2018 Outlook: One of the most consistent players in baseball, Goldschmidt has averaged .304 with 30 home runs, 104 RBIs, 19 stolen bases and 101 runs scored the past five seasons. With the exception of his 2014 campaign, which ended 54 games prematurely due to a fractured left hand after Goldschmidt was hit by a pitch, he has rarely strayed far from those numbers annually. It's the steals that'll probably catch your eye, as Goldschmidt has stolen at least 15 bases in five different seasons -- an unusual feat for a first baseman. Only he, Jeff Bagwell and Rod Carew have that many such seasons since World War II, and that's a welcome bonus for Rotisserie managers who land Goldschmidt. He's a category-filler whose contact rate is better than your typical slugger's, which makes him a first-rounder in Rotisserie and a strong choice in points-based leagues as well, though he's more of a marginal first-rounder there, if only because the position becomes deeper in points-based leagues.
2018 Outlook: Only three players in baseball scored more fantasy points (using ESPN's standard format) than Votto in 2017, and they were all pitchers: Corey Kluber, Chris Sale and Max Scherzer. It was the third consecutive year in which Votto was a top-10 overall performer in that format, and his elite combination of patience, contact and power makes him one of the most desirable picks there, as well as in sabermetrically angled scoring systems. Toss in the fact that he possesses arguably the most balanced splits -- whether lefty/righty or home/road -- and Votto's statistical floor is as high as anyone's in fantasy. He's the rare first baseman worthy of an early-round pick in Rotisserie leagues, despite having spent the majority of his career playing for noncontenders.
2018 Outlook: A fractured wrist suffered in mid-May cost Freeman 44 games and threw him off track of what was an MVP-caliber campaign at the time. He was hitting .341/.461/.748 with 14 home runs when he went down. To his credit, Freeman put up top-75 seasonal numbers using either Rotisserie or points-based scoring despite the significant missed time, even posting .282/.370/.518 numbers with five home runs in 29 September games -- a month during which he admitted he was playing through weakness in the left wrist. Although he might not feel like one -- playing for a rebuilding Braves team might have something to do with it -- Freeman is a premier talent in fantasy baseball, as capable of batting .300-plus as he is of hitting 30-plus home runs. Considering that the Braves' new ballpark plays a bit better for left-handed power than its predecessor, Turner Field, Freeman's power ceiling might in fact be even greater now.
2018 Outlook: About as consistent a player as there is, Rizzo has batted .281 with an average of 32 homers, 106 RBIs and 96 runs scored over the past three seasons, never deviating by more than 11 points of average, one home run, five RBIs or three runs scored. Rizzo also possesses one of the best batting eyes in the game, as one of only five players to qualify for the batting title in 2017 while walking more often than he struck out. That helped propel him to a top-20 finish in fantasy points. Now 28, Rizzo is one of the safest early-round selections you'll find.
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: He tends to be overlooked as a member of a rebuilding White Sox team. Abreu has not only adapted well to the U.S. game but has quietly become one of the most consistent players in fantasy baseball. He's one of three players in history to bat at least .290 with 25-plus homers and 100-plus RBIs in each of his first four big league seasons, joining Joe DiMaggio and Albert Pujols, and he did it while improving his contact rate in each of those years. Abreu also possessed balanced home/road splits, which bodes well should the team decide to trade him midseason. He might not -- and should not -- be one of the top players on your draft board, but he's one of the safest available selections after the top names are gone.
2018 Outlook: He's as consistent a power source as they come -- the only player in baseball to have hit at least 30 home runs in each of the past six seasons -- and possesses one of the keenest batting eyes in baseball. He's one of only three players with at least a 10 percent walk rate and no more than a 20 percent strikeout rate while qualifying for the batting title in each of the past six seasons (also Joe Mauer, Carlos Santana). These skills make Encarnacion one of the most attractive picks in points-based leagues, but he's also a viable early-round pick in rotisserie leagues, where his status as a heart-of-the-order hitter in a potent lineup helps. Now 35, Encarnacion's best years are probably behind rather than ahead of him, but expect the aging curve to be gentler on him than most thanks to his plate discipline.
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: 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: After a 39-homer outburst in 2016, Cano regressed to his usual norms, his 23 home runs landing within two of his five-year average and .280 batting average just 19 points shy of said yearly average. Predictably, in his age-34 season he exhibited increasing struggles against left-handed pitching, which snowballed during the second half of the year (.160 average). Cano appears to be aging gracefully, and while he's probably not going to exceed his 2017 numbers by a significant amount, he's consistent enough year over year to remain a top-10 second baseman in Rotisserie leagues, and an even more attractive pick in points-based leagues due to his high contact rate. His durability, which might begin to wane soon, is also a great asset: His 784 games played in the past five seasons is fifth-most in the majors.
2018 Outlook: It's hard to fathom how a 28-year-old who had 4.8 wins above replacement and was a top-30 fantasy player overall in 2017 lingered on the free-agent market into February, but Hosmer finally found his team in the Padres, inking what at the date he signed was the winter's largest deal in terms of total years and money. Hosmer's skill set has been a matter of sabermetric -- and therefore fantasy baseball -- debate in recent years, as his 56.2 percent ground ball rate for the past three seasons (12th-highest among 232 players with at least 1,000 trips to the plate) makes it difficult to envision him exceeding (or even repeating) the 25 home runs he had in each of his past two seasons. He has seemingly managed his way into the Player Rater's top 50 in three of the past five years, thanks to a high contact rate (16.3 percent strikeout rate in his career), enough health, a prime lineup spot driving his run-production numbers (runs and RBIs) and the ability to contribute a handful of steals. In San Diego, Hosmer will get a small home-run bump -- Petco is no longer a contender for the league's worst power park since the fences were moved in -- but the overall pitching-friendly environment will probably cause him to spin his wheels. He could sneak his way into the top 10 among first basemen, but his limited upside from there makes him more of a mid-round, corner-infield type than a centerpiece of your team.
2018 Outlook: An all-or-nothing slugger, Sano's 470 strikeouts through his first 310 career games were the most by any player in history through that many games, but his 71 home runs were 12th-most. He's also capable of drawing a walk, making him a three-true-outcomes player subject to streakiness and a mediocre batting average -- probably sub-.250. With some of the best Statcast power metrics, including average exit velocity on fly balls and line drives as well as Barrels, Sano's league-leading power potential is unmistakable. The problem is that players like this are more commonplace nowadays, and therefore less valuable than they were a half-decade ago. He also could be subject to league discipline for an off-the-field incident, so keep tabs on the news. Sano is a solid dynasty pick and an early-to-midround selection in Rotisserie redraft formats, though his poor contact rate makes him a bit less valuable in points-based scoring.
2018 Outlook: While Posey's annual numbers might seem solid though not spectacular, it's his consistency and high-volume role that's so appealing in fantasy. He has finished 49th, 47th, 131st and 130th on the Player Rater the past four years, but those also represent four of the seven such seasons with a finish of 131st or better by any catcher in those four years. Posey has also led all catcher-eligibles in plate appearances in two of those four years while averaging 602 across those four, something that's most advantageous in points-based leagues and Rotisserie formats that start two catchers or have 15-plus teams. While his power metrics are slowly declining and he's now 31 years old, he should again be one of the most trusted picks at his position, with the question being this: How important is it to you to get a reliable catcher? The case can be made he warrants a top-40 pick in leagues in which the replacement pool is thinnest, but in standard ESPN leagues, in which streaming catchers is a valid strategy, the case can be made he's not even one of the three best at his position or a top-100 pick.
2018 Outlook: Few players in the history of the game possess Gallo's combination of elite, "light tower" power and a record-setting-low contact rate -- he, in fact, set an all-time record for the lowest qualified contact rate (56.3 percent). This penchant for swings and misses makes him wildly streaky, a legitimate worry for a sub-.200 batting average and a player difficult to trust in head-to-head leagues. Still, Gallo's power metrics are off the charts, as he averaged a major league-leading 422.2 feet on his 41 home runs, led with a 48.6 percent fly ball rate, and finished second in Statcast's "Barrels per Batted Ball Event" (percentage of batted balls hit with optimal launch angle and exit velocity). And he in fact showed gradual improvements in most offensive regards as the year progressed. He's a legitimate contender for the home run crown, in an era where everyone seems to be hitting for power, and he's a great dynasty pick and a top-100 redraft candidate across the board.
2018 Outlook: After riding the Oakland-to-Triple-A-Nashville shuttle five times in either direction, Olson was promoted for the sixth time in 2017 on Aug. 8, after which point he put on a power display that rivaled any in the game's lengthy history. From that date forward, he hit 20 home runs in 156 trips to the plate, for a grand total of 24 for the season, resulting in a major league-record 11.1 percent home run rate (minimum 200 PAs in said season). Olson did it with some extreme fortune on fly balls, however, with FanGraphs' 41.4 home run/fly ball percentage the highest in any of the 16 seasons for which the site has data, something certain to regress in this his first full big league campaign. The reality is that he's your prototypical three-true-outcome slugger, subject to streakiness and batting-average risk, but also one who could contend for the league's home run title. Olson is a good dynasty draft target, and a top-100 redraft pick, if you can deal with his likely inconsistency.