2015 Fantasy Baseball: It’s Never Too Early — Right Fielders
We reach the end of the position player portion of the “it’s never too early” series. Right field is a little more stable than center field was, but we also have some instances where some players will be eligible at multiple outfield spots. We also have some infielders that we’ve mentioned before that are also eligible in the outfield. Check your league rules and check the overall rankings to see where you want to slot certain guys. I’ve tried to put guys where it makes the most sense positionally. Often times, fantasy rankings make more sense in other slots.
In terms of the rankings themselves, the methodologies often dictate where players will be slotted. If you take a three or five year average it will give you fairly stable numbers, but players that are on the rise or on the decline might be ranked inappropriately. The experts often go with where they think a guy is going in lieu of where he has been. A balanced approach is often best in general.
Avisail Garcia— Chicago White Sox
Position Rise: +7
Overall Rise: +97
Here we see the classic difference between past results and expected future results. Garcia hasn’t done much. Paul Bear Bryant once said the definition of potential was “ain’t done nothing yet.” Depending on your perspective, that might define Garcia. Others would look to the potential numbers he may put up if he is healthy and productive. His career numbers predict that he will be a solid but unspectacular corner outfielder. The minor league numbers say the same. Scouts may say differently, but they are looking at physical tools. I don’t have that kind of imagination.
J.D. Martinez— Detroit Tigers
Position Rise: +5
Overall Rise: +62
Martinez has one very good season to his name and a few lackluster campaigns before that. The question is whether 2014 was the beginning or simply a blip on the radar. Experts are betting on the former and I suppose it’s as good a bet as any. He did produce in the minors before his call up, so there is certainly enough evidence to suggest 2014 wasn’t completely out of character. Those numbers would suggest he is a fantasy regular.
Jayson Werth— Washington Nationals
Position Rise: +5
Overall Rise: +60
The past two seasons have shown that the Nationals weren’t completely crazy in giving Werth his contract. He has been a National for four seasons and three of those four have been relatively productive. The ESPN rankings were likely based on a composite of his seasons as a National and that includes his injury riddled 2012 season. Multiple season averages make a great deal of sense, but they occasionally skew the average up or down. The experts pick is likely much more appropriate.
Jason Heyward— St. Louis Cardinals
Position Slide: -10
Overall Slide: -174
I checked both lists two or three times to make sure this was accurate. Like other players on our list, defensive reputations are elevating Heyward’s offensive reputation. In five big league seasons, he is averaging 17 home runs and 13 stolen bases a season. Add twenty fielding runs a season and that kind of production will make you a good player. Take away the fielding and you start looking very average. In six category leagues he starts to look solid again because of a career walk rate north of eleven percent. I suppose the experts were picking for a standard 5×5 league.
Mark Trumbo— Arizona Diamondbacks
Position Slide: -5
Overall Slide: -83
This slide is predicated almost entirely on an injury riddled 2014 campaign. Then again, Trumbo fits about as well in the outfield as Babe Ruth at shortstop. He averaged 30+ home runs and more than 140 games in each of the prior seasons in Arizona, so I see no reason to expect poor health again. This might be a reverse reaction to the exceptional fielders like in the prior case. I would expect impressive power numbers like we’ve gotten before from Trumbo, so this slide might be a bit unfair.
Carlos Beltran— New York Yankees
Position Slide: -4
Overall Slide: -81
Put simply, this is a difference between past performance and future expectations. Getting old sucks. I’ve always told my students I can do just about anything they can do physically. It just takes me a lot longer to recuperate. Beltran may not be capable of playing 150 games again. Fortunately, they can DH him on occasion, but even with the DH he likely will never have 600 plate appearances again. So, adjust your expectations accordingly. I think Beltran will be better next season than he was in 2014, but the plate appearances might be closer to 500.