2015 Outlook: Even though Reyes was hurt on Opening Day and went to the disabled list, he returned just more than two weeks later and played the rest of the season, ending up in a tie with Ian Desmond as the second-most valuable shortstop in standard mixed-league formats. Even at age 31, his speed has held up well, and he's swiped at least 30 bases in four of the past five seasons. Getting to double-digit home runs will remain a challenge for Reyes, as his ISO has declined for four consecutive seasons, but that's not what fantasy owners are looking for anyway. However, while he was mostly healthy in 2014, we're still looking at a player with just one season of 150 games played out of the past six. He's a strong, but risky, three-category producer.
2015 Outlook: Nothing about Martinez's .335-32-103 season flew under the radar, especially since he was promptly rewarded with a hefty four-year contract over the winter. The campaign established him as a consensus top-50 option coming into February, but Martinez saw his stock fall considerably after the news broke that he would need surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his historically troublesome left knee. The expectation is that Martinez will be able to resume full activity in just 4 to 6 weeks, and while that means he will likely miss a large portion of spring training, the Tigers are confident he will be able to work himself back for the start the regular season. At 36 and coming off another knee surgery, Martinez will carry significant risk -- especially given his draft-day price -- but there's still plenty to like. He played 35 games at first base to avoid the dreaded DH-only tag, and while he seemed like a poor bet to hit 30 homers again even before the injury, Martinez has five other 20-plus-homer seasons and has failed to hit over .300 just once in a full season.
2015 Outlook: Rumors of Pujols' demise were greatly exaggerated in 2013. He rebounded with a strong 2014 effort, despite a second straight season below .800 OPS. Since he was once the best player in baseball, any sort of decline feels stark, but this is just what happens -- Father Time is undefeated. Pujols' decline has also coincided with a sharp drop in offense across the league. While no longer a truly elite option, he remains a force at the plate, having averaged 30 homers and 108 RBI per 162 games with the Angels. A 25-100 season should be the expectation for Pujols, as that lineup remains remarkably potent. Ten years ago, he would have been one of 31 players to have that kind of season, but he was one of just 11 to complete the feat in 2014.
2015 Outlook: Even the savvy owners who targeted Rendon as a source of late-round value in 2014 had to be surprised by the return on their investment last season, as he became a five-category monster in his breakout campaign. The most unexpected part of his coming-out party may have been his work on the basepaths, as Rendon finished 17-for-20 on stolen-base attempts after swiping just eight on 10 attempts in his previous two seasons as a professional across all levels. After opening the season as the Nationals' primary second baseman, Rendon shifted over to third base when Ryan Zimmerman hit the disabled list, and he'll remain at the hot corner in 2015 as Zimmerman transitions to first base following the departure of Adam LaRoche. In addition to carrying similar lines against lefties and righties, Rendon showed no signs of slowing down over the course of the second half. He'll reprise his role as the Nationals' No. 2 hitter this season in what figures to be an excellent lineup.
2015 Outlook: An interesting quirk in Gonzalez's statistical record: he has failed to reach 100 RBI in just one of the last eight seasons, and it was the one in which he hit 40 home runs (2009). He hasn't come anywhere near that power figure in the five years since, but has still been averaging 108 RBI a year, including a league-best 116 last year. Though his homers have leveled off from his days in San Diego, Gonzalez remains a strong fantasy asset with a high floor at a position that requires a substantial offensive component. His high-quality skill set stands up well to the time-induced erosion that affects every player, and A-Gone should continue to churn out productive seasons even as he reaches his mid-30s. The lineup around Gonzalez has been remade, but there's more than enough talent for a sixth straight 100-RBI season, especially for a guy averaging 159 games played in the last nine seasons.
2015 Outlook: It looked like a carbon-copy season for Kinsler in 2014, but what happened to the walk rate? He ranged from 7.7 percent to 12.3 percent in his first eight seasons before a hideous 4 percent last season. At least he continued to avoid striking out (10.9 percent), something he has done with aplomb throughout his career. The biggest concern with his trade from Texas to Detroit was the shift in home ballpark, and the 61-point drop in home OPS justified those concerns. His road batted-ball profile included a 22 percent line-drive rate that would have played better in Comerica, though he managed just a 17 percent mark at home. The 33-year-old is still a solid bet at the keystone, but teen totals in homers and stolen bases look like the high end after he averaged 20/20 when healthy over his first seven seasons.
2015 Outlook: The game's modern-day ironman registered fewer than 157 games for the first time ever in 2014, as neck problems cost him 120 games. Neck injuries are very scary, and words like "cervical fusion" are even scarier, but every report has Fielder set to be ready by spring training. Expectations were high for Fielder coming into 2014 as he shifted back into a hitter-friendly ballpark, which was supposed to help him reverse his declining power. He had just three homers before the injury, but the neck problem might simply make 2014 a washout altogether. So we regroup with Fielder to find him a year older and in a less-potent lineup, but still in a friendly ballpark and now equipped with an injury discount, making him an intriguing gamble for 2015.
2015 Outlook: The Mariners rewarded Seager's third straight 20-homer season with a seven-year, $100 million contract extension in November, securing an increasingly scarce resource for the long haul, as power-hitting third basemen have become something of a rare breed. Seager has proven to be durable, having played in at least 155 games in each of the last three seasons, and he improved his defense at the hot corner to earn his first career Gold Glove last season. Seager's home-road splits flipped in 2014, as he had much better numbers at Safeco Field (.300/.370/.523) than on the road (.240/.301/.393) after his OPS was 147 points better on the road in 2013. If Seager can find a way to combine the better of those home/road splits in the same year, there may be a 30-homer season in his bat. Even if he stays in the 20-25 range, Seager should sustain the benefits he received from the arrival of Robinson Cano, as Cano's upgrade to the Mariners' No. 3 hole in the lineup paved the way for Seager's career-high 96 RBI last season.
2015 Outlook: Kipnis saw his first two full seasons fall apart in the second half, but he broke the trend in 2014 by tanking in both halves. He managed just three homers per half and sat on the wrong side of a .700 OPS in each as well -- not that even a .700 OPS would've really counted for much. His 22 stolen bases couldn't save his value, as he finished 22nd among second basemen. An oblique injury cost Kipnis the bulk of May and seemed to linger throughout the season, holding him to a .615 OPS from his late-May return through the end of the year. The fact that a guy's playing doesn't mean he's 100 percent healthy, and Kipnis exemplified that last season. There is still substantial upside here, and it can now be acquired at a better price after costing a second-round pick just a year ago.
2015 Outlook: Dozier wasn't heralded as a prospect, but he's emerged as a legitimate power-speed threat thanks to an approach based on patience. In fact, that patience gives him a significant value boost in OBP leagues. He scored 112 runs in a sneakily solid Twins lineup that could get quite a bit better in 2015 as they continue their youth movement, so another campaign of 100-plus runs isn't out of the question. However, Dozier's slow second half created some questions about how sustainable his results are, as he managed just five homers and steals in 283 plate appearances after the All-Star break. A July 31 thumb injury only cost him one game, but it may have lingered and sapped some of his power over the final two months. Despite lacking any flashy tools, Dozier brings real value, especially since that batting average tends to depress his value more than it really should.
2015 Outlook: It's hard to drop 27 homers and 90 points of batting average off the previous season's line and still log 525 plate appearances. Davis saw his average fall apart despite a batted-ball profile that should have yielded better results. A career-worst .242 BABIP is a worthy culprit, though he's not an automatic regression candidate, as the shift played a big role here. Davis had a .144 BABIP on groundballs, beating only Brian McCann (.128) among lefties with at least 100 groundballs. Left-handed hitters as a whole had a .241 BABIP on groundballs last year, so he was well off the pace. The .278 average from 2012-13 isn't coming back, but he may develop into our next Adam Dunn, albeit without the seven-year track record of averaging 40 homers and 100 RBI. Even flawed power is still very valuable.
2015 Outlook: Falling one home run shy of a 30-20 season, Frazier finished as a top-three third basemen in rotisserie leagues in 2014, behind Miguel Cabrera and Anthony Rendon. Surprisingly, just four of Frazier's 29 long balls came against left-handed pitching (145 PA) after he hit nine against southpaws in 2013, so while his 17.0 percent HR/FB figures to regress this season, he should have no trouble exceeding 20 homers again if he hits right-handers anywhere near as well as he did last year (.278/.334/.473). Frazier's contact and swinging-strike rates both went in the wrong direction in 2014, but he's been able to maintain consistent strikeout and walk rates across his first three full major league seasons, and his BABIP was not abnormally high last year (.309). The 20 stolen bases, twice as many as he had for his career entering the season, were indeed an anomaly, but improved totals in RBI and runs scored in a healthy Reds lineup would offset the expected dip in steals to a large extent. Keep in mind, Frazier is also eligible at first base, a position at which he was a top-five option a year ago.
2015 Outlook: Arenado mashed left-handed pitching (.313/.375/.598) and took advantage of playing half of his games at Coors Field (where he hit .303/.344/.584 with 16 his 18 homers) to assert himself as one of the premier bats at his position during his age-23 season. In terms of isolated power, only Juan Francisco (.237 ISO) eclipsed Arenado's .213 mark among third basemen. As an excellent defender, Arenado will have plenty of leash to continue playing regularly even if he falls into a prolonged slump, though his second-half numbers (.284/.347/.550, 7.2 percent BB percent) point toward another big step forward as he moves into his third year in Colorado. Further, he lost time to pneumonia and a broken finger last season, which limited him to just 111 games. With a healthy season's worth of at-bats and the potential for more steady contributions from Troy Tulowitzki and Carlos Gonzalez, Arenado has the skills and supporting cast necessary to join the ranks of the elite at the hot corner in 2015.
2015 Outlook: Santana once again tested the patience of the large swath of fantasy owners who don't benefit from his OBP ability in 2014. In leagues where there was no tangible gain from an elite walk rate that eventually led to an MLB-high 113 bases on balls, owners struggled with his sub-.200 average for the first two-and-a-half months of the season. It went from .151 to .159 in May, making it difficult to bet on much improvement. However, after a concussion DL stint to start June, Santana took off and posted a .266/.384/.488 line with 21 homers and 68 RBI in his final 102 games. He no longer has catcher eligibility, but gaining third-base eligibility softens the blow and lowers the burden on his power, though his best home-run-hitting campaigns should still be ahead of him.
2015 Outlook: The wrist that Pedroia first hurt in April eventually ended his season in early September and plagued him throughout en route to his worst season ever. The power was in free fall prior to 2014, though, so don't expect too much of a rebound even with full health. His batted-ball profile supports the dip, with a surge in groundballs and back-to-back seasons of sub-30 percent fly ball rates after he sat north of 35 percent in five of his first six seasons. Having stolen just six bases in 12 tries in 2014 and now being on the wrong side of 30, the speed has to be in question going forward, too. Volume is his key to success now. Health should bring the batting average back, but the rest of his value will be tied to staying atop what should be a potent order so he can score a ton of runs. Heed the declines and don't pay for the name value.