2018 Outlook: Margot's first full big-league season flew somewhat under the radar on an uncompetitive Padres team, and neither his power nor speed numbers probably stood out in a year where homers were a dime a dozen and his 17 steals represented a steep decline compared to his annual minor league outputs. Dig deeper: He's one of the speediest players in the game, with his Statcast sprint speed ranking among the 10 best, and he showed a small uptick after the All-Star break in terms of isolated power (.161), well-hit average (.171) and fly-ball rate (35.5 percent) that hints he might have more pop to offer. Margot is a five-category Rotisserie sleeper who could take another step forward as a sophomore, and he shouldn't be allowed to slip too far into the middle rounds of your draft.
2018 Outlook: One of the most consistent players in baseball, Jones is the only individual who can claim he has hit at least 25 home runs in each of the past seven seasons, and he has scarcely deviated from his .279 batting average or 29 homers he averaged annually during that time span. Only his stolen-base total has suffered as he has aged, which is unsurprising considering he's now 32 years old. Jones should be good for more of the same in 2018, but keep in mind that has been worth only No. 122 (2016) and 130 (2017) finishes on the Player Rater, and the 101st-most (2016) and 110th-most fantasy points (2017) over the past two seasons.
2018 Outlook: A fractured left hand suffered early in spring training cost Desmond nearly a month of regular-season action and cast a shadow on his debut year in Colorado. All of his underlying numbers suggested the injury took its toll, as he couldn't capitalize upon Coors Field's hitting-friendly environment (.265/.304/.331 home rates), saw his hard-contact rate plummet and posted a career-high 63.2 percent ground-ball rate. Desmond still flashed good speed, however, and the winter's rest could've done him a world of good in terms of his health. He's a bounce-back candidate, with Coors a large part of the argument for it, and while his high strikeout rate makes him more of a corner-infield candidate in points-based leagues, he stands a good chance of returning to the top 100 using Rotisserie scoring.
2018 Outlook: Be careful not to mistake Mazara's 101 RBIs last season as a sign of a significant step forward: He plated more than 20 percent of the runners he had on base, and had the fifth-highest such success rate in the game, so a lot of the reason for his more than 60-point gain fantasy points was merely better luck in that one category. Ultimately, he made only incremental gains with the bat, unsurprising for a 22-year-old, though the small steps forward in terms of isolated power (.153 to .170), walk rate (6.9 to 8.9 percent) and well-hit average (.120 to .172) were all encouraging. Mazara's future star still shines bright, making him an underrated dynasty pick in the early-to-mid rounds, and in a redraft league he's well worth the look in the middle rounds due to his upside.
2018 Outlook: Fifty-six, 57, 58, 59 ... so we'll just mark Hamilton down for 60 in permanent ink, right? Not so fast. The closest thing to a one-category player in today's game -- and "one-category" is typically an unfair label with most such types because of their contributions in runs scored, as he did -- Hamilton stole bases with much less frequency in 2017, and coupling that with regression in his walk rate and on-base percentage, he's no longer the slam-dunk league leader in the category. He's still speedy and should breeze past 50 bags thanks in part to his good defense, which locks him into an everyday role, but he'll probably contribute little else to a fantasy team. Hamilton shouldn't be one of your first picks even in a Rotisserie league, though he also shouldn't slip much beyond the top 50, but he's a highly overrated player using points-based scoring. Case in point: While he was the No. 41 name on the 2017 Player Rater, he finished just 193rd in fantasy points.
2018 Outlook: Eaton was in the midst of his best year yet when, on April 28, he tore the ACL in his left knee lunging for first base to beat out an infield grounder. At the time, he was third in the majors in runs scored (24), that thanks in large part to his career-best .393 on-base percentage and role as the leadoff man for a potent Nationals lineup. Eaton is expected to be healthy for the start of 2018, taking over once more as the team's leadoff hitter, and if he looks strong during spring training he should pick up right where he left off. If so, he's plenty capable of repeating -- and arguably improving upon -- his No. 103 finish on the 2016 Player Rater and 85th-most fantasy points that season.
2018 Outlook: One of the driving forces behind the Twins' second-half surge into a wild-card spot, Rosario batted .292/.331/.558 with 17 home runs and 52 RBI in 70 games after the All-Star break, surely attracting the attention of fantasy managers and making him one of the more appealing mid-round picks entering 2018. He did it in large part thanks to a higher rate of hard contact -- his well-hit average went from .163 in 2016 to .196 in 2017 -- and an ever-so-slightly more patient approach at the plate. Previously, Rosario had been one of the game's most free-swinging players. His primary knock was a wide home/road split of 134 wOBA points, second-largest behind only Colorado's Charlie Blackmon (170), which could raise the threat of Rosario becoming a matchups play if this trend continues. Considering Rosario is still 26 years old, growth seems more likely.
2018 Outlook: Persistent hamstring issues held Polanco back from a repeat of his breakthrough 2016 campaign, especially in the stolen-base department, where he attempted just two steals (both successful) in 74 games after his first DL stint of the season in mid-May. Nevertheless, while his overall statistics were disappointing, he did enjoy some key gains: a significantly greater contact rate (career-best 84.2 percent) and an increased fly-ball rate (career-best 33.4 percent). And he did both without giving up much in the way of hard contact. With more luck on the health department, Polanco could return to those 2016 totals, which earned him a spot in the top 100 on that year's Player Rater and just a hair shy of the top 100 in points leagues. Monitor him during spring training to make sure he's at full strength, but he remains a solid midround pick.
2018 Outlook: He's aging, with his 128 games played average the past four seasons representative of the downside risk of a player's later career stages, but beyond the increased injury risk, most of Braun's downward trend seems gradual and typical. He's slowing on the base paths, the loss of stolen bases taking away a part of his game that in the past propelled him into building-block territory, and he's hitting fewer balls in the air, adversely impacting his batting average and power numbers. Still, Braun makes consistently hard contact and calls a hitter-friendly environment his home, meaning he should have another year or two of solid, yet unspectacular, stats -- think .275 and 25 as baselines. So long as you're not chasing his past glory and making him the foundation of your team, he's a more-than-adequate pick in the early-to-mid rounds.
2018 Outlook: Though he set a career high in home runs last season, Gardner hit 15 of his 21 before the All-Star break, fueled by an 11.5 percent home run/fly ball percentage that was 3-4 percent higher than his recent-year norms. In short, don't mistake him for a power hitter or surefire 20/20 candidate, as his skill set seems likely short of either threshold, especially since he regressed against left-handed pitching last season (.209/.299/.291 rates) and could be platooned at a greater rate in a crowded Yankees outfield. He's a strong midround pick in all formats, with his keen sense of the strike zone giving him one of the higher statistical floors of any top-40 outfielder.
2018 Outlook: The top prospect in baseball (per Keith Law as well as Baseball America), Acuna enters 2018 a favorite for National League Rookie of the Year honors. So long as the Braves don't choose to keep him in the minors for significant time trying to buy additional time before his arbitration and eventual free agency a few years down the road, that is. In 2017, he was one of six players in professional baseball with at least a .300 batting average, 20 home runs and 20 stolen bases, showing his natural ability to fill every primary Rotisserie category. While Acuna might require some time to fully adapt to the big leagues as he's still only 20 years old, the fact he possessed good plate-discipline metrics in the minors -- 8.8 percent walk and 76.4 percent contact rates -- makes him more likely to do so quickly than a typical rookie might. In dynasty leagues, he makes a compelling case to be a building-block, early-round selection. In redraft formats, he's more of a mid-round pick, but that bar could raise or lower depending upon how his spring plays out.
2018 Outlook: One-dimensional sluggers are rapidly losing value in an era where seemingly every hitter has at least respectable power, but Bruce is good enough at what he does to remain a valuable fantasy option. His .254/.324/.508 slash line was good for a 118 wRC+, his best mark since 2012, and his career-high 36 homers tied him for 15th in the league. There is certainly some risk in his profile, as his 2017 season was the only one in the past four years in which he produced at least one WAR, but his numbers in the core categories have been consistent for the past two seasons He will be just 31 next season, so he's far from over the hill, and is a good bet to provide solid power numbers without a damagingly low batting average. Further, Bruce could gain first-base eligibility in-season after signing with the Mets.
2018 Outlook: Duvall's .249/.301/.480 slash line was good for just a 98 wRC+ in hitter-friendly Great American Ball Park, but he was more valuable than an average hitter in most fantasy formats. Duvall's low OBP doesn't hurt fantasy managers in standard leagues and his 64 homers over the past two seasons tie him with Anthony Rizzo and Chris Davis for 17th. The slugger should continue to provide cheap power in fantasy this season provided his playing time stays close to the same. The 24-year-old Jesse Winker impressed in 47 games last season, and will likely steal some playing time from either Duvall or Scott Schebler. As the only right-handed hitter among that trio, Duvall should be in the lineup against all lefties, but could miss time against right-handers. That could help his average a bit, but would also depress his counting totals.
2018 Outlook: Where did that come from? Before 2017, Taylor had never hit more than eight home runs or had a .200-plus isolated power in any previous season as a pro. As many hitters did, he enjoyed a huge power breakthrough, though his skill set suggested that he's more of a .270-hitting, 15-homer candidate than what he contributed a year ago. Taylor's speed was actually his most promising asset, assuring that he'd fill your Rotisserie categories while qualifying at both second base and outfield, even if he's far from extraordinary in any one department. He's a handy player to have if you can land him in the middle rounds.
2018 Outlook: Happ managed to break into a deep Cubs roster last season by trading in some of his contact from the minor league levels in exchange for greater power. His 24 home runs in the majors matched his entire minor league total from 2015-16 combined. Whether he continues that approach as a sophomore is a worthy question, as it could leave him prone to streakiness and a low batting average. Happ should again carve out a fairly regular role for himself between second base and all three outfield positions, but until he shows he can make more consistent contact, he's a shaky pick prior to the middle rounds of redraft formats.