BBTN 100: Players Nos. 80-71

Who will be the best players in Major League Baseball in the 2016 season?

ESPN formed a panel of MLB writers, analysts and contributors to rank the top 100, which we'll count down from No. 100 to No. 1, revealing the top 10 on Baseball Tonight on March 24.

To compile the top 100, we polled 70 ESPN experts in February and March, starting with a list of more than 350 players. Using a 0-to-10 scale, they evaluated the players based only on how well they are projected to perform in 2016. Players expected to miss 2016 with an injury were not included.

The results will be announced on ESPN.com, Facebook (ESPN Baseball Tonight) and Twitter (@BBTN). Fans can use the hashtag #BBTN100 to join the discussion and follow along.

We're continuing the top 100 with Nos. 80-71.

80. Michael Brantley

Pos.: LF | Team: Cleveland Indians

2015 rank: 43 | 2016 fantasy rank: 88

2015 stats: .310 BA, .859 OPS, 15 HRs, 84 RBIs

ESPN says: The Indians outfielder proved that his 2014 breakout as a mid-lineup power source was no fluke, ripping another 45 doubles while demonstrating an almost unique combination of plate coverage -- with the lowest strikeout percentage among AL qualifiers -- patience and speed. Debating whether he makes a better second fiddle than an offensive centerpiece won't be academic for the Tribe while he tries to recover from offseason shoulder surgery, but his late development suggests he still has plenty more where this came from. -- Christina Kahrl, ESPN.com editor/Sweetspot blogger

By the numbers: Brantley's .319 batting average since 2014 is third in the majors behind only Jose Altuve and Miguel Cabrera. His .327 average in 2014 was the best among Indians players since Roberto Alomar in 2001. Brantley led the majors in doubles last year with 45 and has the most over the last two seasons -- 90. -- ESPN Stats & Information

79. Carlos Carrasco

Pos: RHP | Team: Cleveland Indians | @Cookie_Carrasco

2015 rank: NR | 2016 fantasy rank: 54

2015 stats: 30 GS, 14-12, 3.63 ERA, 216 Ks

ESPN says: A looming breakout ace, Carrasco's ordinary 3.63 ERA hardly matched how well he actually pitched in 2015. Entering his age-29 season, he's been a major strikeout option with elite skills for two seasons; and with better defense behind him, and some luck, he could easily end up in the Cy Young discussion with teammate Corey Kluber. -- Eric Karabell, ESPN.com senior fantasy writer

By the numbers: In late September, Carrasco sparkled against the eventual world champs in Kansas City, allowing just one hit and striking out 15 batters in a shutout. Carrasco became the first Indians player to pitch a one-hit shutout with 15 strikeouts. Carrasco had four games last season with at least 10 Ks, building upon three such games in 2014. -- ESPN Stats & Information

78. Brandon Crawford

Pos.: SS | Team: San Francisco Giants | @bcraw35

2015 rank: NR | 2016 fantasy rank: 160

2015 stats: .256 BA, .782 OPS, 21 HRs, 84 RBIs

ESPN says: Talk about catching a wave. Crawford's career has yet to crest, as he provided a fifth straight season with a rising OPS, keyed by his belting 21 homers and 58 extra-base hits in 2015 -- all while continuing to provide exceptional defense. The main driver in his success? Generating more power with his fly ball stroke, especially early in the count, and especially while creaming fastballs. Crawford swung at the first pitch 40 percent of the time, popping six homers and a 1.151 OPS on first pitches. He's the National League's best shortstop right now. -- Kahrl

By the numbers: Crawford excelled in 2015 with both the bat and the glove. He was the only player in baseball to hit 20 home runs and record 20 defensive runs saved last season. Only two other shortstops have had a 20-20 season since defensive runs saved became a stat in 2003 -- Troy Tulowitzki in 2007 and Alex Gonzalez in 2010. -- ESPN Stats & Information

77. Freddie Freeman

Pos.: 1B | Team: Atlanta Braves | @FreddieFreeman5

2015 rank: 38 | 2016 fantasy rank: 69

2015 stats: .276 BA, .841 OPS, 18 HRs, 66 RBIs

ESPN says: Wrist issues led to a lost second half to Freeman's 2015, but after avoiding surgery this winter, he could pick up where he left off before initially getting hurt, when his power, hard-contact and line-drive rates were gradually climbing on a year-over-year basis. Freeman might not be among the elite at his position, but he's close, capable of .280-25 numbers or better. -- Tristan H. Cockroft, ESPN.com senior fantasy writer

By the numbers: Freeman's 767 hits and 423 RBI since 2011 are most among National League first basemen, and his 103 homers in that span rank third. -- ESPN Stats & Information

76. Masahiro Tanaka

Pos.: RHP | Team: New York Yankees

2015 rank: 47 | 2016 fantasy rank: 147

2015 stats: 24 GS, 12-7, 3.51 ERA, 139 Ks

ESPN says: Tanaka enters his third season still trying to define his level in the major leagues. As a rookie in 2014, he shot out of the gate like a Cy Young candidate. After 1½ years of elbow issues, it is a bit unclear whether Tanaka is really a No. 1 or a No. 3, which is what Brian Cashman, perhaps in an effort to tamp down expectations, initially forecast him as after the Yankees outlaid $175M to secure his services. -- Andrew Marchand, ESPN.com Yankees reporter

By the numbers: In his second year in the majors, Tanaka continued to sparkle after an All-Star rookie campaign. Tanaka's splitter was the most chased pitch in MLB last season, at a rate of 52.5 percent. His 0.99 WHIP was sixth in the majors among pitchers who threw at least 150 innings. -- ESPN Stats & Information

75. Justin Upton

Pos.: LF | Team: Detroit Tigers | @JUST_JUP

2015 rank: 60 | 2016 fantasy rank: 51

2015 stats: .251 BA, .790 OPS, 26 HRs, 81 RBIs

ESPN says: Over his nine seasons in the majors, Upton has been both remarkably durable and consistent. The former first overall pick has hit 26 home runs or more in each of the past three seasons and appeared in 150 games or more in four of the past five seasons. Now the 28-year-old enters the prime of his career and joins a potent Tigers lineup that will see him hitting among the likes of Miguel Cabrera, Ian Kinsler, Victor Martinez and J.D. Martinez. Upton possesses the skills and talent to be "the guy," but while surrounded by a talented group of veterans, he won't have to be on this Tigers team. -- Katie Strang, ESPN.com Tigers reporter

By the numbers: Upton hit 26 homers in 2015, notching his third straight year with at least 25. Upton had three multihomer games in 2015, his most in any single season of his career. -- ESPN Stats & Information

74. Starling Marte

Pos.: LF | Team: Pittsburgh Pirates | @Starlingmart

2015 rank: 94 | 2016 fantasy rank: 28

2015 stats: .287 BA, .780 OPS, 19 HRs, 81 RBIs

ESPN says: With three fulI seasons of providing almost identical batting averages while slugging around the same clip, Marte has established himself as a steady, well-rounded complementary star player. An ever-increasing aggressiveness at the plate cuts into his walk rate, but that one wrinkle doesn't ding a player with Marte's gifts. If not for having to play left field and in Andrew McCutchen's shadow, he'd be a superstar center fielder in his own right -- right now -- on at least 20 other teams. -- Kahrl

By the numbers: Marte posted career highs in hits (166), runs scored (84), doubles (30), HRs (19) and RBIs (81) in 2015, a season in which he also won his first career Gold Glove. Marte's 24 defensive runs saved in left field last season were the most in the majors in left. Another player with 24 DRS in the outfield last season? Jason Heyward. -- ESPN Stats & Information

73. David Ortiz

Pos.: DH | Team: Boston Red Sox | @davidortiz

2015 rank: 41 | 2016 fantasy rank: 45

2015 stats: .273 BA, .913 OPS, 37 HRs, 108 RBIs

ESPN says: Here's the list of players who hit 25 or more homers with an OPS of at least .900 after turning 40: Ted Williams, Harold Baines, Barry Bonds (twice). Could Big Papi join the club? After a slow start last year that left even Red Sox owner John Henry doubting him, Ortiz wound up with 37 homers and a .913 OPS. Entering his final season, only a fool would bet against him going out with a bang. -- Scott Lauber, ESPN.com Red Sox reporter

By the numbers: Ortiz begins his farewell season with 503 homers, 27th on the all-time list. A 20-homer season would catapult him to 19th all-time, just ahead of the trio of Willie McCovey, Frank Thomas and Ted Williams, who all have 521. Ortiz already holds the record for most homers hit as a DH, with 447 (second is Frank Thomas with 269). Ortiz's 445 home runs since joining the Red Sox in 2003 are the second most in baseball during that span, behind Albert Pujols. -- ESPN Stats & Information

72. Xander Bogaerts

Pos.: SS | Team: Boston Red Sox

2015 rank: NR | 2016 fantasy rank: 60

2015 stats: .320 BA, .776 OPS, 7 HRs, 81 RBIs

ESPN says: At the risk of minimizing his breakthrough last season, skeptics point to Bogaerts' fortuitous .372 batting average on balls in play and wonder if he can duplicate a .320 overall average that was second best in the American League. Regardless, the 23-year-old Red Sox shortstop figures to develop more power as he ages and could see a spike from seven homers in 2015. A star-in-waiting, Bogaerts might be just scratching the surface of his ability. -- Lauber

By the numbers: Bogaerts had 196 hits last season at the age of 22. Only five shortstops have had more hits in a season at age 22 or younger: Alex Rodriguez, Cal Ripken, Harvey Kuenn, Starlin Castro and Garry Templeton. -- ESPN Stats & Information

71. Eric Hosmer

Pos.: 1B | Team: Kansas City Royals | @TheRealHos35

2015 rank: NR | 2016 fantasy rank: 73

2015 stats: .297 BA, .822 OPS, 18 HRs, 93 RBIs

ESPN says: Even if he hasn't blossomed into the superstar scouts initially forecast, Hosmer has developed into a more-than-adequate regular in all regards of the game. Just 26, perhaps he'll add more power and shore up his defense, two areas of possible growth. As is, he was the No. 10 first baseman (and No. 5 in the AL) in WAR in 2015. -- Tristan H. Cockroft, ESPN.com senior fantasy writer

By the numbers: Why has Hosmer won three straight Gold Gloves? He saves his teammates a lot of errors. Baseball Info Solutions awarded Hosmer 53 Good Fielding Plays for "Handling or Scooping a Difficult Throw." That was the most for any first baseman in the majors. Hosmer is the only Royals first baseman to win a Gold Glove. -- ESPN Stats & Information