A player’s eligibility is a huge factor in evaluating their price or draft status. All else being equal, a 20 home run outfielder is very different from a 20 home run shortstop. Of course, from this season to next there will be a number of hitters losing specific position eligibility, and thus their value takes a dip as well. The season is not yet over so these could change, but as of right now, we’re losing a lot of third base eligible players.
A few quick notes:
- The players are separated into their respective divisions. The following is not every player losing eligibility, just those most fantasy relevant.
- I’m using Yahoo! eligibility rather than CBS or ESPN not because of any specific fondness, but Yahoo! has the most lax requirements at 10 games appeared or five games started.
- I considered splitting up center field specific players from the general outfield, however in standard leagues no such distinction exists.
- All these players can be plugged into a utility spot, so when I say outfield only, I’m implying UTIL as well.
American League East
Hanley Ramirez, Red Sox — SS/OF this season, OF in 2016. He’ll be playing his age-32 season and is currently hitting a less-than-thrilling .262/.302/.446 line. That’s more than adequate from a shortstop, but unless Hanley can post a stronger walk rate and BABIP, his power alone will make for a tougher play in the outfield.
Xander Bogaerts, Red Sox — SS/2B this season, SS in 2016. Keeping the shortstop option is more important than the second base option, but losing a bit of flexibility always hurts. I don’t foresee this hurting his draft or keeper stock.
Chris Davis, Orioles — 1B/3B/OF this season, 1B/OF in 2016. The hot corner was fairly deep this season, but next year will shallow out some due to the loss of Davis and others. He doesn’t maintain first and outfield flexibility, but as mentioned, those are the deepest positions.
Jimmy Paredes, Orioles — 2B/3B this season, 2B in 2016. Same thing as above, but Paredes has seen his playing time at second all but disappear in recent weeks. He seems like a designated hitter option with MI eligibility next year.
John Jaso, Rays — C this season, UTIL/OF in 2016. Technically Jaso has only started four games in the outfield this season, but he’s been injured for the majority of the year. I can’t see him not getting his final start in the OF to become eligible.
American League Central
Miguel Cabrera, Tigers — 1B/3B this season, 1B in 2016. As mentioned with the Davis blurb above, third base gets shallow next year. As a strictly first baseman and as someone coming off of injury, Cabrera’s likely price make him a tough keeper.
Ben Zobrist, Royals — SS/2B/OF this season, 2B/OF in 2016. Losing a shortstop is never fun, however Zobrist’s enjoyed a nice bounce-back year at the plate. If he can maintain the same level of hitting next year, his bat will play in the outfield or of course second.
American League West
Luis Valbuena, Astros — 1B/2B/3B this season, 1B/3B in 2016. Dang, by now you probably are aware of my fondness of middle infielders who can slug, and Valbuena fits that profile this year. Next year? His low average and on-base percentage hurt him at third and makes him a very difficult play at first.
Chris Carter, Astros — 1B/OF this season, 1B in 2016. Just like Valbuena, Carter has poor rate stats but undeniable power. I’m not sure I’d play him in 10-teamers, but his upside is still valuable in standard 12-teamers, even solely at first.
Stephen Vogt, Athletics — C/1B/OF this season, C/1B in 2016. Utilizing Vogt at the catcher option is clearly the most valuable way of getting his bat in the lineup, though the corner infield option is always nice.
Brad Miller, Mariners — SS/2B/OF this season, SS/OF in 2016. Miller can keep his 2B option if he makes two more starts this season, so fingers crossed on that. Still, maintaining the SS is more important than his second or outfield option.
National League East
Odubel Herrera, Phillies — SS/2B/OF this season, OF in 2016. Oof, this one hurts, particularly because I have some Herrera stock, partly because losing both short and second base really hurts his value. Between his .368 BABIP and singular outfield option, I don’t plan to hang onto Herrera in my deep leagues.
National League Central
Pedro Alvarez, Pirates — 1B/3B this season, 1B in 2016. Before trading for Aramis Ramirez, I could have seen Alvarez getting a handful of starts at the hot corner and maybe being available there again next season, but alas, no such luck.
National League West
Yasmani Grandal, Dodgers — C/1B this season, C in 2016. Meh, losing the first base option is such a big deal. I can’t really see a situation where Grandal isn’t kept due to “only” being eligible at catcher.
Matt Duffy, Giants — SS/2B/3B this season, 2B/3B in 2016. Another quality player, but again, losing the shortstop option is never a good time. Duffy can stick at the keystone, but I’d like to see a few more home runs before I use him as my primary third baseman.