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: Apparently, Murphy's adjustment to his swing, made during the summer of 2015 while working with Mets hitting coach Kevin Long, paid as many long-term as immediate dividends. Remarkably, this previously contact-oriented, line drive hitter enjoyed a roughly eight-percent increase to his fly-ball rate as well as a nearly 40 point boost to his well-hit average beginning at almost precisely the 2015 All-Star break, and he accomplished it at absolutely no cost to his contact rate. The result was a new, higher-upside skill set, Murphy's power upside leaping into the 20s to go along with his already great likelihood of a .300-plus batting average. Considering he'll be the Nationals' cleanup hitter, batting behind the newly acquired Adam Eaton, Trea Turner for a full year and a potentially rebounding Bryce Harper, RBIs could be plentiful for Murphy. He might not feel like a good bet to repeat a top-25 Player Rater finish, but he has excellent odds of doing so.
2017 Outlook: When we point out the power explosion exhibited across Major League Baseball in 2016, Dozier is our poster child. A .199/.288/.318 hitter with only four home runs through his first 40 games of the season, Dozier belted another 38 home runs while slashing .291/.356/.621 the rest of the way, in the process setting a single-season record for home runs by an American League second baseman. Though that pace will be nearly impossible to replicate, especially since it's unclear precisely how much warmer temperatures in typically cooler Minneapolis might have influenced it, Dozier did show enough growth in terms of both his fly-ball and hard-contact rates that another 30-plus is within reason. He's one of the game's rare 30/15 candidates, making up for his deficiencies in terms of batting average, but don't go overboard drafting him in the first two rounds chasing last year's stats.
2017 Outlook: After struggling to replicate his Yankees power numbers during his first two seasons with the Mariners, Cano exploded for a career-best 39 home runs in 2016, which came on the heels of a Cactus League-leading seven. Though most every hitter seemingly improved in the power department last season, Cano exhibited a distinct increase in his fly-ball rate to back it up, boosting it into the ranges he enjoyed in his best years as a Yankee. For a follow-up, he'll need to answer the question as to whether he'll continue to pattern his swing towards hitting fly balls, which could threaten his batting average, or restore the kind of line drive-hitting ability that'd probably assure a .300 average, but with only 20-25 homer power. The answer would have somewhat greater repercussions in points-based leagues than Rotisserie -- the homers fueled a seventh-among-hitters finish in the former in 2016 -- but either result should still keep him among the game's 50 best fantasy picks. Now 34 years old, however, Cano's odds of greatly exceeding that bar will only continue to decrease by year.
2017 Outlook: It'd be a mistake to examine Villar's 2016 output and dismiss it outright as fluky. Sure, his .285 batting average, .457 slugging percentage and 19 home runs set single-year professional bests and are probably unsustainable, but his speed -- in an era where stolen bases are becoming increasingly difficult to find -- and plate discipline weren't at all out of line with his past. Counting regular-season contributions at all professional levels, Villar and Billy Hamilton are the only two players in baseball to have stolen at least 40 bases in each of the past five seasons, and Villar's healthy, .337 career minor league and .336 major league on-base percentages should continue to drive enough opportunities to make another 40 a virtual lock in 2017. Though these types of players tend to have substantially greater value in Rotisserie than points-based leagues -- Villar finished 2016 fifth overall in the former, 72nd in the latter -- he could grant any prospective fantasy owner an additional advantage, when he presumably adds second base eligibility to third base and shortstop as he shifts there to accommodate a probable Travis Shaw/Hernan Perez platoon at the Brewers' hot corner.
2017 Outlook: Puns aside, it's fitting that Story rewrote the record books as a rookie: He became the first player to hit two home runs in a major league debut played on Opening Day, he hit a record seven home runs through his team's first six games of a season, he tied a rookie record for home runs in April (10), and he set a National League rookie record for home runs by a shortstop (27). None of it was fluky, as his underlying metrics revealed an unusual ability to barrel up the ball, even if much of the rest of his offensive game wasn't without its flaws. This is a natural 30-homer power hitter, with Coors Field only helping his chances there as well as potentially masking batting average deficiencies, and Story possesses enough speed to chip in double-digit stolen bases. His propensity for strikeouts might make him somewhat streaky, which could be a problem in head-to-head leagues during the Rockies' lengthier road trips, and there's also a chance that the torn UCL in his left thumb could linger into spring training and result in a somewhat sluggish start to 2017, but neither should push him deeply down the draft-day rankings. Story is a clear top-50 asset in Rotisserie leagues, though his strikeouts do make him more of a sixth- or seventh-rounder in points-based scoring.
2017 Outlook: It's a shame that Kyle hasn't garnered the same level of national attention as brother Corey has (and Corey's has been in just one big-league season), as the older Seager is a tremendously underrated asset, both in the real and fantasy games. Kyle Seager's points-based owners can attest: He actually finished with the greater point total of the two brothers (450-422), in 11 fewer plate appearances. Along with David Ortiz, Seager was one of two players to hit at least 20 home runs with an 80 percent or better contact rate in each of the past five seasons, and during that five-year span he exhibited incremental gains in terms of his isolated power and hard-contact rates, making his career-best 2016 look entirely repeatable (at the very least).
2017 Outlook: Though in many respects, Abreu's performance has regressed since he broke into the majors in 2014, let's not understate the historical significance of his first three big-league seasons: He, along with Joe DiMaggio and Albert Pujols, are the only three players in the history of baseball to manage at least a .290 batting average, 25 home runs and 100 RBIs in each. That said, Abreu's performance in all three categories comes with some risk: He continues to show poor strike-zone judgment, leading the majors in swings at "non-competitive" (those considerably outside the zone) pitches in 2016; he appears to have sacrificed some power in exchange for a three-year pattern of rising contact rates; and his White Sox, now in rebuilding mode, might not provide as much fuel for his counting numbers. Abreu is no longer a likely-top-25 player and in fact might be a risky pick within the top 50, though as his baseline is probably his 2016 numbers, he's still a worthy early-round pick.
2017 Outlook: In his fourth big-league season, Myers finally broke through, becoming one of only three players to manage at least 25 home runs and 25 stolen bases (Mookie Betts, Mike Trout). Better luck in the health department contributed: He appeared in more games (157) than he had in 2014-15 combined, and in the process more than doubled his career homer and stolen base totals. Unfortunately, his year was not without its warts, most notably his forgettable .223/.316/.381 second-half stat line during which his strikeout rate was an unsightly 27.6 percent. Now 26, Myers is a player in the prime of his career, though he'll be hard pressed to improve upon his 2016 numbers, and in fact he might be less valuable, if only because of how much of his fantasy earnings were fueled by playing time and manager Andy Green's frequent green lights on the base paths. Myers' circumstances aren't much different from what they were a year ago and perhaps he'll be better equipped to handle the grind of the 162-game schedule this season, but he also comes with the warning not to "chase last year's stats."
2017 Outlook: Odor is an extremely unusual hitter, a slugger with poor -- and actually declining as he continues to progress towards his prime years -- plate discipline who somehow makes it work, as he was one of only 19 players with at least a .270 batting average and 30 home runs in 2016. To that point, he became only the second player in history to hit 30 or more home runs while walking fewer than 20 times (Andres Galarraga, 31 and 19 in 1994), and Odor's 3.0 percent walk rate last season was the lowest by any player to hit at least 30 homers. This free-swinging, power-oriented approach puts Odor at greater-than-normal risk in the strikeout, and therefore batting average, categories, resulting in an unexpectedly lower-than-normal floor in points-based scoring. As one of the better power sources among second basemen, he's well worth your early-to-mid round selection in Rotisserie scoring, but he's one to be cautious not to overrate in a points league.
2017 Outlook: Though Beltre's defensive exploits fuel a decent portion of his future Hall of Fame prospects, don't mistake that in the slightest for a knock on his skill at the plate. In 2016, he became only the ninth player in history to bat .300 and hit at least 30 home runs at the age of 37 or older, and in the past three seasons combined, his 87.9 percent contact rate was 13th-best among players with at least 1,000 plate appearances and his 199 hard-contact line drives tied for the most. He's a contact-making, line drive-spraying machine, one of the highest-floor players around, and that's a good thing to be in a lineup as deep as the Rangers' in a ballpark as favorable for offense as Globe Life Park because of what it means for a hitter's RBIs and runs scored. Beltre is a top-50 pick in any format, but in points-based scoring he's even more appealing because of these traits.
2017 Outlook: A shift in his approach in 2015 turned Carpenter, previously a walks-and-contact hitter, into more of a power source, and he only continued to adapt his swing for that last season. He's now more pull-conscious, but has done so without sacrificing much contact, so while a .318 batting average (his mark in 2013) might be in his past, there's reason to believe he'll remain a .270-25 player with a .375 on-base percentage for the foreseeable future. In fact, Carpenter could exceed those numbers with some luck; an oblique injury hampered his second-half performance and the Cardinals should provide him more run-producing opportunities (and perhaps more PAs) now that they've signed Dexter Fowler as their leadoff hitter. Carpenter is a low-risk, top-100 overall pick in Rotisserie leagues, but his elite plate discipline makes him a much better pick in sabermetric and points-based formats: Perhaps a top-50 player overall.
2017 Outlook: An 80-game suspension for testing positive for PEDs early last season cast a shadow upon Gordon's past career accomplishments, but during his active portions of last season, he seemed the elite speedster he has always been, with "regression to the mean" as rational an explanation as any for his lesser hitting numbers. He enjoyed a 59 steal pace per 162 team games, maintaining his three-year baseline at roughly 60 in the category, but a drop in both his quality of contact as well as his batting average on balls in play reset his batting-average baseline at closer to the .270-.290 range, with only minimal walks to boost his on-base percentage from there. In short, he's only an early-round pick in Rotisserie leagues for his one-category (steals) contribution, with his brilliant, more well-rounded 2016 statistics probably in his rearview.
2017 Outlook: One of the most consistent five-category Rotisserie contributors -- he and Mike Trout were the only players with at least 10 home runs and stolen bases apiece and at least 70 RBIs and runs scored apiece in each of the past five seasons -- Kinsler shouldn't be mistaken for a superstar in any one, even if he enjoyed a 17-homer increase in 2016 compared to 2015, his 28 total homers his best single-year total since 2011 (32). His value comes from his consistency, and his balanced, above-average-but-not-necessarily-elite skills in all facets of the game. Kinsler's line drive-oriented approach makes another outcome within range of his 2014-16 three-year average highly likely, though his career-high 16.9 percent strikeout rate does raise questions about his stability in the batting-average category as well as whether he's shifting his swing somewhat more towards a power stroke. He's a reliable early-to-mid round pick in any format.
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.