2017 Fantasy Baseball Draft Kit

2017 Fantasy Baseball American League Offseason Moves

on

The Fantasy Baseball season is going to be here before we know it. Soon we will be ranking all the positions, analyzing who is going to be sleepers, busts, best prospects and more.

For now, there has been a lot of movement in baseball. The Winter Meetings have concluded and with them we saw a flurry of activity with the signings of free agents and trades.

These moves often get looked at from the standpoint of who is going to be the World Series favorite for the upcoming season. Here at Fantasy Six Pack we look at them from a Fantasy Baseball view. We look at how the moves will affect the players involved directly or indirectly in the trade or signing.

Below I will be covering the American League. For Tyler Thompson’s take on the National League, click here.

2017 Fantasy Baseball American League Offseason Moves

Red Sox acquire Chris Sale from White Sox for Yoan Moncada, prospects

There were a lot of big trades this offseason, the Adam Eaton trade to the Nationals comes to mind, but nothing tops this one.

Sale has been one of the best pitchers in baseball since he got called up in 2010. Finally getting a starting job in 2012, he has been a Cy Young finalist in each season since.  Even though he has never won it, he now joins a staff with two other winners, David Price and 2016 winner Rick Porcello. This makes the Sox a scary staff to face all season long.

Although I still like Sale of the 2016 season and will aggressively draft him as an ace of my staff, I can’t lie and say I don’t have any concerns.

We have seen Sale’s HR/9 rate increase each of the past two years. Yes, Chicago is a friendly park for home runs, but he doesn’t improve moving to Boston. Not to mention he will have to pitch in Camden Yards, Rogers Centre and Yankee Stadium more frequently, all which are hitters parks.

The biggest improvement comes in the win category, which has somewhat held him back in the Cy Young voting in years past, only wining 12 and 13 games in 2014 and 2015. That is mostly thanks to a sub-par offensive team around him. I think it is easy to say the Red Sox are an improvement here.

We can’t forget Moncada in all of this. He is regarded by many to be the top prospect in baseball. Moncada will now get an opportunity to play sooner, my guess would be sometime in June or July. He is a 5-tool hitter and will be a hot player to grab and stash in fantasy drafts this coming season.

Red Sox sign Mitch Moreland

The Sox found their new first baseman in Moreland. At least that is my guess. He will likely be used at DH too, but I’m leaving DH to Hanley Ramirez the majority of the time.

Moreland has always been a bit underrated in my opinion. He has hit 20-plus home runs three times in his career. He did so in the three of the last four years (2014 he only played 52 games). Give him more regular at bats and I could see him nearing 30 home runs and nearing 100 RBI in this offense.

Indians sign Edwin Encarnacion

One of the later offseason signings, EE finds his new home.

This is a lateral move for EE. Progressive Field is just as friendly as a ballpark as Rogers Centre and the Indians offense was just as good if not better than the Blue Jays last year.

I think we can expect another year of 30 – 40 home runs from from EE, just like we have gotten the last five seasons.

Astros acquire Brian McCann from Yankees for pitching prospects

McCann is going to be a used in a bit of a platoon with Evan Gattis. Even though this is an upgrade from the situation he was going to find himself in New York, it does not make him a very appealing catching option this season. This is thanks to the next signing the Astros made.

Astros sign Carlos Beltran

Carlos Beltran is now locked into a 600 at bat season as the primary DH for what is shaping up to be the most lethal offense in the majors for 2017.

What can we expect from Beltran? I’m thinking his home runs drop to just above 20, thanks to moving out of the friendly Yankee Stadium, but his RBI and run total increase thanks to this lineup.

The biggest loser from this signing is A.J. Reed. It is now going to take multiple injuries for him to see regular playing time in the majors.

Astros sign Josh Reddick

Maybe lost in the rest of the signings the Astros made was the move to get Josh Reddick.

I have to admit, I’m usually a sucker for Reddick in drafts. This is because he teases us with seasons like he had in 2012 when he hit 32 home runs, which was the only season he had 600 plate appearances.

The realization is that Reddick is a middle of the road outfielder and will hit near the bottom of the lineup in Houston. He is probably good for a dozen or so home runs and double digit steals.

Royals acquire Jorge Soler from Cubs for Wade Davis

Davis is great and can do great things in Chicago, pending health, but this was a pretty good return for him. This does two things for Kansas City. One, allow the up and coming star Kelvin Herrera become the closer. Two, give them a potential superstar in Soler, who they will also have control of through 2020. Well after they are going to have to deal with contract issues of Hosmer, Moustakas, Cain and Escobar.

Right now though Soler is still developing and will be platooning in the outfield with Jarrod Dyson, unless they decide to move another outfielder.

Twins sign Jason Castro

This move does not move the needle really. Castro is a very average catcher, if not below average at this point. Move on nothing to see here.

Yankees sign Matt Holliday

I love this signing for both Holliday and the Yankees (as an O’s fan I hate it). He will no longer have to deal with playing in the field, something he struggled with the last few seasons.

Holliday should also get back to seeing his full complement of plate appearances now that he is going to be primary DH. With that and the move to Yankee Stadium, we should be able to expect a pretty big bounce back season for Holliday.

Now I know this is the AL Report, but I’d be remiss not to mention how to affects the Cardinals. This should give more regular playing time to Matt Adams and Randal Grichuk who Holliday was splitting time with last season.

Yankees sign Aroldis Chapman

He’s back! I don’t think there is much analysis needed here. We know how good he is, we know the Yankees will put him back in the closer role. Moving on.

Mariners acquire Danny Valencia from Athletics for a pitching prospect

Valencia has had a strong two year stretch playing for the Blue Jays and Athletics. The move to Seattle hurts him a lot though. He will now be platooning in the OF with Seth Smith and possibly at first with Dan Vogelbach.

The move to Seattle won’t do much to his power numbers, since Oakland was not a great ballpark either. So expect the same kind of production per at bat.

I can’t forget to mention how this helps Ryon Healy in Oakland. This now opens the door for him to get more regular playing time. If you don’t know who Healy is, look up the last two months of 2016 of him. He was a great late season grab for a lot of league champions

Mariners acquire Jean Segura plus prospects from Diamondbacks for Taijuan Walker and Ketel Marte

Segura is an immediate replacement for the underperforming Ketel Marte. The question is which Jean Segura is the real Jean Segura?

Will we get the player from 2016/2013 who was one of the better hitters in baseball and a monster on the base paths? Or will we get the one from 2014/2015 who was a below average hitter, although still stole 20-plus bases each year?

Last year was clearly a huge surprise as most had finally given up on him for Fantasy Baseball, I know I did. Realization is maybe he is just somewhere in the middle, especially moving to a run suppressing park like Safeco Field. I fully expect all his numbers, except maybe steals to take a hit this season.

Rays sign Wilson Ramos

This is an interesting one. Ramos was one of the best catchers in baseball last season. Really he has been since he got called up in 2011. Health has been his major hurdle.

Last season he finally looked healthy and he put together a career season hitting .307 with 22 home runs and 80 RBI. Of course, that ended in early September when he tore his ACL.

Some are expecting Ramos to only miss the first couple of months of the season, so that would be huge for him and fantasy owners if that were the case. I’m skeptical on that timeframe, but time will tell.

The biggest thing for him going forward is he should get more plate appearances moving to the AL. This is due to him being able to take advantage of being the DH. This is especially crucial for those first few weeks back. Keep in mind too, he is going to have catcher eligibility in fantasy leagues still. So you’re getting a fulltime player at that position.

Blue Jays sign Kendrys Morales

Blue Jays signed slugger Kendry Morales, which was a clear sign early on the Encarnacion was not going to return to the team.

This is great news for Morales fantasy value though. After a very slow start to 2016 he was still able to hit 30 home run. This was even playing half his games in Kaufmann Stadium which was the No. 27 worst park for home runs last season. Rogers Centre is significantly better in this category, which should at least help him keep his pace of home runs up

A lot of people think moving to Toronto will immediately make his RBI and runs total increase as well. I’m not so sure about that. Toronto is losing EE and Joey Bats this offseason most likely. They were a big reason for this offensive production. Without them the entire offense takes a hit. Including anybody expecting a major increase in stats as an incoming player.

Baltimore Orioles sign Welington Castillo

Hey, the Orioles actually made a signing before February. As an O’s fan this really does shock me.

Back to the point at hand. This means that long time catcher Matt Wieters is going to be packing his bags as he looks for his big contract.

Sign up for the Fantasy Six Pack Newsletter to receive email updates.

Don’t overlook Beef Welington (you’re gonna hear a lot of that from me this season). Most would be quick to say he is a step down at the position. A closer look and you’ll see they are fairly identical offensively and defensively. Some could argue that Castillo is the better overall player. This wound up being a great signing for the O’s since they got a good catcher at a fraction of the cost.

From a fantasy perspective, Castillo can get useful. He is capable of hitting near 20 home runs, especially now that he is in the AL East. His RBI and run totals will likely be on the lower end since he will bat near the end of the lineup.

About Joe Bond

Not just another "Average Joe" when it comes to Fantasy Sports, he is the fantasy brain trust behind the up-and-coming FantasySixPack.net website. He has been spreading his love and addiction of fantasy sports there and many other sites including SoCalledFantasyExperts.com, FantasyPros.com, and FanDuel.com. Joe has finished as the No. 5 Fantasy Football Draft Ranker on Fantasy Pros in 2014, while being the No. 1 QB ranker for in-season during 2016. He has also finished in the top-15 twice for Fantasy Baseball Draft Rankings. You can find him on Twitter, @fantasysixpack, where he is waiting by the keyboard for your question.

Recommended for you