Welcome to my 2016 fantasy team previews. I will be breaking down 2016 prospects for the relevant fantasy players on all 30 teams, one team at a time. Check back throughout the offseason for new team previews. You can catch up on old ones in my archive (here) or in the section (here). Because there are 30 teams to cover in limited time, I have to get started now, even though there will certainly be some trades that move players around and open up larger roles for existing players. Also, free agents and guys that moved midseason will be analyzed with one of the teams they played for, even though they likely (or definitely) won't be on that team in 2016 so they don't get missed. Hopefully you can bear with me on those issues and remember that these were written before those trades occurred.
I am starting at the bottom of the standings and working my way up. In each team preview, I will attempt to follow the same layout. First, there will be two tables of stats for hitters (showing stats acquired while playing for this team; traded players will be missing some stats) followed by quick analysis of the most fantasy relevant of those hitters (relevance at my discretion). After that, two tables for the pitching stats and some pitcher analysis. I will then present one breakout player (aka sleeper) and one breakdown player (or bust, if you prefer) for the team. Got it? Ok, let's get started.
|Derek Dietrich||2B*, 3B, OF||289||10||38||24||0||2||8.00%||22.50%||0.256||0.346||0.456|
|Martin Prado||2B*, 3B||551||9||52||63||1||0||6.70%||12.30%||0.288||0.338||0.394|
|Mike Morse||1B, OF*||174||4||8||12||0||0||6.90%||31.60%||0.213||0.276||0.313|
|Casey McGehee||3B. 1B*||120||0||7||9||1||0||8.30%||18.30%||0.182||0.25||0.245|
|Name||BABIP||LD%||GB%||FB%||HR/FB||SwStr%||Soft%||Med%||Hard%||ESPN Player Rater|
*Will lose this eligibility in 2016
**The ESPN player rater is based on a player's standard 5 x 5 category performance relative to average. A score of 0 is replacement level and negative values mean the player is actually hurting your team. Values in the 1-2 range generally are for your worst starting player, unless you are unlucky. There are no positional adjustments, though, so shortstops and catchers will often have very low scores relative to everyone else. It is normalized so that guys with little playing time can be compared to guys that played all year.
Once again, Giancarlo "Mike" Stanton's season was cut short after looking so promising. Fun facts: his middle name is Cruz-Michael and his official nicknames are "bigfoot" and "Mikey." Injuries are always an issue with him. He delivered on his first round price when he was healthy, so he will probably be valued similarly next year, with maybe a drop to the 2nd round due to health. He hit 27 HR in basically half a season, so 40+ is his floor for a full healthy season, if that ever happens. Nothing points to anything fluky in his 2015 stats. He is recovering from a broken hamate bone and hasn't started swinging a bat yet as of late November, but he is expected to recover fully. Other hitters have had their hamate removed and done fine, as you can read in that link. Sometimes it takes a year to fully recover your power, but other than that, the risk is small. Oh, and the Marlins are planning on lowering and bringing in their fences next year, which can't hurt Stanton or the other Marlins hitters.
Derek Dietrich is like a younger, more strikeout-prone, non-switch, more powerful Martin Prado. A decent walk rate, above average power, multi-position eligibility; these are all things they share. Prado is no longer useful in all but NL-only leagues. Dietrich, if he gets regular playing time, can be very useful at 3B or OF and even better if he has 2B eligibility in your league. I like his combination of skills and what he did in limited playing time. 10 HR in just 289 PA is a good number and would project out to about 22 HR over a full year. I don't see anything that isn't repeatable in his profile. If he has a regular starting job, he could be useful in deeper leagues as either a middle infield or corner infield option. He doesn't hit lefties well, so keep that in mind.
Christian Yelich is so full of potential but needs to do more. He has a little speed and can hit for average very well, but he has limited power. He could make the most out of his power by hitting more fly balls (62% GB%!!!). I know he's fast and can hit the ball to all fields, but you can't rely on ground balls that much for your production unless you are Dee Gordon. If he doesn't hit more fly balls, I see his 2015 season as basically his projection for 2016. With more fly balls, I could see his average drop to 0.285 or so with 12-15 HR. Value him according to how much faith you have in him making an adjustment like this. Basically, we are hoping for the Matt Carpenter change, where he starts selling out for power.
Dee Gordon did it again. Everyone thought he couldn't sustain a high average and a sky-high BABIP, but he did. He's still a top-3 2B because of his average and speed. Throw in some runs and an average slugging percentage and you have an elite option at the position. I don't see him falling from the top 3 in 2016, but the steals will start to decline some as he ages and the average will go down with the loss of speed.
Justin Bour emerged out of nowhere to put up an above average first base season in 2015. He's a former non-prospect and the Steamer projections for 2016 see him declining to a 0.256/0.318/0.424 line, so there may not be much upside. The 23 HR in 2015 in only 2/3 of a season of at bats is a bit fluky because scouts gave him just an average power grade and his HR/FB ratio was 21.5%, which is unsustainable unless you are Stanton, Abreu, or similar. I tend to agree with Steamer and I see regression with only 18-20 HR over a full season. Like Dietrich, he can't hit lefties, only he is even worse than Dietrich against them. Don't get too excited about this guy, he can't hit lefties and should see a power drop, so that's tough to swallow at the 1B position.
J.T. Realmuto isn't a top-10 catcher yet, but did OK in his first full year. I wouldn't expect significant gains in 2016 and would only use him in two-catcher leagues or deep leagues, where he has some value because he doesn't hurt you much in any category (except OBP, avoid him there). He even had 8 steals, which is a bonus.
Hechavarria (I checked the spelling on that three times) is a deep league replacement-level shortstop. That isn't to say he has no value, because the SS position is so shallow that a boring, average player can be useful. I don't see any significant improvement for 2016 and would expect a similar season. That puts him in the 15-20 range among SS.
Marcell Ozuna had a very down year and his power disappeared, but I see some upside for 2016. He is on the trading block and may not be in Miami next year, but wherever he is, I expect a rebound of power. He's still only 25 and hit 23 HR in 2014. I see about 20 HR with a 0.260/0.320/0.440 line. That can be useful in the outfield in some leagues.
There aren't any hitting prospects knocking on the door in Miami, so nothing to worry about there.
|David Phelps||SP, RP*||112||4.5||4.03||4.42||1.36||0.303||69.00%||41.80%||4.50%|
|Jose Urena||SP, RP||61.2||5.25||4.64||5.22||1.59||0.319||68.10%||48.10%||8.00%|
|Brad Hand||SP, RP||93.1||5.3||4.08||4.26||1.49||0.33||67.20%||46.20%||7.70%|
|Name||SV||HLD||K%||BB%||Soft%||Med%||Hard%||ESPN Player Rater|
*If they were outside the top 550 pitchers on the player rater, they will show up as #N/A
Jose Fernandez returned and was almost as good as before. You really can't complain about how well he pitched. Injury risks are still there, but he is a top-3 pitcher in baseball when healthy, so you will want to take the risk.
Dan Haren was the benefactor of a lot of luck this year, with a very low BABIP and a high strand rate. I don't see him being relevant in 2016. Update: Haren retired, so he certainly won't be relevant. Henderson Alvarez will return in 2016 and if he can pick up where he left off in 2014 and make some adjustments, he still has a decent fastball and great groundball rates, so I think he could put up a 3.5 ERA again if his shoulder is healthy. Adam Conley is the most interesting of the remaining starters. His swinging strike rate is above average and his FIP is about average. That's better than all of the starters in Miami I haven't mentioned yet. He is still just a streamer, though, especially at home in that pitcher's park.
Bullpen time! If Carter Capps comes back fully healthy, he looks like a monster and has Dellin Betances-like potential. I love his upside in any league, even if he isn't the closer. A.J. Ramos spent much of the season as the closer and was nearly lights out in that role. He is a solid closer option next year until Capps takes over. In fact, he should easily be a top 10 closer until he loses the job. Keep an eye on these two in the spring. I think both are ownable for strikeouts and rates and the one that is the closer becomes a top-5 option on the level of healthy Greg Holland. If only they had more save opportunities...
Like with the hitters, there isn't anyone worth getting excited about in the minors that might debut in 2016. Their top upper-level pitching prospect, Jarlin Garcia, gets only a 50 overall scouting grade, which is average, and isn't projected to debut until 2017.
I'm going to take a chance on him and say that he cuts down on the grounders and develops more power. His speed, all fields approach, and more power should lead to lots of doubles and triples and more homers too. That could mean the breakout we've all been waiting for will happen. You might get a nice return on your Yelich investment in 2016.
Dan Haren Justin Bour
I have been notified that Haren retired, so I'm switching this to Bour. For the reasons described in the hitters section, I believe he played over his head this season and the power will decline.
Check back soon for the next team preview as we keep moving up the standings. Tschus!