As has become an All-Star break tradition, here’s a peek ahead at some very, very preliminary 2015 player rankings. I’m only concerned with next year here, so these aren’t true keeper rankings; if I were factoring in 2016 and beyond, some younger players would be listed quite a bit higher. As always, I’m going position by position (trying to account for next year’s position eligibility) and including a top 300 overall.
This winter’s free agents are listed without teams. Players facing option years are listed as “opt” in the team column.
2015 First Baseman Rankings
|1||Miguel Cabrera||Tigers||1 3B|
|3||Jose Abreu||White Sox||13|
|4||Edwin Encarnacion||Blue Jays||6|
|12||Joe Mauer||Twins||1 C|
|13||Victor Martinez||3 DH|
|18||Mike Napoli||Red Sox||16|
|25||Lucas Duda||Mets||104 OF|
|36||Steve Pearce||Orioles||8 DH|
|38||Kyle Blanks||Athletics||122 OF|
|39||Mike Carp||Red Sox||123|
- This is the deepest I can remember first base being, with two dozen legitimate mixed league options looking towards next year. Of course, it helps that two guys I have ranked elsewhere right now -- Cabrera and Mauer -- won’t qualify at those positions next year.
- There is quite a drop off after the top 25, with most of the rest of the rankings filled with a) guys I think can hit some but might not get the chance and b) guys who will continue to play because of money. Blanks and Carp, in particular, are guys who could put up solid fantasy numbers in different situations. I also haven’t given up on Alonso, though my guess is that the Padres are about to.
- The free agent crop is led by Martinez and LaRoche, who has a $15 million mutual option with the Nationals. Presumably, the Nationals will move on and install Ryan Zimmerman at first base next year. Lind’s $7.5 million option will likely be exercised by the Jays, leaving Hart and Dunn as the next best free agents here.
2015 Designated Hitter Rankings
|1||David Ortiz||Red Sox||1|
|2||Kendrys Morales||18 1B|
|4||Chris Carter||Astros||28 1B|
|6||Jesus Montero||Mariners||41 C|
- Barring a really strong second half, Butler’s $12.5 million option figures to be declined by the Royals, and given that he really can’t be considered anything other than a DH, he could be looking at a major pay cut next year. He does deserve a chance to remain an everyday player.
- Carter is another difficult case; he’s put himself on 30-homer pace with a recent outburst, but he can hit 30 homers without being a particular valuable player. On the plus side, he probably won’t make more than $2 million-$2.5 million as a super two arbitration eligible player next year. But I’m not sure the Astros can continue to let him rack up 180+ strikeouts behind the 300+ strikeouts they’ll be getting from George Springer and Jon Singleton in the middle of the order.