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February 21, 2014

Fantasy Players to Avoid

Outfielders

by BP Fantasy Staff


For the earlier articles in this series, click below:

There are nearly 90 starting outfielders in baseball, plus countless (not literally) platoon players, reserves, and prospects who all man the position. You have a lot of players to choose from. Don't choose one of the following.

Michael Bourn, Indians
Considering Michael Bourn’s previous track record it’d be silly to think he’s never going to steal 30 bases again, and PECOTA has him threatening 40 in 2014. What concerns me with Bourn is the slide in overall numbers. In the two years prior to landing in Cleveland, Bourn posted True Averages in the .260-plus range. Last year, his TAv fell to .247 as he saw a slide all across his slash line. Bourn is sliding into “two-category player” status, and you can get guys like Will Venable and Ben Revere later than Bourn. —Mauricio Rubio

Curtis Granderson, Mets
Despite last year’s dreadful slash line of .229/.317/.407, plus seven home runs and 15 RBI in 61 games, the Mets inked Granderson to a four-year, $60 million contract in an effort to shore up an offense with little talent outside of David Wright and Daniel Murphy. The over-commitment reminds me of the one the Braves dished out to B.J. Upton last offseason, and we all know how that ended up in year no. 1. I don’t doubt that Granderson has something left, but Citi Field isn’t kind to left-handed power, which is his greatest strength. The last two seasons, Granderson has hit worse than .235; can you really take that big of a hit in batting average if you’re not guaranteed 30 home runs? Unless he really falls in drafts, I don’t see the opportunity to return value. —Alex Kantekcki

Starling Marte, Pirates
Marte put together a breakthrough 2013 campaign in which he hit .280 and stole 41 bases despite a DL stint for an injured hand. And fantasy managers appear to have bought into the season as a sign of things to come, as Marte's currently going off the board 24th among outfielders and in the top 60 overall. But there are some bright red flags waving majestically in the breeze, and Marte's a tenuous bet to build upon or even replicate his 2013 numbers. His approach at the plate could generously be described as not good. He walked in just 4.4 percent of his plate appearances last season after a five percent career minor-league rate, and he saw his OBP propped up by an unsustainable 21 HBP.

He also managed that .280 average on the back of a .366 BABIP and despite a 24.4 percent whiff rate that ballooned to almost 30 percent in the second half of the season. Even if we grant that his skillset is more likely to be able to support an above-average BABIP, a repeat of that .366 mark is incredibly unlikely. And all of the major underlying metrics that generally drive a poor strikeout rate (poor contact rate, high percentage of swinging strikes, high percentage of balls chased out of the zone) were all present in spades in his plate-discipline profile. All of this is to say that major-league pitchers are very unlikely to work him the same way next year, and we saw some of that adjustment take shape over the course of last season. Unless he shows a sudden ability to completely transform his approach at the plate, he's a prime candidate for a possibly significant AVG and OBP regression. That means less of all the counting stats in addition to the AVG fall, and a negative return on investment for owners forking over a fifth-round pick for his services. —Wilson Karaman

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Related Content:  Fantasy,  Outfielders

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<< Previous Article
Fantasy Article Graphical Fantasy Rank... (02/21)
<< Previous Column
Fantasy Article Fantasy Players to Avo... (02/14)
Next Column >>
Fantasy Article Fantasy Players to Avo... (02/28)
Next Article >>
Fantasy Article Fantasy Team Preview: ... (02/21)

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