When preparing for your fantasy baseball drafts, it is a must to have a draft strategy, and on Wednesday, Daniel Kelley offered his thoughts on how to approach outfielders on draft day. We have also provided you with our Top 100 outfielders rankings for 2015 earlier in the week:
Now that we have provided you all these tools you need to prepare for your drafts, your fantasy draft preparation would be incomplete without some outfielders to avoid, which we provide you today, and some outfielders to target, which published yesterday.
We asked each of the fantasy baseball writers to provide you with the outfielders they would avoid in fantasy drafts this season, and you can find them along with their reasoning below. Some of the players profiled below may have been recommended as targets by other writers on Thursday, but are presented to show both sides of the argument for said player.
Outfielders to Avoid in 2015
Jason Heyward, Cardinals - Ray Guilfoyle
There are still many readers and industry experts who still like Cardinals outfielder Jason Heyward. The baseball community loves him because he plays a great right field and is still very young.
I disagree with the fantasy community on Heyward. Granted, he is still young, and could benefit from a change in scenery, but I don't think the Cardinals lineup is that much better than the Braves lineup that he played with in 2014. Last season, he hit .271-.351-.384 with 11 home runs, 74 runs scored, 58 RBI and 20 stolen bases. The stolen bases are nice, but I am not sure how much he will run under new manager Mike Matheny. The Cardinals don't run that much, so that total could drop a bit in 2015.
Add to that the fact that his power is in decline:
2010: 18 HRs, .179 ISO, .456 SLG
2011: 14 HRS, .162 ISO, .369 SLG
2012: 27 HRs, .210 ISO, .479 SLG
2013: 14 HRs, .173 ISO, .427 SLG
2014: 11 HRS, .113 ISO, .384 SLG
Here is a list of guys who had better power seasons than Heyward in 2014, as measured by ISO:
Melvin Upton, Jr.
Could he rebound in 2015? Sure. I am not going to be the guy to invest in him though. His current ADP according to Mock Draft Army over at Fantasy Alarm is 69.9, or a 5th round pick in 15 team mixed leagues. He is currently being drafted ahead of outfielders that I prefer including Matt Holliday, Charlie Blackmon and Marcell Ozuna.
Carlos Gonzalez, Rockies - Tim Finnegan
I'm a huge fan of CarGo's talent, but there's always something wrong with him, and I don't see why 2015 will be any different. The last time he played in over 135 games was 2010, and he's averaging just 110 games played per season since 2011. Look at this injury history from 2012-14, from Baseball Prospectus:
Staying healthy is a skill, and CarGo has consistently struggled to stay healthy. Even in his best season by wRC+, 2013, his final rank in my league (standard rules plus OPS) was 41 because he couldn't stay on the field for the entire season. CarGo's current ADP in Yahoo leagues is 49, and I think that's a not so great investment. An injured player becomes a replacement player, and CarGo isn't even a lock to be productive in 2015 regardless because he's coming off two surgeries, one on his left finger and one on his left knee. I don't see the appeal drafting him in the top 50, which is what you're likely going to have to do to roster him this year.
Starling Marte, Pirates - Nick Doran
I selected Marte as my player to avoid because of his super-high BABIP and his early ADP. He is being drafted with the 49th overall pick in CBS drafts, 59th in Yahoo drafts and 49th in ESPN leagues. That makes him an early fifth-round pick in 12-team leagues. Marte's BABIP was .373 last year, which was the highest in the majors. Normally that would be a sign that he was very lucky, but some hitters can maintain a high BABIP if they are fast and hit a lot of line drives. Well, Marte is very fast and does hit a lot of line drives. His BABIP was .363 in 2013 and .333 in 2012. He also had high BABIPs throughout his minor league career. The bulk of Marte's fantasy value comes from his stolen bases. He is good for at least 30 in a full season, probably more than that. He is only a middle-of-the-pack producer in the home run category. He is slightly above average in runs and well below average in RBI. Both of those stats are heavily dependent on his slot in the Pirates' batting order. His batting average is a slight plus if he yields the .273 that both Steamer and Zips are projecting. All things considered, Marte is definitely a bargain in the fifth round. It even makes sense to take him in the 4th round. So basically I have changed my mind on Marte and now advise you to target him rather than avoid him.
Nelson Cruz, Mariners - Daniel Kelley
You’ll get some power from Nelson Cruz. It isn’t just going to vanish, because that’s not what things do. But he set career bests in homers, RBI and runs scored last year, at age 33. That kind of leap isn’t often sustainable, even before you consider a move from Baltimore to Seattle, and the ballpark hit that comes along with that. He’s not a high on-base guy (you know, relative to his stature). At 40 homers, you can fade a lower on-base percentage. At 20-25, though, the other flaws Cruz brings to the table shine more. He turns 35 in July, with a body type/playing style that doesn’t always age well, in an unfriendly ballpark and a skill set that cries for a slide. Not a lot of optimism there.
Oswaldo Arcia, Twins - Rob Parker
Arcia has demonstrated that his power is legit, with 20 HR in only 410 PA last year. That promising power at a young age (23) is so enticing. There are two big problems that make him a player to stay away from. First, he struck out 31% of the time last year. Oh, and he struck out 31% of the time in 2013, too. His walk rates have been below average. He is near the very top of the SwStr% leaderboard, which is not a good thing. It means he has a lot of swing and miss in his game. He also doesn't steal at all. All of this would be manageable as a low-average slugger like Chris Carter, if it weren't for the other big issue: health. Despite his young age, he has been mired in a series of injuries. In just the last two years: bruised right hand, right wrist injury, left wrist injury, right wrist strain, sprained right ankle, back injury, tendon issue in right hand, and this January, more back pain. Oh, did I mention that he plays in a park that's bad for power and he put up an unsustainable 19% HR/FB ratio last season? His best-case scenario is an injury-prone Chris Carter? No thanks.
Dalton Pompey, Blue Jays - Jack Cecil
While Pompey is gaining a lot of steam this offseason, I haven’t become a buyer. I’ve heard “surprising pop” enough times to make my ears bleed at this point, and that’s something I think a lot of drafters are going overboard with when creating their Pompey values. The pop is surprising because he’s over 6ft tall and still only weighs 170 lbs, but can still hit one out, that doesn’t mean he’ll hit many. I don’t see him hitting more than 10 home runs this season, and while he is fast, he isn’t a burner. He has 60-grade speed according to most scouts, which is kind of how I view Michael Brantley or Ian Desmond, good but not great. That now puts a lot of pressure on him to either score a lot of runs or drive in a lot of runs next season for him to be valuable, and with him likely hitting 7th, 8th, or 9th next season, I don’t anticipate either happening. Lastly, he’s never played over 113 games before, and I’d imagine he’ll tire by the time the fantasy playoffs come around. Hopefully he hits well and becomes another nice athlete to watch in the majors, but as far as fantasy potential, don’t go overboard, this is a player who I wouldn’t take in the first 200 picks.
If you are looking for more fantasy baseball rankings, and players to avoid, to get you ready for your fantasy baseball drafts, make sure you check out Fantasy Rundown, the one spot on the internet for all things fantasy.