, but he fills up the rest of the box score from the shallow shortstop position.

  • 26
    26Nolan Arenado
    3B, Colorado Rockies
    A lot of Arenado’s production has come in spurts this year, but no one can complain about a .287/.331/.549 slash with 10 homers in 43 games. He’ll be a superstar for years to come.

  • 27
    27Freddie Freeman
    1B, Atlanta Braves
    Freeman’s again quietly going about his business, slashing .290/.362/.466 thus far in 2015. The power numbers aren’t huge, but he still contributes to four of the five traditional fantasy categories.

  • 28
    28George Springer
    OF, Houston Astros
    Springer’s power and speed makes it well worth putting up with his ugly batting average. If you’re in an OBP league, you love his 15.8-percent walk rate, as well.

  • 29
    29Kris Bryant
    3B, Chicago Cubs
    All Bryant has done in his first six weeks in the majors is hit .275/.393/.478 with seven homers, 31 RBI, 26 runs and 25 walks. He has been as good as advertised.

  • 30
    30Troy Tulowitzki
    SS, Colorado Rockies
    It has been a terrible year for the star shortstop, but given his track record and the fact that Tulo is still in his prime, he can’t slot any lower than this.

  • 31
    31Dee Gordon
    2B, Miami Marlins
    Gordon has brought life to the top of the Miami order, hitting .376/.406/.448 with 19 steals. It would still be nice to see him take a few more walks, however.

  • 32
    32Matt Harvey
    SP, New York Mets
    If you believed in Harvey during draft season, you have been rewarded. In his first season back from Tommy John surgery, he has looked every bit the dominant starter he was in his 2013 rookie year.

  • 33
    33Chris Sale
    SP, Chicago White Sox
    Sale has uncharacteristically struggled with walks and homers this year, and his strikeout rate is down from each of the last two seasons. Having said that, this is still one of the best real-life and fantasy pitchers in the majors.

  • 34
    34Johnny Cueto
    SP, Cincinnati Reds
    Cueto dodged a bullet when an MRI taken on his right elbow revealed no structural damage. He may not be in Cincinnati all year, but he’ll be a fantasy star, regardless of where he calls home.

  • 35
    35Todd Frazier
    3B, Cincinnati Reds
    Frazier will not be a part of a potential firesale in Cincinnati. The third baseman is having another big fantasy year, hitting .260/.354./.568 with 14 homers and six steals.

  • 36
    36Zack Greinke
    SP, Los Angeles Dodgers
    With Clayton Kershaw struggling a bit this year, Greinke has been the Dodgers ace, amassing a 1.48 ERA and 0.87 WHIP in 67 innings.

  • 37
    37Gerrit Cole
    SP, Pittsburgh Pirates
    The Cole breakout arrived as advertised, as the 24-year-old righty is 7-2 with a 2.11 ERA, 1.09 WHIP and 70 strikeouts against 14 walks in 64 innings. He could make even this lofty ranking look foolish by August.

  • 38
    38Prince Fielder
    1B, Texas Rangers
    I present your favorite for the AL Comeback Player of the Year Award. Fielder is mashing this season, slashing .368/.418/.589 with 10 homers and 38 RBI in 47 games. In short, he looks like the player who became a fantasy star with Milwaukee.

  • 39
    39Ryan Braun
    OF, Milwaukee Brewers
    Fielder’s old teammate could very well run away with the NL Comeback Player of the Year Award. Braun’s hitting .264/.339/.528 with 12 homers this year, and .268 BABIP suggests those rates could improve as the season progresses.

  • 40
    40Joey Votto
    1B, Cincinnati Reds
    Votto enjoyed a power surge earlier in the year, but he has likely settled into a trajectory that will have him in the neighborhood of a .280/.385/.465 slash line with 20 homers.

  • 41
    41Cole Hamels
    SP, Philadelphia Phillies
    Hamels almost certainly won’t be a Phillie for the entire season, but fantasy owners shouldn’t be looking to sell him the way his real-life team is. After a rough start to the season, he’s striking out more than a batter per inning, while his 2.98 ERA and 1.13 WHIP have him turning a profit in the rate categories.

  • 42
    42David Price
    SP, Detroit Tigers
    Price dominated in April, but since then his strikeouts have come down and he has generally been a more hittable pitcher. He’s comfortably behind Greinke and Cole for the rest of the year.

  • 43
    43Jason Kipnis
    2B, Cleveland Indians
    Kipnis was one of the best hitters in the league in May, and now boasts a .342/.412/.537 slash line with five homers and five steals. He’s well on his way to the best season of his career.

  • 44
    44Jacoby Ellsbury
    OF, New York Yankees
    Ellsbury would be much higher on this list if not for concern over his knee injury, which Joe Girardi said could keep him out for more than a month. He has already missed about two weeks.

  • 45
    45Ian Kinsler
    2B, Detroit Tigers
    Kinsler doesn’t yet have a home run this season, but he does feature a .280 batting average, .352 OBP, 28 runs scored, 21 RBI and six steals. Even without the power, he’s having a great year, especially from the second base position.

  • 46
    46Matt Carpenter
    3B, St. Louis Cardinals
    Carpenter has provided one of the greatest returns on investment, hitting .314/.389/.568 with eight homers, 33 runs and 27 RBI this year. He isn’t a traditional third baseman, but he is among the best.

  • 47
    47Sonny Gray
    SP, Oakland Athletics
    We talked about the adjustments Gray made to ascend a level and become a legitimate fantasy ace in last week’s Pitching Report. He has proved the doubters wrong.

  • 48
    48Ian Desmond
    SS, Washington Nationals
    Desmond had a terrible April, but he has gotten it going and is finally back toward the top of the order, where he belongs. He should still hit 20 homers and steal 15 bases this season.

  • 49
    49Jake Arrieta
    SP, Chicago Cubs
    Arrieta has kept his strikeout rate flat at 27 percent, he’s walking fewer batters than last year, and his 2.38 FIP and 2.67 xFIP suggest his already strong 2.95 ERA could get even better.

  • 50
    50A.J. Pollock
    OF, Arizona Diamondbacks
    Pollock was on his way to a breakout last year before a broken hand derailed his season. He’s picked that up in 2015, hitting .320/.366/.450 with four homers, 11 steals and 32 runs.

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