When it comes to drafting outfielders, there are plenty to chose from.
I look at the outfield position one way: Either you have Mike Trout, Bryce Harper, Giancarlo Stanton, Andrew McCutchen, or you don’t – simple as that. Meaning, if you don’t happen to get one of those studs, you’re going to be OK because it’s a very deep position.
No matter how many outfielders your league has set up per team, there’s a good chance that you can pass on outfielders in the early rounds and make best with the options you have in the later rounds.
My main concern when drafting is taking care of position scarcity; as in drafting a high end catcher, shortstop and third baseman early, and then jumping into the mass amount of outfielders.
So let’s take a peek further down the draft board at some undervalued outfielders that you will benefit from come season’s end.
Five Undervalued Outfielders
Ender Inciarte, Atlanta Braves
I was kicking myself for not nabbing Inciarte last year when I had the chance. I stood there looking at him on the waiver wire and passed on him, only to miss out on his breakout year last year.
Yes, the Braves look like a Triple-A team, but they’re still going to play baseball this year.
Inciarte has wheels, a bit of pop and can hit for average – tools that make up a solid player. What will really up his value is if he finds himself hitting atop Atlanta’s lineup. He’s a major league-ready bat and on average, he is coming off the board as the 200th pick. He will look to put up close to the same stats as Ben Revere, but at half the cost.
Billy Burns, Oakland Athletics
Burns came up last year and burned (sorry) the base paths with his sneaky speed. He’ll be leading off again out in Oakland where he’ll look to do much of the same thing in 2016.
But for some odd reason Burns is being drafted on average as the 160th pick. Let’s play a quick game with name that leadoff hitter:
Player A – 592 ABs: 84 Rs/2 HRs/31 SBs/.306 AVG
Player B – 520 ABs: 70 Rs/5 HRs/26 SBs/.297 AVG
I don’t mean to pick on Ben Revere here again, BUT, Revere is Player A and Burns is Player B.
Add 72 more at-bats to Burns’ total and you have basically the exact same player. Difference is Revere is going on average as the 80th player in the draft. Yes, Revere will be playing with the Nationals this year, but you have to take notice that Burns is an undervalued outfielder and is an eerily similar hitter.
Nori Aoki, Seattle Mariners
Let’s keep pace with the leadoff hitters – with no bashing of Revere – and talk about the new Mariner.
Aoki has always been a solid outfielder who does a little bit of everything. What is really nice with Aoki is that he also hits for average as well, meaning he’s not going to hurt you in any category. I love him hitting in front of all of the big bats in Seattle and the best part of him is that he’s practically not being drafted in 2016.
His season last year was a tail of two sides. Before the All-Star break he hit .317, with more walks than strikeouts and stole 12 stolen bases. He was dealing with a concussion problem in the second half that lead to wonky overall numbers. If he stays healthy, Aoki can benefit you in runs, stolen bases and average, but will likely only cost you one of your final picks in your draft.
Christian Yelich, Miami Marlins
I’m a huge Yelich fan. I had the benefit of watching him and Giancarlo Stanton play for the Double-A Jacksonville Suns. None of that makes him undervalued, I just wanted you to know that.
Now let’s get to the stats.
Yelich was derailed last year by tons of injuries after a very solid full season in the majors in 2014. Yelich has speed, pop in his bat, can hit for average, and bats in front of Stanton – what’s not to like here?
Another thing to get giddy about is Miami’s decision to pull in the outfield walls, leading one to speculate that Yelich’s extra base potential can become home runs in 2016.
I can see a 20/20/.300 season for Yelich this year, which is hard to come by in the latter rounds of the draft.
Marcell Ozuna, Miami Marlins
Similar to Yelich, Ozuna was bitten by the injury bug last season and had a disappointing 2015 campaign.
Marlins manager Don Mattingly and hitting coach Barry Bonds (yes, that one) has claimed that Ozuna has the potential to be a 30/30 guy. Mattingly has come out and said that he believes Ozuna was brought up to the majors too soon and by batting him in between Dee Gordon and Christian Yelich this season, he has the potential to have a great 2016.
Now, I’m not saying that Ozuna will become a 30/30 guy, but just two seasons ago he smashed 23 home runs, so he has the pop. Also, add the fact that Miami is bringing in the outfield walls and 30 home runs is not out of the question. For a guy getting drafted around the 300th pick, that’s some nice value.
- Five Players That Can Win You a Fantasy Baseball Championship - August 15, 2016
- 2016 Fantasy Baseball: Five Players Who Should’ve Been Traded - August 8, 2016
- Week 18 Pitching Planner (Aug. 8-14): Playoffs, Ho! - August 8, 2016