2018 Fantasy Baseball: Fantasy Right Fielders 11-20
The rankings have taken a beating on the comment wire. However, the good news is that someone is paying attention. Rankings players across formats is hard and forecasting performance is nearly impossible. Analysts have to err on one side or another. You can be more aggressive and bet on the come or you can be more conservative and bet on what has already occurred. I tend to be more conservative by nature and that has drawn some pointed criticism this offseason.
In particular, ranking players in the second half of a position is hard because everyone has certain weaknesses that keep them out of the top ten. I prefer players that will play every day, but suffer from a major weakness to players that don’t have guaranteed playing time. That means some really good players will get bumped down the rankings. As usual, we will profile total points because it is a relatively new format and not everyone is familiar with it. The formula we are using is chronicled below.
Total points = Total Bases + Runs + RBI + SB + BB + HBP – SO – CS – GIDP
Yasiel Puig—Los Angeles Dodgers
Aggregate: .281, 17 HR, 61 Runs, 54 RBI, 9 SB, 43 BB 5 Category: 12
Per 162: .281, 23 HR, 84 Runs, 74 RBI, 12 SB, 60 BB 6 Category: 11
Steamer: .281, 24 HR, 68 Runs, 77 RBI, 10 SB, 54 BB DRS: +18
Analytics isn’t about recognizing greatness but in determining the likelihood of it happening. Puig can do amazing things on a baseball diamond, but it just doesn’t seem to happen as often as it should. Maybe that is a lack of maturity or maybe it is unachievable expectations. Last season he seemed to settle in and perform more consistency. This placement here is betting he does it again.
Kole Calhoun—Los Angeles Angels
Aggregate: .266, 18 HR, 73 Runs, 64 RBI, 4 SB, 48 BB 5 Category: 14
Per 162: .261, 21 HR, 88 Runs, 77 RBI, 5 SB, 58 BB 6 Category: 14
Steamer: .257, 22 HR, 84 Runs, 77 RBI, 4 SB, 64 BB DRS: +2
It is the season for magical thinking. What exactly is magical thinking? It involves seemingly logical suppositions that add together to create unrealistic expectations. The Angels have added Zack Cozart, Ian Kinsler, and Justin Upton for a full season. This doesn’t even mention the Ohtani hype. The expectation is that it will make the rest of the Angels better. This is true, but only to a certain extent. Calhoun is the same guy and will always be the same guy. He just might have a few more run producing opportunities.
Hunter Pence—San Francisco Giants
Aggregate: .277, 16 HR, 68 Runs, 67 RBI, 8 SB, 41 BB 5 Category: 11
Per 162: .282, 24 HR, 87 Runs, 92 RBI, 12 SB, 51 BB 6 Category: 12
Steamer: .264, 19 HR, 66 Runs, 72 RBI, 4 SB, 47 BB DRS: -3
Pence exists in the uncomfortable zone between erosion and a strengthened lineup. The plan appears for him to move to left field with Andrew McCutchen manning right field. If they sign or acquire a speedy center fielder it could reinvigorate that entire outfield. He is no longer the spry, young guy that could throw himself around the diamond like a crash test dummy. If he can make the adjustment he could add a few seasons to his career.
Josh Reddick— Houston Astros
Aggregate: .271, 13 HR, 61 Runs, 61 RBI, 7 SB, 41 BB 5 Category: 15
Per 162: .264, 19 HR, 77 Runs, 75 RBI, 8 SB, 50 SB 6 Category: 19
Steamer: .278, 19 HR, 74 Runs, 74 RBI, 7 SB, 48 BB DRS: +4
The Astros were able to get more out of Reddick by limiting his exposure against lefties. That is where their overall depth comes into play as they have similar platoon advantages at other positions. That will limit his counting numbers, so the Steamer projections are a little optimistic given that fact. A .280/15/70/70/7 player is still pretty valuable at just about any other position. Here, he serves as a good bench piece.
Jose Bautista—Free Agent
Aggregate: .246, 30 HR, 90 Runs, 85 RBI, 6 SB, 91 BB 5 Category: 5
Per 162: .250, 32 HR, 94 Runs, 90 RBI, 6 SB, 93 BB 6 Category: 5
Steamer: N/A DRS: -8
Bautista is obviously not the fourth or fifth best right fielder in the game. However, if we combine his last two seasons alone he averages 288 points per season (good for 11th) and 2.11 points per game (good for 20th). So, this spot seems reasonable enough. The question comes down to whether a team can find a value point that fits for him. He is still better than most outfielders offensively and probably could DH for half of the teams in the American League. Will he find a slot?
Carlos Gonzalez—Free Agent
Aggregate: .274, 23 HR, 71 Runs, 72 RBI, 6 SB, 42 BB 5 Category: 10
Per 162: .288, 29 HR, 98 Runs, 96 RBI, 16 SB, 53 BB 6 Category: 9
Steamer: .257, 18 HR, 53 Runs, 60 RBI, 2 SB, 39 BB DRS: -3
Gonzalez has two variables that affect his value. First, you must put his numbers through the Coors Field decoder ring. For his career he has hit .323/.383/.593 at home versus .252/.308/.427 on the road. Depending on where he lands, he might do better than the road numbers we see here, but how much better? Secondly, based on his struggles last season he may not get an everyday job. So, a lot is riding on where he lands.
Mark Trumbo—Baltimore Orioles
Aggregate: .244, 28 HR, 71 Runs, 80 RBI, 2 SB, 42 BB 5 Category: 13
Per 162: .249, 33 HR, 80 Runs, 95 RBI, 4 SB, 44 BB 6 Category: 15
Steamer: .254, 30 HR, 71 Runs, 84 RBI, 1 SB, 42 BB DRS: -5
Trumbo is a flawed player and those flaws can be seen more clearly when we look at total points. However, he is more likely to play every day, so he is a guy that would be best paired with someone that is more of an injury risk as a regular. He might have multi-positional eligibility in some platforms as he can play some first base as well. He hasn’t in recent seasons, so he won’t start the season that way.
Jason Heyward—Chicago Cubs
Aggregate: .261, 11 HR, 68 Runs, 53 RBI, 12 SB, 53 BB 5 Category: 17
Per 162: .262, 17 HR, 83 Runs, 68 RBI, 15 SB, 68 BB 6 Category: 17
Steamer: .267, 14 HR, 62 Runs, 62 RBI, 8 SB, 53 BB DRS: +18
Sometimes it’s hard to decipher why some players get huge contracts, but the key is not in his offensive numbers. The key is that Heyward has never had a season where he got fewer than ten defensive runs saved. With 138 in eight seasons he has averaged nearly 17 per season. That means more than two dWAR per season. Add that to a modest two to three wins offensively and you get a really good player overall. That means little to you except that he will get regular playing time no matter how he hits.
Steven Souza—Tampa Bay Rays
Aggregate: .237, 21 HR, 65 Runs, 56 RBI, 12 SB, 54 BB 5 Category: 19
Per 162: .236, 26 HR, 80 Runs, 69 RBI, 14 SB, 67 BB 6 Category: 18
Steamer: .234, 25 HR, 73 Runs, 73 RBI, 12 SB, 68 BB DRS: +7
Souza took a significant step forward last season and Steamer is projecting another one this season. Even with that step he is not a starting quality right fielder, but he has been pretty durable and as an above average fielder he should continue to get regular playing time. Depending on the number of bench slots you have, he could be a really good depth piece for your team.
Gregory Polanco—Pittsburgh Pirates
Aggregate: .250, 12 HR, 61 Runs, 52 RBI, 17 SB, 41 BB 5 Category: 21
Per 162: .252, 16 HR, 82 Runs, 68 RBI, 22 SB, 54 BB 6 Category: 21
Steamer: .268, 19 HR, 68 Runs, 71 RBI, 13 SB, 51 BB DRS: +1
Growth is rarely ever linear, but it would be easy to discount Polanco following a disappointing season and a disappointing offseason for Pirates fans. Still, his growth through 2016 was impressive and there is no reason why he can’t go back on the growth track in 2018. Yes, there might be fewer run producing opportunities, but he might be overlooked by a number of fantasy players. He could be worth a late round selection.