Fantasy Baseball: 10 Players Who Surprised Us in 2017
Yonder Alonso, 1B, Seattle Mariners
Preseason ADP: 548.43
Remember how low Zunino's preseason ADP was? Well, take that 277.42 number, double it, and you'll land in the neighborhood of where first baseman Yonder Alonso was getting taken. He was essentially free to anyone who wanted him, but once again, it made sense.
First base in fantasy baseball is basically synonymous with power. And with homers being more common than ever before in baseball -- with first base following that narrative -- Alonso's past track record made him an afterthought for many. He had hit just 39 home runs through his first 2,343 plate appearances and was heavy on the ground balls.
Heading into 2017, though, he decided it was time to change his approach and become part of the fly-ball revolution, which paid off immensely (probably like it will this winter in free agency). He nearly doubled his career homer production in one season, needing just 521 plate appearances to slug 28 dingers to go along with a .266/.365/.501 triple slash and 132 wRC+. It only took him until May 9th to set a new single-season career high.
He did slow down a bit after the All-Star break -- his ISO dropped from .287 in the first half to .166 in the second half -- but the overall progress was crystal clear. His 33.9% ground-ball rate was a drastic decrease from the 44.1% mark he posted in 2016, and that difference basically went completely to his fly-ball rate, which rose from 33.3% to 43.2%.