2017 MLB Fantasy Baseball Players on New Teams
As is the case during every offseason, there were plenty of free agent signings and trades throughout Major League Baseball. In this piece, we’ll look at a handful of guys who will be donning new uniforms for the 2017 season and the impact it has on their fantasy value.
Edwin Encarnacion 1B/DH Cle
EE crosses the northern border and joins the reigning American League champion Cleveland Indians where he will immediately be plugged into the middle of an already potent lineup. The new Tribe slugger amassed 42 home runs, tying his career high from 2012, along with 127 RBI (the most in his 13-year career). The Indians inked Encarnacion to a three-year, $60 million deal after spending his previous seven seasons in Toronto where he has hit at least 34 home runs in each of the last five seasons. He turned 34 in January but remains an elite fantasy option and should be a lock for another 30 HR and 90 RBI year.
Dexter Fowler OF StL
Fowler seems to be taking a page out of Johnny Damon‘s playbook by helping a long-cursed team win a World Series and eventually leaving town for the arch rival. You don’t need me to remind you of Damon’s free agent signing with the Yankees just one year removed from the Red Sox breaking the 86-year curse. Fowler joins forces with the Cardinals where he’ll sit atop their lineup after having done a masterful job in Chicago for the last two seasons. Fowler has combined to collect 30 home runs and 33 steals across the last two seasons. Fowler should be a solid bet for 90+ runs scored with a solid mix of power and speed, making him a mid-range OF3.
Carlos Beltran OF/DH Hou
The Astros went out and got veteran presence in their lineup by signing Beltran to a one-year deal. He was a coveted trade chip at last year’s deadline and helped the Texas Rangers secure a playoff spot. Beltran will turn 40 years old during the first month of the regular season but should be able to lengthen his career by sliding into an everyday DH role with Houston, similar to his time in Texas in 2016. Not many people are talking about Beltran thus far in Spring Training which means you may be able to steal him for some cheap power on draft day. He can provide 25+ home runs while hitting for a solid average but probably won’t be more than a two or three category player.
Chris Sale SP Bos
Another year, another lefty ace joins the Red Sox rotation. This time, Boston shipped off a hefty package of prospects to acquire Chris Sale. In 2016, many fantasy analysts were concerned over Sale’s velocity and his subsequent dip in strikeout rate. Those were certainly valid concerns, but Sale still averaged over a strikeout per inning while posting a 3.34 ERA. This addition gives Boston one of the best rotations in the game to go along with a potent offense. Pitchers can tend to struggle in their first year in Boston but Sale has the makeup and skills of a true ace in the league and should be a top 5 or top 10 pitcher in 2017.
Aroldis Chapman RP NYY
Not quite a new place for Chapman as he spent the first four and a half months of 2016 with the Yankees prior to being traded to the Cubs. The flame throwing lefty had his typical dominant season striking out 90 over 58 innings of relief work. He will slide back into his closer role as the league’s best. If you’re the type to go early on a reliever, you won’t be able to do any better than Chapman.
Make sure to check out our 2017 fantasy baseball rankings to prepare for your draft.
Feel free to ask me any baseball question on my personal Twitter @davidfiori.