2017 Outlook: The reigning Player Rater champion as well as the top-scoring hitter in points-based leagues, Betts accomplished both thanks to the 35th season in baseball history with at least a .300 batting average, 25 home runs and stolen bases apiece, and 100 runs and RBIs apiece. Always known as a speedster with good contact skills in the minors, Betts got greater lift on the ball along with increasingly harder contact as his near-MVP campaign progressed, and his .338 batting average and 91.3 percent contact rates after the All-Star break were his best in any half-season in his career to date. Most remarkably, it was announced in November that he had played the second half through right knee soreness that required a surgical cleanup; Betts is expected to be fine for spring training. If all's indeed well, his repeat prospects are excellent, with potential regression likely pointing towards his 26 stolen bases, should the Red Sox determine his bat too valuable to risk an aggressive approach on the base paths. It's a minimal concern for a 24-year-old, however, making Betts again a top hitter target in all formats.
2017 Outlook: Now a member of the Boston Red Sox, Sale's fantasy value might ultimately not change much from his 2016, which had him the seventh most-valuable starting pitcher in points-based leagues and ninth-best on the Player Rater. Sure, he'll have a more productive lineup backing him, but run support wasn't a severe issue for him last season, and he enjoyed a sizable increase in his average innings pitched per start from 2015 to 2016 -- 6.7 to 7.1 -- which already helped pad his win total. Sale lost a hint of fastball velocity and regressed slightly against right-handed batters last season -- the latter more of a problem because of how often opponents try to exploit the platoon advantage against him -- resulting in a noticeable decline in his strikeout rate, to 25.7 percent. He still, however, possesses top-shelf stuff and now has a four-year track record of greatness. Don't allow yourself to "chase wins" due to his trade, but Sale should regardless be one of the first five starting pitchers off the mixed-league board.
2017 Outlook: In an era of great, franchise-caliber young shortstops, Bogaerts' 2016 sometimes gets overlooked. (Strange for a Red Sox player, eh?) He set pro-career bests in practically every traditional Rotisserie category: 21 home runs, 115 runs scored, 89 RBIs, 13 stolen bases, at only minimal cost to his batting average. Still, following Bogaerts' career progression, he appears to be a hitter in transition, his second half revealing a distinct shift towards getting better lift on the ball at the expense of his contact rate and batting average. It's unclear what kind of player he'll ultimately be during his prime -- let's not forget that it's still ahead of him, as he's just 24 years old -- and while the end result in 2017 might be that of a top-five shortstop and top-25 overall hitter, he could get there by being either a high-average (.300-plus) or decent-pop (20-25 home runs) player, but probably not both just yet.
2017 Outlook: The move to first base couldn't have worked out better: His 147 games played were his most since 2012, and his No. 53 finish on the Player Rater was his best since 2010. Those successes, however, might cause him to be overvalued entering 2017, as he exhibited a widening platoon split -- 116 points of wOBA, his second-largest split of his career -- and the lowest contact rate of his career (78 percent). Ramirez's scorching finish could signify that a less-taxing defensive role might have increased his odds of repeating his number of games played, but he's also now 33 years old with a checkered injury history. He's a sixth or seventh rounder in standard mixed leagues as well as points-based scoring, and no longer possesses the profit potential from there he had in the past.
2017 Outlook: Pedroia enjoyed a modest bounce-back last season, partly because he entered the year healthier than he had been in either of the previous two campaigns. As he had typically done, he hit for a high average, flashed good plate discipline and a bit of pop, things that annually make him one of the more reliable mid-round picks. However, Pedroia's speed has declined since his 30th birthday, and as he enters 2017 at the age of 33, it's unlikely to return. He's a player worth targeting because of his high floor in batting average and on-base percentage, and his likelihood of a good runs scored total as a top-third-in-the-order Red Sox hitter. Pedroia's skill set is more valuable using points-based scoring, though he probably doesn't have much room for growth at this career stage.
2017 Outlook: The American League's defending Cy Young Award and Comeback Player of the Year Award winners, as well as the No. 14 finisher on the Player Rater and No. 6 using standard-scoring points, Porcello finally broke through last season thanks to increased reliance and spin upon his four-seam fastball. It was his go-to with two strikes to left-handed hitters, eradicating his previous righty/lefty split, and generated 74 of his 189 total strikeouts. In short, there were skills adjustments that drove Porcello's breakthrough, and ease fear of significant regression to the mean. Some regression to the mean, however, is inevitable, as almost everything went right for him, and a decent chunk of his value came from his 22 wins. Porcello has established himself as a firm member of the top 25 fantasy starters, but his true appeal might be that of a high-floor, low-ceiling pitcher, rather than the ace he appeared to be last year.
2017 Outlook: Bradley's cumulative numbers might look great -- he finished 91st overall on the Player Rater, and scored the 80th most standard-league points, in 2016 -- but since he took over as a Red Sox regular in August 2015, he has been wildly streaky and frustrating to own in head-to-head leagues. In those eight months, he has enjoyed a wOBA of .480 or better in two, and a wOBA beneath .325 in three, including each of August and September/October last season. Inconsistent contact had a lot to do with it, as he improved his seasonal rate to 22.5 percent, but that swelled to 28 percent from Aug. 1 forward, and he regressed significantly against lefties over the full year. Bradley's glove is valuable enough to the Red Sox that he should continue to play regularly, even during his slumps, and he has enough pop and guile on the base paths to be a 25/15 candidate. Understand, however, that it might be a bumpy ride getting there.
2017 Outlook: His first season as a member of the Red Sox was also, unfortunately, the worst of his seven years in the big leagues, but that Kimbrel nevertheless finished among the 20 best fantasy closers using Rotisserie or points-based scoring speaks volume about his talent. For the sixth consecutive season, he managed at least 30 saves, a 35 percent strikeout rate and sub-1.10 WHIP; that's a record number that represented six of the 27 total campaigns in history. A knee injury he suffered in July that required surgery contributed, meaning that his health is worth tracking during spring training to ultimately determine his odds of a return to the position's top five. Kimbrel's raw ability makes him a candidate, but he's also one of the incumbent closers who might be wisely handcuffed to his top setup man (Tyler Thornburg).
2017 Outlook: A top contender for Rookie of the Year honors -- yes, he's still eligible! -- Benintendi showed us just enough in his brief big-league time last season to suggest he's ready to make an immediate fantasy impact. His history of high contact rates provides stability in terms of batting average, and he enjoyed .181 isolated power and a greater fly-ball than ground-ball rate that hints at good pop. Benintendi should capture an everyday role for the Red Sox, whose deep lineup should maximize his counting-numbers potential, and he might be quick enough to adjust that he'll make an immediate, four-category impact (perhaps with a handful of steals). He has work to do against left-handed pitching and he might be more extra-base than home-run oriented, making him perhaps a better upside play in points than Rotisserie leagues, but Benintendi is a player who shouldn't linger too deep into the middle rounds in either format.
2017 Outlook: After spending two years as a utility infielder for the Twins, Nunez graduated into a regular role divided between third base and shortstop, the boost in playing time almost entirely explaining his statistical breakthrough in 2016. As he had been throughout his career, he was a low-walk, modest-average hitter with a hint of pop, with his primary appeal in fantasy leagues his stolen bases, his 40 setting a new career best. After finishing last season with the Giants following a midseason trade, he'll shape up as their starting third baseman initially, though his versatility might always tempt them to drop him back into his previous utility role, one which would deflate his counting numbers (runs and RBIs) and make him a weak choice in mixed leagues. Consider Nunez a strong mid-round pick for his speed, but beware that his risk of regression is high.
2017 Outlook: Though Price's first year in Boston didn't live up to expectations, he did finish it on a positive note that offers encouragement for 2017: He had eight wins, nine quality starts, a 3.24 ERA, 1.10 WHIP in his final 14 starts. Part of the reason for his struggles might have been as the adjustment to Fenway Park, a challenging environment for a left-handed pitcher lacking a non-elite ground-ball rate, and part might have been the decline in both his four-seam fastball (down 1.1 mph, to 93.8) and sinker (down 1.2 mph, to 93.6) velocity, the latter contributing to a small decline in his strikeout rate. Price remains one of the game's more durable starters, and he wouldn't be the first player to fully adapt to his Boston surroundings in Year No. 2, making a small rebound as likely an outcome as any. He should be one of the first 10 pitchers off your board regardless of format.
2017 Outlook: Davis' memorable World Series Game 7 home run was the capper on an unexpectedly big year for him; his 12 home runs were easily a new career high and he paced all American League players with 43 stolen bases. Though the power was seemingly fluky - it regressed significantly during the second half - he's as good a stolen-base source as he ever was, even in a conservative base stealing environment like Oakland - remember that Davis stole 91 bases combined there from 2009-10. He'll serve as the Athletics' probable leadoff man and everyday center fielder despite a skill set that looks more suited to being a platoon man, pinch-runner, defensive replacement and/or lower-in-the-order hitter, but such a role could provide enough of a counting-numbers boost to make Davis a compelling third or fourth Rotisserie league outfielder. He's a player somewhat overrated in points-based scoring, however.
2017 Outlook: A sensation for the Padres during the first four months of last season, Pomeranz fatigued following his July trade to the Red Sox, and it was later learned that his former team withheld injury details from his current team at the time of the transaction. Forearm soreness ultimately shortened his year, but thankfully didn't require offseason surgery. With the winter's rest, Pomeranz might be better prepared to withstand the rigors of the 162-game schedule, and he still possesses the quality, five-pitch arsenal that should generate a good number of strikeouts and perhaps prolonged hot spells. He's not ranked as a top-25 starter, however, because he has yet to prove durable enough over a full year.
2017 Outlook: One of three candidates for the Red Sox's fifth-starter job -- Steven Wright and Drew Pomeranz are the others -- Rodriguez might have to settle for starting the year as a Triple-A starter, though in all likelihood, he should see the majority of his time in Boston. Rodriguez finished 2016 on a high note, posting a 3.24 ERA, 1.13 WHIP and 24.6 percent strikeout rate in 14 starts, and with that lineup supporting him, he should win more often in 2017. Though his initial role will drive his value, he's a strong speculative pick as a seventh or eight mixed-league or fourth or fifth AL-only starter.
2017 Outlook: Reed, the majors' leader in holds last season (40), thrived as a setup man for the Mets last season, his swing-and-miss ability shining through in his career-best 29.9 percent strikeout rate. Though he'll return to that role in 2017, his status as the next-in-line behind Jeurys Familia gives him the first crack to close, both during any potential Familia suspension and in the event of any injury/performance setbacks. Few relievers are stronger choices in holds or saves-plus-holds leagues.