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Top Fifty Fantasy Players Wrap-up

Some of our Major League Mayhem writers, Austin Perodeau (AP), Michael Ferro (MF), Connor Kurcon (CK), Jason Gold (JG), and Rhys White (RW) have compiled a list of the top 50 players in fantasy for 2017. I’m here to bring you the much anticipated 21-30 list. We’ve used our own (biased) opinions and the information available to us from numerous sources to put together these rankings, so feel free to disagree with us in the comments and explain why every one of our picks is wrong.

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1 Mike Trout – No reasoning needed. It’s Mike Trout. If you’re thinking of getting cute and drafting someone else, don’t. He’s the best there is. -CK

2 Mookie Betts - The next two are essentially interchangeable depending on whether you value extra power over some speed. We went for Mookie here because speed has become a more difficult commodity to acquire in fantasy and the prospect of multiple 20/20 or even 30/30 seasons is just too hard to pass up. -JG

3 Kris Bryant - After breaking 100 RBIs and almost 40 homers, Bryant should be a top pick in any fantasy league. He is serviceable on defense, but his offense is what carries him. Look for Bryant to surpass his sophomore season and make himself a top fantasy pick for years to come. -MF

4 Nolan Arenado - In 2016, put his second consecutive seasons of at least .285/95/40/130/2. He is one of the top third basemen in the league and only 25 years old. His only downside is his lack of SB’s with only 8 in his career so far. Also he hits in the launching pad known as Coors which is always a benefit in Fantasy Baseball. Don’t overthink this, he is a monster. -AP

5 Paul Goldschmidt - By far the best first baseman in fantasy, not only does he provide the prototypical power you want from your 1st base but he will provide you elite level steals.Goldschmidt is a fantasy superstar, provides the ideal 5 category production and put up an insane .411 OBP. Expect Goldschmidt to continue to put up over 20 homers and over 15 steal with great averages. -RW

6 Jose Altuve – As batting average and stolen bases become more and more rare, Altuve is THE guy who can bring you both with certainty. I’m not buying into 20+ home runs again, (his HR/FB was 57% higher than his previous career high), but 12-15 is plenty enough. -CK

7 Clayton Kershaw - The best pitcher in real life and in fantasy without question. As with Mike Trout above, if you’re thinking of getting cute and drafting another pitcher first, just walk away and come back when you’re feeling more reasonable. -JG

8 Manny Machado - Manny excels in every aspect of the game except for stealing. That’s negligible as he makes up for it with everything else. Manny is a great first round pick and can hold down any fantasy team. If his power stays consistent, that won’t change anytime soon. -MF

9 Bryce Harper - His last two years have been a roller coaster. He had a generational year in 2015 just to regress across most major categories in 2016. However, he did jump from 6 stolen bases to 21 last year. His projections for 2017 are around .280/90/30/90/15 which gives  you a five category superstar who has already shown the ability to shatter these projections. -AP

10 Josh Donaldson - Donaldson unfortunately lives in a world where Kris Bryant and Nolan Arenado  play baseball, if they didn’t he would be far and away the best 3rd basemen in The Bigs. He put up 33 homers to go along with a .284/.404/.549. Donaldson plays in a very hitter-friendly ballpark in Toronto and gets to play in the AL East that is extremely hitter-friendly. The offence he plays in should take a slight downturn due to Edwin Encarnacion departing to play with Cleveland, but donaldson will still be up to put his numbers and provide at least a  sneaky 5 steals a season. -RW

11 Anthony Rizzo – one of the most well rounded and consistent hitters in baseball. 31-32 homeruns and .385-.387 OBP in the last 3 years. You can get any more consistent than that, and that’s what you pay for at #11. (I like to draft safely this early, not risky) Great lineup should keep his RBI and R totals as high as possible too. -CK

12 Max Scherzer - The consensus #2 pitcher in fantasy. The finger issue may give you pause but don’t let it stop you from drafting the ultimate strikeout artist. Expect another Cy Young worthy season from the K-King in 2017. -JG

13 Carlos Correa - One of the youngest players on this list at 22, Carlos Correa is close to being a five tool player. His power and contact are already there, but his fielding could be better. He still has time to develop and is a great pick for dynasty leagues. -MF

14 Trea Turner - The rookie burst onto the scene in 2016 putting together a slash of .342/53/13/40/33 in just 342 PA’s. He should be due to some regression because he never showed this degree of power in the minors, and his average was propped up by an unsustainable .388 BABIP. I would be expecting something more inline with .290/90/15/70/40 which is still elite for a middle infielder. It is a risk taking a player with only 350 PA’s in the major’s in the second round, are you the type of person that likes risks? -AP

15 Charlie Blackmon - Blackmon is just like every other Colorado hitter and should pay  tribute to the baseball gods for landing in Coors. Blackmon’s ability to provide 20 homers and 15 steals provides the power speed combo that every manager is looking for, he gets helped by Coors and that will help you bring home a title. -RW

16 Big Fred Freeman – Freeman got the shaft getting ranked so low. Jason and I campaigned for him, but the other guys weren’t having it. Freddie broke through last year and I see no reason why he can’t repeat. Being in a terrible lineup didn’t stop him from having 90+ RBI and 100+ R. Freddie and Rizzo should be back to back in standard leagues. It was (literally) a flip of a coin for me. Freddie does take a bit of a hit in leagues that penalize strikeouts though (178 in 2016).- CK

17 Miguel Cabrera - One of the best hitters of all time has to slow down eventually...right? -JG

18 Noah Syndergaard - The young flamethrower has established himself as the Mets’ ace in a rotation that features Matt Harvey and Jacob DeGrom. Not only are his pitches blazing fast, but his control is great too. Look for him to be a strikeout machine and to improve his ERA. -MF

19 Joey Votto -  The man of two halves in 2016. He hit over .400 in the second half of last season, with 15 home runs. He is a player with a high floor, which will give you a 20-30 home run year, and a high average. His ability to score runs and Rbi’s are team dependent, the Reds are not a great team but were 18th in runs scored last season. Ideally, he could be paired with a high upside player like Trea Turner to give a solid base to your team. -AP

20 Madison Bumgarner - By far one of the most consistent pitchers in the MLB, grabbing him will give your team a certain safety that no other ace provides. He has been able to start at least 30 games since 2011, and has been one of the game's best since arriving full time in the Bay Area. -RW

21 Edwin Encarnacion – Best pure power in baseball. Edwin does take a bit of a hit leaving Toronto, but the RBI and R opportunities will still be there in Cleveland’s lineup. The batting average keeps him out of the upper two tiers of players, but EE is as locked in as anyone for 35-40 HR. -CK

22 Corey Seager - The reigning NL Rookie of the Year will look to avoid a sophomore slump in 2017. He’ll give you the kind of premier power and run production that you don’t normally associate with the shortstop position and has a high AVG for leagues that award points for it. -JG

23 Starling Marte - Marte is a five tool player with great defense and above average hitting even with a drop in power prevalent last season. His base stealing ability is off the charts and his move to center should allow his defense to shine. If his power makes a resurgence, he’ll move up even further in fantasy. -MF

24 Giancarlo Stanton - Heading into 2016, Stanton was a fringe first rounder but another season of injury and his failure to play in over 120 games more than once in the last four seasons has him sliding down draft boards. His potential is as high as any in the majors, but the injury risk and high K% makes him a massive risk. Personally 24 is to high for my tastes, but apparently my fellow writers like to live on the edge. -AP

25 Francisco Lindor - Lindor is one of the premier shortstops in all of baseball. He was able to put up 15 homers and 19 steals. I believe this is the year he becomes a 20-20 player. Lindor is also a great AVG asset with a .301 batting average. Throw in the fact that he is going to be hitting ahead of Edwin Encarnacion so we should see his runs should go up. -RW

26 Robinson Cano – Forgive me for thinking another 39 HR isn’t possible for Cano this year… but I don’t. the HR and RBI totals should stay high as he continues to get on base in a good Seattle lineup. But if he was truly a 100/40/100/.300 hitter, he would probably be ranked higher on our list. He’s 34 now, and I don’t think Cano carries a .235 ISO for another year. -CK

27 George Springer - When he’s not riding the bench in Houston to make room for Josh Reddick, Springer will be one of the very best CF options in all of fantasy. He has 30 HR power and the potential for 15 SBs if he gets the green light on the basepaths. The middling AVG is a bit of a concern but less so if you’re in a league that awards point for OBP. -JG

28 Jonathan Villar - Villar had a breakout year after being traded to the brewers. After stealing over sixty bases and having an above average bat, Villar should be a great pick in the second round. Look for him to become a stalwart of the Brewers with incredible speed that is hard to come by. -MF

29 Corey Kluber - With Kluber you have a good idea of what you are going to get. Barring injury, he will give 200+ innings at around a 3-3.75 ERA, a K/9 between 9-10, and a WHIP between 1 to 1.1. He has been Mr. Consistent over the last three year, and that is why you a paying a premium price for him. My personal rankings have him much lower than my other writers, I would rather pay a reduced price for someone like Darvish or Carrasco than pay up for Kluber in the 3rd. -AP

30 Trevor Story - Story came out of the gate, last year, swinging for the fences. Then the injury bug hit and derailed a great debut season for the young shortstop. I'm his 97 games he was able to smash 27 over the fence. The astounding thing is, 11 of them were hit away from Coors. Hopefully this year he stays healthy and we are able to see what he is able to do with 500 plus plate appearances. -RW

31 Chris Sale – There’s a reason Chris Sale hasn’t been outside of the Top 5 in Cy Young voting since he began starting. The man is good. And consistent. 200+ IP and 200+ strikeouts are a lock. ERA could take a hit in Fenway though, permanently putting his ERA in the 3.30-3.40 range. Gets a little bump in typical standard leagues and others with “Wins” as a category. -CK

32 Jake Arrieta - The Cubs’ sometimes-ace is coming off a down year but seemed to rediscover the prime form of his signature cutter towards the end of 2016. If Arrieta is at his best in his contract year, he’s a safe bet to draft as your number one starter and you can safely expect 200 strikeouts and a sub 3.5 ERA. -JG

33 Ryan Braun - Braun is as consistent as ever, almost reaching 100 RBIs last season. His power numbers hold up even though his defense is average. Braun is a good pickup even if he isn’t in his prime anymore. Look for the same-old, same-old from Braun and that’s not a bad thing. -MF

34 Gregory Polanco - Polanco is on the cusp of becoming elite. He broke out last season, but had some road bumps in average and defense. He has all the tools to be a great player. Look for him to break out fully this year. He’s a steal in the 3rd and 4th rounds. -MF

35 J.D. Martinez, OF, DET - By far one of my favorite Tigers, J.D. is one of the best outfielders when healthy. His career year in 2015 showcases the outstanding power he posses when he mashed 38 homers to go along with 102 rbis. 2016 was still a good year with 22 homers and 68 rbis, but we saw what he was able to do in 2015. I'm willing to bet he is closer to what he did in 2015, but it all depends on if he stays healthy. -RW

36 Daniel Murphy – Mr. Murphy found his power stroke in 2016 with 25 HR and 47 doubles. I’m buying into the power, but I’m not buying into the .340+ batting average. Put me down for .310 and 25 HR and you’re still left with one sexy 2B option. He should cross the plate 100+ times this year too with a better season from Harper. -CK

37 Xander Bogaerts - Another 20/20 candidate if he really lets loose with the speed, Bogaerts should be one of the first shortstops off the board in any draft. He’ll benefit again in 2017 from leading off one of the most potent lineups in all of baseball and you can safely expect 100+ runs to go along with the above average power and speed. -JG

38 Yu Darvish - After missing all of 2015 because of Tommy John surgery, Yu had a rehabilitating year in 2016 with lower strikeout numbers and higher ERA. Look for him to complete his return this year with a resurgent season. -MF

39 Ian Desmond - One of my favorite players in the draft this year. He has the potential to contribute in all 5 categories. Could easily be looking at a player who puts up a slash of .290/90/25/90/25 with the added flexibility of OF/1B. That seems like a discount Paul Goldschmidt you can get nearly 30 picks later. -AP

Edit- Desmond has a left hand fracture. My Desmond hype meters have been reduced to minimal levels.

40 Johnny Cueto - Cueto is very much like Bumgarner in the fact that he provides a safe ace to your fantasy rotation. With him potentially being a free agent this year I expect a career year because this could be his last major payday. Minus the 11 starts he had in 2013, he has been as durable as they come. Cueto is not a huge strikeout pitcher but he provides you a career 1.170 WHIP and a 3.23 ERA, he is just a model of consistency and won't hurt you in any format. -RW

41 Wil Myers – I pushed harder for Myers. I wanted him Top 25. Myers has legit 30/30 capability, and if I’m being honest 35/35 wouldn’t surprise me. The RBI totals could see a bump if rookie Manny Margot can be halfway decent at the top of the lineup. If you miss out on Goldy/Rizzo/Freddie/Miggy, I would make the argument that Myers is the 5th best 1B option in fantasy. -CK

42 Nelson Cruz - It’s hard to expect another 40 HR season from the age-defying Seattle OF/DH, but if he can produce at that level for yet another season and continue his late-career renaissance, he will be an excellent pick for any power-starved fantasy lineup. Along with the 40 HR production, the improved Mariners lineup will provide an opportunity for Cruz to rack up triple digits in both runs and RBIs. -JG

43 Kyle Seager - Kyle, like the other Seager brother, just keeps improving. With career highs in homers, RBIs, and average last year, Kyle turned some heads. His defense is elite too. Kyle is a great pickup at third to hold down your fantasy team. -MF

44 Jose Abreu- A very reliable first basemen that has seen his numbers decrease consistently since his breakout rookie season in 2014. He has seen his HR/FB%, and Hard Hit% decrease every year, and he seems to be trending in the wrong direction. He should see his Rbi and run opportunities decrease due to the gutting their team in the offseason. He should still be provide a good average ( around .290) and 25-30 home runs. Based off this write up it is safe to assume, I will not be drafting Jose Abreu this year  -AP

45 Yoenis Cespedes - One of my personal favorite players to watch play the game, Cespedes is someone I love to grab if I don't get one of the higher ranked outfielders. He is pretty much guaranteed to hit 25 homers in The Big Apple and is a crucial part of their offense. He will also provide upwards of 90 rbis. Cespedes is someone I would love as my OF 1, but I even love him more as an OF2. -RW

46 Carlos Gonzalez – we’re collectively not sold on CarGo returning to 40 HR form, hence #46. The man stopped stealing 3 years ago, and his HR total came back down to earth in 2016, so his stock took a bit of a hit. The Rockies should have a dangerous lineup once everyone’s healthy though, so triple digit RBI and R is definitely in the cards. If he can push above 30 HR again, he moves up the OF ranks. -CK

47 Brian Dozier - Dozier nearly doubled his previous best HR total last year so don’t let his 40 HR production trick you into thinking it’s his new career norm. I’m more hesitant to give him the benefit of the doubt than others, but he’s certainly one of the best high risk, high reward options available in fantasy this year and, if he can replicate his 2016, will provide premier power from a traditionally power-starved position. -JG

48 Rougned Odor- Odor is quite the intriguing player this year, he is coming off a season of 33 home runs and 14 stolen bases at just 23 years old. He enjoys swinging the bat with just a 3 BB% in 2016 in over 600 PA’s, however he posses a K% around league average. The alluring speed and power at such a young age has me buying into Odor,In a normal 5x5 league you are looking at a player that can realistically put up a slash of .280/90/30/90/15. I was pushing for Odor in the top 30 but was viciously denied. -AP

49 A.J Pollock- Pollock in 2015 was the fantasy breakout star, he put up a slightly lesser season but similar to Mookie Betts in 2016. If you are betting on a healthy version of Pollock, you are looking at a player who has 20/20 potential along with a high average. But, these numbers can be easily surpassed if he is truly fully healthy and performs like it’s 2015 again. -AP

50 Jon Lester - Personally Lester would be my ideal number 2, I like to draft pitchers early and often and Lester while not the sexiest name at the draft table is a stabilizing force for any fantasy pitching staff. He's a rare workhouse that will provide solid strikeout numbers and is as durable as they come. He has been able to put up upwards of 190 innings every year since 2008. -RW

Michael Ferro
Michael was born and raised in South Carolina. He loves Pirates baseball and fishing.
http://mlbmayhem.com

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