movie) is about people pretending to be someone else on the internet. It's not a great show, but I dare you to start watching an episode and change the channel before you find out if these people are real or fake. You won't be able to do it. Websters dictionary recently even added a second definition to the word catfish, the first definition is still obviously the fish, but the second is "a person who assumes a false identity or personality on the internet as a device to manipulate or swindle".
So which of these players are "catfishing" us? Some people on this list are attempting to swindle us into drafting them too high, or trading way too much to get them. I've fallen in love with more than a few players who weren't what they
seemed, now it's time to try and figure out who is really who they seem to be this year. Is Robinson Cano "catfishing" us with his lack of power? Is Jose Altuve really going to steal 65 bases a season? Is Dustin Pedroia going to hit 5
homers and steal 5 bases this year, or is it an elaborate catfish scheme he's pulling on his fantasy owners? No one knows if players having breakout seasons or down years are really who they seem to be, but it's our job as
fantasy owners to try and figure it out.
1. Anthony Rendon (24) - Rendon has quietly had a breakout season this year, with a .281 batting average and 14 homers and 11 steals through 104 games. The question is if he puts up a 20/15 season at age 24 how high should you value him in dynasty? I think he's a very talented young player, and the batting average and power are real and should actually improve. He's had a .307 and .308 BABIP his first two full seasons in the big leagues which is low, so I think he's a .300 hitter with 25 homers and double digit steals the next several seasons. I had decided to move Rendon to #2 on the list due to his move to third, but as I dug deeper into my third base ranks I realized that Rendon is probably a top 5 third baseman as well so ultimately he is atop the list for me.
2. Jason Kipnis (27) - 2014 has been a disaster of a season for Jason Kipnis. Although he is still stealing bases at about the same rate as he did the previous two seasons his batting average is down to a career low .243 and he has only 6 home runs. I still think he can be a 20 home run hitter, but he hasn't yet topped 17 in a season. I'm betting on the early season oblique strain he suffered hurting his power numbers this year and a bounce back in 2015, but he's not as sure a thing as he seemed one year ago.
3. Jose Altuve (24) - Coming into the season a lot of people saw Altuve as a player who had already reached his upside. How could a 5'5'' guy keep stealing bases and hitting doubles at the major league level? Well it seems like we underestimated him yet again. Saying Altuve is having a career year is a huge understatement. He's on pace for 62 steals with a .339 average, which is more than just a steals guy. He has cut his k rate this season, and despite a career high BABIP I do think he has improved as a hitter and is a legit .300 plus guy now. 40 steals seems more realistic than 60 the next few years, but this guy is really good.
4. Robinson Cano (31) - It kind of feels like Robinson Cano's 2014 season has been a total bust, but when you look at the numbers they tell a bit of a different story. His batting average is actually up to .330 this year, and he's on pace for 77 runs and 90 RBI. Unfortunately he's also on pace for 12 homers, which would be a career low. So is the power gone for good? I'd say 30 homers aren't happening again, but he's still a great player and he should have a few more close to elite seasons.
5. Javier Baez (21) - Baez is up and homered in his first game with the Cubs! And went 0-5 with three strikeouts before that. I think he is one of the best young talents in the game, and should stick at second with the Cubs. If he has a great finish to the season in the majors he will jump to the top of this list in a hurry, but I need to see a little more before I'm convinced he's as sure a thing as the guys above him.
6. Kolten Wong (23) - Wong has shown a lot of improvement from his terrible rookie season when he hit .153 with a .194 OBP in 32 games and also got picked off to lose a World Series game. This year he's up to .243/.289/.396 and is on pace for 10 homers and 24 steals in 99 games. He also has a .267 BABIP right now after posting a .332 BABIP in 107 games in his last season in AAA. If he plays a full season next year and hits near the top of the lineup in St. Louis he could be a real fantasy asset at the position. I'm buying Wong stock now if I can.
7. Brian Dozier (27) - If you play in an OBP league Brian Dozier is a monster. He's currently sitting at a .239 average, but with a .335 OBP and 19 homers and 17 steals. If you believe that his low BABIP of .259 means that there is a .270 hitter there, then this guy is a stud. The problem is his BABIP was .278 and and .267 the previous two seasons. I'm thinking he's gonna be a low average player, but those counting stats are too good to ignore.
8. Dee Gordon (26) - Gordon is a legit 60-70 steal threat at the second base position. The risk is that he's closer to the .234 hitter he was in 2013 than the .295 guy he's been this year. I'm betting the truth is somewhere in the
middle, and a .265 or .270 guy that steals that many bases is very valuable.
9. Jurickson Profar (21) - It's hard to know what to think about Profar, he's a former number one overall prospect, but has yet to do anything of note in the big leagues. He also hasn't yet had an opportunity to play every day and missed the entire season this year with injuries. I'd like to say he's a great buy low candidate, but if you do that it's more of a leap of faith than anything.
10. Arismendy Alcantara (22) - I seem to be in the minority in not being madly in love with Alcantara. I suppose people love his 15 homer 31 steal season in AA last year, but I'm not sold that he's a stud fantasy contributor. He is unlikely to stay at second much longer in Chicago, and had over a 20% strikeout rate at AA, AAA and in the major leagues. I'm sure this will be an unpopular rank, so bring the hate in the comments.
11. Jedd Gyorko (25) - Another second baseman coming off a disasterous season in 2014, seems like a bit of a theme. But at least with Gyorko he's 25 and we can blame some of his struggles on injuries. The problem with Gyorko is that with Chase Headley gone he might return to third base, and while a .260 hitter with 25 homers is a stud at second it's not at third.
12. Dustin Pedroia (30) - Pedroia isn't that old at only 30, but he's sitting at a career low in homers with four, and steals with three. That's right, he has four home runs and three steals through 100 games. Sure he could bounce back next year and be a good run producer, but his days as an elite player seem like they're done.
13. Neil Walker (28) - Walker is hitting .280 this season with 16 homers and 50 RBI in 95 games. Last season in 133 games he hit .251 with 16 homers and 53 RBI, so why the power surge? His home run per fly ball rate is at a career high 13% and while its not a crazy high number I still expect him to regress closer to his previous numbers in 2015. Even still he's a valuable player in his prime who could potentially hit 20 home runs from a middle infield spot.
14. Ian Kinsler (32) - Kinsler was written off by most in the preseason this year, but has come back with another solid season in Detroit. He already has double digits in homers and steals, and is sitting at a .291 average right now. The 30/30 upside is long gone, but a .300 15/15 guy remains and that's still pretty good at this position.
15. Daniel Murphy (29) - Murphy is always underrated, I'm guessing because he doesn't do any one thing spectacularly and also because there's 10 Murphy's in the majors and its hard to tell which is which. Well he's the good one, and he's hit around .290 the last three years with double digit steals and homers. Not a superstar but safe and solid.