2016 Fantasy Baseball: Undervalued Top 80 Outfielders
To see the intro to this series check out five undervalued outfielders in the top 40
Dexter Fowler – Fantasy Pros Rank: 43 – My Rank: 37
I’ve always been a fan of Fowler, so of course I’m going to be higher on him than average after his best season in the Majors. His 17 homers and 102 runs were career-highs and his 20 steals were his second-highest mark. He maintained a .5 BB/K rate last year, so don’t be turned off by his .250 average. His BABIP was a career-low .308, but we’ll take that for his increase in power. He actually increased his contact rate and decreased his swinging strike rate, so everything’s still looking up for the soon-to-be 30-year-old. He should see another 100-plus runs batting atop the Cubs’ lineup. This is a steal for the 43rd outfielder.
Gerardo Parra – FP: 49 – MR: 48
With the trade of Corey Dickerson earlier in the offseason Parra couldn’t be in a better situation now. Roster Resource has Parra currently slotted fifth in the Rockies lineup, and the dude in front of him – Nolan Arenado – had about 250 RBI last year. Parra is clearly one of the top four players in the Rockies lineup, so he should have a prime spot there. We’ve seen lesser talent flourish in Denver, so Parra should have no problem giving you value here. He’s played in 150 games in each of the last three seasons, averaging 11 homers and 11 steals. His career average on balls in play is well over .300, and his fly-ball rate is trending upwards, which possibly explains his career-high in homers last year. Giving him a lineup slot 81 times in Colorado should be illegal.
Delino DeShields, Jr. – FP: 57 – MR: 45
In his MLB debut last year DeShields stole 25 bases and scored 83 times in only 121 games. He also had 10 triples. DeShields is slotted in the leadoff spot to begin this season, and it’s not just because he’s a speedster. He had a 10 percent walk rate last year after an 11 percent walk rate and .363 OBP in the minors. I like what the projection systems see for DeShields this year – five to eight homers and low-30s in steals. I lean toward the upper end of the home run projections, so it’s possible he could touch 10 homers and over 30 steals with plenty of runs.
Marcell Ozuna – FP: 64 – MR: 47
Ozuna is being written off even though he’s just 25 and hit 23 home runs in his rookie season of 2014. Last year he struggled and was sent down for a time. Whether it was a good idea or not we’ll never know. What I do know is Ozuna kept his walk rate steady and reduced his strikeouts from 26 percent of the time to 21 percent. He did a lot of positive things in his second season in the bigs. I think this is a guy who didn’t know how to fully adjust to struggling against good competition. But after Ozuna returned to Miami August 5 he hit .278/.320/.469 with full-season paces of 23 home runs and 48 doubles. Those marks plus his isolated slugging were all better than his 2014 numbers. There’s still room for growth here, and since he struggled early in the season there’s room for profit here due to his low ranking.
Odubel Herrera – FP: 73 – MR: 53
Herrera is undervalued because he offers one thing that is becoming rare in baseball – speed. He had 16 steals last year, and, playing for a bad Phillies squad he should have all the incentive to run as much as possible this year. He also had a .121 Iso mark, which is pretty good for a rookie who can also steal a good amount of bases. He probably won’t hit close to .300 again, thanks to a high BABIP, but his 24 percent, which was 150 percent higher than his minor-league rate, should come down some as he gets more accustomed to Major-league pitching. Asking for double-digit home runs would be a stretch, but another eight homers and over 20 steals is easily doable for this former Rule 5 pick.