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May 18, 2012
Outfielders for 5/18/12
Despite booting Dayan Viciedo and his .381 week with two home runs, the Value Picks outfielders hit a composite .295/.390/.477 this past week with five home runs and five stolen bases. With the three leadoff hitters combining for two runs batted in (neither Jarrod Dyson nor Denard Span had any), the group still managed 18 RBI while scoring 28 runs. Obviously, results may vary from week to week, but this is the sort of “found money” that can be realized when Value Picks work out.
After six weeks of hiding in plain sight, Raul Ibanez (Yahoo! 37%, ESPN 72%, CBS 51%) is a secret no more. In keeping with the “fresh legs” theory of resting him more than a younger player, he had only 20 plate appearances, but he homered twice while driving in six runs, compensating for a .235 batting average this week. With the friendly home park and surrounding lineup, he should continue to hit homers and drive in runs.
Michael Brantley (Yahoo! 9%, ESPN 20%, CBS 30%) stole about 40 bases per 600 plate appearances while in the minors yet has only tallied 30 thefts in 1101 plate appearances with Cleveland. He leads the majors with four times caught stealing so far in 2012. Hitting .333 over the past two weeks makes him valuable regardless of the steals, and—other than during his 2011 MLB season—he's always had a very high contact percentage (just 15 strikeouts in 154 plate appearances in 2012), so expecting him to hit nearly .300 isn't unreasonable. Some have noted that his turnaround came when he was pulled from the leadoff spot, but he likely would have started hitting regardless. The steals should be expected to pick up somewhat, and that would be the reason to grab him from waivers. He should have better RBI totals than most players with low home run totals who steal bases.
In year-to-date valuations (from lastplayerpicked.com), Jarrod Dyson (Yahoo! 4%, ESPN 9%, CBS 12%) has been worth $1 in his 88 plate appearances already. His stolen base totals are alarmingly low, but at least one of his caught stealings (against the White Sox) was a blown call by the umpire, and there's no reason to expect that he won't soon return to burning up the basepaths.
Certainly not an exciting fantasy contributor, Denard Span (Yahoo! 18%, ESPN 28%, CBS 40%) continues to help his major league team, logging a .417 on-base percentage this week and playing his usual great defense in center field.
Batting fifth for the Tigers to break up the lefties (Prince Fielder and Alex Avila), Delmon Young (Yahoo! 25%, ESPN 25%, CBS 52%) clearly has Jim Leyland's confidence for the time being, and that's good enough to keep him on this list. Far from a sure thing to turn his season around, he'll be one of the more disappointing (non-health-related) washout stories if he doesn't. As a negative defensive influence, he'll have to get his OPS over .600 to have value to a major league team, but he's likely to continue to receive playing time for another month or more, even if he continues to struggle.
Rotoworld.com commentary had this to say about Eric Young Jr. (Yahoo! 1%, ESPN 0%, CBS 2%) recently: “Young missed 11 days following the death of his grandfather. He carries no value in fantasy leagues.” While he has a lot of obstacles to playing time, he also stole 330 bases in 3015 minor-league plate appearances, or more than 65 steals per 600 PA. He's continued that rate in his limited major league time, stealing 52 bases in just 504 career plate appearances (a pace of 62 SB per 600 PA). He fits well into this week's “speed guy” theme, and with a break or two, he could suddenly become a big asset in NL-only formats despite his limited offensive contributions while at the plate.