Hello everyone, welcome to my “Offseason Movers” article! We had an eventful offseason in Major League Baseball, capped off with one of the most exciting World Baseball Classics in recent history. With the WBC out of the way, and Spring Training concluding, it is time to dig into MLB DFS! Let’s kick things off with some of the impactful moves that took places this winter.
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Below are three guys that I am excited to talk about coming out of the offseason due to their roles on new teams, and one guy that I am holding off on. I wanted to talk a little more about Ian Desmond, but his recent injury will sideline him for a while. Also, Mitch Haniger is another player I am really high on, but Mike (@KlinkDFS) has you covered on Haniger in his “Early Season Targets” article.
Edwin Encarnacion (Cleveland Indians) – Perhaps the biggest move this winter took place rather early on, with Edwin Encarnacion agreeing to terms with the Cleveland Indians. Edwin landed a three-year, $60 million deal with the Indians and will slot in as the team’s DH with Mike Napoli now in Texas. Joining the defending AL-champions is certainly a plus for Edwin, but there are some definite signs of decline for the 34-year-old slugger.
Despite tieing a career-high in home runs with 42, Edwin saw his numbers take a staunch decline, and was the ire of many fantasy owners early on in the season. Edwin finished the season with a 134 wRC+, his lowest in five years, and a strikeout rate of 19.7 percent. The strikeout rate was his highest since wearing a Reds’ uniform, as his previous high was 15.7 percent with the Jays.
Things weren’t all bad for Edwin, as he also set career highs in runs scored and RBIs, with a career-high 702 plate appearances, and made some changes to his batted ball profile. Some of those changes were good, he lifted the ball more in 2016 than 2015, but some of them weren’t. Edwin saw a 7.6 percent increase in balls hit with an exit velocity lower than 70 MPH with an average distance of 48 feet. Those numbers are slightly concerning as Edwin is leaving the home run friendly AL East and is entering the less-friendly AL Central. His new home park will benefit his skill set, so there is hope that while hitting at Progressive Field he can still produce his usual power numbers. There is a pretty good chance that these numbers are outliers and he could regress to the Edwin we all know and love, but they are slightly concerning consider he is now in his mid-30s.
|Launch Angle||Exit Velocity||2016||2015||Δ||lgwOBA||lgDist|
|-10 to 5°||70-90||6.2%||6.0%||0.2%||.197||124.2|
|21 to 36°||70-90||4.8%||5.2%||-0.5%||.198||288.4|
|-10 to 5°||90-100||4.8%||7.1%||-2.4%||.353||140.0|
|-10 to 5°||100-120||7.9%||5.2%||2.6%||.431||160.4|
|21 to 36°||90-100||5.7%||6.0%||-0.2%||.478||353.1|
|5 to 21°||70-90||4.0%||7.1%||-3.1%||.598||208.1|
|5 to 21°||90-100||5.2%||7.1%||-1.9%||.624||261.0|
|5 to 21°||100-120||13.1%||10.7%||2.4%||.813||289.9|
|21 to 36°||100-120||7.1%||9.8%||-2.6%||1.593||398.2|
Projections systems currently have Encarnacion between 570 and 630 plate appearances this season, down from his 702 last year, with around an 18 percent strikeout rate. He projects for low-mid 30s in homers and around 100 RBIs on the season. His spring training has been horrid so far, 9-for-33 (.273) with no homers and a 42 percent strikeout rate, so I will likely be taking a wait and see approach come Opening Day this season.
Carlos Beltran (Houston Astros) – The Houston Astros and A.J. Hinch had their sights set on bringing Carlos Beltran back to Houston this offseason, and they did just that. The Astros are a team loaded with young talent, so a calming, veteran presence in the dugout is exactly what the Astros needed to help provide some guidance to a core of young, international players. The future Hall of Famer is certainly showing signs of decline, but he will slot in as a DH for a lineup loaded with a ton of power.
Beltran is coming off a season where he posted a .800 OPS with a .217 ISO and .295 batting average. Last season was Beltran’s fifth season in the last six with an OPS above .800 and hit more homers (29) since he rocked a Cardinals’ uniform in 2012. Beltran absolutely brutalized left-handed pitching last season, batting .338 with a .338 OBP, .589 SLG, and .970 OPS. He posted a .252 ISO against left-handed pitching as well, with a wRC+ of 152 against southpaws.
Beltran’s power surge in 2016 may be just a product of the MLB-wide power surge, but the combination of his on-base skills, power upside, and spot in a potent lineup will make him extremely valuable in DFS this season. Beltran will be one of my favorite targets in Astros’ team stacks tonight, and he will make an excellent cash game play on nights when Houston isn’t facing off against elite arms.
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Logan Forsythe (Los Angeles Dodgers) – Logan Forsythe has long been one of the most underrated players in MLB, but this year he will be under the spotlights in L.A. and he will give the Dodgers something they haven’t had at second base in a while. Forsythe is an above average defender, can play multiple positions, and can provide a ton of upside as a leadoff hitter for the Dodgers. Forsythe has been an above average hitter against both lefties and righties and showed an above average .339 OBP against righties last season. Forsythe doesn’t possess a ton of power for L.A., but that isn’t what the Dodgers need out of Forsythe. The Dodgers were last, or near last, in the majors against left-handed pitching in almost every statistical category, boosting Forsythe’s value to the team this year.
Forsythe had an above-average wRC+ of 125 in 2015, but he saw a slight dip to 113 in 2016, which was related to a shoulder injury early on in the season. Double checking with the Forsythe’s triple slash line, he had a .281/.359/.444 line in 2015 and .264/.333/.444 line in 2016. The average took a dip in 2016, but the power stayed consistent. Forsythe was better from a power perspective after the All-Star break and will look to build on that in L.A. this year. Forsythe comes in as another guy that I will be targeting, especially in cash games, this season, and projection systems have him putting up solid numbers this season.
Jean Segura (Seattle Mariners) – Coming off a career year in Arizona, Segura is taking his talents to Seattle, where his skill set of speed, average, and power will be extremely valuable. Segura set career highs in home runs, RBIs, runs scored, batting average, slugging, and on base percentage for Arizona, last year, and all signs in spring are pointing to Segura having another huge year in a potent Mariner’s lineup. Segura will team up with his long-time mentor, Robinson Cano, for a lethal combo at the two and three spots in the Mariners lineup, and they have Nelson Cruz batting cleanup behind them.
Between the help of Cano and his hitting coach, Segura revamped his swing and the results were noticeable. Segura averaged an exit velocity of 89 MPH last season, an increase of 4.5 miles per hour over 2015, which resulted in a boost to his fly ball batting average and slugging. Segura led off for the Diamondbacks last season, producing one of the greatest seasons for a leadoff hitter in MLB history. Segura hit .319 and lead the National League with 203 hits, to go along with 20 home runs, 41 doubles, 33 stolen bases, and 102 runs scored. Segura was a righty masher, batting .333 against them last season while hitting 16 of his 20 home runs against them. Segura’s .368 OBP last season ranks 24th among qualified hitters in the majors and made him one of the top cash game DFS plays on a nightly basis.
Projection systems reflect Segura’s move from the hitter-friendly confines of Chase Field to Safeco, as they project a decline in power, but Segura’s on base ability, runs, and stolen base upside place him firmly on my radar as someone that I will be looking at all season, especially with the protection provided by the duo of Cano and Cruz.
- Adam Eaton (Nationals)
- Mike Napoli (Rangers)
- Josh Reddick (Astros)
- Mitch Haniger (Mariners)
- Mitch Moreland (Red Sox)
- Yoan Moncada (White Sox)
- Dexter Fowler (Cardinals)
- Seth Smith (Orioles)
- Welington Castillo (Orioles)
- Michael Saunders (Phillies)
- Howie Kendrick (Phillies)
- Ian Desmond (Rockies)