2016 Outlook: The 12-year veteran was unable to produce anything resembling his surprising MVP-caliber 2014, and knee surgery just before spring training played a significant role. While Martinez managed a respectable 11 homers and 64 RBI over 440 at-bats, his average plummeted to a career-low .245. Encouragingly, however, his 88 percent contact rate put him at an elite level in that category, and his .253 BABIP could indicate that Martinez simply encountered a higher-than-normal degree of tough luck once ball left the bat. While his percentage of hard-hit balls did drop to 30.1 percent (as compared to the 38.3 and 39.4 percent figures he generated in the two prior seasons), the decrease is not necessarily indicative of declining bat speed given that he'd generated numbers the majority of his career much closer to his 2015 metric. As a full-time designated hitter and injury-free heading into the 2016 campaign, Martinez should have plenty of opportunity to improve on his 2015 numbers, just don't expect a return to 2014 levels.
2016 Outlook: Davis had 120 fewer plate appearances in 2015 than he did in 2014, and yet hit five more homers, all while suffering a rather nasty looking meniscus tear in his knee in the middle of the season. It was a tale of two seasons for Davis, as he hit .245/.331/.447 before suffering the knee injury, but hit .249/.317/.545 after returning from it. The increased power upon his return from the injury came at the cost of contact, as his strikeout rate jumped from a bad 24 percent to an awful 30 percent. He is also an oddball righty that has hit 42 of his 60 career homers against right-handed pitching, while remaining rather split-neutral in terms of slugging percentage. The trade to Oakland gives the A's some needed power, though it does represent a downgrade for Davis' personal power potential.
2016 Outlook: The 20-year veteran was certainly one of baseball's most improbable success stories in 2015, turning back the clock in several offensive categories after serving a year-long suspension. Rodriguez tallied his highest number of round-trippers (33) and runs scored (83) since 2008, most at-bats (523) and games played (151) since 2007, and his best slugging percentage (.486) and wOBA (.842) since 2010. His .236 ISO figure at age 40 may have been the most impressive accomplishment, equaling the figure he generated in the most recent major-league season in which he'd played over 100 games (2010). Rodriguez's elevated 23.4 percent strikeout rate and 72 percent contact rate do provide cause for concern, considering a decline in bat speed is usually inevitable for an aging power hitter.
2016 Outlook: Alvarez has entered Mark Reynolds territory as a three-true-outcomes player at the plate who is brutal in the field, and that reputation limited his employment opportunities this offseason. He finally found a home in Baltimore two weeks into spring training, and is likely to serve as the primary designated hitter for the Orioles, pushing Mark Trumbo to right field. The 29-year-old Alvarez has plenty of power, but also has large holes in his swing, and is downright terrible against lefties for his career (.203/.270/.332). If platooned properly, he could easily hit 20 homers with a higher batting average. Itís a good thing if he only sees 450-475 at bats in 2016, because if the average does indeed improve, that makes the power more rosterable.
2016 Outlook: Initially eligible at DH/UT only (National League only players should confirm with their commissioner), Jaso is slated to be the left-handed part of a first base platoon in the Steel City. And even then, if Josh Bell impresses at Triple-A, he could get summoned to take over full-time. Jaso's calling card is a discerning eye yielding a high on base percentage. If the Pirates hit Jaso near the top of the order, he has the potential to score some runs, but don't expect much else other than a good batting average. Granted, Jaso has only exceeded 400 plate appearances once (his rookie year), and he's only hit double-digit home runs once while never surpassing more than five steals. With outfield so thin in the Senior Circuit, Jaso is a sneaky end-game play in NL-only for utility, but that's about it.
2016 Outlook: There is no truth to the rumor that the White Sox traded for Brett Lawrie so that he and Garcia could talk longingly about the lofty projections beset them many moons ago. In fairness to Garcia, 2015 was really his only full season so it's hard to slap the "bust" label on him just yet. Or Lawrie for that matter (read his profile for more on that). As for Garcia, there are warts in the profile: a ridiculously low .108 isolated power, a .675 OPS that was 18th-worst in all of baseball and third-worst among outfielders, and a meager 7-for-14 success rate on the basepaths that could give him a red light when it comes to running. However, there is still raw power that showed itself in spurts and he did have shoulder surgery in 2014, so some of those 601 plate appearances were likely at far less than 100 percent health. His price has sunk enough from last year to make investing an low-risk proposition. Don't overload on Garcia shares if you play multiple leagues, but there's still 20-HR, 10-SB upside.
2016 Outlook: Mauer has gone from fantasy asset to practically undraftable during the course of the past three seasons. His value took a big hit once he lost his catcher eligibility (that is never coming back) and the complications of post-concussion life have him looking like a different player at the plate. First base is a position that requires power hitting or extreme batting average to have value, and Mauer has done neither over the past two seasons. The quality of his contact is not the same in recent seasons as it was earlier this decade, and he hits too many ground balls to see the power coming back anytime soon. Since doubles are not a scoring category in standard leagues, Mauer is not worth drafting in standard leagues.
2016 Outlook: Last offseason, Beltran underwent elbow surgery, and while it did not cost him any time, he got off to a predictably slow start. However, after the calendar turned to May, he hit .295/.357/.505 with 19 home runs in 457 plate appearances. Entering his age-39 season, his defensive limitations are the only reason he might not be in the lineup every day. With the addition of Aaron Hicks, a plus-defender who posted an .870 OPS against lefties last year, Beltran should get strategic days off against southpaws, but he could continue to defy Father Time when he's in the lineup. Additionally, with the season-ending injury to Greg Bird, Beltran will be a prominent option at DH if Alex Rodriguez suffers an injury or needs a day off.
2016 Outlook: Supporters of Oakland's Billy Butler signing last offseason could appeal only to Billy Beane's authority on the matter. Now, 601 plate appearances of below-replacement-level production later, everyone can agree that a valuation error was made. With more than $23 million remaining on that deal over the next two years, the A's won't be able to unload him without pairing him with an extremely valuable asset, so the question is, how long until they just accept that it is a sunk cost and stop playing him every day? In most systems, a DH who hits around .265 with 12-15 homers is inevitably blocking someone else who could do the exact same thing at pennies on the dollar, so it's hard to envision the A's riding Butler for another full season if his production doesn't improve noticeably. In AL-only formats the promise of counting stats will be enough for him to come off the board, but it's a very ugly profile to stomach in mixed leagues, especially since he is constrained to the UTIL spot.
2016 Outlook: Cron has now taken 657 plate appearances in the majors, approximately a full season's worth of starting at-bats, and the raw numbers are encouraging: 27 home runs, 65 runs scored, 88 RBIs, and a .260 batting average. That will play. The problem is, Cron's lack of plate discipline has limited him to just a .296 on-base percentage, as he has a meager 4.1 percent walk rate in his two major league seasons. Cron will have to find some way to lay off pitches outside of the zone. He has chased 40 percent of the pitches he has seen outside of the strike zone in his career thus far, according to PITCHf/x data at FanGraphs, and he's going to have to start taking some of those pitches, if only so he can see more of the kinds of strikes that he can use his massive 6-foot-4, 235-pound frame to mash out of the park.
2016 Outlook: Sanchez is widely regarded as a top prospect in the Yankees' system, and he definitely showed it in 2015. The 23-year-old improved his OPS by 51 points from 2014, thanks in part to 12 homers in just over half the games it took him to hit 13 in 2014. This power surge helped warrant a promotion to Triple-A, where he impressed again by hitting six more long balls and sporting an excellent .849 OPS in 146 plate appearances. Although his extremely limited cup of coffee at the major-league level didn't go as well, the departure of John Ryan Murphy makes Sanchez's path to the majors much more clear. The Yankees may opt to give him some more at-bats at the Triple-A level, but the top prospect will likely have a shot at beating Andrew Romine out for the backup catcher spot during spring training.
2016 Outlook: Napoli rallied to save his season with a .283/.381/.522 second-half line after a putrid .193/.294/.353 start. In fact, it wasn't even just a first half/second half thing for him. It was a "bad April/June, really good other four months" thing. Totaling his May, July, August and September yields a .251/.355/.482 line with 15 HR in 296 plate appearances -- a 25 HR pace over 500 plate appearances. Those four months look a lot like the Napoli who amassed a .259/.357/.502 line in 3231 plate appearances in the eight seasons before 2014, giving some hope of him recapturing that form over a full season. The playing time should be there in volume at first base and DH as long as he stays healthy, though that hasn't always been easy, with six DL stints throughout his career.
2016 Outlook: Smith's .248 batting average is a bit of a deceiving way to judge his season. The 33-year-old gathers most of his value from crushing right-handed pitching, which is just what he did last season. As opposed to his .571 OPS against left-handed pitchers, Smith smacked 11 of his 12 homers and drove in 38 of his 42 RBI against right-handed pitchers, helping him post an .801 OPS against them. Smith thrives in his platoon role, but unfortunately, that may be scaled back this season. With newcomers Nori Aoki and Leonys Martin both being left-handed and Franklin Gutierrez in the fold to back them and Nelson Cruz up, Smith could have some trouble finding the same playing time in 2016.
2016 Outlook: In his first full big league season, Guyer ended up mostly occupying the small side of a platoon in left field, as he put up a respectable .271/.387/.457 line against southpaws. The righty struggled a bit more against same-sided pitching though, with just a .673 OPS (as opposed to .844 OPS against lefties), limiting him from taking on more of a full-time role. The 30-year-old is versatile and can play anywhere in the outfield, but the majority of his appearances last season came in left where he could be squeezed out of playing time by the offseason acquisition of Corey Dickerson. He still figures to slot into the lineup fairly regularly against left-handers, but Guyer likely won't reward potential owners' investments except on the occasional favorable daily matchup basis.