Pre-Draft Player Rankings

16 Anthony Rendon (Was - 3B, 2B)
DL15
ADP: 22.1
CHG: 0.0
Depth: --
G AB R HR RBI SB AVG
2014 Season 153 613 111 21 83 17 .287
2015 Projections 132 510 78 14 57 8 .276
3 Year Average 126 482 76 14 59 9 .278
Outlook: Rendon's first full season in the majors was a resounding success. Not only did he begin to shake off the "injury-prone" label that had dogged him since college by playing in 153 games, he cranked out 21 home runs, swiped 17 bases on 20 attempts and slashed .287/.351/.473 while playing above-average defense at both second and third base and collecting a Silver Slugger Award at the latter position. Now established as one of the more exciting young players in baseball and a franchise cornerstone for the Nationals, the 24-year-old will likely settle in as the club's long-term solution at third base, with Ryan Zimmerman's ongoing shoulder issues forcing a move across the diamond. It's always possible, however, that the Nats could eventually acquire a third baseman and shift him back to the keystone. As ridiculous as it may seem, given Rendon's hit tool, plate discipline and developing power from the right side, Edgar Martinez comparisons aren't entirely out of line. The kid is legit.
20 Adrian Beltre (Tex - 3B, DH)
Healthy
ADP: 22.8
CHG: 0.0
Depth: 3B-1
G AB R HR RBI SB AVG
2014 Season 148 549 79 19 77 1 .324
2015 Projections 148 578 84 27 78 0 .310
3 Year Average 155 595 87 28 90 1 .319
Outlook: The future Hall of Famer (yeah, we said it) finally started to show a bit of decline in 2014. While he hit over .295 for a fourth consecutive season, his power numbers fell off as he failed to hit at least 25 home runs for the first time in five seasons. The drop in home runs led to a drop in runs batted in for a fourth consecutive year, and marked the first time since 2009 that the third baseman failed to drive in at least 90 runs. The time missed early in the season with a quad strain was partly to blame, but he’s also 35 and father time always wins out in the end. In Texas, he’s still going to be a strong three category player at third base, but the days of 30 homers and 100 runs driven in are likely behind him. He has been an elite fantasy third baseman for many years, but he is now downshifting into the next tier.
29 Josh Donaldson (Tor - 3B)
Healthy
ADP: 32.8
CHG: 0.0
Depth: 3B-1
G AB R HR RBI SB AVG
2014 Season 158 608 93 29 98 8 .255
2015 Projections 135 506 80 25 78 6 .294
3 Year Average 130 487 72 21 75 6 .271
Outlook: There was much discussion last offseason as to whether Donaldson's 2013 season was a fluke, but after a second straight year of finishing in the top-10 of the AL MVP vote, it is pretty clear that Donaldson is here to stay. Donaldson improved on his power stats with 29 homers and 98 RBI, but the one black eye on his season was his large drop in batting average. After a sparkling .301 in 2013, Donaldson managed to only hit .255 in 2014. This drop can be attributed to a horrific slump from early June until the All-Star break where Donaldson hit .158 over a 133 at-bat stretch that was spurred by a ridiculously low .165 BABIP. His overall BABIP fell from .333 in 2013 to .278 in 2014. Traded to the Blue Jays in late November, Donaldson will move into a more hitter-friendly environment and an excellent lineup, which could further bolster his counting stats – particularly in the power categories – in 2015.
44 Chris Davis (Bal - 1B, 3B, DH)
Healthy
ADP: 50.5
CHG: 0.0
Depth: 1B-1
G AB R HR RBI SB AVG
2014 Season 127 450 65 26 72 2 .196
2015 Projections 139 527 81 35 87 2 .245
3 Year Average 142 516 81 37 98 3 .254
Outlook: Davis was one of the largest disappointments in fantasy baseball during the 2014 season, and he failed to get back on track after suffering an oblique injury in late April. To make matters worse, Davis failed a second test for amphetamines late in 2014 and missed the rest of his disappointing season. It was later revealed that despite a medical need for Adderall, Davis did not have an exemption for its use in 2013 or 2014. If the big seasons of Melky Cabrera, Nelson Cruz, and Jhonny Peralta post-PED suspension are any indication, discounting Davis in 2015 due to the 2014 performance would be a mistake. It's also worth noting that he's been approved for an exemption to take Adderall again in 2015. Davis can still hit 30-plus home runs in his sleep, offering a reasonable floor even if he's unable to return to his 2013 level again.
52 Todd Frazier (Cin - 3B, 1B)
Healthy
ADP: 57.9
CHG: 0.0
Depth: 3B-1
G AB R HR RBI SB AVG
2014 Season 157 597 88 29 80 20 .273
2015 Projections 134 519 68 22 69 9 .258
3 Year Average 145 517 69 22 73 10 .259
Outlook: One of the shames of the 2014 season for the Reds is that they wasted the breakout seasons of Frazier and Devin Mesoraco. But was this season Frazier's peak, or one of a few more that we can expect in the future? Many of the underlying metrics suggest that this is his level -- his strikeout and walk rates have been remarkably stable the last three years, and his ISO was actually higher in 2012 when he first established himself as a regular player. The only stat that appears to be an outlier was his 20 stolen bases -- even in the minors he had never run that often. Assuming that Joey Votto is healthier this year, the Reds will finally leave Frazier at third base rather than move him all over the diamond, but you'll have the capability of slotting him at first if you'd like, which may be more of an advantage than in previous years, considering the state of the first base pool.
55 Evan Longoria (TB - 3B, DH)
Healthy
ADP: 59.2
CHG: 0.0
Depth: 3B-1
G AB R HR RBI SB AVG
2014 Season 162 624 83 22 91 5 .253
2015 Projections 139 528 70 23 74 2 .259
3 Year Average 132 504 71 24 78 3 .266
Outlook: One of the knocks on Longoria in recent years was, “If he could only stay healthy.” He missed time in 2011 and 2012, but answered critics with a strong 2013 season. In 2014, he played in every single game, but he had the worst statistical season of his career. The most concerning part of his numbers was that his slugging percentage fell 94 points from 2013, as he needed a big final week just to get over the .400 mark. Early on, he was struggling to turn and burn on pitches on the inner half, which has always been something he has excelled at. Around mid-June, he got back to pulling pitches, but got away from hitting the other way and pitchers neutralized him with stuff away-away-away. For the season, he had a .590 OPS on pitches away where his previous career low was .758. Stop drafting him in the first five rounds; he’s not worth it.
62 Kyle Seager (Sea - 3B)
Healthy
ADP: 71.8
CHG: 0.0
Depth: 3B-1
G AB R HR RBI SB AVG
2014 Season 159 590 71 25 96 7 .268
2015 Projections 154 593 71 21 79 8 .260
3 Year Average 158 600 71 22 84 10 .262
Outlook: Seager hit a career-high 25 homers, drove in nearly 100 runs, made the All-Star team and won a Gold Glove last season. The Mariners promptly extended him for seven years and $100 million. Seager's big year started rather inauspiciously as he was hitting .156 with zero homers and zero RBI on April 22. He quickly put the early slump behind him, though, batting .281/.341/.483 the rest of the way. Among third basemen, his .186 ISO was second only to Josh Donaldson, as was his RBI total. And only Donaldson and Todd Frazier hit more home runs. Seager appears to have solved pitcher-friendly Safeco Field, batting .300/.370/.523 at the park last season. Even if there's some regression at home, he has room to grow on the road where his OPS dropped nearly 150 points from 2013. The Mariners overpaid to buy out Seager's arbitration years, but when the 27-year-old hits the back half of his contract, it likely will be a bargain.
68 David Wright (NYM - 3B)
DL15
ADP: 81.8
CHG: 0.0
Depth: --
G AB R HR RBI SB AVG
2014 Season 134 535 54 8 63 8 .269
2015 Projections 134 507 67 15 65 12 .292
3 Year Average 134 515 69 16 71 13 .293
Outlook: There are disappointing seasons, and then there are the stinkbombs that Wright had in 2014. He was a top-25 player on draft day and finished the season with a .269/.324/.374 line and failed to reach double digits in home runs and steals for the first time since the 2004 season. He tried to play through a shoulder problem that lingered all season. The issue is related to a ligament in his non-throwing shoulder, but as of press date, Wright and the Mets were still pursuing a non-surgical method of improving the shoulder. The left shoulder is crucial for right-handed batters as it allows them to get full extension on their swings, so any weakness in it will hurt their power (see B.J. Upton 2008-2009). If he is healthy, he will rebound, but that’s a huge if. We are not out of the woods yet with Wright in terms of surgery and if he were to need it sometime in the next few months, his 2015 line will resemble the one Alex Rodriguez put up in 2014.
78 Nolan Arenado (Col - 3B)
Healthy
ADP: 87.5
CHG: 0.0
Depth: 3B-1
G AB R HR RBI SB AVG
2014 Season 111 432 58 18 61 2 .287
2015 Projections 113 457 48 13 51 2 .265
3 Year Average 122 459 54 14 56 2 .277
Outlook: A broken finger and bout with pneumonia may have limited Arenado to 111 games in 2014, but it didn't prevent him from surpassing the production from his rookie season in nearly every meaningful category. In addition to the defensive wizardry that earned him his second Gold Glove, Arenado noticed a 122-point rise in OPS while also upping his walk rate and trimming his strikeout rate from a season earlier. As is typical for most Rockies batters, Arenado did the bulk of his damage at Coors Field, where he slashed .303/.344/.584 and swatted 16 of his 18 home runs. Those skewed splits figure to persist throughout his career, but given his pedigree as a former top hitting prospect, the still-developing Arenado should see continued improvement in both his plate discipline and road performance as he enters his age-24 season. Those expected developments -- along with some better luck on the health front -- would surely lead to another jump in his counting stats, perhaps vaulting Arenado into the top tier of fantasy third basemen in 2015.
83 Carlos Santana (Cle - 1B, 3B, DH)
Healthy
ADP: 86.2
CHG: 0.0
Depth: 1B-1
G AB R HR RBI SB AVG
2014 Season 152 541 68 27 85 5 .231
2015 Projections 153 542 78 21 76 4 .255
3 Year Average 150 530 72 22 78 4 .251
Outlook: Santana was looking like one of the bigger fantasy busts after the first two months of the season, as he hit just .159/.327/.301 and suffered a concussion late in May that sent him to the 7-day DL. The Indians did away with his limited role behind the plate following the scare and also put an end to his audition at third base, having him instead focus primarily on improving at the dish, and indeed he did improve, hitting .310 (54-for-174) with 14 homers in June and July. Although the power numbers and batting average slipped in August and September (.225 average, seven homers), Santana matched his career-high with 27 homers in 2014 and set a new career high with 85 RBI, while leading the major leagues with 113 walks and maintaining a strikeout rate (18.8%) right around his career norm (18.0%). His BABIP was down at .249, suggesting the average will rebound in 2014, and he made enough appearances at third base (26) to earn eligibility in most leagues. He'll lose catcher eligibility in many formats, however, after making just 11 appearances at the position.
89 Matt Carpenter (StL - 3B)
Healthy
ADP: 107.2
CHG: 0.0
Depth: 3B-1
G AB R HR RBI SB AVG
2014 Season 158 595 99 8 59 5 .272
2015 Projections 140 511 98 9 62 3 .321
3 Year Average 143 506 90 8 61 3 .294
Outlook: While Carpenter wasn't able to repeat his unlikely 2013 season when he posted a terrific 6.9 WAR and racked up a gaudy 126 runs he delivered another very good season, this time at third base for the Cardinals. Carpenter scored 99 runs while hitting .272/.375/.375 in 2014, but he lost his eligibility at second base with the permanent position switch. His BABIP fell from .359 to .318, explaining some of the decrease in his numbers, but he did see his walk rate tick up to 13.4%. Even though he doesn't provide much pop Carpenter, proved to be a solid third baseman in a year where there were few options at the position. It's possible the Cardinals could move him down into the second or third spot in the lineup, giving him a chance to drive in more runs. Regardless of where he lands in the order, Carpenter will look to deliver another top-10 season at the hot corner in 2015.
106 Pablo Sandoval (Bos - 3B)
Healthy
ADP: 125.9
CHG: 0.0
Depth: 3B-1
G AB R HR RBI SB AVG
2014 Season 157 588 68 16 73 0 .279
2015 Projections 134 523 59 13 64 0 .272
3 Year Average 135 503 60 14 72 0 .280
Outlook: Postseason heroics plus a new team? Beware the draft-day inflation with this one. Sandoval played in more than 150 games in 2014 for just the first time in the last four seasons, and hit .279/.324/.415. It marked the fourth consecutive season in which his slugging percentage declined, and a big reason for that was his struggles against lefties. Normally not someone with splits issues, Sandoval hit .199/.244/.319 against lefties last season. The move from San Francisco to a more hitter-friendly park in Boston should help, but prospective owners need to remember Sandoval is a relatively large player who has had issues staying healthy. He will have the hype machine behind him after the monster postseason, but do not overlook the risk. Fantasy owners should not overpay for these skills.
107 Manny Machado (Bal - 3B)
Healthy
ADP: 145.1
CHG: 0.0
Depth: 3B-1
G AB R HR RBI SB AVG
2014 Season 82 327 38 12 32 2 .278
2015 Projections 122 494 64 13 48 4 .277
3 Year Average 96 395 50 11 43 3 .278
Outlook: Machado is exhibit 1,527,106 in the Never Believe The Player Theory. As the theory goes, whatever return date a player tells the media or how said player will avoid the disabled list, throw the story in the trash can because it is useless. There were many stories about how Machado felt like he would be ready to start the season, but he did not make his season debut until May 1. His season started late and ended early, as yet another knee injury ended his season in mid-August. Machado has already had three major injuries and two surgeries in just four professional seasons of baseball. Some of those 51 doubles he hit in 2013 became homers in 2014, but a combination of injuries and a line-drive swing make it unlikely that Machado hits 20 homers in 2015. He remains a better real player than a fantasy one.
114 Josh Harrison (Pit - 3B, LF, RF)
Healthy
ADP: 134.7
CHG: 0.0
Depth: 3B-1
G AB R HR RBI SB AVG
2014 Season 143 520 77 13 52 18 .315
2015 Projections 39 104 15 2 9 3 .298
3 Year Average 102 286 40 6 27 9 .283
Outlook: The opportunistic Harrison turned several years of utility play into a full-time gig at third base in 2014 and never looked back. Despite struggling to crack the Opening Day roster, the multi-positional 27-year-old settled into Pedro Alvarez's prior spot at the hot corner and produced a .315/.347/.490 line with 38 doubles, 13 homers and 18 steals in 550 plate appearances. He enters 2015 with a leg up on the competition at third base, but it's possible he could move around the infield/outfield due to injuries or a return to form by Alvarez. General manager Neal Huntington confirmed Harrison as his third baseman, but with only one season as a starter, there are still a number of skeptics. He's not the safest pick, but he offers more defensive versatility than nearly any other starter in the major leagues.
118 Ryan Zimmerman (Was - 3B, 1B, LF)
Healthy
ADP: 139.3
CHG: 0.0
Depth: 1B-1
G AB R HR RBI SB AVG
2014 Season 61 214 26 5 38 0 .280
2015 Projections 119 461 66 19 68 3 .289
3 Year Average 118 453 68 19 71 4 .278
Outlook: Although he resisted the idea for as long as he could, it became clear in 2014 that Zimmerman's balky shoulder just wouldn't allow him to play third base any longer, and he ended up playing more games in left field than at the hot corner. The shoulder ended up being the least of his worries though, as a broken thumb and severe hamstring strain limited him to just 61 games and a miserable five home runs, reducing him to essentially spectator status as the Nationals fell to the Giants in the first round of the playoffs. Zimmerman will move across the diamond to first base this season, a move which should help keep him in one piece, and if he can stay off the DL, he should be able to rebound to the 25-homer, 80-90 RBI level of production that his owners were used to. There's some risk here, but also plenty of potential reward if his draft day price is right.
124 Yasmany Tomas (Ari - 3B)
Healthy
ADP: 182.6
CHG: 0.0
Depth: 3B-2
G AB R HR RBI SB AVG
2014 Season -- -- -- -- -- -- --
2015 Projections -- -- -- -- -- -- --
3 Year Average 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000
Outlook: Tomas defected from Cuba last summer and signed a six-year, $68.5 million contract with the Diamondbacks in November. At 6-1, 220 pounds, Tomas is seen having outstanding power, but most scouts believe he's a tad behind fellow Cuban defector Jose Abreu in both power and pedigree. However, Tomas is three years younger than Abreu. Tomas was one of Cuba's top players and hit .375 (6-of-16) with two home runs in the 2013 World Baseball Classic. He hit .289/.364/.538 with 15 home runs in 284 at-bats in 2012-13 for Industriales of the Serie Nacional, but took a step back in 2013-14 by hitting .290/.346/.450 with six home runs in 257 at-bats in a season that was impacted by a wrist injury, according to Baseball America. Tomas struggled at times in international competitions and there are fears he may not be able to handle MLB breaking balls, but there were similar concerns about Abreu before last year. Tomas will get a shot to win the third base job, but more likely plays left or right field for Arizona. He should be a fixture in the starting lineup at either position.
137 Xander Bogaerts (Bos - SS, 3B)
Healthy
ADP: 159.3
CHG: 0.0
Depth: SS-1
G AB R HR RBI SB AVG
2014 Season 144 538 60 12 46 2 .240
2015 Projections 76 293 37 7 24 1 .263
3 Year Average 81 291 34 6 26 2 .241
Outlook: Bogaerts entered the 2014 season with high expectations coming off his preternatural contributions to Boston's championship team in 2013. The organization's top prospect opened the season as the team's starting shortstop, but questions about his defense emerged early. Despite that, he was one of the few players hitting in a sorry lineup through April and May. With the Red Sox needing any kind of a spark, they signed Stephen Drew and forced Bogaerts to shift to third base. This chain of events was followed by a summer stretch in which Bogaerts' offense went idle. He hit just .161 from June through August and struck out in 26.5% of his plate appearances, compared to 20.5% the rest of the season. The position change was cited by some as the trigger for the drop-off, but it was more likely a result of pitchers catching up to him and feeding him a steady diet of sliders. He eventually made adjustments and had a strong September, but is still unclear what happened to his ability to work the count -- his walk rate dropped from 11.2% in April/May to 3.8% his plate appearances after June. The plan calls for Bogaerts to start at shortstop in 2015 and he should stay there all season with free-agent addition Pablo Sandoval manning the hot corner.
156 Aramis Ramirez (Mil - 3B)
Healthy
ADP: 198.4
CHG: 0.0
Depth: 3B-1
G AB R HR RBI SB AVG
2014 Season 133 494 47 15 66 3 .285
2015 Projections 101 395 46 12 52 2 .248
3 Year Average 125 456 61 18 73 4 .292
Outlook: Ramirez stayed relatively healthy last season after being limited to 92 games in 2013, However, he started showing signs of his age catching up to him, as both his OBP and SLG were his lowest since 2010. Despite the drop in ratios, Ramirez still hits for a good average and plays a quality third base. He and the Brewers agreed to pick up the mutual option on his contract, so he will remain the team’s starting baseman in 2015. He has batted cleanup for the Brewers regularly the last couple years, but is not necessarily a lock to hit in that spot next season.
171 Chase Headley (NYY - 3B)
Healthy
ADP: 210.1
CHG: 0.0
Depth: 3B-1
G AB R HR RBI SB AVG
2014 Season 135 470 55 13 49 7 .243
2015 Projections 143 533 69 19 68 11 .268
3 Year Average 146 531 70 19 71 11 .262
Outlook: Most people that drafted Headley over the years did so with the hope that he would be traded out of Petco National Park that season and go to the Yankees. That finally happened in 2014, but you’d never know if from his statistics. Headley hit .229/.296/.355 for the Padres and .262/.371/.398 for the Yankees. The spike in OBP came from a five percentage point jump in his walk rate in the American League, but 2014 was the third time in five seasons Headley has failed to slug over .400. He also is taking up residence in Splitsville; he has hit over .250 against lefties just twice in the past six seasons and that number has declined each of the past four seasons. Re-signed by the Yankees in December, Headley could be much more productive in his first full campaign in the Bronx with improved health, but we’re still talking about a player who has had one outlier of a power season in the past six. Another 30-homer season is highly unlikely, and it might even be a surprise if he swats 20.
174 Pedro Alvarez (Pit - 3B, 1B)
Healthy
ADP: 205.1
CHG: 0.0
Depth: 1B-1
G AB R HR RBI SB AVG
2014 Season 122 398 46 18 56 8 .231
2015 Projections 133 514 60 28 75 3 .230
3 Year Average 141 494 60 28 80 4 .237
Outlook: The big slugger with big power was a big bust in 2014. After tying for the NL home run lead with 36 in 2013, Alvarez attempted to hit the ball to all fields while improving upon his plate discipline with horrific results. Although his 0.40 BB/K rate represented a career best, he hit half as many homers (18) and saw his OPS drop from .770 to .719 (in 445 PA). Defensively, his 24 throwing errors in 95 starts at third base pushed him to the bench for several weeks before the Pirates moved him to first base. His best bet in 2015 is to serve as part of a first base platoon, as general manager Neal Huntington already confirmed Josh Harrison will start at third base. If Alvarez can return to form as a dead-pull hitter -- four of 36 homers went to right-or-center fields in 2013 as opposed to seven of 18 in 2014 -- he could provide value in an offensive landscape bereft of power hitters.
179 Martin Prado (Mia - 3B, 2B)
Healthy
ADP: 199.8
CHG: 0.0
Depth: 3B-1
G AB R HR RBI SB AVG
2014 Season 143 536 62 12 58 3 .282
2015 Projections 134 527 58 9 54 6 .277
3 Year Average 151 587 71 12 70 8 .290
Outlook: Prado’s overall 2014 production was nearly identical to his 2013 production, and that is not a good thing. He was traded to the Yankees over the summer and his bat was revived with New York, as he went on to hit .316/.336/.541 in the 137 plate appearances he had before his season ended after an emergency appendectomy. One thing that helped his 2014 numbers was he mashed lefties at a .366/.398/.580 clip, but that is an outlier for him. One thing to watch for is that his numbers against righties have declined for three consecutive seasons. Prado is a non-sexy pick for the endgame as he is a decent bet for 10 homers, a .280 average, and he qualifies at both second and third base on draft day. However, the move to Marlins Park will only hurt his power numbers, so the only upside in his selection is what happens with his BABIP.
187 Brett Lawrie (Oak - 3B, 2B)
Healthy
ADP: 208.2
CHG: 0.0
Depth: 3B-1
G AB R HR RBI SB AVG
2014 Season 70 259 27 12 38 0 .247
2015 Projections 125 490 65 17 59 9 .286
3 Year Average 101 385 47 11 44 7 .260
Outlook: There is a theory that says to pounce on post-hype prospects because that talent can still emerge. But, what if that prospect was overrated to begin with? Lawrie is only 25, but he has had more than 1,400 plate appearances in the major leagues and owns a career slash line of .265/.323/.426 and has had difficulty staying on the field. He is an impatient batter that does not get cheated on his swings, but possesses more gap power than over-the-fence power. Early in his career, he attempted steals, but had a poor conversion rate, so in 2014, he simply gave up trying. He has had reverse splits the last two seasons as he has done quite poorly against lefties while providing nearly all of his production against righties. Lawrie, who was afforded a fresh start after being traded to the A's in November, does qualify at both second and third base, and the numbers play better up the middle than they do at the corner.
193 Lonnie Chisenhall (Cle - 3B)
Healthy
ADP: 217.6
CHG: 0.0
Depth: 3B-1
G AB R HR RBI SB AVG
2014 Season 142 478 62 13 59 3 .280
2015 Projections 132 518 60 15 59 3 .251
3 Year Average 93 303 36 10 37 2 .261
Outlook: When it was all said and done, 2014 was the breakout year for Chisenhall that wasn't really a breakout. The only statistical change in Chisenhall’s game was a career best batting average that led to a bump in on-base percentage. His slugging rates were in line with his career norms and even his plate discipline in terms of swing rates, chase rates, and the like have all been remarkably stable for a young player. The spike in average was fueled by hitting lefties – something he rarely did in previous seasons. Whether the improvement was enough to keep him out of a platoon remains to be seen, but it is a good start. He hit .332/.396/.519 in the first half and just .218/.277/.315 after the break. The real Chisenhall lies somewhere in between that for 2015 with perhaps a little more power to come. Talk up the weak second half on draft day while rostering the stable skills on the cheap.
239 Trevor Plouffe (Min - 3B)
Healthy
ADP: 221.3
CHG: 0.0
Depth: 3B-1
G AB R HR RBI SB AVG
2014 Season 136 520 69 14 80 2 .258
2015 Projections 124 481 52 16 53 1 .237
3 Year Average 128 473 56 17 62 2 .249
Outlook: Plouffe had a successful season at the plate, and more importantly, showed tremendous improvement with his glove. He entered last spring training with concerns about his ability at third base and top prospect Miguel Sano knocking on the door for the starting third base job. Sano missed the season with Tommy John surgery and may not be in the majors in 2015. Meanwhile, Plouffe improved his fielding percentage and became an above-average fielder (5th in MLB in UZR). Plouffe improved slightly at the plate as well, walking more and striking out fewer times, while still displaying good power. He also improved against right-handed pitchers (.738 OPS against righties) which should reduce concerns he may become a platoon player. Plouffe did miss the final week of the season with a fractured left forearm, but he's expected to be ready for spring training. While his long-term hold on the third base job is uncertain given Sano and a wave of infield prospects set to arrive in Minnesota, he looks set to begin the season as the everyday third baseman.
249 Nick Castellanos (Det - 3B)
Healthy
ADP: 221.6
CHG: 0.0
Depth: 3B-1
G AB R HR RBI SB AVG
2014 Season 148 533 50 11 66 2 .259
2015 Projections 121 477 44 9 52 1 .266
3 Year Average 80 276 26 6 33 1 .261
Outlook: As the Tigers’ top positional prospect heading into the 2014 season, many pundits had high hopes for Castellanos. On the surface, Castellanos had a mediocre first full season in the majors, hitting .259/.306/.394 with 11 home runs, 66 RBI and 54 runs in 533 at-bats while serving as the Tigers’ full-time third baseman. Similar to his results in the minors, Castellanos had trouble with his plate discipline, finishing with 24.2% strikeout rate and 6.2% walk rate. He also struggled defensively, ranking last in the majors at UZR for third basemen. The defensive struggles can partially be chalked up to the Tigers juggling Castellanos between the outfield and third base in 2013. With a full-year of playing third base at the major league level under his belt, Castellanos should show improvement on defense. And some of the advanced metrics behind Castellanos’ performance at the plate during his rookie campaign hint at further growth to come. Castellanos did a great job limiting infield flyballs (2.1% IFFB) and he ranked second among qualified hitters with a 28.5% line-drive rate. The Tigers appear to be committed to Castellanos as the team’s third baseman of the present and future, so he will have a long leash to work through the issues that arose throughout his rookie campaign. The 23-year-old showed consistent improvements in both plate discipline and power as he made his way through the minors, and it wouldn’t be a surprise to see similar improvements as he becomes acclimated to the majors.
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