To help prepare for the upcoming MLB season, I’ll be providing analysis of each fantasy baseball position. To stay consistent I’ll be referencing the FantasyPros Expert Consensus Ranking from FantasyPros. I’ve found from experience that the consensus rankings give a better overall picture of positional rankings. This particular ranking provides the aggregate ADP (Average Draft Position) from Yahoo! Sports, ESPN, NFBC and RTSports.
In this edition we’ll be looking at the Top Outfielders, the Best Value, Sleeper Pick and Potential Bust. Position rank, ADP and projected stats are based off FantasyPros Outfielders consensus rankings.
Top Three Outfielders:
1.Mike Trout, Angels (1st Outfielder, 1.0 ADP)
Analysis: This won’t come as a much of a surprise, Mike Trout is the top Outfielder in Fantasy Baseball. You could make a case for D’Backs 1B Paul Goldschmidt going first overall but when it comes down to it, you take Trout with the #1 pick. Trout is legit across 5 categories and has talked about upping his steal count. He has 2 steals so far in Spring Training and has a chance to up his steal count back towards the 20+ steals range. A recent Roger Schlueter article details the historic start to Trouts career, “the Angels outfielder has finished no lower than second in American League MVP Award voting in each of his four full seasons, including his first-place finish in 2014. Over that span, Trout has put up a batting line of .308/.403/.568 while averaging 34 homers and 27 stolen bases per season.” Trout is an easy #1 overall pick for 2016. GTD Suggested Round: 1st Round, Top 2
- Bryce Harper, Nationals (2nd Outfielder, 2.6 ADP)
Analysis: Bryce Harper was able to play a full season (153 games) and it led to an outstanding MVP season in 2015. He put up monster numbers in 5 of 6 fantasy categories, it’s pretty tough be nit picky on the low amount of steals, but 6 is low. In a recent Sports Illustrated column, Tom Verducci wrote “According to baseball-reference.com, Harper is the only player in the last 100 years to twice in the same season score four runs in a game without a hit. It’s possible that Harper could post an even more monstrous season if Washington’s everyday players remain healthier than they did last year.” The sky is the limit for Harper this season in the prime of his career he’s a safe top 3 pick in all Fantasy formats as long as he stay’s healthy. GTD Suggested Round: 1st Round, Top 3
Bryce Harper is on a mission to change baseball forever. https://t.co/xhqUUzmOD3
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) March 10, 2016
- Giancarlo Stanton, Marlins (3rd Outfielder, 7.4 ADP)
Analysis: Giancarlo Stanton has some crazy power, as shown in the video below it’s probably not best to throw him a hanging 86 mph slider down the middle. When healthy, Stanton is arguably the most dangerous player in baseball, averaging 31 homers over the past 4 seasons, despite only averaging 114 games played per season. In 74 games last season he hit 27 home runs, if he had played a full season we’re likely looking at 50+ home runs and 130+ RBI. The injuries are a bit concerning over the years and it’s been reported he’s had a sore knee in Spring Training but he will be ready for Opening Day. I still feel that Stanton is worthy of a top 6 pick behind the Big 4 and Arenado, slightly ahead of the current 7.4 ADP. GTD Suggested Round: 1st Round, Top 6
Best Value Pick: Ryan Braun, Brewers (22nd Outfielder, ADP 57.4)
Analysis: Don’t expect to get the production from Ryan Braun you saw the first six years of his career where he was a five time All-Star averaging 34 home runs, 107 RBI, 102 runs, .313 batting average and 21 steals per year. Braun did have a nice 2015 for the Brewers where he put up solid numbers across all Fantasy categories. In what should be a down year for the Brewers in a tough NL Central division, Braun is still the focus of the lineup, locked in as the 3 hitter. With his ADP at 57.4, that puts Braun on average drafted in the late 5th round. In my opinion you can move him up to late 4th round with his steady production across all fantasy categories, adding solid value to your Outfield. He’s been recovering from back surgery with the Brewers easing him into Spring Training games, Braun is however on track to be a full go for Opening Day. GTD Suggested Round: Late 4th round
— Tom (@Haudricourt) March 17, 2016
Sleeper Pick: Joc Pederson, Dodgers (45th Outfielder, ADP 171.0)
Analysis: Based on Joc Pedersons start to 2015 you would have thought he’d be in the conversation for 1st round pick in 2016 Fantasy Baseball. In the first three months of the 2015 season, Pederson hit 20 home runs, appeared to have 40 within reach and was leading the conversation for NL Rookie of the Year. Pederson had an extremely tough 2nd half of the season where he batted .178 with 6 homers, 14 RBI and 63 strikeouts in 180 at bats. The strikeouts were high last season at 170, but he did finished 5th in the NL with 92 walks. A Fox Sports article from last month detailed Pederson learning from his rookie year, “Baseball’s a crazy game,” he said. “But last year is old news, you know. I don’t even have any thought about last year. I learned from it. I gathered my information and I’m moving forward. There’s no reason to look back.” Joc’s ADP of 171.0 currently places him in the 14th round, which in my opinion is too low. I’d look to grab Pederson by the 10th round with his huge potential at just 23 years old. GTD Suggested Round: 10th Round
Potential Bust: Billy Hamilton, Reds (30th Outfielder, ADP 104.8)
Analysis: Billy Hamilton is being drafted in the 8th round on average and with an ADP of 104.8, I just don’t see it. Looking at the stats, Hamilton has been a one category producer and I wouldn’t use a pick in the first 12 rounds on him. The hype was there for Hamilton when he first came up after his 2012 Minor League campaign where he stole a crazy 155 bases, scored 112 runs and a .311 batting average. He had a rough 2nd half last season batting .238 with 1 homer, 15 runs, 9 RBI and 13 steals, not adding much to fantasy teams besides steals. Hamilton’s production is not worth reaching for draft wise and I wouldn’t consider him a Top 30 OF as he’s currently ranked. A recent Blog Red Machine article suggested the Reds using Hamilton as a 4th Outfielder if the Reds want to have a competitive season and allowing Hamilton time to develop at the MLB level. GTD Suggested Round: Wait Until 12th Round
— FantasyPros (@FantasyProsMLB) March 9, 2016
Check back this week as I’ll be releasing a new baseball position preview daily.