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Top 30 for 2015: An early look

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Ray takes a look at his top 30 for 2015, and there are more pitchers in the top 30 than ever before, emphasizing the fact that you need to draft an ace starter early to serve as your anchor.

Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

The season just ended on Sunday, but it is never too early to start thinking about 2015, right?

Right?!?!

I started looking toward 2015 in September, even though I was in a battle for the top 3 spots in each of my money leagues. Maybe I am just programmed to look ahead earlier than most. Anyway, we have already seen some early 2015 rankings out there on the internet, so I wanted to offer my thoughts on how the first two rounds should go in 2015.

I will rank my top 30 for 2015, and build from there during the offseason. Here is an early look at my top 30, and it is dominated by pitchers and 20-20 hitters:

Rank

Player

Team

1

Mike Trout

LAA

2

Giancarlo Stanton

Mia

3

Clayton Kershaw

LAD

4

Miguel Cabrera

Det

5

Andrew McCutchen

Pit

6

Paul Goldschmidt

Ari

7

Carlos Gomez

Mil

8

Jose Bautista

Tor

9

Edwin Encarnacion

Tor

10

Jose Abreu

CWS

11

Adam Jones

Bal

12

Felix Hernandez

Sea

13

Ian Desmond

Wsh

14

Troy Tulowitzki

Col

15

Matt Kemp

LAD

16

Jose Altuve

Hou

17

Anthony Rendon

Wsh

18

Adrian Beltre

Tex

19

Chris Sale

CWS

20

Adam Wainwright

StL

21

Anthony Rizzo

ChC

22

Justin Upton

Atl

23

Victor Martinez

Det

24

Corey Kluber

CLE

25

Hanley Ramirez

LAD

26

Michael Brantley

Cle

27

Johnny Cueto

Cin

28

George Springer

Hou

29

Billy Hamilton

Cin

30

Bryce Harper

Wsh

Matt Kemp, Dodgers

I think you all know how high I am on Kemp for 2015 after his strong 2014 second half. Here is how well he performed in the second half:

.309-.365-605, 17 HRs, 39 runs scored, 54 RBI , 263 plate appearance in 64 games

I doubt he can continue this pace for a full 162 game season, but the more important point is that he was finally 100% in the second half where he flourished. Only Giants catcher Buster Posey had a higher wRC+ than Kemp in the second half according to FanGraphs:

Posey: 181 wRC+

Kemp: 170 wRC+

If he can stay healthy in the playoffs and in the offseason, Kemp could return to the 2011 Matt Kemp who hit 39 home runs and drove in 126 runs. Granted, run scoring is down, but a 30 home run, 100 RBI season is well within his reach.

George Springer, Astros

Springer was pretty productive, for fantasy purposes, in his time in the big leagues before a season ending quad injury. In 78 games, Springer his 20 home runs, scored 45 runs, with 51 RBI and 5 stolen bases. The stolen base total was lower than expected especially after stealing 40+ in the minors in 2013, but he still owns the skills to steal 20+ bases in a full season. He also owns the power to hit 30 or more home runs in 2015..

How many 30 home run/20 stolen base guys were there in 2014? Zero.

Bryce Harper, Nationals

Harper is the guy who gets picked in the first three rounds each year yet fails to meet expectations, but if you want him in 2015, you will have to draft him early again. In 2014, Harper hit .273-.344-.423 with 13 home runs, 41 runs scored and 32 RBI in 100 games played, but in 258 second half plate appearances, he hit .288 with 11 home runs, 29 runs scored and 21 RBI, so he appears he is healthy again, and still owns the 80 power tool. if healthy all season, he could put up a 30 home run, 90 RBI season in 2015.

Anthony Rendon, Nationals

Rendon had a breakout season in 2014, hitting .287-.351-.473 with 21 home runs, 111 runs scored, 83 RBI and 17 stolen bases. He was three stolen bases from a 20-20 season, and I wonder if he will continue running like this in the future. Even still, he is a rising star in MLB and should be a second round pick in 2015, especially since he has second base eligibility.