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: The No. 1 overall pick in the 2015 amateur draft as well as the key return in last winter's Shelby Miller trade, Swanson arrived in Atlanta in mid-August and held his own in the bigs, batting .302 with a .361 on-base percentage while providing a bit of pop and speed. His future sometimes compared to Derek Jeter, Swanson's ascent to All-Star status might not be swift; he's a budding five-category Rotisserie contributor but might not excel in any individual department in this, his official "rookie" year. Whether the Braves bat him in the top or bottom third of the order will influence his fantasy value -- he'd have greater breakout odds with a counting numbers-fueling No. 2 lineup spot -- but he's well worth taking as a middle infielder in all formats, and in keeper leagues, he's a building block with possible top-100 overall draft value.
2017 Outlook: A probable buzz-worthy fantasy pick following the Reds' February trade of Brandon Phillips -- a deal made almost entirely to clear second base for him -- Peraza is an appealing base-stealing source who might not contribute much else, at least initially. He's not a walker, which puts a cap on his stolen base potential, and his quality of contact isn't yet great enough that he'll be a top performer in terms of batting average. Those seeking speed in Rotisserie formats in the mid-to-late rounds should grab Peraza; he's more of a late-round pick in points-based scoring despite his expanded role.
2017 Outlook: Crawford's 21 home runs of 2015, in retrospect, look like a clear outlier; power is not his forte. His fantasy value is founded upon consistency, as he's an extremely strong bet to bat .260-.270 with 10-15 home runs, 5-8 stolen bases and runs scored and RBI totals in the 60-80 range. Crawford's playing time is also assured, which is another plus, as his best real-game asset - his elite defense - guarantees him a regular role as the Giants shortstop, fueling those annual counting-number expectations. He's a solid middle-infield choice in mixed leagues.
2017 Outlook: Semien is a serviceable mixed-league middle infielder, providing decent pop and a hint of speed, but don't mistake his career-high 27 home run total for something greater. Nineteen of those homers were hit before the All-Star break, after which point his regressed rate was much more realistic. Semien should begin the season as the Athletics' starting shortstop, but it's possible he'll be pressed for the role by top prospect Franklin Barreto sometime midseason, considering his own defensive limitations.
2017 Outlook: It's funny how injuries so often settle the "too many men, too few available positions" debate. After losing Brandon Moss and Matt Carpenter to the DL last July, the Cardinals pressed Gyorko into their lineup regularly at first, second and third base, and he responded by leading the majors in home run rate (8.5 percent of his PAs) and at-bats per home run (10.74) while hitting the second-most homers (23) after the All-Star break. Once again, the Cardinals have an abundance of infielders, so Gyorko might be back fighting for at-bats, making him look most appealing to fantasy owners for his multi-position eligibility and ability to slot into daily lineups. He's a worthwhile late-round pick for these possibilities, but don't mistake him for something he's not: His value is primarily tied to power, and he's not as good a hitter against righties as his .295 isolated power against them showed in 2016.
2017 Outlook: An aggressive, free-swinging youngster, Anderson's 3.0 percent walk rate last season was third-lowest among hitters who made at least 400 trips to the plate. Somehow he got by, though a player like this who also hit ground balls 56 percent of the time probably isn't going to contribute much in batting average or on-base percentage, not without adjustments. Anderson is a target almost entirely for his speed, which is good enough to make him a mixed-league middle infielder (more so in 12- than 10-team), but in dynasty terms some of the other young shortstop names make better building blocks.
2017 Outlook: Gregorius has adapted brilliantly to the title of "Derek Jeter's replacement," in 2016 setting career highs in home runs (20), slugging percentage (.447) and contact rate (85.4 percent). In fact, he had never before hit as many as 10 homers in a single pro campaign. Gregorius improved substantially against left-handed pitchers, batting .324 with a 91.9 percent contact rate, which lent legitimacy to his overall breakthrough numbers. Though he had previously been better regarded for his defense, his skills improvements on the hitting side as well as his homer-friendly home ballpark make him middle-infield material in mixed leagues.
2017 Outlook: A sneaky-good points league pick, Solarte's contact ability and keen eye at the plate makes him a smart option to scoop up, arguably as a clear mixed-league corner infielder. He possesses balanced righty/lefty splits and even sacrificed some contact in exchange for power last season, elevating his statistical floor and making him especially appealing should he land one of the top three spots in the Padres' lineup.
2017 Outlook: Escobar is an awkward fit for his role -- he's often used as the Royals' leadoff hitter and might again this year -- but it helps provide him a volume advantage that gets him on the middle-infielder radar in mixed leagues and a potential starting shortstop in AL-only formats. His speed has been in decline the past two years, however, and last season he regressed somewhat in terms of both his contact rate and plate discipline, things that hint he's on the wrong side of the aging curve. Escobar probably doesn't have much more to offer than he has recently, but for so long as he's starting he's worth a late-round look.