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Early Top 5 rankings at each position for 2016

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Ray offers an early look at his top 5 at each position for 2016, including his thoughts on Kyle Schwarber, Carlos Correa, Manny Machado and others.

Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports

I recently published my early take on the top 100 hitters for 2016 (1-5051-100), my top 50 starting pitchers for 2016, and my top 50 overall rankings for next season, so today I offer you my top five at each position. The MLB season is long so writing about last night's top performers can get repetitive, so this piece gives me a chance to look at 2016, as many of you might be doing the same.

Sure, it's early, but it gives me an early start on the offseason rankings and to hear from you, our readers, to hear your thoughts on the early rankings.

In fact, in addition to posting your thoughts in the comments section, I welcome all of you to publish your early rankings in the fan post section. As long as you can include some analysis along with the rankings, I will consider front-paging your fan post for all to see.

Onto my early top 5 at each position:

Catcher

Rank

Player

Team

1

Buster Posey

Giants

2

Kyle Schwarber

Cubs

3

Brain McCann

Yankees

4

Yasmani Grandal

Dodgers

5

Salvador Perez

Royals

The only real surprise here, and maybe it isn't a surprise, is Cubs catcher Kyle Schwarber ranked as my #2 catcher for next season. Schwarber has done nothing but impress since his call up, hitting for power and average, but how he finishes will determine whether he will stay at the #2 spot.

First Base

Rank

Player

Team

1

Paul Goldschmidt

Diamondbacks

2

Miguel Cabrera

Tigers

3

Anthony Rizzo

Cubs

4

Jose Abreu

White Sox

5

Edwin Encarnacion

Blue Jays

I ranked Goldschmidt as my top first baseman, but where did the power go? Goldy has hit just two home runs since the end of June and stolen just four bases over the same time period. Two months ago, I thought he would be the #1 overall pick in fantasy drafts next season, but that has changed. I thought about ranking Rizzo above Miggy, but couldn't bring myself to do that. I like Rizzo, but Cabrera is the best hitter in the game when he is healthy.

Second Base

Rank

Player

Team

1

Brian Dozier

Twins

2

Jose Altuve

Astros

3

Jason Kipnis

Indians

4

Dee Gordon

Marlins

5

Ian Kinsler

Tigers

Dozier just keeps outperforming his expectations year in and year out, and he is deserving of the #1 ranking here, as he leads all second baseman in home runs and RBI and has chipped in with double digit stolen bases as well.  I ranked Altuve as my #2 second baseman as he once again is hitting for a high average and ranks second behind Gordon in stolen bases at the position.

Shortstop

Rank

Player

Team

1

Carlos Correa

Astros

2

Troy Tulowitzki

Blue Jays

3

Brandon Crawford

Giants

4

Jhonny Peralta

Cardinals

5

Jung-ho Kang

Pirates

Yeah, here is where things get interesting. I have already written about Correa being the top fantasy shortstop in 2016, so there he is. Tulowitzki is having a bit of a down season, for him, yet he has stayed healthy all season as well. I am curious how he will fare in a full season on the turf in Toronto though. The guy ranked behind him, Brandon Crawford, is actually having a better power season than Tulo even though he hits in a pitchers park in the majority of his games, while Tulo is hitting in two very hitter-friendly parks in Colorado and Toronto. That is something else to be aware of with Tulo - his decreased power and whether this is what we should expect from him going forward.

Third Base

Rank

Player

Team

1

Manny Machado

Orioles

2

Josh Donaldson

Blue Jays

3

Nolan Arenado

Rockies

4

Kris Bryant

Cubs

5

Todd Frazier

Reds

It was tough for me to rank Donaldson at #2, as he is an MVP candidate this season, but I am buying into Machado's breakout, and love the fact that he has tossed in double digit stolen bases to go with his 30 home run power. Machado is still only 23 years of age, so there might be a little more power in his bat in years to come. Buy!

I love Rockies third baseman Nolan Arenado, as he is enjoying a power breakout of his own this season.

Outfield

Rank

Player

Team

1

Mike Trout

Angels

2

Bryce Harper

Nationals

3

Giancarlo Stanton

Marlins

4

Andrew McCutchen

Pirates

5

George Springer

Astros

6

Ryan Braun

Brewers

7

Nelson Cruz

Mariners

8

J.D. Martinez

Tigers

9

Starling Marte

Pirates

10

Jose Bautista

Blue Jays

I ranked my top 10 outfielders here as I wanted to rank more than one guy at the #5 spot, so here you go. I really wish Springer would stay healthy for a full season, as he has a 30 home run, 20+ stolen base season in him. That said, I am curious if his power comes back once he returns from the wrist injury.

Braun has quietly had a very good season for the last place Brewers, and should end the season with 20+ home runs and 20+ stolen bases.

It seems weird to see both Nelson Cruz and J.D. Martinez ranked among my top 10 outfielders, but there they are. Both have hit 30+ home runs and hit .285 or better, so they have to be ranked in the top 10.

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