Some players came out of nowhere this season to solidify a top-50 ranking for 2018, while others faded and never seemed to get it going. You probably can think of a few of those players off the top of your head. In this final installment of the Fantasy 30 for the 2017 MLB season, I'm going around the league to identify one player on every team who helped or hurt his fantasy value heading into next season.
Arizona Diamondbacks: J.D. Martinez is a free agent this winter, and though he's said he'd like to return to Arizona, there's no telling if that will actually happen. Barring an unexpected move to a team that plays home games in a pitchers' park like San Francisco, it's safe to say Martinez will be much more highly regarded based on the tremendous power display he's put on all season -- 16 home runs for the Tigers and already 22 for the Diamondbacks.
Atlanta Braves: Freddie Freeman didn't exactly slip in fantasy drafts this season. His average draft position of 25.7 in ESPN drafts ranked right behind fellow first baseman Joey Votto (24.7) and made him a popular third-round pick. You'll need to use a second-rounder to get him next year based on his incredible (albeit injury-marred) season that has seen him slash .319/.417/.612 with 26 home runs.
Baltimore Orioles: A season after hammering 47 home runs and posting an .849 OPS, Mark Trumbo (74.1 ADP) failed to come close to duplicating those numbers this season (23 HRs, .707 OPS) and continued his careerlong struggles with making contact. Expect him to fall into the pick 200 range in drafts next season.
Boston Red Sox: What an ugly, forgettable season it has been for David Price, a prized free agent signing two winters back, who has made only 11 starts all season and just hasn't panned out in Boston. Continual elbow problems have plagued him and kept him sidelined since July 22, and after being activated from the disabled list on Thursday, the plan is for the Red Sox to use him out of the bullpen. Suddenly, the 32-year-old is a risky option, but keep him in mind as a sleeper if he slips too far in your 2018 draft.
Chicago Cubs: Look, Anthony Rizzo has had a good season, but he also was drafted 12.3 overall on average in ESPN leagues, and that's probably going to slide 10 or so picks next season. His powerless stretch in September has kept his home run total at 31 for what seems like forever, and his batting average is down to .274. Rizzo is probably late-second, early-third round material in 2018.
Chicago White Sox: Avisail Garcia lacks the pop of some other young outfielders, and he doesn't walk much, but what he does do is hit, and hit well. The 26-year-old right fielder went 5-for-5 at the plate on Thursday to up his average to .333 on the season, which has also been a big reason for his .380 on-base percentage. You can count on him to be drafted a good 150 spots higher next season after falling off the top 260 in most ESPN drafts this year.
Cincinnati Reds: One of the most underappreciated players in fantasy is Reds third baseman Eugenio Suarez, who fell all the way to a 231.2 ADP this season only to deliver 25 home runs, 85 runs and an .859 OPS. That's helped turn Suarez into a borderline top-10 fantasy third baseman heading into next season.
Cleveland Indians: There are many places we could go on this team, but how about Corey Kluber (23.6 ADP)? It isn't like he was a big secret entering this season, but would anyone argue if he is taken as a late first-rounder in drafts next season after the type of year he's had? Not a chance. Kluber enters Thursday with a 2.44 ERA, 0.87 WHIP, 16 wins and a ridiculous 243 strikeouts in 184 2/3 IP. Expect him to be the third pitcher selected after Clayton Kershaw and Chris Sale in 2018.
Colorado Rockies: Charlie Blackmon is one of the best hitters in baseball and one of the top fantasy players as well, with 34 home runs, a .332 average, 13 steals and a 1.005 OPS. Did I mention his 32 doubles and 14 triples? Well, now I did. In any case, there's no way the Rockies' leadoff man slides to his 2017 ADP of 16.2 next season -- after Mike Trout, he's the next-best offensive talent on the board.
Detroit Tigers: You have to be great to be taken highly at first base, and there are quite a few players who fit into that category. Over the last decade, Miguel Cabrera has been one of them, hitting the ball as well as anyone in that span, so it's understandable why he had a 13.6 ADP in ESPN drafts this season. Big changes are in store going forward, however, as the Tigers are now rebuilding and Cabrera -- who turns 35 next April -- is having far and away the worst season of his 15-year career. This has an Albert Pujols-type of feel to it.
Houston Astros: George Springer (43.6) fell to the fourth or fifth round in most ESPN drafts this season, which is hard to imagine, considering all the factors that play in his favor as a powerful leadoff hitter on one of the best offenses in baseball who plays his home games at a terrific hitter's park. His ADP will be in the 20s in 2018.
Kansas City Royals: Mike Moustakas (198.5 ADP) vaulted himself into the conversation as a top-10 fantasy third baseman for years to come with a career year in Kansas City. Though his bat has cooled off since the All-Star break, Moustakas shattered his previous home run mark of 22 with 36 and counting and will be drafted more than a 100 spots higher next season, regardless of where he plays.
Los Angeles Angels: Andrelton Simmons will always be known more for his incredible defense than he is for his offense, but the 28-year-old showed a whole lot more than anyone expected with the bat this season (.280 BA, 14 HR, 19 SB) and that will be enough to raise his fantasy value at a scarce position like shortstop in 2018.
Los Angeles Dodgers: Can you say Cody Bellinger? He wasn't drafted in the top 260 picks in most ESPN drafts this season, but the question for next season is how high he'll go after putting up the type of ridiculous numbers he has as a rookie (.272 BA, 37 HR, 86 RBI, 9 SB). He has a chance to get to 40 homers and 100 RBI by the end of the season, and with all the hype surrounding him he's likely a top-25 pick in 2018.
Miami Marlins: Justin Bour (231.2 ADP) has been plagued by a wrist injury that cost him much of the second half of the season, but his numbers (.291 BA, 21 HR, .916 OPS) have far exceeded expectations, and he will likely be drafted a good 125-150 picks higher next season than he was this year.
Milwaukee Brewers: Jonathan Villar (36.8 ADP) was a third- or fourth-round pick in most ESPN drafts this season after swiping 62 bases and pounding out 38 doubles and 19 home runs in 2016, but no player in baseball fell harder with his production in 2017 (.240, 11 HR, 23 SB), and as a result, Villar is someone many will be staying away from next season. Expect him to slide to the middle rounds, making him a potential sleeper if he slips too far.
Minnesota Twins: Eddie Rosario wasn't taken in the top 260 picks in most ESPN drafts this season, but the 25-year-old outfielder has exceeded expectations in a big way for the Twins. He ranks second on the team behind Joe Mauer in batting average (.292), while adding 23 home runs and an .836 OPS. He becomes a mid-round pick next season.
New York Mets: Matt Harvey (166.5 ADP) is a shell of the pitcher he was before his surgery, and all you have to do is look at the numbers to see that: 6.14 ERA, 1.57 WHIP, 60 K in 80 IP. After being taken in the mid-to-late rounds in drafts this season, he's fallen off the fantasy radar due to a poor showing in 2017.
New York Yankees: Aaron Judge has had a nightmare second half of the season, yet still his numbers look incredible (.277 BA, 43 home runs, 1.001 OPS, 110 walks). While it may seem like he's been around a while and that his fantasy stock is falling after his major struggles, it's easy to forget this this is a player who fell to 212.3 on average in ESPN drafts this season.
Oakland Athletics: OK, Jed Lowrie, you have our attention. At least you should. That's what happens when you pound out 45 doubles and 12 home runs while playing in a spacious ballpark like Oakland Coliseum. The 33-year-old veteran has been around for a long time, and his lack of base-stealing ability hurts at the middle infield, but this is an eye-opening season that puts him on the fantasy radar going forward.
Philadelphia Phillies: Rhys Hoskins is every kid's hero right now, considering the home run pace he is on; with six homers in his past six games, he now has 17 in his first 33 MLB games. The 24-year-old outfielder was off the fantasy radar in most leagues heading into the season and still only has a small sample size in the majors, but you have to consider the left fielder before pick No. 100 in 2018. Even that is probably far too late, because you know someone is going to be eager to draft him well before that.
Pittsburgh Pirates: It's crazy to think about, but Starling Marte was the fifth outfielder selected on average in ESPN drafts this season, with an ADP of 28.4. He has underwhelmed since returning from an 80-game suspension for using steroids, and though his combination of speed and average and power remain tantalizing, he's going to fall beyond the fifth or sixth round in 2018.
St. Louis Cardinals: Matt Carpenter (58 ADP) can make up for a low batting average with his on-base skills, and he's done that again this season with a .384 on-base percentage even while batting a disappointing .240. That being said, a lower average combined with a more permanent move to first base this season lowers his value after several years playing the hot corner and keeping the average above .270.
San Diego Padres: Wil Myers was a top-60 pick in most ESPN drafts this season, which made sense, given his breakout 2016 campaign that included 28 home runs and 28 steals. His inability to match that this season, particularly as a stolen base threat (19) lowers his value heading into what will be his sixth MLB season in 2018.
San Francisco Giants: Matt Moore seemed like a solid mid-rotation starter heading into the season for the Giants, his first full season in San Francisco after coming over via trade late in 2016. After a dreadful year by the Bay, however, Moore is certain to be an afterthought in fantasy leagues until he proves he can turn it around. A 5.39 ERA and 1.50 WHIP while pitching in the Giants' rotation is unheard of over the last decade.
Seattle Mariners: The days of Felix Hernandez being an ace are over, as hard as that may be for Mariners fans to admit. Rarely has an athlete been so loyal to the city of Seattle as Hernandez has been since coming up as a 19-year-old rookie in 2005, but the brutal reality is King Felix's velocity is down and he can no longer be counted on to be a top-of-the-rotation starter even if he stays healthy -- which he hasn't done the last two seasons. He turns 32 at the beginning of next season.
Tampa Bay Rays: Everybody hits home runs these days, I get that. But few have been better at it in 2017 than Logan Morrison, a player who wasn't taken in the top 260 in most ESPN drafts. The recently turned 30-year-old demolished previous career marks in home runs (36) and RBIs (82) while with the Rays this season and is worthy of attention in the middle-to-late rounds in next year's drafts.
Texas Rangers: Adrian Beltre (58.5 ADP) is a future Hall of Famer with an incredible ability to consistently hit throughout his career, but he'll turn 39 a week into next season after struggling through the most injury-plagued season of his 20-year MLB career. With other young third baseman leaving their mark around the league like Jake Lamb in Arizona, Jose Ramirez in Cleveland and Alex Bregman in Houston, Beltre's durability concerns make him likely to drop out of the top 100 going forward.
Toronto Blue Jays: Jose Bautista (70.4 ADP) saw his batting average plummet to .208 this season, the fourth season in a row it has fallen for a player who never really hit for average in the first place. He turns 37 next month, and his offensive skills are in rapid decline, as is evidenced by an OPS under .700 as of Thursday. Expect Joey Bats to slide about 100 spots from the range he was drafted at this season.
Washington Nationals: Veteran southpaw Gio Gonzalez is one of the biggest surprises of 2017, entering Thursday with a 2.68 ERA and 1.15 WHIP in 29 starts. It's safe to say he'll be drafted considerably higher in 2018 than where he was this season (222.3 ADP), even if a repeat of these numbers is unlikely.