2017 Outlook: After the disappointing season he had, followed by a winter's worth of trade rumors, McCutchen's stock might be as artificially deflated by public perception as any player's. His season, however, wasn't an entirely lost cause: He batted .267/.381/.471 from Aug. 1 forward, his isolated power, walk and line-drive rates and well-hit average during that time span all well within range of his 2014-15 numbers. Those latter traits elevate his statistical floor, and were the reasons he remained a roster-worthy asset even in shallow mixed leagues during his worst stages of 2016, many of which were probably influenced by knee, thumb and heel injuries. Those injuries, however, have eroded his stolen-base potential, making a single-digit output in 2017 probable and serving a reason to no longer draft him in the first three rounds. This version of McCutchen is a stronger rebound candidate in points-based rather than Rotisserie leagues, but he probably has another very good year left in him.
2017 Outlook: The premier base stealer of this generation, Hamilton has stolen 19 more bases than anyone in baseball in the past three seasons combined, he's the only player to have stolen 50-plus in each, and he's only the fifth player in the modern era to have stolen at least 50 bases in each of his first three full big-league seasons. While his skills might seem to stop there -- well, other than his plus defense, which rarely counts in fantasy scoring -- he did finally start contributing with the bat late last year, with a .293 batting average and .369 on-base percentage in the second half. Hamilton could carry those gains into 2017, in which case he might be undervalued in Rotisserie leagues, as he's generally regarded a one-category performer. He's not a building block in fantasy, a player worth one of your first few picks, but if your league puts a heavy emphasis on steals, as traditional Rotisserie scoring does, he's worth a look shortly thereafter.
2017 Outlook: Pollock's raw, five-Rotisserie-category talent is unmistakable -- he was the fifth most-valuable player in Rotisserie and 16th-most in points-based scoring in 2015 -- but his injury history is becoming increasingly difficult to overlook. After he missed all but two weeks of the 2016 season, first with a fractured right elbow suffered just before Opening Day, then with a strained left groin suffered in mid-September, Pollock's average professional games played is a mere 109 the past five seasons. While it's possible that his elbow issues are now behind him -- this was a recurrence of an injury upon which he had surgery in 2010, as he had been experiencing soreness in the elbow during the spring of 2016 -- Pollock's odds of a fully-healthy year, ą la 2015, aren't outstanding. He's a wiser bet in Rotisserie scoring, where his stolen bases and runs scored contributions carry greater weight, and with some luck could rebound to the second-round projection in that format (and third/fourth in points), but the closer to those valuations you select him, the greater the prospect for disappointment.
2017 Outlook: Upton's first season with the Tigers (and as an American Leaguer) got off to a rocky start, as he batted .215/.263/.319 in the first half while seeing an increasing volume of high-velocity pitches as he made the league adjustment, but he recovered nicely -- and in a way that some fantasy owners might not have noticed -- thereafter. His .579 second-half slugging percentage ranked 11th among qualifiers, and he restored his hard-contact rate while actually picking up some bat speed. As Upton plays through his career prime, he seems to be increasingly funneling his fantasy contributions into the power department; his declining speed and increasing strikeout rate (with resulting, adverse impact on his batting average) is making him more of a Rotisserie than points-based asset. Still, he's young enough to be a potential top-50 overall talent in the former, and one worth a look a few rounds later than that in the latter.
2017 Outlook: One of the best in baseball at producing power to all fields, Martinez's cumulative 2016 numbers suffered as a result of a fluky injury, as he missed 40 Tigers team games after fracturing the radial neck of his right elbow when he crashed into the right-field wall in a June 16 game. Upon his return, he was every bit as productive a power source as he was before getting hurt, and in fact, he was somewhat more selective at the plate, resulting in a career-best 9.5 percent walk rate. Though Martinez's .378 BABIP last season might give pause, understand that he got there in part to the improved approach as well as one of the game's best hard-contact rates, meaning that any regression in batting average should be small. He's a premier power source, and should be treated as such in drafts, warranting as early as a fourth-round pick in Rotisserie, and perhaps a fifth or sixth in points-based scoring.
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: A model of consistency, Jones is the only player in baseball to manage at least 25 home runs and 80 RBIs in each of the past six seasons, and he has ranged between 25-33 homers, 82-108 RBIs and a .265-.287 batting average annually during that span. Though that gives him good odds of another season within those ranges, it shouldn't be overlooked that he's now 31 years old and has lost a step on the base paths, meaning that he could gradually begin regressing in the power departments. That the league's power was significantly up last season, too, decreases the impact of his steady contributions, making him an eighth- or ninth-round pick in Rotisserie leagues, and perhaps a player worth waiting an additional round or two in points-based scoring.
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: There was much excitement surrounding Schwarber's power potential coupled with his catcher eligibility entering last season, but a knee injury suffered in an outfield collision ended his regular season after only three Cubs games and required reconstructive surgery. Fortunately, Schwarber made a somewhat miraculous recovery in time to appear in the World Series, where he showed the same pop-plus-plate-discipline combination that made him so appealing in fantasy drafts a year ago. The difference is that he's now eligible only in the outfield -- at least at draft time -- where he provides less value relative to replacement. Schwarber should be closer to 100 percent at the onset of the 2017 season, and if he gets regular at-bats, he'll possess the same 30-homer, .350-on-base-percentage, 80-walk potential. He'd be a top-50 overall pick with catcher eligibility, but with a chance he'll earn it in-season (1o games required) plus his natural skill, he's worth targeting shortly thereafter in any format as an outfielder.
2017 Outlook: One of the first half's bigger breakthroughs, Piscotty cooled during the late-summer months last season, his .247/.310/.430 second-half triple-slash rates putting a damper on his final numbers. Though fatigue might've contributed, it's also possible that Piscotty's ultimate ceiling is that of a very good, but not elite, hitter. He possesses underrated power to all fields, but needs to improve his contact rate -- it was merely 70 percent in his final 61 games -- in order to avoid becoming a batting average liability. Fortunately, he's 26 years old with plenty of time to do so, but for now he's merely a ninth- or 10th-round pick.
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: Though Kemp's 35 home runs and .231 isolated power gave a look of a significant rebound, his career trends show all the patterns one might expect of a player more than two years removed from his 30th birthday. His walk rate has declined in consecutive years, to a career-low 5.4 percent, his platoon-split widened to 68 points of wOBA, and his defense continued to suffer to the point that the Braves might eventually have to pick and choose his spots. Kemp's decline might continue to be gradual, but his floor is lowering more rapidly in points-based leagues, where his eroding plate discipline and prospect of days off against right-handers are more of a problem. He's a mid-round pick, no matter what the 2016 stats tell you.
2017 Outlook: Bradley's cumulative numbers might look great -- he finished 91st overall on the Player Rater, and scored the 80th most standard-league points, in 2016 -- but since he took over as a Red Sox regular in August 2015, he has been wildly streaky and frustrating to own in head-to-head leagues. In those eight months, he has enjoyed a wOBA of .480 or better in two, and a wOBA beneath .325 in three, including each of August and September/October last season. Inconsistent contact had a lot to do with it, as he improved his seasonal rate to 22.5 percent, but that swelled to 28 percent from Aug. 1 forward, and he regressed significantly against lefties over the full year. Bradley's glove is valuable enough to the Red Sox that he should continue to play regularly, even during his slumps, and he has enough pop and guile on the base paths to be a 25/15 candidate. Understand, however, that it might be a bumpy ride getting there.
2017 Outlook: Ramirez's contact ability has been extremely overlooked in recent years, and he posted a career-best 89 percent rate in 2016 and 91 percent during the season's second half. These fueled his breakthrough numbers, lending legitimacy to his healthy batting average and on-base percentage and explaining both his playing-time increase as well as his stolen-base total. The Indians will use Ramirez regularly again in 2017, presumably mostly at third base, and he's not nearly the regression candidate you might think. He should continue to contribute in all five Rotisserie categories, be slightly more valuable in points-based formats thanks to his contact and ability to generate many extra-base hits, and has the added advantage of dual position eligibility (third base and outfield). Ramirez is a worthy mid-rounder.
2017 Outlook: Eaton's 2015 and 2016 statistics were eerily similar, and seem to set a safe, predictable baseline. With his trade to the Nationals, however, he might be in the best circumstance yet of his now-sixth year big-league career. Eaton's balanced 2016 splits -- righty/lefty and home/road -- and .360 on-base percentage baseline make him an ideal choice to lead off the Nationals' strong top of the lineup, and under Dusty Baker, it's conceivable he'll be given the green light to steal bases more often than he did in Chicago. Eaton was roughly a top-100 overall player during his recent White Sox career, and top-80 or so using standard points scoring, but there's slight, role-related growth potential in his new digs.