2018 Outlook: Arenado is an exceptional all-around baseball talent, whether you credit Coors Field for some of his offensive prowess or not. He has .280-34-102 numbers in his past 162 team road games, and Arenado is one of the top points-league hitters in all of baseball. An exceptional contact hitter with elite power who bats in the game's most hitter-friendly ballpark in a deep lineup, Arenado possesses the dream combination in that format. Those skills also grant him one of the highest statistical floors of any player, which make him a compelling, first-round Rotisserie building block. Over the past three seasons, Arenado has driven in 48 more runs than any other player, and his 120 homers during that time are only six shy of Nelson Cruz's major league lead. Entering his age-27 season, Arenado should provide similar production.
2018 Outlook: In what was probably perceived by most as a "down" season, Bryant made some important skills advancements in 2017 that bode well for his chances of a return to MVP glory. Thanks to his career-best 76.6 percent contact and 19.2 percent strikeout rates, he boosted his stock dramatically in points-based leagues, in which even a smidge more luck on his fly balls could help him emerge as a top-10 overall performer. It was good news for Bryant's Rotisserie value, too, as such polish elevates his batting-average floor, giving him a realistic chance at a .300 batting average, 30 home runs or, in the best case scenario, both. In a way, Bryant seemed to trade some power for batting average and extra-base hits, in an era when most seem to be doing the opposite. Although he's probably no longer worthy of your first pick in the draft, Bryant is certainly still a building-block player worthy of your second pick, thanks to his high likelihood of returning value on your investment.
2018 Outlook: A rocky 2017 campaign coupled with the prospect of being traded during the season -- Machado is eligible for free agency at year's end -- has probably deflated Machado's perceived draft stock to the point that he'll be a potential value in most leagues, should he slip beyond the first 15 picks. Although he had a quiet first half of 2017 (.217/.289/.420), he roared back with a stunning, .296/.330/.516 second half in which his contact rate ranked among his best at any stage of his career. Machado's .259 batting average seemed extraordinarily unlucky, as he had a .265 BABIP despite posting the second-most hard-contact line drives in baseball, which means he could record a mark as many as 30 points higher with greater fortune on balls in play in 2018. He's also an underrated power source, having hit 121 home runs before turning 25 (that occurred last July 6), good for 25th in baseball history and fourth among primary third basemen. Machado's arrow is still pointing upward, and his request to play shortstop in the future coupled with the prospect of a trade -- potentially to a team with a need at that position -- only provides additional benefit in fantasy. He's a premier talent, and he could make a borderline first-round case in points-based leagues.
2018 Outlook: Already one of the best contact hitters in the game -- his 88.6 percent mark the past two seasons was third out of 131 players with at least 1,000 plate appearances -- Ramirez added some pop to his game in a breakthrough 2017. That was, in large part, due to a nearly 5 percent rise in his fly ball rate and nearly 2-degree rise in his average launch angle, things that bode well for his prospects of repeating a .300-plus average and 20-plus homers. Ramirez's skill set makes him low-risk, and he's one of the few in the game who brings dual infield position eligibility to the table -- second and third base -- but he probably isn't the top-15 overall Rotisserie or top-10 point performer he was a year ago. Expect mild regression, but don't let him slip more than couple rounds in your draft.
2018 Outlook: A three-homer, 10-RBI performance in his 25th game on April 30 sparked what was an eventual career year for Rendon, who set personal bests in batting average (.301), home runs (25), RBIs (100), on-base percentage (.403), slugging percentage (.533), doubles (41) and walks (84), while appearing in more than 145 games for the third time in the past four years. In the process, he continued to show growth in his batted-ball distribution -- significantly more fly balls and fewer ground balls -- as well as his hard-contact rate. Rendon, who begins the season at 27 years old, is in the prime of his career and is a worthy early-round pick who could warrant top-25 consideration in points-based leagues.
2018 Outlook: After struggling early in his sophomore season, Bregman took a significant step forward during the second half of 2017, batting .315/.367/.536 with 11 home runs and 44 RBIs. In the process, he made noticeable gains hitting right-handed pitching while boosting his contact rate to 84.6 percent and well-hit average to .188. Those improvements bode well for his ability to fill the batting average and power categories. What's more, Bregman snuck in 30 games at shortstop while Carlos Correa was sidelined, giving the youngster coveted dual-position eligibility (third base being his usual position). If you're looking for a breakthrough candidate, Bregman is a wise pick-up, a top dynasty-league target and a surefire early-round pick in redraft formats.
2018 Outlook: Although his final 2017 numbers had the look of an age-influenced down year, Donaldson roared back with a .281/.401/.604, 25-homer second half that restored his status as a strong early-round pick. In his defense, the early-season DL trip that cost him 38 team games was the first such stint in his career, and the calf issue was probably responsible for some of his lackluster June and July numbers. At the same time, Donaldson is now 32 years of age and subject to increasing age- and injury-related risk, which makes him a weaker building-block pick in an era when many 25-and-under players are breaking through as the game's newest stars. Don't write him off just yet, but keep those risks as well as the prospect that he could be traded into a less homer-friendly environment in mind when considering Donaldson.
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: As the Tigers began their rebuild, Castellanos quietly enjoyed one of the more under-the-radar summer breakthroughs, batting .303/.339/.557 in 106 games from June 1 forward. He did this thanks in large part to his boosting both his contact rate and well-hit average significantly, while maintaining his already-high fly-ball rate. While Castellanos' supporting cast entering 2018 is weaker, he'll also occupy a prime lineup spot, again fueling his counting numbers. He's not yet a top-10 fantasy option at the position, but he's also one of the more intriguing upside plays from the corner infield tier.
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: Though his 2017 had the appearance of a major breakthrough year, Moustakas' underlying skills were actually pointing in a similar direction during his injury-marred 2016: His power metrics and hard-contact rate were right in line, with the significant difference being his raising his launch angle more than four degrees to help give those fly balls some extra "oomph." Remarkably, this growth couldn't earn Moustakas anything more this offseason than a low-cost, one-year-plus-an-option deal to return to the Royals. Moustakas should again be one of the game's better power sources, making him an especially attractive pick as a starting third baseman in points-based leagues, but be aware that the now-rebuilding Royals might no longer prop up his runs and RBIs to the same level.
2018 Outlook: Shoulder issues derailed the second half of Carpenter's 2017 campaign, and while they didn't require offseason surgery, they'll bear monitoring during spring training. If he's healthy, his continued attempt to elevate the ball bodes well for his power potential, as he has increased his fly ball rate in each of the past three seasons, and he set a personal best with a 47.0 percent rate last season. Though he has traded some contact to do it, Carpenter's walk rate remains excellent, making him one of the most underrated players in points-based leagues or those that reward extra for on-base percentage. He's in good shape for a rebound, and he could be a top-50 player in points leagues and worthy of an early-to-midround pick in rotisserie.
2018 Outlook: While a lot of things went right for Shaw in 2017 -- he had a generous 14.0 home run/fly ball percentage and his competition for at-bats mostly disappointed -- his status as a regular in one of the game's most hitting-friendly environments gives him an excellent chance of at least approaching a repeat. Most notably, he improved against left-handed pitching to a productive level, batting .250/.312/.464 against them, and he showed smarts on the base paths that make him a potentially sneaky contributor in stolen bases. Shaw's skill set isn't that of a true superstar, though, but rather an above-average regular, so be cautious chasing last year's stats. He's a good early-to-mid round pick.
2018 Outlook: Like so many other players in the game, Seager made a decided shift towards an uppercut swing last season, boosting his fly-ball rate by nearly seven percent for the year and posting a whopping 51.9 percent rate after the All-Star break. This caused a sluggish first half followed by a second-half power rebound, but both came at the expense of batting average, as his .249 mark was his lowest in any of his nine professional seasons. If Seager maintains this approach, he could boost his power output and set career highs in those related categories, further strengthening his status as one of the more underrated players in points-based leagues. His drain on your batting average in Rotisserie formats, however, would likely keep him outside of the top 10 at a deep third base position.
2018 Outlook: After a disappointing 2016 in the minors, Devers roared back with .311/.377/.578 numbers between Double- and Triple-A early last season, propelling himself into the Red Sox's starting third base role in late July despite only 77 and nine games' experience at the aforementioned minor league levels. He held his own as a 20-year-old, even hitting left-handers better than right-handers (albeit in a limited sample), but showed the typical signs of a player adapting to the game's most competitive level: His 49.7 percent ground-ball rate warns to not go heavy on power projections, and his 33.6 percent chase rate (swing percentage at non-strikes) said be careful not to expect an improvement upon his .284 batting average. That Devers has accomplished what he has at such a young age supports his candidacy as one of the very best dynasty building blocks at his position, but for those in redraft leagues, he's more corner-infield, midround material.