1. Mike Trout
How much can you really say about the best player in fantasy baseball? Power – check! Speed – check! At least 100 runs and RBI – check, check! Batting at or above .300 – check! Don’t get cute if you have the number one pick in the draft. Mike Trout is often imitated, but rarely duplicated.
2. Mookie Betts
If there is a player that can give Mike Trout a run for his money, you can Betts it’s Mookie. Solid power and fly ball rate will keep the home run total high (I would like to see a few more points in hard hit rate). Improving contact rate and minuscule strikeout rate will help maintain the batting average. The speed has been there throughout the minors, and his team and place in the lineup will assure elite numbers in runs and RBI. If Betts does not repeat his 2016, he will come darn close.
3. Kris Bryant
An improved strikeout rate and higher contact rate (with a lower swing percentage) erased most of the doubt some may have had about Bryant in 2016. Combined with the line drive percentage we could see the batting average come up some. The hard-hit rate moved into elite territory, and with a 45 percent fly ball rate we should see sustained power moving forward. Bryant has more value as a third baseman, but his numbers play anywhere.
4. Bryce Harper
Harper put up the first 20/20 season of his young career, albeit with a .243 batting average. It remains to be seen whether the 40 percent hard-hit rate in 2015 was an outlier or not. Even if it was, the ISO and fly ball percentage are good enough to hit 25 or more home runs. And despite the drop in batting average, the contact rate improved and the walk and strikeout percentages remained strong. Expect a few more home runs and a higher batting average, but dial back your expectations for stolen bases.
5. Starling Marte
The power regressed as expected, but what Marte lacked in power he made up for with speed. Overall, he finished with 56 combined home runs and steals in just under 500 at bats. The run total was down thanks in part to the team struggling around him, and the RBI were unacceptable for a player not batting leadoff. Expect improvements in both to go with a .290 average and 50 or so home runs and steals.
6. Trea Turner
Al Melchior profiled Trea Turner as an overrated second baseman during that portion of the guide, and his assessment holds true here. Nobody doubts the abilities of Turner as a fantasy player, just his value as a first-round selection in drafts. Just like Bryant above, Turner’s numbers play anywhere, but you’ll get more value from him at one of the middle infield spots.
7. Nelson Cruz
Cruz is turning into that type of player that age is just a number. If you take his worst stats over the past three seasons you get 87 runs, 40 home runs, 93 RBI and a .271 batting average. There are no major red flags in the ageless wonder’s underlying metrics, so draft with confidence.
8. Charlie Blackmon
An increase in line drives and some BABIP luck fueled the .324 average. Some of the additional power can be attributed to a higher ISO, hard-hit rate and fly ball percentage, but not all of it. That being said, Blackmon is a patient hitter with elite contact skills. Expect numbers closer to what we saw in 2014 and 2015, but don’t be surprised if he exceeds those expectations.
9. A.J. Pollock
An injury derailed his 2016, and he pressed too hard to return resulting in an additional injury. The player we saw in 2015 had great plate discipline, made solid contact, and had a strong batted ball profile. That 20/30/.300 player is well worth a top-10 outfield ranking – providing 2015 was not a fluke and he is 100 percent going into spring training. This is the definition of a risk/reward player.
10. Yoenis Cespedes
Cespedes has now posted consecutive 30+ home run seasons. The runs and RBI were a little light, but that was to be expected with only 132 games and at bat totals under 500. Improvements in walks, strikeouts, ISO, hard-hit rate and line drive/fly ball percentages indicate he could actually improve upon his 2016 season. Temper your expectations, though, as there are some questions with his surrounding cast.
T-11. George Springer
The improved contact rate and slight decrease in strikeouts were countered by a drop in line drives. A modest increase in ISO and career-high 744 plate appearances helped Springer hit 29 home runs, but there was no change in the hard-hit rate and the increase in fly balls was negligible. Finally, he was 9-for-19 in stolen base attempts. At age 27, the upside window that we are all betting on is closing, and the underlying metrics don’t point to a breakout. Consider 2016 to be his ceiling until he shows otherwise.
T-11. J.D. Martinez
His 2014 and 2016 seasons were carbon copies of each other, right down to the at bat total. The contact rate inched up while the swing percentage continues to drop. The ISO, hard-hit rate and fly ball percentage indicate a realistic chance at 30 home runs provided he can reach 150 games or 550 at bats. And don’t expect another .300+ batting average without a little BABIP luck.
13. Giancarlo Stanton
With only two full seasons over his seven-year career, the injury discount is finally being applied to Stanton. There is a 35+ home run hitter in there somewhere. Players like Nelson Cruz have overcome their injury-riddled pasts to become trusted fantasy assets. The other side of that coin is Troy Tulowitzki. Expect modest counting stats due to another injury, but keep your fingers crossed for good health.
14. Ryan Braun
It’s time to remove the PED label from Ryan Braun. He has two straight years of solid power and speed, 80+ runs and RBI, and a batting average between .285 and .305. Realistically, he should be ranked a few spots higher on this list.
15. Ian Desmond
The strikeout rate was back to a high-but-manageable level, and the line drive rate was above 20 percent – two of the primary contributors for his 2014/2015 batting average collapse. The power remained constant during his down years, and there is no issue with his speed and success rate. Desmond has 20/20 seasons in four of the past five years; there’s no reason to expect anything less in 2017.
16. Andrew McCutchen
Is this the final year for Andrew McCutchen in the top-20? The speed has all but vanished. The strikeouts have increased for the second straight year, and the contract rate has been low during that time as well, spelling bad news for the batting average. McCutchen may be good for 20 home runs and 80 each in runs and RBI, but the only way you’ll see more is if the plate discipline does a 180.
17. Carlos Gonzalez
Line drives, lower strikeouts and some BABIP luck were responsible for CarGo’s batting average revival – even with the bad contact rate. The ISO and hard-hit rate should keep the home run power in the 25 range despite the decline in fly balls. Gonzalez is a free agent after this season so he may be dialed in, but if the things don’t look good for Colorado he could be shipped out of town, losing the Coors Field effect.
18. Justin Upton
A declining walk rate, a strikeout rate now in the danger zone, decreased line drives, and poor contact highlight some of the major issues with Upton. He still hits the ball hard and has a strong lineup around him, so the counting stats will still be there. Upton is also famous for taking a month or two off (from hitting), making him frustrating to own in H2H leagues.
19. Christian Yelich
The positive takeaway is he had 38 doubles, 21 home runs, a 38 percent hard-hit rate and an average fly ball distance of 313 feet (top-10). The negative takeaway is a 20 percent fly ball rate (only Howie Kendrick was lower), 5.6 percent infield fly ball rate and 23.6 percent HR/FB ratio (eighth overall). A repeat season would be great, but if the power fades he is in danger of being no better than Melky Cabrera.
20. Mark Trumbo
Like Chris Davis before him, Trumbo reinvented himself in Baltimore. There are some strikeout and contact issues here, and last year he struggled against lefties (.173), but he does draw walks and holds a career .251 batting average. Some power regression is expected, but he should be able to come close to the rest of his 2016 numbers.
21. Gregory Polanco
Polanco added power to his game last year at the expense of some stolen bases. You would think given his batted ball profile, contact rate, and close to league-average strikeout percentage we would get a better batting average. Regardless, you should get close to a 20/20 season, and batting between the two and four spot you’ll get a good number of runs and RBI. A solid OF-2 option.
22. Jose Bautista
A down year due to injury combined with his age (36) has some running for the hills. The contact, walk, strikeout, hard-hit, fly ball and line drive data all checks out compared to previous seasons. He played in 150+ games in 2014 and 2015 so it’s not like he can’t hold up physically. At this price, it is worth giving Bautista a mulligan for 2016.
23. Billy Hamilton
Hamilton has zero power and will not help one bit in home runs and RBI. The mediocre batting average combined with a below-par supporting cast will cap his run total. And he has also played fewer than 120 games in each of the past two years. But you will get at least 55 stolen bases, and in a roto league, that alone could carry your team in the category.
24. Matt Kemp
Over the past three years, Kemp has averaged 82 runs, 99 RBI, and 153 games played. Take last year’s 35 home runs with a grain of salt; he totaled between 23 and 25 from 2013-15. An average close to .267 is nothing to write home about, but when combined with the rest of his numbers you get a solid number-two outfielder.
25. Khris Davis
Hitting for power at the Coliseum is not an issue for Davis, with 19 of his 42 homers last season coming at home. He also handled lefties well, erasing some platoon fears. Just like the other Chris Davis, there are red flags due to horrific contact and strikeout rates, but the damage he can do when he connects balances things out (sort of). You don’t need to believe in the player to respect the power.
26. Adam Jones
Over last three years, Jones has been slowly ratcheting up his fly ball rate. While it has helped him to stay in the 25-to-30 homer range, it has cost him base hits, and doubles in particular (he had only 19 in 2016). Jones is enough of a run-producer to be universally owned, but he is no longer an optimal choice as a No. 2 outfielder in mixed leagues.
27. Stephen Piscotty
It seems the Cardinals have a knack for getting clutch hits, but Piscotty’s .363 batting average with runners in scoring position from last season will be awfully hard to duplicate. He may not drive in 80-plus runs in 2017, but between his considerable power and ability to rack up infield hits, Piscotty should get on base and score runs at a good clip.
28. Lorenzo Cain
Cain’s follow-up to his breakout 2015 season was marred by hamstring and wrist injuries. Even so, he was on a 20/20 pace with a .307 batting average through the first two months of the season. Now that he is reportedly healthy again, Cain could be an across-the-board threat as he was two years ago. Owners in AL-only formats should be forewarned that the free-agent-to-be could be changing teams or leagues sometime this summer.
29. David Dahl
Though Dahl has all of 63 major league games under his belt, there is much to anticipate, given his track record of power and speed and the hitter-friendly environs in Colorado. There are also reasons to pump the brakes on our enthusiasm. He still has a ways to go in improving his contact skills and plate discipline, and his .404 BABIP from last year is unsustainable, even with him playing home games at Coors Field.
30. Adam Eaton
In three seasons with the White Sox, Eaton proved himself to be a consistent .280 hitter with moderate power and speed. For those expecting a run-producing upgrade with his move to the Nationals, there could be some disappointment in your future. Manager Dusty Baker has reportedly not committed to using Eaton in one of the top four spots in the batting order. A third straight 90-plus run season is not necessarily in the offing.
31. Odubel Herrera
Those who thought Herrera’s surprising 2015 rookie season was a fluke had another thing coming in 2016. The former Rule 5 pick substantially increased his home run and stolen base totals, along with his walk rate. With a better supporting cast, Herrera has a chance to help in all five standard Roto categories, especially if he bats third in the order, like he did late last season.
32. Miguel Sano
Sano proved once again to be one of the majors’ most powerful hitters, but too many strikeouts and time missed with a hamstring injury limited him to 25 home runs. A 30-plus homer season seems likely, but you may want to pass on the 23-year-old unless your squad is already loaded with players who can hit for average.
33. Jose Ramirez
Michael Brantley’s absence from the lineup gave Ramirez a chance to prove himself as a regular, and the departure of Juan Uribe provided him with a longer-term landing spot at third base. Ramirez won’t have to struggle for playing time this year, but the degree to which he can sustain his increased power on fly balls – and the .163 fly ball BABIP that came with it – will have much to say about whether he will have similar value to what he had last season.
34. Jackie Bradley, Jr.
Bradley showed that his second-half power breakout from 2015 was no fluke, and he also learned to whiff a little less often. He helped himself by producing his first 20-plus homer season and a career-high .267 batting average, and hitting in a stacked Red Sox lineup helped him to pad his RBI (87) and run (94) totals, even though he typically batted in the sixth spot or lower. Bradley should be set for similar production in 2017.
35. Carlos Gomez
If Gomez’s 2016 season ended with his mid-August release by the Astros, he probably doesn’t find a place in this top-75. He departed Houston with a .210/.272/.322 slash line, but the Rangers gave Gomez a chance, and he revived his career. With a reworked swing, Gomez hit .284 with eight home runs and five stolen bases in just 33 games with Texas. Having provided fantasy owners with the hope of a return to 20/20 form, Gomez is worth a shot as a No. 3 mixed-league outfielder.
36. Kyle Schwarber
If fantasy owners needed reassurance about Schwarber’s bat after he came back from his torn knee ligaments, he provided it in the postseason, going 7-for-17 (.412). Seeing how he will hold up over a whole season is another matter. Still, Schwarber at full steam has raw power, and even as the Cubs’ third catcher, he should play enough to gain eligibility at that position in most formats.
37. Joc Pederson
We appear to like Pederson a bit more than the average NFBC drafter, who is taking the Dodgers’ center fielder after 45 other outfielders are already off the board. If he continues to slide into the late rounds, Pederson could be one of the biggest bargains in this year’s drafts. That will certainly be true if he can maintain or build on last season’s second-half breakout, when he slashed .260/.380/.520 with a 45.2 percent hard contact rate.
38. Kole Calhoun
Calhoun had a fine 2016 season, batting .271 with 18 home runs and 91 runs scored, but you have to wonder if there could be more in store. The year before, Calhoun finished the year on a power tear, clubbing 19 home runs over his final 82 games. Given that his fly ball and hard contact rates surged last year, it was an upset that Calhoun hit only 18 homers for the full season. Calhoun was a top-40 outfielder as is, but maybe he can tack on some extra power for 2017.
T-39. Kevin Kiermaier
If you tuned out Kiermaier’s 2016 campaign sometime in early August, he would probably be off your mixed-league radar, and rightfully so. His offense was overshadowed by his defensive work, and he struggled badly after returning from a broken hand just after the All-Star break. From Aug. 8 forward, however, he was a different player. He pulled the ball enough (52.4 percent rate) to slam six home runs in 46 games and collected enough infield hits to bat .288. It’s a small sample, to be sure, but just maybe Kiermaier has blossomed into a player who can provide a lot more than just steals.
T-39. Marcell Ozuna
Ozuna remains inconsistent and enigmatic, as an apparent breakout in the first half was followed by a second half that left him sixth from the bottom on the wOBA leaderboard. Even with the dismal post-break performance, Ozuna tied his career-high of 23 home runs, and his strikeout (18.9 percent) and walk (7.1 percent) rates were career bests. With more consistency, he could wind up being a steal in the middle rounds.
41. Andrew Benintendi
It took Benintendi just over a year to go from being the Red Sox’s first pick in the 2015 amateur draft to being their starting left fielder. He made the transition from Double-A without missing a beat, batting .295 with two home runs and 11 doubles over 34 games. Benintendi managed this without the benefit of the tidy strikeout rates he compiled in the minors, instead posting a 21.2 percent K-rate. He already appears primed to help with batting average, and he could post a 10/10 season in his first full year.
42. Dexter Fowler
After playing in 156 games in 2015, Fowler missed more than a month with a hamstring injury last season. He has missed significant chunks of time more often than not, but last year, he was still able to score 84 runs and record his fourth 10/10 season in the last five years. In leaving the Cubs for the Cardinals, Fowler should still have plenty of opportunities to score runs as their new leadoff man.
43. Yasmany Tomas
Tomas found his power groove last season, hitting 31 home runs and backing them up with a 41.0 percent hard-contact rate. He doesn’t walk much, is a defensive liability and plays for a Diamondbacks organization that has outfield depth. Tomas will have to keep slugging if he is to maintain steady playing time, but provided he can, he will be a staple in mixed leagues.
44. Ender Inciarte
Inciarte overcame an early hamstring injury and a slump upon activation from the disabled list in order to finish with a .291 batting average, 85 runs and 16 stolen bases in his first season with the Braves. Not only did he continue to make frequent contact, but he became a more selective hitter, which enabled him to post a .351 OBP. He will serve once again as the catalyst for an improving Braves lineup, and as such, he can provide runs, steals and a high batting average.
45. Adam Duvall
Duvall’s extreme pull and fly ball tendencies were a great fit for Great American Ball Park, as he finished with 33 home runs and 103 RBI. Predictably, he paid the price for those tendencies in the form of a .241 batting average. Duvall was a top-30 outfielder last year, so we may be unfairly penalizing him for being a late bloomer. Nonetheless, he is highly reliant on his power for fantasy value, and the bulk of his home runs – 22, to be exact – came over a 10-week period.
T-46. Carlos Beltran
Beltran saved his best for last with the Yankees, hitting .304 with 22 home runs in 99 games, before he was dealt to the Rangers at the Aug. 1 deadline. His production dropped off over those final two months, leaving questions about what we can expect from the 39-year-old, now that he is with the Astros. Even if he simply maintains the level of performance he established with Texas, we’re looking at a .280 hitter with 20-homer power.
T-46. Ben Zobrist
Though Zobrist will turn 36 this season, he hasn’t shown signs of slowing down. Even in the absence of red flags, decline is a concern, and Cubs manager Joe Maddon recently told the Chicago Tribune he could give Zobrist more days off this season. Even with less playing time, Zobrist’s ability to get on base along with his second base eligibility makes him an appealing middle-round option.
48. Keon Broxton
Broxton got his first extended chance to play as a regular in the second half of last season, and he quickly caught the attention of fantasy owners. Not only did he show the potential to be one of the majors’ top base-stealers, finishing the year with 23 steals in 75 games, but he boasted some power with eight home runs. Broxton is coming off a broken wrist sustained in mid-September, and strikeouts are a concern as well, but he could be an affordable source of speed and power.
49. Byron Buxton
For most of 2016, Buxton tested the patience of owners who have been waiting for the former second overall pick to blossom as a major leaguer. Then, in September, he had a memorable finish, batting .287 with nine home runs, though only one stolen base. Buxton also struck out 38 times in 113 plate appearances during that span, so there is still work to be done. Perhaps 2017 is the year in which Buxton arrives as a mixed-league-worthy producer.
50. Hunter Pence
For years, much of Pence’s fantasy appeal came from his durability and steady production. His Iron Man days seem like a distant memory, as Pence has played 158 games over the last two seasons, which have included four separate trips to the disabled list. Despite the injuries and missed time, Pence’s skill set is largely intact, and he could still potentially deliver 20-plus home runs with an average right around .280.
51. Jose Peraza
Path to playing time now clear due to Brandon Phillips trade. With many targeting stolen bases, Jose Peraza will garner more hype. Adjust for BABIP to correct, but he did make contact 87.1 percent of the time last year. Runs scored could be capped by where Peraza hits in the lineup.
52. Jay Bruce
Bounce back year in 2016 for Jay Bruce who recorded his first 30-home run season since 2013. Only turns 30 in April, but seems like he’s older. Career .248 hitter and should be projected as such. Encouraging news about Bruce taking ground balls at first base as insurance, but a trade would be optimal for his fantasy value.
T-53. Rajai Davis
Venerable veteran Rajai Davis still has the need, the need for speed. Set career-highs in runs (74) and home runs (16) during his age-35 season. Over the last three years, Davis has 97 steals, which ranks fifth in baseball. Move to Oakland should ensure playing time which translates to late-round stolen bases for thrifty drafters.
T-53. Matt Holliday
On the plus side, Matt Holliday averaged a home run every 19.1 at-bats last year and was fourth out of 247 hitters with at least 200 batted balls in regards to exit velocities of 100 MPH or better. His road OPS of .917 last year should play well in New York. However, Holliday has only played 183 games the last two years with a home run every 26.9 at-bats during the last three seasons. If healthy though, 25 home runs are within reach with 500 at-bats.
55. David Peralta
One season removed from 17 home runs, 78 RBI and nine stolen bases, David Peralta seems like an afterthought in early draft ADP. Although his splits against LHP are rough, Peralta slashed .312/.371/.522 in 2015. Another player relying on health for a return to fantasy relevance, but worth a look at the present price point.
T-56. Jason Heyward
Will the real Jason Heyward please stand up? Disregard the 27-home run season in 2012; it’s never coming back. Outlier defined. However, in 2014 and 2015, Heyward averaged 76 runs, 12 home runs, 59 RBI and 21 stolen bases with a .281/.354/.411 slash line. He joined a team which won the World Championship while being a juggernaut on offense and cratered. Supposedly retooled his swing in the offseason. Any migration toward his previous two seasons and Heyward is a bargain.
T-56. Max Kepler
Those who took a flier on Max Kepler last year understand the positive impact he made in counting statistics. Over 113 games last year, Kepler hit 17 home runs with 63 RBI and six stolen bases. With more walks than strikeouts in both Double-A and Triple-A, Kepler’s average has room to grow. He mashed right-handed pitching, averaging a home run every 18.5 at-bats and could hit .265 or better as soon as 2017. A growth stock worth investing in.
58. Randal Grichuk
Flawed power hitters with strikeout tendencies litter a draft board. Randal Grichuk would like to distance himself from the pack. Spent time at Triple-A due his propensity to swing and miss, but finished the second half with 14 home runs, 12 of which occurred in the last two months of the season. After the All-Star break, Grichuk hit .255 with a .536 slugging percentage. He also had a 48.2 percent hard-contact rate in the second half. May not take the step forward, but also could launch 30 home runs.
59. Michael Brantley
Trying to discern if Michael Brantley can overcome shoulder surgery or if he will be the next Grady Sizemore will be difficult. Between the years of 2012-15, Brantley averaged 148 games with 73 runs, 38 doubles, 10 home runs, 78 RBI, 17 stolen bases and a .303 average. He registered a 20-home run and 23-stolen base season in 2014 along with 15 of each the year after. Then he played only 11 games last year. Potential bargain if healthy, bust if not. No player’s spring may be more important in regards to fantasy value.
60. Eric Thames
Termed a lottery ticket, Eric Thames will either make the Brewers look savvy or naive. He was covered in our boom-or-bust segment at first base. Both ZiPS and Steamer agree Thames can offer mid-20s-to-30 home run potential with a handful of steals. However, they disagree on his average. ZiPS has Thames projected to hit .247 while Steamer is more bullish at .272 on the year. This may be the tipping point to his value for fantasy.
61. Nomar Mazara
One of last year’s hot pickups on the waiver wire, Nomar Mazara looks to build upon his debut. He played in 145 games last year with 20 home runs and 64 RBI while hitting .266 at age-21. There may be some adjustments coming as Mazara slashed .282/.330/.420 in the first half but traded contact for power in the second half, hitting .242 with his hard contact spiking by 12 points. Pay for a repeat but asking for more may be a year too soon.
T-62. Melky Cabrera
Taking Melky Cabrera does not move the needle for excitement. Perhaps he is a mini-van for fantasy? Over the last three years, Melky has hit .290/.336/.435 and averaged 74 runs, 14 home runs, 79 RBI with three stolen bases. Not flashy, but a potential average cushion in the late rounds of a draft. Heck, he may even take your kids to soccer practice.
T-62. Corey Dickerson
Moving from Coors to Tampa Bay made Corey Dickerson a polarizing pick last year. Dickerson responded with 24 home runs in 148 games, but his average plummeted to .245 in the process. Also on the way down: his home run-per-fly ball rate, hard-contact and contact percentages. Potentially in a platoon this year, take note of declines but the power should remain intact.
64. Curtis Granderson
In a surprising power boost, Curtis Granderson turned back the clock with quite possibly the most under-the-radar 30 home runs last year. Of course, everyone hit more, so it does not hold as much value. But, Granderson provides a solid baseline in regards to runs scored, averaging 86 over the last three years. Although his average will hover near .240, Granderson’s solid baseline of skills keeps him relevant.
65. Domingo Santana
A popular speculative end-game pick last year, Domingo Santana did not come through. He only played 77 games but did provide a glimpse of his talent with 11 home runs and a .345 OBP. Small sample size says he displayed power with a 27.5 percent home run-to-fly ball rate and 38.5 percent hard contact rate. Health should allow 20 or more home runs. Consolidation of his skills suggest 30 could be in store soon.
T-66. Jarrod Dyson
Playing part-time in Kansas City, Jarrod Dyson has stolen the seventh-most bases over the last three years (92) in only 852 plate appearances. Only A.J. Pollock sits within the top-30 with the next-lowest PA’s of 1,006 during this time frame. Dyson provides a solid contact rate (86.7 percent) with a swinging strike percentage of just 5.7 the last three seasons. Seattle is set to try him at leadoff. If Dyson can hold up, 40 or more steals sets the baseline. If 400 or more at-bats, 50 or more enters the discussion.
T-66. Jorge Soler
Much maligned during his time in Chicago, Jorge Soler gets a fresh start with the Royals. He homered every 13.6 at-bats in the second half of 2016 with a .864 OPS. Soler may not have crossed the 400 at-bat threshold in the majors in one season, but will have a clear path to playing time this year. Pay for a .250 average with 20 home runs. Profit if he reaches 25 dingers.
68. Hernan Perez
Utility player turned speed waiver wire hero, Hernan Perez will be interesting to watch. After the All-Star break, Perez stole 24 bases with a .281 average. However, be wary of his lack of power after August 27 with a .258 average the last month of the season. His present role suggests he will be fighting for playing time in 2017. Speed translates, playing time does not.
69. Yasiel Puig
Anyone who can predict Yasiel Puig for 2017 deserves praise. Is he the player who slashed .305/.386/.502 during his first two seasons in 940 at-bats or the recent oft-injured version who hit .260/.323/.435 the last two years in only 616 at-bats? Skills suggest he can be the former, but fans seem to focusing on the latter. Could this be a unique buying opportunity on a 26-year-old outfielder with nice upside? Absolutely. At this price and this number, why not find out?
70. Willson Contreras
Players with multiple eligibility prove valuable in fantasy. Add Willson Contreras, who played 24 games in the outfield last year, to the list. He ranked seventh at catcher with our consensus ranks and was covered in detail here.
71. Jayson Werth
In shocking news, Nationals manager Dusty Baker mused Jayson Werth could hit second in the lineup this year. Sure the veteran bounced back with 84 runs, 21 home runs and 69 RBI last year. Werth provides a stable skill set, but does he merit hitting ahead of Adam Eaton? Track this closely. If Werth does hit second, his runs scored will increase; if he hits sixth, move up his RBI. Either way, he represents a bargain using ADP data.
T-72. Brandon Drury
Another player who appeared in previous previews, Brandon Drury bears watching. He also has third base eligibility but could be the starting second baseman for Arizona. Drury hit 16 home runs in 461 at-bats last year with a .352 wOBA. His average will regress but if the power sticks, he’s worth a flier.
T-72. Shin-Soo Choo
Following the news of Mike Napoli signing, Shin-Soo Choo should log most of his at-bats as the designated hitter. Choo only played 48 games a year ago and the last time he recorded a 20/20 season was 2013. But, he recorded seven home runs with six stolen bases during his limited sample. Health is always a question mark and Choo has hit .242 in two of the last three seasons. Temper your enthusiasm but hope for the best if choosing for a late-round gamble.
T-74. Jacoby Ellsbury
A time existed in which Jacoby Ellsbury could provide enough steals to buoy a fantasy team. However, as a Yankee, Ellsbury’s slash line is .264/.326/.382. Over the last two years, Ellsbury attempted 58 stolen bases, finding success 41 times (71 percent success rate). Not quite proficient. Power and speed totals trending down does not make him as interesting as he used to be.
T-74. Michael Conforto
Being blocked by Jay Bruce sheds light on the confusion surrounding the Mets lineup. Last year, Michael Conforto trended as a popular breakout candidate but spent time at Triple-A. He has nothing left to prove at that level as evidenced by his .422 average in Las Vegas with a ridiculous 1.209 OPS. During his 478 at-bats in the majors, Conforto has 21 home runs. This is within reach in 2017, but will he accrue the necessary at-bats?
Also receiving votes: Hunter Renfroe, Michael Saunders, Josh Reddick, Howie Kendrick, Tyler Naquin, Alex Gordon, Brett Gardner, Manuel Margot, Kevin Pillar, Leonys Martin, Mitch Haniger
Write-ups: 1-25 – Jim Finch; 26-50 – Al Melchior; 51-75 – Greg Jewett