Many of the top MLB free agents this winter have signed with new teams, and that means we should also be looking at which players made the right decisions and will be helping their fantasy values in 2014. There are some players who decided on the right team this off season, and while there is also a piece on free agent hitters who hurt their fantasy value, today we are looking at five MLB hitters who probably helped themselves the most in selecting a new team. These five players are the ones right now that have made the best decisions for their own future but for the futures of fantasy baseball owners everywhere. This list doesn’t include players who are still free agents as their value is still to be determined.
5 Free Agent Hitters With The Most To Gain
Shin-Soo Choo - OF, Texas Rangers
Choo has been an elite MLB talent for nearly a decade now and increased his fantasy baseball value even more last season with the Cincinnati Reds. He signed a big contract with the Rangers in the off season, and now moves to the top of the lineup for a loaded team in Texas. Choo walked 112 times last season and will be expected to do the same in 2014. He is likely in for a season where he hits around .285 with 20-25 home runs, 20-25 steals and the ability to score over 110 runs with the players around him in Texas. His stats were good last season, and are likely to rise even more in 2014.
Corey Hart - OF, Seattle Mariners
Hart didn’t play at all in 2013 for the Milwaukee Brewers and has now moved to the Seattle Mariners in free agency. Despite the injuries, Hart is an interesting case in 2014 to see what the Mariners really have in him. He will have Robinson Cano in front of him in the lineup, so that should allow Hart to get plenty of RBI chances. Nobody would be surprised if Hart were to hit around .265 with 25-30 home runs and 90-100 RBIs in the Seattle lineup in 2014. He has to stay healthy to do that, but he did move to a better situation with the Mariners in 2014 instead of an uncertain future in Milwaukee. He could be an interesting player to consider for your fantasy baseball drafts in 2014.
Jhonny Peralta - SS / 3B / OF, St. Louis Cardinals
Peralta did leave a very good situation with the Detroit Tigers this off season, but in St. Louis he should get the chance to move up in the batting order which could increase his stats. He hit 11 home runs in 107 games last season and was also suspended for 50 games due to PEDs. Peralta is too solid of a player to not hit 15-20 home runs and have 75-80 RBIs with Matt Holliday and Allen Craig behind him in the Cardinals’ order. He is a player that fantasy owners are going to want to consider getting earlier than expected in their fantasy baseball drafts in 2014, due to his offensive upside at a thin SS position, and hitting for a great team in St. Louis.
Justin Morneau - 1B, Colorado Rockies
There are always motives for players changing MLB teams. Morneau was in a bad situation for fantasy baseball purposes with the Minnesota Twins last season, and didn’t do much when he was traded to the Pittsburgh Pirates later in the year. He now moves to Colorado and should see a big jump in his overall production. In a lineup with Carlos Gonzalez and Troy Tulowitzki, and hitting in the friendly Colorado stadium, Morneau should finish with 20-25 home runs and 95-100 RBIs. His batting average likely won’t shatter records, but he will be a solid fantasy baseball player this season and one that will be better than he was last season for the Twins. Keep an eye on him as you start preparing for your 2014 drafts.
Raul Ibanez - OF, Los Angeles Angels
Ibanez may turn 42 during the 2014 season, but he still has a chance to be a great player in fantasy leagues. He hit 29 home runs last season with the Mariners, and now moves into a much more potent Angels’ lineup with Albert Pujols, Josh Hamilton and Mike Trout. If Ibanez gets a lot of playing time and doesn’t finish with 80-90 RBIs, it will be somewhat shocking. He is probably going to get 500-600 at-bats with Los Angeles, and should hit 25-30 home runs in the process. The move to LA will give Ibanez one more big season to help fantasy baseball owners on their quest for championships, and he shouldn't be very expensive on draft day.