2015 Fantasy Baseball Draft Guide: Left Field Over/Unders
The outfield is always a quagmire in fantasy baseball. Some leagues simply put all of them in the same category. Some leagues split them into their specific positions. Others use three starting outfielder and some have five starting outfielders. For our purposes we will split them into their respective positions. We will use the projections from rosterresource.com to determine positions. Obviously, some players will be eligible at multiple positions, so feel free to adjust depending on the rules of your particular league.
Remember, the point of this series is to look at three-year averages and scaled them all to per 150 numbers to give us an idea of what a player might produce in a full season. We’ll see where that production would rank at the position and then decide whether the player is more likely to exceed or fall short of that production and ranking.
Oswaldo Arcia— Minnesota Twins
Per 150 Numbers: .241/26/60/75/2
Per 150 Left Field Rank: 20
This is where the aggregate doesn’t do a player justice. Arcia went from 14 home runs in 2013 to 20 in 2014. He did that in roughly the same number of games (around 100). Give him 150 games as a regular and he likely gets at least 25. That might be good enough to be a starter in leagues with five regular outfielders.
Michael Brantley— Cleveland Indians
Per 150 Numbers: .301/12/73/76/17
Per 150 Left Field Rank: 7
This is where we need a crystal ball. Brantley was ridiculously good last season but was chronically average every other season before that. I’m guessing that 2014 was the first of many good seasons for Brantley. We are looking at a guy that should produce a .300 average, 20 home runs, and 20 steals.
Domonic Brown— Philadelphia Phillies
Per 150 Numbers: .251/19/59/76/7
Per 150 Left Field Rank: 21
It might seem crazy to go under on a guy that is ranked 21st, but this is a pretty deep position and he had a sparking .285 OBP a year ago. Simply put, the Phillies don’t have a lot left in the tank after dealing Jimmy Rollins to the Dodgers. He probably won’t be the only one leaving town.
Melky Cabrera— Chicago White Sox
Per 150 Numbers: .313/13/90/72/9
Per 150 Left Field Rank: 6
I’ve got nothing against Cabrera per se. I would still make him a top ten left fielder, but I have a hard time putting faith in guys with limited power and limited speed. Chicago is a pretty good landing spot for Cabrera. It is a nice hitting environment and there are some good hitters there. I just can’t pick him that high.
Yoenis Cespedes— Detroit Tigers
Per 150 Numbers: .263/26/84/94/11
Per 150 Left Field Rank: 3
Picking the over here is ambitious, but there are too many things going for Cespedes to pick otherwise. He is a free agent to be and he has a number of stud hitters in that lineup to provide a buffer for him. He doesn’t have to be the man, so don’t be surprised if we see a 30/100/100/20 campaign out of him.
Carl Crawford— Los Angeles Dodgers
Per 150 Numbers: .289/10/84/57/26
Per 150 Left Field Rank: 10
Come around the campfire and hear the tale of an outfielder with power and speed no one had ever seen. He was destined to go to the Hall of Fame and then signed a ludicrous contract with the Red Sox. He hasn’t been the same since. He’s still that same player when healthy, but that hasn’t happened since 2011.
Khris Davis— Milwaukee Brewers
Per 150 Numbers: .251/25/73/72/5
Per 150 Left Field Rank: 16
Much like Oswaldo Arcia, Davis’ aggregate numbers have to be taken with a grain of salt. 2015 represents the second full season of his career. Therefore, you have to think that he will produce better numbers the second time around. He was exposed last season after a brilliant call up in 2013. If baseball is anything, it is a game of adjustments. It is now Davis’ turn.
Alejandro De Aza— Baltimore Orioles
Per 150 Numbers: .266/12/78/54/22
Per 150 Left Field Rank: 18
Most people thought De Aza was dead as a fantasy player last year, but he found himself again after being traded to Baltimore. Baltimore then lost both Nelson Cruz and Nick Markakis this offseason in free agency. So, it looks like a spot will be saved for De Aza. He should be a pretty decent backup in most fantasy leagues.
Corey Dickerson— Colorado Rockies
Per 150 Numbers: .297/22/80/70/8
Per 150 Left Field Rank: 9
Dickerson takes over in left field so that Carlos Gonzalez can move to right field. Dickerson has been around a long time and hadn’t done anything of note until last season. It isn’t completely unheard of to see someone continue to produce after that, but the odds are against him doing it again. The league will see him coming.
Brett Gardner— New York Yankees
Per 150 Numbers: .266/12/85/55/23
Per 150 Left Field Rank: 14
Would you rather have a guy hit ten home runs and steal 30 bases or a guy hit 20 home runs and steal 15 bases? Brett Gardner became closer to the second player last season. I don’t think the power will remain, so we have to be more alarmed by the drop in stolen bases. Speed is always the first thing to go. I can’t remember the second.
Alex Gordon— Kansas City Royals
Per 150 Numbers: .276/17/86/72/10
Per 150 Left Field Rank: 8
Gordon was +27 runs according to DER last season. That was the main reason for the insane MVP talk we heard from Royals fans. Gordon is an excellent player overall, but offensively he is more or less above average. Above average is fine and dandy, but it doesn’t rate you as a top eight left fielder offensively.
Curtis Granderson— New York Mets
Per 150 Numbers: .229/28/82/75/10
Per 150 Left Field Rank: 11
Granderson began showing signs of life last season, so picking him as an over is not as crazy as it might seem. If in a down season he hit more than twenty home runs. Assuming good health and decent production, he should produce close to thirty home runs (if not more) with double digit steals in the process.
Robbie Grossman— Houston Astros
Per 150 Numbers: .248/9/64/52/14
Per 150 Left Field Ranking: 24
Grossman is one of those guys where fans always seem to be waiting around for someone better to come along. It hasn’t helped that he’s gotten off to horrible starts the last two seasons. Then, when August and September came along he was in the lineup and producing. His walk rate makes these numbers play up. If he gets a full complement of at bats he may very well surprise you.
Bryce Harper— Washington Nationals
Per 150 Numbers: .272/23/88/63/13
Per 150 Left Field Ranking: 5
Remember when there was a big debate over whether Mike Trout or Bryce Harper would be the better player? Well, that didn’t turn out to be as close as we thought. We still forget that Harper is very young and has been plagued by injuries. If he turns in a healthy campaign he will start looking like he belongs in the same conversation as Trout.
Josh Hamilton— Los Angeles Angels
Per 150 Numbers: .266/29/86/97/5
Per 150 Left Field Ranking: 4
Josh Hamilton was the Mike Trout from the past decade. Father Time catches up with all of us. Looking back, we should have seen this coming in 2012 when he faded horribly down the stretch. Hindsight is always 20/20. Hamilton is still a dangerous hitter and if he can stay on the field he will still be plenty good. He just won’t be the guy he was three or four years ago. Furthermore, it appears he will spend the first 25 games of the year suspended because of a relapse this offseason. We are all rooting for Hamilton, but it appears his days as a dominant offensive force are over.
Matt Holliday— St. Louis Cardinals
Per 150 Numbers: .289/23/93/94/5
Per 150 Left Field Ranking: 2
You keep waiting for guys like Holliday to begin slowing down. He may have done so a year ago, but he didn’t slow down by much. Like most power hitters, he has aged a lot better than most. He isn’t the fantasy force he was when he was in Colorado, but he quietly produces better than just about any left fielder on the board.
Matt Joyce— Los Angeles Angels
Per 150 Numbers: .243/16/62/59/5
Per 150 Left Field Ranking: 23
The key here is that Joyce is finally going somewhere where he has the opportunity to play everyday. The Rays always used a platoon system which limited his production overall. Then again, limiting his exposure also made him more effective in terms of batting average, on base percentage, and slugging percentage. The superior counting numbers win out just slightly.
Starling Marte— Pittsburgh Pirates
Per 150 Numbers: .282/14/82/51/39
Per 150 Left Field Ranking: 12
Sometimes numbers sneak up on you and these stolen base numbers definitely sneak up on you. Marte is more of a table setter than a run producer, so seeing the likes of Andrew McCutchen and Pedro Alvarez healthy and productive is important to his ability to score runs. He does enough of everything where it seems crazy to let him slip this far.
Wil Myers— San Diego Padres
Per 150 Numbers: .258/16/75/75/9
Per 150 Left Field Ranking: 15
It remains to be seen which storyline will win out here. There is the story of the hot prospect that looks to be healthy for the first time in his career. The needle is pointed up there. Then there is the story line of moving to one of the worst hitters parks in baseball. Overall, he will produce more than he has, but it may not be as much as people thought when he debuted last year.
David Peralta— Arizona Diamondbacks
Per 150 Numbers: .286/14/68/61/10
Per 150 Left Field Ranking: 17
Here is yet another young outfielder that looks like he should get better with regular playing time. I voted the over, but I wouldn’t make him a regular yet. Sometimes the promise young players have gets interrupted for one reason or another. So, proceed with caution like you would with any other young player.
Michael Saunders— Toronto Blue Jays
Per 150 Numbers: .248/17/72/59/16
Per 150 Left Field Ranking: 19
Some people question the haul that the Mariners got in exchange for Saunders. It was a deal that probably helped both teams and players. J.A. Happ enters the Mariners rotation and could see a bump in pitching in Safeco Field. Saunders could see a bump after leaving Safeco Field. He has power and speed and that could play up north of the border. Unfortunately, a knee injury will keep him on the shelf early in the season. He likely won’t be drafted, but he could give fantasy owners a shot in the arm in May.
Justin Upton— San Diego Padres
Per 150 Numbers: .271/24/92/79/11
Per 150 Left Field Ranking: 1
The Padres fortunes are going up after adding Upton, Matt Kemp, Wil Myers, and Derek Norris, but individually those guys will probably see their numbers go down. So, betting the under is not a slight on Upton so much as an acknowledgment that moving to Petco Park is probably not going to help his numbers.
Dayan Viciedo— Toronto Blue Jays
Per 150 Numbers: .250/22/62/69/0
Per 150 Left Field Ranking: 22
Viciedo lost out on a numbers game in Chicago, but may be able to find himself a slot in Toronto. The afforementioned Saunders will miss the first few weeks with a knee injury. Viciedo will have a short window to prove he should be an everyday player again. I wouldn’t hold my breath.
Christian Yelich— Miami Marlins
Per 150 Numbers: .285/9/93/51/23
Per 150 Left Field Ranking: 13
Power is usually one of the last things to come for a prospect. That is the one thing standing between Yelich and stardom. It might be coming this year. The Marlins certainly have more offense this year than what they had last year. Add those two elements together and you might have a breakout candidate on your hands.