2018 Outlook: After his MVP-caliber 2016, Betts' 2017 might be labeled a disappointment in fantasy terms. It's an unfair characterization as, despite a 54-point regression in batting average and 94-point drop in OPS, Betts managed a 26th overall finish on the Rotisserie Player Rater. In fact, he finished as the No. 8 hitter in terms of fantasy points. The latter feat is testament to Betts' remarkable contact ability, as his 88 percent mark was seventh among qualifiers, backed by a 5.6 percent swinging-strike rate that was fifth. He seemed strangely unlucky on batted balls last season; his .268 BABIP was historically low for a player with his skill set, which means that among the building-block-ranked players, he could be a relative bargain if people misjudge him off of raw 2017 returns. Betts is one of the few players in the game with legitimate .300-plus batting average and 25/25 skills, so expect some degree of rebound in 2018.
2018 Outlook: Inexplicably, after putting forth one of the most productive second halves of 2017 of any player in baseball, Martinez lingered on the free-agent market deep into February, before finally signing with the Red Sox. During said second half, Martinez managed the game's best slugging percentage (.751), isolated power (.445), home-run rate (11.3 percent of his plate appearances) and wOBA (.472), his 31 home runs trailing only Giancarlo Stanton, thriving in one of the game's most hitting-friendly environments following his mid-season trade to the Diamondbacks. While Martinez's power metrics are destined to naturally regress, as that half-year was historic and practically impossible to repeat, and Fenway Park's Green Monster could convert a handful of his homers into extra-base hits, what he loses in that department he could gain in terms of runs/RBIs/plate appearances by joining a loaded lineup. He's capable of a batting average anywhere from .275-.300, and 30-plus-homer power, assuming he can stay healthy enough to accrue the at-bats to get there. Martinez is well worth an early-round pick.
2018 Outlook: Only the 12th player to manage 20/20 numbers as a rookie, Benintendi is a budding big league superstar and a building-block talent in dynasty formats. Rated Keith Law's No. 1 prospect entering his 2017 rookie season, Benintendi had a strong balance of plate discipline, power and speed, with the primary criticism being a wide lefty/righty split -- 58 points of wOBA -- something that has plagued many other young stars and can be cured with experience. Though his underlying metrics didn't hint at a significant breakthrough, he should enjoy incremental growth year over year, giving him a good chance at a top-50 finish in 2018 regardless of format.
2018 Outlook: Though his final 2017 numbers experienced a downturn, it's important to remember that at the time Bogaerts was hit in the wrist by a pitch in June, he was performing along the lines of his 2016. His hit tool is his strength, fueling a solid batting average, but due to a ground-ball rate that routinely hovers just beneath 50 percent, it's unclear when or if he'll ever develop greater power. Bogaerts does enough to fill the prominent Rotisserie categories, earning him a place among the top 10 fantasy shortstops regardless of format, but until he shows more skills growth it's wise to simply expect more of the same.
2018 Outlook: After a disappointing 2016 in the minors, Devers roared back with .311/.377/.578 numbers between Double- and Triple-A early last season, propelling himself into the Red Sox's starting third base role in late July despite only 77 and nine games' experience at the aforementioned minor league levels. He held his own as a 20-year-old, even hitting left-handers better than right-handers (albeit in a limited sample), but showed the typical signs of a player adapting to the game's most competitive level: His 49.7 percent ground-ball rate warns to not go heavy on power projections, and his 33.6 percent chase rate (swing percentage at non-strikes) said be careful not to expect an improvement upon his .284 batting average. That Devers has accomplished what he has at such a young age supports his candidacy as one of the very best dynasty building blocks at his position, but for those in redraft leagues, he's more corner-infield, midround material.
2018 Outlook: After a breakthrough 2016, propelled mostly by a significantly larger role than he had received in any of his previous six big league seasons, Nunez followed it up with a 2017 that wasn't a far cry from it in terms of fantasy earnings. Only a knee injury that cost him the large part of the season's final month, as well as the near-entirety of the Red Sox's Division Series loss, got in the way of a full repeat, as Nunez's per-game numbers were close and he batted a career-high .313, fueled by both a career-high 88.4 percent contact rate as well as a generous .333 BABIP. He also made starts at five different positions, earning fantasy eligibility at three (second base, third base and the outfield), his flexibility a plus. Nunez re-signed in February with the Red Sox, who will presumably have him handle second base chores until Dustin Pedroia fully heals, then return Nunez to his traditional utility man role. His multi-category potential will again be a boon in rotisserie leagues, where he might have a shot at another top-100 season. Nunez is several rounds less valuable in points leagues, however, due to his low walk rate.
2018 Outlook: After a renaissance 2016 season, Ramirez was being counted on to help fill the void left by David Ortiz's retirement. Unfortunately, things did not go as planned as Ramirez staggered through an injury-plagued season. Despite avoiding the disabled list, Ramirez missed games with hamstring, neck, knee, oblique and biceps issues. Plus, he was riddled all season with a lingering sore left shoulder, requiring offseason surgery. Optimists hope his .242/.320/.429 slash line was health-related and that Ramirez will be more productive in 2018. However, with the addition of J.D. Martinez, it seems like a near certainty that Ramirez will fall short of the 497 plate appearances needed for his $22 million vesting option to kick in. He should at least see time at first base against lefties, but he enters the season only utility-eligible. Thankfully this comes with a huge discount, so with sufficient flexibility surrounding Ramirez, fantasy owners should be able to squeeze some value out of him.
2018 Outlook: In an up-and-down season, Bradley remained an above-average starter for the Red Sox, finishing with a 2.8 WAR. Most of that value was earned defensively in the outfield, however, which didn't help fantasy owners, though at least it kept him in the lineup. His wRC+ cratered to 90 -- after he put up a solid 119 figure in 2016 -- coinciding with an 84-point drop in slugging percentage. Bradley suffered drops in hard-hit rate and pull rate, causing him to have 24 fewer extra-base hits than he had the year before. If his glove keeps him in the lineup regularly again in 2018, expect moderate power, a few more steals under new manager Alex Cora and a mediocre batting average. It's enough to keep him relevant in most formats, but not enough to make him exciting.
2018 Outlook: Nothing about Moreland excites, but he compiled useful counting totals in 2017, finishing inside the overall top 200 in terms of earned fantasy value. Moreland improved his strikeout and walk rates in his first year in Boston, lifting his BB:K to 0.48, his highest mark in a full season. He also reached 20 homers for the fourth time in five years thanks to a 38.9 percent hard-hit rate, which ranked 26th out of 144 qualified hitters. A knee issue plagued him late in the year and he ultimately required surgery to repair a small meniscus tear, but he was given a clean bill of health before the end of the calendar year. Moreland logged all of 85 plate appearances against lefties, and at 32 years old, he's not going to become more than a platoon player. That said, Moreland should still play enough to be worthwhile in deeper formats, even with the addition of J.D. Martinez.
2018 Outlook: In this age of power-hitting second basemen, Pedroia's fantasy relevance is dwindling. He's still reliable for a solid batting average, having recorded marks between .291 and .318 in each of the past three seasons, but there's no meat on the bones here. Over those three seasons -- covering ages 31 through 33 -- Pedroia has averaged 11 home runs, 59 RBI and 45 games missed per year. In today's game, second basemen simply hit for too much power for Pedroia to make up for it by posting a good (but not elite) batting average. The position averaged 16 home runs per 162 games in 2017, bolstered by 11 players who homered 20-plus times. Considering Pedroia hasn't stolen more than six bases since 2013, you're basically just drafting him for the one category at this point, and you're getting four months from him at most. The 34-year-old underwent knee surgery in the offseason and Eduardo Nunez is slated to cover for him at the keystone until late May.
2018 Outlook: Vazquez opened the 2017 campaign as the Red Sox's backup backstop, but by season's end, he was the personal catcher for three of the five Boston starters. It remains to be seen if new skipper Alex Cora will continue to deploy the same arrangement, but regardless, Vazquez won't play less than he did when he caught three-fifths of the staff. Defense and a rocket arm are primarily what earn Vazquez his playing time, but solid contact skills made him a usable fantasy option last season. The .290 average he submitted, however, was propped up by a .348 BABIP, which was supported by a high line-drive rate but called into question by a low hard-hit rate. Since there's more variance associated with hitting line drives, Vazquez's average could be at risk. High contact will help maintain a reasonable floor, but plan on some regression. Vazquez doesn't have much power, but in Boston's deep and productive lineup, he should chip in with ample runs and RBI to be a top-20 fantasy contributor.
2018 Outlook: Though Swihart has yet to find a regular position at which to break in at the big-league level or show the modest pop he did during the lower minor league levels, he might emerge as a utilityman for the Red Sox this year due to his being out of options. He could factor as a backup catcher, second baseman or outfielder, none of which is likely to result in regular plate appearances. Swihart would need to show better contact or more of a fly-ball stroke during spring training to warrant second-catcher consideration in AL-only leagues.