Fantasy Baseball Offseason Tracker: Nicholas Castellanos, Starling Marte find value in new homes
Nicholas Castellanos finally signed and Starling Marte was finally traded. Scott White and Chris Towers break down the Fantasy Baseball impact of offseason moves both big and small.
The hot stove is beginning to wind down, but some big names still remain on the market. We're here to guide you through them, breaking down Fantasy implications where applicable.
Here's what's happened so far:
Nicholas Catellanos signs four-year deal with Reds
Nicholas Castellanos was no fan of his former home park in Detroit, but he thrived after arriving in the friendly confines of Wrigley Field last season, hitting .321/.356/.646 after a mid-season trade, and he should love his new home park just as much. Great American Ball Park is one of the best hitters parks in the league, especially for power, and that should suit Castellanos well — just 36.7% of his career homers came at Comerica Park, where he played 47.2% of his career games. Castellanos should play every day in Cincinnati, with CBS Sports HQ MLB insider Jim Bowden reporting Castellanos figures to see most of his time in the outfield corners, while spelling Joey Votto at first base occasionally. Castellanos' ADP sits around the 10th round, and if he can repeat what he did with the Cubs, he'll be one of the best values in Fantasy.
The fallout from this signing probably won't settle for a while, as the Reds seem primed for a trade to clear out a logjam in the outfield. As things stand, Castellanos figures to play everyday, and he might be the only fixture in the outfield. Nick Senzel can play center field, as can Shogo Akiyama, the 31-year-old star from Japan the Reds signed to a three-year contract this offseason. Jesse Winker and Aristedes Aquino figure to split time in the corner outfield spot Castellanos isn't in on any given day, though Aquino could return to the minors — he has options and struggled mightily in September after an incredible August. Until further notice, there probably isn't another hitter in Cincy's outfield rotation worth drafting in most mixed leagues, though Senzel will end up on someone's roster on the off chance he gets an everyday job.
Diamondbacks trade for Starling Marte
Marte doesn't give you the truly elite stolen base numbers anymore, but he has settled in his 30s as a solid all-around contributor. He'll steal some bases, he'll hit for some power, he'll hopefully help you in batting average, and now he'll do it in Arizona. This isn't a move that has huge implications for Marte's Fantasy appeal, mostly because the humidor in Chase Field has had the expected impact of tamping down offense. Still, it's no worse a park for hitters than PNC Park in Pittsburgh, and the supporting cast around Marte should be quite a bit better in Arizona, so you can give him a bit of a bump. The Diamondbacks also weren't afraid to run in 2019, so don't expect Marte to put the brakes on just because he's in a new lineup. He remains a borderline top-10 outfielder for drafts, worth targeting in the third or fourth round in Roto leagues — later in points.
In return for Marte, the Pirates received two of the Diamondbacks lower-end top 10 prospects: Shortstop Liover Peguero and pitcher Brennan Malone. Peguero is a 19-year-old who reached Low-A in 2019, hitting .326/.382/.485 in 60 games across two levels. He could become a Fantasy contributor in the long run, but he's probably more of a 2024 target, so those of you outside deeper Dynasty leagues can probably ignore him. The same goes for Malone, who has pitched just eight innings as a professional. He reportedly has a mid-90s fastball, but we won't see it for long enough that he doesn't need to be on most Fantasy players' radars.
Marcell Ozuna signs with Braves
Needing a big bat to replace Josh Donaldson, the Braves got one of the last remaining in free agency, and while Ozuna isn't as neat of a fit on a team that already appeared to have a full outfield, getting him on a one-year deal certainly makes up for it. Ender Inciarte and Nick Markakis figure to split at-bats now, though the former's defensive prowess could give him the leg up. As for Ozuna, he was a significant contributor in Fantasy last season despite a September slump that dragged down his batting average. Ranking high in quality of contact, he greatly underperformed his expected stats, which bodes well for his 2020 prospects, especially in an improved lineup and park.—Scott White
Josh Donaldson signs with Twins
From a Fantasy perspective, perhaps the biggest news here is that Donaldson isn't going back to Atlanta as expected, which opens the door for Austin Riley to become the third baseman if he can simply overtake Johan Camargo. Riley has plenty of power to spare, but his contact issues caught up to him during an extended look in the majors last year, making him a late-round target at best. Donaldson, meanwhile, lengthens an already deep Twins lineup, so he won't suffer from any change in supporting cast. His biggest deterrents remain his age (34) and injury history, which together will be enough to keep him outside the top 12 at a deep position. —Scott White
Alex Wood signs with Dodgers
Wood is back with the organization that knows him best after contending with back issues for most of his time with the Reds, but it's also the organization that would never commit to him in a starting role. That's completely on brand for the Dodgers and possibly for the best this time around with Dustin May and Tony Gonsolin on the verge of breaking in. Between them and Ross Stripling, it's possible Wood won't even have a rotation spot -- only one of the four will to start out -- and the added competition of course limits the value of each, potentially even making them undraftable in mixed leagues until we have some clarity. —Scott White
Rays trade prospect Matthew Liberatore to Cardinals for Jose Martinez, Randy Arozarena
There was also a pick exchange to help even things out, but that's not important for our purposes. Martinez's stock took a dip last year, but he's still a pretty good bet for batting average with a profile not so unlike what the Rays had in Avisail Garcia last year. Given his defensive limitations, though, his most likely path to at-bats is as the other half of a DH platoon with Yoshitomo Tsutsugo. The coup here is Liberatore, who's safely among the top 100 prospects even though he has yet to break into the high minors. The lefty is remarkably polished for his age and thought to have a high floor. —Scott White
Shogo Akiyama signs with Reds
With Nick Senzel working his way back from a torn labrum in his shoulder, the 31-year-old Akiyama (.302-20-62-112-12 in 2019) may have a full-time role to start out, but when everyone is healthy, he'll need to overcome not just Senzel but also Jesse Winker and Aristides Aquino for playing time. Still, he makes for a nice fit in the leadoff spot of what should be a strong lineup, which should earn him a leg up in that four-way competition. The hit tool and on-base skills are both excellent, but he's not much of a base-stealer and will find the home runs harder to come by in the big leagues. Speaking in Fantasy terms, he won't make the cut in three-outfielder leagues. —Scott White
Starlin Castro, Asdrubal Cabrera sign with Nationals
Castro played mostly third base during an impressive second-half run with the Marlins (a .302 batting average, 16 homers and .892 OPS), but the Nationals signed him to play second base, which presumably leaves third for Cabrera while also taking the Nationals out of serious contention for Josh Donaldson. It's mostly a loss in Fantasy because it relegates the far more interesting Howie Kendrick to a platoon role at first base while also moving top prospect Carter Kieboom to the back burner. Castro and Cabrera are better left for deeper leagues, offering the potential for 20 homers but with so-so production everywhere else. —Scott White
Prospect Luis Robert signs long-term deal with White Sox
The White Sox signed Eloy Jimenez to a similar contract prior to the 2019 season, thus removing any incentive to play the service time game with him, and fittingly, he made the opening day roster. By all cursory indications, the White Sox have held back Robert to this point for similar reasons, and this deal similarly clarifies his timetable. His lack of plate discipline may hinder his batting average as a rookie, but he's one of just a handful of players with a legitimate shot at a 30-30 season. It should make him one of the top 100 players off the board, particularly in Rotisserie leagues. —Scott White
Rich Hill, Homer Bailey sign with Twins
The Rich Hill signing is a low-risk, potentially high-impact signing for the Twins, which is similar to the way Fantasy players have long regarded him. The difference for 2020 is we know he'll be out until at least June given that he underwent primary and revision surgery (basically a Tommy John half measure) on his left elbow in October. Homer Bailey will help fill some innings in the meantime, and though he'll deliver his share of quality outings when his splitter is on, he's more of a streamer type in Fantasy. —Scott White
Travis Shaw signs with Blue Jays
After two seasons of near-studliness, Shaw endured a 2019 so disastrous that it led to his non-tendering with the Brewers, but fortunately he had the sense to latch on with a rebuilding club that can offer him both playing time and patience. It became apparent as early as spring training last year that his plate discipline was way off -- reportedly because of a swing change gone wrong -- but at age 29, he could still realistically recapture his middle-of-the-lineup form. He's worth a flier late in Fantasy drafts. —Scott White
Corey Dickerson signs with Marlins
In past years, signing with the Marlins would have been a death knell for anyone who aspires to hit the ball over the fence, but the Marlins are bringing those fences 12 feet closer in both center and right-center in 2020, which plays right into Dickerson's wheelhouse. So then, what he has with the Marlins is an increased opportunity for playing time, albeit with some possible interference still from Garrett Cooper and Harold Ramirez against lefties. Dickerson is a steady line-drive hitter with a penchant for hitting .300, so clearing the playing-time hurdle will go a long way toward making him mixed league-relevant. —Scott White
Kole Calhoun signs two-year deal with Diamondbacks
Calhoun had one of his most productive seasons in 2019, and now he'll head to a new organization for the first time in his career. The 32-year-old is heading to a lineup with less firepower, but the Diamondbacks actually outscored the Angels last season, and it's probably not a worse park to call home. Calhoun isn't a star, or even someone you target on Draft Day, but as a reserve or fifth outfielder in a Roto league, he's fine — even if another 33-homer campaign might be asking too much. —Chris Towers
Edwin Encarnacion signs with White Sox
Encarnacion slowed his decline in 2019, posting his best slugging percentage since 2015 while hitting .244/.344/.531. He slugged 34 homers and combined for 167 runs and RBI in just 109 games, as he missed a month due to an oblique injury. You probably can't expect Encarnacion to play a full schedule anymore, but he's joining what should be a pretty good lineup and a great park, and facing the mediocre pitching of the AL Central can only help. Pencil him in for 30-plus homers, good run production, and a nice discount as a DH/Utility-only player — he went 187th overall in a recent Roto mock draft we did. At that price, the risk of further decline is pretty small. —Chris Towers
Mets add Dellin Betances
The question here is how has Betances' recovery from a torn Achilles gone? When healthy, Betances has been one of the most dominant relievers in baseball, posting a strikeout rate of at least 38% in every season since 2013. However, he battled shoulder issues before the Achilles tear, which is why he had to settled for a one-year deal with a player option. If he's right, Betances can be a dominant set up man for Edwin Diaz, and even gives the Mets another potential option if Diaz's struggles from 2019 follow him. I would bet on Diaz locking down the closer job all season long as one of the league's best bounceback candidates, but if he falters, Betances could be there to help pick up the slack. In Roto leagues, Betances is a viable option as a bench reliever with huge upside. —Chris Towers
Indians sign Cesar Hernandez
One of the biggest questions for Hernandez will be whether the Indians will let him run more. He attempted just 11 stolen bases in 2019, which really limited his Fantasy utility despite another solid all-around season otherwise. If he can get back to the 15-20 steal range, he could be a solid low-end starting second baseman for cheap, especially if his on-base skills land him closer to the top of the Indians lineup. —Chris Towers
Brewers add Justin Smoak
Smoak is a long shot to ever get back to the levels we saw from him in 2017, when he hit .270 with 38 homers and 90 RBI, but he's a viable buy-low candidate for 2019, and this signing only helps. Smoak is an advanced-stats darling, as he hits the ball hard and walks a ton, but struggled with just a .223 BABIP in 2019. Per BaseballSavant.com, Smoak's .366 expected wOBA was the second-best of his career, and the move to Miller Park should really benefit him, especially from the left side of the plate. Smoak will come cheap on Draft Day but could have some low-end sleeper appeal if Ryan Braun doesn't settle in at first base. —Chris Towers
Hyun-Jin Ryu signs with Blue Jays
Ryu's second-half ERA of 3.18 is probably a better reflection of his ability than his full-season 2.32 mark and of course hinges on him remaining elite in terms of strike-throwing and ground ball-generating. Regression already figures to be baked into the price following a career year for an injury-prone 32-year-old, but now his move from one of the best teams in 2019 to one of the worst only makes those red flags brighter. He's a borderline top-30 arm on Draft Day, but don't be surprise if he slips even further. —Scott White
Dallas Keuchel signs with White Sox
Though Keuchel heads back to the more offensive-minded league, he's in a division with two tankers, and it's not like his ground-balling ways are going to make him a liability at homer-friendly Guaranteed Rate Field. The more notable development is that it's another dedicated rotation spot that a more exciting alternative like Michael Kopech will have to overcome once he's recovered from Tommy John surgery, which could be from the very start. Things could get interesting between him and Dylan Cease, especially with Gio Gonzalez having also recently joined the mix. —Scott White
Avisail Garcia signs with Brewers
The free-swinging Garcia became a surprise target of the Rays last offseason, presumably because of his high exit velocity readings, and then he turned in respectable season playing on a near-daily basis. His playing time in Milwaukee will depend on how well Ryan Braun transitions to first base, but he has a shot at 25 homers with a respectable batting average at that park. Draft him outside the top 50 outfielders with a hope he can become top-40. —Scott White
Madison Bumgarner signs with Diamondbacks
Bumgarner hasn't been as effective since hurting his shoulder in a dirt bike accident early in 2017, and in two years since then, his numbers have been far superior at home in AT&T Park than anywhere else. A move to a more neutral environment, then, would seem to jeopardize his Fantasy value, but it's worth pointing out that in 2019 his velocity and swinging-strike did both recover to 2016 standards, when he placed fourth in NL Cy Young voting.—Scott White
Corey Kluber traded to Rangers
The underwhelming return (a possible late-inning reliever in Emmanuel Clase and the perpetually disappointing Delino DeShields) might reflect poorly on Kluber's recovery from a fractured forearm, but if the Indians thought he was damaged goods, they would have paid him a $1 million buyout at the start of the offseason rather than exercise a $17.5 million option. Reports suggest they were seeking a stronger prospect package from other organizations but really seem to like Clase, who throws a 100 mph cutter.
It's true we don't really know what to expect for Kluber coming off a long-term injury, but he had been on a five-year run of Cy Young contention. And you shouldn't take anything from his seven starts last year, which is too small of a sample for the numbers to count for much, especially since the velocity was only slightly down and the swinging-strike rate even better than the previous year.—Scott White
Yoshitomo Tsutsugo signs with Rays
Tsutsugo was of course a significant contributor in Japan, offering big power numbers (as many as 44 home runs in 2016) and excellent plate discipline, but we know how this goes. It's a different environment with different kinds of pitchers he'll be facing, which means we'll just have to wait and see (though as Jeff Passan of ESPN points out, the high exit velocities are encouraging). He'll be worth drafting as right around 50th among outfielders but may spend most of his time at DH and first base. The presence of Nate Lowe and Rays' tendency to mix and match raise some playing time concerns. —Scott White
Rick Porcello signs with Mets
The unlikely 2016 Cy Young winner hasn't been a total dud in Fantasy since then, but 2019 was pretty bad, seeing his strikeout and ground-ball rates both regress in predictably damaging ways. A change of scenery couldn't hurt, particularly with him moving to the lighter-hitting league, but seeing as the Mets now have an overstocked rotation after agreeing to terms with Michael Wacha a couple days earlier, Porcello won't have an especially long leash. —Scott White
Anthony Rendon signs with Angels
Rendon performed like an MVP in 2019 and got paid like one, agreeing to a seven-year, $245 million deal. He reached new heights as a power hitter that he may not be able to repeat, particularly in a hitter's park, but he has proven to be a Fantasy stud even as more of a 25-homer guy and should continue to pile up runs and RBI as an on-base machine batting between Mike Trout and Shohei Ohtani. —Scott White
Josh Lindblom signs with Brewers
Over the past couple years, ptchers like Miles Mikolas and Merrill Kelly have returned from a stint overseas to make a worthwhile Fantasy impact, and Lindblom's pact with the Brewers -- three years for less than $10 million total -- is reminiscent. Of course, he played in Korea, which isn't quite as competitive as Japan, and averaged less than a strikeout per inning in his three years though, though he did put together a 2.50 ERA and 1.00 WHIP across 194 2/3 innings this past year. He figures to have a rotation spot at the start of the year but isn't going to be much better than a fringe mixed-leaguer at age 32. —Scott White
Nomar Mazara traded to White Sox
With him having only two years of team control remaining, the Rangers ended up unloading a player who at one point seemed poised to become the face of the franchise but who failed to progress by even the smallest measure across four seasons. The White Sox have a glaring enough outfield opening to give Mazara a second look and have expressed some optimism they can unlock his potential, but if he hasn't learned to elevate the ball by this point, it's safest to assume another boring 20-homer season is in store. —Scott White
Gerrit Cole signs with Yankees
He'll have to contend with the short porch in right field, yes, but the fact the Yankees won 103 games in 2019 with what was basically a C-grade rotation tells you everything you need to know about Cole's new supporting cast. He definitively established himself as the best pitcher in baseball down the stretch, averaging 16.1 strikeouts per nine innings over his final nine starts while consistently pitching deeper into games, and should be at worst the sixth player off the board in 2020 drafts.—Scott White
Didi Gregorius signs with Phillies
Though the Phillies may not be out on Anthony Rendon and Josh Donaldson, Gregorius fills their infield opening for now, giving Jean Segura, who has been crowded out at shortstop, a chance of regaining some mixed-league standing by shifting over to second base. It's another hitter-friendly venue for Gregorius, who has delivered quality power numbers over the past few years despite making fairly weak contact, and the fact he won't be back with the Yankees frees up some of their first base clutter by opening up shortstop for Gleyber Torres and second base for DJ LeMahieu full-time. —Scott White
Stephen Strasburg signs with Nationals
Strasburg goes back from whence he came, so his 2020 standing won't be a response to any changes in venue or supporting cast. At least in terms of Fantasy production, his 2019 was a high point for his career, representing only the second season in which he reached the 200-inning threshold. More than health, though, it's the changes to his arsenal -- ones that made him more of a ground-ball pitcher and seemingly better equipped to withstand today's homer-happy environment -- that make him a surefire Fantasy ace.. —Scott White
Rays trade Tommy Pham to Padres for Hunter Renfroe, prospect Xavier Edwards
It'd be hard to make the case either of the outfielders changing hands here stands to benefit much, but the Rays do at least have a history of reforming flawed players, which the all-or-nothing Renfroe most certainly is. Then again, the Padres were slow to commit to him in a full-time role, and the Rays may be even less so given their tendency to mix up their lineup.
Manny Machado and Eric Hosmer should benefit from having a genuine on-base threat ahead of them, though Pham's poor launch angle puts him at risk for a power decline as he enters his mid-30s. Xavier Edwards is a fascinating contact/speed prospect whose appeal remains limited to long-term keeper leagues as a 20-year-old yet to graduate from A-ball. —Scott White
Michael Pineda signs with Twins
Pineda gets another two years with the team that took a flier on him coming off Tommy John surgery and is apparently willing to take another flier despite a 60-game PED suspension. And it's worth pointing out Pineda was beginning to come into his own leading up to the suspension, seeing his fastball effectiveness tick up with more consistent use of his changeup. His 2.76 ERA, 1.09 WHIP and 10.1 K/9 over his final 11 starts makes him a pitcher Fantasy players shouldn't overlook even though he still has five more weeks to serve on the suspension, and the Twins' willingness to double down is telling. —Scott White
Omar Narvaez traded to Brewers
Narvaez gets improved job security with his move to the Brewers, who desperately needed a catcher after losing Yasmani Grandal to free agency, and the hitter-friendly environment mitigates some of the regression risk for a player who succeeded in spite of a bottom-20 exit velocity. But the bigger winner here is Tom Murphy, who becomes a genuine sleeper after homering 18 times in 260 at-bats this past year. Granted, his splits were far better against lefties than righties, but he was poised to see a bigger share of the at-bats anyway because of his superior defensive skills and now most certainly will given that his backup, Austin Nola, is also best against lefties. —Scott White
Dylan Bundy traded to Angels
If there's anyone who could benefit from a change of scenery, it's Bundy, who not too many years ago was considered the game's top pitching prospect. Injuries have diminished his stuff to a degree, but he has an elite breaking ball and is one of the few swinging strike leaders who isn't already regarded as an ace. Maybe "ace" is aiming too high, but given the Orioles' poor track record of developing pitchers and the effect this venue change could have on Bundy's home-run tendencies, there still sleeper appeal here. —Scott White
Zack Wheeler signs with Phillies
Why is it the biggest pickups are so often the least interesting for Fantasy purposes? It's a downgrade in venue, sure, but Wheeler has always a knack for keeping the ball in the ballpark and is obviously well acquainted with the NL East. It's a lateral move in terms of supporting cast, too, so while the venue change may expose him to greater risk, his most likely outcome is more or less the same. —Scott White
Cole Hamels signs with Braves
Soon to be 36, Hamels is clearly in the twilight of his career and was signed to help bridge the gap to the Braves' next wave of young pitchers, headlined by Ian Anderson. The fact he accepted only a one-year deal shows how much his stock has fallen, but the fact he got $18 million shows there's still some production to extract. He had a 2.98 ERA, 1.20 WHIP and 8.8 K/9 in 17 starts before missing time with a strained oblique, making what seemed like a concerted effort to keep the ball on the ground, but then got pummeled while pitching through a balky shoulder the rest of the way. —Scott White
Jonathan Villar traded to Marlins
True, Villar immediately becomes the best player on a bad Marlins team, which means he has little in the way of support, but was it any different for him with the Orioles last year? Considering all the places he could have gone after the Orioles put him on waivers, this one at least assures he'll keep playing regularly, which should lead to a big steals total even if the power numbers decline with the change in venue. A fifth-round pick in 12-team Rotisserie leagues is still defensible. —Scott White
Jesus Aguilar claimed by Marlins
With so few of their longer-term assets ready for the big show, the Marlins can take a flier on reclamation projects like Jesus Aguilar, who quickly fell out of favor with the Brewers after hitting 35 homers with a near-.900 OPS in 2018. Though it was a breakout few saw coming, it wasn't exactly out of nowhere either, seeing as he hit 16 homers with an .837 OPS in 279 at-bats in 2017. A rebound season on a team with nothing to lose isn't out of the question for the 29-year-old. —Scott White
Mike Moustakas signs with Reds
Though it has obvious real-world implications, this signing hardly impacts Moustakas' Fantasy value. He goes from one hitter's park to another, where he'll continue with the second base experiment that by now we should classify as a success. Another 30-homer season is likely, but his limited batting average potential and modest on-base skills make him decidedly second-tier even at a weak position. —Scott White
Jurickson Profar traded to Padres
An earlier trade with the Brewers gave the Padres an opening second base, and GM A.J. Preller opted to fill it with Profar, who he knows well from their time in the Rangers organization. Back then Profar was considered the top prospect in baseball, and while he has proven to have good bat-to-ball skills, the quality of contact is lacking. After a breakthrough year with Texas in 2018, he was exposed in a larger park in Oakland and could suffer more of the same in San Diego, where he'll attempt to hold off converted third baseman Ty France for at-bats. —Scott White
Padres trade Luis Urias, Eric Lauer to Brewers for Trent Grisham, Zach Davies
This trade is most notable for the hitters, who have each proven all they could in the minors but seemed to be getting squeezed in the majors. Urias, an exceptional contact hitter with a top-prospect pedigree, will try to break in as the Brewers' starting shortstop, with the light-hitting Orlando Arcia serving as his only real competition. Grisham, an outfielder, has more competition in the form of Manuel Margot, Franchy Cordero and Josh Naylor, but he had a respectable showing as an injury fill-in down the stretch in 2019 and has obvious sleeper appeal after hitting .300 with 26 homers, a .407 on-base percentage and a 1.010 OPS in 370 minor-league at-bats. —Scott White
Drew Pomeranz signs with Padres
A signing that would seem to have minimal implications in Fantasy may actually have medium-size ones just judging by the terms of the deal. At four years, $34 million, Pomeranz is being paid like a premier reliever and, upon closer inspection, became one when he joined the Brewers bullpen (after previously starting for the Giants) last August, compiling a 2.39 ERA, 0.91 WHIP and 15.4 K/9 in 25 appearances. Clearly, the Padres are buying in, and if they're right, the journeyman lefty could be an impact middle reliever worth a late-round look for ratio help in 5x5 categories leagues. —Scott White
Kyle Gibson signs with Rangers
While on the surface, Texas seems like a terrible destination for a pitcher who has never been more than fringy, Gibson has recently showed signs of becoming so much more, delivering an elite swinging strike rate with an impact slider and under performing his 3.80 xFIP by more than a run (4.84 ERA) in 2019. Your attitude toward Gibson will depend on how much credit you think the Rangers deserve for maximizing their return on Lance Lynn and Mike Minor, two of last offseason's under-the-radar signings, but he'll get some late-round looks. —Scott White
Travis d'Arnaud signs with Braves
While Tyler Flowers is an expert pitch framer, the Braves almost certainly aren't giving d'Arnaud $16 million over the next two years to be his backup. But while it's true d'Arnaud was once a top prospect under GM Alex Anthopoulos' regime in Toronto and seemed last year to rediscover the offensive potential that years of injuries had obscured, most of his production came during a magical July in which he hit .342 with eight home runs. Still, at a weak position like catcher, he's verging on top-15 status as a projected starter. —Scott White
Prospect Evan White signs long-term deal with Mariners
The six-year, $24 million deal is certainly noteworthy for a player who has yet to make his major-league debut, and it suggests the Mariners are ready to turn over first base duties to the 23-year-old. White has yet to advance past Double-A, where he hit .293 with 18 homers and an .838 OPS in 365 at-bats, but the scouting reports are more sold on the glove than the bat. T-Mobile Park isn't the sort of environment that will elevate his modest pop, so an Eric Hosmer-like outcome may be the best anyone can hope for. —Scott White
Will Smith signs with Braves
Though the Braves gave Smith closer money -- fittingly, seeing as he was a top-five reliever in virtually every format last season -- they're for now saying Mark Melancon is still their first choice to close. And while Melancon is an elite strike-thrower with elite ground-ball tendencies who seemed to rediscover his All-Star form with a 2.93 ERA, 0.95 WHIP and 10.0 K/9 in the second half last year, he's no Smith. There's an argument for drafting Smith ahead of Melancon still, trusting the talent to win out in the long run. —Scott White
Yasmani Grandal signs with White Sox
This signing signifies less for Grandal himself, who goes from one hitter's park to another, than for the White Sox's intentions. They're transitioning from rebuilding to competing, which means impact prospects like Luis Robert, who've already proven all they can in the minors, are probably on the fast track. Stock up for him. Stock more or less even for Grandal, who may lose a larger share of at-bats to 2019 All-Star James McCann than he did to his backup in Milwaukee last year, but the DH spot should help in that regard. —Scott White
So which sleepers should you snatch in your draft? And which undervalued first baseman can help you win a championship? Visit SportsLine now to get rankings for every single position, all from the model that called Kenta Maeda's huge breakout last season, and find out.
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