2017 Fantasy Baseball Old Faces, New Places: National League
Welcome back to fantasy baseball! Like every off season, we had plenty of players change teams and while not every move has a bearing on a player’s fantasy value, this is a good time of year to go over the guys who changed teams and find out what to expect from them this upcoming season. From starters to closers to hitters, there is a great array of players who have new homes for 2017. Today we focus on the National League for the guys who should at least be on your radar, even if I don’t think they will have an impact this season.
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Wade Davis, Chicago Cubs. Few relievers have been as dominant over the last three seasons as Davis. He had some forearm trouble last year, but his numbers were still very good. He moves to the World Champion Cubs (God, I hate having to write that!), which should afford him a plethora of save chances this year. Assuming he’s healthy, which I am going to go with since the trade from Kansas City went through, Davis should be one of the top five closers in fantasy baseball again.
Mark Melancon, San Francisco Giants. Another one of the more successful closers of the past few years, Melancon went from Pittsburgh to Washington and now ends up with the Giants. He isn’t your prototypical fireballing closer who strikes out 100 guys, but he has had four really impressive seasons in the bullpen. The Giants are always competitive, or close to it, and Melancon should approach 40 saves again in 2017.
Adam Eaton, Washington Nationals. I think that given his reputation that Eaton is a better actual baseball player than fantasy commodity. Sure, he’s a solid batting average guy who is capable of going 15 steals and 15 homers, but his draft value seems to be more than his actual production. A move to the Nationals might help him bump his numbers up a little, but I don’t see this being a move that causes much of a shift in his value. He may score 100 runs and steal 20 bags, but I don’t see Eaton’s batting average or power shifting with his new home.
Ian Desmond, Colorado Rockies. After watching his fantasy value dwindle the past couple of years, Desmond came back in a big way in 2016 with the Rangers. It was great to see him get his batting
average back into the .280s, and to rack up his fourth 20/20 season of his career. He moves to Colorado in one of the best parks and one of the best lineups. Even if he is playing first base, which is more of a traditional power position, Desmond should be a great value in 2017.
Taijuan Walker, Arizona Diamondbacks. One of the more anticipated pitching prospects in recent years, Walker is yet to live up to his enormous potential. He is a strikeout artist, but gives up WAY too many home runs. A move to the National League has to help him, and offseason surgery to remove ten bone spurs from his foot should also help give him his velocity back. Walker is a guy I really like in 2017.
Ketel Marte, Arizona Diamondbacks. Marte didn’t do much with the bat in his first season in the United States, and being traded to the Diamondbacks probably didn’t help his value either. He should be able to steal a few more bags than he did last year, but I don’t see him hitting for a high enough batting average or have enough power to make a big impact.
Sean Rodriguez, Atlanta Braves. Rodriguez has never been given the chance to be an every day player at any time during his career. He has often shown flashes of power and strong play in small doses, and with him playing with the rebuilding Braves, this could be his best shot. Atlanta incumbent Jace Peterson is no sort of offensive threat, so if Atlanta wants to score some runs, they should give Rodriguez his shot. If they do, and if he succeeds, he could top 20 homers,
Bartolo Colon/Jaime Garcia/RA Dickey, Atlanta Braves. Atlanta completely revamped their pitching rotation this offseason, with the addition of these three guys. Dickey, in my opinion is done. I
don’t feel he has any fantasy value. Jaime Garcia has a lot of talent, but is often injured. He will certainly be an undervalued player in 2017. Bartolo Colon is well into his 40s now, but continues to defy the odds and Mother Nature and has been a reliable late rotation guy. Is this the year the wheels finally fall off? I tend to think he has another good one in him.
Clay Buchholz, Philadelphia Phillies. I have no idea what the Phillies were thinking being a rebuilding team trading for Buchholz, but here he is. Some might say a move to the National League might be good for him but I am staying far away from this guy. He is the king of throwing a gem, and then having four or five straight duds. I don’t see a move to the National League helping him, he would only be successful if he was pitching at Triple-A.