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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 projections. Click headings to sort.
2017 MLB Player Outlooks
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Mike Trout 
Los Angeles Angels  OF     #1 Overall

2017 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 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 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 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 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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Paul Goldschmidt 
Arizona Diamondbacks  1B     #7 Overall

2017 Proj:   157 G   570 AB   .305 AVG  27 HR  100 RBI  23 SB  104 R  

If a .297/.411/.489 slash line with 24 home runs and 95 RBI can be considered a down year, then you know just how good Goldschmidt has been across his six MLB seasons. In 2015, Goldschmidt slashed an absurd .321/.435/.570 with 33 home runs and 110 RBI. Expecting a repeat of those numbers might have been unfair, but that is the standard Goldschmidt has set. On a positive note, he scored 106 runs in 2016, up from 103 in 2015. He also went from 21 stolen bases in 2015 to 32 in 2016. It is his speed and base-stealing acumen that really makes Goldschmidt a special player in fantasy. It is unclear if he will run as much under new manager Torey Lovullo, but considering he upped his success rate from 80.8 percent to 86.5 percent last season, it seems likely that he will have the green light more often than not. Coming off that "down" year, Goldschmidt is no longer a lock to go in the top-five, but he is the clear top player at his position and still has all the tools to finish the year as a top-five player in fantasy.

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Joey Votto 
Cincinnati Reds  1B     #11 Overall

2017 Proj:   160 G   557 AB   .318 AVG  28 HR  87 RBI  6 SB  99 R  

Votto was a little slow to heat up in 2016, but once he did, he was the hottest star in the baseball universe. After batting .229 and .200 in April and May, respectively, Votto went on to post these marks in the subsequent four months: .319, .413, .394, .395. He easily led all qualifying hitters in average (.408), on-base percentage (.490) and slugging (.668) during the second half of the season, walking 15 more times than he struck out after the All-Star break while adding 15 homers. Now that he's two full seasons removed from the quad issues that led to the only down year of his career, Votto is firmly back among the safest options in fantasy baseball. His success isn't lineup-dependent either, as evidenced by his stellar counting stats in 2016 despite a lackluster supporting cast. There will be younger, sexier options in the first two rounds of drafts, but few can provide the peace of mind that Votto does.

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Miguel Cabrera 
Detroit Tigers  1B     #15 Overall

2017 Proj:   148 G   553 AB   .318 AVG  30 HR  98 RBI  0 SB  86 R  

All of a sudden, Cabrera is 34 years old. You would never know it by his statistical production as 2016 was another tremendous year at the plate. He continues to be the best slugger in the game who rarely gets himself out. After playing just 119 games in 2015 due to ankle and calf injuries, Cabrera stayed relatively healthy last season. He also reversed several minor worrisome trends at the plate as his isolated power bounced back to career norms (to .247 from .196 in 2015) and he hit 38 home runs to end a three-year decline in homers. While he's entering his mid-30s, his injury track record is strong, having played fewer than 150 games just once in his career. He's so good at what he does he is almost boring at this point, but spending a first rounder on him is money in the bank.

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