Complete 2015 Projections

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PROJECTED 2015 SEASON STATS
46. 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.
47. 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.
48. 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.
49. Anthony Rendon*, Wsh 2B, 3BYEARABRHRRBIBBKSBAVGOBPSLGOPS
2014 Statistics61311121835810417.287.351.473.824
2015 Projections539891969549312.288.355.481.836
2015 Outlook: Even the savvy owners who targeted Rendon as a source of late-round value in 2014 had to be surprised by the return on their investment last season, as he became a five-category monster in his breakout campaign. The most unexpected part of his coming-out party may have been his work on the basepaths, as Rendon finished 17-for-20 on stolen-base attempts after swiping just eight on 10 attempts in his previous two seasons as a professional across all levels. After opening the season as the Nationals' primary second baseman, Rendon shifted over to third base when Ryan Zimmerman hit the disabled list, and he'll remain at the hot corner in 2015 as Zimmerman transitions to first base following the departure of Adam LaRoche. In addition to carrying similar lines against lefties and righties, Rendon showed no signs of slowing down over the course of the second half. He'll reprise his role as the Nationals' No. 2 hitter this season in what figures to be an excellent lineup.
50. Adrian Gonzalez, LAD 1BYEARABRHRRBIBBKSBAVGOBPSLGOPS
2014 Statistics5918327116561121.276.335.482.817
2015 Projections5917722102491071.286.337.462.799
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.
51. 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.
52. 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.
53. Aroldis Chapman, Cin RPYEARGGSIPBBKWSVHDERAWHIPK/9
2014 Statistics54054.02410603602.000.8317.67
2015 Projections70070.02713044202.060.8916.71
2015 Outlook: It would have been understandable had Chapman dialed back his fastball after being drilled in the head by a comebacker during spring training, a gruesome incident that resulted in multiple facial fractures, but the left-hander hit triple digits in his very first rehab outing. That fearlessness carried over to the majors following his May activation from the DL, as Chapman blew by hitters with an otherworldly average fastball velocity of 100.3 mph. Major league hitters could hardly touch him. Chapman finished the season with a 52.5 percent strikeout rate -- an all-time record -- as well as a minuscule 0.89 FIP and 36 saves in 38 chances. He gave up just one home run in 54 innings and held opponents to a .107 average after the All-Star break. While the Reds project to be one of the worst teams in the NL Central this season, the team context is largely moot with regard to Chapman's value, as he's simply one of the most dominant relief pitchers the game has ever seen.
54. 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.
55. Craig Kimbrel, SD RPYEARGGSIPBBKWSVHDERAWHIPK/9
2014 Statistics63061.2269504701.610.9113.86
2015 Projections71070.02510744402.060.9413.76
2015 Outlook: There are little indicators here and there that Kimbrel might be taking a small step back from his position as the best closer in baseball, but once you realize how great the starting point was to begin with, those factors diminish in importance. Most max-effort relievers tend to have a velocity decline, but that hasn't happened yet for him --d in fact, his average fastball was a tick higher than in 2013, resulting in a 38.9 percent strikeout rate. Kimbrel's biggest weakness is his walk rate, which jumped from 7.8 percent to 10.7 percent in 2014, a level he hadn't reached since 2011. Perhaps the biggest worry is one that Kimbrel can't control -- the quality of his team. The Braves were sellers over the offseason, getting rid of Justin Upton, Jason Heyward, and Kimbrel's top two setup men in Jordan Walden and David Carpenter. As a result, Kimbrel might see fewer save chances than he has in the past. But with three years left on his contract, he's unlikely to be shipped out as part of Atlanta's rebuild.
56. Prince Fielder, Tex 1B, DHYEARABRHRRBIBBKSBAVGOBPSLGOPS
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.
57. Billy Hamilton, Cin OFYEARABRHRRBIBBKSBAVGOBPSLGOPS
2014 Statistics563726483411756.250.292.355.648
2015 Projections590816473912762.256.302.349.651
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.
58. Nelson Cruz, Sea OF, DHYEARABRHRRBIBBKSBAVGOBPSLGOPS
2014 Statistics6138740108551404.271.333.525.859
2015 Projections591742787451535.262.317.465.783
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.
59. Jeff Samardzija, CWS SPYEARGGSIPBBKWSVHDERAWHIPK/9
2014 Statistics3333219.2432027002.991.078.28
2015 Projections3333215.05920614003.521.178.62
2015 Outlook: When Samardzija first reached the major leagues, his control was a major problem, but over the last two years, it's improved to the point where it's actually become an asset. He once walked 13.2 percent of the batters he faced, but in 2014, that rate slipped down all the way to 4.9 percent. Despite the big improvement in his ratios, Samardzija had a hard time notching wins, thanks to bullpen collapses and poor run support -- he got just 3.55 runs of support in a league where 4.07 was the average. Those factors should change with Samardzija's offseason trade to the White Sox, whose hitting has been boosted by the additions of Adam LaRoche and Melky Cabrera, while they've added David Robertson and Zach Duke to the back end of their bullpen. The change in ballparks and a little change in the normal ebb and flow of luck on batted balls might hurt Samardzija's ERA and WHIP, but he'll probably do better in the win column as a tradeoff.
60. 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.