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The Keeper Corner #54-40

Potential stars with question marks.

David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

We continue down my pre2015 rankings.  Once we reach the top 50 ranks, you will see players who are capable of being top 5 players, many who have previously been considered amongst the elite at one point or another, but but presently have at least one wart on their game.  Lets get back to the ranks.

#54 Jonathan Lucroy, C, MIL

$21.09, 71 R, 16 HR, 75 RBI, 4 SB, .296 AVG, .835 OPS

Lucroy only played 103 games after missing time with a concussion and a toe injury.  Between those injuries, he wasn't productive at all.  Since his 2014 was MVP caliber, I'll give him a pass on 2015, and continue to rank him generously in 2016, as he's expected to be healthy in 2016, something he never was this year.

#53 Carlos Santana, 3B/1B, CLE

$21.21, 75 R, 24 HR, 83 RBI, 4 SB, .266 AVG, .846 OPS

Santana entered 2015 as a noncatcher for the first time in his fantasy career, and he simultaneously posted his worst offensive season.  His batted ball profile was terrible.  In 2015 he had his lowest line drive rate, highest infield fly ball rate of his career, while also seeing his grounders spike.  This resulted in his first slugging percentage below .400 in his career, and a pitiful .231 average.  He's going to take a big hit in my ranks, now that his positional versatility is gone as a 1B only.

#52 Jacoby Ellsbury, OF, NYY

$21.87, 90 R, 14 HR, 60 RBI, 43 SB, .278 AVG, .748 OPS

Ellsbury only played 111 games due to knee and hip injuries.  Those are both scary injuries to have at age 32, while being a speed first player.  Even more concerning is that his typically excellent batting average is on a three year downward trend, along with a matching 3 year downward trend in hard hit rate and contact rate.  With the majority of his value riding on his ability to put the ball in play and then use his legs, I'll be dropping Jacoby lower in my 2016 rankings, as I don't think Ellsbury of old is coming back.

#51 Matt Kemp, OF, SD

$22.17, 75 R, 21 HR, 75 RBI, 11 SB, .282 AVG, .823 OPS

Matt Kemp was in the right place at the right time last year, reaching 100 RBI for the third time, and 20 homers for the 6th time in his career.  What he actually did at the dish was less inspiring with a .265 average and a .755 OPS.  His babip was 30 points below his career average, something I expect to be higher next season.  I don't think 100 RBI is happening again on the Padres, but I do believe his batting average should be on the rise as his talent hasn't suffered from aging so far.

#50 Yoenis Cespedes, OF, DET

$22.44, 88 R, 23 HR, 97 RBI, 6 SB, .267 AVG, .790 OPS

Something that has been overlooked during all the Cespedes hype is the fantasy side of his season.  He was having a perfectly respectable season during his first 100 games while on the Tigers, but it wasn't anything that was winning fantasy championships.  His trade to the Mets resulted in a 2-month power showcase prior to free agency.  As a longtime owner, I can vouch that Cespedes is one of the most talented players in baseball, but also inconsistent.  There will be streaks like the one which he had for the Mets where he can single handedly win you matchups, and then he will evaporate for weeks at a time.  He's also proven to be susceptible to the injury bug, as he is frequently either playing through something, or missing time.  I've personally grown tired of owning him, but I can easily see the allure of Cespedes.

#49 George Springer, OF, HOU

$22.68, 91R, 31 HR, 89 RBI, 16 SB, .241 AVG, .804 OPS

Springer had concussion and wrist issues this year, and only played 102 games because of them.  He had 16 homers, and 16 steals while on the field, making him an easy potential 20/20 candidate going into next season.  While his season was abbreviated, he showed adjustments that many people wanted to see coming into 2015, mainly with chasing fewer pitches and making more contact, which ultimately resulted in a much better strikeout rate this season.  Next year he'll be ranked in the top 50 again.

#48 Prince Fielder, 1B, TEX

#23.08, 76R, 21 HR, 87 RBI, 1 SB, .285 AVG, .839 OPS

Fielder seemingly rolled out of a hospital bed, and was back on the field this year hitting .300, and lowered his strikeout rate to an incredible 12.7%. More importantly, he played 158 games, allowing his owners to once again assume he is back to his healthy ways.  His batted ball profile was similar to what he did in the past, so I'm optimistic about his future.  I anticipate an improvement in power, with everything else remaining close to the same in 2016.  I can see him going in the top 25 next year.

#47 Masahiro Tanaka, SP, NYY

$23.15, 174 K, 13 W, 3.355 ERA, 1.118 WHIP, 6.214 K/BB

Entering 2015 the Yankees let it be known that Tanaka was pitching with a partially torn UCL.  He also missed some time around midseason with a forearm strain, leading me and many others to believe that sooner or later in 2015, he would be receiving Tommy John surgery.  While he did have diminished velocity, he explained that he was trying to maintain his health, and made it through the full season.  He posted a strong strikeout and walk rate, but now going into 2016, I question his future even more.  I can't imagine a partially torn ligament could be any healthier after putting another 150 innings into it.  Next year I'll let someone else be his owner, as I'm too fearful of his short term future.  If that results in me missing another year of good starts, so be it.

#46 Matt Holliday, OF, STL

$23.48, 82 R, 21 HR, 84 RBI, 4 SB, .284 AVG, .837 OPS

Quad injuries resulted in Holliday only playing 73 games, and a career low .410 slugging percentage.  Entering his age 36 season, and in a 6-year decline in his slugging percentage, he's become a riskier asset.  While Holliday is typically a horse who plays the full season, his question marks have grown, and that isn't ideal when you're one of the oldest players in baseball.  The high note I'll leave on is that when some players age, it starts becoming more obvious that they are behind the game, Holliday's batted ball profile remained strong, and his discipline was better than it had been in years past.  Maybe he isn't as fast or strong as he was earlier in his career, but he is not sacrificing what he has grown on the mental side of the game to make up for whatever physical issues he has had.

#45 Justin Upton, OF, SD

$23.54, 87 R, 23 HR, 87 RBI

Upton is where I draw the line between being an excellent player and a star.  He posted a .250 average, along with 26 HR, 19 SB, and a .790 OPS.  So while all of those stats combined are very good, he failed to reach 20/20, and he failed to have an .800+ OPS, both being thresholds that many affiliate with star players.  But with the lack of a star caliber quality, he brings across the board production.  It comes in streaks, but it's worth it at the end of the year.  Also, something to consider is that him being a free agent this offseason would likely put him in a better home park next season, allowing his power to play up more.

#44 Aroldis Chapman, RP, CIN

$23.62, 130 K, 4 W, 42 SV, 2.057 ERA, .886 WHIP, 4.815 K/BB

Chapman was a fantasy beast yet again.  Going by strikeout rate, he is the greatest strikeout pitcher of all time.  I'm not sure I need to make any more of a case for him to be the first reliever taken.

#43 Joey Votto, 1B, CIN

$23.70, 82 R, 19 HR, 59 RBI, 5 SB, .289 AVG, .903 OPS

The lowest ranked batter with a projected .900 OPS is reached, and it turned out to be almost 100 points below what he did.  Votto continued to be the hitter with the best plate discipline in baseball, and with a full healthy season, he mashed his way into his owners hearts, along with being third in MVP voting.  Next year I expect him to be an elite producer yet again.

#42 Albert Pujols, 1B, LAA

79 R, 26 HR, 93 RBI, 5 SB, .274 AVG, .802 OPS

Pujols has had serious foot issues the past few years, and has had surgery this offseason.  Despite being hobbled, he managed a 40 homer season, and proved to be worth the investment any owner made in him.  Next year I'm hoping he can be fully healthy, and while I don't expect vintage Pujols, I wouldn't be surprised if a healthy version of him could hit .280 again.

#41 Jose Altuve, 2B, HOU

$24.10, 80 R, 7 HR, 50 RBI, 46 RBI, .307 AVG, .758 OPS

Altuve doesn't pack the punch of anyone else ranked above him, but his ability to play a ton of games, pile up hits, and constantly steal bases has made him impossible to ignore.  This year he did hit 15 homers, which does make him useful in that department, but that was likely his least valuable stat on the scorecard.  While making R and RBI projections are dangerous, next year I expect the Astros offense to be improved with more Springer and Correa, along with whomever they sign this offseason.  Altuve could threaten 100 R next season, and pairing that with a .300 average, 10 homers, and 40 steals makes him unique and very valuable.

#40 Corey Kluber, SP, CLE

$24.85, 236 K, 15 W, 3.205 ERA, 1.192 WHIP, 4.214 K/BB

Kluber posted a 9-16 record, showing the fickle nature of wins in fantasy, and why nobody should play with them over quality starts.  Kluber pitched 222 great innings, recording 245 strikeouts, while walking fewer than 2 per 9 innings.  Statistically speaking, Kluber wasn't as good as he was in 2014, but he was an excellent pitcher.  His batted ball profile was strong, especially when you consider how few batters were even putting the ball in play compared to the average pitcher.  If you're looking at a major outlets projection in 2016, they'll all likely be lower on Kluber, because of his wins being skewed by 2015, which gives a great opportunity to buy Kluber at a lower price than what he deserves.

As said earlier, this list was a pile of stars who due to one reason or another, have lost their shine.  Many of them were hurt again, and continued to hurt their value, but all of them will be redrafted in fantasy again in 2016.  If you have any questions about the ranks feel free to comment below, or ask me on twitter @jackcecil1.  Below are the rankings from everyone #300-40.

40 Corey Kluber CLE P 24.85
41 Jose Altuve HOU 2B 24.1
42 Albert Pujols LAA 1B, DH 23.86
43 Joey Votto CIN 1B 23.7
44 Aroldis Chapman CIN P 23.62
45 Justin Upton SD OF 23.54
46 Matt Holliday STL OF 23.48
47 Masahiro Tanaka NYY P 23.15
48 Prince Fielder TEX 1B 23.08
49 George Springer HOU OF 22.68
50 Yoenis Cespedes DET OF, DH 22.44
51 Matt Kemp SD OF 22.17
52 Jacoby Ellsbury NYY OF 21.87
53 Carlos Santana CLE 3B, 1B, DH 21.21
54 Jonathan Lucroy MIL C 21.09
55 Jon Lester CHC P 21.04
56 Evan Longoria TB 3B 21.03
57 Koji Uehara BOS P 20.84
58 Cole Hamels PHI P 20.59
59 Craig Kimbrel ATL P 20.25
60 Mookie Betts BOS OF 19.86
61 Nolan Arenado COL 3B 19.83
62 Mark Melancon PIT P 18.99
63 Starling Marte PIT OF 18.96
64 Greg Holland KC P 18.94
65 Chris Carter HOU DH 18.93
66 Pablo Sandoval BOS 3B 18.8
67 Ryan Zimmerman WSH 3B, OF 18.6
68 Kole Calhoun LAA OF 18.44
69 Kris Bryant CHC 3B 18.4
70 Chris Davis BAL 1B, 3B 18.35
71 Adam Wainwright STL P 18.23
72 Evan Gattis HOU C 18.18
73 Nelson Cruz SEA OF, DH 17.94
74 Ian Kinsler DET 2B 17.88
75 Kyle Seager SEA 3B 17.82
76 Jose Reyes TOR SS 17.33
77 Adam LaRoche CWS 1B 17.25
78 Jeff Samardzija CWS P 17.07
79 Hyun-Jin Ryu LAD P 16.98
80 Justin Morneau COL 1B 16.92
81 James Shields SD P 16.64
82 David Robertson CWS P 15.88
83 Todd Frazier CIN 3B, 1B 15.81
84 Jayson Werth WSH OF 15.69
85 Carlos Carrasco CLE P 15.68
86 Devin Mesoraco CIN C 15.5
87 J.D. Martinez DET OF 15.47
88 Phil Hughes MIN P 15.37
89 Melky Cabrera CWS OF 15.23
90 Matt Harvey NYM P 15.06
91 Kenley Jansen LAD P 15
92 Starlin Castro CHC SS 14.96
93 Glen Perkins MIN P 14.91
94 Hunter Pence SF OF 14.85
95 Jorge Soler CHC OF 14.76
96 Pedro Alvarez PIT 3B 14.65
97 Dellin Betances NYY P 14.63
98 Julio Teheran ATL P 14.5
99 Brandon Moss CLE 1B, OF 14.36
100 Mark Trumbo ARI 1B, OF 14.23
101 Matt Carpenter STL 3B 14.19
102 Manny Machado BAL 3B 14.17
103 Jason Heyward STL OF 14.07
104 Hisashi Iwakuma SEA P 13.98
105 Huston Street LAA P 13.64
106 Rusney Castillo BOS OF 13.51
107 Jacob deGrom NYM P 13.46
108 Dustin Pedroia BOS 2B 13.22
109 Neil Walker PIT 2B 13.08
110 Alex Cobb TB P 13.03
111 Andrew Miller NYY P 12.97
112 Christian Yelich MIA OF 12.96
113 Sean Doolittle OAK P 12.95
114 Jonathan Papelbon PHI P 12.64
115 Jay Bruce CIN OF 12.6
116 Alex Gordon KC OF 12.48
117 Marcell Ozuna MIA OF 12.23
118 Brian Dozier MIN 2B 11.99
119 Homer Bailey CIN P 11.98
120 Lucas Duda NYM 1B 11.93
121 Yadier Molina STL C 11.84
122 Leonys Martin TEX OF 11.84
123 Matt Adams STL 1B 11.78
124 Cody Allen CLE P 11.7
125 Steve Cishek MIA P 11.5
126 Joaquin Benoit SD P 11.45
127 Alex Wood ATL P 11.28
128 Jason Kipnis CLE 2B 11.16
129 Brandon McCarthy LAD P 11.08
130 Trevor Rosenthal STL P 10.92
131 Adam Lind MIL 1B, DH 10.91
132 Kolten Wong STL 2B 10.81
133 Ben Zobrist OAK 2B, SS, OF 10.79
134 Gerrit Cole PIT P 10.75
135 Chase Utley PHI 2B 10.72
136 David Wright NYM 3B 10.63
137 Charlie Blackmon COL OF 10.55
138 Aramis Ramirez MIL 3B 10.51
139 Anibal Sanchez DET P 10.49
140 Ken Giles PHI P 10.26
141 Martin Prado MIA 3B, 2B 10.14
142 Drew Smyly TB P 10.14
143 Steve Pearce BAL 1B, OF 10.05
144 Fernando Rodney SEA P 10
145 Jake Arrieta CHC P 9.99
146 Yan Gomes CLE C 9.8
147 Drew Storen WSH P 9.75
148 Gio Gonzalez WSH P 9.73
149 Daniel Murphy NYM 2B 9.46
150 Michael Cuddyer NYM OF 9.39
151 Doug Fister WSH P 9.37
152 Michael Wacha STL P 9.12
153 Joe Mauer MIN 1B 9.04
154 Brett Gardner NYY OF 9.04
155 Hector Rondon CHC P 8.87
157 Scooter Gennett MIL 2B 8.62
156 Alexei Ramirez CWS SS 8.62
158 Tyson Ross SD P 8.6
159 Billy Butler OAK DH, 1B 8.54
160 Mat Latos MIA P 8.48
161 Howie Kendrick LAD 2B 8.43
162 Eric Hosmer KC 1B 8.41
163 Garrett Richards LAA P 8.09
164 Brandon Belt SF 1B 8.07
165 Josh Harrison PIT OF, 3B 8.06
166 Jake McGee TB P 8
167 Andrew Cashner SD P 7.9
168 A.J. Pollock ARI OF 7.88
169 John Lackey STL P 7.86
170 Marlon Byrd CIN OF 7.7
171 Jedd Gyorko SD 2B 7.55
172 Francisco Rodriguez MIL P 7.47
173 Yusmeiro Petit SF P 7.45
174 Alex Rios KC OF 7.39
175 Oswaldo Arcia MIN OF 7.32
176 Khris Davis MIL OF 7.19
177 Salvador Perez KC C 7.15
178 Mike Fiers MIL P 7.06
179 Billy Hamilton CIN OF 6.84
180 Brian McCann NYY C 6.76
181 Addison Reed ARI P 6.6
183 Bartolo Colon NYM P 6.41
182 Lance Lynn STL P 6.41
184 Scott Kazmir OAK P 6.37
185 Shin-Soo Choo TEX OF, DH 6.21
186 Carl Crawford LAD OF 6.04
187 Chase Headley NYY 3B 5.98
188 Jose Quintana CWS P 5.95
189 Tony Watson PIT P 5.82
190 Justin Verlander DET P 5.69
191 Brad Boxberger TB P 5.64
192 Dan Haren MIA P 5.59
193 Aaron Hill ARI 2B 5.44
194 Rick Porcello BOS P 5.35
195 Luke Gregerson HOU P 5.29
196 Michael Pineda NYY P 5.29
197 Rougned Odor TEX 2B 5.2
198 Michael Saunders TOR OF 5.2
199 Lonnie Chisenhall CLE 3B 5.19
200 Mike Leake CIN P 5.18
201 Ian Kennedy SD P 5.12
202 Jonathon Niese NYM P 5.1
203 Wade Davis KC P 5.07
204 Yasmany Tomas ARI OF 5.06
205 Wilin Rosario COL C 5.05
206 Jhonny Peralta STL SS 5
207 Torii Hunter MIN OF 4.71
208 Mike Napoli BOS 1B 4.71
209 Matt Shoemaker LAA P 4.69
210 Jimmy Rollins LAD SS 4.66
211 Zach Britton BAL P 4.63
212 Russell Martin TOR C 4.44
213 Josh Reddick OAK OF 4.38
214 Collin McHugh HOU P 4.37
215 Jered Weaver LAA P 4.35
216 Brandon Finnegan KC P 4.27
217 Jake Peavy SF P 4.25
218 Matt Cain SF P 4.25
219 Sergio Romo SF P 4.25
220 Gregory Polanco PIT OF 4.2
221 Matt Wieters BAL C 4.12
222 CC Sabathia NYY P 4.11
223 Carlos Beltran NYY OF, DH 3.9
224 Erick Aybar LAA SS 3.89
225 Jake Odorizzi TB P 3.79
227 Joe Nathan DET P 3.74
226 Sonny Gray OAK P 3.74
228 Bobby Parnell NYM P 3.71
229 Dallas Keuchel HOU P 3.68
230 Danny Salazar CLE P 3.66
232 Curtis Granderson NYM OF 3.65
231 Joc Pederson LAD OF 3.65
233 Kyle Lohse MIL P 3.55
234 Rafael Soriano WSH P 3.54
235 Jose Fernandez MIA P 3.43
236 Wei-Yin Chen BAL P 3.31
237 Drew Hutchison TOR P 3.27
238 Derek Holland TEX P 3.25
239 Darren O'Day BAL P 3.14
240 Trevor Plouffe MIN 3B 3.1
241 Chris Tillman BAL P 3.1
242 John Jaso TB C, DH 3.07
243 Nick Markakis ATL OF 2.86
244 Elvis Andrus TEX SS 2.77
245 Kevin Gausman BAL P 2.75
246 Tyler Clippard OAK P 2.7
247 Jason Hammel CHC P 2.68
248 Matt Garza MIL P 2.62
249 Coco Crisp OAK OF 2.52
250 Dillon Gee NYM P 2.49
251 Neftali Feliz TEX P 2.43
252 Chris Archer TB P 2.31
253 Josh Collmenter ARI P 2.24
254 Ben Revere PHI OF 2.18
255 Pat Neshek HOU P 2.16
256 David Peralta ARI OF 2.14
257 Denard Span WSH OF 1.82
258 Santiago Casilla SF P 1.76
259 Nick Castellanos DET 3B 1.71
260 Adam Eaton CWS OF 1.64
261 Wilson Ramos WSH C 1.6
262 Wil Myers SD OF 1.6
263 Jenrry Mejia NYM P 1.5
264 Kyle Hendricks CHC P 1.45
265 Steven Souza TB OF 1.42
266 Vance Worley PIT P 1.32
267 Dalton Pompey TOR OF 1.17
268 Joakim Soria DET P 1.15
269 Nathan Eovaldi NYY P 1.1
270 Andrew Heaney LAA P 1.04
271 Joe Smith LAA P 0.81
272 Lorenzo Cain KC OF 0.68
273 Marco Estrada TOR P 0.46
274 Francisco Liriano PIT P 0.39
275 Dee Gordon MIA 2B 0.3
276 Desmond Jennings TB OF 0.2
277 Ervin Santana MIN P 0.08
278 Kevin Quackenbush SD P 0.06
279 Mark Teixeira NYY 1B 0
280 Mike Minor ATL P 0
281 Michael Morse MIA 1B, OF -0.01
282 James Loney TB 1B -0.07
284 Kennys Vargas MIN DH -0.08
283 Justin Smoak TOR 1B -0.08
285 Rajai Davis DET OF -0.14
286 Angel Pagan SF OF -0.19
287 Junichi Tazawa BOS P -0.23
288 Henderson Alvarez MIA P -0.41
289 R.A. Dickey TOR P -0.44
290 Clay Buchholz BOS P -0.46
291 Brandon Phillips CIN 2B -0.51
292 Asdrubal Cabrera TB SS, 2B -0.55
293 Danny Santana MIN SS, OF -0.76
294 Shelby Miller ATL P -0.79
295 LaTroy Hawkins COL P -0.87
296 Jed Lowrie HOU SS -1.02
297 Wade Miley BOS P -1.05
298 T.J. House CLE P -1.09
299 Danny Farquhar SEA P -1.12
300 Brett Cecil TOR P -1.15