Complete 2015 Projections

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PROJECTED 2015 SEASON STATS
31. Ken Giles, Phi RPYEARGGSIPBBKWSVHDERAWHIPK/9
2014 Statistics44045.2116431131.180.7912.61
2015 Projections61065.0199846241.940.8813.57
2015 Outlook: If and when the Phillies trade Jonathan Papelbon and install Giles as the closer, it'll be one of the least surprising role changes of the season. Giles has posted extreme strikeout rates at every stop in his professional career and throws a fastball that averages just over 97 mph. The hyperbole on him has started early, as he's already been called "The Next Craig Kimbrel," among other things. Of course, Giles has done a lot to encourage that enthusiasm by pitching so well upon his big league arrival. He posted a 1.18 ERA and struck out 38.6 percent of batters in his first 45 2/3 major league innings.
32. Brad Boxberger, TB RPYEARGGSIPBBKWSVHDERAWHIPK/9
2014 Statistics63064.22010452182.370.8414.47
2015 Projections64075.033110410252.521.1113.20
2015 Outlook: Boxberger broke out in a big way with the Rays last season, posting a 2.37 ERA, 0.84 WHIP and 104 K's to just 20 walks in 64 2/3 relief innings. In addition to his impressive strikeout total, he added five wins and two saves, and he finished third in strikeout rate (42.1 percent) among relievers who pitched more than 50 innings. Boxberger drastically reduced his walk rate (2.78 BB/9) from seasons prior while holding his opposition to a mere .155 batting average. He's expected to resume high-leverage relief work for the Rays in 2015, be it as their closer (which is likely -- at least at the beginning of the season -- with Jake McGee sidelined) or setup man.
33. Addison Reed, Ari RPYEARGGSIPBBKWSVHDERAWHIPK/9
2014 Statistics62059.1156913204.251.2110.47
2015 Projections62060.0166433503.601.229.60
2015 Outlook: Reed has one of the least stable closing jobs in baseball, after he gave up a whopping 11 homers in 2014. The management team that traded for Reed is gone, as is the manager who kept him during the season. Reed gets his share of strikeouts, but he's a fly-ball pitcher in a homer-heavy environment. The one thing in his favor is there isn't a readily identifiable replacement on the Diamondbacks, which at least gives him the first shot at the job.
34. Santiago Casilla, SF RPYEARGGSIPBBKWSVHDERAWHIPK/9
2014 Statistics54058.11545319101.700.866.94
2015 Projections59055.0194132802.291.156.71
2015 Outlook: Although Casilla throws hard, averaging around 94 mph with his fastball throughout his career, he's never been much of a strikeout pitcher. Thus, he doesn't profile like a typical closer, nor does he have an extended track record of closing to help him hold the job if he hits a rough patch. Fortunately for Casilla, he didn't have that rough patch in 2014, and he thus managed to hold onto the ninth-inning role after Sergio Romo faltered. However, the Giants did re-sign Romo, and manager Bruce Bochy has demonstrated a willingness to use a closer committee in the past, so Casilla's hold on the job has to be considered somewhat tenuous, though he's a good bet to post decent ratios regardless.
35. Joe Nathan*, Det RPYEARGGSIPBBKWSVHDERAWHIPK/9
2014 Statistics62058.0295453504.811.538.38
2015 Projections65063.0256234003.431.328.86
2015 Outlook: Even accounting for the fact that Nathan wasn't as good as his 1.39 ERA in 2013 (2.26 FIP), it was still very difficult to see the level of last year's implosion coming. He did manage a 3.18 ERA in the final three months, but just a 19.5 percent strikeout rate and 24-to-16 K-to-BB ratio in 28.3 innings over that time. The quality work in Texas obviously wasn't predictive for him, but that can happen in your late 30s. It can go quickly and without warning, so there are no guarantees that he rebounds from this. If you're looking for a silver lining, you're likely to come up disappointed. The copper lining is that he's likely to start 2015 with the closer's role, and through it all he still logged 35 saves a season ago. His leash will be much shorter with Joakim Soria on board from the start this year.
36. Wade Davis, KC RPYEARGGSIPBBKWSVHDERAWHIPK/9
2014 Statistics71072.02310993331.000.8513.63
2015 Projections75075.0269853302.401.0911.76
2015 Outlook: Davis posted one of the most valuable non-closing seasons from a reliever ever in 2014, notching 109 strikeouts and nine wins to go along with an outrageous 1.00 ERA and 0.85 WHIP. It's a common misconception that relief pitchers can't materially affect your ratios; they certainly can when they get to pitch in 71 games like Davis did. Last year, there were a lot of good setup men available on the waiver wire who ultimately outperformed the marginal starters who were instead drafted for the back ends of fantasy rosters. It might have been an outlier season in that respect, but that's an inefficiency that can be exploited in drafts with this class of reliever. Davis is unlikely to ever start again, given his two excellent seasons in relief compared to his mediocre record as a starter in the majors.
37. LaTroy Hawkins*, Col RPYEARGGSIPBBKWSVHDERAWHIPK/9
2014 Statistics57054.1133242313.311.205.30
2015 Projections64060.0143632903.601.375.40
2015 Outlook: Hawkins wasn't expected to hold the Rockies' closer role for long last season with Rex Brothers fresh off a 19-save season the year prior. In many cases, Brothers was taken before Hawkins in drafts, but the younger pitcher struggled in 2014, leaving the 42-year-old to handle the bulk of the save opportunities for Colorado. Hawkins lacked the strikeout repertoire (5.30 K/9) that most teams crave for the ninth inning, but he finished the season with 23 saves and a respectable 3.31 ERA and 1.20 WHIP in 54 1/3 innings. With plans to retire following the 2015 season, Hawkins is once again expected to break camp as the Rockies' closer, but he could eventually relinquish the role if Brothers or another young reliever steps up in Colorado.
38. Sergio Romo, SF RPYEARGGSIPBBKWSVHDERAWHIPK/9
2014 Statistics64058.01259623113.720.959.16
2015 Projections68060.01260313152.851.009.00
2015 Outlook: Romo spent much of the 2014 spring training getting knocked around as he experimented with his changeup, an experiment that carried over to the regular season. He doubled the number of times he threw that pitch, hoping to lessen the reliance on his slider. It's not that the slider was a bad pitch for him; rather, he and the Giants were wary of the strain it puts on his arm. Things went well enough with that plan at first, but then Romo blew five saves by the end of June and lost the job to Santiago Casilla. Romo pitched better after losing the closer's job; he posted a 1.80 ERA and allowed just a .464 OPS over the second half, and he re-signed with the Giants in the offseason on a two-year deal. Casilla remains the incumbent closer, but it wouldn't be a surprise to see Romo reclaim the job at some point.
39. Carlos Martinez, StL SP, RPYEARGGSIPBBKWSVHDERAWHIPK/9
2014 Statistics57789.1368421174.031.418.46
2015 Projections2727155.0621427063.601.348.25
2015 Outlook: Martinez has been on the typical Cardinals pitching prospect track, as he started in the bullpen to ease his transition into the majors. Unlike Trevor Rosenthal, however, it seemed Martinez was always headed back to the rotation, and the Cards' offseason moves have opened up a spot for him. The 23-year-old flamethrower was given seven starts in 2014 but spent the majority of his time in the pen (57 of his 89.3 innings). The results weren't eye-popping in either situation, but there's still a lot to love here. His 12.9 percent swinging-strike rate was tied with Dellin Betances and Chris Sale for fifth in baseball among those with 80-plus innings. He induced a lot of weak contact too, with groundball (51.2 percent) and infield fly-ball rates (13.2 percent) that were both well above average. The upside is intoxicating, but it's tempered by his erratic work to date (8.8 percent walk rate) and the fact that he's yet to exceed 104 innings in any of his five pro seasons.
40. Joakim Soria, Det RPYEARGGSIPBBKWSVHDERAWHIPK/9
2014 Statistics48044.164821813.250.999.74
2015 Projections59055.014673603.441.0410.96
2015 Outlook: The Tigers might be done getting relievers from Texas. Maybe you saw Joe Nathan imploding at age 39, so that didn't surprise you, but there's no way anyone could have seen Soria's caving in upon arrival in the Motor City. He was excellent with the Rangers and posted a 2.70 ERA, 1.06 WHIP and 10.5 K-to-BB rate in 33 1/3 innings before the trade. Yes, that's 10.5 strikeouts for every walk. But an oblique injury suffered shortly after he joined his new club limited him to just 11 unappealing innings, during which he posted a 4.91 ERA and 1.36 WHIP with a 3.0 K-to-BB rate. Of course, 11 innings thrown around an oblique injury are not a reasonable measure by which to assess Soria going forward. The Texas version is more likely to return after an offseason of rest, and he'll be on standby in the eighth inning if Nathan can't fix the issues that plagued him in 2014. Soria is a strong speculation pick for saves and almost a must-handcuff if you take the plunge with Nathan.
41. Jason Grilli, Atl RPYEARGGSIPBBKWSVHDERAWHIPK/9
2014 Statistics62054.02157112124.001.339.50
2015 Projections61055.0217422903.761.2512.11
2015 Outlook: Grilli's 2014 season was a major disappointment after three years of excellent relief work with the Pirates, which culminated in his dream season in 2013. The Pirates eventually tired of waiting for Grilli to put it back together and swapped him to the Angels for another frustrating closer, Ernesto Frieri. Grilli threw his four-seamer at a much lower rate in 2014, substituting it with sliders and changeups and masking a continued drop in velocity. Now signed with the Braves, the 38-year-old will compete for the setup position and could return to form, as long as the Braves' pitching coaches are able to work their usual magic. There's no way he takes the closer position unless something bad happens to Craig Kimbrel or there is a trade, but he's still a definite bounce-back candidate.
42. Jeurys Familia, NYM RPYEARGGSIPBBKWSVHDERAWHIPK/9
2014 Statistics76077.1327325232.211.188.50
2015 Projections75075.0357150213.001.338.52
2015 Outlook: Even though he currently doesn't have a closing job, Familia could provide sneaky value in 2015. He already dominates right-handers, who hit just .134 with no homers in 169 plate appearances against him last year. If he can add a pitch that better neutralizes lefties, Familia could become an 80- to 90-strikeout pitcher. He throws hard (a 96.4 mph average fastball last season) induces groundballs and has a great, wipeout slider that destroys right-handed hitters. Like teammate Jenrry Mejia, Familia underwent surgery to repair a sports hernia in October. Both pitchers are expected to be ready for spring training. The one other factor in the closer battle is Bobby Parnell, but he's coming back from Tommy John surgery and wasn't the most stable of closers even before the injury.
43. Kelvin Herrera, KC RPYEARGGSIPBBKWSVHDERAWHIPK/9
2014 Statistics70070.0265940201.411.147.59
2015 Projections70070.0256741202.571.208.61
2015 Outlook: Because Greg Holland and Wade Davis were so fantastic, it's easy to overlook the job Herrera did in 2014, which included his not allowing a single homer all season en route to a 1.41 ERA. This despite his strikeout rate falling off a cliff, from 11.42 K/9 to 7.59. That drop might be attributable to Herrera's using his fastball more than ever (74.5 percent of the time); instead of trying to fool hitters with secondary offerings, he pounded opposing hitters with the fastball, and they had trouble making good contact. Since Holland and Davis aren't going anywhere, Herrera will remain mostly in a seventh-inning role in 2015.
44. Kevin Quackenbush, SD RPYEARGGSIPBBKWSVHDERAWHIPK/9
2014 Statistics56054.1185636102.481.109.28
2015 Projections29030.011331062.401.209.90
2015 Outlook: The San Diego reliever factory might have its latest gem in the form of Quackenbush. He put up some truly exquisite minor league numbers, including a 1.16 ERA and 237 strikeouts in 179 innings over four seasons, and the early returns in the majors look great. Quackenbush doesn't have an overpowering fastball, but it didn't stop him from succeeding -- especially at home. He had a 0.88 ERA in 30.7 innings at Petco Park, compared to a 4.56 on the road. Those numbers will probably balance out to some degree this year, but Petco still plays to the pitchers. Quackenbush got a look in the ninth inning during the second half and acquitted himself well with six saves, but Joaquin Benoit was excellent in 2014 and remains in place as the likely closer. However, Quackenbush has deeper-league value even without a ninth-inning role and could emerge as an all-formats play if the 37-year-old Benoit is injured or ineffective.
45. Kevin Gausman, Bal SP, RPYEARGGSIPBBKWSVHDERAWHIPK/9
2014 Statistics2020113.138887003.571.316.99
2015 Projections5313114.0351047003.631.268.21
2015 Outlook: There are good and bad aspects to Gausman's game. The best part of his game is his fastball: big, heavy and tough to elevate. Gausman threw the pitch 70 percent of the time last season while allowing fewer hits than innings pitched and striking out just under 20 percent of the batters he faced. The reason his strikeout rate wasn't higher is the bad part of his game -- his other pitches are not up to par with his fastball right now. He flashes a very good split-change, but mainly throws it as a chase pitch when he's ahead in the count. Gausman's profile is much like that of the 2014 version of Danny Salazar, who was overdrafted last season and struggled before going to the minors. Learn from that in order to temper expectations for this electric arm.