As we continue looking at potential sleepers and busts by position here at So-Called Fantasy Experts, it’s time to hit the outfield sleepers. The outfield is traditionally seen as a deep position on draft day and this year is no different. However, this can be a little misleading. When you get beyond the Top 30 or so guys, the questions really begin.
If you play in a 10–team league, you are golden with your three outfielders, until injuries rear their ugly head.
For the rest of us playing in larger leagues, with five outfielders, or in leagues using AL or NL-Only players, we are going to have to look a little deeper and hopefully hit on some outfield sleepers to fill the roster.
With that in mind let’s take a look at some outfield sleepers as we continue our 2016 Fantasy Baseball preparation. Below you’ll find a few mixed league candidates as well as some deeper league finds for those that need them.
Mixed League Sleepers
Gregory Polanco, Pittsburgh Pirates
Some may have a sour taste in their mouths for the Pirate’s former top prospect. The 24-year-old underwhelmed after his original call up in 2014 and lost the interest of those with short attention spans.
Polanco made strides last year while upping his batting average to .256 while hitting nine bombs, scoring 83 runs, driving in 52, and tallying 27 steals. Not bad for his first full season in the bigs. Still, according to Fantasy Pros early season ADP, he’s going as the 33rd outfielder taken at pick 122 overall. That’s a 10th round pick in a 12-team league.
Polanco has plenty of talent and should continue to grow in 2016. He should also be hitting at the top of a good offense which will help his counting stats. Steamer projects him for 14 homers, 98 runs, and another 27 swiped bags to go with a .263 average this year.
Getting a player with 15/30 potential and a decent average in the 10th is a bargain. Polanco will be drafted in pretty much every league, but keep him in mind as you move into the middle rounds and need some outfield depth.
Kevin Pillar, Toronto Blue Jays
The Blue Jays center fielder has the position locked down as we head into the season thanks to his exemplary defense. Known for that defense, he’s now also being compared to A.J. Pollock when it comes to the bat. He’s hit all the way through the minors and has a nice mix of speed and power.
We’ve got a full year’s sample to reference now as well in which he hit .278 while taking 25 steals in Toronto last year. He even chipped in 12 homers just for good measure. Pillar is currently being taken as the 51st outfielder off the board at pick 187 according to Fantasy Pros. You can take him a round or two earlier than that ADP and still get a great deal if things pan out.
The concern with Pillar is what position they place him in the batting order. He bounced around quite a bit last season and wherever he settles in this year could impact his stats significantly. If it looks like he might be headed for the one or two hole to start the year, so raise his draft stock accordingly.
Michael Conforto, New York Mets
— New York Mets (@Mets) January 19, 2016
Conforto hit .270 with nine dingers in just under 200 at-bats in his first taste of the big leagues last year. The former first round pick looks legit and should be in line for 600 plate appearances in 2016. While pitchers may adjust, Conforto’s average does not look to be inflated due to BABIP.
For reference, he hit .297 between High-A and Double-A in 2015 before being called up. Even with some growing pains, a .260 average and 25 long balls is a conservative estimate. If you can get this production from the 54th outfielder drafted and 196th overall pick, you are sitting pretty.
Deep League Sleepers
Hyun Soo Kim, Baltimore Orioles
Kim is the latest arrival from the Korean Baseball Organization and was signed by the Orioles for two years at $7 million. The 28-year-old carries with him a career .318/.406/.488 slash line and he hit 28 home runs last season. However, the KBO is notorious for being hitter friendly so these numbers will correct somewhat, but the question is how much?
Camden Yards is a nice place to hit and I could see a .270 average with 15 homers as a realistic prediction. He is also penciled in atop a potent lineup so he should contribute with a few steals and plenty of runs scored throughout the year. With a history of such great plate discipline, he’s certainly worth a flier in deep leagues to see how this pans out.
Domingo Santana, Milwaukee Brewers
Santana is a risk for sure. He doesn’t even have an official spot in the Brewers outfield right now, which could be a problem. On top of that he had a 33% K rate last year in 187 major league plate appearances. So, why bother?
For one the Brewers are openly rebuilding. There is no better time to evaluate what they have in the 23-year-old. Second, this kid has power. He mashed Triple-A last year with a .320/.426/.582 line in Fresno. This was with a K rate of over 27%, so when he doesn’t strike out he’s getting on base, including 16 times around all the bases during that Fresno stint.
While he could be Chris Carter 2.0, Santana is still young and could improve on that K rate. If he can reduce those strikeouts even a little in 2016, he could be a late source of power worth rostering in deep leagues.
To continue along the theme of sleepers and busts, take a look at our other articles on the topic. Here are the busts for catcher, first base, second base, short stop, and third base. Follow the links for our sleepers right here: catcher, first base, second base, short stop, and third base.
|Early 2016 Fantasy Baseball Rankings|
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