by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)
To say there has been a lot of turnover at the top of fantasy drafts would be an understatement. Exactly how much may surprise you, though. First let’s take a look at the Top 12 from 2014, based on average ADP courtesy of fantasypros.com:
- Mike Trout
- Miguel Cabrera
- Paul Goldscmidt
- Andrew McCutchen
- Clayton Kershaw
- Carlos Gonzalez
- Chris Davis
- Robinson Cano
- Hanley Ramirez
- Adam Jones
- Ryan Braun
- Adrian Beltre
Obviously the Top 5 are all safe and will likely be among the Top 6 selected once again heading into 2015 (Jose Abreu will likely step into one of the spots). After that, six of the next seven will not be first round picks with Adam Jones being the possible lone exception.
Let’s take a look at each player, why they are falling and what we should expect (we will get to the whose in piece of the puzzle later on):
Threats of a trade remain (though it’s extremely unlikely) and, given his stark home/road splits throughout his career they can’t be completely ignored:
- Home – .329/.387/.601
- Road – .258/.314/.437
Then you have the issue that he never seems to be able to stay on the field, playing 70 games in 2014 and only twice more than 127. Sure there’s upside but there are way too many questions to trust him early (and maybe at all).
We all know about the 25 game suspension as well as the .196 average. He’s not going to be the Davis we got in 2013 nor should he be a first round pick, but he’s better then last year’s numbers. Power is at a premium and he still has that (26 HR in 450 AB) and the average was dragged down by a .242 BABIP (despite a 24.5% line drive rate).
He shouldn’t be a first round pick by any stretch, but don’t be surprised if there’s a rebound. We will go much more in depth in the coming weeks, but consider Davis a strong buy.
He got into the first round for being the best player at a weak position. With a year under his belt in Seattle, that’s no longer the case. He’s still going to bring a high average and potential in the other categories, but with both Anthony Rendon and Jose Altuve in the same class there’s simply no reason to take him in the first (plus the drop in power at Safeco didn’t help matters).
An argument can definitely be made that Ramirez should remain a first round selection (at least as a borderline option). He will have shortstop eligibility once again (despite the move to the outfield), moves to a talented Boston lineup and is probably the top shortstop option. The problem, like with Carlos Gonzalez, is that he’s rarely on the field to show his talent:
- 2011 – 92 games
- 2012 – 157 games
- 2013 – 86 games
- 2014 – 128 games
Why not just select Troy Tulowitzki, who is in the same boat? Ramirez is also 31-years old and could see his power decline (13 HR in 2014 thanks to a 45.1% groundball rate and 12.1% infield fly ball rate). There’s simply too much risk involved.
Many kept the faith after Biogenesis, but at this point it’s somewhere between extremely hard and impossible to keep him at the top of the draft. Sure he struggled with a thumb injury, but he still managed just 19 HR over 530 AB. That’s not to say that a healthy Braun should be written off completely, but he’s more of a third round gamble at this point.
He was only a borderline first rounder, and that’s because he was the class of his position. That’s not the case anymore, with Josh Donaldson in Toronto (and Anthony Rendon eligible at the position), as well as Beltre turning 36 in April and seeing a significant drop in his power last season (19 HR in 549 AB). He’s still going to be among the better options at third base, but he’s simply not a first round pick at this stage of his career.
Sources – Fangraphs, Fantasy Pros
Make sure to check out all of our early 2015 rankings:
- First Basemen
- Second Basemen
- Third Basemen
- Starting Pitchers
- Relief Pitchers
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