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 | 2B/SS | 1B/3B | OF | SP | RP
2014 Statistics5537414614910810.241.307.387.694
2015 Projections5357213614710910.254.320.404.724
2015 Outlook: As the theory goes, players are supposed to have a big year in their final year before free agency. Even if the theory is mostly junk science (it is), Cabrera missed the memo, as his 2014 was painfully disappointing. He did not finish in the top 15 among shortstops despite a double-double season because his batting average suffered for a second consecutive season. In fact, his batting average has declined in each of the past six seasons, right along with his batting average on balls in play. It wasn't too long ago Cabrera toyed with a 20/20 campaign, but that one season was fueled by an abnormal HR/FB rate. Another double-double turnout is entirely possible for Cabrera, who settled for a one-year, $7.5 million deal with Tampa Bay, but so is yet another below-average batting line, unless he makes some changes at the plate.
2014 Statistics40570740199820.319.353.472.824
2015 Projections587776422613322.269.304.388.693
2015 Outlook: Santana is an interesting player to value for 2015, as he was an unheralded prospect who took advantage of playing opportunities to hit .319 with 41 extra-base hits and 20 stolen bases last year. He came up through the system as a shortstop, but his high error rate (36 errors in 2013) and an acute need for help in the outfield in 2014 prompted the Twins to move him to center field. However, he will be moved back to shortstop this spring to compete with Eduardo Escobar for the starting job. This makes a lot of sense, as Byron Buxton is the center fielder of the future, and the Twins lack strong internal options at shortstop. The move only adds to the fantasy intrigue, as Santana could regress mightily as a hitter, but remain useful based on the scarcity at the position. Speaking of regression, it is probably coming for Santana, as he hit a whopping .405 on balls in play and walked just 4.4 percent of the time. But even with that projected drawback in batting average, Santana should still provide stolen bases, runs and some power growth.
2014 Statistics27831102917938.205.254.367.621
2015 Projections3965011412911315.242.295.404.699
2015 Outlook: Alcantara got ahead of some of his more highly touted prospect mates in the Cubs organization in 2014, getting the call to fill the void first at second base and later in center field. Unfortunately, he wasn't able to carry over his production from the minors in his first exposure to major league pitching. Strikeouts were the big culprit for Alcantara, as he whiffed a whopping 31 percent of the time. The bigger problem is that more help is on the way for the Cubs -- between Albert Almora, Javier Baez and Addison Russell, at least one or two guys are bound to be displaced, and Alcantara is likely to be one of them. Even if the Cubs send down Baez to cut down on his prodigious whiff rate, they still have Tommy La Stella available as a superior OBP option. It's silly to dismiss a player after a 70-game sample, but Alcantara will have to dramatically improve on last season's .205 batting average to reestablish a foothold in the Cubs' lineup.
2014 Statistics5404474632604.244.286.331.617
2015 Projections62165115640667.256.301.367.668
2015 Outlook: If only defense were a category in standard scoring leagues. While Simmons is spectacular in the field, his offensive game has a ways to go. His 2014 season was so terrible that he finished below the likes of Derek Jeter and Josh Rutledge in the rankings. Simmons made a ton of contact in 2014 but did nothing with it. In 2013, he had the same struggles, but he at least hit 17 home runs and scored 76 runs to bring in some value. Last season, his BABIP was once again well below the league average, and his HR/FB rate took a step back rather than the expected step forward. He stole 54 bases in his minor league career but has just 11 in the majors, thanks in part to a career .297 OBP. Simmons has an equal chance of being a three-category player as he does of being a zero-category one.
2014 Statistics3863994817714.259.297.402.698
2015 Projections5516315652510212.263.299.401.700
2015 Outlook: Odor might have gone unnoticed by many last season, as he was stuck on the hapless Rangers. Any time a 20-year-old can put in 417 plate appearances of near-league-average work, it's worth noting. He nearly managed double digits in homers and steals despite not quite logging a full season. A boost in batting average is his best route to taking that OBP north of .300, as his plate discipline issues at the MLB level (a meager 4.1 percent walk rate) were foretold by his minor league work (5.6 percent), but at his age, there's is plenty of room for growth in that area. Youth doesn't always develop linearly, meaning he won't automatically build on his rookie season in 2015. This is a high-volatility pick with plenty of intrigue, but tons of downside. Re-drafters, tap the brakes; dynasty leaguers, be ecstatic.
2014 Statistics4405595422676.289.320.434.754
2015 Projections531671050268610.284.318.411.728
2015 Outlook: Gennett was his perfect-world projection in 2014: a high-contact righty killer with a sprinkle of pop and speed. He isn't given very many opportunities against lefties, and with good reason -- he never really hit southpaws in the minors and has been a downright embarrassment against them in the majors (.291 OPS, albeit in a tiny 83-plate-appearance sample). He's an All-Star against righties, though, with a .323/.355/.490 with 15 homers and 75 RBI in 621 plate appearances. The best deployment of Gennett in fantasy follows the pattern of the opposing starters. In a weekly league, you should consider sitting him in any weeks when the Brewers are facing three or four lefties, while daily-transaction leagues can run a straight platoon and simply remove him against lefties.
2014 Statistics52956952291040.268.309.372.682
2015 Projections55361165631941.257.298.392.691
2015 Outlook: Normally, when a batter's strikeout rate spikes like Hardy's did last year, it's because he's sacrificing contact for power. That did not happen for Hardy, as he hit just nine home runs all season, and his first one didn't come until June 21. It was his lowest homer total since 2010, when he was hampered by a wrist injury for most of the season. Hardy did struggle with a sore back at times last year, but that doesn't seem to be the primary factor in his disappearing power. The one solace is that Hardy's batting average was saved by a career-best .317 BABIP, so he didn't hurt fantasy owners by hitting .268, but he didn't help either. A fully healthy back and some HR-to-fly-ball rate normalization following last year's career-low 5.6 percent could bring him back to 15 or 20 homers, but he'll still only be a two-category player, as he doesn't steal many bases or score many runs.
2014 Statistics50152106028924.244.287.367.654
2015 Projections48860135934825.270.321.424.746
2015 Outlook: Hill remains a maddening fantasy commodity, continuing a career-long trend that has seen his value shift wildly on a near-annual basis. Now 33 years old, injuries have cut into four of his past five seasons, including 29 games out of the lineup last year, and his production has been incredibly inconsistent. His OPS has leapt indiscriminately from the middle .600s to well into the .800s throughout his career, with seasons of stardom transitioning not so smoothly into seasons of struggle. His career average is a .752 OPS, which would be a significant improvement on his 2014 (.654), and it should probably be seen as his upside at this point, but Hill is an anomaly: It's seemingly all or nothing with him from season to season.
2014 Statistics5025965051790.249.321.355.676
2015 Projections48362115347791.271.338.408.746
2015 Outlook: After belting a career-high 16 home runs in 96 games with Houston back in 2012, Lowrie struggled to find his power stroke in Oakland over the past two seasons. Last year with the A's, the 30-year-old shortstop hit .249/.321/.355 with only six homers and 50 RBI in 502 at-bats. Back with the Astros after signing a three-year deal in December, Lowrie's power should improve away from Coliseum, but health is a concern, and his new offense isn't as talented as his surrounding cast was in Oakland. He's worth a last-round flier if you're thin in the middle infield.
2014 Statistics25927123816490.247.301.421.722
2015 Projections47553145432818.259.315.398.713
2015 Outlook: Injuries once again limited Lawrie's contributions in 2014, as he played in just 70 games for the Blue Jays while back, hamstring and hand ailments put him on the disabled list at various points. When he was on the field, Lawrie put together a .247/.301/.421 line with 12 homers and 38 RBI -- putting him on pace for career bests in both categories. He also took advantage of the hitter-friendly confines of Rogers Centre, hitting .285/.321/.496 in Toronto compared to .213/.285/.353 on the road. The A's acquired Lawrie as part of a blockbuster deal with the Jays in late November, putting him in position to replace Josh Donaldson as their starting third baseman. The aforementioned home-road splits have been consistent throughout his time in the big leagues (career .815 home OPS vs. a .683 road OPS), so there may be reason to lower the ceiling for Lawrie with the move to Oakland. However, at age 25, Lawrie may not be a finished product, and it's reasonable to think that he may be able to provide double-digit homers and steals if he can avoid losing significant time to the disabled list.
2014 Statistics4624485123742.266.306.372.678
2015 Projections52562136828835.265.307.392.699
2015 Outlook: After four straight seasons of exactly 18 home runs, Phillips saw his HR/FB rate crater to 6.1 percent, and with it came his homer total. Even if you extrapolated his playing time to the 650 PA he has averaged the past eight seasons, he still would have had only 10 home runs. The volume of playing time drove Phillips' value for the two years prior to 2014, but a finger injury limited him to just 121 games. At 34 years old, the likelihood of a return to the 650-plus PA days no doubt shrinks substantially. Second basemen as a whole don't age all that well, so the waning skills plus the potential for more nicks and bruises cloud his outlook. Despite years of trade speculation, Phillips remains in Cincinnati and in a ballpark that can help him stave off some of the aging effects. Don't overpay for the name value.
2014 Statistics3103462616678.261.300.406.706
2015 Projections517678482110815.257.290.371.661
2015 Outlook: Owings had double-double seasons each year in the minors from 2011 through 2013 but has yet to do so in the major leagues. The past season, he showed some of that potential, with 27 extra-base hits and eight steals in part-time play, which put him in the lead for Arizona's starting shortstop role in 2015, now that Didi Gregorius has been traded to the Yankees. Owings showed big-time potential in Triple-A as a 21-year-old in 2013, as he hit .330 with 12 homers and 20 steals, but until he gets a handle on his plate discipline -- he walked just 16 times in 332 plate appearances last year -- he won't be a contributor in batting average, though double digits in homers and steals appear likely.
2014 Statistics2703562722523.226.290.363.653
2015 Projections4646484240784.254.321.369.690
2015 Outlook: In his first season in pinstripes, Gregorius should be able to yank a few balls into the short porch at Yankee Stadium and perhaps Oriole Park at Camden Yards, as all of his power is pull power. That said, his greater fantasy value will be to the Yankees' pitchers. Gregorius and Brendan Ryan will form a platoon that is much sharper defensively than what the Yanks got out of Derek Jeter the past several years. The two of them should be able to change many hits from the past into outs, but Gregorius will remain a poor hitter whose fantasy value will depend upon how many balls he can yank into the right-field bleachers. He's a bottom-of-the-order hitter who doesn't have noteworthy speed or any standout skills with the bat.
2014 Statistics5285066633689.252.295.337.632
2015 Projections5335695828639.266.301.377.678
2015 Outlook: Infante looked like a low-risk, low-upside pick for 2014 after four solid-if-unspectacular seasons. You were buying the solid batting average and hoping for double-digit power. He should've looked like a superstar to Royals fans who have been saddled with the worst second-base play in baseball over the past five seasons, but instead he came down to the level of his predecessors and posted his worst OBP since his rookie season in 2005. Infante's .275 BABIP was similarly a nine-year low and tanked his batting average by 66 points to .252 -- 22 points lower than any of the four prior seasons. He should bounce back a bit, but something in between his 2011 and 2012 output -- that is, an OPS in the low .700s -- is a more reasonable expectation.
2014 Statistics3094443320832.269.323.405.728
2015 Projections45158740261099.251.301.366.667
2015 Outlook: Many players are affected by offseason trades, but none more so than Rutledge projects to be in 2015. For the past few seasons, Rutledge has hit an empty .287 while playing in Coors Field and a very empty .230 in all other parks. The Rockies traded him to the Angels, who play in a mostly neutral park that will not afford Rutledge an expansive outfield that turns what would normally be fly-ball outs into hits. There's very little chance Rutledge has any fantasy value with the Angels, and he's likely to find it hard to play as much as he did in Colorado. Perhaps he could net some steals in part-time play, but that's about the extent of his value.