A Look at Projections in 2016 (or, a VeL drafting guide)

Rather than focusing on the 2016 Cardinals, a team that seems very difficult to project in my mind, I would like to review the top players projected by each system on Fangraphs, if nothing else perhaps to guide you through some fantastical drafts this spring.



  1. Bryce Harper - .430

    After Bryce's monstrous standout season last year, he is projected as #1 in '16. Whether you think he plays the game right or not (if you don't, you have some peculiar notions about playing games), Bryce is thought of very highly on offense. He may not have been a superstar from the onset, but he is now.

  2. Mike Trout - .410

    Mike is still #1 in the American League. While he strikes out more and gets on base less overall than Harper, Trout probably has more power as well as speed, not to mention better defense. He is also a stolen base threat, which Harper is not. Many would still swear by him, but Harper appears to have better ability to put the ball into play and get on base.

  3. Giancarlo Stanton - .393

    I am looking for a career year from Stanton this season. The #1 power threat in major league baseball. Not going to hit for average or be nearly as elite as some at OBP, but Giancarlo is a titan with the bat. Stanton needs to be healthy this season, but I would love to see him hit 40-50 home runs this year.

  4. Joey Votto - .392

    Wow, Votto is still elite year after year, still ridiculously great at on base average, right up there with Harper. He has went down in power numbers as he ages a bit, but it doesn't matter when you are projected at .429 OBP. He loves to take a walk.

  5. Paul Goldschmidt - .386

    Not unlike Harper, tons of power as well as a stolen base threat. Only projected for 27 home runs this year, but I think he'll hit more than that.

  6. Jose Bautista - .385

    Proof that no player can be written off, maybe their true potential is just a tweak of a swing away. He has been an elite hitter for several seasons now, and this year is no exception. One of the premier power hitters in the game still, doesn't strike out a ton, and gets on base. Bautista would be welcome on just about any team.

  7. Miguel Cabrera - .383

    The real use of the DH is to keep superb hitters like Miguel Cabrera in the game longer and get them more at bats. Only a few years ago, Miggy was the elite hitter of major league baseball. Now, he is still an offensive force to be reckoned with each and every plate appearance, but he just can't do anything more than hit.

  8. Chris Davis - .382

    One of the players I was hoping the Cardinals would sign, but alas, many did not agree with me. The premier home run threat in MLB. I think he would be worth putting at first base for a few years, but it did not happen. 40+ home runs this year woulda been nice.

  9. Andrew McCutchen - .378

    Cutch is probably slightly past his peak years now, but he still has elite levels of on base %, speed, and still has some pop in the bat for sure. The Pirates will still probably be as good as he is.

  10. Anthony Rizzo - .373

    The first to appear from the Cubs' much vaunted offense, barely cracking the top 10. But then again, he is #6 in the NL, so that sounds a little more dangerous being that my team is in the same division. Do not want to be facing this guy, but here he is. Rizzo is just a really well rounded hitter and threat on offense in general. He can get on base, isn't slow like a lot of first basemen are, and will be guaranteed to hit some dingers, especially playing in Wrigley Field.

  11. Edwin Encarnacion - .372

    Edwin ended up being a far better hitter than I thought he would, sort of like Bautista lite. Time and again, he will wear down pitchers. Part of the Blue Jays insanely gifted trio on offense of Joey Bats and rising star Josh Donaldson.

  12. Josh Donaldson - .371

    Speaking of, Josh will be hard pressed to match what he did last season, but ZIPS still likes him quite a bit. He is a bit like Anthony Rizzo, above average at all areas of hitting and will for sure hit a good number of outside the park blasts. I'd venture to say he will probably do better than his projection too.

  13. JD Martinez - .370

    I must admit, I do not know who this is. He looks like he strikes out a lot and has a lot of power though. OBP projected at .340, hohum.

  14. Manny Machado - .368

    If you are looking for a 3rd baseman outside of Donaldson this is your guy.

  15. Kris Bryant - .365

    The fact this guy is entering his sophomore season this high on the list does not bode well for my team. The Cubbies 2nd hitter on the elite hitters list means the Cubs offense will most likely be better than the Cards'. All the sudden, the premier third baseman in the NL.

  16. Jose Abreu - .364

    Southsider Abreu was superb in his rookie season, and nothing to scoff at in his sophomore year. ZIPS thinks he has refined his approach but will have a little less power maybe. Still a great option.

  17. Freddie Freeman - .364

    ZIPS thinks he will only hit 21 home runs this year, but his .374 OBP is the real asset here.

  18. Carlos Gonzalez - .363

    Not that durable, not that good of on base average, but he can still wallop the ball outta the park pretty regularly. You can probably play him anywhere in the outfield too, which is nice.

  19. David Ortiz - .362

    I cannot believe this guy is still around, but he is, and is still a damn good hitter even after all these years. He is very lucky there is this thing call the DH in the mutant league.

  20. Kyle Schwarber - .357

    Three players are projected a hair better than Schwarber, but just for scare tactics I will put him on here, the third Cub on the list. And he could do better than Duda, Arenado, and Carter if the winds blow his way at Wrigley. Also, I had no idea that Chris Carter was now on the Brewers, not sure how I missed that. Actually Schwarber and Carter are pretty similar, lots of power and lots of K's.

But what of other projections, why should we trust just Szymborski? There are more! And it's a new ranking!


  1. Mike Trout .418
  2. Bryce Harper .412
  3. Giancarlo Stanton .395
  4. Miguel Cabrera .392
  5. Paul Goldschmidt .390
  6. Joey Votto .386
  7. Andrew McCutchen .381
  8. Anthony Rizzo .380
  9. Jose Bautista .374
  10. Kris Bryant .373
  11. Edwin Encarnacion .371
  12. Freddie Freeman .368
  13. Yasiel Puig .367
  14. Josh Donaldson .365
  15. Miguel Sano .364
  16. Buster Posey .363
  17. Prince Fielder .361
  18. Mookie Betts .361
  19. Carlos Gonzalez .360
  20. Jose Abreu .358

Kyle Schwarber at .353 drops out of the top 20, as do some other guys. Steamer is definitely different than ZIPS.

And to perhaps give you a more accurate picture, fangraphs blends the two projection systems together in something they call Depth Charts (its a tactic I have used for years at VEB, but with more than two systems averaged... just because it saves me a lot of time, I'll list what they list).

  1. Bryce Harper
  2. Mike Trout
  3. Giancarlo Stanton
  4. Paul Goldschmidt
  5. Miguel Cabrera
  6. Andrew McCutchen
  7. Jose Bautista
  8. Anthony Rizzo
  9. Edwin Encarnacion
  10. Chris Davis
  11. Kris Bryant
  12. Josh Donaldson
  13. Freddie Freeman
  14. Manny Machado
  15. Carlos Gonzalez
  16. Jose Abreu
  17. Yasiel Puig
  18. David Ortiz
  19. Buster Posey
  20. Miguel Sano
  21. Mookie Betts
  22. JD Martinez
  23. Nolan Arenado
  24. Justin Upton
  25. Kyle Schwarber
  26. Hanley Ramirez
  27. Ryan Braun
  28. Carlos Correa
  29. Michael Brantley
  30. George Springer
  31. Prince Fielder
  32. Shin-Soo Choo
  33. Lucas Duda
  34. Matt Carpenter .347 (projections think he will hit only 15 home runs)
  35. Jason Heyward .347 (projections think we lost another Matt Carpenter)
  36. David Peralta
  37. Matt Holliday .346 (but I guess we do have another Matt!)