TORONTO, CANADA - MAY 18: Aaron Hill #2 and Edwin Encarnacion #10 of the Toronto Blue Jays scramble to recover after a Edwin Encarnacion Error against the Tampa Bay Rays during MLB action at the Rogers Centre May 18, 2011 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Abelimages/Getty Images)
As many leagues are heading into either their playoffs or the final stretch run towards the championship, dynasty league owners who are playing for next season already are very likely looking forward to how their 2013 team will be constructed. However, one detail which has a tendency to be overlooked by fantasy owners are the positional eligibility of their players. While many owners will look forward to the day when a player qualifies at a weaker position, we sometimes ignore the players who may be losing a key position on their own list.
While the limits or positional eligibility for each league could be different, I discounted any player who has played 20 games at a position, as they will qualify in almost all formats. I've also included both the games played and games started counts for each of the players so you can take a look for your own format. All game counts are through Friday's games, courtesy of Baseball Reference.
Jose Bautista - 3B - 1 appearance, 0 starts
This is probably the biggest impact, as Bautista will be outfield only for all leagues next season. He still probably profiles as a top 30 player even without the 3B eligibility, but that definitely drops him out of 1st or even really 2nd round consideration when combined with his injury this year.
Edwin Encarnacion - 3B - 1 appearance, 1 start
Thankfully, Encarnacion has made 62 starts at first base, so he won't be just Utility only. However, slotting him in amongst the elite 1B will be a bit more difficult, as he will still be behind players like Miguel Cabrera, Albert Pujols, and Joey Votto, amongst others. If we knew he was going to have that 3B eligibility, you'd have to think about him in the first 2 rounds. However, since he won't I think he'll end up slotting somewhere in rounds 4 or 5 as of right now.
Kendrys Morales - 1B - 12 appearances, 12 starts
Morales has been the primary designated hitter for the Angels this year, so it's worth noting that if your league requires 20 appearances or 20 starts to keep the position for next season, Morales will likely be a UT-only in your league.
Mark Reynolds - 3B - 15 appearances, 13 starts
Reynolds's value drops even further off a cliff if he only ends up qualifying at 1B for next season. Definitely worth looking into before making a decision on him with the season he has had.
Emilio Bonifacio - 2B - 15 appearances, 14 starts
Bonifacio qualified at 2B, 3B and SS in some leagues (I know Yahoo for sure) in 2011, but will lose 3B and SS for sure, and could well make himself outfield only in some leagues as well. The speed will still play at any position, but having infield qualifications would have kept him a lot higher in rankings.
Others of Note:
Josh Donaldson - C (3 appearances) - While he was kind of an AL-only play to begin with, any player who has catcher eligibility while playing primarily at another position usually provides some interesting value.
Mark Trumbo - 1B (17 appearances) - Trumbo's value isn't really all that affected by being outfield only, but the flexibility was nice.
Michael Young - 2B (14 appearances), 3B (16 appearances) - The season has been so bad for Young that this is practically not worth discussing.
Kyle Seager - 2B (14 appearances) - Seager will be 3B eligible for 2013, but 2B seems like it could be a very shallow position and having Seager there could have helped.
Trevor Plouffe - 2B (4), SS (1), OF (17) - Plouffe qualifies at all of those positions this year in Yahoo leagues, but will likely be either 3B and OF only at most.
Mike Olt - 3B (3) - While Olt hasn't played enough games to qualify technically at any position, most leagues will have him qualified at the position he played the most. So unless he gets into a few more games at 3B over the last month than at 1B, he likely won't make it. He currently sits at 6 games at 1B, which would be his max at a position.