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His evolution as a power hitter went to an extent that his 2015 total was three more than he had hit in his entire career entering the season. Will Middlebrooks—Red Sox Myer is an odd candidate to think will have a major jump forward considering he is coming off of a Rookie of the Year debut, but considering he did so in barely a half of a season, what he could do over a full year could be in the 30 home run/40 double rate. His organization make in Schoop should get a fair chance to get the second base job in Baltimore at some point this summer. Coupled with a strong pitching staff, the only thing that could get in their way this year is if their young starting staff doesn’t hold up over a full year as well as it did in limited time in 2013.Otherwise, he led the National League in doubles for the second time in three years, which saw him finish seventh in the NL in extra base hits with 75. Lawrie has been on the verge for the past two years, but he is an elite defender and has all the tools at the plate to contribute anywhere from 2-5. On their heels are the Yankees, who have more than enough firepower, and could have the best offense in all of baseball.In each of his three seasons as a starter, three times he has finished in the top 10 for most times on base, reaching base 280, 265 and 243 times, respectively. Kris Bryant, Cubs (Not ranked in ’15) 2015: .275/.369/.488, 26 HR, 99 RBI, 31 doubles, 87 runs scored, .858 OPS In the year of the rookie, none made a more potent debut than Bryant did. Ubaldo Jimenez (Orioles via Free Agency) Yankees, Yankees and more Yankees here, with each playing a major role in the team’s immediate success. However, their pitching staff being a success would be slightly an upset of sorts, as they enter the season needing all of their arms to either overachieve, overcome or live up to some lofty expectations—and in some cases, some of each element.It seemed unlikely that he could possibly match the buzz around him not being immediately a member of the Cubs out of spring training, but he still somehow managed to exceed the buzz. Outside of NY, the Orioles played their free agent hand slow, but played it well in adding a new staff ace in Jimenez and All-Star caliber outfielder in Nelson Cruz. The Orioles and Jays seem to be a step behind each of these teams now, but also have rosters that could would make it no shock at all if they crack into the upper reaches of the division.He began the time tested developing power hitter process of converting doubles to home runs season, dropping his doubles total to 30 (down from 51 two years ago) to home runs, of which his 2015 total were two more than his career total to date (33 from 2012-2014, 35 from April to October of 2015). The Blue Jays have an underrated late inning group, while how (and if) David Robertson can transition to the ninth is beyond simply crucial for the Yankees. Patience.) Yet, with that let’s get into it—the top third basemen in the game today (even if a few are just coming and another could be going soon enough) 10.Toss in the 20 stolen bases that came as well, and there could be a 30-30 season in the works from Manny soon as well. Orioles This is a tight call to that narrowly goes in the Sox favor, due to the big game experience of Jon Lester and John Lackey. Pedro Alvarez, Pirates: There’s nothing wrong with being a one trick pony if you can do that trick really, really good.
While injuries have taken the starch out of some formerly great players such as David Wright, while others like Aramis Ramirez have retired and even more have peaked and declined such as Ryan Zimmerman, Chase Headley and Pablo Sandoval, there is a strong veteran core that is mixed in among the upstart prodigies in the group. One thing for sure, there has been a hostile takeover within the top 5 of players far south of seeing their 25th birthday.
To see where the full list stacked up last season, click here. Evan Longoria, Rays 2015: .270/.328/.435, 21 HR, 73 RBI, 35 doubles, 74 runs scored, .764 OPS Last 3 Years: .264/.331/.446, 25 HR, 84 RBI, 33 doubles, 83 runs, .776 OPS Longoria’s production is not once what it was, this is blatantly true.
He has not hit 30 home runs since 2013, nor has he driven in 100 runs nor has he been an All-Star since 2010.
Bryant smashed his way towards the All-Star Game and the National League Championship Series and ended up as a runaway selection for NL Rookie of the Year honors. The Sox addition of Edward Mujica gives them another experienced presence that has succeeded in every role in the pen previously. The O’s need Manny Machado to be healthy and for their pitching staff as a whole to be a bit better than they profile.
Of course it came with the pitfalls of also leading the NL in strikeouts with 199, but that is a pardonable offense for a player that forecasts as being at forefront of power hitters in baseball for the next decade. Adrian Beltre, Rangers (#1 in ’15) 2015: .287/.334/.453, 18 HR, 83 RBI, 32 doubles, 83 run scored, .788 OPS Last 3 Years: .309/.365/.485, 22 HR, 84 RBI, 32 doubles, 83 runs scored, .850 OPS Beltre is essentially the fine wine of elite producers in the game today. Rays The Yankees can spend at will, and despite the rumors that they want to be luxury tax conscious, in the end, the wins will always take priority over the cost of chasing them. Meanwhile, the Jays just need to stay healthy and put up tons of runs, because they will need them if this is the pitching staff they tackle most of the year with.