Pitchers and hitters can bust onto the scene and score big points for fantasy owners. Carlos Gonzales went from obscurity to produce a massive amount of points this past season. David Price increased his win total from 10 to 19 which seemed a little more likely. It is important for owners to catch players on their way up instead of settling for the expected statistics they accumulated the previous season. Here is a breakdown of players that will still be producing as well as a few others that can break into the elite for the 2016 season.
10th pick: Starlin Castro SS Cubs (26 years old) With 148 games into his career, Starlin is batting .309 and rarely strikes out (5 strikeouts in 103 at-bats). He plays a premium position and should be able to improve in speed and power categories.
9th pick: Manny Machado SS Orioles (24 years old) Drafted 3rd overall in the 2010 MLB draft, the 6’2 180 pound shortstop will have flexibility to move to third base if he bulks up. The Orioles are hoping he can live up to the high expectations but first must continue to make strides as a hitter.
8th pick: Brennan Boesch OF Tigers (31 years old) Brennan is a left-handed batter who hits lefties very well in a small sample (44-125 .342). The power and average will continue to rise on a year to year basis.
7th pick: Mat Latos SP Padres (29 years old) Latos has shown all the tools despite being so young. He has 252 innings pitched and has given up 205 hits while recording 248 strikeouts. The 6’6 frame should also make pitching 7-8 innings easier compared to other pitchers.
6th pick: Ryan Braun OF Brewers (32 years old) May be the safest pick here because he is so consistent. Career plus .300 hitter with 30-35 homers. Braun will continue to roll up the .310-.320 average and produce 30+ home runs a year.
5th pick: Ike Davis 1B Mets (29 years old) Ike had 53 extra base hits in his rookie year. The Mets will hope he continues to hit lefties well. Batting .295 vs left-handed pitchers and .254 vs right handed pitchers is a category which must be followed and improved upon.
4th pick: Adrian Gonzalez 1B Red Sox (34 years old) Four straight seasons of 160+ games shows just how dependable Gonzalez can be. Even at the age of 34 Adrian will be a top flight producer. Learning to hit at Fenway Park will pay dividends whether or not he is still in Boston in 6 years from now.
3rd pick: Joey Votto 1B Reds (32 years old) Increased home runs and average the past 2 seasons. Career .317 average with power makes Votto an early first round pick. Hitting at Great American Ball Park would not hurt in six years from now either.
2nd pick: David Price SP Rays (31 years old) Price has a knack for not allowing too many base runners and has a batting average against which ranks 5th in the AL. He also ranks 3rd in the AL in ERA. Playing this well with more opportunities against the Yankees and Red Sox compared to the A’s and Angels will allow Price to improve more than other AL stud Felix Hernandez.
1st pick: Evan Longoria 3B Rays (30 years old) Longoria has improved his average each season and will be a .300+ hitter with 35+ home runs at a premium position. His 46 doubles were 2nd in MLB in 2010 and he continues to be a smart base stealer with 31 out of 36 attempts in his career. Longoria was able to produce with virtually zero protection behind him and will be a fantasy top pick in years to come.