1. A.J. Pollock receives first-place MVP votes
Pollock put together a season for the ages in 2015. In 157 games and 673 plate appearances, he slashed .315/.367/.498 with a .371 wOBA and 131 wRC+. He hit 20 home runs, scored 111 runs, and stole 39 bases in 46 attempts. That offense, combined with his elite center field defense and base-running, netted him 6.5 WAR — fifth-best total in the National League. Pollock’s 2015 production wasn’t a fluke: in 75 games and 287 plate appearances the previous season, he hit a similar .302/.353/.498 with a .372 wOBA and 134 wRC+. 2016, however, was a lost season for Pollock, who missed most of the year due to a broken elbow. Entering 2017, he’s only 29 years old and he appears to be healthy. Assuming good health, he’s certainly capable of putting up MVP numbers.
Much was made of Turner’s spectacular big league debut in 2016, and rightfully so. The rookie slashed .342/.370/.567 with 13 home runs and 33 steals in just 73 games and 324 plate appearances. Turner’s performance, however, was buoyed by an unsustainable .388 BABIP. While his skill set lends itself to higher-than-average BABIP’s, it’s expected to land somewhere closer to .350 in 2017, bringing his likely batting average down below .300. What’s more, his minor league track record suggests that he may not crack 15 home runs all year, despite nearly reaching that total in half a season like he did in 2016. Turner, 23, is one of the most exciting fantasy players around, especially since he’s eligible at shortstop, second base, and outfield. However, because substantial regression is expected, there’s another young shortstop in St. Louis who could easily be the superior offensive weapon in 2017 and beyond. Read the rest of this entry »