by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)
Keep in mind that these rankings weigh both what players have done, as well as what we expect them to do for the remainder of the season. Considering we are just a week into the season, there isn’t going to be significant changes from our preseason rankings. However, there are changes as situations are not necessarily what we expected.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at the rankings (all stats are through Monday, April 7):
1) Robinson Cano – Seattle Mariners (1)
2) Jason Kipnis – Cleveland Indians (2)
3) Dustin Pedroia – Boston Red Sox (3)
4) Ian Kinsler – Detroit Tigers (4)
5) Jose Altuve – Houston Astros (7)
6) Matt Carpenter – St. Louis Cardinals (6)
7) Aaron Hill – Arizona Diamondbacks (5)
Thoughts: Matt Carpenter can’t replicate his gaudy runs scored total from 2013, right? Right?! Well, he certainly is doing everything he can to dispute that fact in the early going, with 6 R in his first 7 games… Jose Altuve was likely an overlooked option heading into the season, but he’s now hitting in the middle of the Astros’ lineup. That means extra RBI opportunities and there’s no reason to think that he’s not going to continue to get opportunities to run. While he doesn’t offer power, he suddenly looks like he carries the total package.
8) Ben Zobrist – Tampa Bay Rays (9)
9) Brandon Phillips – Cincinnati Reds (10)
10) Martin Prado – Arizona Diamondbacks (11)
11) Jedd Gyorko – San Diego Padres (12)
12) Jed Lowrie – Oakland A’s (16)
13) Brian Dozier – Minnesota Twins (8)
14) Chase Utley – Philadelphia Phillies (13)
Thoughts: Is Brian Dozier pressing hitting atop the lineup? His early season strikeouts (28.6%) is uncharacteristic and something we would expect to correct itself. That said, part of the expectations in his development was that he would improve on his popup rate (14.3%), which he hasn’t done yet. We are still high on him, but his outlook is falling a bit… Jed Lowrie has settled into the third spot of the A’s lineup, which is going to give him ample opportunities to produce both R and RBI. As long as he can maintain his power totals from the past two years (15+) and stay healthy (which is in question a bit right now), he’s going to be an extremely productive option.
15) Daniel Murphy – New York Mets (15)
16) Dustin Ackley – Seattle Mariners (NR)
17) Kelly Johnson – New York Yankees (NR)
18) Howie Kendrick – Los Angeles Angels (17)
19) Anthony Rendon – Washington Nationals (14)
20) Dee Gordon – Los Angeles Dodgers (NR)
Thoughts: Dustin Ackley has 15/15 upside and thus far he has carried a strong spring into the regular season. He’s still banished towards the bottom of the order, which would cap his value, but if he were to move into one of the top two spots (which is highly realistic) his value would sky rocket. Right now he’s been pushed up into the Top 20, but he could fly up further very quickly… It seems like the Nationals can’t settle on a spot in the lineup for Anthony Rendon, as he’s been slotted in the first, second, seventh and eighth spots. Obviously, given his limited offensive potential, if he’s not hitting towards the top of the lineup his overall appeal plummets… Kelly Johnson was likely going to play regularly anyways given the holes on the Yankees infield, but the injury to Mark Teixeira cements it. While the average is a liability, he offers enough power/speed potential to offset that… Dee Gordon would be slotted a lot higher if he were guaranteed playing time and hitting atop the lineup. However, hitting eighth and with the potential to lose his job, we need to be realistic with our ranking.