by Ray Kuhn
To say we are experiencing a renaissance at the shortstop position would be an understatement. The options seem to be endless, and they are all stocks on their way up that have yet to peak. But depending on your budget, draft strategy, or just the general flow of the draft, you might find yourself without Carlos Correa, Corey Seager, Francisco Lindor, or some of the other exciting options.
And at that point, I say don’t stress. Don’t overdraft someone like Brad Miller or Tim Anderson, and instead utilize an underappreciated veteran to fill out your shortstop or middle infield position.
One of those veterans who I am keeping an eye on, is Asdrubal Cabrera. Currently, Cabrera is the 19th shortstop being selected with an ADP of 274. The main concern surrounding the veteran is his health, specifically his knees, but he appears to be healthy entering the season. New York will take care to ensure Cabrera makes it through the season healthy, and I wouldn’t expect to him end 2017 with more than the 521 at bats he had last season. Read more
by Ray Kuhn
Speed. Dee Gordon has it. A lot of it in fact as Gordon is rated as the fastest player per Baseball HQ’s skills leader board.
Perhaps even more importantly, Gordon has shown the ability to translate that speed into results on the bases. In 2014 and 2015, the second baseman averaged 61 stolen bases a season while stealing 30 bases last year in 325 at bats. This production is even more valuable as steals become increasingly rare and difficult to come by in fantasy drafts.
Gordon can certainly be a difference maker in the category, but it is just one of ten. If Gordon comes up with another 60 stolen bases this season, you will still need to find roughly another 80 stolen bases to finish third. That is an average of about seven steals from your 11 other position players (excluding the catchers), and shouldn’t be too easy to manage. Read more
by Ray Kuhn
Power. That is what we can expect out of the Designated Hitter position from the Kansas City Royals in 2017. We might not get much else as Brandon Moss and Peter O’Brien each have struggled to make contact in the past, and the latter doesn’t even have a major league track record, but 40 home runs between the two could be a safe projection.
The Royals did not have to spend much to acquire them this off-season, a $12 million commitment over two seasons for Moss and waiver claim for O’Brien, but both could have value for fantasy owners. That is, if they are used and drafted correctly; as end game selections and depth options. Of course in AL-only leagues, both will be likely starting each week (especially Moss), and they could be a good source of power if you spend resources at other positions.
Perhaps one of the best things you can say about Moss, aside from his power, is that you know what you are getting from him. He is versatile enough in the field, first base and both corner outfield positions, and he has averaged 25.5 home runs in each of his last four seasons while driving in an average of 73 runs. Within that time period, Moss has averaged 457 at bats per season, and while there is certainly the possibility for more in Kansas City this season, I wouldn’t go into the season expecting much more from Moss. Read more
by Ray Kuhn
With the acquisition of Logan Forsythe, the Dodgers ensured that they will be going into the season with a definitive solution at second base. It will not have the same impact as Brian Dozier would have, but Forsythe has the potential to be a valuable piece for Los Angeles.
The question then, from a fantasy perspective, is how much and to what extent?
Forsythe’s role is not going to change following the trade, he will still be a starting second baseman and the lead-off hitter, but he now is part of a better lineup than he was in Tampa Bay. While that will give Forsythe a slight boost, I otherwise would expect more of the same from him in 2017. So, let’s take a look at what that is. Read more
by Ray Kuhn
Until we got to September, Neil Walker’s first season with the Mets was, overall, going pretty well. And this is despite the fact that he was dealing with a herniated disk in the second half of the season. However, you wouldn’t know it by looking at his statistics.
In fact, Walker’s second half of his first season with the Mets was better than the first; even despite the back woes. And after his season ending surgery, Walker appears to be all systems go for his sophomore season in New York.
So, then why is he currently the 20th second baseman being selected in NFBC drafts with an ADP of 246.5?
In 273 at bats in the first half of last season, Walker hit .264 with 15 home runs and 35 RBI while he dealt with a prolonged slump in the early part of the season. Walker then followed that up by hitting .317 in his next 139 at bats with eight home runs and 20 RBI. Read more
by Ray Kuhn
At first glance, the Angels signing of Luis Valbuena doesn’t quite make sense. Los Angeles is trying to cut costs, yet they gave the corner infielder a $15 million commitment over the next two seasons without him having a true role.
However, that is exactly the point. Valbuena happens to be a very valuable insurance policy who will most certainly have a role with the Angels in 2017.
While Albert Pujols isn’t showing any signs of slowing down, he also isn’t getting younger. Combine that with the fact that he is coming off foot surgery this winter and the distinct possibility for him not to be ready to start the season, and it is difficult to fully count on Pujols.
Last season he didn’t show any signs of slowing down in the power department as he hit 37 home runs and drove in 119, but we can’t expect to see Pujols play in 152 games again. Currently, Pujols is being selected as the 13th first baseman with an ADP of 127, and that is not a risk I’m willing to take without more information regarding his health. However, teaming up Valbuena (ADP of 535) with Pujols (at a potentially more reasonable ADP) will likely result in 40 combined home runs. Read more