2015 Fantasy Baseball Draft Guide: Right Field Over/Unders
Right field is so famous for being a throw away position that Peter, Paul, and Mary wrote a song about it. “Because I’m here in right field, just watching the dandelions grow.” In terms of fantasy baseball, there can be little doubt that right field is now the most stacked position on the diamond. You could argue for first base, but as you will see, the numbers here are hard to ignore.
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.
Jose Bautista— Toronto Blue Jays
Per 150 Numbers: .266/37/102/99/7
Per 150 Right Field Rank: 4
Joey Bats might be the best discovery that the Blue Jays have made to date. Of course, Edwin Encarnacion might have something to say about that. Bautista plays up in six category leagues when you add the on base element. Bautista became a sensation in 2010 when he clubbed 54 home runs. He also has 464 walks since 2010. That’s roughly 93 a season.
Carlos Beltran— New York Yankees
Per 150 Numbers: .269/26/77/85/7
Per 150 Right Field Rank: 16
The Yankees have become famous for signing free agents. The downside to signing free agents is that many of them have seen their best days already. Beltran definitely has seen his best days. If he puts up the numbers you see above he might be a fantasy regular in a generic outfielder format. Right field is really that deep.
Ryan Braun— Milwaukee Brewers
Per 150 Numbers: .295/30/88/99/19
Per 150 Right FIeld Rank: 1
We could be extremely snarky and really pan this ranking, but Braun will likely be better than he was in 2014. It’s hard to believe that steroids have that big an effect on someone’s production. He could easily produce 20/20 numbers next season, but that won’t be good enough to be the number one right fielder.
Jay Bruce— Cincinnati Reds
Per 150 Numbers: .242/27/83/91/9
Per 150 Right Field Rank: 14
Last season was rough for Bruce and the Reds. This is a team with a lot of offensive talent, so we can expect Bruce to bounce back some. Like Beltran, he is a borderline fantasy starter in three generic outfielder leagues. In a right field specific league he just isn’t quite good enough to crack the starting lineup.
Marlon Byrd— Cincinnati Reds
Per 150 Numbers: .269/22/67/78/2
Per 150 Right Field Rank: 22
Byrd is an enigma wrapped in a riddle. On the one hand, experts keep waiting for him to turn back into a pumpkin. On the other hand, he is moving from a team obviously in decline to a team that could be a contender if everything breaks right. One thing is for certain, he will have more run producing opportunities in Cincinnati than he did in Philadelphia.
Kole Calhoun— Los Angeles Angels
Per 150 Numbers: .271/18/88/66/6
Per 150 Right Field Rank: 20
One of the things you look for is for young players ready to take the next step. He played every day for the first time last season and then in only 128 games. Even if we only assume that he simply plays in 150 games at the same rate, we are looking at 20+ home runs and perhaps north of 100 runs scored.
Shin-Soo Choo— Texas Rangers
Per 150 Numbers: .272/17/88/56/15
Per 150 Right Field Rank: 15
2014 was a down season for everyone involved in Arlington, so we can almost discard everyone’s numbers and simply say “do over.” Choo has a .383 career OBP and that obviously makes all of his numbers play up. In six category leagues he is easily a starting quality right fielder. The fact that he is eligible in center field and left field in most leagues makes him that much more valuable.
Nelson Cruz— Seattle Mariners
Per 150 Numbers: .266/32/78/96/6
Per 150 Right Field Rank: 13
If nothing shows you how deep right field is then Cruz’s 13th ranking has to. I don’t see any way Cruz does not fit as a starting right fielder in fantasy baseball. Mind you, he isn’t likely to be the guy that led the AL in home runs last season, but he is good enough to produce quality numbers as a starting fantasy outfielder.
Michael Cuddyer— New York Mets
Per 150 Numbers: .307/25/85/93/11
Per 150 Right Field Rank: 5
There are difficult calls and then there are easy ones. Cuddyer has two huge strikes against him. First, he has been unable to stay healthy since leaving Minnesota. Secondly, he is leaving the friendly confines of Coors Field and coming to the inhospitable Citi Field. I think it’s pretty safe to say he won’t be producing these numbers.
Carlos Gonzalez— Colorado Rockies
Per 150 Numbers: .288/28/93/92/21
Per 150 Right Field Rank: 2
If a tree falls in the woods and no one is there to hear it does it make a sound? Furthermore, if you produce per 150 game numbers for someone that has never played in 150 games does it really mean anything? It means he’s capable of being a dominant fantasy talent if he is ever healthy. Since he never has been I’m guessing that’s more academic.
Jason Heyward— St. Louis Cardinals
Per 150 Numbers: .266/19/85/65/16
Per 150 Right Field Rank: 18
Heyward is an interesting player in fantasy terms. Boil him down to the basics and he is destined to beat his 18th rank in his new home. Unfortunately, it isn’t quite that simple, some look at the overall player and see his awesome defensive skills and somehow transfer that to the offensive side. He probably fits somewhere between 12 and 15 in terms of offensive production.
Torii Hunter— Minnesota Twins
Per 150 Numbers: .301/18/85/91/6
Per 150 Right Field Rank: 11
Hunter is nearing the end of what will be a borderline Hall of Fame career. Unfortunately, you shouldn’t get picked on the strength of your career to date, but what you should do the next season. There is no way Hunter is a regular at this point in his career, but he does enough of everything to be a decent fantasy backup.
J.D. Martinez— Detroit Tigers
Per 150 Numbers: .272/19/54/78/4
Per 150 Right Field Rank: 23
These numbers are actually a pretty good low ball estimate for a player that was a marginal big leaguer before last season. Martinez might take a step backwards next year and if he does the numbers above serve as a good estimate. If he produces the numbers above he will still be a good fantasy bench guy. If he produces last year’s numbers again he will be drastically underrated on draft day.
Hunter Pence— San Francisco Giants
Per 150 Numbers: .271/22/88/86/12
Per 150 Right Field Rank: 7
Pence represents the weakness of the per 150 numbers on the other end. He has played nearly every day for the past three seasons, so his numbers will play up considerably. It’s an interesting juxtaposition when compared to some of the guys before that never seem to get to 150 games. He is considerably more valuable because of his durability.
Gregory Polanco— Pittsburgh Pirates
Per 150 Numbers: .235/12/84/56/24
Per 150 Right Field Rank: 24
There is something to be said for building playoff teams from the ground up. Polanco is simply the latest in a line of young Pirates hitters that will be exciting to watch. The question with Polanco will be how much of a step forward will he take in 2015. Even the smallest of steps makes him better than what you see here.
Yasiel Puig— Los Angeles Dodgers
Per 150 Numbers: .305/21/92/66/13
Per 150 Right Field Rank: 6
He took a step sideways last season. In terms of per game production, the numbers went down, but he played every day for the first time as well. Puig needs to mature and a part of that maturation process will be preparing for the rigors of playing everyday. Now that Matt Kemp is gone, he will be playing every day in right field.
Josh Reddick— Oakland Raiders
Per 150 Numbers: .244/22/74/75/8
Per 150 Right Field Rank: 21
He’s been in double digits in fielding runs the past four seasons. It is easy to let his fielding prowess bleed into his fantasy value. As a fantasy outfielder he is more or less marginal. As long as he plays, he’s a decent waiver consideration, but I wouldn’t draft him at this point.
Alex Rios— Kansas City Royals
Per 150 Numbers: .288/16/78/76/28
Per 150 Right Field Rank: 12
This is another player where I would have almost pushed if it was an option. I’ve seen Rios overrated before. He is one of those bulimic players where fans get on the bandwagon expecting huge numbers and then jump off and treat him like a leper (two horrible diseases in one paragraph). The truth is always somewhere in between.
Jorge Soler— Chicago Cubs
Per 150 Numbers: .292/31/69/125/6
Per 150 Right Field Rank: 8
Obviously, when you have rookies with partial seasons, the projections can be outrageous. He will not drive in 125 runs this season, so picking him as the eighth best right fielder is kind of ridiculous. Remember, much of this is for entertainment value. That being said, Soler has the potential to be a huge bat, so he should be on your radar.
George Springer— Houston Astros
Per 150 Numbers: .231/38/87/98/10
Per 150 Right Field Rank: 9
The difference between Soler and Springer is that Springer did it for a little longer in 2014 and he also dominated in the minors. As we have seen with Wil Myers, dominating in the minors is not the same as dominating in the majors. Still, Springer has already demonstrated the power and he should add more speed when he plays full time in 2015.
Giancarlo Stanton— Miami Marlins
Per 150 Numbers: .277/38/88/99/8
Per 150 Right Field Rank: 3
How does the best right fielder in baseball wind up third? Simply put, it is based on putting up numbers in all five offensive categories. That’s hogwash. He’s the best right fielder on the board and anyone that treats him otherwise is an idiot. Add in a better offense around him and his place on top of the board is secure.
Mark Trumbo— Arizona Diamondbacks
Per 150 Numbers: .246/31/72/98/4
Per 150 Right Field Rank: 19
Thank God none of these rankings are based on fielding. Trumbo might be the worst fielding right fielder in baseball, but if he’s healthy he will hit around 30 home runs. That alone gets him north of the 19th spot on the list. Guys capable of hitting that many homers and producing that many runs shouldn’t be buried that far on the bench.
Shane Victorino— Boston Red Sox
Per 150 Numbers: .280/14/82/63/30
Per 150 Right Field Rank: 17
Again, a guy that was injured last season is being ignored, but when you look at the numbers above they are very achievable. In many ways, having someone that can fill in the entire stat sheet like that is preferable to someone that that can only help you in two or three categories. The key will be health. Victorino certainly has enough around him to help him get to those numbers above.
Jayson Werth— Washington Nationals
Per 150 Numbers: .301/20/91/84/12
Per 150 Right Field Rank: 10
It’s become popular to pan his contract, but Werth has been a pretty productive player when healthy. He’s been in Washington for four seasons and has played in 129 or more games in three of those seasons. He has been a productive player that has produced four or more WAR in each of the past two seasons. So, chances are he will be a top ten right fielder again.