New Faces in New Places:
Bryce Harper, PHI (OF): Harper was obviously the biggest move in the offseason, as he signed a 13-year $330-million deal with the Philadelphia Phillies. While many believe that Citizens Bank Park is more hitter-friendly than National’s Park, the numbers say otherwise. In fact, Nationals Park actually ranked third in total runs last season while Citizens Bank sat 13th in scoring. They were both fantastic parks for home runs though, with Washington sitting fifth in total homers while Philly sat in fourth. That means that this is a rather neutral move for Harper and that makes it tough to know what you’re going to get.
The reason for that is Harper’s volatility. In fact, his career-best marks are a .330 average and 42 home runs while his career-lows are 13 homers and a .243 average. His numbers last year were actually somewhere right in the middle, as he collected 34 home runs to go along with a disappointing .249 average. All this makes Harper a risky bet in fantasy but he has the upside to be the best player in baseball if it’s all clicking.
Manny Machado, SD (SS/3B): Machado was the second-biggest move in the offseason, as he took his talents to the beautiful city of San Diego. While he definitely moved to a tougher park, it really shouldn’t alter his value much. In fact, if you track all of his homers, only a few of them wouldn’t have gotten out at Petco Park. This isn’t the pitcher’s haven it once was either, with Petco Park ranking 13th in runs, 16th in homers and ninth in total hits last season. This is a guy who has at least 24 home runs and 86 RBI in four-straight seasons and it seems likely that he’ll land somewhere around 30 homers and 100 RBI in what should be another great season.
Jean Segura, PHI (SS): Segura has moved around a lot recently and it’s hard to understand why. The versatile shortstop has played in Milwaukee, Seattle and Arizona in the last four years and will now suit up for the Philadelphia Phillies. This might actually be the best lineup he’s hit in and one has to wonder where he’ll hit in the batting order. That could be a huge part of his value, as he could be one of the best shortstops in the league if he leads-off or bats second in this much-improved lineup.
What really makes Segura valuable is his speed-average combo. Not only does he have at least 20 steals in six-straight seasons, but he’s also hit at least .294 in four of those years. The only times he didn’t approach a .300 average is when he was dealing with the death of his son. It’s not just the speed-average combo either, as Segura is averaging 14 home runs per year across his last three seasons. Those are numbers you don’t see from many shortstops and he could be a great buy in fantasy at an affordable price.
Robinson Cano, NYM (1B/2B): Cano is back in The Big Apple but he’s suiting up for the Mets this time. After a disappointing stretch in Seattle, New York decided to swallow up the majority of his monster contract and gamble on a late-career resurgence. His spring training numbers indicate he’s ready to do just that, with Cano collecting a .475 average and 1.212 OPS in 40 spring training at-bats. The demise of Cano is slightly overexaggerated too. Not only has Cano reached at least a .271 average in all 14 seasons he’s played, but he’s also posted an OPS of .778 or higher in all but one season. While his power numbers definitely dropped off with the Mariners, Cano is still a great bet to accrue a .280 average and 20-25 home runs. With all that said, Cano moves from a tough ballpark to an absolute desert. In fact, Citi Field was the lowest-scoring ballpark in the majors last season.
Daniel Murphy, COL (1B/2B): Murphy probably saw the biggest increase in value with this move to Colorado. The reason for that is his absurd hitting profile. In fact, Murphy owns a .320 career BABIP and a 6.3 percent K-rate. That simply means he has some of the best bat-on-ball skills of any player in the majors and that becomes particularly intriguing in this ballpark. Not only does Coors Field post a BABIP north of .300 nearly every single year, it has led the majors in total hits in 14-straight seasons. Hitting in this ballpark is a godsend for a player like Murphy, who has ranked top-10 in total hits in four of the last five seasons.
J.T. Realmuto, PHI (C): Is this yet another Phillie? Yeah, it is, because the Phillies went crazy in the offseason. This may have been their most underrated move though. Realmuto actually ranked as the top catcher in fantasy last season and he did that in one of the toughest ballparks in the majors. Not only did Marlins Park surrender the second-fewest runs last season, it allowed the fewest homers in the league too. It really shows in Realmuto’s splits, as he posted a .249 average and .682 OPS at home the last three years. On the road, Realmuto generated a .318 average and .887 OPS in the same span. Needless to say, Realmuto is ecstatic to be leaving that terrible ballpark and even worse lineup. Getting such a boost in ballpark and lineup makes Realmuto one of the players to watch this season and he could truly become a superstar if he continues those road numbers for a full season in one of the best lineups in baseball.
Nelson Cruz, MIN (DH): Cruz is simply one of the most underrated players in baseball. Where that’s truly evident is in his power numbers, as he ranks top-five in both home runs and RBI over the last decade. In fact, Cruz is averaging 33.8 home runs in that 10-year span while hitting at least 37 dingers in five-straight seasons. He actually did that damage in Seattle, which is a ballpark that ranked 27th in total runs last season. He now gets to hit in Target Field, which ranked 16th in total runs last year. They’re pretty much on par in terms of home runs but Cruz could be in for another 35-homer season as long as he stays healthy.
I've been playing fantasy sports since I was 12, which means I've been playing for over half of my life. I love DFS and season-long formats and have been writing for nearly a decade. I started my writing career at RotoWire and currently write for FantasyPros, Rotoballer, Razzball and DFSR. I cover NBA, MLB and NFL and follow all major sports. I generally cover primarily DFS but I also do game previews, recaps, player write-ups, injury updates etc.