We kicked off our Consensus Position Rankings series a few weeks ago and have now posted our consensus top 30 rankings for each of the infield positions, along with player profiles, top 15 fantasy catcher prospects, players to target and avoid, and much more.
2015 Consensus Position Rankings & Profiles
2015 Consensus Position Rankings
Mike Trout to run more in 2015
Angels outfielder Mike Trout disappointed his fantasy owners. He did not run as much as he had in the past. His stolen bases have dropped from 49 in 2012, to 22 in 2013 to just 16 last year, a drop of 66% in two seasons. This season, that could change:
#Angels CF Mike Trout said two of his biggest goals this season are to cut down strikeouts and increase stolen bases.— Mike DiGiovanna (@MikeDiGiovanna) February 25, 2015
Trout stealing more bases is obviously good for his owners, and won't change the fact that he is still the #1 player in fantasy baseball. He will just be that much better than everyone else. He needs to stop this.
Josh Hamilton looking at suspension
News came out last night that Angels outfielder Josh Hamilton currently rehabbing after offseason shoulder surgery, met with officials in the MLB offices in New York and is facing a possible disciplinary action. PED use has been ruled out, so it is something else. Given his history with drugs, it could be a relapse. Here's more from Foxsports' Ken Rosenthal:
Asked a baseball executive if Hamilton’s discipline was for PEDs. His response: "Worse." The executive declined to elaborate.— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) February 25, 2015
What could be worse? A relapse was the first thing that came to mind, but other possibilities did as well. I hope he can recover from whatever he did.
Here is more from CBS Sports Jon Heyman:
Hear hamilton had relapse. Believe occurred a couple months back. Involved at least cocaine. Honorably, he confessed.— Jon Heyman (@JonHeymanCBS) February 26, 2015
I imagine any suspension will be served after he returns from the disabled list. As it is, I didn't even rank him in my Top 100 outfielder rankings that will be published during Outfielder week beginning next Monday.
Peter O'Brien: 2015 Sleeper
It can get a little slow during the first week of Spring Training when it is just pitchers and catchers in camp, but this year at Salt River Fields, D-backs catcher Peter O'Brien has made batting practice a must-see event.
O'Brien, acquired from the Yankees last July 31 in exchange for Martin Prado, is likely to start the season in the Minors, but the team loves his bat and believes he is improving enough defensively where he can stay behind the plate.
A number of front office executives came out to the field to watch O'Brien hit Tuesday and after he blasted one off the batter's eye in center, former D-backs outfielder Luis Gonzalez joked with coaches behind the cage saying, "Hang in there. The power will come soon."
I wrote about Diamondbacks catcher Peter O'Brien in my 2015 Catching Sleepers piece a few weeks back, and I think he will see plenty of time in Arizona this season, as their starting catcher right now is Tuffy Gosewiach.
Homer Bailey may not be ready for Opening Day
Reds starter Homer Bailey is currently rehabbing after having surgery on September 5th of last year to repair a torn flexor muscle tendon in his right elbow. He is behind schedule and some have reported that he could start the season on the disabled list. Here is more from Mark Sheldon from MLB.com:
Bailey, slated to be Cincinnati's No. 2 starter in the rotation, has been long-tossing and pitching from flat ground. His readiness for Opening Day remains a question mark. A report by The Associated Press said the Reds expected Bailey to begin the season on the disabled list. However, Price and general manager Walt Jocketty denied that it was accurate and said no such decision has been made.
"He's well on his way, and we have complete faith he'll be able to go at some point in time fairly early in the season," Price said. "I don't know if it's going to be Opening Day, but I don't imagine we'll be talking about May, either."
I personally will be targeting Bailey in drafts this season, for the sole reason that he will come cheap due to the fact he may not be ready on Opening Day. Many owners do not like to take on the risk of an injured player, but I am at the right price. He disappointed owners last season, but was solid in June, July and August before going down with the elbow issue. His monthly ERA last season:
After giving up 10 home runs in the first two months of the season, covering 64.1 innings, he gave up just six over his last 81.1 innings. I am assuming he will be healthy in early April, and be back to the pitcher we saw in the last three months of the season.
K-Rod to the Brewers?
Former Brewers closer Francisco Rodriguez is still a free agent and there have been several teams attached to K-Rod, namely the Brewers, his former employer, and the Marlins. There have been reports of a third team involved, could be the Dodgers, but nothing definitive. Earlier this week , reports indicated he was close to signing a contract, and now this morning, we get this tweet from Clark Spencer from the Miami Herald:
K-Rod not coming to #marlins. Has agreed to go elsewhere.— clarkspencer (@clarkspencer) February 26, 2015
K-Rod had been asking for a two year deal, so maybe the Brewers caved and signed him rather than deal a prospect to the Phillies for Jonathan Papelbon. The Brewers have a need at the closer spot as Jonathan Broxton just can't get it done in that role anymore.
We should learn more about where he signs later today.
Alex Rodriguez to play first base?
With the offseason signing of third baseman Chase Headley, it appeared that Alex Rodriguez, who is returning from his year long PED suspension, would be limited to DH'ing. But yesterday we learned that manager Joe Girardi will give him some time at first base this spring to see if he can handle first base.
This improves his fantasy value on draft day as he could be the right-handed side of a first base platoon with Mark Teixeira. He lands on my radar in deeper mixed leagues and AL-only leagues as a result.