Fake Teams Staff Post: Who's My Outfielder?

Kevork Djansezian

Each of your favorite FT writers let you in on the outfielder they will be targeting at their current values.

Each week, when we cover a position here at Fake Teams, in addition to all of the content you've been seeing, we're going to be doing two staff posts where each of the writers will contribute a brief comment on a player they will personally be targeting in drafts and a player they will be avoiding. Because we're generally an optimistic group here, we're going to start with a player each of us thinks is a good value. Come back tomorrow to find out who the guys we're avoiding are.

So without any further ado, I present the Fake Teams staff and their favorite outfield targets for 2013:

"What a long strange journey it's been for Yoenis Cespedes. First there was the workout video, and then...well what more do you really need? I was the highest on him of our FakeTeams rankers, even if it was just by a little. I'm not sure why others wouldn't be on him though. 23 home runs, 16 stolen bases in only 129 games? I'll take it. Pair that production with a .292/.356/.505 slash line and you're looking at a highly talented player producing in his prime. Think about it... a .505 slugging percentage in OAKLAND! Throw in the A's getting to beat up on a Houston team that threw in the towel on 2013 in July...of 2011 and the fences moving in at Safeco, and you're looking at a serious power player. He did miss 31 games due to injury in 2012 but 22 of those were due to a freak hand strain he suffered on a swing. If he proves to be healthier in 2013, you're looking at a potential 30/20 guy on the optimistic end, and maybe a little less than that on average. Cespedes doesn't walk a ton, but with a BB% of 8%, he's doing OK. He doesn't strike out much considering his prodigious power potential, another aspect in his favor. Really, the statistics are nice, but if you weren't convinced by that video, my words are falling on deaf ears." --Craig Goldstein

"In the past three seasons, Corey Hart has averaged 29 home runs, and, as Ray pointed out in the Fake Teams consensus rankings, only 17 players have hit more home runs since 2010. Ranked 29th by our writers, Hart provides great value as a No. 3 outfielder capable of putting up 30-plus home runs with 90 runs and 80 RBI. He's a career .276 hitter, and you should be able to squeeze some extra steals out of him in 2013 -- he had five in 2012, his lowest total since 2006. I admit, Hart probably won't outperform his ranking by more than five spots in 2013, but he's a safe player to round out your outfield. I'd take Hart over Alex Rios, Shin-Soo Choo and Michael Morse." --Alex Kantecki

"While speed has become a lot more plentiful in the past few seasons, I like the value that a player like Michael Bourn can provide a bit later in drafts. He's known for his speed, but lost a bit in the ether is the fact that he also provides you with an elite level in runs each season, and a solid batting average. Whether you believe in the power remains to be seen (I think he returns to around 5 homers this year or less), but the skills he provides also allow you a lot more flexibility on draft day, as you can take a risk on someone with an Adam Dunn profile (all power, no average, no speed) later on in your draft." --Jason Hunt

"After hitting 23 homers with 17 stolen bases, to go along with a .303/.376/.502 triple slash in 2011, Alex Gordon took a small step back in 2012. While his 14 homers were not the 20 or so many fantasy owners had projected coming into the season, his 51 doubles should ease any doubts you may have regarding power in 2013. On top of that, Gordon continued to reach base at a well above average rate, drawing a walk in 10.1% of his trips to the plate. I've always been a sucker for a player with power potential, some speed, and the ability to reach base even when he's not hitting the ball well, as it reduces the risks of a complete disaster season. Doubles, while they won't help you in the home run roto category, will drive in runs, and a high on base percentage helps reduce the chance a player underperforms his run projection. On top of that doubles often times turn into homers the following season, which makes projecting 18-20 homers for Gordon a pretty safe power projection. While Gordon has been above .290 in terms of batting average the previous two seasons, his BABIP and xBA all suggest a .277-.280 BA is more likely, and should be considered when ranking/creating auction values in 2013. A .280 batting average, 20 homer, 10 SB, with 170 combined runs/rbi's is a very safe number 2 outfielder who should return value, making Alex Gordon my outfielder to target in 2013." --Dave Morris Jr.

"It was only ten months ago when I posted my pre-season dynasty league prospect rankings -- and the question I was asked most was 'why are you so high on Starling Marte' (I had him at 29th overall)? Well, it turns out I'm the high man on Marte again this time around. The reasoning is simple, and it hasn't really changed since the 2012 pre-season. He's very similar to Lorenzo Cain (who I have ranked two spots ahead of Marte in my personal list) in that he can help you everywhere. Yes, the .257 average from 2012 wasn't anything to write home about, but I expect him to raise that as he lowers his strikeout rate -- his ability to barrel the ball, along with his speed, should also allow him to maintain a BABIP higher than league average. Apart from that, he has average power, is a threat to steal 30 bases and will likely lead off for the Pirates in 2013 (where he spent 154 of his 182 PA last year). He's a solid fourth OF in 12-team leagues, as long as you're not counting OBP -- as the man doesn't like to walk." --Bret Sayre

"What does it mean to target a player? It can mean that you absolutely want him on your team, but unless you have the first pick in your draft, that strategy does not always work. It can mean that you will reach for a guy in a draft, to make sure he is on your team. That can work, but a game of chicken can leave you empty handed if it does not work or leave you without players that could have helped you more if it does work. I like to target a player by waiting on him because I think I can, all the while not necessarily needing him, if I do not get him. That game only works if you target back-of-the-draft guys like Angel Pagan. Fake Teams has him ranked at 56 in the OF class of 2013, and I think that is about right. However, if healthy, Mr. Pagan can return top-30 value, maybe more. You cannot ignore his injury history, and the fact that he is 31, but Angel is a player you can probably wait for in your draft, and who can potentially give you 81 runs, 7 HRs, 56 RBI, 28 steals, and bat .280. I'll take that for a fourth outfielder in a 15 team league, any day." --Brad Dengler

"When drafting your team on draft day, you should draft a mix of players, some who are consistent year in and year out, some who are bounce back candidates, and some sleepers later in your draft. One guy who I feel is one of the more consistent hitters in baseball is Nationals outfielder Michael Morse. He is a personal favorite of mine even though I have never owned him. Morse hit .291-.321-.470 with 18 HRs, 53 runs and 62 RBI in just 102 games last season. After missing the first two months of the season, Morse hit .299 or better in three of the last four months of the season. In 2011, he hit .303-.360-.550 with 31 HRs, 73 runs, and 95 RBI. His 2011 monthly splits showed he struggled in April and September (hitting .211 and .237 respectively), but hit .299 or better from May through August, and slugged .500 or higher in five of six months. Morse is an undervalued hitter in fantasy leagues and I suggest targeting him on draft day." -- Ray Guilfoyle

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