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: Though he might fall short in his quest to lead his position in any one category, Posey's consistency, as well as his hit-for-average/hit-for-power combination, makes him the most stable, and wisest, investment among catchers. Consider his average annual stat line in the past four seasons: .303 batting average, 18 home runs, 84 RBIs, 72 runs scored, plus 148 games played, a remarkable measure of durability. As volume carries much influence upon points-based scoring at the catcher position, Posey is potentially a top-40 overall pick there, whereas in Rotisserie leagues it's debatable whether he's that valuable or closer to a top-60 pick. Whether your league uses one or two catchers or is greater than 10 or 12 teams influences, as the larger the league, the greater his value relative to replacement level.
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.
2017 Outlook: As Frazier has aged, he has continued to embrace a power-oriented approach, as he set career highs in 2016 in terms of his pull rate (50 percent of balls in play) and fly-ball rate (48 percent), but also his strikeout rate (24.5 percent of his PAs). In short, his 35/15 homer/steals baselines of the past three seasons seemed entirely legit, though they're increasingly coming at the expense of strikeouts and his batting average. That risk/reward approach at the plate lowers his statistical floor, and that his White Sox are in the midst of a rebuild doesn't help his counting-numbers potential (RBIs and runs scored), with the added point that if the team does trade the walk-year player midseason, he could wind up in a ballpark less conducive to power. Frazier remains a viable early-to-mid round pick in any format, but he's one to be cautious not to overrate.
2017 Outlook: A "three-true-outcomes" (home runs, walks or strikeouts) slugger, Davis' fantasy value took a major hit last season, not only because of his statistical decline, but also the game's soaring home-run rate making him less value relative to replacement. There was a reason for the former: He experienced thumb discomfort for nearly four full months, helping explain his awful, .200/.313/.412 second-half rates. This wasn't dissimilar to 2014, when injuries limited his production, and he subsequently roared back with a big 2015; it's indeed possible history could repeat itself in 2017. The latter point, however, is a problem, as -- outside of leagues that grant substantial rewards for walks and/or on-base percentage -- Davis is a one-trick pony whose sole trick, power, is much more abundant nowadays. He's no longer in the conversation for an early-round, top-40-overall pick, but if he's looking healthy during spring training, he could push himself into sixth- or seventh-round conversation.
2017 Outlook: The move to first base couldn't have worked out better: His 147 games played were his most since 2012, and his No. 53 finish on the Player Rater was his best since 2010. Those successes, however, might cause him to be overvalued entering 2017, as he exhibited a widening platoon split -- 116 points of wOBA, his second-largest split of his career -- and the lowest contact rate of his career (78 percent). Ramirez's scorching finish could signify that a less-taxing defensive role might have increased his odds of repeating his number of games played, but he's also now 33 years old with a checkered injury history. He's a sixth or seventh rounder in standard mixed leagues as well as points-based scoring, and no longer possesses the profit potential from there he had in the past.
2017 Outlook: The No. 2 overall pick in the 2015 amateur draft, Bregman tore through four minor-league levels in 13 months and no greater than 62 games played at any one stop, then enjoyed a 20-homer, 86-RBI full-season pace in his second-half stint with the Astros. Crazier yet: Bregman began his big-league career going 0-for-18 and 1-for-34, then missed 14 of the team's final 15 games with a hamstring injury, those included in said pace. When healthy, he looked like an All-Star, capable of hitting for a high average with pop, his underlying metrics backing up his immense skills. Bregman earned himself a place amongst 2017's breakout candidates, and it's not unreasonable to regard him a top-10 fantasy third baseman regardless of format.
2017 Outlook: Though "next George Brett" predictions now seem overly generous -- Brett had already established himself as a perennial MVP candidate by his 24th birthday -- Hosmer, now 27, has arrived as a productive, top-10 capable fantasy first baseman. He set career highs in home runs (25) and RBIs (104) last season, and did show a small uptick in his power metrics in the season's waning weeks that gives hope of a repeat in 2017. Hosmer's speed, however, has declined somewhat since he arrived in the league, which limits his growth potential in fantasy terms. He's probably close, performance-wise, to the median of his 2015-16 numbers, which earns him a spot as roughly one of the 40 most valuable hitters in any fantasy scoring format.
2017 Outlook: Once labeled an "injury-prone" fantasy player, Longoria has silenced those critics, appearing in a major league-leading 482 games the past three seasons combined. Between that and greater lift to his swing in 2016 -- his 32.5 percent ground-ball rate was a career low -- Longoria's odds of repeating his rebound-year numbers are substantially better, and help ease some of the concerns of his aging curve, now that he's beyond his 30th birthday. A five-year pattern of decline in his walk rate serves a caution flag, but Longoria remains a top-10 capable fantasy third baseman in Rotisserie leagues, and his ability to generate extra-base hits gives him roughly equivalent value in points-based scoring as well.
2017 Outlook: The National League's defending Comeback Player of the Year, Rendon's 2016 looked quite a bit like his 2014 in the end. Predictably, better luck in the health department was behind it, though his strong finish was an encouraging sign for the future, as he batted .291/.357/.508 in the second half. Rendon possesses the same five-category potential he has always had, but his injury past shouldn't be completely ignored. He's best valued a borderline top-10 third baseman in Rotisserie leagues, but more of a sure thing to join that group in points leagues.
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: Injuries, the adjustment to a new position (right field) and struggles making contact resulted in a disappointing first full big-league season from Sano in 2016. He was an awful defensive right fielder, something that might've affected his hitting game, he missed 38 total games with hamstring, elbow and back issues, and his 297 whiffs through his first 196 career contests set an all-time record. Still, Sano's power potential remains massive, as even in a "down" year he finished among the top one-fifth among qualifiers in fly-ball rate, home run/fly ball percentage and average fly-ball distance, and he hit 10 home runs in his final 40 games. If there's to be an off-the-radar home run champion in 2017, Sano's as good a bet as any, though he might not contribute much more in an era where power is abundant. He's a mid-round upside pick, both in Rotisserie and points-based scoring, where his patience carries added value.
2017 Outlook: Much of Belt's profile shows a player on the verge of a breakthrough in Rotisserie terms, but points-based players will tell you he has already proven his mettle. He was a top-100 player in the latter last season -- he scored the 94th-most points overall -- but his inability to elevate any of his traditional Rotisserie numbers into the league-leader lists makes him a tough sell within the top 100. His 104 walks and 41 doubles represented huge gains, and he adopted an extreme fly-ball approach; these were great signs but also showed how poor a fit he is for his spacious home ballpark. Belt could take another step forward in 2017, but so long as he's a Giant, he's more mid-round Rotisserie material, even if he's a possible sixth- or seventh-round pick in points leagues.
2017 Outlook: Turner is the rare example of the past-his-30th-birthday breakthrough story, as he didn't take over as a regular until 2015. He did it with well above-average contact, walk and hard-contact rates, a skill set we'd describe as "very good" even if it's not excellent. Better lift in his swing also improved his power output last season, to the point that he's a solid bet for a .280 batting average, 25 home runs and a .350 on-base percentage. He's more valuable in points-based leagues, where he's a surefire top-10 third baseman, but in Rotisserie league he's not far off that status.