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Rounding out the top 80 outfielders

We’ve hit a bit of a rhythm here after the top 20, top 40, and top 60, but we’re going to do something a little bit different this week for selfish reasons.  That flu that I was talking about my son having last week has been transferred to me.  Sweet.  Also, 3,000 words a week on fantasy baseball is starting to upset wifey a bit.  Let’s be honest too.  Half the guys you draft here, you’re gonna drop for the first hot outfielder in May. For those who can’t tell who I like and don’t like,  I’ve put the guys that I am drafting in italics.

We’ll start with some more culture: “Your heart’s desire is to be told some mystery.  The mystery is that there is no mystery.”   Judge Holden from Blood Meridian.  The greatest character from the best book.  Read it fools.  Anyway, what I think the Judge was talking about was the state of the outfield in the upcoming ’17 season and our reactions thereto.  As I said in my first post, the outfield is kiddie-pool-shallow this year.  You and I are looking for experts to help guide us through and find us some mid-range options to make us feel warm and cuddly, but those options really aren’t there this year as I see it.   If you draft an outfield of Cargo, Trumbo, Peraza, and Benninininitendi or something similar, I am worried for you even if you’re not worried for yourself.

There is no mystery to the outfield this year as I see it.  If you don’t draft a couple of very solid options early, then you’re playing with fire.  I have interest in and hope for a lot of the guys below, but they’re flyers. They could provide nothing and you better be prepared for that.

ALTHOUGH BEING AN ATROCIOUS DEFENDER DOESN’T NECESSARILY AFFECT A PLAYER’S FANTASY VALUE, IT DOES WHEN YOU STOP PLAYING BECAUSE YOU ARE SO BAD IN THE FIELD

(60) Yasmany Tomas

(61) Jay Bruce

I am avoiding both of these guys like the plague.  With Tomas, red flags abound regarding his offensive performance, including a 12% jump in his HR/FB% accompanied by an 8% jump in flyballs hit on his way to 31 home runs last year.  My biggest fear though is the absolutely atrocious defense.  Although the Diamondbacks are saying he’s going to start the season as the full-time left fielder, I can’t imagine that sticking if the defense is that bad.  I fear he’ll hover around the 400 at-bat mark for the season and those that draft him will both be disappointed by the performance when he is playing and also the fact that he just won’t be playing every day.  Honestly, you can just say the same for Bruce in my opinion.  Red flags on the offensive side and he’s so bad on defense, he likely won’t be playing everyday.  If either guys is traded to the AL, I am back on board, but for now, I am staying away.

WILD CARD BITCHES AND LIKELY TO CLIMB, CLIMB, CLIMB IN THE RANKINGS

thames

Love the Deep V too

(62) Eric Thames

This is really a test of how much you believe the projections.  Thames was in the MLB for ’11 and ’12 compiling a 107 and 82 WRC+ respectively before heading to Korea where his OPS came in around a Bondsian 1.288 …  Shiiiiiit.  Kang had success with his transition from the KBO, but Steamer thinks Thames is gonna come over and post a .272/.350/.515 line with 29 homers and 13 steals.  That OPS is better than Steamer’s predictions from Shwarber, Bautista, Braun, Encarnacion, and Cruz among others.  Not sure if I believe that.  I do, however, believe it’s worth a pick in the 200+ range to see if Steamer is onto something.  If Thames does play to his projections, you have a #1 outfielder.  Thames is gonna skyrocket in the re-rankings if he shows anything in the Spring, the only question is how many spots.  Kinda actually hoping he sucks in Spring, his ADP falls or stays the same, and we can snag him as our final outfielder.

IT’S ALL ABOUT THE PLAYING TIME, AND IF THESE GUYS LOOK TO BE WINNING A FULL TIME JOB COME DRAFT TIME, THEY’LL BE ON MY TEAMS

margot

(61) Manuel Margot

(62) Andrew Toles

(63) Steve Pearce

(64) Michael Conforto

Monitor all these guys in Spring Training.  If any of them ends up with a full-time job, they’ll move up significantly in my rankings.  Margot has wheels and a little pop and could put up high-single-digit homers with 35 steals season with an average in the .255-.265 range.  He just has to win the job out of spring-training.  If Toles is indeed the Dodgers full-time left fielder, I see real value there.  A little more pop and a little less speed than Margot, Toles will probably end up platooning.  That’s okay though, he posted a 139 WRC+ against righties last year.  Hope he gets to 450 at-bats and you’ve got 10 homers, 20 steals with a .270 average.  Pearce is an underrated hitter.  If he can sneak into an everyday role at first-base (where the Jays have Smoak penciled in, seriously?!?) or in left-field, then I don’t think .275 with 25 homers and nice counting stats is far off from what we’ll see.  I am still on board with Conforto assuming he finds playing time, which is a big assumption.  Jay Bruce sucks though.  Conforto hits the ball hard and has the skills to do what I think Pearce would do with a full time job.  That is something around 25 homers, although a slightly lower average, but a solid number 3 outfielder at a steeply discounted price.

LOOKING FOR SOME REAL POWER LATE

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(64) Hunter Renfroe

(65) Jorge Soler

(66) Corey Dickerson

(67) Aaron Judge

Renfroe burst onto the scene in 36 at bats last year with the Padres, hitting 4 bombs with a .371 average in about 40 at-bats.  Obviously those numbers won’t hold over the course of a full season, but dude has power.  Over the course of a full season, I could see a .245 average a handful of steals and an outside, outside shot at 30 home runs.  He strikes out too much and doesn’t walk.  So I could see the bottom falling out and him losing playing time in a crowded San Diego outfield.  Finally freed from the stacked Cubs, Soler will be playing full-time in spacious Kauffman Stadium.  He’ll never live up to the hype created by his ’14 debut, but I do see him being useful to the tune of a .250 average and 20 to 25 home runs.  If you need more evidence as to why I loooooove Desmond this year, look at what happened when Dickerson left Coors Field.  From a top-10 option at the position to a useful player but useful, like Soler, to the tune of .250 with 20 to 25 homeruns.  Judge is a little more interesting.  He’s certainly got the power, but the strikeout rate of 44.2% in about 100 at-bats last year suggests that a Chris Carter of the outfield might be the best we can hope for here.  Still, the ZiPS projection of .229/30/4/71/83 would certainly be useful on a team struggling to find power.

SOME POWER, SOME SPEED

(68) Max Kepler

(69) Leonys Martin

(70) Jason Heyward

(71) Cameron Maybin

(72) Kolten Wong

Kepler has been overshadowed by his teammate Buxton, but actually put up a solid 17 homers, 6 steals, 52 runs, and 63 RBIs last year over 447 at-bats … with a .235 average.  He’s never going to hit .300, but with his speed, a .255/15/10/60/70 is what I am thinking.  With the upside, I like Kepler as an option to round out an outfield.  A little more speed and less in the RBI department on Kepler’s line and you’ve got Martin, who compiled a .247/15/24/72/47 line last year.  I don’t think the pop was for real, but 10 homers and 25 steals is useful in any format.  Expect 10 HR/15 SB and a .250 average from Heyward and be happy for anything more.  I, and everyone else, are done expecting a breakout and would be satisfied with a useful back-end outfielder, which is what I think Heyward is at this point.  It’s worth noting that he had modified his swing and we’ll check in on him in when we re-rank our outfield in the coming weeks.  If Maybin can stay healthy and Wong plays full time, I expect basically the same thing.  Around 10 homers, high-teens steals and a .260 average.  Not too exciting.  Hernan Perez would likely be in this tier if he were guaranteed a spot out of spring training.  Maybe … the 89 WRC+ last year has me worried, even with 34 steals.  We’ll keep an eye on that.

OLD, BUT MAYBE STILL SOME VALUE HERE

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A picture of Jacoby Ellsbury enjoying his off season

(73) Josh Reddick

(74) Curtis Granderson

(75) Sin-Soo Choo

(76) Brett Gardner

(77) Jacoby Ellsbury

(78) Michael Saunders

(79) Alex Gordon

(80) Brandon Moss

I love writing and I love that you guys read all this stuff, but I simply cannot write that much about these guys.  I have other, better things as in anything else.  Look at their player pages, realize that’s about what you’re going to get, realize they may useful to you.  Reddick is the most interesting of these guys to me.  A handful of steals and 20 home runs with acceptable counting stats is possible if he plays the full season.  Depth Charts has him with a .267/22/8/74/76 line over 595 at-bats.  That’s a solid, solid outfielder for his price.  I could see him on a few of my teams.   Choo is gonna hit second in the Rangers lineup assuming health, which could yield some nice counting stats and moderate power.  The speed is gone though.  The Yankees pair of Gardner and Ellsbury is a cornucopia of old.  Gardner, though, is a season removed from a 16 homer 20 steal season and perhaps he can give you 15 of each in a fully healthy season.  With Ellsbury, if you squint, you can see 10 homers and 25 steals … maybe.  Both should have averages in the .250 range.   Saunders might be able to push 25 home runs again and should be hitting somewhere at the top of the Phillies offense, but he’s played over 135 games twice in his career.  Granderson should remain a solid platoon option after putting up a 124 WRC+ against righties last year in his age 35 season.  Gordon has struggled mightily the last two years and was never a fantasy stud, but a return high teens homers, 10 steals with a .255 average and solid counting stats wouldn’t shock me.  Finally, Moss is what he is at this point.  He’s gonna hit around 25 homers if healthy with a .235 average.   He’s more a guy that I would pick up off waivers during a hot streak, but in deeper daily leagues I see some value in that.

Been fun going through the outfield you guys.  Look out next week for a look at the Nationals.  Sometime in the coming week too they’ll be a re-ranking of the outfielders to account for injuries, spring training developments, etc.

Till then.

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Major League Fantasy Football 2017 League Openings

(Click the RED link below to listen)

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”

_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

(Click the RED link below to listen)

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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