Redrafting this season's top fantasy picks
Thanks to surging stars and slumping sluggers, the short list of baseball's top 2015 performers houses several surprises in a manner varying from MLB.com's 2015 fantasy player preview. If fantasy drafts were redone today -- with the goal of compiling stats for the remainder of the season -- we'd rank our first-round selections in the following fashion:
First overall pick
Preseason: Mike Trout
Spin: The Angels superstar was selected first overall in virtually every 2015 draft, and he has shown no reason to lose his lofty status. A five-category fantasy wonder, Trout could be even more productive through the remaining months if the Angels' underachieving offense gets on track.
Second overall pick
Preseason: Giancarlo Stanton
Today: Paul Goldschmidt
Spin: Goldschmidt -- not the more heralded Trout or Bryce Harper -- has been the most valuable fantasy asset through this point in the season. The first baseman may have trouble maintaining his .349 batting average, but he could hit over .300 the rest of the way and compete for the Major League lead in homers and RBIs.
Third overall pick
Preseason: Andrew McCutchen
Spin: The 22-year-old Harper has leaped into stardom this season, as he is tied for first in the Majors with 18 homers, tied for second with 45 RBIs and ranks eighth with a .328 average. And guess what? Despite all of that, he still has room to improve his 2015 standing. How, you ask? Well, the outfielder has swiped just three bases this year. So with his notable speed, more steals could be on the horizon.
Fourth overall pick
Today: Anthony Rizzo
Spin: Hitting .321 with 10 steals in 228 plate appearances this season, Rizzo has taken his game to the next level. An elite power hitter entering 2015, the first baseman is now a five-category phenom. But just one caveat: Because Rizzo has never hit higher than .286 or swiped more than six bags in any previous campaign, we have to acknowledge that he could tail off some before the season's end.
Fifth overall pick
Preseason: Clayton Kershaw
Spin: One of baseball's top power bats, Stanton could be on his way to his first 40-homer season. However, the No. 2 overall pick in the 2015 Player Preview has dipped in rank due to his current batting mark of .231. But don't sweat just yet. With his pop intact and his season-to-date strikeout rate (31.2) hovering just a tad higher than his career average (28.4), Stanton could end up with a batting mark closer to his lifetime .267 clip.
Sixth overall pick
Preseason: Miguel Cabrera
Spin: Many worried about Miggy during Spring Training as the slugger recovered from offseason surgery, but those fears have been proven to be unfounded. Simply put, Cabrera has remained one of the Majors' most consistent hitters. But since he lacks speed and probably won't belt 40 homers, the Tigers star could struggle to keep pace with those mentioned before him in this space. Don't take that as a knock, though. Cabrera is still a highly coveted fantasy asset.
Seventh overall pick
Preseason: Carlos Gomez
Today: Josh Donaldson
Spin: Many suspected that Donaldson would improve his fantasy stock after his offseason trade to Toronto, but few predicted such staggering gains. The 29-year-old is hitting .312 and ranks among the top three in the American League in homers, RBIs and runs scored. And, in our humble opinion, he laps his fantasy competition at the hot corner.
Eighth overall pick
Preseason: Jose Abreu
Spin: The Dodgers lefty had a few less-than-dominant moments early in 2015, but don't doubt a hurler who posted a 1.80 ERA, a 0.89 WHIP and a 9.8 K/9 rate from 2013-14. Seemingly back on track during his two most recent outings, Kershaw remains fantasy baseball's most valuable pitching asset.
Ninth overall pick
Preseason: Jose Altuve
Spin: Sure, Altuve probably won't match his .341 batting average from a year ago. But he could steal 50 bases for the second straight season and has displayed improved power, with five homers in 220 at-bats. Simply put: The second baseman is more valuable than many outstanding first-base and outfield sluggers thanks to his ability to contribute in four -- and possibly five -- categories from a premium defensive position.
10th overall pick
Preseason: Adam Jones
Today: Max Scherzer
Spin: Back in the Senior Circuit after signing with Washington during the offseason, Scherzer has made a case for being fantasy baseball's best arm. Given his productive supporting cast, pitcher-friendly home park and spot in the National League East -- which houses several unimposing lineups -- the righty should be a highlight-reel mainstay the rest of the way.
11th overall pick
Preseason: Jose Bautista
Spin: McCutchen gave fantasy owners a scare by hitting .194 in April, but he got back on track with a .330 average in May. However, we can't ignore the fact that the center fielder has played through a knee injury this season. This, undoubtedly, has limited his stolen-base potential; he has three on the year. Looking ahead, McCutchen could complete 2015 with a .300 average and 25 homers, but he will not regain his preseason standing as one of baseball's top-five fantasy talents without topping the 20-steal mark.
12 overall pick
Preseason: Robinson Cano
Today: Felix Hernandez
Spin: Seeking his eighth straight season with 200-plus innings pitched, Hernandez is arguably the Majors' most consistent workhorse. The right-hander does not play in front of baseball's best supporting cast, but he nonetheless makes this list thanks to his long-term success in the rate-stat and strikeout departments. And if the Mariners can manage to score more runs, King Felix could watch his fantasy stock soar even higher.