Complete 2015 Projections

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PROJECTED 2015 SEASON STATS
31. Mike Napoli, Bos 1BYEARABRHRRBIBBKSBAVGOBPSLGOPS
2014 Statistics415491755781333.248.370.419.789
2015 Projections429592165741472.245.361.450.811
2015 Outlook: Napoli is difficult to project because of his ping-ponging playing time. He's consistently bothered by any number of nagging injuries, and who knows how much the finger and back ailments affected him late in the season. He posted a .186/.326/.354 line in August and September, though he was still doing damage in the rare instances when he made contact, netting five homers and 19 RBI in those final 141 plate appearances. At 33 years old, the injuries are obviously a mainstay for Napoli, but that has been built into his price, making him a relative bargain in the games he does play. Have a contingency plan in place for the 30 or 40 games that he'll miss.
32. Billy Butler, Oak DH, 1BYEARABRHRRBIBBKSBAVGOBPSLGOPS
2014 Statistics5495796641960.271.323.379.702
2015 Projections577611476511020.284.344.412.757
2015 Outlook: Last year, Butler didn't deliver in his one area of reliability: batting average. His career-low .271 represents just his second time below .289 over eight seasons in the big leagues. Worse, his already-weak power evaporated, as he ended up with just nine home runs for the season. Butler still crushed lefties, with a .321 average and .847 OPS, but platooning him in a daily transaction league was about the extent of his value in the fantasy game last year. The move to Oakland certainly won't help the shrinking power, but with a sub-30 percent fly ball rate each of the last three years, the park is almost irrelevant. A move back toward career norms in his BABIP and HR/FB rate should bring the batting average and homers up toward expected levels, but 2012 is a distant memory at this point and appears set to forever stand as his career year.
33. Mark Teixeira, NYY 1BYEARABRHRRBIBBKSBAVGOBPSLGOPS
2014 Statistics440562262581091.216.313.398.711
2015 Projections458602270601091.234.326.419.746
2015 Outlook: If there's any sort of think tank set on removing the shift from baseball, check to see if Teixeira is the primary source of funds. The shift has, quite simply, eaten Teixeira's value alive via the continued downsizing of his batting average. Back in 2009 -- his first with the Yankees -- Teixeira had an MVP-caliber season with 39 homers, 122 RBI and a .292 average, but he hasn't sniffed that kind of complete production since thanks to a precipitous drop in his BABIP as a result of the shift. He had five straight seasons of .300-plus BABIP after that 2009 season, but hasn't been north of .268 since, with the difference almost entirely in his results against right-handed pitchers. There is still a decent amount of power here, but the batting average is never coming back as long as he continues to bat lefty.
34. Ryan Howard, Phi 1BYEARABRHRRBIBBKSBAVGOBPSLGOPS
2014 Statistics569652395671900.223.310.380.690
2015 Projections561632389601970.228.306.394.700
2015 Outlook: Pay no attention to the RBI totals behind the curtain. Howard's 95 RBIs might have you thinking he wasn't too bad in 2014, but the triple slash line tells a different story. A story that isn't safe for work or children. He posted a .223/.310/.380, which is quite far from "not too bad," let alone anything resembling "good." His power cratered, as he would have popped 37 homers with his career HR/FB rate of 26.4 percent. Instead he was well below 20 percent for the second straight season with a 16.1 percent mark. He still ranked in the top 20, but that isn't quite good enough when it is your only source of value. The 23-HR/95-RBI season will trick someone into taking him entirely too early and you don't want to be that person. In addition to the power that is uncertain to return, he is also an injury risk at 35 years old even coming after a 153-game campaign. He played in just 151 games in 2012 and 2013 combined.
35. Adam Lind, Mil 1B, DHYEARABRHRRBIBBKSBAVGOBPSLGOPS
2014 Statistics2903864028480.321.381.479.860
2015 Projections44758186245851.286.349.472.822
2015 Outlook: Lind has become a full-on platoon player, though it is on the strong side, which helps him maintain fantasy relevance. His futility against lefties hit an all-time low in 2014, though that was at least partly due to a lack of opportunities. At 31, the ship has sailed on him improving against lefties and becoming a full-time player again. The shift from Toronto to Milwaukee is neutral from a home run standpoint and he never really needed Rogers Centre to be successful. A career-worst 7.6 percent HR/FB rate ate up his home run total, but his career 15 percent mark suggests he will jump back up in 2015. The biggest change is the elimination of the DH, meaning he must play first base to be in the lineup, but he has played 67 percent of his games in the field during the past four years, so he should be fine. Injuries, primarily to his back, have hampered him in the past, but any negative effects to playing in the field all the time could be mitigated by getting off the Toronto turf.
36. Kendrys Morales, KC 1B, DHYEARABRHRRBIBBKSBAVGOBPSLGOPS
2014 Statistics3672884227680.218.274.338.612
2015 Projections48553176136900.260.314.423.737
2015 Outlook: The qualifying offer attached to Morales really seemed to depress his market, as teams weren't willing to part with their first-round pick as a result of signing him. Once he finally signed with the Twins, it was already June 8, and it appears that was just too late in the season for him to really get going. He languished with Minnesota en route to a .584 OPS before getting traded to Seattle, where he was only slightly better (.632 OPS). It's not hard to give Morales a pass for 2014, given the circumstances, but at 32 years old, there's likely some skill erosion, too. Holding his first-base eligibility definitely helps, and being just a year removed from 23 homers makes him a decent late-round gamble, especially because he will cost you next to nothing.
37. James Loney*, TB 1BYEARABRHRRBIBBKSBAVGOBPSLGOPS
2014 Statistics6005996941804.290.336.380.716
2015 Projections5495296239733.286.333.383.715
2015 Outlook: Loney has been allowed to be himself in Tampa Bay as the Rays encourage his line-drive swing hoping for a quality batting average and low strikeout totals to go with his high-quality defense (which is most important to the Rays, but least useful for fantasy players). In 2013, he found success against lefties for the first time in years, but that dipped sharply in 2014, though not quite to the point where he was unplayable against them. At almost any other position, Loney's value would rise substantially, but first basemen with low-teen power ceilings just aren't that appealing even with a strong batting average. The best deployment of Loney would be as an AL-only corner infielder to balance the batting average deficiency of a Chris Davis or Brandon Moss if you decided to pass on the studs of the position and build a low-cost 1B/CI combo.
38. Michael Morse*, Mia 1B, OFYEARABRHRRBIBBKSBAVGOBPSLGOPS
2014 Statistics438481661311210.279.336.475.811
2015 Projections420521557291120.267.322.455.777
2015 Outlook: Fresh off his postseason heroics with the Giants, Morse signed a two-year deal to be the Opening Day first baseman for the Marlins. Miami is not an ideal hitting environment, but Morse has enough power to hit 20 homers in any ballpark if he gets enough plate appearances. Last season, Morse fared far better against righties, hitting .293 (compared to a .248 average against lefties). However, for his career, his slash line is almost identical against righties and lefties, so there is reason to believe he will be in the Marlins' lineup almost every day. That will be a change for the better, as he was relegated to corner-outfield duty with the Giants for much of 2014, and his horrific defense kept him out of the lineup enough to noticeably suppress his value. He hit 16 homers in 482 plate appearances last season.
39. Logan Morrison, Sea 1BYEARABRHRRBIBBKSBAVGOBPSLGOPS
2014 Statistics33641113824595.262.315.420.735
2015 Projections39750134738704.262.331.421.752
2015 Outlook: Morrison's first season in the AL showed some encouraging signs as he hit for his highest average (.262) since his rookie season and worked his OPS up to a respectable .735. He was once again plagued by injuries though, and drew the fewest walks of his career, leading to a pedestrian .315 OBP. Morrison is in line to handle full-time duties at first, and if he can remain healthy, there's reason to be confident in the 27-year-old. In 2011, the only season that he's appeared in at least 100 games, he flashed some good power, with 23 home runs, and while that may be hard to replicate in the spacious Safeco Field, the potential is there for a big year at the plate.
40. Garrett Jones, NYY 1BYEARABRHRRBIBBKSBAVGOBPSLGOPS
2014 Statistics496591553461160.246.309.411.720
2015 Projections36847174833911.258.319.476.794
2015 Outlook: Other than what now appears to be an outlier in his career-best 2012 season, Jones has been remarkably consistent in the past four seasons in hitting 15 or 16 home runs and hitting for an average in the mid-.230s or .240s. Traded to the Yankees during the offseason, Jones won't play as often as he did in 2014, when he started 122 games at first base, but he should get some at-bats as Mark Teixeira's backup and can also serve as a utility outfielder or DH. The short porch in right field at Yankee Stadium should help his power some, but his limited playing time and inability to hit left-handed pitching -- his career slash line against southpaws is a paltry .197/.239/.335 -- should lessen his value in most fantasy formats.
41. C.J. Cron, LAA 1B, DHYEARABRHRRBIBBKSBAVGOBPSLGOPS
2014 Statistics24228113710610.256.289.450.739
2015 Projections37344155617813.260.303.442.745
2015 Outlook: The arrival of Matt Joyce in Anaheim may throw Cron onto the short side of a DH platoon, robbing the bulk of his fantasy value in the process. However, he'll likely be afforded regular time to begin the year, with Josh Hamilton not expected to be ready following February shoulder surgery. Cron had negligible platoon splits last year (20-point difference in favor of him facing lefties) but he hit lefties (.888 OPS) far better than righties (.810 OPS) during his minor league career. He had an anemic second half of 2014, but that felt more like growing pains than a chronic problem, especially since he floundered against lefties in that time, too. At his best he was as advertised: a power beast who could lengthen a lineup with that home-run threat in the six or seven hole. He never showed enough patience in the minors to believe that his 15 percent strikeout rate would hold at the major league level, but he has to improve upon the four-percent walk rate he had in his MLB debut if he is going to strike out nearly a quarter of the time. Otherwise, he will end up as a severe batting-average liability like former Angels slugger Mark Trumbo.
42. Ryan Rua*, Tex 1BYEARABRHRRBIBBKSBAVGOBPSLGOPS
2014 Statistics105112142181.295.321.419.740
2015 Projections3063583720663.261.314.399.713
2015 Outlook: Rua posted impressive numbers in his major league debut last season, with a .295/.321/.419 line in 24 games with the big league club. The 25-year-old entered camp as part of a crowded competition for the starting left field job, and is likely to open the season as the team's primary option at the position. The righty put up especially strong numbers against left-handed pitching in the MLB, slashing .387/.406/.516, so it's possible that he will end up in a platoon if he shows signs of struggling against righties. The profile here is that of a deep sleeper (he hit 20 home runs between Double-A and the big leagues last season), but Rua won't have much leash as a regular for the Rangers if he scuffles in April.
43. Allen Craig, Bos 1B, OFYEARABRHRRBIBBKSBAVGOBPSLGOPS
2014 Statistics46141846351132.215.279.315.594
2015 Projections39148115631872.269.329.414.744
2015 Outlook: Craig had a miserable 2014 season that was scuttled by a nagging foot injury that forced him to miss more than a month -- mostly after his surprising trade to the Red Sox as part of the John Lackey deal. Now he's in a situation in Boston where he's going to have to fight for playing time, following all the additions to the lineup this offseason. First base is occupied by Mike Napoli, DH is held down by David Ortiz, and the corner-outfield slots (where he's particularly ill-suited to play) are manned by Hanley Ramirez and Shane Victorino, not to mention Mookie Betts is looking for a place to play. Craig could end up behind all of them, subbing maybe once a week at each spot, but he's going to have to wait for a trade or an injury or two before he gets full-time at-bats. Assuming that his foot has fully recovered, he could be in a more favorable power situation in Fenway but will probably hit lower in the order than he did with the Cardinals. Getting any more than two or three stolen bases seems out of the question, so he's really going to need to improve those power stats to provide a lot of value.
44. Stephen Vogt, Oak 1B, CYEARABRHRRBIBBKSBAVGOBPSLGOPS
2014 Statistics2692693516391.279.321.431.752
2015 Projections36245104828541.273.325.425.750
2015 Outlook: The loss of catcher eligibility really dents the already-marginal fantasy value of Vogt. The 30-year-old utility-ish man was blazing hot for June and July (.911 OPS) before getting equally cold during the final two months (.549), and though his minor league production would suggest the hot streak wasn't completely out of the norm, he was always old for his level, making it tough to put too much stock into the .305 AVG and .833 OPS he amassed in 2,567 PA. If he does find a steady role, it is definitely going to be as part of a platoon since he has always struggled against southpaws. The recent trade of John Jaso bodes well for Vogt to quickly re-establish his catcher eligibility, which will give him back the scant value he had last year. Of course, that assumes the A's don't acquire more catchers between this writing and Opening Day.
45. Scott Van Slyke, LAD OF, 1BYEARABRHRRBIBBKSBAVGOBPSLGOPS
2014 Statistics21232112928714.297.386.524.910
2015 Projections1802782625544.261.357.461.818
2015 Outlook: Van Slyke was one of the best lefty-killers in the game last year, hitting .315/.415/.630 with eight homers against southpaws in 108 at-bats. He wasn't even that bad against right-handers, hitting .279/.354/.413 against them. Unfortunately for Van Slyke, there's just no room for him, even after the Dodgers traded away Matt Kemp. They still have Yasiel Puig, Joc Pederson and Carl Crawford ahead of him, plus Andre Ethier and Chris Heisey still in the mix. It's not too hard to envision Crawford getting hurt, so one starting corner outfield spot could open up, but Van Slyke might require two openings before he starts playing regularly. A trade to another organization might be his best hope for fantasy relevance.