2017 Outlook: Few players in baseball possess Encarnacion's combination of power, plate discipline and balanced splits -- both home versus road and against right-handers versus left-handers. He's the only player to hit at least 30 home runs in each of the past five seasons, doing so with combined 12.5 percent walk and 82.3 percent contact rates during that time. Encarnacion, too, was the major league's leader in road home runs during those five years (101), so the move to Cleveland shouldn't be construed as particularly damaging to his fantasy value. Perhaps a small handful of his home runs will turn into doubles at Progressive Field, which has a higher and slightly deeper left-field fence than Rogers Centre, but the net result would be negligible in points leagues and perhaps only a round's or $2-4 difference in Rotisserie formats compared to his 2016 value in Toronto.
2017 Outlook: His power is among the most prodigious in the game, and Cruz appears to be going with it as his 37th birthday approaches, becoming somewhat more pull-conscious in 2016 and exerting maximum effort on his swings, even if it's at the expense of a near-25-percent strikeout rate. No matter, as he is the only player to have reached the 40-homer threshold in each of the past three seasons, becoming the first to do so in three straight years since Ryan Howard (2006-09), showing no signs of a decline in that department. Cruz's critics can only point to his age as reason for an imminent decline, but without underlying metrics hinting its arrival, he's as likely to approach if not repeat his 2016 output as any hitter, and in either Rotisserie or points-based formats that makes him worthy of a top-50 overall draft pick.
2017 Outlook: One of the premier power sources in baseball, Bautista's injury track record and advancing age -- he's now 36 years old -- are becoming increasingly valid questions. His batting average (.234), slugging percentage (.452), isolated power (.217), strikeout rate (19.9 percent of his PAs) and fly-ball rate (37.3 percent of balls in play) last season were his worsts in any of his eight full seasons with the Blue Jays, largely influenced by poorer second-half numbers following a midsummer DL stint for a toe injury. Bautista's power metrics still graded well above-average even at less than full strength, so while his home-run baseline might no longer be 40-plus, he might easily register another 30-35. Considering the wealth of power in the game, however, he's much more valuable in points-based or sabermetric scoring formats, where his elite walk rate and ability to make contact grant him additional value. There, he's still easily a top-50 overall talent. In Rotisserie? Not so much.
2017 Outlook: Santana's game has long been about patience and hard contact, but in 2016, he took it to new heights, setting personal bests in home runs (34), slugging percentage (.498), RBIs (87) and contact rate (83 percent). Most notably, he finished the year on a major tear, batting .282/.389/.551 in his final 100 games, which bodes well for continued success entering 2017. While it's unclear whether Santana will lead off again or move down to a more run-producing position -- this will determine whether he's more of a contributor in RBIs versus runs scored -- he'll be a key member of a loaded lineup. He has long been a far better player in points-based scoring, where a legitimate case can be made he's a top-40 pick, but even in Rotisserie leagues his value is on the rise into the eighth-/ninth-round level.
2017 Outlook: The majors' defending home-run champion, Trumbo's difficulty finding big free-agent bucks this winter provided one of the best illustrations of the abundance of power in today's game. His breakthrough year might cause him to be a hotly-contested draft commodity this spring, but bear in mind that his 47 home runs, using our Player Rater math, were worth 15 percent less in 2016 than 2015. Trumbo's power metrics did increase, some thanks to the ballpark and some thanks to better luck on fly balls, but his overall skill set didn't truly shift all that much. Most notably, he extended his career trend of second-half swoons -- many of them significant during his career, as this one was -- putting him in the extremely rare class of "shop-in-June" candidates. Trumbo returns to the same situation where he thrived, but he's a dangerous pick before the ninth or 10th round, and his strikeout-influenced floor in points leagues makes him a player perhaps worth slightly less than that.
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: A max-effort, all-or-nothing power hitter, Davis posted the second-best home-run rate among qualifiers, but also the highest swinging strike rate on pitches within the strike zone last season. That trend solidifies Davis' 40-homer potential, but it also makes him a batting-average liability, a problem in an era that appears to be rich in power. He does draw a good number of walks -- though his 2016 full-season rate was down due to a significantly greater rate of pitchers challenging him initially upon his move to the American League -- which makes him a more appealing choice in on-base and sabermetric scoring formats. There, he might make a case for a top-70 overall pick; he's a player worth targeting two to three rounds later otherwise.
2017 Outlook: Injuries, the adjustment to a new position (right field) and struggles making contact resulted in a disappointing first full big-league season from Sano in 2016. He was an awful defensive right fielder, something that might've affected his hitting game, he missed 38 total games with hamstring, elbow and back issues, and his 297 whiffs through his first 196 career contests set an all-time record. Still, Sano's power potential remains massive, as even in a "down" year he finished among the top one-fifth among qualifiers in fly-ball rate, home run/fly ball percentage and average fly-ball distance, and he hit 10 home runs in his final 40 games. If there's to be an off-the-radar home run champion in 2017, Sano's as good a bet as any, though he might not contribute much more in an era where power is abundant. He's a mid-round upside pick, both in Rotisserie and points-based scoring, where his patience carries added value.
2017 Outlook: December surgery to release his right plantar fascia threatens the start to Pujols' season; it typically requires a four-month recovery, meaning that a mid-April return is the likeliest outcome. Couple that with a near-60-point decline in his batting average in the past half-decade compared to the one that preceded it, and Pujols' prospective owners might be fearful of drafting him at all. He warrants much more credit: He's one of the best contact hitters in the game, a supremely disciplined batsman, and consistently generates hard contact that helps slow his aging curve. It also boosts his points-league value, as it's there where he's probably still worth a top-100 pick. Pujols' health requires attention through the spring, but regardless his prognosis, he shouldn't be forgotten in the middle rounds even in Rotisserie leagues.
2017 Outlook: Though Morales has hit at least 22 home runs with a .785 OPS in four of his past six seasons, he has taken a circuitous path to get there, injuries and half-season slumps sometimes hindering his appeal in fantasy leagues. Now the Blue Jays' replacement for consistent slugger Edwin Encarnacion, Morales' perceived value might take a bit of a hit in direct comparison to his predecessor. Make no mistake, however: Morales is an excellent fit for Rogers Centre, a much more homer-friendly environment than his former home, Kauffman Stadium, and his odds of a repeat of (or slightly improvement upon) his 2016 numbers remain excellent. He might, too, come at a relative bargain if your league's ownership is hesitant to "clog the DH spot" with a player like Morales, who qualifies only at DH initially, but he's well worth the middle-round pick in any format.
2017 Outlook: Martinez is adept with the bat as anyone in the game, best evidenced by his sporting the league's highest contact rate on pitches outside the strike zone, and the third-best rate on all pitches, last season. However, his advancing age -- he's now 38 -- and injury history -- his latest setback was sports hernia surgery in October, though it's not expected to delay the start to his season -- are increasingly growing concerns, especially since they decrease any chance at in-season first-base eligibility. When at full strength, Martinez has top-75-overall Rotisserie, and top-50 in points leagues (thanks to his high contact rate), appeal. Simply be prepared for a handful of missed games due to injury, or an injury-influenced slump or two, or perhaps both.
2017 Outlook: The key stat from Gattis' 2016 was his games played at catcher: 55. His return to a part-time role there was a huge boon to his value, as his immense power is considerably more valuable compared to his catcher brethren than limited only to DH. Whether Gattis can repeat his 128 games played and 499 plate appearances, however, is the one lingering doubt about his 2017 fantasy potential, as the Astros brought in Brian McCann as their starting catcher during the winter. Expect Gattis to serve as a lesser-used backup backstop and perhaps the Astros' leader in starts at DH, and if he can reach those playing-time benchmarks, he'll stand an excellent chance at repeating his 2016 stat line. He has embraced a pull-happy, fly-ball approach, one that could make him slightly riskier in points leagues than Rotisserie, but in either format he's a top-five catcher candidate simply because 30 homers is so rare at the position.
2017 Outlook: As spring training dawned, Napoli was still in search of a team, a victim of the glut of first base-designated hitter types on the free-agent market. After a 2016 season during which he set career highs in games (150), plate appearances (645), home runs (34), RBIs (101), runs scored (92), however, he should manage to find a regular role somewhere before long. One of the best breaking-ball hitters in the game, Napoli's rebound year was fueled by greater selectivity at the plate as well as a return to the pull-oriented approach of his past. He's due for some regression -- his amount of playing time, especially -- after so many things broke right for him in 2016, but he's a more-than-adequate corner infield consideration in mixed leagues.
2017 Outlook: Judging by his recent returns, Beltran hardly strikes you as a player set to turn 40 years old in April. Though he's no longer the base stealer he was during his younger years, he has averaged .271-21-70 numbers the past three seasons, a performance that looks better when you consider his having dealt with some injuries in 2014-15. Though Minute Maid Park won't afford him quite the ballpark benefit he enjoyed in either New York or Texas during that recent run, Beltran still resides on the positive side of that scale, and barring further injury setback, he's a strong bet to at least repeat those baseline numbers. He's a strong fourth or fifth mixed-league outfielder.
2017 Outlook: Rendered expendable by the Yankees' youth movement, McCann was traded to Houston this winter, where he'll return to his familiar catcher role after finishing 2016 as a pinstriped DH. The move carries some risk: He sported career-worsts in strikeout (20.1 percent) and contact rates (76.9 percent) in 2016, and had become an extreme pull hitter, perhaps influenced by Yankee Stadium's short right-field porch. McCann will need to address those skills weaknesses in order to fully rebound, and his declining performance against left-handed pitchers is another indicator of the aging curve, but he still provides enough pop to be a top-10 fantasy option at his position.