Dynasty Fantasy Baseball: 10 Players to Buy Before Opening Day

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Christian Yelich, OF, Milwaukee Brewers

Christian Yelich ain't comin' cheap. Everybody and their mama knows his current situation with the Milwaukee Brewers is better than what it would have been had he stayed with the Miami Marlins. But he could be even better than they're expecting.

Yelich has traditionally been a contributor in four of the five categories for roto leagues, lacking upside in the dinger department. While he's not going to magically morph into Giancarlo Stanton in his move north, homers are much easier to come by in Milwaukee.

Marlins Park has a home-run park factor of 0.90 for left-handed batters, according to RotoGrinders' park factor handedness page, making it below average. Miller Park is 1.19, which is well above average. That alone should give Yelich a major boost.

But with Yelich's fly-ball rate being 25.2% last year, it's a legit question of whether or not he can exploit that. There are two reasons, though, that those fears could be overstated.

The first is that Yelich seemed to realize how terrible his home park was. Check out his batted-ball data at home the past three years compared to what he did when he was away from Marlins Park.

Past 3 Years Line-Drive Rate Ground-Ball Rate Fly-Ball Rate
At Home 20.3% 60.6% 19.1%
On Road 23.0% 55.4% 21.6%

His ground-ball rate was five percentage points lower on the road than it was at home. Considering how difficult it is to adjust your swing from one day to the next, that's a significant difference.

Yelich has known he will be in Milwaukee for several months now. That has given him time to potentially adjust to his new future home. If he were to swing with a more fly-friendly hack, it could alleviate the one negative in his fantasy game and make him a next-level stud.

At the same time, that's not a guarantee. In fact, Brewers general manager David Stearns said in February that Yelich's swing wasn't a result of his home park. So, what if Yelich's ground-ball rate doesn't go down?

Thankfully, we have some reasons for optimism there, too. Domingo Santana hit 30 dingers for the Brewers last year, and Ryan Braun did so in 2016. Neither of those guys had a fly-ball rate higher than 27.7% in the year they hit that mark. Jonathan Villar had 19 bombs in 2016 with a 24.1% fly-ball rate. This place is so juicy that you can boast solid numbers in those categories without lofting the ball every time you make contact. Yelich doesn't need to change his swing to send more balls over the fence.

Yelich is far from cheap, sitting 35th in FantasyPros' rankings. But buying high is justified when you believe the player could get better. That could very well be the case with Yelich as he enters his age-26 season, allowing us to test the waters and see what the price is now before it goes up.