Fantasy Baseball 2014: Updating the Top 150 Big Board, Week 8

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Fantasy Baseball 2014: Updating the Top 150 Big Board, Week 8
USA Today

With the 2014 baseball season going full tilt, the fantasy version of the sport needs all kinds of attention. Like, every-week attention—lest we fickle owners get frustrated and cranky, and that just isn't good for anyone.

With that in mind, it's time for the weekly update of the Big Board, which focuses on evaluating players' values over the rest of the season. Below is a ranking of the top 150 players from now until the end of September. With opinions and circumstances changing since the last iteration, including player performances, transactions and injuries, a refreshing is in order.

Think of it as your security blanket in an otherwise insecure world.

Before getting to that, though, some housekeeping is needed, as this lengthy list of the top talents comes with a few key qualifications. First, everything is based on 10- or 12-team mixed leagues with standard 5x5 rotisserie scoring for hitters (BA, R, HR, RBI, SB) and pitchers (W, ERA, WHIP, K, SV).

Second, lineup construction accounts for 22 active roster positions, consisting of: one each for catcher, first base, second base, third base, shortstop, corner infield, middle infield and utility, along with five outfielders and nine pitchers.

And third, to be eligible at a particular position, players must have played at least 20 games there in 2013 or 10 games in 2014.

With that out of the way, get ready to count down, starting with No. 150 and working all the way to No. 1.

Bleacher Report's Top 150 Big Board
150 Martin Prado Diamondbacks 2B/3B/OF
149 Rick Porcello Tigers SP
148 Wily Peralta Brewers SP
147 Jered Weaver Angels SP NR
146 Huston Street Padres RP NR
145 Nate Eovaldi Marlins SP 132
144 Ben Zobrist Rays 2B/SS/OF 122
143 Scott Kazmir Athletics SP
142 Tim Hudson Giants SP
141 Tyson Ross Padres SP
140 C.J. Wilson Angels SP
139 Sergio Romo Giants RP
138 Daniel Murphy Mets 2B
137 Howie Kendrick Angels 2B
136 Carlos Santana Indians C/1B/3B
135 Michael Cuddyer Rockies OF
134 Mark Teixeira Yankees 1B
133 Shelby Miller Cardinals SP
132 Jhonny Peralta Cardinals SS
131 Brett Gardner Yankees OF
130 Brett Lawrie Blue Jays 2B
129 Joe Nathan Tigers RP
128 David Robertson Yankees RP
127 Rafael Soriano Nationals RP
126 Mike Morse Giants OF
125 Brian McCann Yankees C
124 Bryce Harper Nationals OF
123 Andrew Cashner Padres SP
122 Ervin Santana Braves SP
121 Matt Cain Giants SP 105
120 Ryan Zimmerman Nationals 3B 86
119 Nolan Arenado Rockies 3B 81
118 Brandon Belt Giants 1B
117 Jean Segura Brewers SS
116 Billy Hamilton Reds OF
115 Jonathan Lucroy Brewers C
114 Jose Reyes Blue Jays SS
113 Jason Heyward Braves OF 90
112 Desmond Jennings Rays OF
111 Francisco Rodriguez Brewers RP 125
110 Michael Brantley Indians OF 128
109 Homer Bailey Reds SP
108 Doug Fister Nationals SP
107 Garrett Richards Angels SP
106 Allen Craig Cardinals 1B/OF
105 Corey Kluber Indians SP NR
104 Alex Cobb Rays SP 145
103 Brandon Moss Athletics 1B/OF 120
102 Justin Morneau Rockies 1B
101 George Springer Astros OF 116
100 Gio Gonzalez Nationals SP 112
99 Mike Napoli Red Sox 1B
98 Aroldis Chapman Reds RP
97 Trevor Rosenthal Cardinals RP
96 Matt Carpenter Cardinals 2B/3B
95 Yordano Ventura Royals SP
94 Starlin Castro Cubs SS
93 Mike Minor Braves SP
92 Dee Gordon Dodgers 2B/SS
91 Hyun-Jin Ryu Dodgers SP
90 Joe Mauer Twins C/1B 74
89 Manny Machado Orioles 3B 72
88 Charlie Blackmon Rockies OF
87 Matt Kemp Dodgers OF
86 Pedro Alvarez Pirates 3B
85 Glen Perkins Twins RP
84 Koji Uehara Red Sox RP
83 Anibal Sanchez Tigers SP 106
82 Kenley Jansen Dodgers RP
81 Melky Cabrera Blue Jays OF
80 Greg Holland Royals RP
79 Craig Kimbrel Braves RP
78 Eric Hosmer Royals 1B
77 Starling Marte Pirates OF
76 Elvis Andrus Rangers SS
75 Alexei Ramirez White Sox SS 89
74 Ian Desmond Nationals SS
73 Anthony Rendon Nationals 2B/3B
72 Joey Votto Reds 1B 55
71 Chase Utley Phillies 2B
70 Jeff Samardzija Cubs SP 83
69 Jayson Werth Nationals OF
68 Wil Myers Rays OF 56
67 Josh Hamilton Angels OF 84
66 Jose Altuve Astros 2B 79
65 Alex Rios Rangers OF
64 Cole Hamels Phillies SP
63 Jordan Zimmermann Nationals SP 45
62 Gerrit Cole Pirates SP
61 Sonny Gray Athletics SP
60 Michael Wacha Cardinals SP
59 Matt Holliday Cardinals OF
58 Jay Bruce Reds OF 85
57 Buster Posey Giants C 47
56 Yadier Molina Cardinals C
55 Yoenis Cespedes Athletics OF
54 Hisashi Iwakuma Mariners SP 71
53 Jon Lester Red Sox SP
52 Dustin Pedroia Red Sox 2B 52
51 Julio Teheran Braves SP 65
50 Anthony Rizzo Cubs 1B 61
49 Hunter Pence Giants OF
48 Ian Kinsler Tigers 2B 60
47 Cliff Lee Phillies SP 31
46 Justin Verlander Tigers SP
45 James Shields Royals SP
44 Brian Dozier Twins 2B
43 Jason Kipnis Indians 2B 58
42 David Ortiz Red Sox UTIL
41 Johnny Cueto Reds SP
40 Ryan Braun Brewers OF 22
39 Justin Upton Braves OF
38 Shin-Soo Choo Rangers OF
37 Nelson Cruz Orioles OF 51
36 Victor Martinez Tigers UTIL 50
35 Madison Bumgarner Giants SP
34 Jacoby Ellsbury Yankees OF
33 Chris Sale White Sox SP 54
32 David Price Rays SP
31 Masahiro Tanaka Yankees SP
30 David Wright Mets 3B 41
29 Adrian Gonzalez Dodgers 1B
28 Adrian Beltre Rangers 3B
27 Stephen Strasburg Nationals SP
26 Zack Greinke Dodgers SP
25 Jose Abreu White Sox 1B
24 Felix Hernandez Mariners SP
23 Josh Donaldson Athletics 3B
22 Max Scherzer Tigers SP
21 Hanley Ramirez Dodgers SS
20 Evan Longoria Rays 3B
19 Albert Pujols Angels 1B
18 Adam Jones Orioles OF
17 Chris Davis Orioles 1B
16 Yu Darvish Rangers SP
15 Carlos Gonzalez Rockies OF
14 Robinson Cano Mariners 2B
13 Adam Wainwright Cardinals SP
12 Clayton Kershaw Dodgers SP
11 Freddie Freeman Braves 1B
10 Yasiel Puig Dodgers OF
9 Edwin Encarnacion Blue Jays 1B
8 Andrew McCutchen Pirates OF
7 Jose Bautista Blue Jays OF
6 Giancarlo Stanton Marlins OF
5 Carlos Gomez Brewers OF
4 Paul Goldschmidt Diamondbacks 1B
3 Troy Tulowitzki Rockies SS
2 Miguel Cabrera Tigers 1B/3B
1 Mike Trout Angels OF


Ins and Outs

This time around, three players fell off the Big Board:

  • Ian Kennedy: He's been more good than bad, but Kennedy is far from a must-start pitcher.
  • Shane Victorino: Re-aggravating a hamstring injury that acted up at the end of spring training and cost him the first few weeks of the season is one way to get bumped off the Board.
  • Prince Fielder: Hope your neck feels better in time for 2015!

The three newbies replacing them, highlighted on the Big Board, are:

  • Jered Weaver: Healthy for the first time in three years, Weaver has allowed only nine earned runs over his past seven starts (1.70 ERA, 0.94 WHIP).
  • Huston Street: It's hard to argue with 13 saves, a 0.50 ERA and 0.78 WHIP.
  • Corey Kluber: In retrospect, Kluber should've been on Board already. His 83 strikeouts rank second in all of baseball—and he's an ace when it comes to handling high jinks during on-camera interviews (see video).

On the Bubble

Because you're probably wondering about some players just outside the top 150, disregarding those who fell off this week, that list includes:

  • Kyle Seager, Rajai Davis, John Lackey, Angel Pagan, Christian Yelich, Mat Latos, Neil Walker, Aaron Hill, Jimmy Rollins, Todd Frazier, Pablo Sandoval, Joakim Soria, Jonathan Papelbon, Marco Estrada and Salvador Perez.

Keep in mind: When a few players at the same position are bunched together—like outfielders Billy Hamilton, Jason Heyward and Desmond Jennings—it means they're more or less in the same boat, with no clear favorite at the moment.

That can and will change as more information, news, injuries and performances come to light. But for now, when players are grouped, consider their value to your team based more on specific category need than overall ranking.

Risers and Fallers

The right-most column marked "LAST" on the Big Board indicates a player who rose or fell in the rankings by at least 10 spots in either direction from the previous edition. Similar to the new additions, players who saw their value improve by that margin are highlighted.

Here are the reasons for some of the biggest risers this week:

  • Alex Cobb: Finally back from an oblique strain that knocked him out of his second start of the year, Cobb returned this week and is steady as ever.
  • George Springer: Talk about timing—Springer was in danger of dropping when he injured his hip earlier in the week and then sat out a couple of games, but he returned Saturday night and smashed a pair of homers to bring his May totals to a .293 batting average, 13 runs, six home runs and 16, RBI.
  • Anibal Sanchez: He's been fighting through injuries all year it seems, but at least he's making it to the mound to post numbers very similar to his boffo 2013 (2.83 ERA, 1.11 WHIP, 8.2 K/9).
  • Josh Hamilton: His speedy recovery from a torn thumb ligament hit a bit of a bump when he felt some discomfort after getting jammed during his Triple-A rehab stint, per Rahshaun Haylock of Fox Sports West, but he's still expected to make it back to L.A. early in the week. Fingers crossed.
  • Jose Altuve: Have you seen his numbers? Seriously: .322 batting average, 25 runs, two home runs, 17 RBI and 17 stolen bases.
  • Jay Bruce: His return from knee surgery was incredibly quick—just two weeks!—so Bruce gets a boost into the top 60. Now he needs to hit to stay there.
  • Hisashi Iwakuma: The second runner-up in the AL Cy Young voting last year has looked like the same pitcher ever since his recovery from a finger injury: 1.76 ERA, 0.72 WHIP.
  • Jason Kipnis: After three weeks on the shelf with an oblique strain, Kipnis started his rehab assignment over the weekend, per Jim Massie of The Columbus Dispatch. A return this coming week could happen.
  • Nelson Cruz: He's been smokin', is now tied with Jose Abreu for the most homers in the majors (15) and has passed the injured White Sox rookie for the most RBI in the AL (43).
  • Victor Martinez: Only one more game until V-Mart and his .331 average and 12 homers are 1B-eligible (nine games).
  • Chris Sale: In his return from an arm strain, Sale took a no-hitter into the sixth inning and whiffed 10. That's all.

Meanwhile, the big fallers dropped because of the following:

  • Matt Cain: While Cain has yet to be placed on the disabled list due to a hamstring strain that forced him to leave his last outing, his scheduled start for Memorial Day Monday isn't happening. The righty cut short his bullpen session after feeling some pain in the leg, per Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle.
  • Ryan Zimmerman: A setback concerning his thumb injury could keep Zimmerman out even longer, so he needs to be dropped down all over again for now.
  • Nolan Arenado: Somebody needs to do a public service announcement on head-first slides for baseball players. Then maybe Arenado wouldn't be out for the next month-plus, interrupting his breakout campaign.
  • Joe Mauer: If not for his catcher eligibility, Mauer just might be in danger of falling off the Board. There's nothing exciting about a .286 average, two homers and 14 RBI.
  • Manny Machado: A sore groin is hampering Machado, and his bat has yet to make it all the way back. He has just 19 hits in his first 83 at-bats (.229) with one homer and three RBI in 20 games.
  • Joey Votto: His trip to the DL followed a serious slump, which is a bad combination for Votto's value. Even when he gets back, he may not be 100 percent again this year, according to Mark Sheldon of He's got work to do to get back in the Board's good graces.
  • Wil Myers: On the downside, Myers hasn't done much so far. On the plus side, last year he hadn't even debuted at this point (June 18), so the second-year Ray has plenty of time to break out of his sophomore slump.
  • Jordan Zimmermann: The strikeout-to-walk ratio is improved over the past few years, but because of an elevated batting average on balls in play so far (.359), everything else is worse.
  • Dustin Pedroia: He's slumped right along with the Red Sox. During the club's nine-game losing streak, Pedroia has gone just 7-for-36 (.194) with one RBI and three runs.
  • Cliff Lee: An MRI revealed a strained left elbow for Lee, who may have trouble reaching the 200-inning threshold for the seventh season in a row.
  • Ryan Braun: He's going to be dealing with bothersome injuries and ailments all year long, isn't he?

Charles Krupa/Associated Press
Dustin Pedroia's fantasy value is plummeting right along with the Red Sox.

The Wrap-Up

Happy Memorial Day! The end-of-May holiday signals the point in the fantasy baseball season where everything starts to sink in and get real.

Player performances—both good and bad—become much more legitimate, and your league's standings and category scores are now relevant. The flip has switched.

So if you've been on cruise control over the past eight weeks, now is the time to put your foot back on the gas and either push further ahead or do your darnedest to catch up.

Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images
Slumping and injured, Ben Zobrist can be cut.

If you're in the latter category, you have a can't-wait-anymore card to play in order to cut that embarrassing underperformer (think: Carlos Santana, Billy Butler and Zack Wheeler) or injured players who won't be coming back anytime soon (read: Carlos Beltran, Matt Wieters, Mark Trumbo, Ben Zobrist). Of course, if you can hang on to them, that course of action still is preferred, particularly in deeper formats or leagues where there aren't any worthy options on the waiver wire.

And if you have been dragging your feet when it comes to working up a few quality trade offers to propose to your fellow owners, well, pick up your kicks already!

Just because it's a holiday doesn't mean you should be taking the day off from fantasy baseball.

Statistics are accurate through Saturday, May 24, and come from Baseball-Reference and FanGraphs, except where otherwise noted.

To talk baseball or fantasy baseball, check in with me on Twitter: @JayCat11

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