2016 Outlook: Those that had Abreu down for significant regression in 2015 were dead wrong. There was some give in his numbers, but he still put up a fantastic effort in his sophomore campaign with the White Sox. In fact, the projections in this very space last year prepared prospective owners for most of the fall off, pegging him for 78 runs, 34 homers, 100 RBI, and a .286 average. It was light on the runs and average, heavy on the homers, and virtually dead-on with the RBI. After just two seasons, Abreu already feels like that reliable rock upon which to build your team. He has a solid foundation of skills while also still holding some upside. If he sold out for more power, he could join the 40-homer club, but likely at the cost of some batting average.
2016 Outlook: The trade from Cincinnati to Chicago should not affect Frazier's power numbers as his former park and current park are practically identical in terms of home run park factors. What should help Frazier out are the bats in front of him in the lineup. Adam Eaton, Melky Cabrera, and Jose Abreu project to be batting ahead of Frazier while he bats cleanup, which should provide frequent RBI opportunities and assist him in finally breaking the 90-RBI plateau. While Frazier is no Mike Trout, only Frazier and Trout have hit at least 25 homers, stolen at least 10 bases, driven in 80 or more runners and scored at least 80 times in both of the past two seasons. The only knock on Frazier is the batting average, but he plays every day and piles up the counting stats. There is no reason to expect differently in 2016.
2016 Outlook: A lot of people are ready to write off Lawrie, and understandably so as he's never been able to live up to the hype incited by his first 150 at-bats as a major leaguer. In a quick call-up back in 2011, he posted a .953 OPS with nine homers and seven steals. And since he was a heralded prospect, this kind of performance was almost expected over a full season. Predictably, he hasn't come close to delivering on those expectations and yet now might not be the best time to move away from him. Consider that he's still just 26 years old, moving back to a hitter-friendly environment, finally stayed healthy in 2015 (his first DL-free season), has dual-eligibility (2B/3B), set career-highs in homers and RBIs, joins that offense that rebounded after a wretched start while also adding Todd Frazier this offseason, and now costs next to nothing to acquire. One. More. Chance.
2016 Outlook: Entering last season, the assumption was it would be Avila's last in Detroit and as the summer progressed, he'd cede more and more playing time to James McCann. An early season stint on the disabled list for a knee issue accelerated the transition as McCann played well in his stead, earning the lion's share of time behind the plate. But slashing 0.186/0.338/0.271 after returning in early July didn't exactly give the Tigers a reason to play Avila. This season, Avila and Dioner Navarro comprise the revamped Chicago White Sox receiving corps. Based on last season's production and the higher contract awarded to Navarro, it appears Avila will be playing second fiddle. Unless you play in a deep on-base percentage league, Avila shouldn't be on your radar at all.
2016 Outlook: Saladino made it almost all offseason without being displaced atop the depth chart at shortstop, and while the job is still technically up for grabs, Jimmy Rollins signing a late-February minor league deal with the White Sox complicates matters. While he offers the potential for double-digit steals over a full season, Saladino would need regular at-bats in order for his counting stats to make up for what will likely be a below-average batting line. In addition to Rollins, Saladino will also be competing for playing time later in the season with top prospect Tim Anderson, so it seems unlikely that will be able to run away with the job in 2016. At 26 years old, he looks destined for a career as a bench option or an organizational depth piece.
2016 Outlook: LaRoche left $13 million on the table and walked away from the game this spring, sparking one of the strangest locker room controversies in recent memory; he disagreed with the White Sox asking him to cut back on the amount of time his son spent in the clubhouse. While LaRoche was never able to do much against lefties (.235 career average), he slashed just .221/.318/.379 against right-handed pitching last season, making him virtually useless in his first year of a two-year deal with Chicago. He looked poised to be given another shot at re-establishing himself as a guy who can do damage against righties, and it would not have been the first time in his career that he rebounded in a contract year after being written off following a down season, but alas, it looks like 2015 was the final chapter.