This will be our final recap of the 2017 fantasy baseball season, and we are going to end it on a high note, highlighting areas where I was right. I want to thank everyone for reading, beginning in March, as I hope we were able to build a strong team and maintain it throughout the season.
As always, we will try to improve and be even better in 2018.
Where I Was Right:
Detroit Tigers Third Baseman Nick Castellanos Being a Sleeper -- He was being drafted 22nd at third base and 218th overall, and at the time I wrote "the ability to draft a player with 25-plus home run upside that late in the draft is worth the chance. This is the exact type of player fantasy owners want to target later in drafts to add depth." This couldn't have worked out better, as Castellanos slugged 26 home runs this season while batting .272 batting with 101 RBIs. It feels good to target late-round players and have them come through.
Texas Rangers Outfielder Nomar Mazara and Boston Red Sox Outfielder Andrew Benintendi Breaking Out -- Mazara had an 210 ADP in March, which I thought was way too low for a player who had 20 home runs during his rookie season at 21 years old. Mazara didn't improve in the power department, as he finished with 20 again, but he did drive in 101 runs, which is perfect production from the outfield spot. I think Mazara will once again be overlooked next season, and he won't turn 23 until the end of April, so there is still more growth for the youngster.
As for Benintendi, the hype was real, I was all in and I'm glad it paid off. He was being drafted higher than I would have liked for a rookie, but I knew he could fill all five categories and that is exactly what happened, as he hit .271 with 20 home runs, 90 RBIs, 84 runs scored and 20 stolen bases. Benintendi won't turn 24 until July, so like Mazara, he is only beginning to scratch the surface of the type of player he will be.
Pittsburgh Pirates Outfielder Andrew McCutchen and Arizona Diamondbacks Starting Pitcher Zack Greinke Bounce Back -- McCutchen's power started to decline and his average dipped to a career worst .256 in 2016, which scared away many fantasy owners. It didn't help that he was on the wrong side of 30, but I believed in the track record and it paid off. McCutchen's average rebounded to a respectable .279 and the power jumped up to 28 home runs, the most he has hit since 2012. We will have to figure out where to target McCutchen next season, but for this year, he was being overlooked, as many thought he was on the downside of his career.
Greinke was another player many thought was on the downside of his career after finishing 2016 with a 4.37 ERA. As I pointed out in March, Greinke started that season slow, but was finally looking like himself until he was injured. That gave me enough hope that he could put a solid season together and he did, as he finished 10th in baseball with a 3.20 ERA while winning 17 games and striking out 215 strikeouts, good for 11th in baseball.
Add Milwaukee Brewers Third Baseman Travis Shaw Off the Waiver Wire -- In our very first waiver-wire edition of this season, I recommended adding Shaw. He started the season strong, and with his type of talent, there was a strong chance he could keep it up all season. Shaw didn't let me or those fantasy owners who added him down, as he finished with a .273 batting average, 31 home runs and 101 RBIs. I always say that sometimes waiver-wire adds help for a week or a month, but in this case, Shaw helped for the entire season, and I'm sure there were a few championship rosters with him on it.