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Lesser-Known MLB Players Who Will Have Breakthrough Years in 2017

Each season, we are treated to a handful of out-of-nowhere breakout performances from around Major League Baseball as lesser-known players become significant contributors.

Position players like Aledmys Diaz (STL), Adam Duvall (CIN), Jake Lamb (ARI), Brad Miller (TB), Trevor Story (COL) and Jonathan Villar (MIL) were good examples this past season.

Previewing 10 Heated MLB Position Battles After Pile of 2016 Offseason Moves

Not only are we still in the year 2016, but we also haven't even gotten past the holidays yet. Spring training is but a glimmer on the Major League Baseball horizon.

And yet, I can already make out some of the position battles people will be talking about.

While there's still plenty of hot stove wheeling and dealing for the league to take care of, enough has gone down to highlight positions that are settled and positions that are not. Let's focus our attention on the latter and preview 10 position battles that figure to be the most heated come spring training.

Fact or Fiction on All of Week 8's Hottest MLB Free-Agency, Trade Rumors

Normally, the week before Christmas is a busy time in baseball, with teams looking to finish up deals with free agents and complete trades before the game goes on an unofficial hiatus until we ring in the new year.

That hasn't been the case in 2016, leaving us with a rumor mill that's bursting at the seams with speculation about the immediate futures of some big names. 

MLB Trade Ideas Based on Latest Offseason Week 8 News, Rumors and Speculation

Week after week, we take the juiciest trade rumors and speculation making the rounds on MLB's rumor mill and try to concoct deals that make sense for both teams. Unfortunately, not every rumor lends itself to such an endeavor.

Fact or Fiction on All of Week 7's Hottest MLB Free-Agency, Trade Rumors

What do baseball's rumor mill and winter storm Decima have in common? Both are running roughshod across the country and it's anyone's guess as to how much of what they're spitting out is actually going to stick.

Can a team ever have too many outfielders? Is it a former All-Star closer's destiny to wind up in Washington, D.C.? Can two big market teams really be out of spending cash?

Hopefully our predictions are more accurate than your local meteorologist's as we'll hit on all that and more in this week's edition of Fact or Fiction.

MLB Trade Ideas Based on Latest Offseason Week 7 News, Rumors and Speculation

While some MLB teams are taking a wait-and-see approach as they ponder making a run at some of the more high-profile free agents who remain unsigned—a list that includes Jose Bautista, Edwin Encarnacion and Mark Trumbo—others are busy working the phones in an attempt to bolster their rosters via trades.

Impact MLB Deals That Will Still Go Down Before the New Year

The annual winter meetings provided the MLB world with plenty of excitement, but there's still work to be done this offseason.

MLB Free Agents 2017: Rumors and Predictions for Top Available Players

It's hardly a surprise that the winter meetings have been notable for trades, both finalized and speculative, because this year's free-agent market features more questions than immediate answers. 

Yoenis Cespedes did take some of the drama out of this week by re-signing with the New York Mets early, though it never felt like another significant team was in the sweepstakes for him. 

Top MLB Prospects Left Exposed in 2016 Rule 5 Draft

From Roberto Clemente (1954) to Johan Santana (1999), some special players have found their way to the big leagues through MLB's Rule 5 draft. As usual, this year's iteration represents the last major event of the annual winter meetings, and it is scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. ET Thursday.

How does it all work? Who is eligible? Here's everything you need to know, courtesy of's Jonathan Mayo:

MLB Rumors: Hottest Trade Rumors Entering Winter Meetings 2016

The 2016 Major League Baseball winter meetings will run from Sunday through Thursday in National Harbor, Maryland, and trade buzz is picking up as general managers get ready to intensify discussions regarding some of the sport's biggest names.

From All-Star starting pitchers to game-changing outfielders, there are plenty of enticing names circulating in advance of hot-stove season.


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