With the emergence of drug testing and the days of the 60 home run player now behind us, the landscape of outfielders has changed in Fantasy Baseball. Sure, there still are a number of sluggers, but we are now moving toward hybrids or guys who have less power but now steal a good number of bases.
The balancing act of your roster in rotisserie leagues has now gotten more complicated. Finding power is getting more difficult. It used to be that you could have three big boppers in your outfield and you could focus on speed and batting average in the middle infield. Outfield has become more of a challenge, and your selections are more important than ever.
With the importance of those selections, however, we all know that not all players will perform to the value of their ADP. Last season it was Carlos Gomez, Ryan Braun, and Jacoby Ellsbury that had Fantasy owners crying in their beer.
Drafting players based on their average draft position is helpful, but you can’t be a slave to it or you are bound to be disappointed at some point. If you’ve been playing Fantasy Baseball for any length of time, you know that the status quo is rarely the reality. A good number of players are going to match what was on the back of their baseball card last year, but there will be many disappointments.
Below are three players that I feel are in serious danger of being labeled as overvalued outfielders. Two of them I just don’t believe in their value, while the third is coming off a ridiculous career year. Happy drafting everyone, and as always you can follow me on Twitter @fightingchance.
Yasiel Puig, Los Angeles Dodgers
There was a wave of hype when Puig hit the Major Leagues, and he had a fairly strong first year. However, since then he has gotten a little worse, yet his draft position seems to have stayed fairly constant which is the reason he has landed on this list of overvalued outfielders.
He has alienated teammates, angered his manager, and has had injury troubles to boot. His batting average and home run have dropped for three straight years, he isn’t stealing many bases, and is getting caught nearly as many times as he has been successful.
With all of that being said, somehow this guy is still being drafted around the seventh round. He is being drafted in the same round as Matt Kemp and Jacoby Ellsbury, both of which have some questions, but their ceilings are considerably higher. He is going multiple rounds in front of Michael Brantley, who is coming off an injury but is great, and Kole Calhoun who nearly hit 30 homers last season.
For some reason, people are still buying into all of the hype that came with Puig in 2013. I’m not sure how many more years of disappointment we need before people jump off the bandwagon. In my opinion, Puig is a poster boy for all of the overvalued outfielders.
Lorenzo Cain, Kansas City Royals
Cain will turn 30 years old just as the season is starting, and he hit one fewer home run in 2015 (16), than he had in the rest of his career (17). His 101 runs scored in 2015 were just eight shy of matching his total from the previous two seasons combined. His batting average has been over .300 in each of the past two seasons, but is that enough on its own? I’m not saying that he is bad, just that he is being overrated.
Cain is a solid player, but he doesn’t do anything in spectacular fashion that I think warrants being drafted within the Top 20 outfielders. I just don’t believe that he will be able to repeat his performance based on his history.
The Royals are a very solid baseball team, but outside of the closer, I don’t find them to be a very Fantasy Baseball friendly team. Give me guys like Justin Upton, Adam Jones, and Matt Kemp, all who have had sustained success before rather than an overvalued Cain who had far and away a career season in 2015.
Jason Heyward, Chicago Cubs
I’m not exactly sure where all of the Fantasy love comes from for Heyward, as I think he is grossly overvalued. In his six year career he only has had two in which he has had more than 15 home runs, two in which he had more than 60 RBIs, and has had some injury problems along the way as well.
He has stolen 20 bases in three of the last four season, but his batting average has swung as high as .293 and as low as .254. Does a guy who will likely hit 12-13 home runs and steal 20 bags with an average in the .260s equal an early sixth round pick for you? Well, that’s where Heyward is going.
I would take all of the guys I mentioned above with Puig above him, as well as young guys like Randal Grichuk, Billy Hamilton, and Gregory Polanco over Heyward as well.