As we get to outfielders, we have to acknowledge a dilemma in the industry. Some formats break outfielders up by their individual positions and others simply treat all outfielders the same. My goal is not to come down on one end or the other. However, it is easier to consider them by position and then adjust to the generic than it is to start at the generic and move to the specific. So, we are looking at left fielders first.
The second consideration is a move to the top 20 at each spot. Some leagues employ five regular outfielders. In a standard twelve team league that would mean 60 outfielders. Each spot has good depth, so it really doesn’t matter. One of the advantages of total points is the ease in which you can compare players from multiple positions. So, comparing left fielders with center fielders and right fielders is a breeze. As usual, we will also throw in six category projections going back the past three years. Players will be projected across 500 and 600 plate appearances based on their track record and current roster projections on the current teams.
Total points = TB + Runs + RBI + SB + BB + HBP – SO – CS – GDP
Khris Davis—Oakland Athletics
Points: 1127 (1st)
PPG: 2.48 (4th)
Projection: .247/42 HR/86 Runs/105 RBI/2 SB/54 BB
Attendance is a part of the grade and as a full-time DH, Davis has no problem staying in the lineup. From there, it is a debate over the importance of strikeouts. In total points, it makes a significant difference. In standard formats it’s all about the batting average. Still, he gives you enough in home runs, runs, and RBI that the batting average is not such a big deal. He also gives you enough walks to be a four-category contributor.
Andrew Benintendi—Boston Red Sox
Points: 902 (5th)
PPG: 2.71 (3rd)
Projection: .282/16 HR/85 Runs/80 RBI/18 SB/63 BB (4th)
Benintendi has done this basically over two seasons. So, in total points he does not have the benefit of a third season and still finished in the top five. He is a perfect compromise candidate. If you don’t want to give in on any single category then he gives you a little of everything. He likely should eclipse these numbers.
Justin Upton—Los Angeles Angels
Points: 1009 (3rd)
PPG: 2.24 (10th)
Projection: .258/31 HR/84 Runs/91 RBI/10 SB/60 BB (3rd)
Upton is the perfect Angel. He puts up pretty good numbers across the board and his name has plenty of cache, but he’s just not quite good enough. The points per game is the best clue. He produces because he plays, but the PPG is a tangible representation of the feeling that you have when your team isn’t quite cutting the mustard.
Marcell Ozuna—St. Louis Cardinals
Points: 1107 (2nd)
PPG: 2.43 (6th)
Projection: .287/26 HR/74 Runs/90 RBI/1 SB/45 BB (10th)
Ozuna is a great example of why we go with three year averages instead of single season projections. Following 2017 he looked like a world beater. He suffered through shoulder issues this past season, but a return to 2017 is not likely. He hadn’t produced like that before and he returned to career norms last year.
Juan Soto—Washington Nationals
Points: 335 (23rd)
PPG: 2.89 (1st)
Projection: .292/27 HR/94 Runs/85 RBI/6 SB/96 BB (1st)
It’s hard to predict what phenoms will do in their second season, but history indicates that they will more likely regress than progress. Maybe it’s the fact that the league is getting a second look at them. Maybe it’s the fact that they get complacent after having so much success. Maybe losing Bryce Harper as a teammate will put more of the focus on him. Either way, this is a bet on regression.
Ryan Braun—Milwaukee Brewers
Points: 894 (6th)
PPG: 2.46 (5th)
Projection: .279/23 HR/69 Runs/72 RBI/13 SB/41 BB (15th)
Braun is obviously more productive than the traditional numbers would indicate. His biggest problem these days is staying on the field. It’s amazing what happens when you take the PEDs away. It’s easy to hate Braun after what he did to that courier several years ago. Much like the other PED cheats, time will tell whether he will complete the path back to redemption.
Tommy Pham—Tampa Bay Rays
Points: 742 (14th)
PPG: 2.16 (12th)
Projection: .281/25 HR/104 Runs/72 RBI/21 SB/74 BB (2nd)
The Rays are the most fascinating organization in sports. They have a crappy stadium and play in a smaller market, but occasionally they become buyers at the deadline. Last season they did both. Getting Pham was a stroke of genius as they got a very good player for below market value. They ended up winning 90 games and he was one of the reasons why.
Brett Gardner—New York Yankees
Points: 990 (4th)
PPG: 2.26 (8th)
Projection: .254/12 HR/84 Runs/46 RBI/20 SB/65 BB (16th)
Here we see the tension between total points and conventional formats. Most total points formulas include negative events. Gardner doesn’t have a lot of those, so he ends up coming out better. Honestly, splitting the difference is usually the best way to go. He does offer some speed, so he is useful, but eighth feels a little high.
Eddie Rosario—Minnesota Twins
Points: 852 (9th)
PPG: 2.24 (10th)
Projection: .284/24 HR/85 Runs/73 RBI/8 SB/28 BB (11th)
A team of Rosario’s is going nowhere. However, an occasional Rosario on your squad won’t kill you at all. He had a better 2018 than this, so maybe he is progressing as a player. We gamble here on past performance and not future projections, but some of you may feel differently. Have at it.
Shin-soo Choo—Texas Rangers
Points: 776 (11th)
PPG: 2.26 (8th)
Projection: .260/20 HR/82 Runs/62 RBI/9 SB/77 BB (12th)
Sometimes you have to ignore the salary of the player and simply look at the production. This kind of thing happens all the time. A player has an out of context season before a contract and suddenly they are a disappointment for the rest of their natural lives. Choo is a very good offensive player. He just isn’t a great one.
Michael Conforto—New York Mets
Points: 775 (12th)
PPG: 2.09 (13th)
Projection: .248/28 HR/79 Runs/81 RBI/3 SB/75 BB (8th)
Conforto got off to a slow start last season, but settled into the numbers on the back of his baseball card. Unfortunately, his teammate (Yoenis Cespedes) will miss most of the season or he may have been in the top ten himself. Conforto might be a top ten guy with health as the team will have more talent around him.
David Peralta—Arizona Diamondbacks
Points: 773 (13th)
PPG: 2.31 (7th)
Projection: .287/21 HR/78 Runs/69 RBI/6 SB/43 BB (14th)
Peralta hit 30 home runs last year. That’s the kind of thing that sneaks up on you. Like with Ozuna, I don’t bet on single seasons, but his issues have been more health related. The points per game might be a better predictor of the future than the other categories. Unfortunately, with Goldschmidt and Pollock gone it could be thin in Phoenix.
Michael Brantley—Houston Astros
Points: 673 (16th)
PPG: 2.76 (2nd)
Projection: .302/12 HR/67 Runs/64 RBI/12 SB/39 BB (18th)
If Brantley can find his way to 600 plate appearances then these numbers will improve considerably. Unfortunately, attendance matters. For those playing daily fantasy sports, there might not be a better value play than Brantley. Counting on him for a full season of production might be tough, but if he lasts until this point in the draft he could be a huge bargain.
Matt Kemp—Cincinnati Reds
Points: 865 (7th)
PPG: 2.07 (14th)
Projection: .277/27 HR/72 Runs/96 RBI/0 SB/36 BB (17th)
Kemp has been exposed over time as a flawed offensive player. However, if you leave him alone in the lineup he will eventually produce decent numbers. In particular, he might be a fantasy regular in five category leagues. This should be a good situation for him, but this might be his last season as a regular.
Kyle Schwarber—Chicago Cubs
Points: 656 (17th)
PPG: 1.95 (17th)
Projection: .228/34 HR/86 Runs/77 RBI/4 SB/82 BB (6th)
We see another gap between total points and conventional rankings. It’s all about the strikeouts. Total points doesn’t like all or nothing type of guys. The industry calls them three outcome players (strikeouts, walks, and home runs). As long as you get your batting average somewhere else you should be okay.
Adam Duvall—Atlanta Braves
Points: 829 (10th)
PPG: 1.86 (18th)
Projection: .232/28 HR/75 Runs/94 RBI/5 SB/42 BB (13th)
Duvall had a rough 2018, but he has been a good player overall over the last three seasons. Still, this is a perfect spot for someone like Duvall. He has been a positive impact fielder and the Braves don’t have anyone else right now. They could end up adding a corner outfielder and if they do he will go straight into the waiver wire.
Joc Pederson—Los Angeles Dodgers
Points: 710 (15th)
PPG: 1.83 (19th)
Projection: .238/29 HR/84 Runs/77 RBI/5 SB/69 BB (9th)
The projection might be optimistic, but the Dodgers were able to clear some clutter in their trade with the Reds. They still have Kiki Hernandez who can play multiple positions. Pederson may be more appropriate at 500 plate appearances. Pederson has always been heavy on the strikeouts. He won’t take the next step until he makes more contact.
Corey Dickerson—Pittsburgh Pirates
Points: 858 (8th)
PPG: 1.98 (15th)
Projection: .276/19 HR/60 Runs/55 RBI/3 SB/26 BB (21st)
Dickerson hasn’t been the same since leaving Colorado. Of course, no one is. Like many of these last several guys, he is flawed but is still good enough to be a valuable bench member of your team. He had an under the radar season in Pittsburgh last season and should be good for another one.
Domingo Santana—Seattle Mariners
Points: 522 (20th)
PPG: 1.67 (21st)
Projection: .270/25 HR/76 Runs/73 RBI/9 SB/67 BB (7th)
I haven’t liked most of what Seattle has done this offseason, but this is one of their better moves. Santana didn’t have anywhere to play in Milwaukee, but he produced .278/30/88/85/15 in his only full season as a regular. If he produces anything close to that he would be a bargain for the Mariners and for you.
Hunter Renfroe—San Diego Padres
Points: 494 (21st)
PPG: 1.98 (15th)
Projection: .245/29 HR/59 Runs/73 RBI/3 SB/30 BB (20th)
Who knows if last season is any indication, but a 47.2 percent hard hit rate is ridiculously high. Even if you go with the career 40.2 percent mark is a very healthy rate. All these numbers may seem like statistical gobbly gook, but the conventional numbers tend to follow the batted ball numbers. If they deal him they could be dealing a monster.