2014 Outlook: Craig is much more of a risk/reward hitter than fantasy owners give him credit for. Consider that his 134 games played in 2013 represented a career high; he has appeared in only 67.8 percent of the St. Louis Cardinals' scheduled games (playoffs included) in his big-league career, making four trips to the DL in four years. Still, despite his injuries, Craig has the 10th-best batting average (.311) and 17th-most RBIs (189) the past two seasons combined, showing how productive a hitter he is when he takes the field. The RBIs might have been somewhat fluky; keep in mind that the Cardinals managed the highest batting average with runners in scoring position of any team in history, and Craig himself plated 24 percent of his runners on base, tops in the majors. His health might also remain in question as a regular outfielder; he's expected to move to right field to clear first base for Matt Adams. Craig's ceiling is awfully high and he's more reliable (when healthy) than Adams, but be prepared with a contingency plan for the likelihood he misses additional time in 2014.
Stephania Bell: Craig suffered a Lisfranc injury while rounding first base last September but was able to avoid offseason surgery. He expects to be a full participant this spring although the key will be how well he's running.
2014 Outlook: It can be assumed that since Boston signed Napoli to a two-year contract, they are satisfied with the state of his degenerative hip. Now the chief concern is whether he shaved during the offseason. Of all the facial adornments seen during the team's run to the World Series title, Napoli's was the one getting dangerously close to interfering with his batting stance. Napoli is an extremely difficult read, as not only are his skills all over the place, but they've been influenced by luck, which makes it even harder to baseline. The biggest outlier is 2011's huge drop in strikeout rate. The safe play is to expect a ton of whiffs as has been the case the past two campaigns. Though the level fluctuates, it's safe to say Napoli has above-average power, though a dropping fly ball rate is noteworthy. The best course of action is to draft Napoli if you need power and cross your fingers his batting average doesn't hurt you.
2014 Outlook: Middlebrooks' 2013 will surely be characterized as a disappointment for two specific reasons: (1) His batting average plummeted 61 points and (2) he took a seat in favor of Xander Bogaerts for substantial portions of last year's playoffs, casting some doubt upon his immediate future in Boston. When spring training camp opened, however, Middlebrooks stood alone as the Boston Red Sox's projected starting third baseman, with Bogaerts at shortstop, and that should classify him as a possible bargain pick. Middlebrooks is the type of free-swinging, decent-pop bat that has a place in rotisserie leagues, where his streakiness isn't as detrimental to a team. That said, do understand that he has limitations in points-based scoring as a result. He's a value selection if you can lock him into a corner-infield spot in the former.
2014 Outlook: Though he faced an uphill battle in his attempt to crack the Boston Red Sox's lineup last season, Bogaerts eventually succeeded: He moved off his natural shortstop position to third base, emerging in mid-August as an effective utility player, and then elevated himself to the team's hot-corner starter by the World Series. And as spring training dawned, 2013 starting shortstop Stephen Drew remained a free agent; Bogaerts appeared ticketed for regular duty there in 2014. As one of the most polished hitters in the minors -- he was Keith Law's No. 5 prospect overall entering last year -- Bogaerts could thrive in terms of batting average and on-base percentage, and, with a committed role, could also add significant runs, RBIs and a hint of pop. He's an initial third-base-eligible player who should quickly restore shortstop to his list, the dual eligibility another trait to boost his bargain-bet appeal. Don't let Bogaerts slip too far in redraft; plus, he's potentially one of the best youngsters to get in dynasty/keeper leagues.
2014 Outlook: Nava is a handy matchups play in both the real game and fantasy. Although a switch hitter, he is a lifetime .292/.390/.443 hitter against right-handers (as a lefty hitter) and .223/.307/.328 against lefties, and the Boston Red Sox have other righties they can pair with him at first base or at the corner outfield spots. Nava will get his time against right-handers, enough to help an AL-only team at the back of the roster, but he's unlikely to take any more significant career steps at the age of 31.