2017 Outlook: Kipnis finally broke through as a power source last season, setting career highs with 23 home runs, a .469 slugging percentage and .193 isolated power (the latter two among his five full big-league seasons), doing so thanks to improved quality of contact and greater success against left-handed pitching. His speed, however, continued to suffer for the second consecutive year; he now appears to be more of a 25/15 candidate than the 15/30 player he was in his first three seasons. The changes to his hitting game grant him an advantage, however: He's now more likely to repeat his 2016 effort, whereas earlier in his career he was more unpredictable year-to-year. Kipnis belongs amongst the game's 10 best fantasy second baseman, and he's well worth your early-to-mid round pick.
2017 Outlook: In his first year with the Rays, Miller set all sorts of career bests: 30 home runs, 81 RBIs, .482 slugging percentage, .172 well-hit average. A slight adjustment to his stance -- he incorporated a leg kick -- helped, as he put more of a charge into the baseball, evidenced by a third consecutive season increasing his average fly-ball distance. Miller also, unfortunately, set a career high with his 24.8 percent strikeout rate, so with the added power came the price of a lower batting average. He'll probably regress somewhat after such a successful year, but this is a new Brad Miller, capable of .250-25 numbers and worthy of your mid-round pick.
2017 Outlook: At year's end, Zobrist's raw numbers never look elite in fantasy terms; he's always nevertheless much higher in Player Rater terms than you might perceive, and in points leagues, he's just a small step shy of stardom. He's particularly appealing in the latter thanks to his penchant for walks as well as his elite contact ability; Zobrist is well worth top-100 consideration there even at his advanced age. His role as a top-third-of-the-order for the Cubs, too, also pads his Rotisserie value, as for a brief time last season Zobrist looked destined to breeze past 100 runs scored. Don't forget about him after the big names are off the board, especially since his versatility - second base and outfield eligibility - provides an extra boost in fantasy leagues.
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: Yankee Stadium appeared to do Castro some good following his trade there during the 2015-16 offseason, as he batted .301/.333/.507 in his 78 home games in his first year in pinstripes. Unfortunately, he was practically unusable in his road contests, and his once-good speed failed to return, seemingly locking him into the middle-infield tier of players in fantasy teams. Castro could get a bit of a bump should the Yankees, a seemingly rebuilding team, press him into a middle-of-the-lineup spot, but he's otherwise highly likely the player indicated by his .275-15-68, 4-steal three-year average.
2017 Outlook: A free-swinging, aim-for-the-fences type, Schoop carries the danger of being a one-category Rotisserie contributor: Power, with loads of risk in all other facets. He's 25 years old, granting him time to improve, but his .225 batting average (fueled by a .255 BABIP) in the second half of 2016 represents a clear warning sign of the pitfalls of this type of skill set. Schoop did walk much more often in the minors than he has in his three full years with the Orioles, making him worthy of middle-infielder speculation in mixed formats, but he's a player with regression risk, especially in points-based leagues.
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: The Dodgers' new leadoff hitter following his acquisition in January, Forsythe's judgment of the strike zone is about as good as anyone's, providing him a good share of stability in terms of on-base percentage. He was second in the majors in terms of infrequency chasing non-strikes (19 percent of those pitches seen), and in fact is probably closer to the player who posted a .359 on-base in 2015 than .333 a year ago. That could result in a significant boost in runs scored for Forsythe, solidifying his value and making him a borderline contender for the top 100 most valuable players if all breaks right. Draft him in the middle rounds as your middle infielder in mixed leagues, and in points league, don't let him slip much past the 13th round.
2017 Outlook: Walker set career highs last season in slugging percentage (.476), walk rate (9.2 percent) and home runs (23), but for the third time in the past four seasons, spent some time on the DL. He's reportedly fine for Opening Day after a successful lumbar microdiscectomy last September, but missed time has been a perpetual problem for him and again makes it difficult to forecast a full season from him. Nevertheless, Walker's numbers have been consistent enough over the years that a .270-20 season, one that'll make him a strong mixed-league middle infielder, is well within reach.
2017 Outlook: In his two big-league seasons, Travis has combined for .301/.342/.469 triple-slash rates which, among second basemen, rank sixth, 11th and sixth. That casts a picture of a top-10 option at his position, until we consider this: Travis has appeared in a mere 163 of 324 Blue Jays games -- or one greater than half -- during that time span, due to persistent shoulder (2015) and knee (2016 postseason) injuries that each required surgeries. Coupling that with what's a free-swinging approach, weakening his case in points-based formats, and Travis is more of a middle-infield choice in mixed leagues.
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: Traded to the Braves in February, Phillips now moves from hitting-friendly Great American Ball Park to the new SunTrust Park, a likely downgrade for him, though at least he's joining an offense that finished 2016 on a high note. Improvement upon his No. 122 Player Rater finish -- 136th in points-based leagues -- probably isn't in the cards, however, as his power has been in decline for awhile now and he seems to be sacrificing it for batting-average stability. Phillips' statistical floor might be heightened as a result -- he's a good bet to provide mixed-league middle-infielder value -- but he's a late-rounder in standard leagues.
2017 Outlook: A player who has teetered between utilityman and regular throughout his career, Harrison will begin 2017 the latter, and deservedly so. His 2016 stat line, on a rate basis, was effectively spot-on to his 2015, seemingly establishing a new baseline that's not quite at the level of his outstanding 2014. Harrison is most useful for his high floor in the batting-average category as well as his decent speed; a .280 batting average and 15-20 stolen bases seems likely. Consider him a middle-infielder target in mixed formats, and a stronger choice in Rotisserie than points-based leagues.