The following list of players are outfielders that I believe could breakout and outperform their draft position in 2014.
Kris Davis (MIL) – The Brewers outfield prospect was very impressive in his debut with the big league club. He displayed plenty of power, hitting 11 HR’s in 136 AB’s. The Brewers are already discussing the possibility of moving Ryan Braun to RF and shopping Norichika Aoki this off-season to open up room to start Davis in LF in 2014. While most of your league mates are chasing the other Chris Davis in the 1st round, think about adding this bat later in your draft for power.
Eric Young Jr. (NYM) – Don’t let the switch from Coors Field to Citi Field keep this young base-stealer off your fantasy lineup in 2014. Power has never been his game, and the SB’s shouldn’t be affected by his home park. E.Y. Jr. racked up 46 SB’s in 2013, but that doesn’t tell half the story. During the first 3 months of the season, while mostly playing part time, Young accumulated just 9 SB’s. Then during the final 3 months, after becoming a full-time starter, he stole 37 bases. If he comes anywhere close to keeping up the rates he accomplished while playing full-time this year, you could get the 2014 stolen base leader towards the end of your draft.
Brandon Moss (OAK) – How do you expect a player that just hit 30 HR’s to break-out even more? Well, Moss has been a platoon hitter over the past 2 years, playing against righties and sitting against lefties. But during the 2nd half of the 2013 season, he started to get a few more starts against left-handers. Over the past 2 seasons, Moss has 51 HR’s in 711 AB’s. If he can continue to make improvements against southpaws and come close to logging 550 AB’s in 2014, you might have one of the top power options that won’t cost you an early round pick.
Darin Ruf (PHI) – In 2012, Ruf hit 41 HR’s between AAA and the majors. After his call-up in 2013, he hit 14 HR’s in 251 AB’s. It looks like the Phillies will find a way to fit him into the lineup in 2014, even if Ryan Howard and the rest of the Phillies walking wounded return. With at least 500 AB’s, Ruf could easily hit 30 HR’s. All he needs is the playing time.
Adam Eaton (ARI) – A popular sleeper pick going into the 2013 season, many might have soured on this player with his injuries and missed time this year. But after returning late in the season, Eaton demonstrated the run scoring promise that he displayed in the minor leagues. If this young outfielder can stay healthy in 2014, he could easily top 100 runs scored batting atop the Diamondback’s line-up.
George Springer (HOU) – If you follow the minor leagues, you know about the season Springer had in 2013. When Drayton McLane was asked about bringing Springer up to join the Astros, he said there was no reason to rush him up this year, but there will be a starting spot waiting for him to earn during spring training in 2014. I’m not as concerned with the strikeouts as most, because he has continued to bat over .300 at the highest levels in the minors. You might have a 20/20 player right out of the gates in 2014, with the possibility for much more.
Whoever wins the Rockies RF job between Corey Dickerson/Charlie Blackmon – With Todd Helton retiring, Michael Cuddyer is expected to move to 1B next year. Both Corey Dickerson and Charlie Blackmon impressed after their call-ups this year. Dickerson ended the year batting in the #3 hole for the Rockies, while Blackmon was the lead-off hitter and showed a nice mix of power and speed. If one of these players wins the RF job in Colorado outright, I want them on my fantasy team next year.
Will you be targeting any of these players in 2014? What outfielders do you think could break-out next year?