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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.

4 3 2 2 1 1 1 1 1 1 3 1
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.

5 4 2 2 1 1 1 1 2 1 3 1
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.

91 71 21 16 6 1 14 14 15 10 30 8
Buster Posey 
San Francisco Giants  C     #91 Overall

2017 Preseason Proj:   148 G   551 AB   .296 AVG  17 HR  84 RBI  1 SB  73 R  

Posey had an underwhelming season -- by his standards -- in 2016. While his production was still good enough to rank in the top five among all catchers, he produced below the standard he set from 2012 to 2015. His home runs, RBI and OPS all decreased from 2015, but he did hit more doubles (33) and stole a career-high six bases. The lack of RBI can be attributed to the Giants' struggles at the top of the order in the first half of the season. Missing Hunter Pence to injury for the majority of the season also removed the All-Star catcher's protection in the lineup. Posey's swing and contact rates were right in line with his career percentages, so there is no sign of a significant decline in his approach at the plate. His numbers only seem disappointing when considering his draft day price. On the bright side, his down year may result in a reduced cost heading into next year's drafts. Posey will likely see his numbers bounce this season to his previous elite levels.

115 84 32 21 12 2 17 14 16 13 36 9
Gary Sanchez 
New York Yankees  C     #115 Overall

2017 Preseason Proj:   124 G   480 AB   .271 AVG  27 HR  80 RBI  1 SB  65 R  

Well that's one way to make an entrance. Despite playing just one game in the majors before Aug. 3, Sanchez played his way into Rookie of the Year contention with one of the best 50-game stretches to begin a career of all time. The catcher hit 11 home runs in a 15-game span and ended with 20 homers and 42 RBI -- absurd numbers considering he played in just 53 contests. Though he seemed to run out of steam a bit at the end, hitting just .222 in September while striking out in more than one-third of his at-bats, the rookie still finished with a 1.032 OPS. It's highly unlikely his 60-homer pace will be sustainable over the course of a full season, but Sanchez will immediately jump toward the top of the list among the best -- if not the best -- offensive catchers next season, when he'll be just 24 years old.

139 97 43 27 17 3 19 14 17 14 43 12
Jonathan Lucroy 
Colorado Rockies  C     #139 Overall

2017 Preseason Proj:   143 G   509 AB   .287 AVG  19 HR  72 RBI  3 SB  68 R  

The Brewers sold Lucroy at the trade deadline, and he responded with a brilliant stint for the Rangers. He almost matched his homer total in 338 Milwaukee at-bats (13) during his 152 with Texas (11), and Lucroy quickly erased any doubts following his injury-marred 2015 campaign. The Rangers picked up his option basically hours after the 2016 World Series ended, which will keep him in one of the best run-producing spots of any catcher. The biggest fantasy question, though, is whether the 30-year-old will come close to repeating his career high in home runs. At Rangers Ballpark, he smacked six of them - one for every 12.5 at-bats there. Staying in Arlington bolsters his potential to do that again, to go along with his elite batting average profile (career .284 clip, 85.8 contact percentage). In most draft rooms, Gary Sanchez and Buster Posey will wind up as slightly more expensive options, but Lucroy could be acquired for less and easily outperform them, yielding the best profit of the trio.

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