In that last edition we took a look at the top 20 fantasy outfielders according to the PECOTA projections. Naturally, when we start looking at 21-40 we start seeing far less separation. So, sometimes we have to apply our own instincts and we must define our terms. We are looking primarily at six category formats. That includes walks. Of course, guys who walk a lot also tend to support my own bias towards players with better plate discipline.
We also have to consider five category and total points formats. The rankings this offseason have taken a beating, so this represents a bit of a reboot. Of course, players have been late to sign this winter, so this reboot also covers some of those uniform changes that often affect the rankings after the fact. We don’t have to wait too long in these rankings to find that right off the bat.
21. Steve Souza— Arizona Diamondbacks
PECOTA: .239, 24 HR, 94 Runs, 74 RBI, 15 SB, 68 BB
These numbers were crunched before his trade to the Diamondbacks. Even before we acknowledge the difference in the everyday lineup, we must consider the differences in ballparks. Tropicana Field has a three year park factor at 94. His new home field has a three year mark at 110. If we multiply his numbers by half the difference then we would get somewhere in the neighborhood of .258/26/102/80/15/73. That might be a little rich, but .250/25/90/80/15 doesn’t seem out of the question.
22. Wil Myers— San Diego Padres
PECOTA: .245, 22 HR, 81 Runs, 78 RBI, 19 SB, 60 BB
These numbers presume Myers will play at first base, but we know he will be a right fielder. Of course, multiple position eligibility is always a good trait when you start looking at second tier guys. Guys that fill up every category of the stat sheet always come out a little ahead of guys that might be superior overall players. In other words, steals matter more in fantasy baseball than they do in real baseball.
23. Khris Davis— Oakland Athletics
PECOTA: .242, 34 HR, 84 Runs, 98 RBI, 4 SB, 51 BB
30+ home runs and 100+ RBI is not necessarily the end all be all of human existence, but when you add in decent on base production you get something. Davis might be in his last season in Oakland and he has more around him than he did when he started. Low batting averages look bad, but you aren’t going to get six category production at this point in a draft.
24. Marcell Ozuna— St. Louis Cardinals
PECOTA: .275, 24 HR, 73 Runs, 84 RBI, 2 SB, 42 BB
PECOTA often ignores the stuff we often care about. You see a winning team, better home ballpark, and deeper lineup and assume that you will get big numbers. It makes perfect sense from a distance. Look closer and you see worrisome BABIP rates, batted ball statistics, and just old-fashioned long-term performance indicators. The truth is usually somewhere in between.
25. Jose Bautista— Free Agent
PECOTA: .241, 28 HR, 82 Runs, 87 RBI, 5 SB, 89 BB
I held out as long as I could. Picking someone like Bautista anywhere is a gamble. He is coming off his worst season since before he exploded with the Blue Jays and he hasn’t found a home yet. Rumors had the Rays as potentially interested. They, the Royals, and White Sox make sense on a short term deal for low guaranteed money. The question is how long will it take him to swallow hard and accept one of their offers.
26. A.J. Pollock— Arizona Diamondbacks
PECOTA: .276, 17 HR, 88 Runs, 65 RBI, 27 SB, 44 BB
In a five category format he leaps up a couple of spots. Pollock’s main issue has long been health. If you could guarantee 600 plate appearances you would likely get to 20 home runs and 30 stolen bases. Knowing nothing else, that’s a strong resume to pass up.
27. Adam Jones— Baltimore Orioles
PECOTA: .271, 26 HR, 78 Runs, 91 RBI, 3 SB, 27 BB
Jones continues to produce numbers that make him look like he is on the precipice of being elite. He’s really on the precipice of being an also ran. His lack of plate discipline will catch up with him one day. In many respects it already has.
28. Joc Pederson— Los Angeles Dodgers
PECOTA: .226, 25 HR, 77 Runs, 77 RBI, 8 SB, 77 BB
Vin Scully said that Pederson was the best defensive center fielder ever to wear a Dodgers uniform. Okay, at least he was the best since 1950 when Scully first began broadcasting. I’m not sure how believable that is, but Scully believes it and he hasn’t lost a step even in retirement. Eventually, Pederson’s bat will catch up completely.
29. Starling Marte— Pittsburgh Pirates
PECOTA: .277, 15 HR, 96 Runs, 63 RBI, 39 SB, 32 BB
In many instances, playing fantasy sports involves shutting off part of your brain. It is the part that says you have to steal first base to be a good baseball player. Marte hits for good power and has very good speed. He has a decent batting average too. That’s good enough.
30. Shin Soo Choo— Texas Rangers
PECOTA: .256, 18 HR, 92 Runs, 68 RBI, 10 SB, 80 BB
There are overrated players and underrated players. Choo is intriguing because he is both. He is vastly overpaid, but he is also better than most people believe. His huge contract is based on entirely on a stupidly good season he had in Cincinnati. He’s not that good, but the walks make much better.
31. Chris Taylor— Los Angeles Dodgers
PECOTA: .260, 14 HR, 93 Runs, 67 RBI, 20 SB, 62 BB
Taylor has an unusual profile that makes him more valuable. He spent most of his career as a utility guy, but landed in center field last year. He will be eligible at second base next year as well. You don’t see that combination very often (also true for Ian Happ and Jason Kipnis).
32. Ronald Acuna— Atlanta Braves
PECOTA: .269, 20 HR, 77 Runs, 69 RBI, 26 SB, 35 BB
Acuna is very comparable to Marte. The projections look very similar and they have similar value. Acuna is likely to be one of those guys that gets stashed in the minors until May so they can get an extra year before he becomes a free agent or even arbitration eligible. Some formats allow you to stash a player on your not active list (NA). He would be an excellent pick in those leagues.
33. Max Kepler— Minnesota Twins
PECOTA: .257, 19 HR, 74 Runs, 78 RBI, 8 SB, 58 BB
How does one account for maturity? He will be in his third full season and there is sure to be some growth there. There will also be growth from Byron Buxton and they did add Logan Morrison to a pretty decent lineup. Will all of that make the above numbers a little better?
34. Trey Mancini— Baltimore Orioles
PECOTA: .277, 24 HR, 72 Runs, 83 RBI, 1 SB, 38 BB
Mancini is essentially the same as Kepler except the Orioles aren’t considerably better than they were last season. Mancini likely will be, but there is no telling what that will look like.
35. Dexter Fowler— St. Louis Cardinals
PECOTA: .254, 15 HR, 77 Runs, 71 RBI, 13 SB, 79 BB
One of my internet bulletin board monikers read, “I’m down with OBP (yeah you know me)”. I like guys that draw walks. Sue me. Fowler also adds just enough speed and power to be dangerous as a quality third or fourth fantasy outfielder.
36. Kole Calhoun— Los Angeles Angels
PECOTA: .257, 20 HR, 76 Runs, 81 RBI, 4 SB, 56 BB
Calhoun is no longer growing as a player, but he does have considerably more talent around him. People often grossly overestimate how much that adds. It’s not like he will suddenly drive in 100 runs, but 80 runs and 85 RBI is not out of the question.
37. Mitch Haniger— Seattle Mariners
PECOTA: .262, 22 HR, 75 Runs, 74 RBI, 6 SB, 50 BB
If your draft or auction is going according to chalk then Haniger would be a fourth fantasy outfielder. When you get to this point you have to roll the dice. Haniger was on pace to produce these numbers last season before he got hurt. He might even be better than this.
38. Ryan Braun— Milwaukee Brewers
PECOTA: .266, 20 HR, 69 Runs, 69 RBI, 14 SB, 41 BB
Some fourth outfielder are there because they are a step below because they can’t quite compete with the rest. Some are just as good but they aren’t good as often. Braun might become a super utility guy and if that is the case he will be a nice pick.
39. Corey Dickerson— Pittsburgh Pirates
PECOTA: .264, 23 HR, 72 Runs, 84 RBI, 3 SB, 39 BB
You know that Dickerson and Carlos Gomez couldn’t be in the same place at the same time. They are maximum effort guys that can cause fans to laugh or cry depending on their perspective. He might produce close to what McCutchen did for far less money.
40. Avisail Garcia— Chicago White Sox
PECOTA: .275, 18 HR, 70 Runs, 74 RBI, 6 SB, 38 BB
Garcia went nuts last year primarily because of some BABIP luck that was unsustainable. Couple that with a team destined to tank and the numbers were just not going to repeat themselves. He still is a solid fantasy fourth outfielder.