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Fantasy Baseball 2016: B/R's 1st Top 150 Big Board as Spring Approaches

Joel Reuter@JoelReuterBRFeatured ColumnistFebruary 9, 2016

Angels OF Mike Trout
Angels OF Mike TroutMark J. Terrill/Associated Press

The Super Bowl is officially in the rearview mirror, and that means it will only be a short time before pitchers and catchers begin reporting to spring training and the 2016 MLB season is officially underway.

We're still roughly two months from Opening Day, but the time is now to start preparing for your yearly fantasy baseball drafts.

There is no shortage of information to pore over, but establishing a Big Board to serve as a foundation is always a good place to start.

Below is our preliminary ranking of the top 150 fantasy players for draft season—though there will be plenty of change between now and the start of the year as spring performance, transactions and injuries will cause players to rise and fall.

Yu Darvish was ranked No. 38 on our preliminary Big Board last year, only to miss the entire 2015 season after undergoing Tommy John surgery in the spring. He's the perfect example of how these rankings can change before Opening Day.
Yu Darvish was ranked No. 38 on our preliminary Big Board last year, only to miss the entire 2015 season after undergoing Tommy John surgery in the spring. He's the perfect example of how these rankings can change before Opening Day.LM Otero/Associated Press/Associated Press/Associated Press

Before we get to the Big Board, a bit of clarification.

First, everything is based on 10- or 12-team mixed leagues with standard five-by-five rotisserie scoring for hitters (BA, R, HR, RBI, SB) and pitchers (W, ERA, WHIP, K, SV).

Second, lineup construction assumes 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.

Finally, to be eligible at a particular position, players must have accrued at least 20 games there in 2015 (or be projected to play there regularly).

With that established, it's on to the Big Board, starting with No. 150 and working all the way to No. 1.

Bleacher Report's Top 150 Big Board
RankPlayerTeamPositionPrevious
150Jeff SamardzijaGiantsSP
149James ShieldsPadresSP
148David RobertsonWhite SoxRP
147Billy HamiltonRedsOF
146Hanley RamirezRed Sox1B/OF
145Mark TeixeiraYankees1B
144Travis d'ArnaudMetsC
143Salvador PerezRoyalsC
142Brandon BeltGiants1B
141Brett GardnerYankeesOF
140David PeraltaDiamondbacksOF
139Khris DavisBrewersOF
138Hisashi IwakumaMarinersSP
137Jose QuintanaWhite SoxSP
136Jung Ho KangPiratesSS/3B
135Russell MartinBlue JaysC
134Alex GordonRoyalsOF
133Mike MoustakasRoyals3B
132Taijuan WalkerMarinersSP
131Evan LongoriaRays3B
130Dustin PedroiaRed Sox2B
129Kendrys MoralesRoyalsDH
128Lance McCullersAstrosSP
127Luis SeverinoYankeesSP
126Steven MatzMetsSP
125Stephen PiscottyCardinalsOF
124Randal GrichukCardinalsOF
123Tyson RossPadresSP
122Cody AllenIndiansRP
121Hector RondonCubsRP
120Jonathan PapelbonNationalsRP
119Francisco RodriguezTigersRP
118Brandon CrawfordGiantsSS
117Ben ZobristCubs2B/OF
116Shelby MillerDiamondbacksSP
115Jonathan LucroyBrewersC
114Corey DickersonRaysOF
113Shin-Soo ChooRangersOF
112Gregory PolancoPiratesOF
111Kole CalhounAngelsOF
110Jordan ZimmermannTigersSP
109Brian McCannYankeesC
108Adam EatonWhite SoxOF
107Ben RevereNationalsOF
106Jose ReyesRockiesSS
105Zach BrittonOriolesRP
104Mark MelanconPiratesRP
103Ken GilesAstrosRP
102Trevor RosenthalCardinalsRP
101Jeurys FamiliaMetsRP
100Albert PujolsAngels1B
99Michael BrantleyIndiansOF
98Yasiel PuigDodgersOF
97Masahiro TanakaYankeesSP
96Justin VerlanderTigersSP
95Garrett RichardsAngelsSP
94Francisco LirianoPiratesSP
93David OrtizRed SoxDH
92Curtis GrandersonMetsOF
91Hunter PenceGiantsOF
90Maikel FrancoPhillies3B
89Michael WachaCardinalsSP
88Marcus StromanBlue JaysSP
87Johnny CuetoGiantsSP
86Christian YelichMarlinsOF
85Jacoby EllsburyYankeesOF
84Danny SalazarIndiansSP
83Carlos MartinezCardinalsSP
82Ian KinslerTigers2B
81Rougned OdorRangers2B
80Francisco LindorIndiansSS
79Craig KimbrelRed SoxRP
78Kenley JansenDodgersRP
77Aroldis ChapmanYankeesRP
76Wade DavisRoyalsRP
75Kyle SeagerMariners3B
74Matt KempPadresOF
73Eric HosmerRoyals1B
72Jason HeywardCubsOF
71Jason KipnisIndians2B
70Cole HamelsRangersSP
69Jon LesterCubsSP
68Brian DozierTwins2B
67Kyle SchwarberCubsC/OF
66Noah SyndergaardMetsSP
65Adrian BeltreRangers3B
64Freddie FreemanBraves1B
63Miguel SanoTwinsOF
62Prince FielderRangers1B
61Carlos GomezAstrosOF
60Corey SeagerDodgersSS
59Matt CarpenterCardinals3B
58Adam WainwrightCardinalsSP
57Carlos CarrascoIndiansSP
56Troy TulowitzkiBlue JaysSS
55Xander BogaertsRed SoxSS
54Stephen StrasburgNationalsSP
53Felix HernandezMarinersSP
52Adam JonesOriolesOF
51Anthony RendonNationals2B/3B
50Adrian GonzalezDodgers1B
49Ryan BraunBrewersOF
48Justin UptonTigersOF
47Todd FrazierWhite Sox3B
46Lorenzo CainRoyalsOF
45Dallas KeuchelAstrosSP
44Sonny GrayAthleticsSP
43Chris ArcherRaysSP
42Robinson CanoMariners2B
41Yoenis CespedesMetsOF
40Carlos GonzalezRockiesOF
39George SpringerAstrosOF
38Matt HarveyMetsSP
37Corey KluberIndiansSP
36Jacob deGromMetsSP
35Chris DavisOrioles1B/OF
34Zack GreinkeDiamondbacksSP
33J.D. MartinezTigersOF
32Starling MartePiratesOF
31Charlie BlackmonRockiesOF
30Nelson CruzMarinersOF
29Gerrit ColePiratesSP
28Jose FernandezMarlinsSP
27Dee GordonMarlins2B
26Buster PoseyGiantsC/1B
25Mookie BettsRed SoxOF
24Jose AbreuWhite Sox1B
23Edwin EncarnacionBlue Jays1B
22Madison BumgarnerGiantsSP
21David PriceRed SoxSP
20Chris SaleWhite SoxSP
19Jake ArrietaCubsSP
18Joey VottoReds1B
17Jose BautistaBlue JaysOF
16A.J. PollockDiamondbacksOF
15Kris BryantCubs3B
14Max ScherzerNationalsSP
13Jose AltuveAstros2B
12Miguel CabreraTigers1B
11Nolan ArenadoRockies3B
10Manny MachadoOrioles3B
9Carlos CorreaAstrosSS
8Andrew McCutchenPiratesOF
7Anthony RizzoCubs1B
6Giancarlo StantonMarlinsOF
5Josh DonaldsonBlue Jays3B
4Clayton KershawDodgersSP
3Paul GoldschmidtDiamondbacks1B
2Bryce HarperNationalsOF
1Mike TroutAngelsOF
B/R

Ins and Outs

With our first Big Board for the upcoming fantasy season now established, this is the section in future articles where we'll review who climbed into the top 150 and who dropped out in the time that has passed since the previous rankings.

Players who make the Big Board will be accompanied by a brief write-up, as well as highlighted on the above board. Players who drop out will also get a quick blurb explaining why they fell.

As the No. 150 player on our Big Board, new San Francisco Giants starter Jeff Samardzija finds himself on the fringe of our rankings and in danger of being among the first "outs" if he struggles this spring.
As the No. 150 player on our Big Board, new San Francisco Giants starter Jeff Samardzija finds himself on the fringe of our rankings and in danger of being among the first "outs" if he struggles this spring.Eric Risberg/Associated Press

On the Bubble

You're no doubt wondering who missed cracking the top 150, so here's a look at a handful of guys who fell just short of making the Big Board:

  • Devin Mesoraco, Lucas Duda, Mark Trumbo, DJ LeMahieu, Daniel Murphy, Neil Walker, Kolten Wong, Matt Duffy, David Wright, Ian Desmond, Billy Burns, Michael Conforto, Dexter Fowler, Ender Inciarte, Kevin Kiermaier, Joc Pederson, Josh Reddick, Raisel Iglesias, John Lackey, Collin McHugh, Jake Odorizzi, Carlos Rodon, Julio Teheran, Yordano Ventura, Brad Boxberger, Glen Perkins, Huston Street, Shawn Tolleson

Something worth keeping in mind with these preseason rankings: When a few players at the same position are bunched together—for example, outfielders J.D. Martinez, Starling Marte, Charlie Blackmon and Nelson Cruz—it means they're more or less interchangeable, with no clear-cut favorite at the moment.

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

As a potential breakout candidate in what will be his first full season in the league, Michael Conforto is one to keep an eye on from the guys who just missed the top 150.
As a potential breakout candidate in what will be his first full season in the league, Michael Conforto is one to keep an eye on from the guys who just missed the top 150.Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

Biggest Risers and Fallers

Similar to the "Ins and Outs" portion above, this section will also be updated each time we publish a new Big Board, and it will focus on players who rose or fell in the rankings by more than 10 spots in either direction.

The "Previous" section in the above table will be used to indicate how many spots those notable players climbed or dropped.

Just like with new additions to the list, players on the rise will be highlighted in the table. 

Xander Bogaerts hit .320 last season but managed just seven home runs. If he flashes improved power this spring, he could shoot up these rankings.
Xander Bogaerts hit .320 last season but managed just seven home runs. If he flashes improved power this spring, he could shoot up these rankings.Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Wrapup

So there you have it, the first look at Bleacher Report's 2016 fantasy baseball Big Board with the top 150 players for the upcoming season. Hopefully it can serve as a useful tool to help put you in the best position to win your league.

That is, unless you happen to be in one of my leagues. Then I implore you to disregard everything you'll read here.

Pitchers and catchers officially begin reporting Feb. 18, and the first full-squad workouts begin a few days later on Feb. 22.

Baseball is almost here, folks. Get excited!

All stats courtesy of Baseball-Reference.com unless otherwise noted.

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