TOP 100 FOR 2018

Well, here it is! It may require just a little tweaking here or there but this is basically my final top 100 for fantasy baseball using standard 5×5 scoring and 1 catcher formats. I’ll have a top 250 or so out later in February and continue to expand positional rankings in the upcoming weeks. I’ll also tart posting my player projections. Also follow me on twitter @FreezeStats

Rank Name Team Pos
1 Mike Trout Angels OF
2 Jose Altuve Astros 2B
3 Paul Goldschmidt Diamondbacks 1B
4 Trea Turner Nationals SS
5 Mookie Betts Red Sox OF
6 Nolan Arenado Rockies 3B
7 Bryce Harper Nationals OF
8 Giancarlo Stanton Yankees OF
9 Freddie Freeman Braves 1B/3B
10 Charlie Blackmon Rockies OF
11 Francisco Lindor Indians SS
12 Carlos Correa Astros SS
13 Manny Machado Orioles 3B
14 Max Scherzer WAS SP
15 Joey Votto Reds 1B
16 J.D. Martinez OF
17 Jose Ramirez Indians 2B/3B
18 Corey Kluber CLE SP
19 Anthony Rizzo Cubs 1B/2B
20 Clayton Kershaw LAD SP
21 George Springer Astros OF
22 Kris Bryant Cubs 3B
23 Aaron Judge Yankees OF
24 Chris Sale BOS SP
25 Cody Bellinger Dodgers 1B/OF
26 Gary Sanchez Yankees C
27 Jose Abreu White Sox 1B
28 Alex Bregman Astros 3B/SS
29 Dee Gordon Marlins 2B
30 Josh Donaldson Blue Jays 3B
31 Daniel Murphy Nationals 2B
32 Anthony Rendon Nationals 3B
33 Stephen Strasburg WAS SP
34 Nelson Cruz Mariners DH
35 Tommy Pham Cardinals OF
36 Carlos Carrasco CLE SP
37 Corey Seager Dodgers SS
38 Jacob DeGrom NYM SP
39 Marcell Ozuna Cardinals OF
40 Noah Syndergaard NYM SP
41 Luis Severino NYY SP
42 Andrew Benintendi Red Sox OF
43 A.J. Pollock Diamondbacks OF
44 Rhys Hoskins Phillies 1B/OF
45 Zack Greinke ARI SP
46 Justin Turner Dodgers 3B
47 Justin Upton Angels OF
48 Justin Verlander HOU SP
49 Madison Bumganer SF SP
50 Edwin Encarnacion Indians 1B
51 Brian Dozier Twins 2B
52 Christian Yelich Marlins OF
53 Wil Myers Padres 1B
54 Carlos Martinez STL SP
55 Eric Hosmer 1B
56 Khris Davis Athletics OF
57 Yu Darvish FA SP
58 Starling Marte Pirates OF
59 Masahiro Tanaka NYY SP
60 Kenley Jansen Dodgers RP
61 Trevor Story Rockies SS
62 Adrian Beltre Rangers 3B
63 Robbie Ray ARI SP
64 Lorenzo Cain Brewers OF
65 Elvis Andrus Rangers SS
66 Aaron Nola PHI SP
67 Craig Kimbrel Red Sox RP
68 Yoenis Cespedes Mets OF
69 Andrew McCutchen Giants OF
70 Chris Archer TB SP
71 Jose Quintana CHC SP
72 Byron Buxton Twins OF
73 Joey Gallo Rangers
1B/3B/OF
74 Miguel Sano Twins 3B
75 Jean Segura Mariners SS
76 James Paxton SEA SP
77 Aroldis Chapman Yankees RP
78 Willson Contreras Cubs C
79 Ozzie Albies Braves 2B
80 Rougned Odor Rangers 2B
81 Jonathan Schoop Orioles 2B
82 Billy Hamilton Reds OF
83 Edwin Diaz Mariners RP
84 Whit Merrifield Royals 2B/OF
85 Chris Taylor Dodgers
2B/SS/OF
86 Ryan Braun Brewers OF
87 Jake Lamb Diamondbacks 3B
88 Sonny Gray NYY SP
89 David Price BOS SP
90 Nick Castellanos Tigers 3B
91 Ken Giles Astros RP
92 Zack Godley ARI SP
93 Luis Castillo CIN SP
94 Domingo Santana Brewers OF
95 Shohei Ohtani LAA SP/DH
96 Jake Arrieta FA SP
97 Felipe Rivero Pirates RP
98 Willie Calhoun Rangers OF
99 Travis Shaw Brewers 1B/3B
100 Roberto Osuna Blue Jays RP

2018 Starting Pitcher Rankings – Top 50

Here’s my Way Too Early 2018 Starting Pitcher Rankings for 2018.  Obviously this list will change some as free agents sign and Shohei Ohtani (Who is that?) finally gets signed.  I like to keep the pitcher rankings fluid basically up until the start of the season because preseason can change things for a lot of these pitchers.  In the preseason I look at velocities, injuries, and roster moves/transactions.  All of these things can play a roll in the final preseason rankings.  It’s different for hitter though, I don’t look at preseason performance for hitters as much or even at all really unless a player hits his way into a starting spot.  Alright, here’s the list:

2018 EARLY SP RANKINGS – TOP 50

Rank Name Team
1 Max Scherzer WAS
2 Clayton Kershaw LAD
3 Corey Kluber CLE
4 Chris Sale BOS
5 Stephen Strasburg WAS
6 Jacob DeGrom NYM
7 Carlos Carrasco CLE
8 Noah Syndergaard NYM
9 Luis Severino NYY
10 Zack Greinke ARI
11 Justin Verlander HOU
12 Madison Bumganer SF
13 Carlos Martinez STL
14 Yu Darvish FA
15 Masahiro Tanaka NYY
16 Aaron Nola PHI
17 Robbie Ray ARI
18 Chris Archer TB
19 Jose Quintana CHC
20 Jake Arrieta FA
21 James Paxton SEA
22 Zack Godley ARI
23 Luis Castillo CIN
24 Shohei Ohtani FA
25 David Price BOS
26 Sonny Gray NYY
27 Dallas Keuchel HOU
28 Marcus Stroman TOR
29 Luke Weaver STL
30 Rich Hill LAD
31 Alex Wood LAD
32 Brad Peacock HOU
33 Charlie Morton HOU
34 Jon Lester CHC
35 Gerrit Cole PIT
36 Michael Fulmer DET
37 Jeff Samardzija SF
38 Chase Anderson MIL
39 Danny Duffy KC
40 Trevor Bauer CLE
41 Kyle Hendricks CHC
42 Jose Berrios MIN
43 Jameson Taillon PIT
44 Dylan Bundy BAL
45 Lance McCullers HOU
46 Johnny Cueto SF
47 Garrett Richards LAA
48 Patrick Corbin ARI
49 Blake Snell TB
50 Mike Clevinger CLE

I won’t spend too much time on any real explanations at this point because as I mentioned these will change.  It’s clear on players who I love and are being undervalued like: Luis Castillo, Masahiro Tanaka, Aaron Nola, Zack Godley, Charlie Morton, Chase Anderson, and Mike Clevinger.  I already have sleeper posts on Castillo and Tanaka so you can bet I’ll have more coming out about the rest.  I should mention Ohtani but who the hell knows how things will work for him. If I’m ranking him as an SP only option I put him 24th.  His windup and throwing motion is almost identical to Darvish’s but he throws harder.  I think he’ll be very good but an innings limit of 150-160 is what I’m expecting, that’s why he doesn’t crack the top 20 in redrafts.

As far as SPs I’m not as high on include Madison Bumgarner, Dallas Keuchel, Alex Wood, Jon Lester, Gerrit Cole, and Lance McCullers.  I don’t like pitchers who throw a bunch of innings in the playoffs, it extends there innings (sometimes beyond where the club’s innings cap) and pitchers exert a lot more energy and throw much closer to their max velocities.  There will be some fatigue for some of the Astros and Dodger pitchers among others similar to what you saw this year with the Cubs.  Regarding Bumgarner, I don’t love how he looked after coming back from the injury and I just don’t feel he’s as dominant as the top 2 tiers.

 

Top 30 for 2018

Top 30 Overall Rankings for 2018!

By: Max Freeze

Everyone and their mother does an early top 25, but I’m not your damn Mother!  Besides, I love the upsides of #s 26-30 and you won’t believe who I have at #30!  Hint: No one else will rank him as high as me and everyone loves him on twitter now.  Ok, let’s get to it!

  1. Mike Trout: Duh. Not much to say.  Played in only 114 games due to injury and still finished inside the top 25 overall going 33/22 and a career high 181 wRC+!  Oh and he’s only 26 and will have more protection with Justin Upton hitting behind him in 2018. Case closed.
  2. Paul Goldschmidt: Like Trout, 5 category stud and the steals are rare for 1B putting him above the Vottos, Freemans, and Rizzos. At 30 years old, this may be one of his last seasons in the top 5 but nothing from 2017 showed me he’s slowing down.  Keep an eye on the Chase Field humidor talk though this offseason.
  3. Jose Altuve: World Series hangover? I doubt it.  The mid 20s power is legit, the average is always top 3 and the steals are there.  He turns 28 in 2018 so I could see the steals drop just enough to drop him below Goldy for the #2 spot.  But with steals so thin, even 25-28 is very valuable.
  4. Bryce Harper: Missed significant time due to an injury for the 2nd time in four years but like Trout still finished with solid overall numbers. The injuries are a bit worrisome but if he plays 155 games in 2018 I wouldn’t be surprised if he ends up the #1 fantasy player and he’s only 25.  This goes for any of the top 4.  For me, this closes out the top tier of guys.  One of these guys should finish as the top overall fantasy player in 2018.  Sure, others could because #fantasybaseball but these are your studs.
  5. Mookie Betts: I thought long and hard between Mookie Ballgame, Stanton, and Arenado before ultimately going with Betts.  Typically I go with the 5 category guys over the guys with all power and no speed.  Mookie hit only .264 in 2017 and still had 24 HRs and 26 steals with over 100 runs & RBI each.  What a down year LOL.  The .268 BABIP is the sole reason for the low average.  That’s about 40 points below where he should be. So add 30-40 points to his average and about 10 runs and RBI each and tell me he’s not a top 5 player.
  6. Nolan Arenado: Nolan did Nolan things in 2017. Colorado helps, obvi, and if he weren’t playing half his games there he probably would be 25-30 overall, but he ain’t leavin’!  He’s also walked more the last two seasons and his average has raised each of the last 3 seasons.  It’s hard to pass on a guy who basically is guaranteed to go .300 40-130.
  7. Giancarlo Stanton: We all knew that a 50-60 HR season was in that bat of a young, at the time Mike, Stanton. And it finally happened.  So here he is, back in the top 10.  Will he repeat his numbers from 2017?  Not quite IMO, but I don’t think he’s that far off.  He’s made some adjustments to his batting stance and approach.  I’ll get into them in another post but those changes are for the better.  He’s maturing and it doesn’t matter if he’s moved elsewhere or not.
  8. Trea Turner: Treat Urner (pronounced Earner) as I call him has only played in 198 major league games but his upside is so high that in an era where less than 10 players stole 30 bases in 2017, Trea can absolutely carry you without hurting in any other category. I cannot stress that enough.  He doesn’t belong with the speed only guy. Anyways, in those 198 games, he has 25 HRs and 81 steals!  He hits at the top of the best lineup in the national league and his stolen base success rate is over 83%.  His speed and power have actually been UNDERRATED.  Could he go 20-70 with a .300 BA?    But even a 16-60 season justifies this pick.
  9. Carlos Correa: My man!  I love the reaction/celebration he had after (as it was unfolding) game 5 of the World Series. The patience is there, the power continues to develop and he has speed (although, 2 steals in 2017)?  Something was off, it could have been injury related.  It’s like Machado’s 2016 season.  Either way, the kid is not slow, I can see him getting 10-12 steals in 2018.  .310-35-12 with 100+ runs and RBI at SS….
  10. Charlie Blackmon: Last year’s #1 overall fantasy player. Pretty much everything went right for Chucky.  There is regression coming and his steals are dwindling now that he’s in his 30s.  I still see 30-10 with an over .300 average and a billion runs so I had to keep him in the top 10.
  11. Freddie Freeman: Wait! No pitchers in the top 10???  Well, I don’t like drafting pitchers in first round.  I need at least a couple top tier bats and besides Kershaw is no longer the unquestioned top SP anymore.  Back to Freeman.  About 3 years ago I compared Freeman to Hosmer, LOL.  Then from what I can gather he got embarrassed by that comparison and started absolutely killing the ball and hitting in it the air more.  He’s only 28 and if he stays healthy I can see a 38-110 season from Freddie.
  12. Francisco Lindor: The “juiced” ball seems to have helped guys like Lindor and teammate Jose Ramirez the most. MLB’s ratings are up and I can’t see them changing anything with the ball in 2018; so expect more of the same with HRs.  That along with hitting a few more fly balls didn’t hurt.  I don’t know if Lindor is a 30 HR hitter or not.  He could go back to hitting .320 20-20 or .280 30-15, either way, he’s going to be hitting in one of the top 3 spots for one of the top 3 lineups next year.
  13. Joey Votto: Like a fine wine is JV. It’s because he’s so damn smart!  His BB/K ratio is creeping towards early 2000s Barry Bonds territory!  It was 1.61 in 2017.  I mean, what?  I like when a player has a 0.5 BB/K ratio.  And he decided to hit for power as well.  If Joey wants to do it, he will do it!  I just hope he keeps doing it in 2018.  Take a few HRs off his 2017 total but everything else should remain for him.
  14. Manny Machado: Woof! Tale of two halves for Machado and the first was a have not! Machado like Betts was hurt by a low BABIP. But Machado really felt it in the first half with a BABIP of .239!  A guy with a 40% hard hit% and above average speed should not have that kind of BABIP.  The power did not go away and his steals came back a bit.  Basically book a 35-10 season with a .290 average from MM.  No, MM does not stand for Mad Max below dumby.  My Man maybe, wait that’s Correa… I’m getting confused. Where was I???
  15. Max Scherzer: Ah yes, Mad Max. Scherzer over Kershaw, yup.  It’s not even worthy of an exclamation point (unless I am Elaine writing for Pendant Publishing).  If I knew Kershaw would throw 200+ innings in 2018 he would be my top pitcher but he’s had some lingering injuries the last two seasons plus #Dodgers.  Back to Max.  No not me, but I am pretty badass.  The only negative against Mad Max is his age.  He’s 33, but who cares, he’s upped his K/9 in four straight seasons!  Does that surprise you?  He’s good for 200+ IP, 250+ Ks, mid 2 ERA and sub 1 WHIP.  Oh and I think he was unlucky with only 16 wins in 2017, he’ll creep closer to 20.
  16. Clayton Kershaw: As I mentioned in Max’s blurb, Kershaw is better per inning but I don’t see Kershaw throwing over 200 innings in 2018.  The playoff run doesn’t help and the Dodgers will do their thing pulling him early at times and skipping a few starts via the 10 day DL.  A couple of minor (I mean very minor) changes to Kershaw, the HR rate nearly doubled and his SwStr % was his lowest since 2014.  He also was on the other end of the luck spectrum getting 18 wins in 27 starts!  Again, Kershaw is great and he never walks anyone.  I give ERA to Kershaw but Ks and wins to Scherzer, but its razor thin between the two.
  17. J.D. Martinez: I feel like he’s a bit under rated after one of the most underrated offensive season’s I’ve seen in a long time thanks to Stanton chasing 60 HRs and Judge breaking the rookie record.  I mean, he hit 45 HRs in 119 games!  In case you’re wondering, that’s a 61 HR pace in 162 games.  I don’t know why we don’t look at him in a similar light to Stanton.  Yes, he’s older and a bit of a late bloomer but in 2015, his first full season, he hit 38 homeruns.  I’m not saying his power is equal to Stanton’s but it’s just a step below (hence my current rankings).  There is swing and miss in his game but is there with Stanton, Judge, Bellinger, etc.  Yes, there is.  Some of his value will depend on where he lands but most parks are better than Detroit and few are better than Arizona.  Either way a full season from J.D. should yield 40-45 HRs or 110+ RBI.
  18. Chris Sale: I think the top pitchers are very close but all have some minor questions so I can’t see myself drafted any of them in first round.  To be honest, if I don’t get one of the top 4, I might just wait until after round 5 or 6 to get an SP.  Well Sale just keeps getting better, 300 Ks, best SwStr% of his career which lead to nearly 13 K/9 and he’s only 28.  If you want to put him #1, I won’t argue, he’s great!
  19. George Springer: What’s the difference between Springer and Bryant?  Both have cut their K rates over the last three seasons, hit for power, take walks, score a billion runs and hit for a decent average.  Springer is a bit older at 28 (Bryant 26) but I think Springer is still improving whereas Bryant may have already had his best fantasy season back in 2016.  Honestly, their HR, steals, AVG and OBP are going to be very close IMO.  The difference for me is the runs and RBI.  I like the ‘Stros lineup a bit better so Springer gets the bump with maybe +15 runs + RBI.
  20. Kris Bryant: I go into detail on why Bryant is overrated going into 2018, I wouldn’t call him a bust by any means, he’s got one of the higher floors in the league especially for OBP leagues. He’s made some positive progress since his MVP season in 2016 such as cutting down on strikeouts and increasing walks.  They don’t however outweigh the negatives which include: decrease in power, hard hit %, and HR/FB%.  It’s not fluky either, xstats pegs him .263/.377 and 34 HRs mostly due to an elevated BABIP.  That lower BA an OBP will most certainly lead to less runs and the RBIs are limited due to his #2 spot in the order.
  21. Corey Kluber: The last of the BIG 4! Klub-Bot was the #1 SP from June 1 on after his DL stint.  From that point on he went 15-2 with a 1.62 ERA and 224 Ks!  That’s a top 5 season in only 4 months of production.  That’s Kershaw territory.  His slider is arguably the best in the game and was given a 37.8 PV on fangraphs.  That’s pretty good fam and if ya don’t know, now ya know…  So like I said in Chris Sale’s post, I wouldn’t be surprised if any of these guys are #1 at the end of the season.
  22. Anthony Rizzo: consistently.  I’ll let this table do the talking for the Riz
Season AVG HR RBI R wOBA
2014 0.286 32 78 89 0.397
2015 0.278 31 101 94 0.384
2016 0.292 32 109 94 0.391
2017 0.273 32 109 99 0.380

I threw wOBA in there to show that even the value of his hits are almost identical each year.  If it weren’t for a slump in the last 3 weeks of the season Rizzo would have probably hit 35 HRs for the time and obviously had a career high RBI.  He even threw in 10 steals which is the second time in three years he’s reached double digits.  Nothing too flashy about Rizzo but he’s always on base and rarely strikes out.  That’s a rare quality for a slugger.  Kind of like Bryant one of the safer floors in the league.  His upside is limited but .280 32 110 10 will help almost any team at this spot.

  1. Gary Sanchez: I normally hate catchers and almost never rank them inside the top 50 let alone the top 25.  Sanchez is different because he’s the only catcher with 35-40 HR upside.  He hits in the middle of one of the better young lineups in baseball.  I mean, he missed 4 weeks and still hit over 30 HRs and it’s not like pitchers didn’t adjust to his crazy 2016.  He “struggled” a bit in May and June after he came back from the injury.  The next highest catcher for me might go 27-90.  I might project Sanchez for something like 36-105.  That difference is the largest gap between the top 2 at any position.  For that reason his rank needs to be elevated.
  2. Jose Ramirez: I am hesitant to have Jo-Ram up this high because I do think he takes a hit in the power department.  But the average is legit, the speed is there and the run production will most likely go up with a prime spot in the order all year.  So if he goes .315 20/20 with 200 runs + RBI are you going to be upset?  A quick stat I find amazing is that he lead the league in 2017 with 91 extra base hits!  It wasn’t Judge, it wasn’t Stanton, it was 5-9 165 Jose Ramirez!  So there’s pop in his bat but maybe he trades some HRs and doubles for singles which could lead to more steals.  So it’s all good, draft confidently at the end of the 2nd
  3. Josh Donaldson: The former AL MVP had an interesting year going on the DL very early and coming back in May to one of his worst stretches in the last 5 years.  However, the 2nd half was so ridiculous, it made me believe that he might have one more dominate year left.  The age and injuries are becoming a concern along with the poor lineup depth (Edwin gone, Joey Bats terrible, Russell Martin and Tulo way over the hill).  Maybe he gets dealt to a contender and goes 40-120, IDK.  The good news is, you won’t have to spend a 1st (or even 2nd in some cases) round pick on him.
  4. Aaron Judge: Judge was either the #1 or #2 fantasy player depending on your league in 2017. I think almost everyone is expecting a regression, but how much?  He could be drafted top 5 or somewhere in the 30s, who knows.  We know what he can do but his floor is pretty damn low.  I’m writing a post about Joey Gallo later and the difference between Judge and Gallo isn’t that much.  I don’t see a .280 average again or 50 HRs but where would you draft say .250 42 HRs and 10 steals?  Still top 30 for me.
  5. Stephen Strasburg: Strasburg to me has the stuff and the numbers to be in the top tier but he never throws enough innings. But pitchers are throwing less innings, bullpens are deeper and the 10 Day DL helps keep pitchers fresh by skipping a start or 2 if they are feeling fatigued.  Only 15 pitchers threw 200 innings in 2017.  Stasburg would only need something like 180 innings to be a top 5 starter IMO.  Oh wait, he only had 175 innings in 2017 and was ranked 5th overall for SPs.
  6. Justin Upton: J-Up went nuts in 2017; maybe it was due to a contract year. He was signed to nice 5 year $106 Mil deal to stay with the Angels.   Now he’ll be hitting behind Mike Trout full time which is a huge boost because this fishy guy gets on base something like 45% of the time.  I am worried about Upton for the following reason:
    1. He’s coming off a career year
    2. He’s in his first year of a new deal
    3. He will be 30 in 2018.

If you’ve owned Upton in a H2H league before he feels so up(ton) and down but usually gets close to 30 HRs and 10+ steals.  So in Roto he’s great, because you set him and forget him; he always gets his numbers.  I do expect some negative regression in average and power but his RBI totals should still be around 100 if he hits behind Trout all year.  So 30-100 with 10 steals is pretty bankable.

  1. Cody Bellinger: The other ROY. But man did the Astros make him look bad in the World Series.  Just understand that when team’s square off seven times in a row and the competition is the best in the game, they find ways to neutralize team’s best hitters.  Bellinger will be fine in 2018, adjustments will be made and I think his K rate will go up a bit and average will come down.  His final line should be similar to Judge’s with a few less HRs and RBI.  Bellinger does have a chance to hit for a better average than Judge, but we are splitting hairs.
  2. Alex Bregman: Oh Damn! I bet you weren’t expecting that! I want Bregman on all my teams next year. I’ll mention the comparisons in a future post about Bregman but he likes like the 2014 version of Anthony Rendon.  I know he’s got all the hype following the World Series victory but NO ONE else has him their top 30! I see 5 cats from him in 2018: he has power, speed, average, a ton of runs and decent RBIs hitting behind Springer.  I think his power is a bit under rated and I’d take him over 2018 Rendon straight up and he’s even eligible at SS!  Gimme, gimme!

Let me know what you think in the comments or give me a shout out on twitter @Freezestats.

Welcome to Freezestats!!

Welcome to Freezestats!  Well, it’s happening, I’ve got my first post of the year up for the top 30 for 2018.  A ton of sleeper and busts posts are on their way along with projections and complete rankings to follow.  Hit me up on twitter @FreezeStats.

Thanks and feel free to let me know what you think in the comments section.

-Max