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2016 Fantasy Baseball Rankings, Hitter, Pitchers, Sleepers, Overall Ranks

Jake Ciely February 3, 2016 4:08PM EDT
Can you smell the grass clippings? Well, if you’re experiencing 70 degrees in February like me, it’s quite possible. Most of the country is still just trying to get out of the snow.


But with February arriving, that means it’s time for the 2016 Fantasy Baseball season. Yep, it’s just around the corner, and drafts will be starting before you know it. In fact, Mixed LABR is just a mere two weeks away. With drafts fast approaching, you need to start planning, and what better way than with 2016 Fantasy Baseball rankings? Don’t worry, I’m not just going to drop and run.


I’m going to pick out one of the bigger differences from the average consensus ranking at each position and explain my reasoning.

Get ready, baseball is almost here!

Fantasy Baseball Rankings powered by FantasyPros

Quick side note, you’ll see some drastic difference at some positions with multi-position eligibility. Use the player’s main position to see a true ranking, as FantasyPros casts a wider net for sites, and some players (i.e. Manny Machado at shortstop) look off because some experts don’t rank at all “eligible” positions.


Devin Mesoraco, CIN (ACR 10, MR 13) – The upside is undeniable, but no one has a clue as to which Mesoraco we’ll see. After hitting .273 with 25 home runs in 114 games during the 2014 season, Mesoraco lost the 2015 season to a hip injury and hit just .178 in limited action. I’d love to own Mesoraco and his potential but not as my C1. We haven’t seen him play since surgery, he might never return to his 2014 form and could even miss time again. Big risk.

First Base

Joey Votto, CIN (6, 4) and Edwin Encarnacion, TOR (4, 6) –There aren’t many big differences at first base, and players such as David Ortiz are skewed by some experts not ranking them due to eligibility differences. Honestly, Votto and EE are nitpicky, but I prefer the AVG and health of Votto. But Jake, Votto missed a lot of 2014. Yes, I know, and he even missed time in 2012, but while Votto looks to be back to 100 percent, Encarnacion seemingly has something pop up every year. Again, it’s personal preference, and if you like Encarnacion, I won’t argue much.

Second Base

Brandon Phillips, CIN (16, 22) –We’ll move off the Reds soon, I promise. I’m not buying into a player turning 35 this year repeating his stolen base success (23 last year). In addition, Phillips posted his highest average since 2011 with a BABIP that did the same. If you want to pay for an aging second baseman that could easily bomb as he did in 2014, go right ahead. I won’t.


Third Base

Pablo Sandoval, BOS (24, 19) –See? No more Reds. I’m not thrilled with Sandoval, but I do think he is better than what we saw last year. Health plus adjusting to the AL and Fenway hurt Sandoval’s numbers, as seen in his AVG and BABIP. He’ll rebound in 2016, but don’t expect game-changing value.


Jhonny Peralta, STL (8, 12) –Sure, shortstop is always thin, but what are we talking about here? Peralta is a mid-teen homer hitter with a mediocre AVG (.260-.270). I prefer the potential of guys like Addison Russell instead of taking a solid, low-ceiling option.


Joc Pederson, LAD (43, 32) – Did we already forget Pederson’s first half last year? Heck, some people wouldn’t give him up for his teammate Clayton Kershaw in trades. Obviously, Pederson’s second half was terrible (.178 AVG, six home runs), but he’s better than that. Pitchers adjusted and now it’s Pederson’s turn. Sure, he could have done that last year, but the kid was a rookie and is still a kid (24 in April), plus the Dodgers rode him to death early last year. Pederson should be ready for a full MLB season this time, and while his average will never help, few youngsters have as much power potential.

Randal Grichuk, STL (48, 38) – I see 20 home runs as the floor for Grichuk this year. While his ISO will likely dip from his Top 10 mark last year (min 300 ABs), the power potential is real, he’ll have a full season in the Cardinals outfield and should post 70-plus Runs and RBIs.

Starting Pitcher

Noah Syndergaard, NYM (18, 12) – Only seven pitchers had a higher K% with at least 150 IPs with only six having a higher SOBB (K-BB%). Thor didn’t slow down late in the season as some young pitchers might, posting a K% of 32-plus in his last four starts! If he can just limit the homers a bit, which will come with more polish, Syndergaard could find himself in the Top 10 in 2016.

Shelby Miller, ARI (41, 55) – Miller has bucked his xFIP each year, and it ends now. Moving to Arizona is tough on many pitchers, and Miller hasn’t posted a great SOBB after 2012 (15.5, 7.1, 11.4). Oh, 2012 was just six games and one start for reference. The numbers are going to catch up with Miller this year, and it won’t be pretty.

Relief Pitcher

Will Smith, MIL (33, 20) – Francisco Rodriguez is gone, which opens the door for Smith. He posted a 2.70 ERA, 1.20 WHIP and 91 Ks in 63.1 IP, good for a 25.4 SOBB. Obviously, those are closer-like numbers. If Smith does take control of the closer’s role, his strikeout potential likely makes even 20th overall too low at the position.

Photo Credit: Keith Allison

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