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March 7, 2014

Fantasy Freestyle

Projecting the Top 15

by Paul Sporer and BP Fantasy Staff

We know from Ron Shandler's Baseball Forecaster that since 2004, there is a 36 percent success rate in the ADP projecting the top 15. The most in any one year is seven of 15; the least is four. With that in mind, I challenged the fantasy team to try to guess the top 15. In addition to their stab at the top 15, I had them give their answers on the following:

  • Player you just couldn't bring yourself to list but think has a real shot at top 15 (RS)
  • Player in the NFBC ADP top five right now mostly likely to miss the top 15 altogether (M5)
  • Prospect you think could reasonably make it (PR)
  • Crustiest vet (say 34 or older and not in top four rounds of NFBC ADP) you think could reasonably make it (CV)
  • Someone after the fifth round (pick 76 and on since NFBC is 15 teams) you think could reasonably make it (76)
  • Someone after the 10th round (pick 151 and on) you think could reasonably make it (151)
  • Someone who could go Josh Donaldson (pick 300 [he was 393 last year] or later who jumps into top 75) (300)

Here’s what we came up with (along with commentary when provided by the analysts)!


  1. Trout
  2. Harper
  3. Cabrera
  4. Gomez
  5. Goldschmidt
  6. Kershaw
  7. McCutchen
  8. Encarnacion
  9. Darvish
  10. Ramirez
  11. Votto
  12. Cespedes
  13. Rios
  14. Verlander
  15. Desmond

There is nothing too crazy in my top 15, although I was just one of two people to list more than two starting pitchers (Doug’s four were the most). Cespedes could be this year’s Chris Davis (whom I left off of my top 15 entirely thanks to a concern about his batting average given his 30 percent strikeout rate). Gomez was only listed in three of the eight top 15s despite a top 10 finish last year—I’m a believer. He was great last year and could be even better in 2014 with a potential 30 HR/50 SB season.

RS-Leonys Martin – The power would have to come quickly, but he put up a $23 season with a sub-.700 OPS last year; even modest improvements could yield a massive season, but I chickened out in favor of Desmond.

M5-Andrew McCutchen – This would come to pass via a batting average dip and a DL stint caused by his all-out efforts in center. I honestly really like the top five so it was hard to come up with someone I truly believed would fall out.

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21 comments have been left for this article. (Click to hide comments)

BP Comment Quick Links


Last year Ortiz and Freeman finished ranked 16 and 17 in our 5x5 .OBP Roto league. Not a stretch to see them jumping up a spot or two.

On the pitching side I wonder why no one put Cliff Lee or Scherzer on their lists.

Mar 07, 2014 06:56 AM
rating: 0
BP staff member Paul Sporer
BP staff

Ortiz is being drafted 81st, though, and the main conceit was draft spot vs. finish. OBP is different than AVG, obviously (though Ortiz was 19th in ESPN's Player Rater). The point is that they're essentially predicting a repeat from 38 year old. The "crusty vet" category didn't have to be a stretch. There weren't a TON of options. Konerko would be a "stretch", but not particularly plausible.

Mar 07, 2014 07:01 AM

I could see Prince Fielder finishing in top 15. If he's past the off the field issues, maybe all he needs is a fresh start in a new place to get back to the 30+ HR level. Even though he's only a 4 category guy, the fact that he's a strong bet to play in 155-160 games makes up for that and should help his counting stats.

Mar 07, 2014 08:51 AM
rating: 3
BP staff member Paul Sporer
BP staff

I definitely agree with that one. I'm quite bullish on the Rangers lineup so I could definitely see this.

Mar 07, 2014 08:51 AM

I think Paul Sporer meant Gonzalez, not Gomez.

Mar 07, 2014 10:53 AM
rating: 0
BP staff member Paul Sporer
BP staff

He wrote the piece, he did not. :)

Mar 07, 2014 10:57 AM

I want to keep loving Hosmer, but I'm feeling compelled by the argument that his hitting approach simply won't produce the power that was projected for him. (As with Joe Mauer, the effects wouldn't hurt his real-life value so much as his fantasy value.) Messrs. Karaman and Kantecki: Any specific reasons you think that you can't spell "Hosmer" without "homer"?

Mar 07, 2014 11:08 AM
rating: 0
BP staff member Wilson Karaman
BP staff

He's always had plus raw power, but last year once the calendar flipped to June he started pulling fastballs in and driving them to center with authority rather than just hitting the ball the other way. Check out his spray chart splits from last season (courtesy ESPN, link below). I think that with the maturity in approach he's shown he's got as good a shot as any young slugger to convert his raw power into sustainable game power, and what we saw over the last four months of 2013 was a preview of coming attractions. His biggest issues right now are hitting too many balls on the ground and posting a pedestrian HR/FB rate on the ones he does lift. I think there's plenty of room for improvement in both areas given his demonstrated hitting skills to date. He may very well be "only" a 25 homer guy at his peak instead of a 35 homer guy, but when you consider he's got the goods to deliver .300+ AVG's, double-digit steals, and 200+ R+RBI, the whole package adds up to top-15 potential.


Mar 07, 2014 11:27 AM

I think Desmond Jennings is a candidate for "76." This may be the year he has meaningful impact in 4-5 categories.

Mar 07, 2014 11:23 AM
rating: 1

It's funny how being in a fantasy league with OBP instead of AVG, and without steals, makes these lists next to useless.

In a keeper league (R/RBI/OBP/SLG) I had Carlos Gomez at $8 and didn't keep him because of his low OBP and relatively low R/RBI totals.

Similarly, I let Jean Segura go (5$) because steals don't matter to me (and I believe that a great April-May doesn't cancel out a .646 OPS the rest of the way, especially after a minor-league career that was closer to his June-September than his April-May).

Mar 07, 2014 11:54 AM
rating: 0

Kipnis was a beast last year for a few weeks, then tailed off so much after June that he wound up on the waiver wire with no takers.

He started the year with an elbow injury, got scorching hot, then evaporated. Was there an injury? What can be said of his true talent level?

The erratic production scares me away from an early round selection, even with the dearth of standout keystoners

Mar 07, 2014 12:31 PM
rating: 0

Rios in the top 15 seems like a bit of a stretch - why do you think he's there ahead of guys like Upton, Puig, CarGo, or Jones?

Mar 07, 2014 15:27 PM
rating: 0
BP staff member Paul Sporer
BP staff

Interesting. I was actually quite surprised to see him get just one entry among the eight lists. He has back to back $30 seasons and finished 11th on ESPN's player rather a season ago. The Texas lineup is even better now, too. I think 13 might've sold him short tbh.

Mar 07, 2014 15:50 PM

Cutch was mentioned in all 8

Mar 07, 2014 16:32 PM
rating: 2

King Felix looks cut up fit this spring and should get a bump in Wins with improved Seattle.

Aroldis Chapman is still on the upswing and could dial up 110 Ks (13 per 9 last yr) to go with 5 to 7 wins and 40 saves.

Jose Bombtista

Plus 35 shot: Carlos Beltran in Yankee Stadium

Mar 07, 2014 21:37 PM
rating: 1
BP staff member Paul Sporer
BP staff

I have a tough time including a closer, but Kimbrel was 14th on the Player Rater last year.

Bautista and Beltran were actually considerations for my top 15. Bautista isn't really surprising because with health, he's got a great shot, but yeah I really like the potential of Beltran. Of course, health is still always the key.

Good set of names.

Mar 07, 2014 21:53 PM

Mauer probably won't, but there is an outside shot moving to first and playing 155 games could push him to the top 15.

Also surprised nobody thinks Josh Donaldson is capable of pulling another Josh Donaldson on us.

Mar 08, 2014 00:42 AM
rating: 1

Hunter Pence's performance was very good, and PFM rated him in the top 15. I was surprised he wasn't at least mentioned.

Mar 08, 2014 09:12 AM
rating: 0
BP staff member Paul Sporer
BP staff

My guess - and I can't speak for the 7 others who participated - is that there is a lack of belief in the the speed and without it, he isn't repeating a top 15 finish, IMO.

Mar 08, 2014 09:14 AM

I think Wil Myers has a good shot, he's got the avg and a couple steals, and if the power shows up big this year I could see him making a run at the top 15. It comes with risk but the upside is there IMO. I like Gerritt Cole as well. Also, for 300, Javier Baez or Kris Bryant (depending on who gets called up first) could make a run at top 15

Mar 08, 2014 19:26 PM
rating: 1

I've got Puig in my Top 10. Nobody else believes?

Mar 09, 2014 10:39 AM
rating: 0
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<< Previous Article
Fantasy Article Fantasy Players to Avo... (03/07)
<< Previous Column
Fantasy Freestyle: Pro... (03/06)
Next Column >>
Fantasy Article Fantasy Freestyle: Adj... (03/10)
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