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Down the rabbit hole … top 60 outfielders

Welcome back.  After last weeks Casey’s top 40 we move on to the top 60.

Story time.

Wifey and I were eating at a Chinese place the other day and after consuming 37 days worth of sodium in one sitting I opened my fortune cookie.  My fortune read, “Which way you ought to go depends upon where you want to get to”.  Huh, I thought to myself, that’s kinda metaphorical as to drafting a fantasy baseball outfield.  With your outfield, like your fantasy baseball team as a whole, you’re trying to get to a nice balance between risk and reward, speed and power, homers and average, etc.  What I mean to say is, if you ended up with Bautista and Bradley you should be looking for average help with these next guys.   If you ended up with Cruz and Trumbo, you have to be looking steals.  You get the idea.  Also, the whole thing about wifey and I eating Chinese and me getting that fortune cookie is made up because I needed a lead-in here.  Never happened, FAKE NEWS, SAD!  Eating out for Chinese should have tipped you off to that.  Who eats at a Chinese restaurant?  That’s like making a reservation at Papa Johns.  That fortune cookie is actually a Lewis Carroll quote too.  I’m sneaking some culture in on you bitches.

Also, I am getting a lot of noise about the way I present the player line.  For the record it’s average/homeruns/steals/runs/RBIs.  That’s how it reads on the player pages I look at, so it’s easier for me to copy it that way.

Also also, these are February rankings.  They are going to change.  Speaking of which, let’s lead with Mr. Dahl.

HERE’S HOPING FOR 20/20

(40) David Dahl 

I have Dahl here at 40 in these rankings that I started a month ago because, much like the rest of the baseball world, I could not believe the Rockies signed Ian Desmond to play first base.  I thought Desmond would end up in the outfield with Blackmon and Cargo, i.e., not leaving room for Dahl.  It looks like Dahl, though, is going to start (and Desmond is going to play first?) after putting up a .315/7/5/42/24 line in 237 plate appearance last season.  He ran a .404 BABIP last year.  Even so, all projections I see have him around the .280 mark, which seems about right.  It’s a given that Dahl will move up in my rankings, it’s just a matter of how far.  Gotta think on that a bit.  A 23-year-old playing in Coors in a loaded lineup with 20/20 potential.  Awesome.  I fear he might be overdrafted though.  Time will tell.

 

BALTIMORE, MD - JULY 25: David Dahl #26 of the Colorado Rockies takes a swing in his first major league at bat in his debut during a baseball game against the Baltimore Orioles at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on July 25, 2016 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images)

(41) Kevin Kiermaier

Known for his glove, Kiermaier had a sneaky good season through 400 games last year, with 12 homers and 21 steals.  He did hit .246, but that was accompanied by a .278 BABIP which should come up a bit (he ran a .306 BABIP in ’14 and ’15) and put hiim in the .260 to .270 range. With the accompanying improvement in plate discipline from last year he could run an OBP north of .350.    The potential for a 20/35 season and hitting in the heart of Tampa Bay’s offense (albeit pretty shitty offense), has me kinda excited about this guy.  I’ll say .265/17/25/75/75 with more possible.  That’s pretty, pretty good for a guy thatis  being drafted around pick 200.  I think the glove has people thinking he is a slap hitter, he’s not.  If you’ve gone risk-heavy with your first outfielder, I’d be a little wary of Kiermaier.  He doesn’t barrel the ball up well and as a result makes a lot of soft contact.  Though there’s a chance for regression, my money is on a step forward.

YOU ALREADY HAVE AN OPINION ON THESE GUYS, SO MINE PROBABLY DOESN’T COUNT FOR MUCH

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - OCTOBER 25: Hunter Pence #8 of the San Francisco Giants makes a diving catch on a ball hit by Lorenzo Cain #6 of the Kansas City Royals in the ninth inning during Game Four of the 2014 World Series at AT&T Park on October 25, 2014 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

(42) Yasiel Puig

(43) Hunter Pence

(44) Kole Calhoun

(45) Marcel Ozuna

I am not sure if there is a player in the outfield with more divergence in the rankings than Puig.  I have seen Puig ranked in the 30s for outfielders all the way to the 70s.  I obviously am on the optimistic side. After a monster ’13 debut in which he slashed .319/.391/.534 Puig has gone nothing but down. This slide culminated in last year’s .263/11/5/45/45 line over 368 at-bats in an injury plagued season after a similar showing in ’15.  Why the optimism then?  Well, to me, projection systems likes ZIPs and Steamer often seem like the base that a player will produce; glass half empty if you will.  For Puig, ZIPs has a projection of .275/19/7/70/74 and Steamer .284/19/6/61/64.  That’s not going to set the world on fire, but that’s nice balance and serves as a great 3rd or 4th outfielder.  Assuming Steamer or ZIPs are correct, you’ll be happy.  If the Puig of ’13 or ’14 returns you have a borderline number 1 outfielder. Most shocking to me, Puig is entering his age 27 season.  Feels like he’s been around forever, no? Bottom line, I think the gamble here is worth it.  I don’t see a full on return to ’13’s numbers.  But a sorta repeat of ’14 seems reasonable to me, with a little less on the .356 BABIP from that year and a little more in the power department: .290/22/10/70/90 (I swapped the runs and RBIs from ’14 because it looks like Puig is going to hit 5th or 6th in the Dodgers underrated lineup).

Pence played in 162 games in ’13 and ’14 and 160 in ’12.  I am not sure he’s ever going to be that reliable after playing in only 106 and 52 games in ’15 and ’16, but I don’t really see him as huge an injury risk as the last two years might indicate.  The speed looks like its gone though.  He stole 1 bag last year on his way to a healthy 13 home runs and a nice, balanced 58 runs and 57 RBIs along with a .289 batting average in 442 at-bats.  A full season of Pence will likely bring a .280 average, 20 bombs, couple of steals, and 170 R/RBIs.  Calhoun looks like he tweaked his approach a bit last year to get on base in front of El Trout.  In ’15 he sold out for power (with 26 home runs) as his strikeout rate hit 24% and the average dipped to .256.  Last year the strikeout rate came back down to 17.6% and his walk rate jumped a bit with his average climbing to .271, but with only 18 homeruns.   Not sure who’ll show up this year, but .265/20/3/90/70 feels right.  In Ozuna‘s two fully healthy seasons in ’14 and ’16 he hit .269 and .266, 23 home runs, stole 5 and 0 bags, scored 72 and 75 runs, and drove in 76 and 85.  That’s not Adam Eaton creepy consistency, but close.  Let’s give him a projection of .267/23/3/73/80.  If you’re in need of stability in your 3rd or 4th outfielders, these guys will do.  As I said last week, sometimes boring wins championships.

Side note on Pence.  Not sure where the heckling thing originated, but I love it.

NOT SOLD, EXCEPT MAYBE ON DYSON DEPENDING UPON THE PRICE

(46) Miguel Sano

hamilton

(47) Billy Hamilton

(48) Jarrod Dyson (Yes, Jarrod Dyson)

 

 

 

 

I want to love Sano, I really do.  That power combined with the fact that he hits the ball so hard makes me want to love him.  If you draft Sano, though, you’re just betting that he’ll get lucky.  Let me ‘splain. Last year he put up a .236/25/1/57/68 line in 500 at-bats.  The power is there, but that’s it. He struck out 36% of the time last year.  He’s projected to strikeout 33% of the time this year.  That means that the average isn’t coming up much, if at all.  He needs luck then to hit over .250 or enough home runs to make him worth drafting.  I don’t see that happening so I’ll likely pass on an expected line of .240/30/1/70/70, given that his ADP is hovering around Piscotty’s and Cain’s.

So much has been made of Hamilton, so I will just leave you with two stats from last year 3 & 17. That’s how many home runs and RBIs he had last year.  If you draft him you’re digging holes in home runs and RBIs that I don’t think you will be able to dig out of.  Draft Dyson instead if you want a steals only approach.  Let’s look at Steamer real quick.  For Hamilton Steamer projects a .248/7/56/66/41 line in 572 at-bats, for Dyson it’s a .261/3/31/47/32 line in 396 at-bats.  BUT, Dyson looks like he’s going to be leading off for an underrated Seattle offense so lets give him another 150 at-bats, 15 more steals, and a couple more homers.  Looks pretty similar, no?  Per fantasypros.com aggregate ADP data, Dyson is going at pick 244.  Hamilton at 68.  For a gap of 10 or 15 steals …  You picking up what I am putting down here?

I LIKE THESE GUYS

(49) David Peralta

skeptic

David Peralta in the top 50 …

(50) Adam Duvall

(51) Randall Grichuk

(52) Domingo Santana

(53) Carlos Gomez

Hear me out on Peralta.  At this point in your draft or for this price at an auction, it’s hard to find any player that can contribute in all five categories.  I think Peralta can do just that.  I’m going to cherry-pick, as Peralta dealt with a wrist injury last year leading me to ignore ’16.  On that note, we’ll check in on Peralta’s health in our re-rankings to ensure he’s good to go.  Anyway, in his only full season in the bigs, Peralta put up a .312/17/9/61/78 line over 517 at-bats.  He does that over 600 at-bats and you’ve got a top-25 outfielder.  Although the .368 BABIP looks out of line, the year prior Peralta put up a .286 average with a .328 BABIP to go with 8 home runs and 6 steals over 348 at-bats.  Not sure he’ll ever get to 600 at-bats as the lefty is likely to run a bit of a platoon.  That’s fine for me, give me his career .310/.356/.517 slash line against righties and I’ll find another outfielder to play when Peralta faces a tough lefty.  He’s not spring chicken coming into his age 30 season, but he looks like he’ll hit in the heart of the D’Backs order in a bang box of a stadium around Goldschmidt and Pollock.  Gimme .285/20/8/75/75 in 500 at-bats, with fingers crossed for a fully healthy season.

Duvall and Grichuk are all about the power.  .250+ ISO, that’s what you’re going to get here.  An average hovering around .245, 30 homeruns.  Go in expecting that and you’re good.  Both will even throw in a few steals for you.  For me, it’s a coin flip between the two.  Grichuk has a bit more upside in terms of his profile and had a hell of a run in the last two months last year with 12 homeruns, but the Reds suck and Duvall will be in the meat of the order all year leading to better counting stats.  If you really want upside, try Santana.  Dude’s exit velocity sits right behind Miguel Cabrera and Nelson Cruz and right in front of Stanton.  He strikes out too much, right around a third of his plate appearances, but he has a good eye, running a walk rate of 11.4% last year.  Little speed too.  In only 281 at-bats last year, he put up a .256/11/2/34/32 line.  With a full season and a little more polish, I could see a .250/25/7/80/80 line for Santana.  A little less power than Duvall and Grichuk, but a little more upside too.

Gomez was hard-fart-in-church awful last year with the Astros to the tune of a .210 average over 323 at-bats to go with 5 homers and 13 steals.  He found his stroke again though with the Rangers putting up a .284 average with 8 home runs and 5 steals over 130 at-bats.  I don’t foresee a return to the 20/40 guy we saw in ’12 through ’14 or for Gomez to do what he did in the final month with the Rangers over the full course of a season, but ZIPs and Steamer have him in the high teens in homers and with 20 steals.  That’s a fine base if you’re looking for a little balance.  If I am light on steals and Gomez is on the board for my pick, I’ll likely cross my fingers and hope he’s not dead yet.

REAL LIFE AWESOME, FANTASY AIGHT

(54) Nomar Mazarabuxton

(55) Andrew Bennininnentninttenendi

(56) Byron Buxton

I fear that with this group of gentlemen, the fact that they’re so young and so talented and such have bright futures is clouding the fact that they won’t be that useful on your fake baseball team.  I will take the plunge if the price is right, but I get the sense that these guys are going to be sniped early in drafts by that fedora wearing guy who drafts all the hot prospects, brags about it after the draft, then stops playing after three weeks when he realizes his teams sucks.  You know the guy.  That guys sucks.  Trout and Harper are generational talents, i.e., guys come on the scene and do what they did once in a generation.  Guys like Nomar, Byron, and Buxton will be studs one day, I am sure.  I just don’t think that day is coming in ’17.  Is there a chance that we re-read this in September and one of these guys makes me look like an idiot.  Of course.  I hope so, in fact.

Don’t forget the risk here though.  Everyone expects linear growth for these guys and I think there is a fair chance of some stumbles as the league adjusts to them and they are forced to adjust back.  So, although Mazara’s projection looks a lot like Ozuna’s, I trust Ozuna more because he’s done what he’s done on a consistent basis.

ZIPS has a line of .268/22/0/62/72 for Mazara.  That’s flippin’ amazing for a 21-year old in the MLB. Not so amazing for fantasy.  Useful, yes, but not amazing.

Bennnininteninendi had a 120 WRC+ as a 22 year-old.  That’s crazy good.  He also had only 2 home runs and 1 steal over 120 at-bats.  Steamer sees 12/13 for next year.  Again, useful, but don’t come out expecting Shane Victorino in his prime.

Buxton hit 9(!) home runs and ran an OPS with a 1 to the left of the decimal point in September last year.  Holy shit, he’s gonna hit 40 and steal 40 next year.  No, he’s not.  He ran an OPS in his prior 300 at bats right around the .600 mark.  That’s terrible.  Like really terrible.  I could see a 20/20 season from the former number one prospect, but with a .240 average.  Remember, dude struck out 35.6%(!) of the time last year.  I will go for it in some leagues, but I am not paying top dollar for the former top prospect.

I HAVE A SICK ONE YEAR OLD AND THESE GUYS ARE BORING A FUUUUUG, BUT BORING IN A BAD WAY NOT BORING IN A WIN CHAMPIONSHIPS WITH STEADINESS KINDA WAY

(57) Ben Zobrist

(58) Dexter Fowler

(59) Ender Inciarte

I have written three articles to this point and there is always a tier that I just really don’t want to write about.  This is that tier this time around.  I have said a couple times now that boring sometimes wins championships.  These guys aren’t that type of boring.  To me, they’re the type of boring where you think you’re drafting someone solid from Ramirez/Eaton tier from last week, but you’re not.  You’re drafting from the pseudo-safe tier that loses you championships because although they’re boring safe/consistent/great real ballplayers, I can tell from your gut and the bag of cheetos next to your keyboard that you’re not playing real baseball.

For Zobrist, Steamer has a line of .269/13/5/69/58.  That looks right outside of a dozen or so more runs, and I want that line nowhere near any of my teams.  I don’t expect a repeat of last year as I expect more off days for Zobrist to keep him healthy and give Baez some at-bats.

Fowler has a .255/12/14/79/50 projection.  Ew.  That’s a homer and a steal every two weeks.

Everything went right for Inciarte last year and he ended with a .291/3/16/85/29 line.  So, your best case scenario is a .290 average, 3 home runs, about 20 steals and around 110 runs/RBIs.  Nah.

Like I said, kid is sick so I have to run.  We’re going to cut it one short again this week because that’s how the tiers broke out.  We’ll talk Michael Brantley and among others next week.

Till next time.

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Major League Fantasy Football 2017 League Openings

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Major League Fantasy Baseball Radio Show: Join Corey D Roberts, and Kyle Amore live on Sunday March 26th, 2017 from 7-9pm EST for episode #80 of Major League Fantasy Baseball Radio. We are a live broadcast that will take callers at 323-870-4395. Press 1 to speak with the host. This week we will discuss players in the draft going for nice bargains.

Our guest this week is Steve Hamilton. Steve is a writer, and editor with majorleaguefantasysports.com focusing on baseball. His articles publish every Saturday.

You can find our shows on I-Tunes. Just search for Major League Fantasy Sports in the podcasts section. For Android users go to “Podcast Republic,” then download that app, and search for “Major League Fantasy Sports Show”

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Major League Fantasy Baseball Radio Show: Join Corey D Roberts, and Kyle Amore live on Sunday April 2nd, 2017 from 7-9pm EST for episode #81 of Major League Fantasy Baseball Radio. We are a live broadcast that will take callers at 323-870-4395. Press 1 to speak with the host. OPENING DAY SPECIAL! We will discuss some of the days events as well as relevant fantasy baseball updates.

Our guests this week are Ron Shandler, and Bilal Chaudry. Ron is FSTA Hall of Famer, and one of the pioneers of fantasy baseball. You can find his work at ronshandler.com. Bilal is a veteran owner in Major League Fantasy Baseball leagues and frequent radio guest.

You can find our shows on I-Tunes. Just search for Major League Fantasy Sports in the podcasts section. For Android users go to “Podcast Republic,” then download that app, and search for “Major League Fantasy Sports Show”

I have been playing fantasy baseball for about a decade over just about every format. Long time player, but first time writer. Hope to provide you helpful, informative, and entertaining insight throughout the season.

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