Sometimes the best landing spots for free-agent hitters is the ideal landing spot for them from a fantasy perspective. Sometimes, it’s not. We break down the best fantasy homes for the five best hitters on the market.
It’s never too early to start talking about fantasy baseball. There aren’t many big names available but there are some hitters who would benefit from a change of scenery. There are dozens of bats available to help teams with their lineups but let’s take an in-depth look into the top five hitters of the 2018 free agent market and where the best fits for fantasy baseball would be.
5. Mike Moustakas, Third Base
2017 Stats: .272 BA/.314 OBP/.521 SLG, 38 HR, 85 RBI, 75 R
Moustakas finished as the 10th-best fantasy third basemen in 2017. He was hitting in a below average hitter’s park in Kansas City and there wasn’t much talent around him besides Lorenzo Cain and Eric Hosmer. There are a couple of teams that would love to have him but one sticks out in the National League.
Best fantasy fit: Atlanta Braves
Why would he end up going to a team that only won 72 games in 2017? The Braves have a huge hole at third base and they can afford to bring in Moustakas. He would give them a much-needed boost in power and the ballpark in Atlanta would be a big upgrade from Kansas City. The Braves need to add another big bat to their lineup and Moustakas would be a good fit. By hitting in a better lineup, he could finish the season inside the top 8 at the position.
4. Jay Bruce, First Base/Outfield
2017 Stats: .254/.324/.508, 36 HR, 101 RBI, 82 R, 1 SB
Bruce became a free agent at a good time. Besides J.D. Martinez, he is the biggest slugger available. The AL East already has some of the biggest power bats in baseball but there is a team that might need Bruce more than any other.
Best fantasy fit: Toronto Blue Jays
The Blue Jays scored the fewest runs in the AL last season. They were a mess and if they decide to hold on to Josh Donaldson, they need someone to protect him in the lineup. Toronto is one of the best hitting environments for hitters and they need to do something in right field after the disastrous season that Jose Bautista had in 2017. If he signs in Toronto he could become a top 25 fantasy outfielder. Don’t underestimate the impact that ballparks have on fantasy baseball.
3. Lorenzo Cain, Outfield
2017 Stats: .300/.363/.440, 15 HR, 49 RBI, 86 R, 26 SB
Lorenzo Cain will be a great fit for a team that is looking for a lead-off hitter. His .363 OBP was 14th-best in the AL and if he signs with the right team he could lead the league in runs scored. There is a team in a state where everything is bigger that would be the ideal landing spot for Cain
Best fantasy fit: Texas Rangers
The Rangers makes too much sense for Cain not to sign there. They need a defensive-minded center fielder who can get on base for their power bats. Texas ranked ninth in AL in runs scored and third in home runs. He would fit nicely in the leadoff spot ahead of Elvis Andrus, Adrian Beltre, and Joey Gallo. The Rangers were fourth in the league in steals and they attempted the most stolen bases in MLB. Not only would he have the freedom to run with the Rangers, but he could easily score 100 runs and be a top 15 fantasy outfielder.
2. Eric Hosmer, First Base
2017 Stats: .318/.385/.498, 25 HR, 94 RBI, 98 R, 6 SB
Hosmer will get paid this offseason. He has carried an average Kansas City Royals offense for years and he finished as the fourth-best fantasy first basemen in 2017. If he gets into a better situation he could easily top his numbers from last year and he could finish the season as a .300/30/100 player in 2018.
Best fantasy fit: Los Angeles Angels
The Angels are all in for 2018. Albert Pujols is more of a full-time DH than a first baseman at this point in his career. Adding Hosmer would give the Angels the most improved lineup of 2018. He can give Mike Trout the protection needs in the lineup and hitting behind the best player in the world will improve his numbers. He could easily drive in 110 runs in that lineup next season.
1. J.D. Martinez, Outfielder
2017 Stats: .303/.376/.690, 45 HR, 104 RBI, 85 R, 4 SB
Staying in Arizona would be the best spot for Martinez. In 62 games with the Diamondbacks, he hit .302 with 29 home runs and 65 RBI. The 29 home runs would have been the second-most he hit in any season of his career and he did it in only 62 games. He is the top bat on the free agent market and may be too expensive for Arizona to hold on to. There is another AL East team that is looking to add another big bat to their lineup.
Best fantasy fit: Boston Red Sox
The Red Sox won’t let the New York Yankees have all the fun this offseason. They need another power bat in that lineup. Boston was last in the AL in home runs with 168 (18 behind the Chicago White Sox). He is in the prime of his career and knows this will be his last chance to get a monster contract. He would fit in nicely hitting behind Mookie Betts and the Green Monster won’t hurt his production. It doesn’t matter where he hits, he will still be a top 20 outfielder in 2018 but if he stays in Arizona he will be closer to the top 10.