2016 Fantasy Baseball: Generation Next — Right Fielders
As we reach the end of our series in terms of position players, we find a position that might not be as long in terms of premium prospects as some others, but it is considerably deeper than other positions. There were a couple of promising outfielders I eliminated that others might have included. I’m game to discuss those players further if readers would like to in the comments section.
Jorge Soler— Chicago Cubs
Key Stats: .262, 10 HR, 39 Runs, 47 RBI, 3 SB
The Houston Astros and Chicago Cubs have drawn a number of comparisons in recent seasons. Both teams sucked for a number of years, but both teams participated in an aggressive rebuilding project. Both teams advanced in the playoffs this past season (with Chicago advancing to the NLCS). However, that is where the comparisons usually stop. The Cubs have deeper pockets, so their rebuilding project included some pricey international talent. Jorge Soler is chief among those prospects.
If you combine his cup of coffee in 2014 with his rookie season you get the kind of production the Cubs hope to get in 2016 from him. He combined to slash .268/.325/.433. No, it’s not brilliant, but when you compare it with some of the other position player talent they have, then you see they will cobble together a strong offensive attack.
Barriers to Launch
The Cubs have arrived and with that arrival comes a little added pressure on each individual player. Teams with a wealthy collection of young talent have options, and there will be options in right field if Soler does not develop as they hope. Still, you can see the ceiling and it is higher than what he has done. Eventually, he could develop into a .300/20/80/80/15 performer. Sneeze at that if you will, but there will be fewer and fewer impact fantasy bats like that out there with each passing season.
Rusney Castillo— Boston Red Sox
Key Stats: .253, 5 HR, 35 Runs, 29 RBI, 4 SB
Some time in August, the Red Sox finally gave up on their high priced talent and started handing things over to their kids. Suddenly, (with the help of a healthy and hot David Ortiz) those kids started to play well and the Red Sox started winning. As an international talent, Castillo is a bit older and more advanced than his other outfield comrades. The Sox decided to convert Hanley Ramirez into a first baseman so they could fit Jackie Bradley Jr. and Mookie Betts into the lineup with him. There might be some growing pains, but they also could push the Red Sox closer to contention by the end of 2016.
Barriers to Launch
Like the Cubs, the Red Sox are expected to compete. They will not have the same patience at the beginning of 2016 that they had at the end of the 2015 campaign. Every player will be expected to come out hitting as they continue to revamp their roster into a title contender by the start of 2016. They’ve already added a premium closer and are likely to add another premium starter before it is all said and done.
Domingo Santana— Milwaukee Brewers
Key Stats: .238, 8 HR, 20 Runs, 26 RBI, 4 SB
Out of all of the picks for this article, Santana will likely be the most controversial. His numbers are certainly more questionable than the others, but he also might have the highest ceiling in the group. The Brewers got Santana from the Astros in the Carlos Gomez move. He has played some center field, but right field is likely his long term destiny. He has good but not great speed and he has a strong arm. His biggest asset is his massive power that scouts call “light tower” power. He has 77 strikeouts in 205 plate appearances as well. His long arms will likely always make him prone to the strikeout and to low batting averages, but he could reap massive rewards if he evolves into the 30+ home run hitter people seem to think he’ll eventually become.
Barriers to Launch
The Brewers have Khris Davis entrenched in left field and Ryan Braun entrenched in right field. Fellow former Astro Brett Phillips is penciled in as the long-term center fielder of the future. Unfortunately for the Brewers, the National League doesn’t have the DH. So, where is Santana going to play? The Brewers would love to unload Ryan Braun to get out from under his huge contract, but that will be easier said than done.
Yasmani Tomas— Arizona Diamondbacks
Key Stats: .273, 9 HR, 40 Runs, 48 RBI, 5 SB
I came very close to going with Steven Souza of the Tampa Bay Rays here. He will likely get more playing time, but the ceiling just isn’t high enough. He’s the kind of player you look at on the waiver wire and pause for a moment before moving on to the next guy. Tomas on the other hand has tremendous upside, but like Santana, may not have a home yet in the everyday lineup. Tomas shuffled between third base and the corner outfield slots before settling in, as baseball-reference says, at “UT”.
Tomas came highly regarded from the Cubs, but like many international imports, he found big league pitching to be a bit above what he was used to. Mind you, his numbers from last year clearly show his bat belongs in the big leagues. Unfortunately, his glove really doesn’t. Like Santana, he would be a perfect DH if the National League ever adopted one. That isn’t likely to happen anytime soon.
Barriers to Launch
People make fun of the D’backs, but they actually have more talent than most people give them credit for. Their outfield blossomed last year with Ender Inciarte, A.J. Pollock, and David Peralta all hitting better than .300 and producing decent power and speed numbers on top of that. Jake Lamb was decent at third base, so that probably represents Tomas’ best opportunity to launch, but he would have to play a passable third base for that to happen. He definitely has his work cut out for him.