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2017 Fantasy Baseball Rankings

RotoWire's fantasy baseball rankings for the 2017 MLB season.

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Player stats shown are 2017 Preseason projections. Click headings to sort.
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Mike Trout 
Los Angeles Angels  OF     #1 Overall

2017 Preseason Proj:   158 G   567 AB   .307 AVG  34 HR  99 RBI  21 SB  115 R  

It's possible we haven't seen Trout's best season yet. Granted, this can be said of all 25-year-old players but no others have been putting up MVP-caliber campaigns since they were 20, winning in 2014 and again in 2016. Most impressive is that Trout's strikeout and walk rates have improved each of the last two years, further cementing the league's best floor. The concern over dwindling steals was assuaged last season as Trout swiped 30 for the first time since 2013. His power dropped, but when 29 homers is a disappointment, the bar is set high. The outfielder is a lock for over 100 runs, averaging 116 the past five seasons while a threat to drive home 100 teammates. Others are legitimately in the conversation but pegging Trout with the first overall pick or spending top auction dollars is absolutely warranted. No one else has the combination of his super-high floor...with upside.

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Mookie Betts 
Boston Red Sox  OF     #2 Overall

2017 Preseason Proj:   153 G   633 AB   .311 AVG  25 HR  106 RBI  22 SB  112 R  

The 24-year-old with the slight frame slashed .318/.363/.534/.897 last season -- all career highs -- and cleared the 30-homer mark for the first time in his career. He finished four steals shy of being a 30-30 player, a mark he's likely to threaten in 2017. Betts collected many accolades as a result -- second in the MVP voting, a first-time All-Star, a Gold Glove and a Silver Slugger. The forecasts for Betts had him hitting for power, but 31 homers was not in the tarot cards. Unlike his previous season, there were no down periods; Betts hit .266 in April and warmed up as the weather did, hitting .368 in July and .378 in August. It was during those warm-weather months that manager John Farrell dropped him from leadoff to third and fourth in the order, where his bat drove in 39 runs in 48 games. The Red Sox will miss David Ortiz, but Betts has emerged as an unlikely middle-of-the-order presence.

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Clayton Kershaw 
Los Angeles Dodgers  SP     #3 Overall

2017 Preseason Proj:   30 G   210 IP   19 W  0 SV  248 K  2.14 ERA  0.86 WHIP  

Despite missing two months with a back injury -- specifically, a herniated disc -- Kershaw finished as the No. 6 pitcher last season in terms of earned 5x5 fantasy value. He was more dominant than ever when on the mound, posting an otherworldly 172:11 K:BB in 149 innings (65:2 K:BB in May). His 15.3 percent swinging-strike rate would have tied Max Scherzer as the best among qualifiers had he logged enough innings to qualify, and Kershaw's command and control reached unprecedented levels as he shaved his walk rate to just two percent. There were no noticeable lingering effects from the back injury upon his return in September (0.86 ERA) and he looked plenty strong into late October as he carried the Dodgers on said back to the NLCS. Entering his age-29 season, Kershaw still looks very much in his prime and remains worthy of a first-round pick, if not top-five overall.

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Nolan Arenado 
Colorado Rockies  3B     #4 Overall

2017 Preseason Proj:   158 G   610 AB   .290 AVG  42 HR  117 RBI  1 SB  107 R  

Arenado managed to one-up himself yet again and at just 25 years old, it seems like sky's the limit. The All-Star smashed a league-leading 41 home runs, drove in 133 runs and even reached the century mark in runs scored. He managed to cut down on his strikeouts and draw twice as many walks as he did the previous season. As one would imagine, the third baseman's numbers were better at Coors Field than away from it (1.030 OPS at home vs. .832 OPS on the road), but 16 home runs, 48 RBI and 48 runs scored away from Denver is certainly nothing to scoff at. The Gold Glover is a lock to be a first-round draft pick. Even if doesn't replicate his 2016 campaign to a tee, Arenado will be a highly valuable asset in 2017 and for years to come.

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Kris Bryant 
Chicago Cubs  3B/OF     #5 Overall

2017 Preseason Proj:   157 G   595 AB   .291 AVG  37 HR  107 RBI  11 SB  114 R  

If there were any doubts about Bryant's ability to ascend to MVP levels of production following an impressive debut in 2015, the uncertainty was erased by the performance in his sophomore campaign. Bryant trimmed the fat from his 30.6 percent strikeout rate as a rookie to 22.0 percent last season, pushing his batting average up 17 points by swinging-and-missing less often, and by making contact on pitches outside the strike zone at an increased rate. It's hard to believe, but Bryant's raw power could push his home-run total even higher, though the pitcher-friendly tendencies of Wrigley Field are on the short list of things working again him (22 of his 39 homers came on the road). In addition to his step forward at the plate, Bryant's defense at third base has improved to the point where he's become an asset with the glove, quelling concerns about a full-time move to another corner spot for the foreseeable future.

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Jose Altuve 
Houston Astros  2B     #6 Overall

2017 Preseason Proj:   159 G   643 AB   .330 AVG  18 HR  80 RBI  37 SB  97 R  

All Altuve did was take his improbable 2015 season to the next level with an amazing 2016 season. In the AL Tout Wars auction last March, he went for a stunning $43, but in the end, he earned every bit of it as a five-category stud. Altuve improved his walk rate to a career-high 8.4 percent (from 4.8 percent in 2015) and, following suit with the rest of the league, hit for more power. A new power baseline for Altuve is tough to figure out, but his ISO and hard-hit rate progression in recent years suggests 15-20 homers annually is reasonable. Still just 26, he has played nearly every game over the past five seasons and rarely gets himself out. Even when he does chase pitches out of the strike zone, he still makes enough contact to put the ball safely into play and uses his speed to turn outs into hits. Altuve has reached 30 steals in five straight seasons and with a powerful lineup around him, he is an easy top-10 pick for 2017.

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Trea Turner 
Washington Nationals  2B/OF     #14 Overall

2017 Preseason Proj:   154 G   582 AB   .308 AVG  18 HR  61 RBI  45 SB  97 R  

Turner didn't have anything more to prove in the minors, but the Nationals sent him back to Syracuse anyway so he could hit .302/.370/.471 in 331 at-bats with 25 steals before finally getting a long-overdue promotion. If he was frustrated by his slow progress up the ladder, he took it out on opposing pitchers. While his .342 batting average was the product of an unsustainable .391 BABIP, his contact rates and batting averages have always been excellent, and 33 steals in 73 big league games isn't out of line with his minor league theatrics on the basepaths. The real surprise was the power he flashed at the highest level. After hitting just 19 home runs in 268 minor league games, Turner slugged 13 in 73 games with Washington. If that power proves to be even partially sustainable (and his 16.7 percent HR/FB rate, while high, wasn't outrageous), the Nats suddenly find themselves with a 23-year-old five-category shortstop, and a future pillar of the franchise.

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Robinson Cano 
Seattle Mariners  2B     #22 Overall

2017 Preseason Proj:   159 G   635 AB   .296 AVG  29 HR  92 RBI  2 SB  94 R  

Who'd have thought Cano's career high in home runs would come when he was playing his home games at Safeco Field? Well, in 2016, he did just that, while also reaching his best runs total in a much-improved Mariners offense. The long balls were backed up by his highest flyball rate since 2010, and they were helped by more time removed from his double sports hernia surgery to fix the woes that sapped his power in 2015 and perhaps 2014. The 34-year-old has compiled a batting average lower than .290 just twice in 12 years. Can he sustain such high averages as he ages while keeping low walk rates (6.4 percent and 6.6 percent the last two years)? He hits the ball hard enough to believe he will. Cano won't realistically revisit the double-digit steals from 2014, but he's arguably the most stable four-category second baseman not named Jose Altuve. Cano warrants second-round consideration.

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