FANTASY BASEBALL: HOW TO JUGGLE THE OUTFIELD POSITION
The average fantasy roster will have four Outfielders starting on a regular basis. Some leagues start three OFs with two flex positions, and it’s becoming more common for rosters to require four OF spots with up to two flex positions. Its assumed that the majority of the flex positions will be filled by outfielders, which makes sense because OF is the easiest position to scour in the free agent pool. More specifically if you are seeking only certain stats whether power, speed or average the OF position is typically going to be the primary provider of the numbers you are looking for. Ranking the top 50 outfielders in order is no easy task, but there are some things you should be aware of when strategizing your approach to this position.
Firstly, after the top 10 the talent level significantly drops off, OFs not ranked high are unpredictable, still unproven in most cases, and have a better chance of falling victim to situations that are out of their control like playing in a pitchers park, getting traded, being in a platoon or multiple trips to the DL. It’s important to understand that to be ranked in the top 10 players have to put up big numbers, and in order to put up big numbers they have to play a lot of games, which is the case for the current top 10 OFs according to yahoo sports.
With that being said, it is imperative that you get a top 10 outfielder on your roster in the first 2 rounds of the draft. You will get a consistent producer in multiple categories. You will get a player that is going to give you 155 games at that position and anchor your entire outfield roster. Whatever your top 10 outfielder lacks, you can pick up in the later rounds. For example, if you buy high on Mike Trout (which is highly recommended you will still need to steals from somewhere. Steals can be had for cheap in later rounds. In terms of OFs, Carlos Gomez fixes to be the best all around value in the top 10, with Michael Brantley who comes in on the back end being very close. Both players are 5 category contributors and Gomez has been doing it for a while. Consequently Yasiel Puig in no way shape or form should be anywhere close to the top 10. This is still a high risk pick up that you should stay away from unless you can get him late or cheap in the draft. Puig who played 44 more games in 2014 vs. 2013 hit fewer HRs, stole exactly the same amount of bases – 11, and had a batting avg. that was 20 points less. Don’t pay for stats that have never been there, and with Puig, as exciting as he is to watch has never been there statistically.
The next 10 players carry more risk than any 10 player grouping at any position this year which makes it even more imperative that you get a top 10 outfielder. These players could give you top 5 numbers but all have had struggles producing in the past for whatever reason. Ryan Braun is the biggest X factor in this group and actually by fantasy standards had a decent year last year. He’s coming off injury so if healthy he’s a good buy at the right price go give you a good return on your investment. Others like Yoenis Cespedes and Matt Kemp should be left as a headache for someone else’s roster. Cespedes has a batting average bad enough to drag down an oak tree, and Kemp and his arthritic hips are steps away from an assisted living facility. Carlos Gonzalez also provides exceptional value here as he is a sure fire first rounder if he can play over 145 games.
Ranks 21 through 30 poses some interesting questions for gamers. For example is there any way Charlie Blackmon can repeat his “from out of nowhere” performance from last season. Yes he had career highs in every metric, but those 28 steals are hard to pass up. With a replication of last year’s performance his robust stat line provides late third round value that you can get in the 7th round. Jorge Soler provides us with a small sample size but he looks big league ready, and will be a top 12 outfielder by the end of the year. Draft Matt Holliday and Jay Bruce at your own risk. Holliday has been on the decline for the past couple of years, and Jay Bruce plays in a bad line up and shouldn’t be taken unless he’s been discarded to the 8th round. Guys like Billy Hamilton and Dee Gordon, can carry your line up, but balance is the name of the game especially in ROTO leagues. Draft these one to two trick ponies at your own risk. Good luck gamers.
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