2014 Outlook: After a late-2012 power surge, Moss truly broke through granted quasi-regular playing time in 2013, maintaining practically identical power rates -- adjusting for natural regression to the mean, that is -- and quietly reaching the 30-homer plateau. His was a stunning effort, considering his power-suppressing home ballpark and his wide lefty/righty platoon split (68 points better in batting average and 164 points better in slugging percentage versus right-handers). Moss returns to a similar role in 2014, presumably pairing with Nate Freiman or Alberto Callaspo at first base, but in exchange for the lost counting numbers (runs, RBIs), his ratios should stabilize as a result. That also means that he's particularly attractive in a daily league, where you can mix and match his lefty/righty matchups. Moss made enough strides making contact -- he whiffed just 23.1 percent of the time in the second half, down from 30.8 percent in the first half -- and has enough of a power-oriented approach -- he led the majors in fly-ball rate -- to make a compelling case for a repeat.
2014 Outlook: After consecutive, successful big-league debut seasons by Cuban imports Yoenis Cespedes (2012) and Yasiel Puig (2013), it's understandable that fantasy owners are giddy over the prospects of a third in a row, this one by Abreu. He's the ultimate unknown commodity entering 2014: Scouts have suggested a range as wide as his being a low-average, big-power type like Pedro Alvarez; a higher-average, modest-power type like Cespedes; or perhaps as little as a fringe big-league regular. A 2011 league MVP in Cuba, Abreu excelled at filling two specific categories: Home runs and times hit by pitch, the latter a direct result of his close-to-the-plate batting stance. (Hey, at least the latter fuels on-base percentage.) He'll presumably be the White Sox's starting first baseman, in a ballpark that plays beautifully for power. Abreu might be wildly streaky and a feast-or-famine type initially, but he's well worth your mid-round consideration.
2014 Outlook: Let's emphasize from the beginning that Martinez will open the season with designated hitter/utility eligibility, as his days behind the dish are history. There's a good chance he picks up in-season eligibility at first base. It took a little while for Martinez to shake the rust off from missing the entire 2012 season, but by season's end it was the same old story: a high average with a smattering of power and decent run production. That said, Martinez's post-break .361 average was fueled by a .371 BABIP that is sure to regress. But since his contact skills are as strong as ever, Martinez should continue to be a run-producing cog in a still-potent Tigers attack.
2014 Outlook: For the first time in his career, Crisp surpassed the 20-homer mark, not to mention amassed more bombs than steals. The power spike emanated from lofting a few more balls in concert with a big jump in the percentage of fly balls leaving the yard. With such a drastic change in the type of production Crisp generated last season, he's difficult to baseline. Perhaps it's best to look at things in a more general sense instead of trying to pinpoint exact numbers. Approach Crisp with the mindset his home runs will drop while he should run a little more, then temper expectations since he is 34 years old with a checkered injury history. Then let the season play out a bit and manage your roster in accordance with where Crisp's production is leaning.
2014 Outlook: Guess who's hit the ninth-most homers in the majors over the past three seasons? At an age where his skills should be declining, Soriano's are remarkably stable. Conventional wisdom suggests it is easy to pick up cheap speed later in drafts, but Soriano is a great source of cheap power. As batting average is dropping across the league, the fact that Soriano's is consistent means it isn't as detrimental as in past seasons. However, a repeat of 18 steals is unlikely, especially considering he swiped a total of just 22 the previous four seasons combined.
2014 Outlook: A free agent until the Baltimore Orioles scooped him up shortly after camps opened, Cruz is a player surrounded by many questions. Draft-pick compensation was one of the initial obstacles standing in his way of a deal, but the 50-game suspension that cost him most of last season's final two months was a more compelling one, as his critics asked how much of his power -- 135 homers the past five years combined -- might have been aided. Cruz's draft stock might be deflated due to the the performance-enhancing drug question, but that could make him a value rather than a bust candidate entering 2014. He remains a powerful hitter, one who will call another hitter-friendly park his home, so mixed leaguers shouldn't let him slip too deep into the later rounds before taking a chance.
2014 Outlook: Castro, a 25-year-old entering 2013, finally showed some power last season, and among the keys to his enjoying a breakthrough year was his narrowing a formerly wide platoon split: He batted .242/.324/.414 against his weaker side, more than doubling his OPS from a year earlier. This made him a legitimate starter candidate even in 10-team mixed leagues, and his rising walk rate made him one of the more underrated at his position in deeper as well as sabermetrically oriented leagues. Castro enters 2014 on the borderline of starters in ESPN formats, the one significant question surrounding him his history of knee problems: He missed 2011 recovering from knee surgery, had two DL stints for knee issues in 2012, and had surgery in September to remove a cyst from his right knee. All signs point to Castro being ready for the season, but understand that he's slightly riskier than some others.
2014 Outlook: Lind is daily-league gold: He is an effective All-Star against right-handers, having batted .288/.351/.520 against them over the past five seasons, but against left-handers he often sits, due to .213/.253/.337 rates against them during the same time span. It is that wide split which casts him deeper down the mixed-league rotisserie rankings, labeling him more "specialty player," though among that group, few are his equal. Now 30 years old, Lind has probably reached the extent of his growth potential; the only compelling case to make for him taking another step now is that he's a free agent at year's end. Still, he's worth a mid- to late-round selection even in mixed formats.
2014 Outlook: After missing the entire 2013 campaign with knee woes, Hart landed in the Pacific Northwest, where he should be in the mix for playing time at first base, designated hitter and, health permitting, corner outfield. Seattle is being cautious early on with Hart, waiting until the spring to see how his knee can handle the rigors of chasing flies. Not only is his playing time a question, but so is his on-field performance, considering the likely rust after missing a full season and the fact he is a free swinger. One thing, however, is certain: Even with the new dimensions, Safeco Park is not as hitter-friendly as Miller Park, so a decline in power is likely, regardless of the other factors. Dual eligibility at first and outfield helps make Hart an intriguing utility, or perhaps reserve until we get a better feel for his playing time and production.
2014 Outlook: A season-long battle with a sore left shoulder may be the reason the switch-hitting Swisher saw his numbers versus left-handed pitching plummet last season. But even so, his final line was almost the exact same as the two previous seasons, save for a drop in batting average. Swisher is reporting that he no longer feels any pain in the area, so there is reason to hope he tacks on a few more dingers to last season's total, and is again a solid three-category contributor (HR, RBI, runs). The best part is that you won't have to pay for it, as Swisher is largely ignored in favor of younger players with more upside. His dual first base and outfield eligibility also helps insure maximum output at a couple of spots where the available players are stronger than other positions.
2014 Outlook: Feel that cool breeze: In 2013, Carter set an all-time record with his 36.2 percent strikeout rate. Take that to heart before you simply apply the label "three true outcomes" slugger, because unlike typical "TTO" feast-or-famine types, Carter's downside is greater. He's susceptible to slumps and, as a member of a bad Houston Astros lineup, suffers in terms of runs and RBI potential. AL-only owners will find value in his homers and walks, and he could be a handy stop-gap option even in shallow mixed leagues, but understand that he has at least one concern for every one of his positives.
2014 Outlook: The Angels are hoping Freese can bounce back from an off year that saw his power and average both take a nosedive. Fueling the power decline was a career high 55 percent ground ball rate more conducive to a speedy middle infielder than a third baseman expected to be a run producer. Freese also incurred some regression to his BABIP, which was not unexpected after consecutive seasons over .350. Freese's history portends a better 2014, but unless he hits fewer grounders, his homer number is capped in the low teens.
2014 Outlook: If Joyce's skills each of the past three seasons were table legs, you could put a baseball on the table and it wouldn't roll off; they're remarkably stable. However, his batting average on balls in play is in free fall despite his consistent hit distribution since 2010. The reason is likely, somewhat ironically, the same defensive shift the Rays have deployed with great frequency. As a means to combat this, Joyce claims he has packed on 20 pounds of muscle so he can cease trying to hit through the shift but instead hit over it. Regardless, since more muscle won't mean Joyce can suddenly hit lefties, he's best utilized in daily formats where you can leverage his career .835 OPS versus righties into favorable matchups.
2014 Outlook: After falling short of expectations in Miami, Morrison was traded during the winter to the Seattle Mariners, who will provide him with a welcome fresh start. He's locked into a crowded first base/DH/corner outfield picture, and frequent injuries on his resume only add to his playing-time risk, but at least escaping Marlins Park should increase his statistical ceiling: He hit 12 of his 17 homers the past two seasons combined on the road, and slugged 98 points higher on the road (.439, compared to .341) during that span. AL-only owners should target Morrison as a value selection late, and with a strong spring, he could crack the mixed radar.
2014 Outlook: The Texas Rangers' winter acquisition of Prince Fielder might have cast doubt upon Moreland's role, unfairly diminishing his perceived value in fantasy, as it's easy to forget that the team still has a wide-open designated hitter role and could be creative with Moreland's usage between first base and the outfield. He could yet approach regular at-bats, and he has enough power to warrant corner-infield consideration in deep mixed or AL-only leagues. Moreland's .255 BABIP shows that he could improve in terms of batting average in 2014, so regard him one of the better bargain candidates if he slips in the later rounds of those formats.