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It takes months - okay, weeks - to compile a fantasy baseball draft guide, and between the end of January and the opening of the regular season, I often start to re-evaluate some of my rankings. Some of this is based on spring training performance of various players and some of the more detailed news and analysis you start hearing once spring training starts (though I don't need to tell you it's never advisable to build a draft strategy entirely around spring training performance, right?).
Overall, the rethinking is more a reflection of ongoing thought about what I've compiled. With that in mind, here are some players whose draft rankings I've been thinking about a lot lately:
Mikel Franco, 3B, PHI: I'd be lying if I said I haven't paid attention to his fantastic spring. Seven HRs, 18 RBI are tops this spring. Though I had him ranked No. 11 at 3B, which makes him a fantasy starter in a 12-team league, I didn't really figure him as a breakout candidate for 2016. But now, after watching him this spring and reading more about him, I'm wondering if I should nudge him up the rankings by a spot or two. Maybe he's closer to that 30-HR, 100-RBI season than I originally thought.
Corey Kluber, SP, CLE: I made the point in my original ranking that he had pretty stellar season last year despite going 9-16, yet ranked him at No. 16 among SPs, making him a definite SP-2. He's also had a dominant spring, but I'm looking more closely now at his 2015 numbers: 245 strikeouts, and career-best 1.05 WHIP and .231 BAA, and think he should be around No. 12 or so on my list, a borderline SP-1.
Freddie Freeman, 1B, ATL: Did I park him at No. 12 in my rankings because I was wounded he hadn't lived up to my own buzz about him? Maybe. His wrist problem, which limited his playing time and potentially his power last year, is reportedly now fully healed. He can't move too much in my crowded 1B rankings, but I'd consider nudging him to No. 11.
Randall Grichuk, Stephen Piscotty, Tommy Pham, OF, STL: There are so many OFs that No. 30 on my list could have easily been someone else besides Brett Gardner, NYY, and my sleeper could have easily been someone else besides Jorge Soler, CUBS. None of these Cardinals made my top 30 list, but each of them was impressive in small sample last year: Grichuk had 17 HRs in 323 ABs, Piscotty hit .305, and Pham wielded both power and speed in barely 150 ABs. My current thinking is I like the first two as OF-3s in a fantasy lineup, with Pham as a sleeper to stash on the bench.
Robinson Cano, 2B, SEA: Tough to do much better than No. 3 in my rankings, and his overall 2015 numbers were not what we hoped for in total, but I'm thinking more about the second half of last year, when he righted himself after a really lousy first half and hit .331, with 15 HRs and 49 RBI after the All-Star break. Maybe that makes him look like a little bit more of a steal as the No. 3 2B, and I wouldn't blame you if you drafted him ahead of Jose Altuve, HOU, and Dee Gordon, MIA - though you'll need to find SBs at other positions if you do.
Previously in the Fantasy Fix Baseball Draft Guide:
* The (Tied At The) Top 40.
Dan O'Shea is our fantasy fixer. He welcomes your comments.
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