“Dead Eye Gunner” Top Fantasy Outfielders for 2015 (31-60) (Part 2 of 3)
Welcome to the second installment of my best outfielders series. The article before this, I ranked the top 30 players in the outfield, while giving good analysis on their placement. In today’s article we will be taking a look at the rankings from 31-60. While most of the top 30 in my rankings will be drafted in the early and mid rounds, it is time to look to late round steals or players to solidify your outfield. Baseball is a marathon and having a complete outfield is important, so this next set of players is where the hard points are scored that are needed to have a winning season. With fewer surprises than the previous article, there is still going to be a few players who crept their way into this ranking and a few who slid out.
31- Justin Upton, SD, LF – Having a good year last year, Upton hit the second most HR in his career. He is now sitting in San Diego, in one of the worst statistical hitting ballparks in all of baseball. Match that with a completely new lineup and I am very cautious about picking Upton very high in the draft. While he does have the opportunity to greatly prove me wrong, the thought that he could flop in San Diego his first year to me is a big concern. Upton is coming into his prime; he has more concerns for me than positives at this point in regards to the park and lineup.
32- Matt Holliday, STL, LF – Staying quite consistent over his long career, Holliday is about to turn 35 years old. That is the age where we have typically seen the start of the back side of a player’s time in the MLB. Holliday has dropped in HR and RBI production over the past three seasons. In 2013, he saw a spike in his slash line but dropped a bit in 2014. I see a downward trend continuing for him and, with the addition of Heyward, he might even get a few extra days off this year with a few other options to use. Holliday is worth the shot later in the draft if you still have a hole or two in the outfield.
33- Alex Gordon, KC, LF– Mr. Gold Glove last year, if I was making this ranking on overall play and not just fantasy value, Gordon would be a bit higher. Gordon is a great player, but when it comes to his bat it is middle tier. Staying around low 20s for HR when he has played full seasons, Gordon usually keeps around 60-80 RBI on his stat line. Being such a consistent player, if you get the chance to draft him look for more of the same as he did last year. Gordon should help in OBP leagues, so if you score that stat he could be a special stat guy for you.
34- Gregory Polanco, PIT, RF– Gregory Polanco is the young stud in Pittsburgh`s outfield. Polanco has maintained a consistent, steady, hot bat through the minors. Last year, between AAA and the show, he ended up with 14 HR and over 70 RBI. I very much expect that bat to continue going forward. He shouldn’t end up being much of a power bat until maybe later in his prime. Being as young as he is with his potential, he will be worth a later pick especially for dynasty start-ups.
35- Wil Myers, SD, LF – The Rookie of the Year not too long ago now bats in the Padres lineup. Myers was the last part of their new outfield this off-season, and all three players are on this list. Myers is the last of which to be ranked, and here he sits at #35. With power for days and a good eye at the plate, Wil has the potential to be the best bat in their lineup. I do have concerns for all of the new bats coming into Petco, but being younger than the others, his transition might be a bit more difficult. Match that with the fact all of his stats from 2013-2014 dropped and some quite a bit, including his BA from .293 to .222 and while only playing one less game. I don’t think his rookie year was a fluke, but if it was, he will see an even further drop in his stats this year.
36- Mark Trumbo, ARZ, LF– After his move last year from LA to Arizona, his stats and games played took a huge hit. Since his first full season, he has never played less than 140 games, and last year was the first time it had happened. In just the 80 games he played in last season, his stats were not convincing going forward into this year. With just 14 HR and a .235 BA, if Trumbo doesn’t improve, he may be ranked too high on this list. Arizona is going through a rebuilding phase, and luckily for him he seems to be a key part in their team. Beware of his drop in stats last year compared to the previous years. The team and his fantasy owners hope Trumbo should be back healthy and ready to go.
37- Charlie Blackmon, COL, RF – The last piece in the Rockies outfield is Blackmon. Last year, in his first full MLB season, he did not disappoint with 19 HR, 70+ RBI and 28 SB. Blackmon was one of the bigger surprises last year in fantasy baseball considering each of the past three years he had been up and down between the minors and the show. As good as he was, it was still the first time he had stayed in the show all year-long. I am still not sold on what to expect from him going forward, having never hit anything close to 19 HR or 70+ RBI anywhere on his way to the show or even stealing that many bases. He is a wild card play here if you are looking for a guy with big upside. Once again, he does play in Colorado so the split stats need to be taken into account. Getting only 6 of his HR on the road and batting .241, while hitting the rest of his homers at home and batting a sweet .331.
38- Leonys Martin, TEX, CF– 2014 was his second full year in the show. He doesn’t come with much power now, and maybe in his prime he will hit over 20 HR, just not right now. Martin is more of a high BA and SB type player, just missing 40 SB last year and finishing with a competitive slash line. Martin should see around the same number of SB and, mixing that with a fully healthy lineup, might see his RBI go up as well.
39- Oswaldo Arcia, MIN, RF – One of the few bright young spots on the Twins roster from last year was Arcia. Showing he has a lot of power in his bat all the way through the minors and into his first two stints in the majors, he has a lot of upside. However, when you look at his stats, he has had very low batting lines outside of the minors. He will be a high HR and high strikeout player for the next season or two. If you can live with his 120+ strikeouts, you will be in good shape with him for years to come.
40- Jayson Werth, WSH, RF– One of the big X-factors for the Nationals this season is Jayson Werth. Having a good chance for one last hoorah, we could see a nice year out of him. Werth finally has a chance at a World Series title, and that is one of the main reasons he is ranked here. That opportunity alone might get him to squeeze the last bit of baseball out of him if he can stay healthy. If Werth gets fired up he could get low 20s HR and 75+ RBI, which would be great year for him and a bargain at this point in the draft.
41- Nick Markakis, ATL, RF– Coming from hitter happy Baltimore, any stadium would be a big change for Markakis. His role in ATL will also be much different from that of the roles he was used to playing in Baltimore as they will ask much more of his bat this year than before. That might be a big positive for his fantasy owners this year. While usually he was a 3rd OF/Flex for most owners, this year I think he could easily have one of his best seasons.
Coming to the end of his career soon, I see one last big season out of him. Since 2010, he has stayed right around the same numbers of HR (10-15), RBI (50-73) and BA (.271-.298). Markakis might be one of the best picks at this point for guys who are looking to get some walks and not a lot of strikeouts.
42- Rusney Castillo, BOS, CF – A high-profile international player, Castillo is stuck inside a crowded outfield in Boston. He will easily win a job and it should be at center field considering his competition at that position. With just a small sample size last year, he showed some raw power and Puig-like tendencies at the plate. Castillo has a lot of upside this year. He is right in his prime and did great before coming to the show. His small sample size hurts his ranking a little, not really telling us how well he will do this year in Boston. He should have a power bat with some nice speed. Right now with Castillo, it is a bit of a guessing game. Having a batting avg of .333, 3 HR, 3 SB, and 6 RBI in 10 games does show spots of being a star.
43- Avisail Garcia, CWS, RF – Garcia has bounced around a bit so far in his short career, and he has been up and down through the minors and the bigs. Garcia has somewhat found a home in the south side of Chicago. While every stat line seems to be a different sample size due to his lack of playing a full year in the show, Garcia seems to be shaping up as a high-teens type HR guy with some nice RBI and a lot of SB, being part of what should be the fastest team in the majors this year. He as lot of room for improvement, but still should score a fair amount this year.
44- Carlos Beltran, NYY, RF – Beltran might be leading the charge into what I think will be one of the worst seasons the Yankees have had in 20 years. He still has the power and bat speed he did a few years ago that made him a heart-of-the-order bat. I have to give it to Beltran as one of the oldest starting players, he keeps relatively injury free. If A-Rod comes back, he might have some help and could still produce a decent season.
45- Joc Pederson, LAD, CF– Pederson is the start of the youth movement in the Dodgers organization. He will be starting at CF this year and, like we have seen a lot of on these lists, will be a high percentage bat with a lot of stolen bases and a few home runs. There is quite a bit to like about this kid, and his upside got him in the Top 50. If you are not in a dynasty format, he would be a spot start/flex player in most leagues. It is worth keeping in mind that in AAA last year, Pederson did hit 33 HR with 30 SB.
46- Steve Souza Jr., TB, RF– Filling the void left in the OF after the departure of Myers to SD, Souza should fit in nicely. He has spent most of his time in the minors until now. Last year, he started in 21 games and hit 2 HR. While he showed a mid-level bat in the minors, he should have a chance to show what he can do this year. With many of the players remaining around his age, solid progress should help get him up the rankings.
47- Carl Crawford, LAD, LF– There is still a good amount of baseball left in Crawford. He fell victim to a very crowded outfield last year, but he should play a few more games this year and get his bat back on track. If not, it will be a long year for Crawford. I have faith the he could get near 20 HR and swipe some bases. If he does not regain his form fast, he could find himself in a new uniform by the trade deadline.
48- Dalton Pompey, TOR, CF – Pompey is the young player I am most excited about this year. He has no real competition at CF, so he will be in the show all year-long. His 9 HR in the minors last year were coupled with a shocking 40+ SB. Pompey also has a very low K-rate, batting a nice .312 while bouncing around three minors levels last year. He could be a candidate for ROY if he can keep the same level of success in the pros. Maybe not this year, but soon he could be a member of the 20/20 club.
49- Brett Gardner, NYY, LF– Part of the Yankees outfield that will could get their manager fired this year, I don’t have high hopes for any of their bats in 2015. Gardner last year had one of his best years at 30+ years old. That type of production should not continue to go up, but it might stay the same when they start asking him to be a big part of the offense though. If anything maybe his steals go up but 17 HR is not a feat he should look to repeat.
50- Lorenzo Cain, KC, CF– Last year was a coming out party for him. Cain finally played over 115 games, the most of his career. While he managed to be hot on the bases and sport a good slash line, he did little else, getting a small amount of HR and RBI for as many games as he played. I do see a positive sign here as he keeps playing more games and his numbers go up. This does not mean he will suddenly be a 20/20 member, but you could see the road sings on the Cain highway point that way.
51- Shin-Soo Choo, TEX, LF– Choo had a nice 20/20 season in CIN in 2013, so when he got to the Rangers in 2014, they expected some of the same. They did not get what they were expecting with Choo, who only played in 123 games in 2014 having 13 HR and just 3 SB. He could bounce back in a big way this year, and if he does he is a diamond at this point. Given his age and his inability to stay in his team’s lineup, I don’t see that happening.
52- Jonny Gomes, ATL, LF– He is not the same player at the plate that he used to be, but he is still good for mid-teens home runs and a decent set of RBI. With a new look Braves lineup, I could see him maybe showing up in a bigger role this year, just nothing surprising.
53- CoCo Crisp, OAK, CF– After a career year in 2013 for home runs with 22, he came back down to Earth last year hitting only nine. He will still get stolen bases for your fantasy team, getting over 20 last year. Crisp should have one or two more years of productiveness in him, but with the way the GM Beane likes to change things, his stats could also change at his age and with their current roster. Look for a few HR and some steals this year.
54- Michael Bourn, CLE, CF– While he has lost a step or two along with some stats coming down to the end of his career, Bourn can still be productive and, being on one of the better teams in baseball with a playoff shot, he should try to have one more good year. You can expect a good slash line, a low HR total, and a few SB. Bourn could even get more than that if he sees the playoffs.
55- David Peralta, ARZ, CF– With only a quick stint last year in the majors, starting only 88 games, Peralta did show some potential, carving out a really nice batting line and showing some consistency with contact. He is a wild card this year, but worth the shot at this point in the draft.
56- Ryan Rua, TX, LF– Rua is a bit similar to Peralta in Arizona, however he just didn’t play enough games in the show last year. His sample size is a bit smaller, but showed more power than Peralta with a similar slash line.
Rua wont be hot on the bases, so if you need a big base stealer right here you should look somewhere else. The highest SB total Rua had was in 2013 when he had 12 total in the minors. I like his upside especially in a dynasty format or for depth.
57- Travis Snider, BAL, RF – Snider is in a weird spot now in Baltimore as the outfield can look many different ways at this point, but he should get the nod in RF. Snider has shown in the minors he has power and patience at the plate, but that power and patience just has not been able to translate to the show. This year it should finally translate. He is playing in a very hitter friendly park on a pretty solid team. If he doesn’t end up in a platoon situation, he should have a quality year.
58- Anthony Gose, DET, CF– Gose could give several players a run for their money for the fastest player in the show. In AA during the 2011 season, he stole 70 bases. Gose only had one better stealing season than that and it was in 2009 when he stole 76 bases in the very early levels of the minors. While he hasn’t stolen that many in the show just yet, we know he can and he has very good contact as well. Solid dynasty pick and if you are in a regular league, he should be flex/spot start. Don’t get too excited about his speed though. That’s about all he as in the show at the moment.
59- Austin Jackson, SEA, CF– Jackson has never really had a huge year at the plate and now, being in SEA, that should stay true. Maybe he hits a few HR and some RBI, but not too much more than that. If he hits leadoff, he could try to bring some speed to SEA.
60- Chris Coghlan, CHC, LF – Relatively unknown to most people, he is a key part in the Cubs outfield. Coghlan has shown decent power and speed in the minors before moving around several times. I expect his power and SB to go up this year along with team expectations. For once, he will finally be settled in on one team.
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