2018 Outlook: Turner's 2017 was quietly excellent, as he filled five categories and nearly produced a top-50 fantasy point total despite being limited to only 130 regular-season games. He continued the trend of elevating his contact rate, in fact finishing the season sixth in the category among qualifiers (87.7 percent), and shifting his batted-ball profile more toward a power stroke, which helped explain the gains in points-based formats. He's a high-floor player who has a higher statistical ceiling than you might think, and while it's odd to think of a 33-year-old as still getting better, he's certainly trending that way.
2018 Outlook: Beltre, who will turn 39 in April, has shown little signs of aging outside of what has been increasing DL risk. Though he played in just 94 games in 2017, his lowest total since his rookie year in 1998, he roared back with a stunning second half: .329/.382/.535 slash rates, 83.1 percent contact rate and a .198 well-hit average. In short, Beltre easily re-established himself a top-10 fantasy third baseman during that half of a season, and if you could trust him to stay healthier in 2018, he'd make a strong case for inclusion again. If you feel confident in your ability to seek replacements in the event he misses significant time again, Beltre is as trustworthy a corner-infield, mixed-league target as you'll find.
2018 Outlook: Never known as much of a power bat during his time in the Tigers' organization, Suarez has thrived since his 2015 trade to the Reds. He's coming off a 2017 during which he set personal bests with 26 home runs, 82 RBIs and .200 isolated power. This was in large part because of improved plate discipline, exemplified by his career-high 13.3 percent walk rate. Still, Great American Ball Park has done wonders to drive up his counting numbers, as he has .264/.362/.501 slash rates there compared to .245/.324/.375 rates on the road during his Reds career. Those in shallow mixed leagues might want to be somewhat selective with his usage. Suarez's appeal in points-based leagues is somewhat greater than in Rotisserie. Consider him a borderline top-10 third baseman in the former but more corner-infield material in the latter.
2018 Outlook: For a follow-up to his breakthrough 2016 season, Lamb produced a near-identical stat line last season, right down to the torrid first half followed by a disappointing second half. Fantasy managers might be quick to therefore label him a player to shop come June; but digging a little deeper, a hand issue might have contributed to his awful finish to 2016, and he seemed to suffer severe bad luck on balls in play during his conclusion to 2017. Lamb's greater criticism is his righty/lefty split, as it could eventually drop him into a platoon role, though that hardly seems imminent. He's a high-walk, big-power bat who belongs in the top 10 at third base in points-based leagues but falls a little short in rotisserie.
2018 Outlook: After a breakthrough 2016, propelled mostly by a significantly larger role than he had received in any of his previous six big league seasons, Nunez followed it up with a 2017 that wasn't a far cry from it in terms of fantasy earnings. Only a knee injury that cost him the large part of the season's final month, as well as the near-entirety of the Red Sox's Division Series loss, got in the way of a full repeat, as Nunez's per-game numbers were close and he batted a career-high .313, fueled by both a career-high 88.4 percent contact rate as well as a generous .333 BABIP. He also made starts at five different positions, earning fantasy eligibility at three (second base, third base and the outfield), his flexibility a plus. Nunez re-signed in February with the Red Sox, who will presumably have him handle second base chores until Dustin Pedroia fully heals, then return Nunez to his traditional utility man role. His multi-category potential will again be a boon in rotisserie leagues, where he might have a shot at another top-100 season. Nunez is several rounds less valuable in points leagues, however, due to his low walk rate.
2018 Outlook: Overshadowed by fellow power-hitting Athletics rookie Matt Olson, Chapman's second-half power surge shouldn't be so casually dismissed, as he hit 14 homers after the All-Star break. Thanks to his elite defense at the hot corner, Chapman found his way into each of the Athletics' final 80 games, starting 79 of them and playing all but 18 of their innings there in the field during that time span. It's his glove that should fuel a hefty role, from which he should continue to provide decent pop despite his penchant for swings and misses, which is likely to make him somewhat streaky. He could be a frustrating player to own in rotisserie or head-to-head category leagues for this reason, but since he's one of the more underrated youngsters in terms of his extra-base-hit total, he's an intriguing corner infield pick in points-based mixed leagues.
2018 Outlook: Longoria, who has been the most durable player in the game the past half-decade, began showing signs of his 31 years of age last season. He set career worsts in terms of ground-ball rate (43.8 percent), home-run rate (3.0 percent) and had his second-lowest isolated power (.163), and with his December trade to the Giants, he landed in perhaps the only ballpark in baseball that represented a clear downgrade in terms of power potential. Longoria's big 2016 now looks like it's in the distant past, making him more corner-infield than a top-10 candidate in Rotisserie leagues, though he did still have the 92nd-most fantasy points in ESPN's standard scoring system. He's a worthwhile midround pick.
2018 Outlook: The Phillies' second baseman of the future, Kingery's most polished skills at this stage of his career are his speed and defense, but that might prove enough of an upgrade from Cesar Hernandez that the team could summon him early in the year -- if not by Opening Day. Between Double- and Triple-A, Kingery batted .304 with 26 home runs and 29 RBIs last season, becoming the only player in pro ball with at least a .300 batting average and 25 apiece of homers and steals. While he's highly unlikely to repeat those in his first season in the majors, they reveal his five-category rotisserie ability and make him a viable middle-infield dart throw in deep-mixed or NL-only leagues.
2018 Outlook: Cozart set career highs in home runs (24) and runs scored (80) and matched his personal best in RBIs (63) despite making two trips to the DL last season, coupling those with his already great defense, then decided to sign with one of the few teams that had a better defensive shortstop: The Los Angeles Angels. He'll slide to third base, accordingly, adding in-season eligibility there to his fantasy ledger, but the chances of a repeat of his hitting stats aren't great in the more pitching-friendly Angel Stadium. Cozart's career-high .312 BABIP suggests his batting average will tumble, perhaps closer to his .272 second-half mark, which would make him mere middle-infield material in mixed leagues.
2018 Outlook: As the years pass, Frazier becomes more and more of a pull-conscious, fly ball-oriented slugger with little concern for the adverse impact upon his batting average. In 2017, he ranked among the top eight in the game in terms of pull (49.7 percent, eighth) and fly ball rates (46.3 percent, fourth), resulting in his fourth consecutive season with at least 27 home runs but also his second straight year with a batting average beneath .230. This isn't a problem in points-based leagues, where his raw power and solid walk rate fuel a high-end corner infielder point total, but it's not as good in rotisserie leagues, where he's only a late-round mixed-league pick. That Frazier selected Citi Field, a below-average power environment, as his home didn't help matters in the latter format.
2018 Outlook: Harrison continued to be a competent fantasy producer in 2017, putting up a batting average north of .270 with double-digit steals for the fourth straight season. His average has fallen off a bit from the .315 mark he posted in his breakout 2014 season, but he hit a career-high 16 homers last season, following the trend of the league-wide power surge, while only sacrificing a bit in terms of contact. The 30-year-old Harrison is unlikely to stand out in any category, but adequate cross-category production has value, especially in deeper leagues. He's likely to again be slightly less than an everyday player, as he's played between 114 and 143 games over the past four seasons, but he should man the keystone most days, whether it's for the Pirates or another team.
2018 Outlook: Franco keeps moving towards the prime of his career without showing any signs of growth, a frustrating development for those who saw greatness in him a few years back. In fact, considering the wealth of power bats with low-to-middling batting average these days, his value took a significant step backwards -- he went from 201st overall on the 2016 Player Rater to 378th last year. Franco's strength is his reputation for contact, which is substantially more valuable in points-based leagues, where he is clear corner-infield material. That's especially true, considering he kicked his isolated power up to .195 and well-hit average to .189 durin the second half of 2017, hinting at a potential step forward. Be careful not to regard him much more than late-round material in rotisserie formats, however.
2018 Outlook: Finally healthy and given regular at-bats in 2017, Beckham broke out in a big way. His 22 home runs tied him with Corey Seager for sixth among shortstops -- pretty solid company. Beckham even managed a respectable batting average despite a horrid 29 percent strikeout rate. Among qualified shortstops, only Colorado's Trevor Story (34.4 percent) struck out more often. Beckham's .278 average was carried in large part by a .365 BABIP; that said, he has maintained a .344 BABIP through the first 289 games of his career. He shouldn't be expected to maintain a mark this good, a full 44 points above the league-average BABIP, but that's a good sign that Beckham can continue to be a force whenever he does manage to make contact, and at shortstop, that will play well even if his average dips a bit in 2018.
2018 Outlook: Primarily a third baseman during his first two full seasons with San Diego, Solarte operated as an everyday utility man for much of 2017, logging at least 40 innings at all four infield spots. The added positional eligibility didn't make Solarte much more enticing of a fantasy option, however, with a 31-point crash in batting average from the season prior limiting the impact of his otherwise serviceable counting stats. While Solarte excels at making contact and should raise his average if last seasonís career-worst .258 BABIP proves to be an outlier, his unremarkable hard-contact rates suggest he will never be anything more than a below-average-to-neutral asset in terms of slugging. Following an offseason trade to Toronto, Solarte faces a more arduous path to regular playing time, and he will head into the regular season as mainly an insurance option behind historically injury prone middle infielders Troy Tulowitzki and Devon Travis.
2018 Outlook: Healy took the starting job Oakland handed him last season after his solid 2016 debut and never looked back, putting up league-average numbers at the plate while playing enough games in the field to qualify at both corner spots. Healy was traded to Seattle in the offseason, and the Mariners plan on using him as their everyday first baseman despite his defensive struggles. However, those plans will be slightly delayed due to the hand surgery Healy required early in spring training. Healy doesn't draw many walks, and while he is decent against righties, he's best versus southpaws. Oddly enough, Healy may miss hitting in Oakland, as his home offensive numbers were quite a bit better than the numbers he put up on the road over the past two seasons. Additionally, whereas he hit mostly in the top half of the order in Oakland, Healy may have to hit in the bottom half of a superior Seattle lineup.