2016 Fantasy Baseball: Late-Round Outfield Sleepers
Most of these players are only going to be appealing in deep, five-outfielder leagues or AL/NL-Only leagues. But there’s definitely some late-round value to be had at outfield, so I wanted to give you some of my favorite deep picks. If you have any questions or comments find me on Twitter.
I’m not going to use any site-specific average draft position data here. What I’ll use is Fantasy Pros’ ADP aggregate data from ESPN, Yahoo!, CBS, NFBC and Real Time Sports.
Wil Myers (65th outfielder drafted, 244th overall) – At the end of your drafts there’s no reason not to take a chance on Myers, who’s just 25. He should have first base and outfield eligibility, and he’s scheduled to hit cleanup for the Padres. He’s improved his plate discipline each year after his rookie season in 2013, so it’s not like he hasn’t made progress so far in his short yet uninspiring career. He’s yet to play in more than 88 games in a season, but at this price he’s nothing but upside here.
Odubel Herrera (74, 299) – I thought Herrera would bat down in the lineup this year, but Roster Resource has Herrera slotted into the third spot in Philadelphia and he’s been hitting in the middle of the order in spring training, too. This would bode well for Herrera, who should give you 20 steals and a decent average at a minimum. He had three 20-steal seasons in the minors. If he’s hitting in the middle of the order, even though it’s a weak lineup, he’ll contribute more in runs and RBI. He already hit eight home runs last year, so in a good ball park there’s reason to think he could do more in that category, as well.
Domingo Santana (76, 313) – Santana landed in Milwaukee last year as a part of the Carlos Gomez deal. He has a lot of swing-and-miss in his game, as evidenced by the 33 percent strikeout rate last year. But with that swing-and-miss also comes power, as he averaged 20 homers in each of the last four minor-league seasons despite topping out at 120 games. Santana put up very good isolated power marks and BABIP numbers in the minors, which he also did last year in the Majors. In a points league he’s not as desirable, but in a roto or 5×5 head-to-head league he could be a big asset in three categories while also chipping in around 10 steals.
Colby Rasmus (86, 362) – Rasmus has quietly morphed into a prime source of power as his .228 isolated power from 2013-15 ranks 16th among qualified hitters. He has three 20-homer seasons in the past four years, and he only missed 20 in 2014 because he played in only 104 games. He still struck out a lot last year (31 percent) but his .236 isolated power was a career-best. He also walked almost 10 percent of the time, which was his best since his breakout 2010. In his first year in Houston he hit a career-high 51 percent fly balls and had a very sustainable 17 percent home run to fly ball rate. At only 29 Rasmus still has some room left to improve, and hitting in the middle of a good Astros lineup should help his runs and RBI bump up from years past.
Nori Aoki (101, 423) – Aoki isn’t exciting, but anyone hitting in front of Robinson Cano, Kyle Seager and Nelson Cruz should get some attention. Aoki should hit leadoff for the Mariners; in his four seasons he’s never posted an OBP less than .349. His stolen bases are trending downwards, but if he plays in over 100 games he should be able to steal close to 20. If you’re in a deep points league Aoki would be worth rostering as a safe play to pair with some upside from earlier in your drafts.
Aaron Hicks (92, 390) – Hicks isn’t starting for the Yankees, yet, but with three injury-prone, old players in front of him, he might be starting soon. Hicks has been all over the map in his three years in the Majors, but last year was undoubtedly his best season yet. He hit 11 homers and stole 13 bases and cut his strikeout rate by basically 40 percent. Hicks hit 10 homers after June, and unfortunately I’m not Jeff Sullivan so I can’t tell you how he did it. He did hit a lot more fly balls while going the other way and up the middle, so it looks like there’s something possibly permanent about his breakout. For now he’s mostly an AL-Only pick, but it’s always wise to keep an eye on the injury statuses of the Yankees’ outfielders.
Keon Broxton – Broxton doesn’t have any ADP date on Fantasy Pros, but he is ranked 128th at his position cumulatively at the site. Like his teammate Santana, he does have a lot of swing-and-miss in his game. Unlike Santana he doesn’t have as much power now as much hitting ability, but he did steal 40 bases across three levels last year. He’s penciled in as the Brewers’ starting center fielder. While most spring training stats are meaningless, Broxton has nine walks and nine strikeouts in 17 games to go with six steals on eight attempts. The plate discipline may be an aberration, but the speed is legit and he could be a solid source of speed at no cost.
Statistics and roster information gathered from Fangraphs, Baseball Reference and Roster Resource