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Strike Zone

Projection Review: Hitters

by Matthew Pouliot
Updated On: October 4, 2018, 4:04 pm ET

Here’s the first of two pieces looking at back at my hitting projections and how things ended up. I’ll be doing the top 10 for each position and other notables, starting with the catchers, first basemen, second basemen and third basemen today. Part two can be found here.

 

Catchers

 

1. Kyle Schwarber - Cubs
Projection: .260/.346/.482, 26 HR, 73 R, 83 RBI, 6 SB in 469 AB
2016 stats: .000/.200/.000, 0 HR, 0 R, 0 RBI, 0 SB in 4 AB

 

2. Buster Posey - Giants
Projection: .306/.365/.456, 16 HR, 73 R, 76 RBI, 1 SB in 520 AB
2016 stats: .288/.362/.434, 14 HR, 82 R, 80 RBI, 6 SB in 539 AB

3. Brian McCann - Yankees
Projection: .247/.325/.438, 24 HR, 59 R, 77 RBI, 0 SB in 450 AB
2016 stats: .242/.335/.413, 20 HR, 56 R, 58 RBI, 1 SB in 429 AB

 

Only six homers and 20 RBI after the break, even though he was still playing pretty regularly following the Gary Sanchez callup. McCann hit just .209/.299/.309 with RISP for the year.

 

4. Devin Mesoraco - Reds
Projection: .255/.333/.468, 20 HR, 52 R, 64 RBI, 2 SB in 380 AB
2016 stats: .140/.218/.160, 0 HR, 2 R, 1 RBI, 0 SB in 50 AB

5. Matt Wieters - Orioles
Projection: .262/.317/.443, 19 HR, 56 R, 69 RBI, 0 SB in 451 AB
2016 stats: .243/.302/.409, 17 HR, 48 R, 66 RBI, 1 SB in 423 AB

6. Jonathan Lucroy - Brewers
Projection: .278/.345/.426, 13 HR, 64 R, 59 RBI, 2 SB in 472 AB
2016 stats: .292/.355/.500, 24 HR, 67 R, 81 RBI, 5 SB in 490 AB

 

I wasn’t willing to bet on Lucroy bouncing all of the way back after his concussion problems in 2015, but he was as good as ever, topping his previous high in homers by six (even if he did hit 29 fewer doubles than in 2014 (24 to 53)).

 

7. Yan Gomes - Indians
Projection: .259/.303/.446, 18 HR, 52 R, 62 RBI, 0 SB in 433 AB
2016 stats: .167/.201/.327, 9 HR, 22 R, 34 RBI, 0 SB in 251 AB

8. Salvador Perez - Royals
Projection: .264/.294/.413, 16 HR, 53 R, 62 RBI, 0 SB in 496 AB
2016 stats: .247/.288/.438, 22 HR, 57 R, 64 RBI, 0 SB in 514 AB

 

Projections undershooting home run totals will be a common theme in these next two columns. I simply wasn’t expecting homers to jump by 15 percent from 2015. Perez wasn’t any better than predicted… he simply hit a few more homers. His OPS+s have finished within a tick of 90 three years running now, and now that the position is looking a little strong, I don’t think he’ll open next year among the top 10 catchers.

 

9. Russell Martin - Blue Jays
Projection: .234/.328/.397, 15 HR, 54 R, 57 RBI, 4 SB in 398 AB
2016 stats: .231/.335/.398, 20 HR, 62 R, 74 RBI, 2 SB in 455 AB

 

While dealing with neck and shoulder problems, Martin delivered just one extra-base hit in his first 39 games last year. It was pretty amazing that he managed to finish with 20 homers after that (all 20 were hit in his final 98 games).

 

10. Travis d’Arnaud - Mets
Projection: .263/.331/.443, 14 HR, 46 R, 50 RBI, 1 SB in 361 AB
2016 stats: .247/.307/.323, 4 HR, 27 R, 15 RBI, 0 SB in 251 AB

 

I wasn’t as high on d’Arnaud as most, but that was mostly about the injury likelihood; I never imagined him hitting so poorly while healthy (it makes one wonder how healthy he was). Now that the hype is gone, he could be a nice late-round flier next year. Still, he remains a massive injury risk.

 

Others

 

11. Wilson Ramos - Nationals
Projection: .262/.300/.415, 16 HR, 46 R, 59 RBI, 0 SB in 424 AB
2016 stats: .307/.354/.496, 22 HR, 58 R, 80 RBI, 0 SB in 482 AB

 

It’s too bad about the torn ACL. Ramos’s OPS jumped 234 points (.616 to .850) from 2015.

 

12. J.T. Realmuto - Marlins
Projection: .256/.309/.408, 13 HR, 50 R, 52 RBI, 9 SB in 449 AB
2016 stats: .303/.343/.428, 11 HR, 60 R, 48 RBI, 12 SB in 509 AB

 

It took a .357 BABIP to generate Realmuto’s .303 average, so I wouldn’t expect a repeat there in 2017. Still, what’s not to like about a catcher who can hit 15 homers and steal 10 bases?

 

13. Stephen Vogt - Athletics
Projection: .258/.326/.400, 12 HR, 51 R, 55 RBI, 1 SB in 422 AB
2016 stats: .251/.305/.406, 14 HR, 54 R, 56 RBI, 0 SB in 490 AB

 

There’s some talk of Vogt taking over as Oakland’s leadoff hitter next year, which wouldn’t seem to bode overly well for the team’s offense. Solid catcher, though.

 

15. Yasmani Grandal - Dodgers
Projection: .240/.353/.425, 16 HR, 45 R, 51 RBI, 1 SB in 346 AB
2016 stats: .228/.339/.477, 27 HR, 49 R, 72 RBI, 1 SB in 390 AB

17. Derek Norris - Padres
Projection: .245/.320/.396, 13 HR, 48 R, 49 RBI, 2 SB in 412 AB
2016 stats: .186/.255/.328, 14 HR, 50 R, 42 RBI, 9 SB in 415 AB

23. Yadier Molina - Cardinals
Projection: .263/.315/.343, 5 HR, 40 R, 44 RBI, 1 SB in 429 AB
2016 stats: .307/.360/.427, 8 HR, 56 R, 58 RBI, 3 SB in 534 AB

 

I didn’t see that coming. Molina was hitting .259/.329/.341 at the All-Star break, only to explode to the tune of a .365/.498/.529 line afterwards.

 

36. Gary Sanchez - Yankees
Projection: .245/.297/.441, 5 HR, 13 R, 17 RBI, 2 SB in 102 AB
2016 stats: .299/.376/.657, 20 HR, 34 R, 42 RBI, 1 SB in 201 AB

 

It’ll be tempting to rank Sanchez as the No. 1 fantasy catcher next year, but after those ridiculous first 20 games following his callup, it should be noted that he hit .222/.311/.487 with 40 strikeouts in 31 games the rest of the way. He surely has the most upside of any catcher next year, but I wouldn’t bank on a particularly strong batting average.

 

First basemen

 

1. Paul Goldschmidt - Diamondbacks
Projection: .294/.406/.528, 31 HR, 99 R, 104 RBI, 13 SB in 568 AB
2016 stats: .297/.411/.489, 24 HR, 106 R, 95 RBI, 32 SB in 579 AB

 

It was an off year for Goldschmidt, but from a fantasy perspective, the steals made up for it. He finished with a 134 OPS+ after coming at 160, 158 and 168 the previous three seasons.

 

2. Jose Abreu - White Sox
Projection: .288/.351/.525, 36 HR, 99 R, 117 RBI, 1 SB in 612 AB
2016 stats: .293/.353/.468, 25 HR, 67 R, 100 RBI, 0 SB in 624 AB

 

Abreu hit .338/.402/.568 with 14 homers in the final two months to avoid being a colossal disappointment. Still, he was a fantasy bust, in part because he totaled just 167 R+RBI. It didn’t help that the guys around him were less than stellar.

 

3. Edwin Encarnacion - Blue Jays
Projection: .274/.363/.535, 35 HR, 91 R, 111 RBI, 2 SB in 525 AB
2016 stats: .263/.357/.529, 42 HR, 99 R, 127 RBI, 2 SB in 601 AB

 

I figured Edwin would be good for a little DL stint somewhere in there. Prorating my projection to 601 at-bats would have given him 40 homers and 127 RBI.

 

4. Miguel Cabrera - Tigers
Projection: .312/.402/.513, 26 HR, 91 R, 102 RBI, 1 SB in 548 AB
2016 stats: .316/.393/.563, 38 HR, 92 R, 108 RBI, 0 SB in 595 AB

 

Just 108 RBI with 38 homers and the .563 slugging percentage feels a little off. While the Tigers didn’t get great results from their No. 2 hitters, it also hurt that Cabrera wasn’t his usual self with RISP (.618 SLG with none on, .496 with men on, .469 with RISP).

 

5. Anthony Rizzo - Cubs
Projection: .281/.379/.491, 27 HR, 96 R, 101 RBI, 9 SB in 572 AB
2016 stats: .292/.385/.544, 32 HR, 94 R, 109 RBI, 3 SB in 583 AB

6. Chris Davis - Orioles
Projection: .250/.342/.518, 40 HR, 94 R, 112 RBI, 2 SB in 560 AB
2016 stats: .221/.332/.459, 38 HR, 99 R, 84 RBI, 1 SB in 566 AB

 

Davis would have loved to have had Cabrera’s RBI total. He had 16 homers and 26 RBI in the second half. It was a combination of him hitting poorly with RISP and finishing just 71st in the majors in plate appearances with RISP.  He had 153 such plate appearances, 27 behind Cabrera and 60 behind the major league-leading Rizzo. If you throw out the walks, Davis had fewer at-bats with RISP than Alcides Escobar, Denard Span and Freddy Galvis. The Orioles definitely need to work on their OBP issues this winter.

 

7. Eric Hosmer - Royals
Projection: .290/.348/.464, 21 HR, 86 R, 95 RBI, 5 SB in 593 AB
2016 stats: .266/.328/.433, 25 HR, 80 R, 104 RBI, 5 SB in 605 AB

Hosmer was the starting first baseman for the AL All-Star team, but he wasn’t any good at all over the final 3 1/2 months of the season, hitting .232/.297/.366 in his final 98 games. Sure, he topped his previous high in homers by six, but he finished with just 24 doubles, hit 30 points lower than in 2015 and struck out 24 times more than ever before.  The end result was a 101 OPS+.

 

8. Joey Votto - Reds

Projection: .294/.432/.494, 24 HR, 87 R, 82 RBI, 5 SB in 528 AB
2016 stats: .326/.434/.550, 29 HR, 101 R, 97 RBI, 8 SB in 556 AB

9. Albert Pujols - Angels
Projection: .263/.326/.456, 27 HR, 83 R, 99 RBI, 3 SB in 570 AB
2016 stats: .268/.323/.457, 31 HR, 71 R, 119 RBI, 4 SB in 593 AB

10. Freddie Freeman - Braves
Projection: .281/.378/.481, 24 HR, 84 R, 83 RBI, 3 SB in 545 AB
2016 stats: .302/.400/.569, 34 HR, 102 R, 91 RBI, 6 SB in 589 AB

 

So, that’s what Freeman can do when healthy. His previous high in homers was 23. His previous high slugging percentage was .501.

 

Others

 

11. Adrian Gonzalez - Dodgers
Projection: .276/.340/.461, 25 HR, 77 R, 99 RBI, 0 SB in 577 AB
2016 stats: .285/.349/.435, 18 HR, 69 R, 90 RBI, 0 SB in 568 AB

13. Byung-Ho Park - Twins
Projection: .250/.340/.444, 25 HR, 75 R, 84 RBI, 6 SB in 527 AB
2016 stats: .191/.275/.409, 12 HR, 28 R, 24 RBI, 1 SB in 215 AB

 

I think Park’s wrist problems had a lot to do with his failed first season in MLB. My guess is that he’ll bounce back and become a solid designated hitter next year, though I don’t know if the Twins will pencil him right into that spot.

 

14. Pedro Alvarez - Orioles
Projection: .244/.315/.501, 31 HR, 67 R, 84 RBI, 3 SB in 447 AB
2016 stats: .249/.322/.504, 22 HR, 43 R, 49 RBI, 1 SB in 337 AB

 

Alvarez was exactly the hitter the Orioles should have expected him to be. Still, he wasn’t in there at year’s end, as the team preferred to go with defense in the outfield and Mark Trumbo at DH. Alvarez will probably head elsewhere this winter, which is kind of too bad, since Baltimore is a great place for his home run stroke.

 

15. Carlos Santana - Indians
Projection: .250/.376/.431, 22 HR, 79 R, 84 RBI, 4 SB in 536 AB
2016 stats: .259/.366/.498, 34 HR, 89 R, 87 RBI, 5 SB in 582 AB

16. Brandon Belt - Giants
Projection: .266/.335/.450, 20 HR, 73 R, 79 RBI, 6 SB in 531 AB
2016 stats: .275/.394/.474, 17 HR, 77 R, 82 RBI, 0 SB in 542 AB

17. Ryan Zimmerman - Nationals
Projection: .276/.345/.472, 21 HR, 65 R, 80 RBI, 2 SB in 479 AB
2016 stats: .218/.272/.370, 15 HR, 60 R, 46 RBI, 4 SB in 427 AB

 

As poor as the stats were, Zimmerman had elite-level exit velocity when he hit the ball (10th in the majors among regulars). I don’t think he’s done yet.

 

19. Mark Teixeira - Yankees
Projection: .243/.344/.459, 25 HR, 66 R, 80 RBI, 1 SB in 444 AB
2016 stats: .204/.292/.362, 15 HR, 43 R, 44 RBI, 2 SB in 387 AB

23. Joe Mauer - Twins
Projection: .288/.356/.393, 9 HR, 77 R, 58 RBI, 2 SB in 577 AB
2016 stats: .261/.363/.389, 11 HR, 68 R, 49 RBI, 2 SB in 494 AB

25. Chris Carter - Brewers
Projection: .219/.313/.458, 28 HR, 58 R, 77 RBI, 2 SB in 430 AB
2016 stats: .222/.321/.499, 41 HR, 84 R, 94 RBI, 3 SB in 549 AB

27. Mike Napoli - Indians
Projection: .238/.342/.433, 22 HR, 65 R, 74 RBI, 2 SB in 478 AB
2016 stats: .239/.335/.465, 34 HR, 92 R, 101 RBI, 5 SB in 557 AB

31. Ryan Howard - Phillies
Projection: .225/.287/.394, 20 HR, 53 R, 71 RBI, 0 SB in 467 AB
2016 stats: .196/.257/.453, 25 HR, 35 R, 59 RBI, 0 SB in 331 AB

 

On the plus side, that’s the second highest slugging percentage ever for a sub-.200 hitter. Mark McGwire hit .187 and slugged .492 in his final season in 2001. (Byung-Ho Park’s 2016 ranks sixth on that list).

 

34. Travis Shaw - Red Sox
Projection: .249/.313/.401, 9 HR, 35 R, 39 RBI, 2 SB in 297 AB
2016 stats: .242/.306/.421, 16 HR, 63 R, 71 RBI, 5 SB in 480 AB

 

36. Dae-Ho Lee - Mariners
Projection: .265/.350/.437, 9 HR, 30 R, 33 RBI, 0 SB in 215 AB
2016 stats: .253/.312/.428, 14 HR, 33 R, 49 RBI, 0 SB in 292 AB

 

I thought going in that Lee would prove to be a solid regular if given the chance, but he took a lot of bad swings. Maybe more familiarity with MLB pitchers would help there, but it seems more likely that the platoon role suits his best.

 

41. Justin Morneau - White Sox
Projection: .271/.328/.403, 5 HR, 24 R, 28 RBI, 0 SB in 221 AB
2016 stats: .261/.303/.429, 6 HR, 16 R, 25 RBI, 0 SB in 203 AB

 

Second basemen

 

1. Jose Altuve - Astros
Projection: .304/.346/.419, 10 HR, 94 R, 62 RBI, 33 SB in 654 AB
2016 stats: .338/.396/.531, 24 HR, 108 R, 96 RBI, 30 SB in 640 AB

 

From seven homers in 2014 to 15 last year to 24 this season. Altuve also really stepped it up in the walk department, improving from 25 unintentional walks to 49. He went from being an elite fantasy infielder to an elite baseball player.

 

2. Dee Gordon - Marlins
Projection: .287/.323/.369, 4 HR, 87 R, 43 RBI, 56 SB in 661 AB
2016 stats: .268/.305/.335, 1 HR, 47 R, 14 RBI, 30 SB in 325 AB

3. Robinson Cano - Mariners
Projection: .293/.357/.459, 20 HR, 84 R, 84 RBI, 4 SB in 593 AB
2016 stats: .298/.350/.533, 39 HR, 107 R, 103 RBI, 0 SB in 655 AB

 

Cano actually had a lower OPS+ this year than in his first season in Seattle, when he came in at .314/.382/.454 with 14 homers (138 OPS+ to 142). Obviously, this season was a whole lot better for fantasy purposes. Not only did he top his previous high in homers by six, but he set a new high for runs scored.

 

4. Rougned Odor - Rangers
Projection: .282/.334/.475, 20 HR, 81 R, 78 RBI, 14 SB in 550 AB
2016 stats: .271/.296/.502, 33 HR, 89 R, 88 RBI, 14 SB in 605 AB

 

There’s still more upside here, I think. Odor was just 22 this year, and there’s plenty of time for him to figure out that not every pitch, no matter the location, is meant to be whacked out of the park.

 

5. Anthony Rendon - Nationals
Projection: .295/.369/.453, 15 HR, 84 R, 66 RBI, 8 SB in 539 AB
2016 stats: .270/.348/.450, 20 HR, 91 R, 85 RBI, 12 SB in 567 AB

 

After May 15, Rendon hit .285/.360/.499 with 18 homers and 79 RBI in 118 games (batting second behind a guy with a .150 OBP, he drove in just six runs in his first 38 games). I still think he can hit .300 for a full year, but he remains more of an injury risk than most.

 

6. Jason Kipnis - Indians
Projection: .278/.349/.423, 14 HR, 89 R, 57 RBI, 18 SB in 568 AB
2016 stats: .275/.343/.469, 23 HR, 91 R, 82 RBI, 15 SB in 610 AB

7. Kolten Wong - Cardinals
Projection: .291/.346/.433, 13 HR, 68 R, 63 RBI, 17 SB in 515 AB
2016 stats: .240/.327/.355, 5 HR, 39 R, 23 RBI, 7 SB in 313 AB

 

Wong would have been a perfectly fine regular this year if given the chance, but Jedd Gyorko was better. Some GM should try trading for him this winter.

 

8. Brian Dozier - Twins
Projection: .241/.315/.407, 21 HR, 93 R, 69 RBI, 13 SB in 615 AB
2016 stats: .268/.340/.546, 42 HR, 104 R, 99 RBI, 18 SB in 615 AB

 

I don’t really know how to explain this. Dozier hit 17 homers in 1,405 at-bats in his minor league career. He had a 36-game span this year in which he hit 22. He was legitimately the scariest hitter in the league for a spell. Brian Dozier.

 

9. Dustin Pedroia - Red Sox
Projection: .284/.351/.409, 12 HR, 83 R, 62 RBI, 7 SB in 550 AB
2016 stats: .318/.376/.449, 15 HR, 105 R, 74 RBI, 7 SB in 633 AB

 

I didn’t understand why so many wrote him off this year, ranking him in the 15-20 range among second basemen. He might not have top-of-the-position upside any longer, but he was certainly a good bet to be productive while healthy.

 

10. Ian Kinsler - Tigers
Projection: .273/.328/.389, 10 HR, 89 R, 58 RBI, 10 SB in 612 AB
2016 stats: .288/.348/.484, 28 HR, 117 R, 83 RBI, 14 SB in 618 AB

 

This was an ugly one. Kinsler hit just 11 homers in 2015, and he hadn’t slugged better than .430 since 2011. I projected decline, and instead, he finished with his second highest OPS+ ever at age 34.

 

Others

 

11. Ben Zobrist - Cubs
Projection: .269/.342/.411, 13 HR, 79 R, 66 RBI, 6 SB in 535 AB
2016 stats: .272/.386/.446, 18 HR, 94 R, 76 RBI, 6 SB in 523 AB

14. Daniel Murphy - Nationals
Projection: .288/.326/.430, 12 HR, 62 R, 65 RBI, 8 SB in 521 AB
2016 stats: .347/.390/.595, 25 HR, 88 R, 104 RBI. 5 SB in 531 AB

15. Logan Forsythe - Rays
Projection: .263/.338/.411, 15 HR, 77 R, 60 RBI, 8 SB in 528 AB
2016 stats: .264/.333/.444, 20 HR, 76 R, 52 RBI, 6 SB in 511 AB

17. Jonathan Schoop - Orioles
Projection: .252/.291/.428, 21 HR, 64 R, 73 RBI, 4 SB in 523 AB
2016 stats: .267/.298/.454, 25 HR, 82 R, 82 RBI, 1 SB in 615 AB

18. D.J. LeMahieu - Rockies
Projection: .278/.330/.379, 7 HR, 67 R, 53 RBI, 17 SB in 522 AB
2016 stats: .348/.416/.495, 11 HR, 104 R, 66 RBI, 11 SB in 552 AB

 

LeMahieu’s annual K:BB ratios have gone from 3.5 to 2.9 to 2.1 to 1.2. This year, he had 27 fewer strikeouts and 18 more unintentional walks than in 2015. It’s just been a massive improvement for a guy who had a career 76 OPS+ as of 2014.

 

20. Brandon Phillips - Reds
Projection: .267/.308/.366, 10 HR, 63 R, 61 RBI, 13 SB in 547 AB
2016 stats: .291/.320/.416, 11 HR, 74 R, 64 RBI, 14 SB in 550 AB

21. Brandon Lawrie - White Sox
Projection: .257/.310/.427, 17 HR, 56 R, 61 RBI, 5 SB in 452 AB
2016 stats: .248/.310/.413, 12 HR, 35 R, 36 RBI, 7 SB in 351 AB

22. Cesar Hernandez - Phillies
Projection: .258/.318/.330, 3 HR, 68 R, 41 RBI, 22 SB in 566 AB
2016 stats: .294/.371/.393, 6 HR, 67 R, 39 RBI, 17 SB in 547 AB

 

I wasn’t expecting much of anything from Hernandez offensively, and he wasn’t doing much of anything for three months. He hit .253/.299/.346 for 72 games before coming in at a remarkable .326/.421/.429 the rest of the way. That .399 BABIP as part of the latter line isn’t sustainable, but the 50 walks in 365 plate appearances bodes really well. It’s just too bad he wasn’t a better basestealer; he attempted 30 steals, but he was successful on only 17.

 

24. Javier Baez - Cubs
Projection: .245/.300/.440, 12 HR, 34 R, 39 RBI, 7 SB in 257 AB
2016 stats: .273/.314/.423, 14 HR, 50 R, 59 RBI, 12 SB in 421 AB

 

I had Baez projected to fan in 29 percent of his plate appearances. He ended up coming in at 24 percent, which seems like a very good sign for his future. He’ll be a threat for 30 homers if he plays regularly next year.

 

25. Trea Turner - Nationals
Projection: .262/.324/.370, 5 HR, 45 R, 26 RBI, 17 SB in 332 AB
2016 stats: .342/.370/.567, 13 HR, 53 R, 40 RBI, 33 SB in 307 AB

35. Chase Utley - Dodgers
Projection: .257/.332/.392, 6 HR, 31 R, 28 RBI, 3 SB in 245 AB
2016 stats: .252/.319/.396, 14 HR, 79 R, 52 RBI, 2 SB in 512 AB

40. Jurickson Profar - Rangers
Projection: .244/.321/.368, 5 HR, 27 R, 23 RBI, 3 SB in 209 AB
2016 stats: .239/.321/.338, 5 HR, 35 R, 20 RBI, 2 SB in 272 AB

 

Third basemen

 

1. Josh Donaldson - Blue Jays
Projection: .276/.353/.518, 35 HR, 115 R, 103 RBI, 7 SB in 604 AB
2016 stats: .284/.404/.549, 37 HR, 122 R, 99 RBI, 7 SB in 577 AB

2. Manny Machado - Orioles
Projection: .298/.362/.509, 30 HR, 108 R, 89 RBI, 13 SB in 617 AB
2016 stats: .294/.343/.533, 37 HR, 105 R, 96 RBI, 0 SB in 640 AB

3. Nolan Arenado - Rockies
Projection: .302/.345/.542, 31 HR, 88 R, 114 RBI, 3 SB in 587 AB
2016 stats: .294/.362/.570, 41 HR, 116 R, 133 RBI, 2 SB in 618 AB

4. Kris Bryant - Cubs
Projection: .270/.362/.514, 33 HR, 89 R, 109 RBI, 11 SB in 552 AB
2016 stats: .292/.385/.554, 39 HR, 121 R, 102 RBI, 8 SB in 603 AB

 

I would have been closer on the Bryant projection had I known he’d spend so much time hitting second. He actually opened the season batting fifth most of the time, with Jason Heyward second and Ben Zobrist third.

 

5. Todd Frazier - White Sox
Projection: .247/.312/.457, 31 HR, 83 R, 98 RBI, 10 SB in 587 AB
2016 stats: .225/.302/.464, 40 HR, 89 R, 98 RBI, 15 SB in 590 AB

6. Maikel Franco - Phillies
Projection: .271/.323/.473, 27 HR, 84 R, 91 RBI, 2 SB in 594 AB
2016 stats: .255/.306/.427, 25 HR, 67 R, 88 RBI, 1 SB in 581 AB

 

He looked like a world-beater in the spring, though he was seventh at third base even before that (I believe I moved him up slightly based on his spring outburst and Kyle Seager down slightly because it was unclear how much time he’d spend batting high in the order). Once the regular season started, there were too many grounders and infield popups. He doesn’t strike out much, so I imagine the average will bounce back some. However, he has only so much home run upside unless he starts hitting flyballs more consistently.

 

7. Kyle Seager - Mariners
Projection: .282/.348/.462, 22 HR, 88 R, 79 RBI, 7 SB in 586 AB
2016 stats: .278/.359/.499, 30 HR, 89 R, 99 RBI, 3 SB in 597 AB

8. Adrian Beltre - Rangers
Projection: .283/.339/.443, 19 HR, 79 R, 85 RBI, 2 SB in 551 AB
2016 stats: .300/.358/.521, 32 HR, 89 R, 104 RBI, 1 SB in 583 AB

9. Matt Carpenter - Cardinals
Projection: .275/.362/.432, 17 HR, 98 R, 67 RBI, 3 SB in 592 AB
2016 stats: .271/.380/.505, 21 HR, 81 R, 68 RBI, 0 SB in 473 AB

10. Evan Longoria - Rays
Projection: .261/.330/.439, 23 HR, 81 R, 85 RBI, 3 SB in 583 AB
2016 stats: .273/.318/.521, 36 HR, 81 R, 98 RBI, 0 SB in 633 AB

 

Speaking of hitting more flyballs, Longoria altered his approach and went from 21 to 36 homers. The OBP wasn’t what it used to be, but the Rays are probably happy to have him slugging .500 again.

 

Others

 

12. Justin Turner - Dodgers
Projection: .283/.350/.433, 13 HR, 68 R, 67 RBI, 6 SB in 506 AB
2016 stats: .275/.339/.493, 27 HR, 79 R, 90 RBI, 4 SB in 556 AB

15. Danny Valencia - Athletics
Projection: .261/.310/.440, 19 HR, 67 R, 79 RBI, 2 SB in 518 AB
2016 stats: .287/.346/.446, 17 HR, 72 R, 51 RBI, 1 SB in 471 AB

18. Nick Castellanos - Tigers
Projection: .266/.318/.427, 16 HR, 63 R, 73 RBI, 2 SB in 548 AB
2016 stats: .285/.331/.496, 18 HR, 54 R, 58 RBI, 1 SB in 411 AB

20. Yasmany Tomas - Diamondbacks
Projection: .263/.300/.411, 15 HR, 55 R, 69 RBI, 5 SB in 521 AB
2016 stats: .272/.313/.508, 31 HR, 72 R, 83 RBI, 2 SB in 530 AB

 

Because of poor defense, a subpar OBP and lousy baserunning, Tomas finished with a slightly negative WAR in spite of the 31-homer season. It’s not hard to imagine a new Diamondbacks’ front office deciding to shop him this winter, but I wonder if anyone will be desperate enough for the power to give up much of anything for him. After all, Mark Trumbo brought nothing last winter and the haul for Khris Davis was short of spectacular, even though he was better and cheaper than Tomas or Trumbo. Of course, Tomas won’t have his third-base eligibility in fantasy leagues next year.

 

21. Jake Lamb - Diamondbacks
Projection: .263/.339/.436, 15 HR, 58 R, 61 RBI, 4 SB in 445 AB
2016 stats: .249/.332/.509, 29 HR, 81 R, 91 RBI, 6 SB in 523 AB

 

A great story in the first half, Lamb hit just .176/.266/.338 with eight homers in his final 62 games.

 

25. Lonnie Chisenhall - Indians
Projection: .271/.319/.432, 14 HR, 51 R, 58 RBI, 3 SB in 421 AB
2016 stats: .286/.328/.439, 8 HR, 43 R, 57 RBI, 6 SB in 385 AB

53. Hernan Perez - Brewers
Projection: .247/.273/.353, 1 HR, 8 R, 8 RBI, 3 SB in 85 AB
2016 stats: .272/.302/.428, 13 HR, 50 R, 56 RBI, 34 SB in 404 AB

 

A fantasy star for a couple of months, Perez had a rocky finish that’s expected to get him penciled in as more of a utilityman to begin 2017.

Matthew Pouliot
Matthew Pouliot is the Executive Editor of RotoWorld.com and has been doing the site's baseball projections for the last 10 years. Follow him on Twitter @matthewpouliot.