Complete 2015 Projections

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PROJECTED 2015 SEASON STATS
31. Jake Arrieta, ChC SPYEARGGSIPBBKWSVHDERAWHIPK/9
2014 Statistics2525156.24116710002.530.999.59
2015 Projections3232195.07019314003.421.228.91
2015 Outlook: Arrieta had one of the biggest breakout performances by a starting pitcher in 2014. He put up a 2.53 ERA, which ranked 10th among pitchers who threw more than 150 innings, yet was largely undrafted in fantasy leagues. While certainly unexpected, it was not an empty or fluky ERA. Simply put, Arrieta was as good as all his numbers indicate. He had a 0.99 WHIP, a sparkling 167:41 K:BB ratio in 156⅔ innings and a 2.26 FIP, which suggest he pitched even better than his ERA indicates. The 6-4 righty was downright untouchable in almost a quarter of his starts. He had six outings in which he went six-plus innings while giving up zero earned runs and allowing four or fewer baserunners. After failing to live up to his impressive numbers in the minor leagues with Baltimore, Arrieta has blossomed under the instruction of Cubs pitching coach Chris Bosio and will enter his age-29 season as a legitimate No. 2 starter behind Jon Lester on the North Side.
32. David Robertson, CWS RPYEARGGSIPBBKWSVHDERAWHIPK/9
2014 Statistics63064.1239643903.081.0613.43
2015 Projections74072.02510044102.381.1112.50
2015 Outlook: The pressure of trying to fill Mariano Rivera's shoes in the country's biggest media market could have easily gotten to Robertson, but the right-hander proved poised and plenty capable in the ninth-inning role in his first season as a closer. A groin injury forced him onto the DL just a week into the season, but Robertson returned after the minimum 15 days and remained healthy the rest of the year, converting 36 of his first 39 save opportunities and improving his strikeout rate from 2013 by three per nine innings. Thanks to an anomalous 15.6 percent HR/FB rate (career 9.4 percent) and a pair of disastrous outings, Robertson finished with an ERA more than a full run above his 2013 mark, but his xFIP actually dropped from 2.60 to 2.13, giving him the confidence to turn down the Yankees' $15.3 million qualifying offer at the end of the season. The White Sox ponied up more than $40 million to acquire Robertson's services, cementing him into the closer role on a rising team for several years to come.
33. Kenley Jansen*, LAD RPYEARGGSIPBBKWSVHDERAWHIPK/9
2014 Statistics68065.11910124402.761.1313.91
2015 Projections55055.0158533602.290.9813.91
2015 Outlook: On the surface, it appears as though Jansen took a significant step back last season, with his ERA and WHIP jumping by .88 and .27, respectively, but he actually shaved .08 off his FIP. The right-hander improved his K/9 rate by nearly a full strikeout (from 13.0 to 13.9) and his swinging-strike rate by more than 2 percent, to a career-best 16.6 percent. Jansen finished with a 1.69 ERA and .186 BAA after the All-Star break, but his overall numbers were marred by an anomalous .350 BABIP. It should be noted that lefties did have far more success against Jansen, batting .284/.331/.379 against him, well up from .204/.256/.274, but his fastball velocity ticked back up and he finished third in the NL in saves with 44. Unfortunately, Jansen's 2015 debut will be delayed after he was forced to undergo foot surgery in mid-February, a procedure which carries with it a 8-to-12 week estimated recovery timetable. J.P. Howell, Chris Hatcher and Joel Peralta seem like the top in-house candidates to start the year in the closer role, though the Dodgers may very well look outside the organization for a short-term replacement.
34. Garrett Richards, LAA SPYEARGGSIPBBKWSVHDERAWHIPK/9
2014 Statistics2626168.25116413002.611.048.75
2015 Projections2929182.06316714003.361.218.26
2015 Outlook: The Angels' playoff demise might have been foretold on Aug. 20, when Richards blew out the patellar tendon of his left knee trying to cover first base against the Red Sox. Once he was lost, the Angels' lack of depth meant they had to start C.J. Wilson in an elimination game. The 26-year-old Richards was having a breakout season prior to the injury, posting a 2.61 ERA and 1.04 WHIP over 168 2/3 innings, a great example of why it's often profitable to invest in high-velocity pitchers who haven't yet achieved a high strikeout rate. They can eventually develop adequate or better secondary offerings that make that fastball harder to hit. That was the case with Richards, who went from striking out 16.3 percent of hitters in 2013 to 24.2 percent last year before the injury. It hurts that he won't be ready for Opening Day, but Richards is said be ahead of schedule in his recovery, with the Angels now hoping he'll be ready sometime in April.
35. Alex Cobb*, TB SPYEARGGSIPBBKWSVHDERAWHIPK/9
2014 Statistics2727166.14714910002.871.148.06
2015 Projections2929180.05316312003.301.188.15
2015 Outlook: The only thing holding Cobb back from being a first-tier starting pitcher is health, as he's spent big chunks of time on the DL each of the last four seasons. But is Cobb actually injury-prone? His 2011 shoulder injury and subsequent surgery certainly are part of the job and worrisome, but his more recent injuries have been flukier -- a batted ball off his leg, the scary line drive off his forehead in 2013, and an oblique injury suffered while batting in 2014. He's not a strikeout machine, but he's also not a total void there. Cobb's an extreme ground-ball pitcher thanks to his split-change, so the Rays' switch from Yunel Escobar to Asdrubal Cabrera at shortstop might hurt a little bit, but this could be the year that Cobb has a full 33-start season and turns a big profit for his owners.
36. Cody Allen, Cle RPYEARGGSIPBBKWSVHDERAWHIPK/9
2014 Statistics76069.2269162492.071.0611.76
2015 Projections71070.0278944202.961.1611.44
2015 Outlook: Rather than turn to Allen to serve as the primary closer after releasing Chris Perez, the Indians brought in the more experienced John Axford to fill the ninth-inning role at the start of last season. It was less than two months before performance dictated a change, with Allen picking up saves in the final two days of May to secure his hold on the job. Although Allen's FIP (2.99) was more than 90 points higher than his ERA (2.07) last season, he improved his swinging-strike rate to a career-high 14.1 percent and his opponents' line-drive rate fell by more than nine percent (from 24.6 percent to 15.3 percent). Using just two pitches -- a mid-90s fastball and a curveball -- Allen struck batters out at a 32.6 percent clip, and he also fared far better against lefties than he had before. Entering 2015, Allen is locked in as Cleveland's endgame option, and there's currently nobody in the bullpen who presents a legitimate threat to his role.
37. Michael Wacha, StL SPYEARGGSIPBBKWSVHDERAWHIPK/9
2014 Statistics1919107.033945003.201.207.91
2015 Projections2828162.04614811003.331.188.22
2015 Outlook: The hype surrounding the young Wacha following a dominant rookie season and an even more impressive showing in the 2013 postseason was so intense that there was no way he could possibly have lived up to expectations. Mix in a stress fracture in his throwing shoulder that forced him to miss about 14 starts, and fantasy owners were left thoroughly disappointed in Wacha's sophomore campaign. Now that expectations have simmered and people are beginning to realize he's a good No. 3 starter with the potential to pitch like a No. 2 at times, his draft-day price tag is much more palatable. The 23-year-old uses an effective four-pitch mix, generating plenty of whiffs with his 94 mph four-seam fastball, which allows his plus changeup to serve as an out pitch. Wacha had a 3.20 ERA (3.17 FIP), 1.20 WHIP and a 21 percent strikeout rate in 107 innings last year -- rates he should be able to replicate in a full season in 2015.
38. Homer Bailey*, Cin SPYEARGGSIPBBKWSVHDERAWHIPK/9
2014 Statistics2323145.2451249003.711.237.66
2015 Projections3030192.05016613003.471.197.78
2015 Outlook: It seemed as though Bailey was on the verge of putting it all together after his strong 2013 campaign -- which included the second no-hitter of his career -- but the former first-round pick (seventh overall in 2004) disappointed in his eighth major league season. Less than a month after signing a six-year, $105 million extension with the Reds, Bailey suffered a groin strain during a Cactus League outing, delaying his 2014 debut slightly. He struggled out of the gate, posting a 6.15 ERA in April, and while he did improve gradually in each of the following months, a torn flexor mass tendon in his right forearm forced Bailey out of action in August and ultimately ended his year. The injury required surgery, and manager Bryan Price left open the possibility that Bailey may not be ready to start the year. Keep a close eye on Bailey as he progresses through his throwing program; any setback would impact his draft position considerably.
39. Hisashi Iwakuma*, Sea SPYEARGGSIPBBKWSVHDERAWHIPK/9
2014 Statistics2828179.02115415003.521.057.74
2015 Projections2828178.03914913003.341.167.53
2015 Outlook: On Aug. 31, Iwakuma beat the Nationals, allowing three runs in six innings, which left him with a 2.90 ERA and 0.97 WHIP for the season to that point. The month of September was pretty ugly, however, as he had a 7.60 ERA over five starts, with two disasters coming against the Astros. Iwakuma asserted at the time that he was healthy, but fatigued and not injured, but ended up leaving his very next start with back and groin ailments. So was he dealing with those issues all along, or did they develop in that game? When a player goes through a negative stretch like that, our first instinct is to find a reason for it and then evaluate whether it's going to be a control issue for the future. Iwakuma's control was a little off in September, but he was also victimized by poor batted-ball luck, and the back and groin issues don't promise to be chronic. Even with the down final month, his control was spectacular on the whole, as Iwakuma's walk rate was just 3 percent -- 21 in 179 innings. So long as he keeps pitching in Safeco, he's going to do well by pounding the strike zone like that.
40. Dellin Betances, NYY RPYEARGGSIPBBKWSVHDERAWHIPK/9
2014 Statistics70090.02413551221.400.7813.50
2015 Projections80080.03411053072.361.0412.38
2015 Outlook: In terms of pure stuff, Betances is easily among the most impressive pitchers in the game. After a failed run as a starter in the minors, Betances began his transition to the bullpen in 2013. It seems safe to say he's found his niche. The right-hander posted an ERA under 2.00 in all but one month in his first full season in the Yankees' bullpen, and in the one month he did not (April), he had a mark of 2.03. Having scrapped the curveball and rarely used changeup from his arsenal, Betances instead relied on a devastating slider to complement his mid- to high-90s fastball and strike batters out at a 39.6 percent clip, only behind new teammate Andrew Miller and Brad Boxberger in the AL. With David Robertson departing in the offseason, the door is open for Betances to step in as the Yankees' closer, though Miller's signing has clouded things a bit. If is he formally named the closer, Betances' stock will skyrocket, and even if he doesn't get the job and remains in a multi-inning role, he will still be more valuable than a lot of starting pitchers.
41. Lance Lynn, StL SPYEARGGSIPBBKWSVHDERAWHIPK/9
2014 Statistics3333203.27218115002.741.268.00
2015 Projections3333205.07018513003.601.258.12
2015 Outlook: The big, 6-5 righty had a career year in 2014, thanks to some luck on balls in play and a reduced walk rate. Lynn should be judged by his 3.35 FIP -- which is right in line with his career average -- and not his 2.74 ERA, which was a far cry from his 3.97 in 2013 despite very similar peripherals. Lynn might never be a WHIP reducer, as he has lived in the 1.26-1.32 range in his three full seasons in the big leagues. However, he has now posted back-to-back seasons with 200-plus innings and 180-plus strikeouts, which is an appealing combination. He turns 28 in May, so there's no reason to think Lynn won't continue to be a steady innings-eater with valuable strikeout totals in 2015.
42. Alex Wood, Atl SP, RPYEARGGSIPBBKWSVHDERAWHIPK/9
2014 Statistics3524171.24517011022.781.148.91
2015 Projections2828170.04916411003.231.198.68
2015 Outlook: The swingman with the funky delivery became a full-time starter and added a breaking ball to become one of the bigger surprises in 2014. Wood understood he needed a third pitch to effectively move from the pen to the rotation, and the curveball did the trick for him, as he generated an above-average strikeout rate and did not hurt himself with walks or get hurt badly by home runs. Thus far in his career, he's been able to strand runners at a very high rate for starting pitchers, but it's very unlikely he repeats his 2014 level of 80 percent, as only a handful of pitchers have ever done so. Wood will help in ratios and strikeouts, but the Atlanta offense might hold down his win total.
43. Jonathan Papelbon, Phi RPYEARGGSIPBBKWSVHDERAWHIPK/9
2014 Statistics66066.1156323902.040.908.55
2015 Projections70070.0167033802.701.019.00
2015 Outlook: By any measure, 2014 was successful for the Phillies' closer and certainly an improvement on his 2013, as Papelbon posted his highest save total since 2008 and his lowest WHIP since 2007. His strikeout rate ticked back up to 24.3 percent and his opponents' line-drive rate of 15.3 percent matched a career best. However, there were some signs that suggest Papelbon is due for a significant regression in his age-34 season. He finished with a .247 BABIP and 2.7 percent HR/FB rate, numbers that helped mask another dip in fastball velocity. Indeed, since 2011, Papelbon has lost nearly four miles per hour off his fastball. Further, his 3.50 xFIP was just one tick lower than his 2013 mark. When it comes to relief pitchers, role is of utmost importance in fantasy, and the uncertainty regarding Papelbon's future in Philadelphia presents another wrinkle for prospective owners, though Papelbon would likely push for the closer role no matter where he ends up.
44. Chris Archer, TB SPYEARGGSIPBBKWSVHDERAWHIPK/9
2014 Statistics3232194.27217310003.331.288.00
2015 Projections3232192.07617512003.471.278.20
2015 Outlook: Archer's maturation from a fifth-round selection in 2006 into a legitimate No. 3 starter in the big leagues is one of the best stories in the Rays' storied history of prospect development. The athletic, 6-3 righty solidified his status as a mid-rotation starter last season as a 25-year-old, posting a 3.33 ERA, 1.28 WHIP and 173 strikeouts in 194⅔ healthy innings. He pumps gas with a 96 mph heater and a hard, 87 mph grounder-inducing slider while occasionally mixing in a changeup. For Archer to take another step forward both in real life and fantasy, going deeper into games will be key. In 32 starts last season, he pitched more than seven innings on just two occasions. He's shown he can remain effective the third time through the order, and now that he's entering his third full season, the hope is that the Rays fully set him loose. Entering his age-26 season, Archer provides the nice combination of a high floor and room to dream a little.
45. Huston Street, LAA RPYEARGGSIPBBKWSVHDERAWHIPK/9
2014 Statistics61059.1145724101.370.948.65
2015 Projections66065.0156344002.350.978.72
2015 Outlook: Street went from pitching in relative obscurity with San Diego to pitching for the American League's winningest team following a July trade, and while his numbers with the Angels weren't quite as good, he still finished with a 1.71 ERA and 1.18 WHIP in 26⅓ innings with the Halos. He didn't blow a save until July 5, having converted his first 23 opportunities, and finished with a career-high 41 saves for the season, giving him 275 for his career (fifth among active players). Some will point to Street's otherworldly strand rates the past two years (99.5 percent in 2013 and 93.3 percent last season) and low BABIPs as reasons to be wary of the 31-year-old, but as long as he's striking batters out at close to a 25 percent clip and converting saves, he'll continue to make for an enticing fantasy option. Joe Smith is the only real threat to his job right now, and manager Mike Scioscia has been reluctant to give Smith an extended audition in the role.