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September 17, 2013

Fantasy Fool's Gold

National League Outfielders

by Bret Sayre


Now that we’ve exhausted the players in the infield in this series, it’s time to move further back on the grass. And in the National League, there is no shortage of outfielders that are putting up stats that don’t quite line up with their potential for fantasy. This is a diverse group, ranging from guys who might have power to guys who definitely have speed—and it’s about to be kicked off by a player who I get asked about an awful lot (and not just because he plays for a New York team).

But before we get into that, I just want to mention how awesome the BP prospect team has been throughout this whole process. And I really mean the ENTIRE team. We’ve gotten input from just about everyone on these players, and it’s been fantastic first-hand information. In fact, I may just lie to them and say that the project is continuing on in perpetuity so I can infuse as much knowledge as I can into my being. So in conclusion: they’re great, you know it, and let’s move on.

First up is the big fish in this pond:

Cesar Puello, New York Mets
I know what you’re thinking. But this isn’t because I don’t think Puello is a legitimate prospect—he certainly is. The issue is the level of prospect he is for fantasy. It’s easy to look at the stat line and get lightheaded, as he finished the year hitting .326 with 16 homers, 73 RBI, and 24 steals in just 91 games. Of course, he also finished the season early because of he was suspended for his involvement with the Biogenesis clinic. That’s the elephant in the room, so let’s just get it out of the way early.

Performance enhancers aside, Puello has legitimate tools—starting with his raw power, which grades out as plus. This may have been his breakout season, but hitting double-digit homers in the power-depressing Florida State League as a 20-year-old is nothing to shake your head at. On top of that, the bat speed is legitimate and could allow the power to play at the highest level. However, the rest of the package is not quite as it seems.

Despite his paces during this season, Puello is very unlikely to be a guy who approaches 40 steals or hits over .300. He is an above-average runner, but expecting a lot of his value to come from his legs isn’t a great idea. First of all, with his approach at the plate (he’s a swinger), he’s incredibly unlikely to have another season with a .400 on-base percentage. In fact, he’d be lucky to get within 50 points of that number. Secondly, even if he makes it into a starting role in relatively short order, he’ll start off playing under Terry Collins—who is cautious when it comes to the stolen base. And that .391 BABIP? Don’t plan on seeing that again.

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<< Previous Article
The BP Wayback Machine... (09/17)
<< Previous Column
Fantasy Article Fantasy Fool's Gold: S... (09/13)
Next Column >>
Fantasy Article Fantasy Fool's Gold: A... (09/18)
Next Article >>
Premium Article The Prospectus Hit Lis... (09/17)

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