40 Fantasy Facts - AL East Edition
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Looking for an edge in your fantasy baseball drafts? Here are 40 facts from the 2017 season involving players from the American League East (ADPs courtesy the National Fantasy Baseball Championship):

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Baltimore Orioles

  • Manny Machado, 3B, had the worst offensive season of his career despite blasting 33 home runs. He hit a measly .259 while his lack of walks dropped his OBP to .310. It may simply be a blip, especially as he enters his contract year. His ADP doesn't reflect his disappointing campaign, however, as he's coming off the board 18th overall on average. And with Machado set to take the majority of his reps at shortstop, he will gain extra positional eligibility within the first weeks of the season.
  • Chris Davis, 1B, is as volatile a bat as you can imagine, but he was a total bust in 2017. He failed to hit 30 home runs in a year when 31 different players managed to do so. Without the bombs, he's fantasy kryptonite. You shouldn't have to reach, though, as his ADP is hovering just under 250.
  • After being acquired from the Rays for peanuts, SS Tim Beckham became his best self, hitting .306/.348/.523 with 10 home runs, 13 doubles, and 26 RBIs in only 50 games. Beware the small sample size, but he could likely be had on the cheap.
  • Once a bastion for top offensive producers, the Orioles stumbled in 2017. This was perhaps most apparent with 1B/OF Mark Trumbo, who went from leading the majors in home runs in 2016 to only knocking 23 over the fence last year.
  • After a couple years of being on the cusp of a breakout, 2B Jonathan Schoop arrived last season. Schoop will no longer be a bargain on draft day with an ADP of 63 after hitting .293/.338/.503 with 32 homers and 105 RBIs.
  • SP Dylan Bundy is an intriguing option when he's at his best. He was at his best between April and August, going 7-1 with a 1.85 ERA with 68 strikeouts. The problem was the rest of the year when he went 6-8 with a 5.88 ERA. It didn't seem to matter whether he was at home or on the road, either.
  • Like Bundy, SP Kevin Gausman was brilliant at times and extremely volatile at others. A popular sleeper pick, Gausman failed to return consistent fantasy value, partially due to a ballooned walk rate of 3.42 BB/9.
  • With RP Zach Britton sidelined for the first half of the upcoming season, Brad Brach may take the reins as the team's best candidate for saves and has seen his ADP jump to 222. He recorded 18 during Britton's absence a year ago and is good for at least a strikeout per inning.

Boston Red Sox

  • The Red Sox landed the biggest free agent fish in OF J.D. Martinez, and his addition to the lineup is very intriguing. He's being taken near the beginning of the third round in 12-team leagues, and that could easily rise with his change of scenery. He should be a lock to drive in 100 runs even if he doesn't exactly repeat his torrid power pace from the second half. His addition tentatively damages any value Hanley Ramirez might have had, as he could move into a platoon role with 1B Mitch Moreland.
  • No Red Sox batter hit more home runs than OF Mookie Betts did in 2017, and he only knocked out 24. Betts saw almost every aspect of his offensive game take a step back, with fewer home runs, RBIs, and a lower batting average. He's a prime bounce-back candidate considering he had an abnormally low BABIP (.268), but his ADP of 8 suggests people aren't buying into his struggles.
  • Before getting hit on the wrist by a Jacob Faria pitch on July 6, SS Xander Bogaerts had hit .308/.363/.455 with six home runs and 20 doubles across 342 plate appearances. He played through the pain, and it showed. He hit .232/.321/.340 with only four home runs the rest of the way. He's currently being drafted 86th, eighth among shortstops, making him a clear bargain play on draft day.
  • In his age-22 season, OF Andrew Benintendi provided a glimpse into what his maturing skills could yield. He hit 20 home runs and stole 20 bases. While he can't be crowned a future member of the elusive 40-40 club just yet, that dual threat makes him alluring in an age when steals are waning.
  • IF/OF Eduardo Nunez is a late-round darling on account of his ability to steal bases with aplomb. He snagged 24 in only 114 games a year ago while reaching the 40-SB plateau the year before. He's coming off the board around the 130 mark.
  • No starting pitcher struck batters out at a better clip than SP Chris Sale (12.93 K/9). Not only that, but he pitched more than 200 innings for the third straight season, and fourth time in five years. He's the third pitcher being drafted after Clayton Kershaw and Max Scherzer, so you can't wait.
  • SP David Price is definitely going to be a bounce-back candidate in 2018. Splitting time between the bullpen and rotation, Price was effective over 74 2/3 innings, posting a 3.38 ERA and 1.19 WHIP while striking out 76. With an ADP of 120, there's an extra amount of caution surrounding the southpaw.
  • In his sophomore season with the Red Sox, CL Craig Kimbrel more than returned to form. His 16.43 K/9 is his best punch-out rate since 2012 when he struck out 116 batters in 62 2/3 innings. He also walked batters at the lowest rate of his career (1.83 BB/9), making for his most efficient campaign to date.

New York Yankees

  • OF Aaron Judge had an offensive season for the ages as he smashed 52 long balls, setting a new rookie record in the process. He's one of the poster boys for three true outcomes, as he went down on strikes in 30.7 percent of his plate appearances. His ADP currently sits around 18, so you could conceivably grab him at the tail end of the second round.
  • Like Judge, OF Giancarlo Stanton led his respective league in homers, smashing 59 over various fences. Now, he gets to play half his home games at Yankee Stadium, which was the second-most homer-prone park in 2017.
  • When Judge hit a bit of a slide in the second half of 2017, C Gary Sanchez helped keep the Yankees afloat. He hit .280 with 20 homers in 65 games down the stretch, possibly passing Buster Posey as fantasy's best catcher in the process. If his ADP of 20 is any indication, the consensus is that he has.
  • Typically seen as a defense-first infielder, SS Didi Gregorius reached the 20-HR plateau for the second consecutive season. He primarily hit in the heart of the Yankees lineup, helping boost his RBI total to a career-best 87. With the Stanton acquisition, this could change things if he hits lower.
  • Greg Bird, 1B, couldn't get right in 2017, but he salvaged a bit of face late in the season. He hit .253 with eight home runs in 29 second-half games after finally returning from injury, including six home runs in September alone. His ADP of 153 shows he's already on plenty of radars.
  • No one is surprised SP Luis Severino has become a dominant arm, but his ascension was rapid. He finished the season sixth in strikeouts with 239 in 193 1/3 innings. Not bad for a pitcher who may have gone undrafted. He won't be had at a bargain in 2018.
  • SP Masahiro Tanaka allowed seven runs on eight hits over 2 2/3 innings in the opening game of the season, and things didn't get much better with any consistency until mid-summer. He allowed at least five earned runs in nine of his 30 starts.
  • CL Aroldis Chapman had the worst season of his career, posting the lowest K/9 since reaching the majors (12.34). His 50 1/3 innings were the fewest since 2011 when he hadn't yet been appointed closer in Cincinnati.

Tampa Bay Rays

  • Defense doesn't translate to fantasy. Good thing OF Kevin Kiermaier has developed the ability to hit and run with the best of them, with 27 homers and 37 stolen bases over the past two seasons. If he could only stay on the field. In that time, he has appeared in only 203 games.
  • Brad Miller, 2B, lost all his position eligibility after only playing the keystone in 2017. He also took big steps back in every category. Even though he missed time due to injury, his nine home runs a year after cranking 30 makes him nothing more than a late-round flier.
  • C Wilson Ramos didn't get much of a chance to follow up his star-making performance in 2016 thanks to an ACL tear that limited him to only 64 games. He quietly put together a fantastic finish, batting .293/.324/.496 with eight home runs and 22 RBIs after the beginning of August.
  • OF Jake Bauers may have finally found a path to playing time in the wake of the trade that sent Steven Souza Jr. to the Diamondbacks. The 22-year-old hit 27 home runs over the last two minor-league seasons combined. He also showcased patience at the plate, drawing more walks than anyone else in the International League in 2017. Don't spend a draft pick on him in standard leagues, but keep an eye on his usage early in the season.
  • OF Denard Span may be a little long in the tooth, but his playing time won't be in question, especially with Corey Dickerson getting jettisoned. Span hasn't been an elite base-stealer since 2014, but he is solid insurance in the category after swiping 24 bags over the last two seasons.
  • The only category that remains a question mark for SP Chris Archer is wins, especially with the Rays in transition. He posted the best K/9 of his career in 2017 at 11.15, good for fifth-best among qualified starters.
  • It's no secret that SP Blake Snell has some nasty stuff in his arsenal, but he will be limited to short starts if he can't improve his command. He issued 4.11 walks per nine innings a year ago, and while that was better than his rookie campaign, it still makes him a massive risk.
  • CL Alex Colome led the majors with 47 saves in 2017, but he saw his strikeout rate shrink from 11.28 to 7.83 while losing general command. With the Rays less likely to win a lot of games, his effectiveness as a top closer could be in question.

Toronto Blue Jays

  • A healthy Josh Donaldson is possibly the best 3B in fantasy. At the end of July, Donaldson had hit only 11 home runs amidst plenty of missed time. He finished the season with 33 thanks to an incredible final two months. Donaldson is currently falling in drafts with an ADP of 29. If you pick first overall, you might be able to get him with your third pick.
  • SS Troy Tulowitzki can't be trusted. He only appeared in 66 games a year ago and put together the least inspiring offense of his career. He slugged .378 with just seven home runs. He made soft contact 24.8 percent of the time, which was his worst rate since 2010. Tulowitzki is only being drafted in deeper leagues with an ADP around 379.
  • C Russell Martin was typically the 10th backstop off the board in 2017, and he should be around the same position this year. The position being what it is, he isn't a bad choice if you've otherwise punted. His .221 batting average is about what you can expect, but he gets on base at a good clip and should score enough runs to make him valuable as long as he stays active.
  • Well, that was unexpected. Justin Smoak, 1B, vastly outperformed his career numbers in every way by blasting 38 home runs with 90 RBIs and a .270 batting average, providing exceptional value for someone who typically went undrafted. But proceed with caution, as it's not always advisable to trust a 30-year-old breakout to show sustained success.
  • OF Randal Grichuk has plenty of power potential, having hit 46 home runs over the last two seasons. He's also horribly strikeout prone, getting punched out in 30 percent of his plate appearances for his career. He's a feast or famine flier who's best left on the waiver wire to start.
  • What SP Marcus Stroman lacks in strikeout rate (7.34 K/9) he makes up for with durability, having tossed 200 innings in back-to-back seasons. If the defense behind him is shaky, however, he will have his implosions with the ball constantly in play.
  • SP Aaron Sanchez couldn't stay on the field a season after his breakout due to recurring blister issues. Like Stroman, Sanchez hasn't shown a propensity to punch batters out with abandon, but at his best, he limits the damage. He's a risky choice in the middle rounds because you don't know what you're getting.
  • CL Roberto Osuna may have gotten a bit unlucky. He posted a career high in saves (39) and K/9 (11.67) while getting bounced around for a 3.38 ERA. He posted a 1.74 FIP, however, suggesting he's due to regress positively in the upcoming campaign. He should be a top-five closer even if the Blue Jays don't win a ton of games.

(Photos courtesy: Getty Images)

40 Fantasy Facts - AL East Edition
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