For previous editions, follow the links below:
- Get to Know: Catcher Prospects
- Get to Know: First Base Prospects
- Get to Know: Second Base Prospects
- Get to Know: Third Base Prospects
- Get to Know: Shortstop Prospects
Probably the most talented grouping of offensive 2015 prospects in the Get To Know series, our outfield group has impact and depth in it, including numerous players who should have jobs right out of the gate.
Byron Buxton, Twins
Buxton has to pan out. He just has to. We haven’t had a good Byron in a while. Don’t bring that weak-ass Leftwich nonsense in here. It’s not even the right sport. Sure, this is an aggressive placement considering that Buxton has only managed three at-bats above High-A. That said, if he can actually stay on the field, his talent should dictate his pace more than his experience. He is a potential five-category contributor, and while it’s fair to be hesitant with most prospects in their first exposure to the bigs, Buxton should be able to keep his value afloat on his speed, even if the rest takes a bit to adjust.
Jorge Soler, Cubs
Soler turned a lot of heads with his debut (that tends to happen when you hit the ball as far as he does), but there’s still a fair amount of risk here. He slashed .292/.330/.573 in just under 100 plate appearances, but he did it in a markedly different fashion than he had in the minors (more strikeouts, dramatically fewer walks). He doesn’t have a significant track record thanks to missed time in the minors, but what record he does have could pass for gold, if not platinum. I do wonder what will happen if/when he has some adversity, but it’s hard to argue with the type of success he’s had. He is hands down one of the top prospects for 2015.
Joc Pederson, Dodgers
Pederson looks to have the inside track on the center=field job, though it’s possible he could platoon with Chris Heisey early on, at least against tougher southpaws, given his struggles with same-side arms over the course of his career. He is known for having solid across-the-board tools without any carrying tool, but there’s enough juice in the bat to swat 20 home runs in his prime, and enough speed early on to swipe 20 bases. He’s borderline passive at the plate though, recording a ton of deep counts, which earn him free passes, but also strikeouts. Don’t count on a redux of his 30/30 season from last year, and you should be fine.
Dalton Pompey, Blue Jays
The Blue Jays seemingly opened up center field for Pompey after the trade of Anthony Gose to Detroit. Michael Saunders was imported, but it’s likely that he’ll fill the hole vacated by Melky Cabrera. Pompey rushed through three minor-league levels before making his debut last year, and while the batting average wasn’t impressive, he hit for solid power in an admittedly small sample size. Pompey shouldn’t necessarily be relied on for batting average in 2015, though he has the talent to do it. Low-double-digit pop and somewhere close to 20 stolen bases are reasonable expectations.
Rymer Liriano, Padres
Liriano started the offseason as someone who was likely to see time in 2015, but that was before Padres GM A.J. Preller went and turned over the entire roster. With Matt Kemp, Justin Upton, and Wil Myers in town, there’s not a lot of room for Liriano. He could be an attractive piece of trade bait, should the Padres continue their assault on the acquisition market, but he could also benefit from additional seasoning at the minor league level. He has the upside of a 20/20 season at the major-league level, but there’s considerable downside as well.
Stephen Piscotty, Cardinals
Piscotty’s mix of ingredients is no recipe for fantasy dynamite, but he’s got the type of profile that could hit from the very start, rather than having a significant adjustment period. He’s a low-double-digit homer guy, but he could be an impact bat in terms of batting average, and depending where he bats, could see plenty of runs come his way.
Michael Taylor, Nationals
Taylor’s tools are louder than a Sun Chips bag, so it’s hard not to watch him and salivate over what could be. The problem lies in his hit tool allowing the rest of his offensive profile to function to its extreme capabilities. He’s got a chance to play early on with Jayson Werth’s shoulder injury potentially limiting him at the start of the season, and he could use that time to prove to the Nationals that they should let Denard Span walk at the end of the season, so he can be their center fielder of the future.
Steven Souza, Rays
Souza is a phenomenal 2015 value among these options, as he’s almost fully developed and ready to play at the MLB level. He should be plugged directly into the Rays lineup, and is capable of a 15/15 season with a little more on the power. He’s been old for his level while he’s been successful, but it wasn’t just beating up on younger competition. He’s got real tools, and should stroke plenty of doubles, which will play well in leagues with an XBH category.
Domingo Santana, Astros
Santana has the raw power to mash 25-plus home runs but swings-and-misses more than I do on Twitter. He looked to be close to ample playing time at one point, but the importing of Jake Marisnick at midseason, along with the offseason acquisitions of Colby Rasmus and Evan Gattis make it more likely he’ll be an emergency option.
Josh Bell, Pirates
Bell’s transition to first base in the AFL was the visual equivalent to nails on a chalkboard. He’s still got thunder in his bat from both sides, and the ability to pair it with a useful, if not impact batting average. He won’t run much, and he’s more likely to end up in an RBI spot than one that brings in big run totals. There’s not a direct line to playing time right now, but he could be the first option turned to should Pedro Alvarez or Gregory Polanco flop.
Brandon Nimmo, Mets
With about a half-season in the books at Binghamton, it’s far more likely Nimmo spends 2015 in the minors, split between Double- and Triple-A. Still, it’s not like the Mets have been a paragon of health in recent years, and Michael Cuddyer isn’t exactly the cure for what ails them in that regard. Nimmo plays up in OBP leagues thanks to his keen eye at the plate, but is still a useful piece in standard leagues. He’ll never carry your team but could play as a solid OF3 in his best years, thanks to across the board contributions.
Other: Delino DeShields, Rangers; Eddie Rosario, Twins; Tyler Austin, Yankees; Kyle Parker, Rockies; Tyler Naquin, Indians; Mikie Mahtook, Rays; James Ramsey, Indians; Yorman Rodriguez, Reds; Steven Moya, Tigers; Billy Burns, Athletics; Jorge Bonifacio, Royals; Preston Tucker, Astros
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