“Sauer Notes” All Betts Are On Eaton: 2016 OF Ranks (2 of 3)
Welcome back! This week is really where we get into the meat and potatoes of the rankings. Yeah, the top-10 is fun and all with name recognition being prevalent to the nonchalant baseball fan. Nevertheless, digging further into the depths of the rankings is where you having superior knowledge of the player pool can separate yourself from all of your comrades, subsequently digging up the value to be had in the late rounds of your draft.
Whether you play in a rotisserie league or points leagues, these next 40 players are really where championships are won. Not being restrictive to only the outfield position taking the cake home for your squad, but at all positions. Everybody knows the elite players, the ones that find themselves in the upper echelons of each position. Instead of placing so much thought into, who you would choose from the likes of Arenado, Donaldson, Machado, or Bryant- in which my buddy Lou can help you decipher those decisions in the coming weeks of “In Lou of” where he breaks down the corner infield positions. Immerse yourself in the second, third, and fourth tier of players at their respective position, as it will be more advantageous to draft day success.
Let’s keep our head down, eye on the ball, and open up our hips to turn and drive down the continued rankings of outfielders for 2016.
79. Byron Buxton- Buxton entered the 2015 season ranked as either the No. 1 or No. 2 prospect in all of baseball (depending on the publication) and he backed up the hype initially with big numbers in Double-A and Triple-A. The slimly-built center fielder arrived in the majors on June 14, and that’s when the adversity began. Buxton batted just .189/.231/.270 with 15 strikeouts over his first 37 at-bats with Minnesota and then hit the disabled list on June 26 with a sprained left thumb. He wound up needing nearly two months of rehab and was optioned back to Triple-A once he recovered. Buxton didn’t do much when he returned to the Twins in late August and seems at least a year away from contributing anything more than stolen bases. Don’t let him go undrafted, the ceiling for Buxton is immense.
78. Brandon Moss- Although he will be playing primarily first base for the Cardinals in 2016, he will have outfield eligibility; which make his production at this stage of his career more appealing. Moss is coming back from a hip injury that derailed much of his 2015 campaign, and he admitted that he wasn’t feeling right down the stretch batting .250/.344/.409 with four homers. The Cardinals will hope for the platoon of Moss and Matt Adams to give better production than that of 2015. Moss has the first opportunity to take hold of the starting job, and given that both players excel by hitting well of southpaws gives the slight advantage to Moss given the first crack at the job. Distancing himself further away from the hip injury that beleaguered him, Moss is primed to have a solid bounce-back season.
77. Oswaldo Arcia- Arcia took a nice step forward from 2013 to 2014 and seemed poised for a potential breakout leading into the 2015 season. However, a hip flexor strain put him on the disabled list in early May and the Twins sent him to Triple-A Rochester when he was finally recovered in June. He didn’t hit well enough at Rochester to earn his way back up and he won’t have a starting job in Minnesota outfield at the opening of the 2016 campaign. The young outfielder might require change of scenery to become fantasy-relevant again. He makes sense as a trade chip for a late-spring or early-summer bullpen upgrade. Keep tabs on Arcia leading up to Opening Day as he could have increased value if moved, but a diminished value if no moves are made.
76. Nori Aoki- Aoki had another quietly solid season in his lone year with the Giants, virtually matching his career slash line numbers. Unfortunately, the production came over about two-thirds of a season, as he missed ample time with a fractured leg and a concussion. He entered the offseason with physical limitations. However, and the Mariners scooped him up on a one-year deal to take over as their left fielder. Aoki is now 34, but he hasn’t shown signs of slowing down and is a good bet for batting average and a decent number of steals. He could even find mixed-league value if the Mariners bat him towards the top of the order.
75. Nick Markakis- Many deemed Markakis’ four-year, $44 million deal with the Braves as an overpay; especially given the direction of the franchise. But the 32-year-old posted a higher OPS last season than he did in 2014. It’s just that he did it with a complete lack of power. While he batted .296 with a .370 on base percentage, he managed just three home runs in 686 plate appearance. He had a lower slugging percentage than Ben Revere, so it’s expected to see somewhat of a resurgence in that respect in 2016, but he’s hitting the ball on the ground these days more often than any point in his career. It’s not a trend you want to see, especially since he hasn’t stolen double-digit bases since 2011. Fantasy owners are pretty much buying-in on batting average and runs scored. He’s still a familiar name, but one must weigh what categories they are looking to fulfil before snagging the veteran in the later rounds.
74. Jackie Bradley- Bradley is an excellent defender in center field, but he faced serious questions about his future after he entered 2015 with a .196/.268/.280 bating line in the majors. However, a prolonged hot-streak has put him back on the radar. After hitting just .102 (5-for-49) through his first 21 games with the Red Sox last season, the 25-year-old went on a tear through August into mid-September by batting .385 (40-for-104) with seven home runs, 32 RBI, and a 1.251 OPS over 32 games. He hit just .147 (10-for-68) over his final 21 games, so he wasn’t able to maintain his success, but the surge has put him in a position for regular playing time to begin 2016. His defense could give him a longer leash, but the Red Sox have options if he stumbles again. He’s worth a late-round flyer in deeper formats, while presenting mild upside.
73. Kirk Nieuwenhuis- For someone who only logged 141 plate appearances in the majors last season, Nieuwenhuis sure had an eventful year.The 28-year-old bounced from the Mets to the Angels and back again, eventually producing a pair of memorable moments in the team’s and NL East title run. In July, he became the first player in the Mets’ history to hit three home runs in a game at home. After a brief stint on the disabled list with a pinched nerve in his back, he rejoined the Mets in September and hit a go-ahead solo homer during a big series against the Nationals. His wild year continued in December when he was claimed off waivers by the Brewers, who could give him a chance to at least share the centerfield job. While he’s in a better situation now, he’s not worth owning outside of an NL-only type format for the time being.
72. Austin Jackson-A-Jax was a useful fantasy outfielder during his early years in Detroit, but that all ended when he was traded to power-sapping Seattle in July 2014 as part of a three team trade that made David Price the new Tigers ace. Jackson batted just .257/.297/.343 with eight home runs and 26 stolen bases in 161 games for the Mariners between 2014-2015. He was moved to the Cubs last August in a waiver trade and got a good amount of playing time as a utility outfielder down the stretch on the North Side of Chicago, but the offensive production remained mostly unimpressive. There are many fantasy outfielders who can do with Jackson does, and many who can do it better. Depending on where Jackson signs as a free agent, further determining amount of expected playing time will help gauge which outfielders are more valuable at the later stages of your draft.
71. Dexter Fowler- With Spring training rapidly approaching, Fowler, like several other notable major leaguers, is still on the hunt for a job. Joining players like Ian Desmond and Yovani Gallardo, the marketplace for Fowler seems less and less interested as the passing days. Buster Olney of ESPN has stated that “executives around the league imagine difficulty of matching or superseding the two-year, $20 million contract that Howie Kendrick just signed with the Dodgers.” Talks between the Orioles’ and Gallardo have intensified and there is a deal looming reports say. With that domino fallen for Baltimore, their next move could be inking themselves another bat in Fowler. Coming off a season where he batted .250/.356/.411 with 17 homers, 46 RBI, and 20 steals Fowler could definitely hold some value in mixed leagues, especially in the hitter friendly Camden Yards.
70. Jayson Werth- Similar to the National unit, Werth would probably prefer a mulligan on the 2015 season. After serving jail time in Virginia for reckless driving, the veteran outfielder missed the start of the season rehabbing from shoulder surgery and struggled upon his return before suffering two small fractures in his wrist when he was hit by a pitch in mid-May. He rejoined the club ten weeks later and scuffled initially before slugging nine homers with an .847 OPS over his final 34 games. The late surge shows that Werth still has the skills to be useful in mixed leagues, but fantasy owners should build in expectations for missed time as he enters his age-37 season.
69. Lonnie Chisenhall- Chisenhall was one of the best players in the American League in the first half of the 2014 season, carrying a .332/.396/.519 batting line into the All-Star break while emerging as the Indians’ unquestioned starter at third base. But he batted just .218/.277/.315 in the second half of 2014 and .214/.250/.364 over the first two months of 2015. Cleveland finally decided last June to shake things up, promoting Giovanny Urshela from Triple-A and moving Chisenhall into more of a utility outfield role. Urshela isn’t much of a hitter either, but he plays elite defense at the hot corner. If Lonnie can reform back to the numbers he was producing in the first half of 2014, than he can become a valuable asset to stash on deeper benches.
68. Denard Span- Span was excellent on the field last season with the Nationals, but he unfortunately was limited to a career low 61 games due to abdominal, back, and hip injuries. The 32-year-old required surgery in late August to repair a torn labrum in his left hip. Despite the health risk, he managed to land a three-year contract with the Giants, where he figures to serve as a regular center fielder and leadoff man. It’s unclear how much he’ll run after surgery and we wouldn’t count on his power pace from 2015 to continue, but his proven contact ability and plate discipline should help him remain relevant in mixed leagues.
67. Carlos Beltran- Beltran posted career-lows across the board in 2014 while dealing with a nagging right elbow injury, but the hope was that he would bounce back after finally having surgery to remove a bone spur. It didn’t work out that well early on last season, as the veteran switch-hitter batted just .162 with zero homers in April. He did, however, quickly reverted to his old self by hitting .295 with 19 home runs and an .862 OPS the rest of the way. His contact rate is just as good as overhand he saw an increase in his line drive rate with improved health. Going into his age-39 season, there are obvious injury concerns about him playing every day in right field, but the skills are still there and he’s in a really good situation. He’s not done as a mixed league asset quite yet.
66. Josh Hamilton- The Angels gave up on Hamilton following a cocaine and alcohol relapse last off-season, trading him to the Rangers in April. The outfielder returned from shoulder surgery in late May, but he wasn’t terribly productive and missed more time with hamstring, knee and groin ailments. Hamilton is in a good situation, as he’s a career .313/.370/.586 hitter at Globe Life Park and will be part of a good Rangers lineup. The problem, of course, is that he’s play just 139 games over the last two seasons, has hit only .260/.318/.423 during that time and he will turn 35 in May. Hamilton could wind up being a nice value pick if he slides too far in drafts, but there’s a reason his stock has fallen so far. Buyer beware.
65. Kevin Kiermaier- Kiermaier made highlight reel, after highlight reel, for his fantastic defense in center field last season and ultimately won his first career Gold Glove Award. He also proved useful in mixed leagues for a second straight season. While his power was down overall, he reached double-digit home runs for the second straight season and utilized his speed by going 18-for-23 in stolen base attempts. Kiermaier struggled against left-handers again last season and showed less patience against right-handers than he did in 2014, but his strong defense should keep him in the lineup on most nights. There’s not a ton of upside here, but he does enough in multiple categories to be relevant in deeper formats.
64. Aaron Altherr- Altherr’s stock as a prospect was down after 2014, but he took a major step forward between Double-A and Triple-A last season before joining the Phillies in August. While the 25-year-old batted just .241 in 39 games down the stretch, he showed some intriguing talent by collecting 20 extra-base hits (including five home runs) and six stolen bases. Strikeouts were an issue for him, but he also showed good patience. The rebuilding Phillies figure to give him every opportunity at regular playing time in a corner outfield spot, so his power and speed could give him value in deeper mix leagues.
63. Jarrod Dyson- Dyson has been a household name for years among fantasy owners because of his prodigious base stealing ability, and the 31-year-old speedster could finally work his way into regular playing time in 2016. That might not be a good on-field reality for the Royals as Dyson is a career .255/.320/.343 hitter, but the former 50th-round pick has another average that will have fantasy owners salivating, and that’s his robust 53 stolen bases for every 162 games played average. Granted, most of these stolen bases have come as a pinch-runner. Nevertheless, he has started 288 total games for Kansas City and boasts 146 career steals.
62. Hyun-soo Kim- After a monster seasoning in the Korea Baseball Organization where he batted .326/.438/.521 with 26 home runs and 121 RBI over 141 games, Kim landed a two-year $7 million contract with Orioles over the winter. There naturally is some question about how his numbers will translate at the major-league level, but Jung Ho Kang’s success with the Pirates in 2015 has opened the door for others to get an opportunity. It’s a relatively low-risk move given the money involved. Kim had more walks (557) than strikeouts (501) during his time in the KBO and drew a career-high 101 walks last season, so his on-base ability might be his most impressive skill. The 28-year-old is expected to receive at least part-time at bats in left field in 2016, though most in mix leagues can afford to see how he adjusts before picking him up.
61. Cameron Maybin- The Braves took a chance on Maybin as part of the return package form the Padres for closer Craig Kimbrel last spring and he bounced back with his best season since 2011. It wasn’t always a smooth ride, as he took a backseat to Eric Young Jr. early on for some strange reason and he struggled late in the year while dealing with an eye issue. Still, he showed flashes of the talent which made him an exciting fantasy option before all the injuries in recent years. The Tigers reunited with Maybin in a trade over the winter and figure to at least give him part-time at-bats in the outfield in 2016. He could be relevant in mixed leagues depending on how the playing time shakes out.
60. Billy Burns- Burns made the Athletics’ Opening Day roster in 2015 but was sent down before making an appearance, only to return for good in early May. This speedy outfielder was surprisingly consistent while betting atop The Oakland lineup, as he only batted below .284 in one of five months. Burns’ five homers were a surprise given that he only had two during his minor league career, and that number will surely drop. It wouldn’t be a surprise if he ran more in 2016, his 26 thefts in 2015 were a relative disappointment for a guy who ran wild in the minors. Burns should hit lead-off for the A’s again this season.
59. Desmond Jennings- After being shut down early in 2014 due to left knee discomfort, persistent issues with the same name limited Jennings to 28 games last season. The 29-year-old tweaked the knee in late-April and eventually underwent surgery in June which kept him sidelined through mid-August. He appeared in just 10 games before aggravating the knee on a slide and hitting the disabled list again. The Rays ultimately decided to shut him down for the year. With a .713 OPS since 2012, Desmond hasn’t progressed as hoped and his injury issues don’t provide much optimism about return to the speed we saw earlier in his career. He’s in late-round gamble territory, as he does present some upside if 2016 proves to be a clean bill-of-health for Jennings.
58. Avisail Garcia- Garcia was the Tigers’ top positional prospect leading into the 2013 season and he got off to a hot start that year at Triple-A Toledo, slashing .379/.431/.561 with seven home runs and 36 RBI in 47 games. But he struggled upon his mid-May promotion to the majors, which lead to the Tigers shipping him off to the White Sox a couple months later in a three-team trade that netted Detroit shortstop Jose Iglesias. Garcia had some initial success when he first arrived on the south side of Chicago, but his 2014 season was thrown off the rails when he suffered a torn shoulder labrum in April and the 24-year-old was a huge disappointment over the course of 148 games in 2015. There is still upside here, but there are many more productive corner outfielders.
57. Ender Inciarte- The common thought about Inciarte when he came up through the minors was that he that he profiled as a fourth outfielder. He continues to out-play that designation. The 25-year-old played extensively at all three outfield spots for the Diamondbacks last season and accrued 561 plate appearances, hitting over .300 while swiping 21 bases. The path to playing time for Inciarte is much clearer in 2016 following his trade to the Braves, but the situation around him is much worse. Inciarte is in line to handle the center field and leadoff duties for Atlanta, but the Braves’ lineup was awful in 2015 and doesn’t look any better heading into 2016. Nevertheless, while expecting Inciarte to hit .300 again might be optimistic, the speedy outfielder should give you a nice average and stolen base total again.
56. Colby Rasmus- Rasmus wound-up having to settle for a one-year contract last winter but landed in a good spot with the Astros. The outfielder slugged a career-high 25 home runs for Houston and starred for them in the postseason, although his slash line was right at his rather pedestrian career line (.245/.313/.443). Rasmus became the first player in baseball to accept a qualifying offer this past offseason to return to Houston and will be the club’s left fielder in 2016. At 29, he should be in the midst of his prime. While it’s clear he’s not going to be the star he was once pegged as in his prospect days, Rasmus is a safe bet for 20+ homers not a bad way to round out your outfield.
55. Melky Cabrera- Cabrera showed that he could hit without the help of performance-enhancing drugs in 2014, batting .301/.351/.458 with 16 home runs and 73 RBI in 139 with the Blue Jays. That turned the White Sox into believers, and they handed him a three-year, $45 million free agent contract ahead of the 2015 season. A mistake, perhaps? Cabrera was a disappointment in the first year on the south side of Chicago, cranking only 12 homers alongside a .273/.313/.394 slash line. That is especially-weak offensive output for a guy who took half of his at-bats at U.S Cellular Field, one of the most power-friendly parks in the majors. He is a poor bet for a big-time bounce back in 2016, and he plays a position where mediocre production is easy to find.
54. Delano DeShields- The Astros wish they could have a mulligan after leaving DeShields exposed in last winter’s Rule 5 Draft. The Rangers happily scooped him up. While his playing time initially was pretty limited, DeShields eventually forced his way into the lineup as the regular center fielder. The 23-year-old smacked just two home runs, but he stole 25 bases and showed a good eye at the plate with a .344 OBP. DeShields looks locked into the Rangers’ leadoff spot, so he should score a lot of runs and pile up a nice stolen base total. The could also be a little more power here, as he slugged double-digit homers a couple times in the minors and he plays in a nice hitter’s park.
53. Matt Holliday- 2015 was easily the most frustrating year of Holliday’s career. The picture of consistency and high-level production for over a decade, he played in just 73 games due to multiple quad tears and finished with career lows in OPS, home runs, hits, RBI, and runs scored. This is usually what the end usually looks like for great, good and mediocre players alike. Not so much crashing and burning to the finish-line, but limping and whimpering down the home stretch. An optimistic prognosticator would note that Holliday is carrying a clean bill of health in 2016 and still got on base at an excellent clip in 2015, but it’s hard to expect much power in his age-36 season with half his games set to be played at homer-sapping Busch Stadium. With all of that being said, this should make him a pretty good value come draft day.
52. Alex Gordon- Kansas City made Gordon the second overall pick in 2005 out of the University of Nebraska and he produced a .783 OPS in 1,136 games over his first nine big league seasons and became the best defensive of left fielder in the MLB. He also played a huge role in last year’s World Series victory, the first for the Royals in 30 years. After spending more than two months on the free agent market this offseason, Gordon ultimately re-signed with KC in January for $72 million over four years. He has probably already reached his fantasy ceiling but the three-time All-Star and four-time Gold Glover is a terrific real-life player with 20-homer pop and a good career on-base percentage to go along with dynamic base-running ability. Gordon should remain a fine third outfielder in mixed leagues for 2015.
51. Steven Souza- Acquired from the Nationals as a part of a three-team Wil Myers trade last winter, Souza entered 2015 with considerable hype for his power and speed potential. Souza struck out 33.8% of the time, the highest among all MLB players with at least 400 plate appearances. Even with a .318 BABIP (batting average on balls in play), he simply didn’t make enough contact to salvage his batting average. Finger and hand injuries slightly impacted his power during the second half, so there’s still some hope for more if he comes back healthy, but his upside will be limited unless he cuts down the strikeouts.
50. Odubel Herrera- It makes all sorts of sense for rebuilding clubs to attempt to utilize the Rule 5 Draft because every once in a while they’ll uncover a useful piece like Herrera. Given an opportunity to serve as Philadelphia’s primary centerfielder last season, the 24-year-old hit .297 with the 344 on-base percentage while providing across-the-board production. It’s worth noting that his .387 BABIP (batting average on balls in play) was the highest among players with at least 500 plate appearances, so the batting average might not stick at quite this level unless he cuts down on the strikeouts, but his plus speed makes him interesting and he could find himself near the top of the lineup in 2016.
49. Brett Gardner-Gardner finished last season with very similar numbers to what he had in 2014, including a stark drop-off during the second half. The 32-year-old was one of the most valuable players in fantasy leagues going into the All-Star break, hitting .302 with 10 home runs, 42 RBI, and 15 steals over 82 games. But he hit just .206 with six home runs, 24 RBI, and five steals in 69 games the rest of the way. Assuming he feels good after an off-season of rest, there’s still a lot to like with his patience and power/speed combo at the top of New York’s lineup.
48. Wil Myers- Myers’ first season in San Diego was a disaster. He first started having left wrist issues in mid-May, spent a month on the disabled list and then went right back on it after a few days. Surgery was needed, which knocked him out for another three months. Myers then began experiencing soreness in the wrist again late in the season and was eventually shut down. The 25-year-old insists that the wrist is feeling better now than it has in a long time, but risk issues for hitters are scary, and he’s dealt with them for two straight seasons (fractured right wrist in 2014). Even if Myers is able to avoid going back on the DL, there are no assurances that his power will fully return. The injury concern alongside a .235/.311/.364 line over the last two years, coinciding with the cavernous Petco Park make Myers a sketchy fantasy proposition in 2016. The youth and upside of Myers is not a bad option to round out your outfield.
47. David Peralta- In 2015, Peralta wrote the best chapter yet in his book on how to convert from picture to hitter. The 28-year-old finished eighth in the National League with his .312 average, Peralta was especially impressive during the second half, sporting a ridiculous .360/.401/.577 batting line with nine home runs across 68 games. It remains difficult to project Peralta since his career as a hitter it’s so short, but he’s only shown signs of growth at this point. Peralta is locked into the cleanup spot of what should be a good Diamondbacks lineup 2016.
46. Ben Revere- With an elite contact rate and plus-speed, Revere is one of only three players to finish with a .300 batting average in each of the past three seasons. The others? Paul Goldschmidt and Miguel Cabrera. Those players obviously bring a lot more to the table offensively, but it speaks to Revere’s consistency. He’s also one of the safest speed options out there, tallying 176 steals since 2011. Only Rajai Davis and Dee Gordon have more in the same timespan. Swapped from the Blue Jays to the Nationals over the winter, Revere figures to serve as Dusty Baker’s primary centerfielder and leadoff man in 2016. Even with very little in the way of power, Revere has significant appeal in mixed leagues.
45. Josh Reddick- Reddick finished up strongly in 2014 and it mostly carried over in 2015, as he had arguably his best offensive season with the .781 OPS and 113 OPS+. The 29-year-old remains woeful against left-handed pitching, which is obviously going to lower his batting average. However, in both of his full seasons he’s slugged 20+ homers and stolen 10+ bases, making him a nice fantasy option when he’s been able to take the field. Just don’t forget that he has made five trips to the disabled list over the last three seasons. Don’t pay up with the expectation that he’ll be a top-30 fantasy outfielder again.
44. Michael Brantley- Brantley placed third in the American League MVP balloting in 2014 after batting .327/.385/.506 with 20 home runs, 97 RBI, 23 stolen bases and 94 runs in 156 games. In 2015, Brantley was expected to take another step forward, or at least, bring more of the same production from the year prior. Unfortunately, Brantley missed time with back and shoulder injuries and finished with a relatively disappointing offensive stat line. The dynamic outfielder needed surgery to repair a torn labrum in his right shoulder on November 9 and he is expected to miss the first month of the 2016 season. It’s another source of frustration for an Indians team that continually underperforms, and it puts a cloud on Brantley’s fantasy upside for the summer.
43. Kevin Pillar- Toronto rookie Dalton Pompey entered last season with a bunch of hype, but it was Pillar who proved more valuable in fantasy leagues en route to staking his claim on the starting center field job. While his excellent defense got most of the attention, the 27-year-old was an undervalued five-category contributor in fantasy leagues. Pillar makes contact and has speed to burn, so there’s reason to believe he can maintain a useful batting average. Even if his power dips, his base stealing ability should keep him relevant. The Blue Jays have options in their outfield with the likes of Pompey and Michael Saunders still around, but Pillar’s defense should give him a longer leash if he struggles.
42. Marcell Ozuna- Ozuna appeared on the verge of a breakout after hitting 23 home runs in 2014, but things went in the wrong direction last year. The 25-year-old batted just .249 with four home runs and a .639 OPS over his first 79 games before being demoted to Triple-A New Orleans in July. He tore the cover off the ball in the minors, but the Marlins kept him down just long enough for him to fall short of qualifying for arbitration. Ozuna and his agent, Scott Boras, were vocal about their displeasure with the situation. This led to reports that Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria wanted him traded, but the asking price was sky-high. The Marlins brought two new faces into town this offseason in Don Mattingly and Barry Bonds, and both men vouched to keep Ozuna around for the 2016 campaign. Reports are that Ozuna has already responded to feeling ‘wanted’ by shedding 20 pounds and looking more like the guy the Marlins called up two years ago, rather than the heavy center fielder weighing 240 pounds that they saw last year. Ozuna is a player that could have some huge bounce-back potential in 2016.
41. Shin-Soo Choo- It looked for a while like Choo’s second season with the Rangers would end up similar to his first, as he entered the All-Star break with an embarrassing .221/.305/.384 batting line. Choo then exploded in the second half, hitting .343/.455/.560 while slugging 11 home runs and driving in 44 over 69 contests. The 33-year-old still can’t hit left-handed pitching, and he’s stopped running since arriving in Texas, totaling just seven stolen bases while being caught six times in two years. That means the upside he used to have is capped, but Choo is a four-category asset who really sees his usefulness rise if you’re playing in an on-base percentage league.
40. Adam Eaton- Here’s a blind comparison: Subject A slash line: .291/.341/.479, Subject B slash line: .287/.361/.431. Subject A counting stats: Hits 174, Doubles 42, Triples 8, HR 18, RBI 77, Runs 92, Steals 21. Subject B counting stats: Hits 175, Doubles 28, Triples 9, HR 14, RBI 56, Runs 98, Steals 18. When looking at those numbers, one must admit they are pretty close, but what’s not so close is where they are being taken come draft day. Subject A is a consensus top-10 outfielder ($25-$35 auction value), whereas, Subject B has a consensus average draft position anywhere from 35-55 ($5-$10 auction value). Just glancing at those numbers, I would take the discounted price on Subject B who puts up very comparable numbers to the other subject. Subject A, Mookie Betts, is a great young player in his own right, and this by no means is a knock on him whatsoever. Adam Eaton, who was Subject B, could be a real draft day bargain and would fit perfectly as your second or third outfielder. For a guy who homered just once in 538 plate appearances in 2014, Eaton came back with a vengeance and had a career year across the board. The dynamic center fielder started turning some of those gap-to-gap drives into over-the-fence shots, and finished the season with a solid .792 OPS to go along with the aforementioned slash line and counting stats. The White Sox project to have an improved lineup heading into 2016 with the additions of Todd Frazier, Brett Lawrie and a savvy lefty-righty catcher platoon. All of this with Jose Abreu, who can also take another step forward, in the fold and you find yourself with an everyday leadoff man who can give you above average production in 2016.
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