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.

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PROJECTED 2015 SEASON STATS
31. Evan Longoria, TB 3BYEARABRHRRBIBBKSBAVGOBPSLGOPS
2014 Statistics624832291571335.253.320.404.724
2015 Projections610842688601403.269.337.451.788
2015 Outlook: Longoria played in all 162 games for the Rays last season, helping to ease concerns about his durability after he played in just 207 games between 2011 and 2012. After he eclipsed 30 home runs for the third time in his career in 2013, Longoria hit just 22 last season while his slugging percentage bottomed out at a career-worst .404. A big part of the regression seemed to come from a diminished ability to handle the outside part of the strike zone, which effectively reduced his ability to spray the ball with any authority to the opposite field. In fact, just one of his 22 home runs was hit to right field in 2014; seven of his 32 long balls were hit to the opposite field in 2013. Longo's eye at the plate eroded over the course of the season, too, as he walked at a mere 6.5 percent clip during the second half, well below his career average of 10.4 percent. Without a physical malady to explain the downturn in production, it might be prudent to lower the ceiling even if a rebound is imminent, but the 2014 line appears to be a healthy floor for Longoria at this stage of his career.
32. Hunter Pence, SF OFYEARABRHRRBIBBKSBAVGOBPSLGOPS
2014 Statistics65010620745213013.277.332.445.777
2015 Projections6239520815412614.273.333.445.777
2015 Outlook: There will never be a (serious) Hunter Pence instructional DVD -- his approach to the game is simply too unconventional -- but you can't argue with the results. The "lowest-maintenance player" Bruce Bochy has ever managed (his words), Pence has displayed a remarkable ability to stay healthy throughout his career, with a mere 16 absences over the past seven seasons, none of which have come in the past two years. That ability has allowed Pence to establish impressive statistical floors, as he's reached the 20-homer, 70-RBI, 75-run thresholds in each of those seven seasons. He's 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 rate of swinging at pitches outside the strike zone (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, until the production starts tailing off, Pence will warrant a relatively lofty draft position.
33. Jose Reyes, Tor SSYEARABRHRRBIBBKSBAVGOBPSLGOPS
2014 Statistics61094951387330.287.328.398.726
2015 Projections613901151456930.287.335.413.748
2015 Outlook: Even though Reyes was hurt on Opening Day and went to the disabled list, he returned just more than two weeks later and played the rest of the season, ending up in a tie with Ian Desmond as the second-most valuable shortstop in standard mixed-league formats. Even at age 31, his speed has held up well, and he's swiped at least 30 bases in four of the past five seasons. Getting to double-digit home runs will remain a challenge for Reyes, as his ISO has declined for four consecutive seasons, but that's not what fantasy owners are looking for anyway. However, while he was mostly healthy in 2014, we're still looking at a player with just one season of 150 games played out of the past six. He's a strong, but risky, three-category producer.
34. George Springer, Hou OFYEARABRHRRBIBBKSBAVGOBPSLGOPS
2014 Statistics295452051391145.231.336.468.804
2015 Projections5369131897219816.241.343.461.804
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.
35. Yoenis Cespedes, Det OF, DHYEARABRHRRBIBBKSBAVGOBPSLGOPS
2014 Statistics6008922100351287.260.301.450.751
2015 Projections581882397411246.267.316.473.790
2015 Outlook: Unless you're in an OBP league, don't discount Cespedes too much following his largely forgettable run with the Red Sox at the end of last season. Sure, his 5.4 percent walk rate and .190 ISO from 2014 were career lows, but Cespedes was able to shave four percent off his strikeout rate from 2013 thanks to a three percent reduction in swinging-strike rate, and he was able to muster 22 home runs despite just a 9.6 percent HR/FB. Cespedes' contact rate improved by nearly seven percent, jumping from 73.7 percent to 80.0 percent, and he improved his OPS against right-handed pitching by more than 100 points (from .672 to .777). Granted, his decline against lefties was troubling, with his OPS against southpaws dropping a whopping 214 points (from .880 to .666), but the 29-year-old's raw power is undeniable and there's reason to think his numbers can improve in a stacked Detroit lineup.
36. Albert Pujols, LAA 1B, DHYEARABRHRRBIBBKSBAVGOBPSLGOPS
2014 Statistics633892810548715.272.324.466.790
2015 Projections58079269347695.274.330.472.802
2015 Outlook: Rumors of Pujols' demise were greatly exaggerated in 2013. He rebounded with a strong 2014 effort, despite a second straight season below .800 OPS. Since he was once the best player in baseball, any sort of decline feels stark, but this is just what happens -- Father Time is undefeated. Pujols' decline has also coincided with a sharp drop in offense across the league. While no longer a truly elite option, he remains a force at the plate, having averaged 30 homers and 108 RBI per 162 games with the Angels. A 25-100 season should be the expectation for Pujols, as that lineup remains remarkably potent. Ten years ago, he would have been one of 31 players to have that kind of season, but he was one of just 11 to complete the feat in 2014.
37. Carlos Gonzalez, Col OFYEARABRHRRBIBBKSBAVGOBPSLGOPS
2014 Statistics26035113819703.238.292.431.723
2015 Projections4998026774613317.273.335.503.838
2015 Outlook: Gonzalez got off to a hot start last season, smacking four homers in his first 10 games, but a bout of knee tendinitis in late April sobered up fantasy owners and proved a precursor to more serious injuries. His left index finger began presenting issues in May, and while he was able to play through the discomfort for close to a month, Gonzalez ultimately required surgery to remove a benign tumor. Less than a month after his return, Gonzalez was forced out of action yet again, this time due to a patellar tendon tear that required season-ending surgery. As a result, Gonzalez was capped at a career-low 70 games, and his performance when on the field wasn't anywhere near what is customary for the two-time All-Star. Gonzalez managed just a .723 OPS, marking the first time since his rookie year he posted a mark below .878, and he notched a mere three steals after recording 20 or more in each of his previous four seasons. Of course, the lackluster production can be attributed in large part to the injuries, but the 29-year-old's extensive medical history should temper any future projections, and there's a possibility he could be traded away from the hitter-friendly confines of Colorado at some point during the year.
38. Adrian Gonzalez, LAD 1BYEARABRHRRBIBBKSBAVGOBPSLGOPS
2014 Statistics5918327116561121.276.335.482.817
2015 Projections5917723104491071.288.339.469.808
2015 Outlook: An interesting quirk in Gonzalez's statistical record: he has failed to reach 100 RBI in just one of the last eight seasons, and it was the one in which he hit 40 home runs (2009). He hasn't come anywhere near that power figure in the five years since, but has still been averaging 108 RBI a year, including a league-best 116 last year. Though his homers have leveled off from his days in San Diego, Gonzalez remains a strong fantasy asset with a high floor at a position that requires a substantial offensive component. His high-quality skill set stands up well to the time-induced erosion that affects every player, and A-Gone should continue to churn out productive seasons even as he reaches his mid-30s. The lineup around Gonzalez has been remade, but there's more than enough talent for a sixth straight 100-RBI season, especially for a guy averaging 159 games played in the last nine seasons.
39. Ian Kinsler, Det 2BYEARABRHRRBIBBKSBAVGOBPSLGOPS
2014 Statistics6841001792297915.275.307.420.727
2015 Projections623941677397314.276.323.427.750
2015 Outlook: It looked like a carbon-copy season for Kinsler in 2014, but what happened to the walk rate? He ranged from 7.7 percent to 12.3 percent in his first eight seasons before a hideous 4 percent last season. At least he continued to avoid striking out (10.9 percent), something he has done with aplomb throughout his career. The biggest concern with his trade from Texas to Detroit was the shift in home ballpark, and the 61-point drop in home OPS justified those concerns. His road batted-ball profile included a 22 percent line-drive rate that would have played better in Comerica, though he managed just a 17 percent mark at home. The 33-year-old is still a solid bet at the keystone, but teen totals in homers and stolen bases look like the high end after he averaged 20/20 when healthy over his first seven seasons.
40. David Ortiz, Bos DHYEARABRHRRBIBBKSBAVGOBPSLGOPS
2014 Statistics518593510475950.263.355.517.873
2015 Projections50870309269951.276.361.514.875
2015 Outlook: Ortiz has become an ageless wonder, and he'll enter 2015 at age 39, coming off his second straight 30-homer, 100-RBI campaign. If there's a wart here, it's that he hit just .263 last season, falling below .300 for the first time since 2010, but the dip ties to a .256 BABIP that was 65 points lower than this 2013 mark and 45 points below his career level (.301). A closer look at his batted-ball profile shows fewer line drives in exchange for more fly balls, but the shift wasn't dramatic enough to fully account for the batting-average drop, and it's reasonable to think that he'll push his average back toward the .300 level again this season. If his skills remain stable -- and by all indications other than age, they should -- Ortiz might be able to improve his RBI and run totals with better health among the bats around him in what figures to be a loaded Boston lineup.
41. Matt Kemp, SD OFYEARABRHRRBIBBKSBAVGOBPSLGOPS
2014 Statistics541772589521458.287.346.506.852
2015 Projections5497521755715011.282.347.475.823
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.
42. Billy Hamilton, Cin OFYEARABRHRRBIBBKSBAVGOBPSLGOPS
2014 Statistics563726483411756.250.292.355.648
2015 Projections590766473912762.253.299.346.644
2015 Outlook: Many owners had their finger on the panic button early in 2014, with Hamilton managing just a .140 average and two steals in the first two weeks of play, but he slowly started to come around. Things really seemed to click in June, as Hamilton hit .327/.348/.500 with 14 steals during the season's third month, numbers buoyed by a whopping 10 multihit efforts. At the All-Star break, Hamilton was hitting .285/.319/.423 with five homers and 38 steals in 53 attempts. As was the case with many of his teammates, Hamilton began to unravel in August and completely fell apart in September until a concussion put a premature end to his rookie campaign. The overall numbers were slightly disappointing, especially his conversion rate on the basepaths (56-for-79) and walk rate (5.8 percent), but there's reason for optimism entering his age-24 season. The returns of Joey Votto and Jay Bruce to full health should ease the burden on Hamilton and afford him more run-scoring opportunities, and his steal total, which was good enough for second in the NL last season, should only improve as he learns how to get better jumps and avoid pickoffs.
43. Nelson Cruz, Sea OF, DHYEARABRHRRBIBBKSBAVGOBPSLGOPS
2014 Statistics6138740108551404.271.333.525.859
2015 Projections591712786451535.259.314.462.776
2015 Outlook: A 50-game ban for his involvement with the Biogenesis scandal at the end of the 2013 campaign diminished Cruz's stock significantly entering free agency, forcing him to settle for a one-year, $8 million deal, but he recouped that value, and then some, with an outstanding season for Baltimore. Cruz led the major leagues with 40 home runs, 25 of which came on the road, and he broke the 100-RBI threshold for the first time in his career. He trimmed his strikeout rate from 2013 by more than three percent, from 23.9 percent to 20.6 percent, while also slightly improving his walk rate. Cruz's .288 BABIP last season was more than 10 points below his career average, though his HR/FB rate of 20.4 percent was just the fourth-highest mark of his career. The 34-year-old cashed in with a four-year, $57 million contract from the Mariners in the offseason, and while his power expectations should be tempered a bit with the move to Safeco Field, there's no reason to think he can't approach 30 homers if he can stay on the field for 140 or more games.
44. Prince Fielder, Tex 1BYEARABRHRRBIBBKSBAVGOBPSLGOPS
2014 Statistics1501931625240.247.360.360.720
2015 Projections55776218779961.285.381.458.839
2015 Outlook: The game's modern-day ironman registered fewer than 157 games for the first time ever in 2014, as neck problems cost him 120 games. Neck injuries are very scary, and words like "cervical fusion" are even scarier, but every report has Fielder set to be ready by spring training. Expectations were high for Fielder coming into 2014 as he shifted back into a hitter-friendly ballpark, which was supposed to help him reverse his declining power. He had just three homers before the injury, but the neck problem might simply make 2014 a washout altogether. So we regroup with Fielder to find him a year older and in a less-potent lineup, but still in a friendly ballpark and now equipped with an injury discount, making him an intriguing gamble for 2015.
45. Kyle Seager, Sea 3BYEARABRHRRBIBBKSBAVGOBPSLGOPS
2014 Statistics590712596521187.268.334.454.788
2015 Projections597732584561199.265.333.451.783
2015 Outlook: The Mariners rewarded Seager's third straight 20-homer season with a seven-year, $100 million contract extension in November, securing an increasingly scarce resource for the long haul, as power-hitting third basemen have become something of a rare breed. Seager has proven to be durable, having played in at least 155 games in each of the last three seasons, and he improved his defense at the hot corner to earn his first career Gold Glove last season. Seager's home-road splits flipped in 2014, as he had much better numbers at Safeco Field (.300/.370/.523) than on the road (.240/.301/.393) after his OPS was 147 points better on the road in 2013. If Seager can find a way to combine the better of those home/road splits in the same year, there may be a 30-homer season in his bat. Even if he stays in the 20-25 range, Seager should sustain the benefits he received from the arrival of Robinson Cano, as Cano's upgrade to the Mariners' No. 3 hole in the lineup paved the way for Seager's career-high 96 RBI last season.