2016 Fantasy Baseball Rankings: Top 75 Outfielders

We finish our position player rankings with the top 75 outfielders. This group is filled with players that are high risk, high reward, or conversely, low risk, low reward. Pick your poison. Tomorrow we begin our starting pitcher rankings.

2016 Fantasy Baseball Rankings: Catcher/First Base/Second Base/Shortstop/Third Base/Outfield(Top 25)/(Top 50)/Starters(Top 25)/(Top 50)/(Top 75)/(Top 100)/Closer/Top 250 Overall

51) Kevin Pillar TOR – In the running to leadoff for Toronto’s powerhouse offense. Can provide Adam Eaton like production at a cheaper price. 2016 Projection: 71/10/50/.275/20

52) Josh Reddick OAK – Hasn’t been able to come close to repeating that 32 homer, 11 steal season in 2012, but still a relatively safe pick with some upside. 2016 Projection: 65/18/75/.260/6

53) Billy Burns OAK – The name perfectly fits the skills, as Burns is a legitimate burner.  2016 Projection: 76/6/41/.274/28

54) Steven Souza TB – Tantalizing 20/20 potential, but with some serious AVG risk. 2016 Projection: 70/19/60/.240/14

55) Ender Inciarte ATL – The move into Atlanta’s weak lineup hurts, but it doesn’t completely kill his value. 2016 Projection: 68/6/44/.282/22

56) Delino DeShields Jr. TEX –  Billy Burns without the cool name. Has a name more suited for fencing. 2016 Projection: 76/8/45/.255/26

57) Randal Grichuk STL – Might be getting a little overrated, but I understand falling in love with the power upside. 2016 Projection: 64/21/69/.258/5

58) Mark Trumbo BAL – Safe power bat with a low AVG. 2016 Projection: 64/24/75/.248/1

59) Evan Gattis HOU – See, Mark Trumbo. 2016 Projection: 58/23/72/.253/0

60) A.J. Pollock ARI, OF – Backed up his injury shortened 2014 breakout with a monster 2015. Expect him to come back down to earth a bit. 2016 Projection: 52/7/31/.291/15 (Update: Fractured his elbow while sliding into home and will require surgery. Timetable is still uncertain.)

61) Marcell Ozuna MIA – High risk power bat. Hit 23 homers in 2014 and only 10 last season. 2016 Projection: 61/16/69/.267/3

62) Domingo Santana MIL – There is no question the power will play at the major league level, the only question is how low of an average it will come with. 2016 Projection: 63/24/74/.239/4

63) Michael Conforto NYM – Another power hitting youngster who I think is getting a little overrated for this season. 2016 Projection: 60/19/68/.264/2

64) Stephen Piscotty STL – Very good hitter, but has yet to display big power or speed. The power could develop at any moment, though, a la Matt Carpenter. 2016 Projection: 65/14/61/.277/6

65) Melky Cabrera CHI-AL – Nothing flashy. Solid AVG and counting stats. 2016 Projection: 69/13/72/.280/4

66) Denard Span SFG – Will hit leadoff for San Francisco. Plus AVG and speed. 2016 Projection: 74/4/39/.288/19

67) Josh Harrison PIT – Had a disappointing follow up season to his 2014 breakout. AVG might be the only category you can really bank on. 2016 Projection: 67/9/48/.286/12

68) Nori Aoki SEA – Low risk, low reward. Favorite to hit leadoff in front of Seattle’s sneaky strong middle of the order (Seager, Cruz, Cano, Lind). 2016 Projection: 68/7/40/.287/18

69) Kevin Kiermaier TB – Known more for his defense, but the bat has some juice too. 2016 Projection: 66/9/47/.271/16

70) Rajai Davis CLE – With Abe Almonte suspended for 80 games, and Michael Brantley rehabbing from shoulder surgery, Davis should see plenty of at-bats this season. And that means plenty of steals, as well. 2016 Projection: 69/8/50/.251/26

71) Austin Jackson CHI-AL – Signed for one year, $5 million with the Chicago White Sox. This bumps Avisail Garcia completely out of the rankings. 2016 Projection: 62/10/40/.261/14

72) Jayson Werth WASH – Might be old, but at this point in the rankings, is worth taking a flier on. 2016 Projection: 68/16/67/.264/5

73) Carlos Beltran NYY – See, Jayson Werth. 2016 Projection: 57/18/67/.268/0

74) Danny Valencia OAK – Triple-slashed .284/.356/.530 with 11 homers in only 47 games for Oakland last season. Will be their starting third baseman this year. 2016 Projection: 58/17/69/.273/3

75) Yasmany Tomas ARI – Still a bit of an unknown, but what we have seen has not exactly been inspiring. 2016 Projection: 57/14/68/.262/6

By Michael Halpern
Email: michaelhalpern@imaginarybrickwall.com
Twitter: Imaginary Brick Wall (@ImaginaryBrickW)

2016 Fantasy Baseball Rankings: Top 50 Outfielders

The 2016 top 50 outfielders present a nice mix of young upside and veteran reliability. Let’s get right to it:

2016 Fantasy Baseball Rankings: Catcher/First Base/Second Base/Shortstop/Third Base/Outfield(Top 25)/(Top 75)/Starters(Top 25)/(Top 50)/(Top 75)/(Top 100)/Closer/Top 250 Overall

26) Jacoby Ellsbury NYY ­– Betting on his health is a roll of the dice, but when healthy, he is a fantasy stud. 2016 Projection: 89/11/55/.273/31

27) Kyle Schwarber CHI-NL – Wrote about Schwarber in my 2016 Fantasy Baseball Rankings: Top 20 Catchers post. 2016 Projection: 71/27/89/.254/4

28) Christian Yelich MIA – Another youngster with a safe floor and high ceiling. Will most likely hit in front of Giancarlo Stanton and behind Dee Gordon. 2016 Projection: 82/12/63/.288/19

29) Brett Gardner NYY – Fell apart in the 2nd half after wrist injury. There is some sneaky upside here. 2016 Projection: 85/15/65/.263/23

30) Brandon Belt SFG – Wrote about Belt in my 2016 Fantasy Baseball Rankings: Top 20 First Basemen post. 2016 Projection: 78/20/80/.278/8

31) Michael Brantley CLE, OF – Rehab is ahead of schedule after off season shoulder surgery, but will still need a DL stint to start the season. There is concern the injury might sap some of his power. 2016 Projection: 68/14/74/.294/12

32) Shin-soo Choo CLE – Bounced back to normal self last season except for the stolen bases. 2016 Projection: 86/19/72/.273/5

33) Hanley Ramirez BOS – Owning Ramirez is like a roller coaster ride, but his 5-category upside is worth it at this point in the rankings. 2016 Projection: 70/20/76/.270/10

34) Curtis Granderson NYM – Solid 4-category production with a low AVG. 2016 Projection: 84/22/69/.252/9

35) Ben Revere WASH – Traditional leadoff hitter. 2016 Projection: 79/2/47/.297/33

36) Billy Hamilton CIN – Nothing but steals. Lots and lots of steals. 2016 Projection: 66/7/38/.251/51

37) Joc Pederson LAD – Dismal 2nd half last season, but he has too much upside to let fall beyond this point. 2016 Projection: 76/23/69/.246/12

38) Byron Buxton MIN – The #2 ranked prospect in my 2016 Top 100 Fantasy Prospects post. Starling Marte if everything goes right, back to the minors if it goes wrong. 2016 Projection: 79/13/60/.264/23

39) Dexter Fowler CHI-NL – Moderate power/speed combo hitting atop Chicago’s stacked lineup. 2016 Projection: 87/14/46/.258/16

40) Adam Eaton CHI-AL – Breakout season in 2015, but I’m not betting on a full repeat. 2016 Projection: 88/10/52/.286/14

41) Kole Calhoun LAA – Low risk power bat. 2016 Projection: 77/21/74/.266/3

42) David Peralta ARI – Safe across the board production. 2016 Projection: 74/15/68/.288/9

43) Gerardo Parra COL – The move to Coors should give his AVG and power a slight bump. 2016 Projection: 73/13/64/.289/12

44) Alex Gordon KC – If you couldn’t tell, we are smack dab in the middle of the safe and boring part of the rankings. 2016 Projection: 69/17/74/.269/6

45) Ben Zobrist CHI-NL ­– Wrote about Zobrist in my 2016 Fantasy Baseball Rankings: Top 20 Second Basemen post. 2016 Projection: 83/16/65/.273/8

46) Matt Holliday STL – I’m not quite ready to write off the 36-year-old Holliday after a down 2015, as he still managed to put up an .804 OPS. 2016 Projection: 70/16/80/.280/3

47) Jay Bruce CIN – Likely to be traded at some point this season. 4-category production with a very low AVG. 2016 Projection: 68/24/80/.240/7

48) Corey Dickerson TB – Trade to Tampa Bay tanks his value. 2016 Projection: 68/18/64/.282/2

49) Khris Davis OAK – Trade to Oakland dings his value. His power is big enough that it shouldn’t make that much of a difference. 2016 Projection: 63/24/74/.253/5

50) Wil Myers SD – Post hype sleeper. Might not have fantasy stud upside anymore, but can still be a reliable starter. 2016 Projection: 70/18/72/.255/9

By Michael Halpern
Email: michaelhalpern@imaginarybrickwall.com
Twitter: Imaginary Brick Wall (@ImaginaryBrickW)

2016 Fantasy Baseball Rankings: Top 25 Outfielders

The NFL and NBA had a long run of unquestionably having the best athletes in sports, but I would put this group of top 25 outfielders up against anybody. Little guys, big guys, speed, power, average … there is a smorgasbord of tools to choose from here.

2016 Fantasy Baseball Rankings: Catcher/First Base/Second Base/Shortstop/Third Base/Outfield(Top 50)/(Top 75)/Starters(Top 25)/(Top 50)/(Top 75)/(Top 100)/Closer/Top 250 Overall

1) Mike Trout LAA – More like Mike Shark, amiright? 2016 Projection: 107/37/101/.294/13

2) Bryce Harper WASH – New Kid on the Block, both at the top of these rankings, and his hair style. 2016 Projection: 112/39/96/.311/8

3) Andrew McCutchen PIT – Holding on for dear life to the #3 spot, as there is large shadow looming, literally and figuratively, right behind him at #4. 2016 Projection: 93/22/90/.300/14

4) Giancarlo Stanton MIA – If you were betting on the player most likely to break Barry Bonds home run record, Stanton would be your guy. 2016 Projection: 87/41/104/.269/7

5) Jose Bautista TOR – Playing the role of the grumpy old man in the media recently, but he keeps puttting up young man numbers. 2016 Projection: 100/38/102/.260/5

6) Kris Bryant CHI-NL – Wrote about Bryant in my 2016 Fantasy Baseball Rankings: Top 20 Third Basemen post. 2016 Projection: 90/32/108/.273/11

7) Chris Davis BAL – Wrote about Davis in my 2016 Fantasy Baseball Rankings: Top 20 First Basemen post. 2016 Projection: 97/42/118/.258/2

8) Mookie Betts BOS – Strong 5-category production with upside for even more. 2016 Projection: 96/16/74/.295/23

9) Starling Marte PIT – Look up one inch. 2016 Projection: 86/17/79/.283/30

10) Charlie Blackmon COL – Look up two inches. 2016 Projection: 91/16/63/.289/31

11) J.D. Martinez DET – Joined the power elite after jacking 38 homers in 2015. 2016 Projection: 88/33/100/.280/4

12) Nelson Cruz SEA – About that power decline we all expected to happen after his move to Seattle, yeah, it never happened. Crushed 84 bombs in his last two seasons combined. 2016 Projection: 86/36/97/.278/4

13) George Springer HOU – Some injury and strikeout concerns, but has easy 20/20 potential. 2016 Projection: 90/27/78/.264/21

14) Ryan Braun MIL – Bounce back season in 2015. Rebuilding Brewers will have him on the trade block all season. 2016 Projection: 81/26/80/.283/16

15) Adam Jones BAL – Down-ish year in 2015 has dropped his stock a bit. It probably shouldn’t have. 2016 Projection: 87/28/94/.279/6

16) Carlos Gonzalez COL – Won the Russian roulette game of which Colorado outfielders would not get traded (sorry Corey Dickerson, you are dead to me). 2016 Projection: 85/29/90/.281/5

17) Justin Upton DET – His 2011 “breakout” season is looking more and more like a career year. Still a productive fantasy player. 2016 Projection: 88/26/83/.268/12

18) Carlos Gomez HOU – Should bounce back after injury riddled 2015. 2016 Projection: 81/19/75/.265/26

19) Lorenzo Cain KC – A.J. Pollock lite. And maybe not even all that lite. 2016 Projection: 84/14/67/.296/26

20) Jason Heyward CHI-NL – Justin Upton’s career doppelganger, except with less power and more speed. People are still waiting for that 2012 “breakout” to stand up. 2016 Projection: 81/15/72/.282/22

21) Yoenis Cespedes NYM – Not completely buying into the Cespedes who absolutely mashed for the Mets in 2015. 2016 Projection: 78/26/88/.274/7

22) Matt Kemp SD – I feel like I want to rank him lower, but the power numbers are still strong. There is something about being a San Diego Padres hitter that makes me want to forget about you. Maybe it’s just me. 2016 Projection: 74/24/87/.277/10

23) Hunter Pence SFG – Underrated after playing in only 52 games last season. Across the board production. 2016 Projection: 76/23/81/.276/11

24) Yasiel Puig LAD – High risk, high reward. Talent to legitimately finish top 5 on this list. 2016 Projection: 83/22/74/.280/8

25) Gregory Polanco PIT – Relatively high floor with a huge ceiling. I’m buying. 2016 Projection: 86/14/59/.275/25

By Michael Halpern
Email: michaelhalpern@imaginarybrickwall.com
Twitter: Imaginary Brick Wall (@ImaginaryBrickW)

2016 Fantasy Baseball Rankings: Top 20 Third Basemen

I want one of the top 4 third basemen this year. Todd Frazier wouldn’t be a terrible consolation prize, either (or Miguel Sano if he is eligible in your league). Not to say there aren’t plenty of good options further down the list, but the top 4 will provide MVP level production.

2016 Fantasy Baseball Rankings: Catcher/First Base/Second Base/Shortstop/Outfield(Top 25)/(Top 50)/(Top 75)/Starters(Top 25)/(Top 50)/(Top 75)/(Top 100)/Closer/Top 250 Overall

1) Josh Donaldson TOR – Billy Beane got robbed. 2016 Projection: 112/34/107/.285/5

2) Nolan Arenado COL – Jacked 42 homers in monster 2015. Expect more of the same in 2016. 2016 Projection: 92/35/116/.283/3

3) Manny Machado BAL – Wrote about Machado in my 2016 Fantasy Baseball Rankings: Top 20 Shortstops post. 2016 Projection: 94/31/89/.281/15

4) Kris Bryant CHI-NL – Can easily end up the best player on this list. Strikeouts keep him at #4. 2016 Projection: 90/32/108/.273/11

5) Todd Frazier CHI-AL – The trade to Chicago doesn’t move the needle much in either direction. 4-category player with a low AVG. 2016 Projection: 81/30/93/.260/11

6) Miguel Sano MIN – Strikeouts create a lot of risk, but the upside is elite. 9 games at 3B in 2015. 2016 Projection: 82/29/91/.255/5

7) Matt Carpenter STL – Wrote about Carpenter in my 2016 Fantasy Baseball Rankings: Top 20 Second Basemen post. 2016 Projection: 97/21/79/.277/3

8) Anthony Rendon WASH – Wrote about Rendon in my 2016 Fantasy Baseball Rankings: Top 20 Second Basemen post. 2016 Projection: 87/19/77/.284/9

9) Adrian Beltre TEX – Triple-slashed, .318/.376/.509, and hit 11 homers in 74 2nd half games. Don’t stick a fork in him just yet. 2016 Projection: 80/22/88/.290/1

10) Kyle Seager SEA – Set it and forget it. Model of consistency.  2016 Projection: 82/25/77/.267/7

11) Maikel Franco PHI – Talented young slugger. Hitting in the weak Phillies lineup drops him a bit. 2016 Projection: 76/23/87/.274/3

12) Evan Longoria TB – At one point it looked like he was on his way to being one of the best players in baseball, but it was not to be. Still a good player. 2016 Projection: 73/24/84/.267/2

13) Mike Moustakas KC – Finally had the breakout everyone was waiting for. Launched 15 homers in 69 2nd half games. 2016 Projection: 71/23/85/.272/1

14) David Wright NYM – 33 years old going on 40. Will be limited to 130 games this season. 2016 Projection: 77/18/73/.285/6

15) Matt Duffy SFG – Wrote about Duffy in my 2016 Fantasy Baseball Rankings: Top 20 Second Basemen post. 2016 Projection: 70/11/67/.286/14

16) Daniel Murphy WASH – Wrote about Murphy in my 2016 Fantasy Baseball Rankings: Top 20 Second Basemen post. 2016 Projection: 70/17/73/.287/5

17) Jung-ho Kang PIT – Wrote a Jung-ho Kang, 2016 Fantasy Baseball Sleeper post. 2016 Projection: 70/20/70/.284/4

18) Justin Turner LAD – The high AVG is for real, but the 20+ homer power might not be. 2016 Projection: 71/15/73/.291/4

19) Brett Lawrie CHI-AL – Wrote about Lawrie in my 2016 Fantasy Baseball Rankings: Top 20 Second Basemen post. 2016 Projection: 69/18/74/.267/7

20) Nick Castellanos DET – In an era where top prospects produce immediately once reaching the majors, Castellanos has fallen short. There are some positive signs, though, as he put up an .800 OPS in the 2nd half last season. 2016 Projection: 70/18/80/.274/1

By Michael Halpern
Email: michaelhalpern@imaginarybrickwall.com
Twitter: Imaginary Brick Wall (@ImaginaryBrickW)

2016 Fantasy Baseball Rankings: Top 20 Shortstops

The shortstop position got a much needed talent infusion last season. If you squint hard enough, you can envision the next coming of the ARod/Jeter/Nomar/Tejada era.

2016 Fantasy Baseball Rankings: Catcher/First Base/Second Base/Third Base/Outfield(Top 25)/(Top 50)/(Top 75)/Starters(Top 25)/(Top 50)/(Top 75)/(Top 100)/Closer/Top 250 Overall

1) Carlos Correa HOU – The dawn of the new power hitting SS era begins with Correa, and not a moment too soon, as SS production was getting brutal to watch. 2016 Projection: 88/28/96/.283/21

2) Manny Machado BAL – Every bit the phenom Correa is. 7 games played at SS in 2015. 2016 Projection: 94/31/89/.281/15

3) Troy Tulowitzki TOR – A move away from Coors, advancing age, and a cracked shoulder blade in 2015 are all good reasons to stay away from Tulo. On the flip side, he will be hitting in the middle of a loaded Toronto lineup, and the Rogers Center is a good hitter’s ballpark as well. 2016 Projection: 81/23/90/.283/3

4) Xander Bogaerts BOS – Expect more power and less AVG this season. 2016 Projection: 84/14/80/.293/8

5) Corey Seager LAD – The #1 ranked prospect in my 2016 Top 100 Fantasy Prospects post. Players seem to be hitting their primes earlier and earlier these days, and I wouldn’t be surprised if Seager hits the ground running in his official rookie season. 2016 Projection: 82/19/82/.277/7

6) Francisco Lindor CLE – Doesn’t have the offensive upside of the players ranked above him, but he is no slouch. Hit .313, with 12 homers, and 12 steals in 99 MLB games last season. 2016 Projection: 82/14/68/.274/18

7) Ian Desmond TEX – Signed with Texas to be their starting LF. Presents an enticing power/speed combo. 2016 Projection: 71/21/77/.261/12

8) Jung-ho Kang PIT – Wrote a Jung-ho Kang, 2016 Fantasy Sleeper post. 2016 Projection: 70/20/70/.284/4

9) Addison Russell CHI-NL – Wrote about Russell in my 2016 Fantasy Baseball Rankings: Top 20 Second Basemen post. 2016 Projection: 72/18/72/.268/10

10) Starlin Castro NYY – Wrote about Castro in my 2016 Fantasy Baseball Rankings: Top 20 Second Basemen post. 2016 Projection: 74/14/71/.283/7

11) Elvis Andrus TEX – I don’t see a late breakout coming, but still think he can be useful in fantasy. 2016 Projection: 71/8/66/.271/24

12) Marcus Semien OAK – Underrated power/speed combo. A breakout is possible. 2016 Projection: 69/17/61/.264/10

13) Jean Segura ARI – The trade to Arizona somewhat revived his fantasy hype. I guess it is nice to know somebody still believes in him. 2016 Projection: 67/8/53/.268/27

14) Ketel Marte SEA – Doesn’t get the hype the other SS’s in the 2015 rookie class receive. There is some risk here, but should provide a solid AVG and speed. 2016 Projection: 73/5/58/.275/21

15) Brandon Crawford SFG – Power explosion in 2015. Don’t think he will fall all the way back down to earth, but not paying for the career year either. 2016 Projection: 64/17/78/.254/4

16) Alexei Ramirez SD – Ballpark and lineup downgrades going from CHI to SD. Age concerns as well. 2016 Projection: 60/10/63/.263/15

17) Alcides Escobar KC – Speed and runs, nothing else. 2016 Projection: 75/4/49/.262/20

18) Eugenio Suarez CIN – 13 homers in 97 games last season. The high risk version of Crawford. 2016 Projection: 59/16/68/.252/5

19) Trevor Story SS – Story is the #30 ranked prospect in my 2016 Top 100 Prospects post. He has absolutely crushed spring training pitching, securing the starting SS job while Jose Reyes is suspended. Teams have no incentive to adjust to what he has been doing in Spring so far (for example, in 2015, Mike Zunino triple-slashed .353/.431/.882 with 7 homers in Spring, and then he hit .174/.230/.300 during the regular season), so don’t get too excited, but he certainly put his name on the redraft league map for this season. 2016 Projection: 55/13/51/.250/8

20) Jose Reyes COL – Injury concerns. Suspension concerns. Age concerns. I’m concerned. 2016 Projection: 42/5/28/.281/14

By Michael Halpern
Email: michaelhalpern@imaginarybrickwall.com
Twitter: Imaginary Brick Wall (@ImaginaryBrickW)

2016 Fantasy Baseball Rankings: Top 20 Second Basemen

The top 20 fantasy second basemen are not a particularly inspiring group of players. Former mainstays Dustin Pedroia and Brandon Phillips still couldn’t crack the list, as it is deep with mediocrity.

2016 Fantasy Baseball Rankings: Catcher/First Base/Shortstop/Third Base/Outfield(Top 25)/(Top 50)/(Top 75)/Starters(Top 25)/(Top 50)/(Top 75)/(Top 100)/Closer/Top 250 Overall

1) Jose Altuve HOU – Added power to his already impressive hitting profile last season. 2016 Projection: 90/14/64/.309/36

2) Dee Gordon MIA – Established himself as the real deal in 2015, but don’t expect him to keep up that .333 AVG. 2016 Projection: 85/5/49/.301/52

3) Robinson Cano SEA – Triple-slashed, .331/.387/.540, with 15 homers post all-star break. I’m smelling a bounce back season. 2016 Projection: 83/22/91/.293/4

4) Matt Carpenter STL – Hit 28 homers last season, after hitting 25 total homers in his career up until that point. The power is for real, but don’t expect 28 again. Played 11 games at 2B in 2015. 2016 Projection: 97/21/79/.277/3

5) Brain Dozier MIN – Gives you everything but AVG. 2016 Projection: 92/23/79/.245/13

6) Anthony Rendon WASH – Expected to be fully healthy coming into this season. Should bounce back from his injury riddled 2015. 2016 Projection: 87/19/77/.284/9

7) Rougned Odor TEX – Everyone’s favorite sleeper, and it is easy to see why. Hit 12 homers in only 68 post all-star break games as a 21-year-old. 2016 Projection: 80/20/76/.271/10

8) Ian Kinsler DET – Just keeps on chugging, putting up another top 5 2B finish last season. Should continue to rack up strong counting stats hitting atop Detroit’s lineup. 2016 Projection: 95/14/72/.283/9

9) Jason Kipnis CLE – Can’t count on him to really produce in any category except runs. I’m likely passing this year. 2016 Projection: 84/11/65/.272/14

10) Jonathon Schoop BAL – Another popular sleeper pick. Smashed 15 homers in only 305 at-bats last season. 2016 Projection: 70/22/78/.255/4

11) Addison Russell CHI-NL – Consensus top 10 prospect last year. Didn’t set the league on fire like some of his fellow rookies, but hit much better in the 2nd half. I’m buying his upside. 2016 Projection: 72/18/72/.268/10

12) Matt Duffy SF ­– Came out of nowhere to finish as a top 100 fantasy player. Should provide a little bit of everything. 9 games played at 2B in 2015. 2016 Projection: 70/11/67/.286/14

13) Daniel Murphy WASH – Carried the Mets offense with his power explosion during the 2015 playoffs. He isn’t Babe Ruth, but there is a good chance he will set a career high in homers in 2016. 2016 Projection: 70/17/73/.287/5

14) Starlin Castro NYY – Hit .295 after making an adjustment to his batting stance in the 2nd half. Still only 26 years old, don’t write Castro off just yet. 2016 Projections: 74/14/71/.283/7

15) Ben Zobrist CHI-NL – Will be hitting atop a stacked Cubs lineup in a good hitting ballpark. Joe Maddon loves to run too. 2016 Projection: 83/15/65/.273/8

16) Brett Lawrie CHI-AL – Hasn’t lived up to the potential of his rookie season, but is worth the shot at this point in the rankings. 2016 Projection: 69/18/74/.267/7

17) Howie Kendrick LAD – You know what you are getting with Kendrick. He will hit for a high AVG and not hurt you too much in any other category. 2016 Projection: 79/10/67/.290/10

18) Kolten Wong STL – Decent power/speed combo with upside for more. Might sit vs. lefties at times, but that is not necessarily a bad thing. 2016 Projection: 73/13/64/.264/15

19) Logan Forsythe TB – Triple-slashed, .281/.359/.444, with 17 homers, and 9 steals in a break out season last year. Remarkably consistent the entire year. Might be for real, but I can’t completely buy into the AVG. 2016 Projection: 74/16/65/.264/8

20) Neil Walker NYM – Won’t kill you but probably won’t help you all that much either. 2016 Projection: 68/17/67/.264/3

By Michael Halpern
Email: michaelhalpern@imaginarybrickwall.com

2016 Fantasy Baseball Rankings: Top 20 First Basemen

We continue our 2016 fantasy baseball rankings with the top 20 first basemen. The position is strong and deep, as usual, but I would still target one of the elites.

2016 Fantasy Baseball Rankings: Catcher/Second Base/Shortstop/Third Base/Outfield(Top 25)/(Top 50)/(Top 75)/Starters(Top 25)/(Top 50)/(Top 75)/(Top 100)/Closer/Top 250 Overall

1) Paul Goldschmidt ARI – The gold standard. 2016 Projection: 101/31/115/.308/17

2) Miguel Cabrera DET­ – Many are worried about Cabrera’s health, but he is completely healthy coming into 2016. He feels good, strong, and like he can do anything. He told reporters earlier this off-season, “I feel good. I feel strong, like I can do anything.” 2016 Projection: 98/30/112/.324/3

3) Anthony Rizzo CHI-NL – Everyone’s favorite shiny new toy. But just can’t bump him over Cabrera quite yet. Still a 5-category beast. 2016 Projection: 99/33/108/.285/12

4) Edwin Encarnacion TOR – Coin flip between Encarnacion and Chris Davis for this spot. Both are going to mash. Davis will give you a few more homers, Encarnacion a better AVG. 2016 Projection: 94/37/110/.271/3

5) Chris Davis BAL – Look up one inch. 2016 Projection: 97/42/118/.258/2

6) Joey Votto CIN – The Reds are crumbling around him, but I’m not letting a guy who just put up a 1.000 OPS fall beyond this point. 2016 Projection: 95/28/85/.310/8

7) Jose Abreu CHI-AL – A bit of an unknown compared to the first six names on this list. Still provides elite upside. 2016 Projection: 89/33/108/.288/1

8) Eric Hosmer KC – There is a real drop off after Abreu. I like Hosmer’s solid 5-category production over the more established sluggers ranked below him. 2016 Projection: 93/20/92/.290/8

9) Adrian Gonzalez LAD – Safe and unexciting. Consistently good hitter in the middle of a good lineup. 2016 Projection: 82/26/98/.280/1

10) Albert Pujols LAA – The elite all-time greats like Pujols can defy the typical aging curve. He is ahead of schedule coming back from off-season foot surgery, and might be ready for opening day. 2016 Projection: 79/32/93/.263/3

11) Prince Fielder TEX ­– Logged 18 games at 1B last year, so make sure to check your league’s eligibility rules. The weirdest mix of upside, downside, and reliability, if that makes any sense. 2016 Projection: 80/26/100/.283/0

12) Buster Posey SFG – Wrote about Posey in my 2016 Fantasy Baseball Rankings: Top 20 Catchers post. 2016 Projection: 73/21/90/.312/2

13) David Ortiz BOS – 9 GS at 1B in 2015. Age defying beast. Ride him into the sunset. 2016 Projection: 71/31/101/.271/0

14) Freddie Freeman ATL – Talented young hitter who would rank higher if he was hitting in the middle of a better lineup. 2016 Projection: 78/24/89/.287/3

15) Kendrys Morales KC – Proved last season that his horrible 2014 was just a fluke. Hits in the middle of a strong KC lineup. 9 GS at 1B in 2015. 2016 Projection: 75/23/94/.280/0

16) Mark Teixeira NYY – Was enjoying a bounce back season in 2015 before fracturing his shin. Great source of affordable power if he can stay healthy. 2016 Projection: 76/30/95/.252/1

17) Brandon Belt SFG – Solid across the board production, but does not standout in any category. 2016 Projection: 78/20/80/.278/8

18) Byung-ho Park MIN Jung-ho Kang’s success last season has raised the expectations for Park coming into 2016. Park smashed 105 homers his last two seasons combined in Korea. 2016 Projection: 76/23/81/.269/5

19) Lucas Duda NYM – Homers and RBI’s. Not much else. 2016 Projection: 72/28/90/.247/1

20) Carlos Santana CLE – Down year in 2015, but not ready to jump completely off the bandwagon yet. Silver lining, he stole 11 bases last season. 2016 Projection: 73/23/84/.243/6

By Michael Halpern
Email: michaelhalpern@imaginarybrickwall.com

Jim Gaffigan, The Jim Gaffigan Show Review

Jim Gaffigan is a pioneer in the stand-up comedy world, blazing a trail for food obsessed people everywhere. He made “food comedy” a category all unto itself. You have to only watch his famous 5-minute bit on Hot Pockets to see what I mean. But Gaffigan is more than just a food comic. He has quietly built a reputation as one of the best stand-up comedians in the world. And he has now taken that finely tuned comedic material, and poured it into his new, aptly named show, The Jim Gaffigan Show.

The Jim Gaffigan Show centers around Gaffigan’s life as a stand-up comedian living in Manhattan with his wife and five children. The major themes of the show are food, family, friends, work, religion, and well, more food. In one scene, Gaffigan’s wife mocks him for getting banned from Big Gay Ice Cream, an ice cream shop in New York. His idea of cheating in Las Vegas is eating an entire red velvet cake in his hotel room alone at midnight, and then sheepishly lying to his wife about it, telling her he only ate half of the cake at midnight and the other half in the morning. He gets into a fight at the airport after eating another person’s momentarily unattended fries off their plate. The man has a problem, and it is hysterical.

While Gaffigan is certainly the star, Ashley Williams kills it in her role playing his wife, and carries more than her fair share of the weight. She is so convincing, that when I first saw the show, I thought it might have actually been Gaffigan’s real wife playing the role. Adam Goldberg plays the role of Gaffigan’s best friend, portraying a typical New York comic like Dave Attell. Michael Ian Black plays the role of Gaffigan’s wife’s gay best friend and ex-boyfriend. The obvious tension this creates between Gaffigan and Black is hilarious.

The Jim Gaffigan Show has flown mostly under the radar, which is odd because Gaffigan is an extremely popular stand-up comedian. Maybe it is because the show airs on TV Land, which despite its name, has yet to make much of a mark in the TV world. But the show deserves more exposure, and in the current comedy landscape where depraved humor is flourishing, it is nice to see a legitimately funny show that also has a heart. You can watch the first five episodes of Season 1 here. The schedule for Season 2 has not been released yet.

By Michael Halpern
Email: michaelhalpern@imaginarybrickwall.com

Tyler O’Neill, 2016 Fantasy Baseball Prospect Sleeper

First, the bad news. Tyler O’Neill, OF, is a Seattle Mariners power hitting prospect. The prospect corpses of Dustin Ackley, Justin Smoak, Mike Zunino, and Jesus Montero still hover over this franchise. The 2014 6th overall pick, Alex Jackson, has actually regressed since joining Seattle. Their history isn’t pretty, and Mariner fans deserve our pity … and Seattle is a rainy city (ok, I think that will begin and end my foray into the poetry game). The bad news does not end there. O’Neill strikes out a ton (30.5% K%) and doesn’t walk much (6.5% BB%), either. So why would I like this guy at all? Because when O’Neill does make contact, he absolutely scorches the ball, and he is still only 20 years old, so there is plenty of time for improvement.

O’Neill triple-slashed, .260/.316/.558, with 32 homers, and 16 steals in 106 games played in the High-A California League last season, a hitter’s paradise. He made legitimate improvements during the season, doing his best work after returning from the 2015 Pan-Am games on July 23rd. From that point forward, he slashed, .280/.381/.702, with 16 homers in only 41 games. O’Neill credited his improvement to a new batting stance that allowed him to cover more of the plate, unlocking his power to all fields. He then put up .733 slugging percentage in the Arizona Fall League, jacking 3 homers in 31 PA. And about those Pan-Am games I mentioned earlier, he only won a gold medal with Team Canada, hitting 3 homers, one of which was a 3-run bomb to give Canada a 3-1 win over Cuba.

O’Neill’s best underlying skills are his plus bat speed and exit velocity, which have become the sexy stats du jour in the baseball community, especially with strikeouts sky rocketing around MLB. No longer is striking out the kiss of death, but when you do make contact, you better make it count. O’Neill also has a reputation for being an extremely hard worker. He wanted to improve his speed last off-season, and he did just that, stealing a career high 16 bases in 2015.

The risks are very real, but in fantasy baseball it is all about upside, and Tyler O’Neill is pure upside right now. In his prime, I will give him the projection of 73/25/88/.249/9, with room for much more if he can cut down on his strikeouts. His ETA is 2017-18.

By Michael Halpern
Email: michaelhalpern@imaginarybrickwall.com

Who Is the Best Impractical Joker?

Hold up … before you crucify me for daring to pick a favorite Impractical Joker, which is like being forced to pick your favorite child, or pick your favorite dish at a Chinese restaurant (ok, this one might be just me), I want to highlight this is not about picking a favorite in that way. My favorite Joker can change episode to episode, and even within episodes. And we all know the key to the show is the genuine friendship between the guys, with the whole being greater than the individual parts.

This ranking is about appreciating the underlying skill, art, and performance of Joe, Sal, Murr, and Q, which often gets overlooked. We all watch the show to laugh, but there is a competition going on, as well. In order to find the “best” all around Joker, I broke it down into 4 categories: Versatility, Reactions, Guts, and Performance. I rank each Joker (1-4) within the categories, and the Joker who ends up with the least amount of points is our winner. Let’s get started:

Versatility – Whether saying stupid stuff to strangers in the park, or giving a business presentation to people dressed in suits, the Jokers need to blend in seamlessly in order to get the thumbs up.

1) Murr – One second he looks like “the government in a suit,” and the next he transforms perfectly into a pedophile lurking on the outskirts of a playground, or a pervert hiding in the bushes. A true chameleon.

2) Joe – Like Denzel Washington playing himself in every movie, Joe plays his different roles in a similar manner. He doesn’t change his personality around the role, he changes the role around his personality. It is a great shortcut if you have the ability to do it, and both Denzel and Joe do it well (I know you never thought Denzel Washington and Joey Gatto would be mentioned in the same sentence, but you were wrong).

3) Q – Will not overact a role, which makes him very believable. Finds a way to stay grounded in reality, no matter how crazy he is forced to act.

4) Sal – Wears his heart on his sleeve, and it does not lend well to blending into the more formal, business oriented tasks. He just can’t keep a straight face, but we love him for it.

Reactions – The Jokers can’t control how the public is going to react to their antics, but it is nonetheless a key part of the show. This category is for the Joker who gets the best reactions out of people.

1) Q – “Don’t call me mustache.” Need I say more?

2) Sal – This is where wearing your heart on your sleeve pays off. No matter what Sal says or does, people still feel comfortable around him, and very rarely clam up.

3) Murr – His ability to slip into any character is the same skill that makes people act a bit careful around him. He is almost too slick. But watching people slowly step away from him can be hysterical in its own right.

4) Joe – His own worst enemy, as he is just too damn funny. The people he is trying to get a reaction from, laugh just as much as we are laughing at home (and just as much as the other Jokers behind the camera as well).

Guts – Pretty self-explanatory.

1) Joe – Manages to keep his dignity no matter what he is forced to do. In fact, he is a master at turning whatever situation he is thrown in around in his favor.

2) Q – You can see Q flip a switch in his mind and decide he will do whatever it takes to win a task. He tried to grab another man’s crotch in the middle of a public park. If that won’t slow him down, nothing will.

3) Sal – You can sometimes see the hesitation on his face, but it does not prevent him from conquering his fears, and he seems to have a few of them (heights, germs, claustrophobia, hairless cats, etc …).

4) Murr – Random things will make Murr tap out when you least expect it. He will say some of the most offensive, crazy stuff on the show, but then refuse to say something relatively tame. The unpredictability lands him 4th in this category.

Performance – Although it is a competition, it is a TV show as well, and the masses must be entertained.

1) Sal – Can sing. Can dance. Has quick wit when he is not falling over in laughter. The total package.

2) Murr – Always has the big picture in mind. You can see him try to balance winning the task, with entertaining the fans at home.

3) Joe – Funny when he isn’t even trying. Dives belly first into every task, with comedy his number one goal.

4) Q – Has laser-like focus on winning the task, and might not always ham it up at the risk of a thumbs down.

Joe – 10
Sal – 10
Murr – 10
Q – 10

A four-way tie! This completely scientific study proves that it is in fact impossible to pick the best Impractical Joker. I should be ashamed for even trying.

By Michael Halpern
Email: michaelhalpern@imaginarybrickwall.com