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The Keeper Corner #114-100

A MASSIVE free agent, major breakouts, and closers.

Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

We continue down my 2015 preseason rankings I used for a 6x6 league.  I'll review my ranks, give the players projected stats, and give a projection for 2016.  Lets continue with the ranks:

#114 Jonathan Papelbon, RP, PHI

$12.64, 70 K, 3 W, 38 SV, 2.700 ERA, 1.014 WHIP, 4.375 K/BB

Papelbon posted yet another very solid season as a fantasy and real life closer.  The days of double digit strike outs rates per 9 are behind him.  Last year he only had 24 saves, mostly a product of poor Phillies play.  Next year, after the Harper altercation, I don't think Papelbon is back with the Nationals.  That's unfortunate for Papelbon's value, but I think he'll be a very nice bullpen piece regardless of location.

#113, Sean Doolittle, RP, OAK

$12.95, 67 K, 3 W, 32 SV, 2.945 ERA, .855 WHIP, 7.444 K/BB

Doolittle dealt with a shoulder injury all of last season and only pitched 13 innings.  We need to see if he regains his previous velocity in 2016 before he can be accurately ranked.

#112 Christian Yelich, OF, MIA

$12.96, 91 R, 10 HR, 52 RBI, 21 SB, .278 AVG, .762 OPS

Yelich is a young hitter with a great approach to hitting.  He sprays the ball to all fields, and he makes consistent hard contact.  He's also put up 3 consecutive seasons of 117 wRC+, which looks weird, but proves that he is a good hitter.  The one glaring hole in his game, is his batted ball profile.  Looking at  Yelich anyne can recognize that he is a young athlete, but he is not a burner.  There is no reason for a 200lb hitter with his kind of talent to be the league leader in ground ball rate annually.  Next year I hope to see him lower his ground ball rate to 50%, still high, but lowered so he can trade some grounders for line drives and a few more fly balls.  It would likely hurt his average, but help him develop into a more complete hitter, with more power.  After hitting .300 last year, its hard to imagine the Marlins pressuring him to change, but fantasy owners would love to see it.

#111 Andrew Miller, RP, NYY

$12.97, 111K, 5 W, 14 SV, 2.515 ERA, .941 WHIP, 5.045 K/BB

Miller handled the closer duties last season with ease, ending 36 games with Yankee victories.  He posted an excellent strikeout, walk, and ground ball rate.  That leads me to believe he'll be a safe bet to have another good year of closing duties in 2016, whether that be with the Yankees, or someone else.

#110 Alex Cobb, SP, TB

$13.03, 180 K, 13 W, 3.302 ERA, 1.171 WHIP, 3.103

Cobb missed the Rays 2015 season after tearing his UCL and requiring Tommy John surgery.  He should be pitching again around midseason 2016.

#109 Neil Walker, 2B, PIT

$13.08, 72 R, 21 HR, 70 RBI, 4 SB, .270 AVG, .801 OPS

Walker failed to meet expectations, but still had a solid year.  Reviewing his peripherals, it is hard to see why he regressed.  His hard hit rate improved, he continued hitting the ball to all fields, cut his popups in half, and kept his line drives around his career norms.  Maybe 2014 was an outlier, but I think there is a good chance Neil Walker improves his line in 2016, on the back of a 20 homer season.

#108 Dustin Pedroia, 2B, BOS

$13.22, 92 R, 10 HR, 64 RBI, 2 SB, .286 AVG, .749 OPS

Pedroia missed time with a hamstring injury, but played well while on the field.  He still hits everything in and around the zone.  He doesn't steal bags like his MVP days, but through hell or high water Pedroia is going to find a way to produce.  He's a natural hitter, and he doesn't let bumps and bruises stop him.  Next year, I expect more of the same from Pedroia, his lowered line drive and hard hit rate are concerning, but he puts so many more balls in play than the average hitter that he has far more chances to get hits without driving the ball.

#107 Jacob deGrom, SP, NYM

$13.46, 177 K, 12 W, 3.251 ERA, 1.178 WHIP, 3.34 K/BB

deGrom cranked out an ace caliber season. He had a dominant strikeout and walk rate, and rode those rates to 14 wins.  When balls were put in play, they weren't hit hard, and a strong ground ball rate helped him be simply dominant.  There is nothing bad to say about deGrom, he's an excellent starter, and will be a top 10 arm next year.

#106 Rusney Castillo, OF, NYM

$13.51, 68 R, 14 HR, 56 RBI, 18 SB, .292 AVG, .798

Castilllo had a disappointing start to his 2015 and was demoted.  After a few months in the minors he returned, and frankly still wasn't good.  He looks built up like many other Cuban hitters, but he hasn't supplied the punch that they have.  Next year, I assume Castillo will produce a better line, as the Red Sox are typically a shrewd organization, but he'll be dropped down my ranks substantially as there is nothing in his batted ball profile, or plate discipline was discernibly good.

#105 Huston Street, RP, LAA

$13.64, 63 K, 4 W, 40 SV, 2.354 ERA, .969 WHIP, 4.20 K/BB

Street came very close to matching his projections exactly, and more importantly, it seems that Street has dropped the "injury prone" tag he used to carry.  For the third consecutive year, he is thrown over 50 innings.  Unfortunately, he is not a prized bullpen piece, but there is not a threat to take his job from him in Los Angeles.  Next year I believer we should expect old reliable to be back on the hill in 9th for the Angels.

#104 Hisashi Iwakuma, SP, SEA

$13.98, 149 K, 13 W, 3.337 ERA, 1.157 WHIP, 3.821 K/BB

Iwakuma was a favorite of mine entering 2015.  He had some bad luck in 2014 regarding his ERA, and I saw that he was in the top third of all starters in strikeout, walk, and ground ball rate.  The arms that accomplish that are my favorite.  Then he suffered a lat injury 2015, and was only slightly worse than the year prior.  Next year I think he can be a nice reliable mid rotation piece with his across the board production and reliability.  The only thing that I question is his health, as he has been nicked up every year of his career except 2013.

#103 Jason Heyward, OF, STL

$ 14.07, 84 R, 17 HR, 61 RBI, 16 SB, .271 AVG, .771 OPS

Heyward produced another very solid line, beating both his ratio projections, and stealing 23 bags.  It has been 6 years of hoping that Heyward would tap into the power everyone saw in his huge frame, but it is time to accept that he isn't motivated to be a slugger, he's going to keep hitting line drives, and being a great base runner.  The team he signs with will impact his ranking, but I'd expect he'll be around #100 again next season.

#102 Manny Machado, 3B, BAL

$14.17, 76R, 18 HR, 69 RBI, 6 SB, .282 AVG, .766 OPS

Machado blew this projected line to smithereens.  After finally shedding the knee issues that he's had the past two years, he erupted for 35 homers, and 20 steals.   He's always had top of the line expectations put on him, and he has now lived up to all of them.  In 2016 he'll be a top 10 player for me with 3B eligibility, and the end of 2015 gave me optimism that he can return to playing SS.

#101 Matt Carpenter, 3B, STL

$14.19, 94 R, 9 HR, 58 RBI, 4 SB, .289 AVG, .798 OPS

Matt Carpenter blasted 28 home runs in 2015, that's more than he had in the 1785 PA's that his entire career was comprised of prior.  He also stole 4 bags as predicted, allowing him to greatly increase his value going into next season.  Carpenter is a talented hitter, and changed his batted ball profile to greatly increase his value.  Next year he'll be moved up with this new approach, along with the fact that for 3 season in a row now, Carpenter hasn't had a DL stint.

#100 Mark Trumbo, 1B/OF, ARI

$14.23, 73 R, 31 HR, 92 RBI, 4 SB, .241 AVG, .763 OPS

Mark Trumbo is a big man who hits the ball hard.  After that, he isn't good at anything else.  He's always had a poor walk rate, and a high strike out rate.  He never took advantage of hitting in Arizona, and eventually was dealt to Seattle, the land of 1Bs and DHs.  I'm not really a big fan of his since he provides his value in streaky chunks, and he seems to only be riding talent and a see ball hit ball approach.  Next year he'll be in his last year of arbitration before entering free agency, and hopefully going to a better park for his skill set.

Tomorrow we enter the double digit ranks and reach a few players I was able to get while scrounging for scraps.  If you have any questions about the ranks, feel free to comment below or ask me on twitter @jackcecil1.