By These rankings are for your standard 5×5 rotisserie leagues, enjoy!
Trout (#1) to Blackmon (#4)
Springer (#5) to Yelich (#16)
Schwarber (#17) to Piscotty (#29)
Buxton (#30) to Calhoun (#48)
Enciarte (#49) to Peralta (#71)
Bell (#72) to Orlando (#100)
Usual depth not on the menu
We’ve gotten so used to depth in the outfield, that 2017 comes as a bit of a surprise.
You’ll notice first off, aside from my aggressive ranking of Bryce Harper which I will breakdown in a coming Fantasy Banter column, I am also very bullish on Pirates outfielder Gregory Polanco. In my Harper versus Betts piece, I talk about how I highly value high average, power bats that can also produce 20+ steals – really no surprise. But not the power bats of last year that squeaked out 20-25 home runs, but the 25+ homer bats that give us confidence in their power profile sticking regardless of how ‘tight the baseballs are wound’. I see Polanco as a .270 hitter with developing 25-30 home run power and 20 steal speed. For fantasy purposes, this is a rare five tool player who is still finding his way after an injury riddled second half that still allowed him to post a 22HR/17SB season, built strongly on first half production. I’m in love with the 24% line drive rate, spot as a centerpiece in the Pirates lineup, and lingering mystery as to what exactly the ceiling for Polanco can be. This will be his third year and a full breakout just seems all too likely. If he can maintain his first half stretch from 2016 over even a bit less than a full season, Polanco shouldn’t have a problem being the .270 bat I hope for with 25 home runs, 20 steals and counting stats nearing the 100/100 club. I’m willing to grab him earlier than most this season to see if 2017 is the year.
With the plethora of indecisiveness I had ranking players like Billy Hamilton and Khris Davis, in early mock drafts I find myself consistently gravitating towards Joc Pederson substantially earlier than his 200 overall ADP. I wrote about him for Razzball, before the announcement that Dave Roberts sees Pederson as the everyday center fielder. Even with the rough time he had against lefties last season, I’m a proponent of there being no better way to solve that issue than facing it head on. The low average he currently has limits his upside, but I’m supremely confident in the power, regardless of if he falls into a slight platoon with a player like Franklin Guiterrez, given the Dodgers immense depth. 51 home runs in his first two seasons, at the age of 24 spells good things to come for the Dodgers’ lefty bat. Happy to take Joc just after names like Andrew Benintendi and Byron Buxton I don’t think top 150 is a stretch at all.
It’s not as though it’s impossible to find value among the top 100, but the general feeling about the power output from a lot of the ‘middle tier’ talents – let’s say players ranked 25-75 – is up in the air. Players like Yasmany Tomas, Randal Grichuk, and Adam Duvall all possess 35 home run bats, but come with the liability of low batting averages, and a moderately lukewarm feeling about each of their potential to crack the top 20 OFs as confidence wains for substantial changes in approach. I have this trio of bats ranked 36, 37, and 40 respectively, as I believe they all possess similar floors for 2017. Draft with caution, but the power is there for the taking.
Digging deeper unearths a massive amount of speed in players like Manuel Margot, Ender Enciarte, Rajai Davis, and Travis Jankowski. Each has their clear blights, but tend to be the players I target for speed over pursuing the ‘Trea Turners’ and company of our 2017 heavy speed assets.
One aging player I would like to point out before I leave you to again digest my rankings is Matt Holliday, who I’m about 50 spots higher on than NFBC’s ADP. Holliday is just outside my top 200 overall. With the move to DH, and likely minimal interaction on the defensive side of the speactrum, Holliday will be able to focus one of the most consistent aspects of his game for almost the entirety of his career, his bat. With only 180 games played in the last two season, it was clear a move to the AL was coming as his body has begun to deteriorate. Even though half his games in Yankee Stadium isn’t the greatest for a right handed bat, I’m confident Holliday’s ability to bat above .270 with 20+ home runs hasn’t retreated into the abyss, never to return. This is my ‘x-factor’ for the Yankees in 2017, and I think he can play a major role in an above average offense. Health is of course a factor, but optimism and Matt Holliday are two words I’ve strung together consistently through the offseason.
We’ll have more player specific analysis in the coming weeks as we prepare for Opening Day 2017.
Photo via the Flickr Creative Commons, thanks to Keith Allison for the photo of Trout.
Statistics via Fangraphs.com.
Positional eligibility determined via NFBC.com. If you would like a player ranked at a position not shown among our rankings, feel free to comment below.
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