Fantasy Baseball 2014: Updating Top 150 Big Board with 1 Month to Go

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Fantasy Baseball 2014: Updating Top 150 Big Board with 1 Month to Go
Associated Press
Even though his record 16-start streak of seven innings or more and two runs or fewer ended Saturday, Felix Hernandez has pitched his way into the top five on the Big Board.

With the 2014 baseball season nearing the end, the fantasy version of the sport still needs all kinds of attention, lest we fickle fantasy team owners get frustrated and cranky. And that just isn't good for anyone.

With that in mind, it's time for an 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
RANK PLAYER TEAM POSITION LAST
150 Homer Bailey Reds SP 69
149 Brian McCann Yankees C
148 Tim Hudson Giants SP
147 John Lackey Cardinals SP
146 Manny Machado Orioles 3B 85
145 Salvador Perez Royals C
144 Gerrit Cole Pirates SP
143 Elvis Andrus Rangers SS
142 Chris Carter Astros 1B/OF NR
141 Desmond Jennings Rays OF
140 Josh Harrison Pirates 2B/3B/OF NR
139 Josh Hamilton Angels OF 109
138 Mike Napoli Red Sox 1B
137 Evan Gattis Braves C/OF 115
136 Pedro Alvarez Pirates 1B 116
135 Danny Duffy Royals SP/RP NR
134 Dallas Keuchel Astros SP NR
133 Matt Carpenter Cardinals 2B/3B
132 Ian Kennedy Padres SP
131 Javier Baez Cubs 2B/SS
130 Marcus Stroman Blue Jays SP/RP
129 Yordano Ventura Royals SP 108
128 Jake Odorizzi Rays SP NR
127 Alex Wood Braves SP/RP 140
126 Rick Porcello Tigers SP
125 Jose Quintana White Sox SP
124 Torii Hunter Tigers OF NR
123 Aramis Ramirez Brewers 3B 144
122 Jered Weaver Angels SP 136
121 Jonathan Papelbon Phillies RP
120 Rafael Soriano Nationals RP
119 Adam LaRoche Nationals 1B 147
118 Marlon Byrd Phillies OF
117 J.D. Martinez Tigers OF
116 Kole Calhoun Angels OF NR
115 Rajai Davis Tigers OF 135
114 Daniel Murphy Mets 2B 129
113 Jake Arrieta Cubs SP
112 Khris Davis Brewers OF 134
111 Jimmy Rollins Phillies SS
110 Charlie Blackmon Rockies OF
109 Jason Heyward Braves OF
108 Matt Adams Cardinals 1B
107 Alexei Ramirez White Sox SS
106 Francisco Rodriguez Brewers RP 120
105 David Robertson Yankees RP 119
104 Huston Street Angels RP 117
103 Corey Dickerson Rockies OF 127
102 Chase Utley Phillies 2B
101 Devin Mesoraco Reds C 123
100 Gio Gonzalez Nationals SP
99 Glen Perkins Twins RP
98 Sean Doolittle Athletics RP
97 Hyun-Jin Ryu Dodgers SP 77
96 Alex Cobb Rays SP 114
95 Christian Yelich Marlins OF
94 Gregory Polanco Pirates OF
93 Zack Wheeler Mets SP 104
92 Tanner Roark Nationals SP
91 Lance Lynn Cardinals SP
90 Jay Bruce Reds OF 79
89 Chris Davis Orioles 1B
88 David Wright Mets 3B
87 Nolan Arenado Rockies 3B
86 George Springer Astros OF
85 Carlos Santana Indians C/1B/3B
84 Dustin Pedroia Red Sox 2B
83 Jason Kipnis Indians 2B
82 Chris Archer Rays SP 93
81 Matt Holliday Cardinals OF
80 Mat Latos Reds SP
79 Bryce Harper Nationals OF
78 Tyson Ross Padres SP
77 Pablo Sandoval Giants 3B 90
76 Matt Kemp Dodgers OF 89
75 James Shields Royals SP 88
74 Scott Kazmir Athletics SP
73 Starlin Castro Cubs SS
72 Justin Morneau Rockies 1B
71 Jonathan Lucroy Brewers C
70 Brandon Moss Athletics 1B/OF
69 Kenley Jansen Dodgers RP
68 Trevor Rosenthal Cardinals RP
67 Koji Uehara Red Sox RP
66 Jose Reyes Blue Jays SS
65 Buster Posey Giants C/1B
64 Jeff Samardzija Athletics SP
63 Jayson Werth Nationals OF
62 Greg Holland Royals RP
61 Aroldis Chapman Reds RP
60 Craig Kimbrel Braves RP
59 Hanley Ramirez Dodgers SS 46
58 Brett Gardner Yankees OF
57 Evan Longoria Rays 3B
56 Yoenis Cespedes Red Sox OF
55 Doug Fister Nationals SP
54 Sonny Gray Athletics SP
53 Hisashi Iwakuma Mariners SP
52 Jordan Zimmermann Nationals SP
51 Justin Upton Braves OF
50 Ian Kinsler Tigers 2B
49 David Ortiz Red Sox UTIL
48 Brian Dozier Twins 2B
47 Ian Desmond Nationals SS 59
46 Yu Darvish Rangers SP 12
45 Ryan Braun Brewers OF 29
44 Jon Lester Athletics SP
43 Anthony Rendon Nationals 2B/3B
42 Julio Teheran Braves SP
41 Madison Bumgarner Giants SP
40 Nelson Cruz Orioles OF
39 Stephen Strasburg Nationals SP
38 Adrian Gonzalez Dodgers 1B
37 Albert Pujols Angels 1B
36 Hunter Pence Giants OF
35 Kyle Seager Mariners 3B
34 Melky Cabrera Blue Jays OF 48
33 Josh Donaldson Athletics 3B
32 Freddie Freeman Braves 1B
31 Cole Hamels Phillies SP
30 Zack Greinke Dodgers SP
29 Garrett Richards Angels SP 43
28 Todd Frazier Reds 3B
27 Jacoby Ellsbury Yankees OF
26 Billy Hamilton Reds OF
25 Dee Gordon Dodgers 2B/SS 55
24 Adam Wainwright Cardinals SP 13
23 Anthony Rizzo Cubs 1B
22 Andrew McCutchen Pirates OF
21 Adrian Beltre Rangers 3B
20 Jose Altuve Astros 2B
19 Edwin Encarnacion Blue Jays 1B 39
18 Victor Martinez Tigers 1B
17 Michael Brantley Indians OF
16 Corey Kluber Indians SP
15 Max Scherzer Tigers SP 26
14 Chris Sale White Sox SP
13 Yasiel Puig Dodgers OF
12 Johnny Cueto Reds SP
11 David Price Tigers SP
10 Jose Bautista Blue Jays OF
9 Adam Jones Orioles OF
8 Robinson Cano Mariners 2B
7 Carlos Gomez Brewers OF
6 Jose Abreu White Sox 1B
5 Giancarlo Stanton Marlins OF
4 Felix Hernandez Mariners SP
3 Clayton Kershaw Dodgers SP
2 Miguel Cabrera Tigers 1B/3B
1 Mike Trout Angels OF

Author

 

Ins and Outs

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

  • Troy Tulowitzki: Season-ending hip surgery? Off the Board.
  • Carlos Gonzalez: Season-ending knee surgery? Off the Board.
  • Anibal Sanchez: While Sanchez's oblique injury isn't expected to keep him out for the rest of the year, it should have him sidelined until September. That's long enough to push a borderline start-him-every-time-out arm outside the top 150.
  • Justin Verlander: Everyone should officially be over the idea of Verlander coming around, especially now that he's missing a couple starts with shoulder inflammation.
  • Alex Rios: He's been banged up of late and has exactly one home run since May 14. You can drop him if you haven't already.
  • Mark Teixeira: If you desperately need power, Teixeira still can provide it, but he and the rest of the Yankees lineup have been in a massive slump lately.
  • Shin-Soo Choo: After a season ruined by an early ankle injury combined with ailments to just about every one of his Rangers teammates, it's time to get off the Choo train.

Justin Edmonds/Getty Images
Both Carlos Gonzalez and Troy Tulowitzki are out for the season—again.

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

  • Kole Calhoun: Following an early August slump, Calhoun has picked it up, going 15-for-34 (.441) with two homers and seven RBI over his past seven games.
  • Torii Hunter: One of these years, the 39-year-old Hunter will slow down. Just not this year.
  • Jake Odorizzi: Here are Odorizzi's digits since early May: 3.00 ERA, 1.13 WHIP and 120 strikeouts in 102.0 innings.
  • Dallas Keuchel: The southpaw has hurled 15 quality starts in 23 outings and has never given up more runs than innings pitched, which makes him consistent and safe.
  • Danny Duffy: Somehow Duffy is sporting a 2.60 ERA and 1.09 WHIP on a (surprise) first-place team—hello, Royals!—and is still only 8-10 on the year. Which goes to show: Wins are flukey.
  • Josh Harrison: OK, Harrison, you've done enough to earn a spot on this Board—for now—because a .307 average along with double digits in homers (10) and steals (17) can't be overlooked forever.
  • Chris Carter: The slugger is still whiffing 30.8 percent of the time on the year, but a furious August (.367 BA, 8 HR, 20 RBI) has him up to a .236 average with 29 homers and 69 RBI.

Mitchell Leff/Getty Images
Astros slugger Chris Carter is on a home run binge that made him Board-worthy.

 

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:

  • Henderson Alvarez, Lucas Duda, Mark Trumbo, Jake McGee, Cody Allen, Mark Melancon, Fernando Rodney, Wily Peralta, Neil Walker, Mike Morse, Ervin Santana, Wil Myers, Angel Pagan, Marcell Ozuna, Kyle Lohse, Kolten Wong, Kevin Gausman, Oscar Taveras and Jacob deGrom

Keep in mind: When a few players at the same position are bunched together—like starters Jose Quintana, Rick Porcello, Alex Wood, Jake Odorizzi and Yordano Ventura—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.

Mike Carlson/Getty Images
Out since late May with a fractured wrist, Wil Myers should be back before the end of August.

 

Risers and Fallers

The right-most column marked "LAST" on the Big Board indicates a player who rose or fell in the rankings by more than 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:

  • Max Scherzer: Have you seen what Scherzer's been up to lately? Click and find out.
  • Edwin Encarnacion: After missing six weeks with a quad injury, Encarnacion is back and ready to hurt baseballs again. Remember, he can do damage in a hurry. He hit about 74 homers in May. (OK, it was actually 16, but still...)
  • Dee Gordon: The MLB stolen base leader—with 56!—already has eight thefts in August, his highest total since 21 in May. He needed to be higher.
  • Garrett Richards: Has any pitcher had a bigger breakout 2014 than Richards? The only pitchers who have been as good or better than Richards in wins (13), ERA (2.53), WHIP (1.01) and strikeouts (164) are—get this—Johnny Cueto, Clayton Kershaw and Felix Hernandez. Seriously.
  • Melky Cabrera: No, all of Cabrera's production didn't come early on. He's hitting .366 with 19 runs, four homers and 22 RBI in 22 games since the break.
  • Ian Desmond: He may be batting only .248 overall, but Desmond will set a career high in RBI (72 closing in on 80) and perhaps even homers (20 closing in on 25). Oh, and with six more swipes, he'll have his third straight 20-20 campaign—all while doing as much at shortstop.
  • Matt Kemp: Let's not say he's back to being the Kemp of old, but his .304 average, seven home runs, 20 RBI and three steals (and .950 OPS) in 28 second-half games is a very nice turnaround.
  • Alex Cobb: In his last eight starts, Cobb owns a 1.93 ERA, 1.11 WHIP and 54 strikeouts in 51.1 frames. He's also 5-0.
  • Corey Dickerson: That CarGo guy we mentioned earlier? Yeah, he's out for the year, so Dickerson should be seeing regular run the rest of the way, and he does some of everything (.322 BA, 52 R, 16 HR, 52 RBI, 8 SB).

Meanwhile, the big fallers dropped because of the following:

  • Adam Wainwright: While Waino is still an every-time-out kinda guy, he has been a bit shaky since the break with a 4.65 ERA and 47 baserunners in 31.0 innings.
  • Ryan Braun: He did manage to homer off Kershaw Saturday, which is something not many have done this year, but since Braun's average peaked at .327 on June 1, he's hitting just .248 with six homers in 61 games.
  • Yu Darvish: A disabled list stint for elbow inflammation comes at a bad time for owners of MLB's strikeouts-per-nine leader (11.4).
  • Hanley Ramirez: After dealing with all sorts of injuries and ailments all year long, Ramirez finally hit the DL with an oblique strain. It's just not his year.
  • Hyun-Jin Ryu: His hip/glute injury might not be serious, but it was enough to put Ryu on the shelf, which is enough to knock him down a peg on the Board.
  • Evan Gattis: For a second straight year, a midseason injury killed Gattis' momentum, as he's hitting just .217 with two homers and seven RBI in 22 games since coming back. 
  • Josh Hamilton: Imagine how great the Angels offense would be if Hamilton (.266 BA, 35 R, 8 HR, 35 RBI in 72 games) was, you know, good or, heck, even halfway decent.
  • Manny Machado: When one's right knee collapses mid-swing, causing one to go down in a heap of pain and resulting in a sprain, one will also go down several spots on the Board.
  • Homer Bailey: Just when Bailey was pitching his best (1.61 ERA, 0.82 WHIP since the break), elbow inflammation crops up and puts the rest of his campaign in jeopardy.

 

Wrapping Up

At this point, you're either in it or you're getting ready for fantasy football.

If you fall under the latter umbrella, well, better luck with the pigskin. But if you're still hanging around and trying to place in—or even win—your fantasy baseball league, then the advice is simple: Do. Not. Get. Distracted.

August is a brutal month to make it through. You're trying to enjoy the last part of summer, while also hoping to figure out who Drew Brees' third-favorite option behind Jimmy Graham and Marques Colston is going to be (Kenny Stills? Robert Meachem?? Brandin Cooks???) in time for your drafts.

And then September gets even crazier as football's regular season begins and baseball rosters expand from 25 to 40 players, giving owners everywhere way, way too many names to try to keep track of.

So bear down and buckle up, because if you've made it this far, what's another month? Especially if it means victory and bragging rights in the end.

 

Statistics are accurate through Aug. 16 and come from MLB.comBaseball-Reference.com and FanGraphs.com, except where otherwise noted.

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

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