2017 Fantasy Baseball, Knocking on the Door: Right Fielders
The knocking on the door series is a way to capture the players that haven’t built up enough of a track record to be considered amongst the top 24 at their respective position. However, they have the talent and the opportunity to finish in the top 24 by the end of the season. Sometimes their inclusion is obvious and sometimes it takes a bit of a projection. Their ultimate inclusion is built more on opportunity than overall talent. The numbers included will represent where they have had the most recent full season workload.
Domingo Santana— Milwaukee Brewers (.239, 19 HR, 55 Runs, 58 RBI, 6 SB, 53 BB)
The numbers above represent the career big league numbers for Santana. So, in essence he’s already arrived. The trouble is that they have come across three different seasons. Santana had a hiccup when he first arrived (he struck out 14 out of his first 18 plate appearances) and then struggled to remain healthy in 2015 and 2016. He has totaled 486 plate appearances to this point, so what you see is pretty much what you are going to get.
The advantage here is that Santana is long and lanky with very long arms that give him the leverage to turn in some pretty impressive power numbers. The bad news is those same long arms make him susceptible to large strikeout numbers (168 career strikeouts). He’s developed a decent batting eye, so his long-term prognosis might be slightly better than his former teammate Chris Carter. He has some sneaky speed that could develop into ten to 15 stolen bases as well.
Barriers to Launch: With the Brewers firmly entrenched in fourth or fifth place in the NL Central, Santana will play as long as he is healthy. Keeping him healthy has always been the struggle. None of the injuries he has had have been career threatening to this point, but he may just have one of those bodies that is susceptible to nagging injuries.
Jorge Soler— Kansas City Royals (.258, 27 HR, 87 Runs, 98 RBI, 4 SB, 69 BB)
Before you get overly excited, these are Soler’s career numbers and they span 211 career games. Baseball-Reference has his 162 game average at .258/.328/.434 with 21 home runs, 67 runs, and 75 RBI. If the Royals get that out of them they will probably be pretty happy. At first glance, trading an all-star closer for him seems like a head scratcher, but the Royals aren’t likely to be playoff contenders and they wanted to start building for the future.
Solar wasn’t going to get playing time in Chicago, so the deal made perfect sense from their perspective. It isn’t difficult to imagine him hitting .260 with 20 home runs if he is simply given a little space to establish himself. Like Santana, he seems susceptible to the strike out, but he doesn’t have Santana’s ceiling when it comes to speed or raw power. That makes him a likely fantasy backup.
Barriers to Launch: Soler will likely launch, but he isn’t likely to make a big fantasy impact this season. There are too many strong right fielders to give him much of a consideration, but he might be a decent pickup off the waiver wire.
Scott Schebler– Cincinnati Reds (.263, 12 HR, 42 Runs, 44 RBI, 4 SB, 22 BB)
Scheduler was a part of the Todd Frazier deal to the White Sox. If you combine his major league and minor league numbers you see that he has been a consistent source of power throughout his career. He’s not a high end hitter, but after the breakout season of Adam Duvall there is always hope that Schebler can have a similar season. The Brewers and Reds will be in a dog fight for fourth place in the NL Central again, so he is likely to get all the opportunities he needs to succeed.
He narrowly edged out Aaron Judge for that reason. Judge may turn out to be the better major league player based on his track record and pedigree, but this is about 2017. The Yankees have an outside chance of being competitive and they will likely be less patient with younger players. Plus, they have the resources to bring in a veteran if need be.
Barriers to launch: Schebler doesn’t have the look of a high end guy. He had greater than a three to one strikeout to walk ratio at the minor league level and that repeated itself when he got called up to the big leagues. He has the look of what we might call organizational fodder while the Reds work on developing superior talent.