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Five Hitters Who Changed Scenes: Fantasy Baseball Impact

The MLB offseason got off to an extremely slow start but has begun to pick up speed in recent weeks. We've seen many former All-Stars and power hitters alike sign with or get traded to different teams. So, it begs the question: What are the implications of these moves for the player, their new club, and your fantasy team?

Sometimes joining a new organization can prove to be a huge difference-maker for a player. A fresh start and a change of scenery can work wonders, especially if their new ballpark is hitter-friendly. A few of the players on this list have had their new homes treat them well in the past, so it stands to reason that they'll continue to find success there.

Let's take a deeper look at how rocking new threads will elevate each of these players' games and perhaps give their teams an extra boost in the standings. And of course, examine how they can fit into your upcoming draft strategy and benefit your team.

Be sure to check all of our fantasy baseball waiver wire pickups and weekly lineup resources:


Jorge Polanco, 2B, Seattle Mariners

A five-player trade between the Twins and Mariners took place on Monday, Jan. 29, that sent longtime Minnesota second baseman Jorge Polanco to Seattle in a deal headlined by pitcher Anthony DeSclafani. The M's were in desperate need of a second baseman, a position they've failed to lock down since the days of Robinson Cano. Both Adam Frazier and Kolten Wong didn't pan out in their middle infield but reportedly have immense hope that Polanco will be the answer.

In 10 years with the Twins, the 30-year-old produced a .780 OPS with 112 home runs and 447 RBI. His best season came in 2021 when he posted career-highs in homers (33) and RBI (98) across 644 plate appearances. His most recent campaign in 2023 saw him slash .255/.335/.454, but injuries limited him to just 80 games. Now, the Dominican switch hitter is leaving the only ballclub he's ever known coming off of a relatively down year looking to add some pop to Seattle's lineup.

Mariners second basemen produced a line of just .205/.294/.313 in 2023, and Polanco is projected by ATC to bat .256/.334/.439 in 2024 with 20 homers and 67 RBI. Plus, he has a fairly decent track record at T-Mobile Park, boasting a .921 OPS across 32 PA in Seattle. RotoBaller ranks Polanco 26th among second basemen, 254th among all qualified players, and has an ADP of 267.5; these ranks might have been higher had it not been for his unfortunate injury history, something fantasy managers should be wary of.


Rhys Hoskins, 1B, Milwaukee Brewers

2023 saw a big change on the diamond for the Philadelphia Phillies. Bryce Harper began the season on the injured list, still rehabbing from offseason Tommy John surgery, and Rhys Hoskins suffered a torn ACL in spring training that ultimately sidelined him for the entire year.

Harper eventually returned to the Phillies' lineup sooner than anticipated and took over first-base duties once he was cleared to do so. With the club electing to keep Harper at first base long-term and Kyle Schwarber expected to serve as the primary DH, it left Philly no choice but to move on from Hoskins. He signed a two-year, $34 million deal with the Brewers on Jan. 24.

So, what is Milwaukee getting in Hoskins? The soon-to-be 31-year-old is streaky. He can resemble the best hitter on the planet one week and be an automatic out the next. But the fact of the matter is that Hoskins possesses tremendous power. He hit 148 home runs during his six seasons with the Phillies, most recently a 30-homer campaign in 2022 along with 33 doubles, 79 RBI, and 72 walks.

He's also known to strikeout, though, fanning 169 times in 672 plate appearances. But after losing power-hitting first baseman Rowdy Tellez to the Pittsburgh Pirates this offseason, Hoskins' bat was a much-needed addition to Milwaukee's lineup.

Of course, it remains to be seen how much of an offensive impact Hoskins will have after missing all of last year and just returning from a major injury while adjusting to his new digs. He is currently being drafted as the 20th first-base eligible player at around pick No. 206. ATC is projecting a .789 OPS and a .340 wOBA from Hoskins in 2023, both of which are well below his career .845 OPS and .360 wOBA.


Teoscar Hernandez, OF, Los Angeles Dodgers

While the Shohei Ohtani and Yoshinobu Yamamoto signings stole the show, the Dodgers have made a plethora of moves this offseason. One that could prove to be small yet significant is the addition of Teoscar Hernandez. The 31-year-old signed a one-year, $23.5 million deal with Los Angeles on Jan. 12.

Hernandez was an All-Star and two-time Silver Slugger with the Blue Jays from 2020-21 but saw a decline in production after being traded to the Mariners, hence why Seattle was comfortable letting him walk. Hernandez did add 29 doubles, 26 home runs, and 93 RBI in 2023, but walked just 38 times and struck out a whopping 211 times across 678 PA. During his All-Star season in 2021, Hernandez produced a .870 OPS along with career-highs in home runs (32) and RBI (116) and a career-low in strikeouts with 148 but in fewer appearances.

He doesn't have much experience in his new home ballpark, Dodger Stadium, but slotting a power-hitting right-handed outfielder into the mix -- something Los Angeles has lacked -- should make them even more dangerous. With Ohtani, Mookie Betts, and Freddie Freeman operating as the Dodgers' "big three," players like Hernandez and fellow offseason acquisition Manuel Margot are bonuses to an already-stacked lineup.

Outside of Julio Rodriguez, the Mariners lacked star power and likely expected Hernandez to step into that role, but that didn't really come to fruition. Perhaps with lower expectations Hernandez can return to his All-Star form, which would be great for Los Angeles, but bad for the rest of the league. RotoBaller ranks him 33rd among outfielders, 146th among all qualified players, and has an ADP of 163.5.


Jarred Kelenic, OF, Atlanta Braves

Jarred Kelenic has arrived to haunt the Mets. That's right, the former first-round pick of New York has joined the NL East as a member of the Braves. Selected sixth overall in 2018, the 24-year-old hasn't quite met expectations. For the first two seasons of his career, he posted an abysmal .168/.251/.338 slash line with 21 home runs, 60 RBI, and 167 strikeouts across 147 games. Between injuries and flip-flopping between the majors and Triple-A, he could never quite find his footing. Kelenic was beginning to look like a bust.

At the beginning of the 2023 season, though, Kelenic seemed to have finally figured it out. He slugged .615 with seven home runs, seven doubles, and 14 RBI during April. He continued that success through May, but then it all came crashing down. Kelenic batted .173 through 22 games in June, and in July, broke his foot kicking a water cooler in the dugout. He was activated on Sept. 11, a bit too late to help the Mariners in their postseason push. I suppose that was all Seattle needed to see from Kelenic before shipping him off to Atlanta along with Marco Gonzales and Evan White on Dec. 3.

A fresh start could be just what Kelenic needs to have a breakthrough. He had been a member of the Mariners organization since 2018 and was traded for one of the most elite closers in baseball in Edwin Diaz.

Perhaps that looming pressure affected his performance. Like Hernandez, Kelenic won't have to be the star in Atlanta -- that's what Ronald Acuna Jr., Matt Olson, and Austin Riley are for. Kelenic has shown signs that he's still capable of producing at the major league level, and luckily for him, the Braves are one of the best in the business at awakening power in players.

Just look at Sean Murphy, who produced career-highs in home runs (21), RBI (68), and OPS (.844) in his first year with Atlanta. RotoBaller currently ranks Kelenic 49th among outfielders and 214th overall with an ADP of 220.5.


Tyler O'Neill, OF, Boston Red Sox

After six seasons with the Cardinals, 28-year-old Tyler O'Neill is shipping up to Boston. He was acquired by the Red Sox via trade in December, thus ending his career in St. Louis. O'Neill is an intriguing pickup for the BoSox, and could perhaps add some power to a lineup that otherwise lacks it.

He's just two years removed from a 34-homer campaign, in which he also put up a .912 OPS across 138 games -- all career-highs. In the two seasons that followed, however, O'Neill hit just 23 home runs and added a .229/.310/.397 batting line amid a slew of injuries. Not quite what the Cards were hoping for.

He will now join a new team in the hyper-competitive AL East that's hoping his power hasn't completely vanished. O'Neill has played limited games at Fenway Park during his career, but he's batted .500 with a home run and a double in 13 PA. And of course, it's no secret that the Green Monster loves power-hitting right-handed bats, so he should adjust quite nicely to his new home.

It's not impossible but unlikely that O'Neill will eclipse 34 home runs again, but even if he's able to produce 15-20 in 2024, it would greatly benefit the Red Sox. Three out of the six players who hit at least 10 homers for Boston last year are either free agents or on a different team, meaning they'll need to replace that production somehow. ATC is projecting O'Neill to hit 26 home runs and add 76 RBI in 2024. RotoBaller ranks him 53rd among outfielders and 226th overall with an ADP of 122.

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