Most fantasy baseball sites require 20 games at a position to be eligible for next season. There are a lot of players that will be eligible in different positions in 2017.
Fantasy baseball is a lot different from the other fantasy sports. In football, if a running back lines up at wide receiver for 10 games, he can’t be put in your wide receiver slot in the 11th week. The same goes for basketball or hockey. This is why fantasy baseball is very strategic. A second baseman can gain third base eligibility halfway through the season and change the landscape of someone’s lineup.
With all of the possible flexibility throughout the season, whether it’s because of injury or defensive alignment, players will gain or lose position eligibility with ease. Here are some players’ eligibility to watch for entering next season.
Kyle Schwarber – Chicago Cubs
Schwarber started this season with catcher and outfield eligibility. This season, the Cubs were looking to transition him into the outfield, but that was cut short when he tore his ACL and LCL in his left knee.
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He only played two games in left field before the injury. As a result, he will be only outfield eligible next season. Some fantasy baseball sites may do things a little differently, but the majority of sites require 20 games played at a position to be eligible the following season. If no position reaches 20, then it’s the highest amount of games played.
In Schwarber’s case, that will be the outfield. If he can come back healthy for 2017, then he’ll rank pretty highly in my off-season outfield rankings. The catcher pool has a lot of talent, but losing Schwarber is big. And for all you hopefuls that think he could get it back during the season, I don’t think that’s going to happen.
Jurickson Profar – Texas Rangers
The Rangers have a lot of flexibility in their real life lineup. The team signed Ian Desmond, a true shortstop, and moved him to the outfield because they have Elvis Andus at shortstop. He’ll be outfield only next season, but that’s not who I’m talking about here.
Profar has played pretty much all over the infield for the Rangers. He is eligible at first, second and third base. He is close to getting shortstop and outfield eligibility for this season, but will likely not get close enough for it to transfer over to next season.
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Speaking of 2017, Profar could only be first base eligible next season. Adrian Beltre is still at third base, Rougned Odor is playing well at second base and we already have shortstop covered. With Prince Fielder done and Mitch Moreland having an up-and-down season, Profar is the only one left to take over first, unless they call someone up.
If that is the case, I won’t have Profar in my top-20 first basemen. His current Player Rater value wouldn’t even have him in the top 50.
Jose Ramirez – Cleveland Indians
Ramirez is another player with multi-position eligibility. He is currently eligible at second base, third base, shortstop and outfield. He is hitting very well, .318 average with 63 runs, eight home runs, 51 RBI and 17 steals. Having those numbers able to be slotted in many different positions can help you a lot.
Next season, though, things will be a little different. He reached at least 20 games in third base and outfield. With the depth at each position, Ramirez could get lost in the shuffle come draft day.
Third base is filled with power hitters and outfield has a combination of both speed and power guys. Ramirez is obviously a contact and speed player and will see his ADP drastically go up, but by how much?
There are plenty of other hitters that will lose some eligibility, too. Josh Harrison will be second base only. Javier Baez will be second and third base. Daniel Murphy is second base only, but needs just five more games to gain first base, too.
Position eligibility is a major factor when drafting a team. If someone, like a Profar or Baez, can be slotted in multiple positions, that gives your roster more flexibility to construct the best possible lineup. Keep track of where a hitter plays in the field over the next six weeks as it could change your rankings for next season.