2018 Outlook: Baseball is just better when its biggest stars stay completely healthy. Stanton, who missed only one game in 2017 due to injury (for hamstring cramps in late May) set career bests in games played (159) and plate appearances (692), giving him an expanded opportunity to display his best-in-baseball raw power. Display it he did: Stanton hit 59 home runs in one of the worst home run environments in baseball in Miami, capturing the National League's MVP award in the process. Don't entirely attribute it to good fortune, though, as Stanton's adjustment to a closed stance also helped him post a career-best 73 percent contact rate, making him a much more complete slugger. For an encore, he gets to flash those same skills in one of the most homer-friendly environments in baseball, having been traded to the New York Yankees in December. Stanton is in a dream circumstance, and while his prospects of repeating couldn't be much better, it's important to remember that he has missed 20.1 percent of his teams' games in his career. There's risk here, but the power upside is monstrous.
2018 Outlook: In what was probably perceived by most as a "down" season, Bryant made some important skills advancements in 2017 that bode well for his chances of a return to MVP glory. Thanks to his career-best 76.6 percent contact and 19.2 percent strikeout rates, he boosted his stock dramatically in points-based leagues, in which even a smidge more luck on his fly balls could help him emerge as a top-10 overall performer. It was good news for Bryant's Rotisserie value, too, as such polish elevates his batting-average floor, giving him a realistic chance at a .300 batting average, 30 home runs or, in the best case scenario, both. In a way, Bryant seemed to trade some power for batting average and extra-base hits, in an era when most seem to be doing the opposite. Although he's probably no longer worthy of your first pick in the draft, Bryant is certainly still a building-block player worthy of your second pick, thanks to his high likelihood of returning value on your investment.
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: While his rookie campaign was somewhat overshadowed by Aaron Judge's historic numbers, Bellinger's year wasn't much less excellent. Bellinger set a National League rookie record for home runs (39), with supporting fly ball and hard-contact metrics comparable to the rookie year rates of Ryan Braun, Kris Bryant and Judge, when looking exclusively at players of this century. Like Judge, though, pitchers seemed to adapt to Bellinger late in the regular season and in the postseason, and if you watched the World Series, you witnessed his weakness for breaking pitches down and in. Scouts have long felt that Bellinger's power is greater than his hit tool, so he might be a streaky type, subject to a low batting average but with a homer total that contends for the league lead. Expect some regression, but his skill set supports his candidacy for an early-round pick, which is slightly stronger in Rotisserie than points-based leagues.
2018 Outlook: Though Upton's power output appears to be on the rise, remember that his rates have risen concurrently with the league's overall increase. Keeping that in mind, Upton's annual numbers have been remarkably consistent, as he has a five-year average of .261/.341/.483 slash rates, 30 home runs and 12 stolen bases, rarely straying far from any of those stats in any individual season. He also finished 2017 on a high note, a good sign considering his late-season trade to the Angels, batting .282/.373/.594 with 20 homers in 71 second-half games. This might be Upton's peak, but even if it is, those numbers support his candidacy as an early-round selection, especially considering the Angels' offensive additions could help pad his RBIs and runs-scored totals.
2018 Outlook: A very good player in many regards -- contact ability, hard contact, patience and speed -- Yelich could do himself a world of good statistically by elevating his launch angle in an attempt to inject more power into his game. Since his July 23, 2013, big league debut, his 60.1 percent ground ball rate is the third highest among players with at least 1,000 plate appearances. In his defense, he has shown incremental gains in that area, most notably the 52.2 percent ground ball rate he exhibited in the second half of 2017. And then there's his January trade to the Brewers, which moved him from one of the worst parks for left-handed power (Marlins Park) to one of the best (Miller Park), plus dropped him into the heart of a much more productive lineup. Yelich has long been a popular breakthrough candidate in fantasy who hasn't yet taken that big step, but he still possesses a skill set that should place him among the 50 best players in the game by season's end ... if not better.
2018 Outlook: No player in history has gotten off to the kind of home run barrage that Hoskins did so early in a career, as he hit 18 home runs in his first 34 big league games, five more than any other player through that many career contests. That helped make him one of the most impactful players in fantasy in the season's final two months, though pitchers did seem to begin to figure him out in September, as he batted .227 with a 64.8 percent contact rate in his 28 games in the month. So which version of Hoskins is the real one? The answer is probably somewhere in between, as his combination of lofty fly ball and hard-contact rates makes him a legitimate candidate for a home run title, but his hit tool remains somewhat in question. Expect some streakiness from Hoskins, but he's still a strong early-round pick, especially in points-based leagues where his patience is a plus.
2018 Outlook: Though it might seem like he broke through in a significant way in 2017, the truth is that Ozuna planted the seeds in the early stages of 2016. Before he injured his wrist in late June 2016, he had posted similar numbers in terms of batting average, isolated power, hard-contact rate and ground ball rate as he did in 2017 as a whole. Still, Ozuna's .355 BABIP indicated that he enjoyed a good amount of fortune on balls in play, so regression in that department seems inevitable. Now with the Cardinals, he'll call a similarly pitching-friendly environment his home while batting in the heart of a talented, perhaps underrated lineup. He shouldn't have much trouble remaining a top-50 player overall regardless of format.
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: A rocky 2017 campaign marred by an 80-game suspension for PEDs followed by a rough Dominican Winter League performance has Marte's fantasy stock in greater question than it has been in a half-decade, but both criticisms are perhaps unfair. While his power metrics were noticeably down after he returned in late July, capped by .098 isolated power, a .125 well-hit average and 51.9 percent ground ball rate in 64 games, he did bat .282 and steal 19 bases, which were right in line with his typical per-game rates pre-suspension. Even if Marte is no longer more than a 10-homer hitter, he makes enough contributions in the other rotisserie categories to be a viable early-round pick, though his free-swinging nature does make him a much less valuable selection in points-based leagues. To that end, he has never finished among the top 90 in fantasy points in any single year.
2018 Outlook: That's two consecutive healthy seasons for Myers, who struggled to stay on the field in his first three big-league seasons, and in 2017, he showed a definite move towards injecting more power into his game. He boosted his fly ball rate by more than seven percent and his well-hit average by 32 points, things that might soon make him a contender for the home run crown if he didn't call such a pitching-friendly ballpark his home. Myers is also one of the rare first base-eligibles who brings speed to his game -- he's one of only four in history to have multiple 20/20 seasons -- which is an added bonus for those trying to fill the category on the cheap, and it helps ease worries about his middling-to-low batting average. He'll move to the outfield following Eric Hosmer's arrival, though, meaning multi-position eligibility early in the year. Myers should again return top-100 rotisserie value, making him a strong early-to-mid round pick, though he whiffs a bit too often to elevate him into that class in points leagues.
2018 Outlook: He possesses some of the best raw power in baseball -- that's especially good considering the Oakland Coliseum is a notoriously pitching-friendly environment -- as Davis is the only player in baseball with back-to-back 40-homer seasons and has a major league-leading 85 in those years combined. As is the case with many such types, he hits for a middling batting average, eerily enough hitting exactly .247 in three consecutive seasons and just three points lower in 2014. Hey, he's consistent! Thanks to his proficiency for doubles and walks as well, Davis is as attractive a pick in points-based leagues as Rotisserie leagues, a player with a legitimate case for a top-50 overall draft selection.
2018 Outlook: One of 2017's most heartwarming breakthrough-year stories, Pham put forth a top-25 Rotisserie season and top-80 fantasy point total after spending years struggling with keratoconus, a degenerative eye condition. Surgery and meticulous selection of proper contact lenses helped him substantially boost his contact rate and improve his patience metrics, most notably his 16.4 percent "chase" rate (this measures the percentage of non-strikes swung at), which ranked second-best among batting title-eligible major leaguers. With it, Pham was able to flash the power/speed combination he did in his earlier minor league days, and his five-category potential now makes him an intriguing selection in the game's top 100, though he might warrant waiting a few extra rounds in points-based formats. Whether he can maintain the patience and contact gains is the biggest question, but he has carved out a regular role and is a safer pick than you might think.
2018 Outlook: His combination of solid contact, an extreme fly-ball rate and one of the highest hard-contact rates in baseball makes him as good a batting-average as power source. If there's anything to doubt with Cespedes, it's his ability to stay healthy at the age of 32 and coming off three DL stints in the past two years. He put the ball in the air 45 percent of the time last season and in 2016-17 combined had a well-hit average in the 95th percentile, so with some luck, he could again return to the 30-homer threshold. Expect Cespedes to rebound to top-100 status in all fantasy formats this season, though he's no longer worth paying much more of a premium than that.
2018 Outlook: Conforto was in the midst of one of baseball's biggest breakthrough campaigns when, in an Aug. 24 game, he suffered a tear in the posterior capsule of his left shoulder swinging and missing at a pitch. The injury required surgery that threatens to shelve him until May, or worse, deeper into the season, casting a shadow on his 2018 fantasy value. Extracting Conforto's numbers in the Mets' first 81 games of last year, his .285/.405/.548 numbers ranked among the game's leaders, and he showed significant improvement against left-handed pitching that cements his status as a star capable of an everyday role. Even with the injury, he's an outstanding dynasty league pick for those with patience, but in a redraft league, he's more of a midround pick accounting for his potentially lengthy absence.