12 Feb Fantasy Baseball 2017: Outfield Rankings 75-51 (Part 2 of 4)
Rankings 75-51. Below you can also find rankings 100-76.
75. Josh Reddick (HOU, RF)- Reddick spent the majority of 2016 dealing with various injuries, limiting him to only 115 games played. Between the A’s and Dodgers, Reddick slashed .281/.345/.405 with 10 home runs and 37 RBI. Over the past four seasons, he has only averaged 121 games played, making the signing a bit of a risk for Houston. He is expected to bring some power to the left side of the plate, something the Astros lacked last season. He is expected to man right field, a position where he won a Gold Glove back in 2012. Health will be the biggest factor in determining how his 2017 will go, so if he heads into camp at 100%, he could be a solid contributor right off the bat.
74. Jason Heyward (CHC, CF, RF)- Elite defense is valuable, and Heyward continues to offer that on a day-to-day basis. Unfortunately, he was completely lost at the plate in 2016, and there were no signs of improvement as the second half and postseason unfolded. The sky appeared to be the limit when he swatted 27 homers for the Braves in 2012, but Heyward has racked up 45 long balls in the four seasons since (2,291 plate appearances). Wrist soreness and a hip contusion caused Heyward to miss time during the first half of 2016, and it’s unclear if the lingering effects of those ailments fueled his big step back at the plate. Considering that he’s just one year removed from a 13-homer, 23-steal campaign backed by a .293/.359/.439 line, and that he’s still just 27 years old, targeting Heyward on the cheap may prove to be a low-risk investment that bears fruit.
73. David Peralta (ARI, RF)- Peralta had high hopes for his 2016 coming off a breakout season in which he batted .312 with 17 home runs and 78 RBI. Unfortunately, his follow-up performance was cut short due to a multitude of wrist and back injuries that had him in and out of the lineup all season long. While playing through pain for most of the season, Peralta was a complete disappointment, batting just .251 with four home runs and 15 RBI in 48 games. With his ADP hovering around 310, there is room for profit if Peralta is able to stay healthy. Specifically, his skill against righties (.325 average in 2015) makes him an intriguing platoon option for owners looking for runs and RBI from a bench outfielder. His upside is limited due to his modest power and mediocre speed, but his rock-bottom price makes Peralta a decent option in deeper leagues.
72. Max Kepler (MIN, RF)- Kepler put together a productive rookie season in 2016. The 23-year-old outfielder slashed .235/.309/.424 while posting 17 homers, 52 runs, 63 RBI and six stolen bases in 113 games played. His outlook for 2017 is bright, as he should continue to grow at the plate. Kepler showed good discipline at the plate in 2016, posting a 20.8% strikeout rate and a 9.4% walk rate. His BABIP of .261 shows he had some poor luck at the plate, so there’s room for growth in the batting average department going forward. Kepler has 20-home run potential and when you add in the likelihood that he will steal double-digit bases, he is shaping up as an excellent late-round pick in fantasy drafts this spring.
71. Matt Holliday (NYY, 1B, LF)- Coming off a 2015 campaign where he was hindered with a quad ailment, a fractured thumb sent him to the disabled list in 2016, making it the second straight year that he missed over 40 games due to injury. However, while healthy he managed to blast 20 home runs with 62 RBI over 110 games. Unfortunately, his remaining power seemed to be the only promising sign for the seasoned veteran. He finished the year with a .246 batting average and .322 on-base percentage, both of which are career-low marks for Holliday. As a result, the Cardinals opted to decline his 2017 option. He signed a one-year $13 million deal with the Yankees in what seems to be a perfect match. Holliday could be deployed exclusively at designated hitter, which should help keep his lower body healthy and allow him to return to being a quality middle-of-the-order hitter.
70. Brett Gardner (NYY, LF)- A brutal month of May had Brett Gardner flirting with the Mendoza Line through two months into the season, but the 33-year-old was able to recover and finish the season with reasonable numbers. After a surprise boost in power the last two seasons, the left fielder reverted back to more of his contact-hitting ways and totaled just seven home runs. Gardner also only stole 16 bases, representing a third straight year of decline in that department. On the plus side, he continued to demonstrate a terrific eye and posted a 0.66 BB/K that helped contribute to a .351 OBP. That, along with Jacoby Ellsbury’s struggles, led manager Joe Girardi to move Gardner to the leadoff spot for the majority of the year, a spot where he actually drove in more runs than when hitting second. As he’s set to return as the starter in left field; expect more of the same.
69. Domingo Santana (MIL, RF)- Domingo Santana enters 2017 as a sleeper candidate once again. It seems as though Santana has been around forever and has been labeled a sleeper for quite some time. He’s still just 24 years old and has an opportunity to put all his great tools to use. The outfielder is a career .282/.374/.485 minor league performer with a couple of 20-home run seasons under his belt. The big leagues haven’t been as friendly for Santana, and he hasn’t been able to stay healthy and put it all together. Santana hit just .256/.345/.447 in 2016 with 11 home runs and 91 strikeouts in 77 games. He has 168 punchouts in 135 career games, a number that will have to be reduced if he hopes to fulfill his potential. Last September, Santana showed a glimpse of what he is capable of, hitting .307 with six home runs. He will get every opportunity to play every day, and he must come out of the gates strong in order to get a firm grip on a starting role. Santana is a classic boom-or-bust type of player heading into this season, and he could be worth a draft flier. If he puts it all together, a 30-home run bat is in the foreseeable future.
68. Corey Dickerson (TB, LF, DH)- Dickerson struggled to produce consistently in his first season away from Coors Field, hitting .245/.293/.469 with 24 home runs, 57 runs scored and 70 RBI in 548 plate appearances. A whopping 22 of his long balls came against right-handed pitchers, but as far as platoon splits go, he hit under .250 against both kinds of pitching. The 27-year-old is likely to see time both in the outfield and at designated hitter, but continued struggles (particularly against lefties) could turn him into a full-time platoon guy. Dickerson could be a late-round flier in deep mixed leagues, but for the most part, his value is limited to AL-only formats
67. Hernan Perez (MIL, 2B, 3B, CF, RF)- Perez enjoyed a career year in 2016, and the 25-year-old will look to build on that in 2017. Perez slugged 13 of his career 14 home runs and stole 34 of his career 40 bases. Perez added a .272/.302/.428 slash line. A big concern is his 4.2% walk rate compared with a 21.9% strikeout rate. He’ll definitely have to improve on those ratios in order to enjoy long-term success in the majors. Furthermore, he swung at 41.2% of pitches outside of the zone and needs to become a lot better at pitch recognition. His 11.5% HR/FB ratio isn’t exactly ridiculously high, so the power surge is something that could be sustainable. Perez will again be able to provide some decent counting totals, but don’t expect a lot of help in the batting average department. He should also find himself in the lineup fairly regularly, as he is able to play a multitude of positions. He played every position on the field last season, except for pitcher and catcher. There could definitely be some value in having Perez on your roster in 2017
66. Eric Thames (MIL, LF, RF)- Eric Thames is returning from a three-year stint with the NC Dinos of the Korean Baseball Organization (KBO) to play for the Brewers. Thames posted video game numbers in Korea, particularly in 2015 when he slashed .381/.497/.790, with 47 home runs and 40 steals. He fell back to earth somewhat in 2016, but still posted a .317/.425/.676 line with 40 homers. Thames did have a sharp platoon split, however. The lefty hitting Thames did most of his damage in 2016 against righties, torching them for a .360 average and 28 home runs in 247 at-bats. The recent history of players transitioning from the KBO to MLB has been a mixed bag (Jung Ho Kang and Byungho Park), but Thames appears to be more confident and aggressive at the plate than he was during his previous time in MLB (where he had a career .727 OPS). He’s set to play first base for the Brewers, but he could sit against some left-handed pitching.
64. Rajai Davis (OAK, LF, CF)- With 43 steals as a 35-year-old last season, Rajai Davis became the fourth-oldest player to lead the league in that category. He also reached double-digit home runs for the first time in his career, but a 40-plus point drop in ISO and a decline in hard-hit rate suggests it was largely a fluke. Keep in mind that Progressive Field in Cleveland was a top-five park for power last season, while Davis’ new home park in Oakland ranked 29th for power. He will be lucky to even get to half his total from 2016. Further, the A’s didn’t run much last season, although at this point 20 steals seems to be Davis’ floor regardless of team context. He should have center field mostly to himself, meaning he should approach 500 plate appearances again, but the totality of Davis’ skill set is not worth paying a premium for.
63. Yasiel Puig (LAD, RF)- Puig had a rocky 2016. Not only did his OPS continue the downward trend that it had for the last three seasons, but he also battled injuries to his hamstring and found himself the subject of trade rumors throughout the summer. Things got so rough that the fourth-year outfielder was even demoted to Triple-A for the month of August. Needless to say, Puig didn’t live up to expectations, considering he was drafted in the top 100 to 150 in most leagues. Despite his .263/.323/.416 overall line on the 2016 season, there is reason for optimism. After he was brought back up to the majors in September, he hit .281/.338/.561 with four homers and 11 RBI, by far his best month of the season. There are reports this offseason indicating he’s been working to drop some weight to improve his durability. Still, he’s seen his OPS decline each of the last four years from .925 his rookie year to .740 in 2016. He will probably be drafted too high on name recognition alone in most fantasy leagues and will be a gamble no matter where he is picked.
62. Kevin Kiermaier (TB, CF)- Kiermaier missed a large chunk of time in 2016 with a broken hand but managed to make an impact when active. He finished his third major league season with 12 home runs, 21 stolen bases and a .246/.331/.410 slash line. Winner of the last two American League Gold Glove Awards in center field, Kiermaier has locked down a starting spot and as long as he can stay healthy, the 26-year-old should produce solid counting stats. With 15-homer power and 20-stolen base potential, Kiermaier can churn out deep mixed league value despite sporting a batting average in the mid-.200 range.
61. Michael Conforto (NYM, LF, CF, RF)- There is little doubt that Conforto is an extremely talented hitter, but his hard crash to earth after a hot start in 2016 has the fantasy community questioning his 2017 prospects. Conforto only hit .220/.310/.414 last year with 12 homers, 38 runs scored, 42 RBI and two stolen bases in 348 plate appearances before being demoted to the minors, a disappointing season after he was a big part of the Mets’ 2015 World Series run. At only 23 years old, though, the sky remains the limit for the young outfielder. However, if the struggles continue, the Mets may be tempted to send him back to the bench instead of letting him develop with Cespedes, Bruce, and Granderson manning Citi Field’s outfield. Given his talent, targeting him in the 21st round can only yield you benefits given the cheap investment
60. Jacoby Ellsbury (NYY, CF)- Now through three years of a seven-year, $153 million contract, it’s clear the Yankees aren’t getting what they expected out of Jacoby Ellsbury. The center fielder stayed healthy enough to play in 148 games and saw improvement across the board from a disappointing 2015 season, but his production was nowhere close to the level from his earlier years in Boston or even during his first year with New York in 2014. In addition to his struggles at the plate, the former speedster attempted just three steals in the final two and a half months, as that element of his game continues to decline. On the positive side, Ellsbury drew a career-high 54 walks, ensuring that he was still able to work his way on base at a decent clip despite a disappointing .263 average. It’s wise to expect further skills regression as he enters his age-33 season, but Ellsbury should open the year atop the order and he still does enough across the board to remain on the mixed-league radar.
58. Curtis Grandson (NYM, LF, CF, RF)- Granderson has quietly had a very productive three years in a New York Mets uniform. He’s probably been the biggest mainstay in the Met’s lineup since signing in Queens prior to the 2014 season. In 2016, the Grandyman hit .237/.335/.464 to go along with 30 home runs, 88 runs scored and 59 RBI. Remarkably at age 35, Granderson somehow decreased his strikeout rate (20.5%) to his lowest figure since 2009 while also being the unluckiest on balls in play he’s ever been in his career (.254 BABIP). There’s little doubt Granderson will continue producing, but the big questions here are: 1) playing time and 2) will he even be a Met? With a crowded outfield featuring Cespedes, Bruce and Conforto, it’s possible Granderson is coming off the bench often. The Mets have looked to trade Bruce to make room, but those efforts have been to no avail. With a current ADP sitting around the 20th round, he could serve some value with his pop if an injury or trade takes place to this Met outfield.
57. Ender Inciarte (ATL, LF, CF)- Ender Inciarte’s elite glove was ahead of his bat once again in 2016, but he still contributed enough to be useful in most formats. He hit the disabled list a week into the season with a groin injury and was very slow to return to form when he got healthy. He limped into the break with a .227/.294/.306 line but still managed eight steals on 11 attempts. After the break, he looked much more like the guy we saw for Arizona in 2015, as he hit .341/.396/.440 the rest of the way while stealing another eight bases on 12 attempts. He also more than doubled the 26 runs scored before the break with 59 runs in the second half. The Braves were sold on his all-around skill set and inked him to a five-year, $30.5 million extension during the offseason. He should be the leadoff hitter for the retooled Atlanta lineup in 2017, and if he can avoid injury and play in 150-plus games, he could break the 30-steal plateau, flirt with 100 runs and post a batting average around .290.
56. Kendrys Morales (TOR, 1B, RF, DH)- Morales enjoyed a fine 2016 in Kansas City, a season so fine that the Jays rushed to sign him to a three-year, $33 million contract instead of making stronger efforts to re-sign slugger Edwin Encarnacion. Morales hit to the tune of a .263/.327/.468 slash line along with 30 home runs, 65 runs scored and 93 RBI. Now, Morales will have the opportunity to hit fifth in the Blue Jays lineup, behind Donaldson and Bautista. Playing designated hitter in a hitter’s ballpark behind those players is probably the best possible situation Morales could have hoped to fall into, though his chances of reaching 30 home runs for the second consecutive season probably aren’t great. With a 20th-round ADP, it is very unlikely that you will not be satisfied with the numbers he will put up in a potent Toronto lineup in 2017.
55. Melky Cabrera (CHW, LF)- White Sox outfielder Melky Cabrera is coming off of yet another consistent, albeit quiet, season. Cabrera has now recorded at least 620 plate appearances in each of his last three seasons, scoring at least 70 runs, hitting at least 12 homers and knocking in at least 70 runs while hitting over .270 in each year. His bat won’t win you a title, but those of you in leagues that employ four or five outfielders can likely find a spot for his production on your roster. He doesn’t take much of a hit in points leagues either, as his low 10.7% strikeout rate won’t burn anyone. His counting stats may take a step back with Adam Eaton’s presence gone from atop Chicago’s lineup, but the solid average and modest pop should hold.
54. Keon Broxton (MIL, CF)- Keon Broxton opened the season 0-for-16 and was unceremoniously demoted to Triple-A Colorado Springs, where many Brewers fans forgot about him. But Broxton proceeded to decimate minor league pitching and earn his way back to Milwaukee for a very productive end of the season. From his callup in late May through the end of the season, Broxton mashed nine home runs and stole 21 bases in just 69 games. He also struck out an absurd 77 times, a 36.3 percent rate that will make it difficult for him to maintain even the .262 batting average he produced after his promotion. Still, with his ability to hit for power and run wild on opposing defenses, Broxton is too enticing to write off.
53. Nomar Mazara (TEX, LF, RF)- Mazara was seen as a potential power option off the wire after making his big league debut in 2106, but the 21-year-old largely failed to live up to expectations, posting just a .153 ISO over .568 plate appearances. While it may not seem fair to judge a player based on his rookie season, there just isn’t much in the numbers to forecast success in the near future. Mazara’s hard-contact rate in 2016 settled at just under 29 percent. He struck out almost 20 percent of the time and hit the ball in the air just 30 percent of the time. It must be noted that despite his poor power indicators, Mazara was able to reach 20 home runs in what was otherwise a lackluster debut. It never hurts to take a (very) late flyer on a young player with some pop, but Mazara will likely have to make some improvements in order to become the player who posted an ISO north of .200 at Double-A Frisco in 2014.
52. Carlos Gomez (TEX, LF, CF, RF)- It looked as though Gomez’s career decline would continue after a miserable start to the season in Houston, but the 31-year-old showed vintage form after being traded to the Rangers, posting a .284/.362/.543 batting line with eight home runs over 116 at-bats. While the hot streak was a godsend to owners, there wasn’t much in the peripheral numbers that hinted at sustainability. He was able to improve his contact rate, but his hard-contact rate, strikeout rate and walk rate stayed about the same throughout the year. The most significant change we saw was in his HR/FB rate, which soared from nine to 20 percent. This was likely due to a vast improvement in his fly-ball rate, which made the leap from 29 to 42 percent. If Gomez is able to keep putting the ball in the air at a good clip in the friendly confines of Arlington, he may be able to keep some of his power gains, but hoping for a continuation of his .210 ISO in the second half seems overly optimistic. Still, Gomez can steal 15 to 20 bases a year and could once again find himself in the leadoff spot, potentially helping some counting stats. He will most definitely be worth a look if his ADP holds in the 220 range.
51. Carlos Beltran (HOU, RF, DH)- Beltran enjoyed a resurgent season in 2016, posting his best numbers since 2012. Between the Yankees and Rangers, Beltran slashed .295/.337/.513 with 29 home runs and 93 runs batted in while playing in 151 games. Even towards the end of the season, he showed no signs of slowing down due to his age (39, turning 40 in April). Now with the Astros, he will primarily play designated hitter but has enough mobility left in him to man a corner outfield spot if need be. He is expected to hit near the middle of this impressive lineup, so as long as he can stay healthy, he will enjoy yet another productive season. However, don’t bank on him matching his numbers from 2016, as he’ll also share playing time with Evan Gattis and Brian McCann.