Trea Turner: Meet the guy who will elicit the biggest battles at respective draft tables this spring. Outside of maybe New York Yankees catcher Gary Sanchez, there is not a more hyped and sought-after "sleeper" for 2017 fantasy baseball then sudden Washington Nationals outfield star Trea Turner. We put sleeper in quotes because it is tough to carry that label when everyone and their mother wants to own you for the upcoming season. That is understandable as Turner posted one of those overnight blockbuster fantasy baseball debut campaigns that brought back memories of Ryan Braun or with Sanchez a year ago. Turner crammed in as many glowing numbers as he could in his 73 games with the Nats as he batted a scorching .342, hit 13 home runs, and ran like Billy Hamilton in collecting 33 steals. The average and steals stand out here right off the bat but Turner is more than capable of remaining an insane contributor in both going forward. Possessing blinding speed, Turner can challenge for a stolen base crown in 2017 and his rate last season would have already won him the award. As far as the average, yes expecting Turner to hit .342 again is foolish but his low K/9 rates going back to the minors and last year (18.2) combined with the speed will make him an annual .300-plus guy. Also likely hitting at or near the top of the Washington order, 100 runs is very much in play as well. The only thing we might question was the 13 home runs in just 324 at-bats Turner hit last year, which was a rate he never approached before in the minors. In fact Turner never hit more than 6 homers at any level which means don't buy into the guy expecting 15-plus as a guarantee. Now we are not saying 15-plus homers are not possible as Turner continues to gain strength as he moves closer to his prime and keep in mind Francisco Lindor is a comparable comparison there as someone who showed little power on the farm but then ramped it up in the majors. Also versatility is a big subject here as Turner is slated to be the Nationals' starting shortstop after the Adam Eaton trade. That puts Turner right there with Carlos Correa and Corey Seager as the best in fantasy baseball there. Be that as it may, Turner is the one incredibly hyped young player we will give full permission to reach for.
2017 PROJECTION: .316 15 HR 67 RBI 99 R 48 SB