Complete 2015 Projections


ESPN's projections are the product of an analysis of a player's past performance, growth or regression potential and expected playing opportunity. While the overall ranking is based in large part on the player's projected performance, it also takes into account risk factors such as age, injury history and past statistical fluidity, the players' ceiling (upside), as well as positional and categorical scarcity.

Position: All | Batters | Pitchers | C | 1B | 2B | 3B | SS | IF | LF | CF | RF | OF | SP | RP
2014 Statistics53989371059417013.288.395.555.950530
2015 Projections5629240106931799.276.381.552.933532.5
2015 Outlook: Stanton was on his way to reaching the 40-home run plateau for the first time in his career when he was hit in the face by a pitch in Milwaukee during the second week of September, an incident that abruptly ended his season with several facial fractures. Even while being limited to 145 games, Stanton matched his previous career high with 37 home runs while setting new bests in RBIs (105), runs scored (89) and stolen bases (13), reaping the benefits of a developing Marlins lineup around him. As a hitter, he didn't change much from 2013, showing nearly identical strikeout (26.6 percent) and walk rates (14.7 percent), and gaining ground in the batting average department following a 40-point surge in BABIP (.353). Already with 2,640 plate appearances in the big leagues under his belt, Stanton turned 25 in November and the Marlins decided to make a long-term commitment to their young slugger, signing him to a 13-year, $325 million contract that includes an opt-out provision after the 2020 season and a full no-trade clause. The organization also made a concerted effort to improve Stanton's supporting cast, acquiring Dee Gordon, Martin Prado and Mike Morse to bolster the lineup. Don't be surprised if he sustains the gains in runs and RBIs from a year ago while providing even more homers in 2015.
2014 Statistics55310135103104966.286.403.524.928569
2015 Projections541100349497977.277.390.518.908541.5
2015 Outlook: Bautista evolved as a hitter in 2014, showing a more balanced approach that included an ability to hit to the opposite field and beat the shift. The results included a better mark on balls in play (.286) and the highest batting average he's posted in a season since 2011. He also avoided major injury, playing in 155 games and continuing to provide right-handed power in the heart of the Blue Jays lineup. Much like teammate Edwin Encarnacion, Bautista's ability to draw a lot of walks and keep his strikeout rate low makes him one of the most dangerous hitters in the game. Bautista had more opportunities to drive in runs last year, as Jose Reyes and Melky Cabrera managed to stay in the lineup more frequently. Though Cabrera is gone now, the health of the hitters in front of Bautista will again be a key to his RBI production. The days of 40-plus home runs might be over, but a repeat of last season's 35 long balls should be within reach.
2014 Statistics5589216696712411.296.382.480.863461
2015 Projections5869323916913213.283.370.486.856504
2015 Outlook: The lasting image from Puig's 2014 campaign was him on the bench for Game 4 of the NLDS following a 1-for-8 showing in his previous two games, which included a stretch of seven consecutive plate appearances ending in a strikeout. Puig deserved a better conclusion to his first full season in the majors. Sure, he finished three home runs shy of his 2013 total and was only able to match his stolen-base output from his rookie year despite playing in 44 more games (208 more plate appearances), but Puig led the Dodgers with a .296 average, .382 OBP and 92 runs scored. He also fought through various injuries (thumb, hip and hamstring, to name a few) and improved his strikeout and walk rates in the process. Further, his HR/FB rate fell to just 11.1 percent (from 21.8 percent), providing hope that he can easily supply his first 20-homer season if he can maintain his health in 2015. Puig's struggles at the end of last season had a lot to do with pitchers attacking him with fastballs outside, but at 24, he's shown an ability to adjust and should be able to rewrite the book on himself again next season.
2014 Statistics5306819814111311.266.324.453.777396.5
2015 Projections5518127904912110.290.353.519.872467.5
2015 Outlook: Considering Braun battled a thumb injury that prevented him from properly gripping the bat throughout the entire season -- not to mention a variety of other injuries (oblique, ankle, back) -- it's impressive that he was able to post the numbers he did. Granted, he did finish with a .777 OPS, more than 160 points below his career mark entering the year (.938), and his walk rate of 7.1 percent was his lowest since his rookie season, but Braun's ISO was still well above average at .187. Further, his line-drive rate of 19.9 percent was the second best of his career, and his .304 BABIP was more than 30 points below his career average of .336. Braun managed just 11 stolen bases in 16 attempts, and at 31, it seems safe to assume his days of even 20-plus steals are behind him, but he's still capable of supplying quality production in all five rotisserie categories. If the cryotherapy procedure he underwent on his thumb in October finally eliminates the issue -- he said in November that it "definitely worked" and that he didn't feel any pain -- Braun could prove a bargain at his reduced price.
2014 Statistics295452051391145.231.336.468.804233
2015 Projections5369131897219816.241.343.461.804441
2015 Outlook: Do believe the hype. While Springer's major league career got off to a slow start after his mid-April promotion -- with the star prospect's power failing to translate early on -- he eventually found his groove (to put it mildly). Springer hit .294/.385/.647 with 10 homers and 25 RBIs in May, and though his average soon fell off a cliff, he maintained a torrid home-run pace throughout the rest of the first half. A left quad strain, suffered shortly after the All-Star break, ended Springer's season prematurely, but GM Jeff Luhnow said in November that Springer was fully recovered and would go through his normal offseason routine, easing any remaining fears entering 2015. Sure, Springer strikes out far too often (33 percent last season), making him a major batting average liability -- and he attempted just seven steals in 78 games with the big club -- but the 25-year-old's raw power is virtually unparalleled, and he has the speed to easily crack the 20-steal threshold. Here's hoping new manager A.J. Hinch is more aggressive than Bo Porter was on the basepaths.
2014 Statistics541772589521458.287.346.506.852430.5
2015 Projections5497521755715011.282.347.475.823412
2015 Outlook: Nobody was hotter than Kemp after the All-Star break, as he slashed .309/.365/.606 with 17 homers and 54 RBIs in just 263 second-half trips, which more than made up for the .269/.330/.430 line, eight homers and 35 RBIs he supplied over the first 3½ months. The lackluster numbers in the first half can be attributed in part to inconsistent playing time, with manager Don Mattingly platooning Kemp for a period and even benching him for a brief stretch in late May before ultimately moving him to the corners. Kemp's HR/FB rate more than doubled from 2013, going from 9.1 percent to 20.0 percent last season, but he finished with a career-best line-drive rate (25.9 percent) and a 30.0 percent rate of swinging at pitches outside the strike zone, the second-lowest mark of his career. Now the anchor of a revamped Padres lineup, Kemp could be in danger of seeing his homer total slip in the spacious confines of Petco Park, and his days as a double-digit steals contributor are likely behind him, but Kemp should benefit from having a more defined role, and his blistering run down the stretch provides hope that he can still provide top-50 production if he can stay healthy.
2014 Statistics493901758381045.272.325.450.776365
2015 Projections592912072471269.272.327.456.783433
2015 Outlook: After bouncing around the batting order in the early going last season, Calhoun eventually settled into the leadoff spot in late May, shortly after returning from an ankle injury that cost him more than a month. In 489 plate appearances atop the lineup, Calhoun hit .281/.336/.471 with all 17 of his homers, solidifying his role as the table-setter for the Angels heading into 2015. While the 27-year-old doesn't have the speed of the prototypical leadoff hitter, his extra-base power makes up for it. Calhoun finished ninth in the AL in runs scored last season despite playing in just 127 games, and if he can stay healthy and improve his numbers against lefties in 2015, it's entirely possible he could lead the league in that category while also providing quality production in home runs, RBI and batting average.
2014 Statistics573741158679820.271.351.384.735412
2015 Projections576841761639816.271.348.424.771436
2015 Outlook: A true offensive enigma, Heyward was traded to St. Louis in the offseason, which only heightens the sense of hope and mystery surrounding his 2015 campaign. In his final year with the Braves, he delivered a .271 average and 20 steals, very nearly marking career highs in each category. However, his power completely cratered, as he hit just 11 home runs with a .113 ISO, and his HR/FB was sliced in half from 13 percent in 2013 to 6.5 percent in 2014. Heyward has always been excellent at driving balls down in the strike zone, but last season he hit for virtually no power on pitches in the upper third of the zone. This has not always been the case, as he was able to do some damage on balls middle-up in his 27-homer 2012 season. A shift in his approach may also be slightly to blame for his decreased power over the past two seasons, as his strikeout rate has dipped from 23.3 percent in 2012 to 16.6 percent in 2013 and a career-low 15.1 percent in 2014. It's possible that Heyward is trading power for contact, but there's no reason he can't regain the power he's shown in the past with proper instruction. Entering his age-25 season, which also happens to be a contract year, there are many reasons to believe Heyward will top his numbers from 2014, possibly by a wide margin.
2014 Statistics65010620745213013.277.332.445.777479
2015 Projections5368217704610812.272.332.444.776406
2015 Outlook: Perhaps Pence's greatest strength in past seasons -- staying healthy -- was nixed early in spring training when he was hit by a pitch and suffered a fractured left forearm that will force him to miss 2-to-4 weeks in April. His past ability to stay on the field allowed Pence to establish impressive statistical floors, reaching the 20-homer, 70-RBI, 75-run thresholds in each of the past seven seasons, but that streak could end with him slated to start this season on the DL. He has hit above .276 in all but one of the past six campaigns, and the one outlier (.253 in 2012) was a year in which he posted a .290 BABIP that was nearly 30 points below his .319 career mark. Admittedly, there are some indicators that Pence's skills may be in decline as he enters his age-32 season; namely, his career-low .168 ISO, career-high O-Swing rate (35.9 percent) and 14 percent line-drive rate from a year ago, the last of which was more than three ticks lower than his 2013 mark. However, once he returns from injury, Pence has the chance to once again establish himself as one of the more reliable outfield sources of across-the-board production.
2014 Statistics4937118664414912.217.281.373.654313.5
2015 Projections552812483531619.246.312.442.754397.5
2015 Outlook: Just how much were Bruce's struggles last season the result of him rushing his return from May knee surgery? The answer to that question has yet to be determined, but smart money's on "a lot." A 30-plus-homer, 90-plus-RBI contributor in each of the previous three seasons, Bruce managed just 18 homers and 66 RBI in 137 games last year. He finished with an abysmal .201/.241/.327 batting line after the All-Star break and a career-high 27.3 percent strikeout rate for the year, but his swinging-strike rate of 13.2 percent was an improvement on his 2013 number (14.4 percent). Moreover, his HR/FB of 15.3 percent tied his career low, and his .269 BABIP was far below his career norm, though the drop in BABIP was due in large part to an increased deployment of defensive shifts against Bruce, something that's likely to continue in 2015. Even if Bruce's average doesn't return to above .250, the expected power return makes him a strong low buy, though his name has been tossed around as a possible trade candidate, and a move away from Great American Ballpark would hurt his numbers.
2014 Statistics27750733305914.235.307.343.650201.5
2015 Projections508791168519825.250.317.370.687378
2015 Outlook: Polanco seemed to be making a seamless transition from Triple-A to the majors following his June 10 promotion, as he hit safely in his first 11 games with the big club, going 19-for-52 (.365 average) with a homer and 10 runs scored over that span. Unfortunately for Polanco, the Pirates and excited fantasy owners, things went south in a hurry. He hit just .214/.269/.327 in July and ended August on a dismal 1-for-30 skid, resulting in a brief trip back to Triple-A Indianapolis at the end of the month. Manager Clint Hurdle then used Polanco sparingly in September (28 at-bats), instead turning to Travis Snider to man right field for the stretch run. All in all, it was a baffling turn of events for the top prospect, who hit .328/.390/.504 with Indianapolis prior to his call-up, but he maintained similar strikeout and walk rates between levels, and he clearly still has the faith of the Pirates' front office. Now with Snider shipped off to Baltimore, Polanco will once again be given the opportunity to show what he can do as an everyday player.
2014 Statistics593821972319628.288.335.440.775457
2015 Projections453721456277717.280.331.442.772353.5
2015 Outlook: It's pretty easy to poke holes in Blackmon's offensive game relative to his overall numbers from 2014. He was much better at home; he was significantly worse against lefties; he underwhelmed after May 10; he posted an OPS below .800 despite playing in Coors Field. These are all facts. Still, the 28-year-old finally got a full season's worth of at-bats, and he exceeded everyone's expectations. Fortunately, most are aware of the cautionary signs, so his draft-day price will not be a direct reflection of his production last season. There's likely some regression coming for Blackmon now that opposing pitchers are aware of the fact that he swings at 55 percent of breaking balls and off-speed stuff out of the zone. However, valuable counting stats should still be there if he can hold the every-day job. Despite slashing just .268/.318/.389 after May 10, Blackmon still hit 11 homers with 20 steals in that span. Extrapolate those numbers out over a full season and a 15-homer, 25-steal campaign is not an unreasonable expectation.
2014 Statistics534851682831139.292.394.455.849462.5
2015 Projections43169156262908.292.386.464.850369
2015 Outlook: Some will look at Werth's dip in home runs last season and automatically assume that at 35, his power production is bound to decline again in 2015. Not so fast. His HR/FB rate was all the way down at 9.4 percent, nearly half of his 2013 mark (18.2 percent) and almost five percent lower than his career average of 14.2 percent. Granted, his ISO fell by more than 50 points, but Werth improved his contact rate to a career-best 83 percent and his average fly ball distance decreased by less than six feet. Power aside, Werth is still an on-base machine, having finished third in the NL in OBP behind only Andrew McCutchen and Giancarlo Stanton last season, and he remains a steady contributor in average, RBI and runs. He also has enough speed to approach double-digit steals, and the move to left field -- a slightly less demanding position than right -- may help him avoid the types of nagging injuries he fought through last season.
2014 Statistics500702581671531.234.334.438.772372.5
2015 Projections459682778501393.255.338.481.819361.5
2015 Outlook: Moss hit only four homers after the All-Star break, and the reason for that became pretty clear in September, when the A's announced he had been playing through a torn labrum in his hip that would ultimately require surgery. Moss had that surgery on Oct. 21 and later was traded to the Indians for second-base prospect Joe Wendle. Ideally, the Indians would like to use him at either first base or DH -- whichever position isn't occupied by Carlos Santana -- with Nick Swisher manning right field. But between Swisher's knee and Moss' hip, there's a lot of uncertainty about who is going to be available and at what capacity. Before the injury, Moss was great, hitting 21 homers with an .878 OPS prior to the All-Star break. If he fully recovers, he might even benefit from the change in ballparks, as he consistently was hurt by his home ballpark in Oakland during the past three years.
2014 Statistics49254454239317.280.311.398.709306.5
2015 Projections530651061289424.275.312.415.727370
2015 Outlook: Rios, coming off a top-15 finish among hitters in 2013, burned owners last season. He did hit .280 with 17 steals in 521 plate appearances, but that was where the fun ended. A double-digit home run contributor in each of his previous nine campaigns, Rios managed a mere four homers last season, and his RBI, run and steal totals fell off dramatically, as well. However, the low homer tally can be attributed in large part to an absurdly low 2.9 percent HR/FB rate (career 8.8 percent), and the counting stats suffered as a result of the numerous injuries that befell the Rangers. Rios battled a variety of injuries himself throughout the year (oblique, ankle, thumb), so there's reason for optimism heading into his first year with Kansas City. It's possible the move to Kauffman Stadium might offset the HR/FB return to a certain extent, but Rios is a relatively low batting-average risk and should benefit with an improved lineup around him. Further, he should get the green light on the basepaths plenty under manager Ned Yost.