2014 Fantasy Baseball: Disappointments — Right Field
Some leagues have five starting outfielders. That means 12-team leagues will employ 60 starting outfielders when they employ those five guys. Even leagues with the standard three starters will see a number of outfielders employed as utility players along the way. So, conservatively, we might be looking at a bare minimum of 15 starting right fielders. We can definitely find a few folks that could classify as disappointments.
The right field crop has it’s fair share of disappointments like some other positions. But we haven’t seen that in the outfield just yet. Sometimes it happens that way. Ironically, the first disappointment is only there because of a position change. It may not be so much about being a disappointment as adjusting our expectations. Pitchers have clearly taken over in the battle between pitching and hitting. Sure, there are still some dominant hitters out there, but we may need to collectively change our expectations of what certain guys will do.
Ryan Braun— Milwaukee Brewers
(.266 AVG, 19 HR, 68 Runs, 81 RBI, 11 SB)
Do you want the snarky answer or do you want a more thoughtful one? The snarky answer involves simply being off the juice and that might be more accurate than we might think. However, I think we have a combination of getting off the juice and the game shifting back to pitching. Braun only played in 135 games. If you gave him the customary 150+ games then we might be looking at 25 HR and close to 100 RBI. So, really Braun wasn’t quite as disappointing as we were led to believe. The difference is that he isn’t the top 10 overall fantasy player he used to be.
What about 2015?
Again, assuming good health, Braun is definitely a starting quality fantasy player. He just isn’t a first rounder anymore. He may not even be good enough to go in the first five rounds these days, but people in your league may overreact based on the bad image. I wouldn’t want to drink a beer with Braun or invite him over for dinner, but I might add him to my fantasy team if he slips in the draft far enough.
Josh Hamilton— Los Angeles Angels
(.263 AVG, 10 HR, 43 Runs, 44 RBI, 3 SB)
It’s a race. Is there more money being pissed away in Anaheim or a Vitamin Expo in 2014? The Angels are living in a time warp and so are fantasy players that use their guys. Mike Trout won the MVP award and it was way overdue, but the rest of the guys look like a sonnet to the wonders of 2010. Hamilton won an MVP award and he has been a fantasy force in the past, but 2012 should have revealed the cracks in the veneer. The Rangers wouldn’t go more than three years and they look like the wisest people in the room. Now, the Angels have to wait awhile for the contract to clear.
What about 2015?
Call me crazy, but stocks and players find their level, and he is likely to get better. He won’t be the force that people expected him to be. There is still too much swing and miss in his game, but if he stays healthy he will likely put up similar numbers as Ryan Braun. That means he shouldn’t be among the first five rounds, but maybe if he last until the early teens he might be a decent gamble. In order to win at fantasy baseball you have to roll the dice if you want to wind up on top.
Carlos Beltran-– New York Yankees
(.233 AVG, 15 HR, 46 Runs, 49 RBI, 3 SB)
He’s a borderline Hall of Famer right now. Often times, the difference between the very good and the all-time greats is how you finish. Beltran has missed a ton of time to injury over the course of his career and he missed more than 50 games last season. The book hasn’t been closed on Beltran, but his best days are behind him. Luckily, the Yankees can manipulate their lineup to put him at DH on days where the knees aren’t feeling well. Still, I think fantasy players saw his 2013 season and assumed he would mash in the new Yankee Stadium. Unfortunately, you never know when the skills will erode.
What about 2015?
I would assume there will be some bounce back for Beltran, but assuming a 30 home run season again from him would probably be expecting too much. Much like Josh Hamilton, the biggest hurdle will be overcoming the memory of greatness we once saw. Heck, I still remember Beltran from his days in an Astros uniform. That was a decade ago and it seems like a lifetime. He is no longer a threat on the basepaths and we probably won’t see 150 games out of him again, but if we adjust our expectations accordingly we still might have a valuable fantasy player at the appropriate price.