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February 19, 2014

Fantasy Three-Year Projections

Outfielders

by Craig Goldstein

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For the previous installments in this series, click the links below:

First things first: There are legitimately 125 or so names that could reasonably fit into this ranking of 90 outfielders over the next three years, so if there is an omission, know that it was likely considered and likely ignored for arbitrary and capricious reasons. Also note that unlike previous lists, not every player will be addressed, even within the groupings that appear to have formed. Ranking 90 players precluded that, but if you have a question about someone specific, feel free to drop a comment and I’ll let you know what I was thinking.

Outfield has long been a bastion of depth, but it thins out relatively quickly and while there are some impact prospects on the way, the question is whether they’ll hit quickly enough to fill the void.

No surprises here.

A strong grouping and I can’t say I wasn’t tempted to put Harper at the two spot. Given the immediacy of the three-year rankings though, it’s hard to give him the edge over a fully developed and producing McCutchen. If it’s not clear, I think Braun bounces back with little to no decline.

Ellsbury may never hit 30 home runs again, but he doesn’t need to. Myers is the real deal, and he’ll hit for average and power. Upton has a chance to make this ranking look foolish in multiple ways.

The question about Choo is when the regression hits. The platoon numbers are concerning, but he’s a monster at getting on base, in a favorable ballpark, and hitting atop a dynamic lineup.

2014 should tell us everything we need to know about Kemp. Until we find out though, I believe he can be productive when healthy.

A healthy dose of downside among this group by year three, but 2014 is most important, and outfield gets thin in a hurry.

It’s an open question how long Beltran is effective, and while 2016 might be especially ugly, his talent and the new Yankee Stadium should give us at least two good years, especially with some appearances at DH mixed in.

The bane of most any ranker’s existence. Hamilton was up to 10 spots higher and 25 spots lower. He’ll dominate one, if not two, categories and has the potential for negative impact in the other three.

I’m on record as believing Trumbo can go for 40 homers in Arizona. The question is, what else can he do for you?

While 2014 is the most important, Werth’s age and questionable health play a significant factor in this ranking. Arcia could be a force in the middle of a lineup as soon as this year. He’s not a top-20-type option, but 20-25 home runs without being a drag on batting average has its place. His lineup could improve significantly around him come 2015-16.

Venable is a sneaky 31 years old in 2014, and were this a dynasty ranking, he’d drop a bit. He should be around 20/20 in the next three seasons, though, and in a weak outfield class, that’s valuable.

Springer could arrive as soon as early this year and isn’t quite the boom or bust fantasy prospect he’s been cut out to be. It could be a disaster on the scale of Jaden Smith’s twitter account, but the reality is that Springer’s power and speed should be able to carry him despite an unattractive contact rate. B.J. Upton carried value with the same characteristics for years. The upside is that he adds a respectable average to those carrying tools, making him a top-40 player, rather than outfielder.

Yelich is going to hit and hit soon. How much he’ll add around that is the key to his fantasy value, and given his tender age it’s unlikely the power comes soon, which shouldn’t’ be confused with implying it won’t come at all. Sometimes three years just isn’t as many as you want it to be.

Fun fact: I have thought Shane Victorino was 36 for each of the past three years.

You’ll not find a bigger fan of Aoki than I, but at 31 years old and with a game that relies heavily on contact rate and stolen bases, there’s significant downside potential here. Aoki’s fantasy value comes from being solid pretty much everywhere and a plus in speed. He’s not a burner though, so if the speed starts to slip, the value could go quickly.

I love prospects almost as much as a Kardashian loves a spotlight. Almost. Still, it’s necessary to reign in the prospect love at times. Taveras has a crowded field to work through and an organization that has built itself on patience. There’s also that fact that most prospects don’t hit immediately. Taveras is going to be a monster, but if that first monster year happens in 2016, how much is it worth today?

Buxton and Polanco are hot items, and with good reason. The fact remains though, we’re unlikely to see Buxton in 2014, and while Polanco might reach the majors, we can’t assume every rookie will hit like a Harper or Myers.

Saunders was worse than a post-2006 Adam Sandler movie last year but he is only one season removed from going 19/21. That power/speed combo comes with a bad average and deplorable OBP, but an improved lineup should help with contextual stats.

Moss deserves better company on this list, but he is no lock to accrue the necessary starts to get outfield eligibility for 2015-16.

Ever the example of a prospect who is better in real life than fantasy, that doesn’t mean Bradley has no value. He’s going to be in the majors this year, and he should be solid from the get-go.

DeShields is the boom-or-bust Astros prospect that people think Springer is. He has some work ethic questions, but there’s no question as to his speed. He reached triple digits in stolen bases in 2012, and has the potential to put up 50-plus in the minors with some solid pop (5-10 home runs).

Piscotty lacks the tools that everyone loves to drool over but he can straight up hit, and is going to be the next in the recent line of Cardinals draftees who hit so much they make themselves valuable.

Craig Goldstein is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
Click here to see Craig's other articles. You can contact Craig by clicking here

Related Content:  Outfield,  Fantasy,  Dynasty Leagues,  Keeper Leagues

21 comments have been left for this article. (Click to hide comments)

BP Comment Quick Links

Yudaman

No Peter Bourjos? A top defensive OF with some hitting skills that have been derailed by injury.

Feb 19, 2014 06:02 AM
rating: 0
 
Nojsztat

Your fantasy league includes defensive stats?

Feb 19, 2014 06:31 AM
rating: 3
 
BP staff member Craig Goldstein
BP staff

Bourjos was considered, but his health issues still matter and I don't believe his fantasy upside warrants the attention he receives.

Feb 19, 2014 07:00 AM
 
FastballVelociraptor

No Marisnick?

Feb 19, 2014 07:05 AM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Craig Goldstein
BP staff

Also considered and was a late cut. At best would have been 85-90. He was called up too early and I'm not sure he contributes in a meaningful way until 2016, which depressed his value.

Feb 19, 2014 07:18 AM
 
deltarich

No Kole Calhoun?

Feb 19, 2014 07:29 AM
rating: 2
 
BP staff member Craig Goldstein
BP staff

Also considered, but I think the Calhoun love is getting a little out of hand. I actually like him but there's not a lot of impact to be had in his skill set. He's a guy who should be useful but also replaceable.

Feb 19, 2014 07:37 AM
 
BP staff member Ben Carsley
BP staff

No Ryan Church?

Feb 19, 2014 07:31 AM
 
BP staff member Craig Goldstein
BP staff

Not even if this was 2007

Feb 19, 2014 07:38 AM
 
ramtax

Awesome (says a Nats fan)!

Feb 19, 2014 10:36 AM
rating: 0
 
jfranco77

Always a tough job, and not one that I envy, but man Starling Marte seems low. And so does Jose Bautista.

Feb 19, 2014 07:56 AM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Craig Goldstein
BP staff

Bautista's health is a concern and he's not getting any younger. Plus his average can be a negative (though it isn't always). I weighted his 2014 highly but dropped off 2015-16 a fair amount so this was his aggregate.

Marte is conservative, I admit. I'm not a true believer just yet, which could explain the dissonance in our perspectives on him. I think he'll struggle to get on base as much in the future, which will impact his SB. I'll recant if he repeats in 2014 but I think we see some regression.

Feb 19, 2014 08:10 AM
 
Grasul

You guys should do this column, but for real life value, not fantasy (I'm suggesting do both). Simulation baseball leagues actually do use defense and ranking players for actual real life value would be interesting water cooler discussion pieces anyway.

Feb 19, 2014 08:19 AM
rating: 1
 
dcapofari

Myers ahead of Jay Bruce is very questionable. Bruce has been so consistent over the last 3 years. Myers babip was high last year and his home park does suppresses HRs. If Myers is luckily he'll be as good as Bruce one day.

Feb 19, 2014 15:55 PM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Craig Goldstein
BP staff

Agree to disagree I suppose. Myers' ceiling eclipses that of Bruce's and the ranking was reflective of my belief in Myers' ability to reach that ceiling, sooner rather than later.

Myers likely won't hit for the same power as Bruce, but he doesn't have to to be more valuable. I think he'll swipe more bases - at least early on and that while his BABIP is unsustainable, he produced inflated BABIPs in the minors and can offset some of that loss by making more contact.

Bruce is extremely good, certainly and I don't mean to diminish his quality by promoting Myers'. I just believe in the skill set.

Feb 19, 2014 16:30 PM
 
dcapofari

Its a interesting debate. I'm trying to personally value consistent(boring) MLB players over the next shinny toy. I found myself always reaching for Hosmer, Lawire, Jennings, ect..trying to be more grounded and not get carried away with the next best thing in the minors. So I think my opinion is swayed some what

Feb 19, 2014 17:28 PM
rating: 0
 
CalledStrike3

As a fan...it was hard to read J Hams name next to W Venable. #thenatural

Feb 19, 2014 19:45 PM
rating: 0
 
russell

Will you be doing a top 100 overall at the end of this series?

Feb 19, 2014 20:06 PM
rating: 1
 
ares1800jr

GREAT WORK. Carter can hit 60-90 HR over the next 3 years, how many OF's on this board have that type of HR potential?
with the ever diminishing long ball how much value is there in that that? Also no Reddick bounce back?... damn. thanks.

Feb 19, 2014 21:07 PM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Craig Goldstein
BP staff

The long ball is great but Carter offers almost nothing else and could be a huge detriment in batting average over that time. He's also no lock to retain outfield eligibility the entirety of the three years.

Reddick is on the list at #61. If you mean that to reflect no bounce back... I think it's going to be a struggle for him to be anything more than a solid power, low average option. Similar to Carter but less faith in the power numbers. He's part of a crowded outfield and playing time concerns are a factor as well.

Feb 19, 2014 21:15 PM
 
ChoppertoChipper

Love the Seinfeld reference in the first paragraph. If I'm not mistaken, that's the episode I appear as the intern.

Feb 20, 2014 17:25 PM
rating: 0
 
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<< Previous Article
Premium Article Prospects Will Break Y... (02/18)
<< Previous Column
Fantasy Article Fantasy Three-Year Pro... (02/12)
Next Column >>
Fantasy Article Fantasy Three-Year Pro... (02/27)
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Fantasy Article Get to Know: Outfield ... (02/19)

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