As the 2017 fantasy baseball season draws near and drafts get fully underway, an important theme that needs to be addressed for all in the community is the fact that 2016 saw a return of the long ball in a major way. After years of unending pitching dominance and home runs drying up like water in a desert, last season saw a tremendous jump in home runs at a level not seen since the steroid era. It was this reason that most of the pure home run hitters on the open market this past winter failed to generate much interest; whether you were Jose Bautista, Mark Trumbo, Mike Napoli, or Jay Bruce via trade. With home runs suddenly more plentiful then ever, those whose main skill centers on the long ball saw their fantasy baseball values plummet. This is an important issue as drafts get underway due to the fact that we need to downgrade the value of players whose main contribution is home runs and that is especially true for those hitters who achieve this skill at the expense of their batting average. A case in point is Minnesota Twins third baseman/outfielder Miguel Sano who was lauded as one of the very best prospects in the game as recently as 2015 but who already at the age of 24 has shown some disturbing signs with his numbers. While no one ever doubts the pure power of Sano, his first full MLB season in 2016 was full of red flags. The biggest of course was the fact Sano was a strikeout machine as he posted a gross 36.0 K/9 rate which followed on the heels of his just as nasty 35.5 mark in his partial-year debut in 2015. The holes in Sano's swing can be as giant as the Grand Canyon and that means the .239 he hit last season will be the best we can expect in that department unless he gets some BABIP help. Yes the 25 home runs Sano hit were a very impressive number in just 437 at-bats last season but again the .239 average took more than a little shine away from the power. And without the power Sano is pretty much a nothing player as he only scored 57 runs and he has zero speed to speak of to help in steals. Yes 30 home runs and 100 RBI could happen as soon as this season but that comes at the expense of the other three standard categories. With an OBP of just .319 last season, Sano doesn't even get on base enough to boost his runs. Count me as a guy who will avoid Sano at all costs this season in fantasy baseball as limited power hitter such as this are a dime a dozen and simply not worth the trouble as a starter.
2017 PROJECTION: .235 27 HR 86 RBI 62 R 3 SB