Fantasy Baseball

Fantasy Baseball 2015 Outfielder Preview


Position Previews C 1B 2B 3B SS OF SP RP

Unlike the shortstop position this year, I believe that the outfield position is very deep. I always like to grab a top ten outfielder early in my draft, but after this I feel like you can pick and choose where you want to pick your next starting outfielder; depending on how your draft is going. I do want to give you a warning though. Do not reach for an outfielder this year. You never know how players like Billy Hamilton could boost your team and become a top-20 outfielder by the end of the season or when the next J.D. Martinez (whom I will talk about later) will come along in free agency. By not reaching, it gives you more options to take chances on later round OFs that are not worth as much if they do not end up panning out this year.

1. Can J.D. Martinez keep up with what he did last year?

Credit: Keith Allison

Credit: Keith Allison

Quite simply, no. I am definitely not going to take away with what he did in 2014, especially because he helped me get to two of my fantasy league championships. Look at these numbers. In 123 games, he hit .315 with 23 HRs, 57 Rs and 76 RBIs in 480 plate appearances. By far this was his career high in all major hitting categories. There is a positive in his situation. With Torii Hunter gone as well as Victor Martinez having surgery, I see Martinez getting more playing time in the outfield or even DH. The biggest difference that I do not see happening is hitting close to .315. I feel like .280 is more realistic. The other numbers I see staying right about the same, but that is only because he will be getting more playing time. I would still draft him as a 2nd or 3rd OF this year, so that is not out of the question. Just don’t wish on what happened last year to happen this year. I hope he helped you as much as he helped me in 2014, but 2015 I believe will be a different story.

2. Now that he is out for 6-8 weeks, where should Josh Hamilton be drafted?
Well, I am hoping by now that we can all realize that the long-term deal for Hamilton was a bad idea for the Angels. This past Wednesday Hamilton underwent surgery to repair the AC joint in his right shoulder. I believe that the earliest one should draft Hamilton would be in round 7. After that, I believe it is a chance to take him on hoping that he would give you numbers like Dustin Ackley, Michael Morse or even Marlon Byrd. I list these players that are comparable to Hamilton’s overall stats. Realistically, I wouldn’t draft him until round 9 or later. I lost faith in Hamilton when he slid into first base last year. Something that I can’t stand seeing a player do. I like taking a chance at him as a 3rd OF, but I would not trust him as my 2nd OF. The stats that Hamilton will produce in 2015 are a mystery that would probably air on “Unsolved Mysteries” next episode.

3. Adam Jones vs. Carlos Gomez, who do you take?
Surprisingly, this comes down to what you like better (RBIs or SBs) and who’s lineup you like more. RBIs and SBs were the two biggest category differentials for both players from a year ago. All other major hitting categories were very similar. Both players have been in either the minors or majors since 2006 and now considered the faces of their ball clubs. Both should be drafted in the first round as well are both in the tier 1 for outfielders. I was in a league last year that a guy was lucky enough to have both of these guys on his team. Personally I would draft Carlos Gomez. I feel the category of SBs is a very “hit or miss” category when it comes to a fantasy team. Gomez provides this type of speed that could help you get into the fantasy playoffs. I feel like you can draft players after Gomez that will help you make up for the difference in RBIs that Adam Jones would offer. This is a great question because it actually is a great debate to have between these two players.

Player(s) on the Rise

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Credit: Arturo Pardavila III

Credit: Arturo Pardavila III

George Springer (HOU) – Springer has been in the Astros farm system since 2011 and finally got a shot in the big leagues last year. He played in only 78 games in 2014, but displayed a type of power filling three categories in common leagues on a daily basis. The only downgrade I am not too fond of is his average. He only hit .231, but I will take the continue power if he is only hitting for this lower of an average. Partly because of this low batting average, he struck out 33% of the time. I do believe with a shortened season last year and a full season coming up in 2015 he will hit close to .250. He only received 345 PA, if he were to get the equivalent 600 PA (which he is projected) he should hit close to 30 HRs, have 15 steals, 77 Rs and 77 RBIs. While he only had 5 steals last year, I do believe he will crack over 15 this year. He did hurt his quad in early July that did end his season. In 2013, he stole 45 bags across two levels. The Astros outfield as a whole has a new look to it this year. With Dexter Fowler gone and Colby Rasmus and Evan Gattis the newest members of the Astros, Springer sits at the top of the pecking order for Astros outfielders. In 2015, I consider Springer a poor man’s version of Mike Trout with top 15 outfield potential.

Player(s) on the Decline
Nick Markakis (ATL) – I know many Oriole fans that are heartbroken to see Markakis leave the team. This kind of resembles the same type of reaction some Phillies’ fans have for Jimmy Rollins going to LA this year. It is hard to see some players play in a different uniform when they have been playing with one team for so many years. I think the Orioles have made the right decision though. According to ESPN’s 2014 player rater, Markakis finished the season as the 44th ranked outfielder. Opening the 2015 season, Tristan Cockcroft of ESPN, has him ranked as the 70th outfielder. I am in total agreement with Cockcroft. Markakis has not hit over .290 since 2012. He has not hit 15 dingers or more since 2011 and has only hit in the 50s for RBIs the last three seasons. He was hitting anywhere between 60 and 112 RBIs from 2006-2011. In a very home run depended lineup like the Braves, Markakis will most likely hit at the top or even the leadoff hitter for their lineup this year. With Jason Heyward, Justin Upton and Evan Gattis all gone from the Braves this year, I believe this hurts Markakis’ status and his overall success for 2015. The Braves are now asking players like BJ Upton, Chris Johnson and Jonny Gomes to hit behind Markakis on a consistent basis. No thank you.

Player(s) on the Horizon
Yasmany Tomas (ARI) – In November of 2014, the Arizona Diamondbacks made the signing of Tomas official. This 24-year-old slugger could be the next big thing that comes from Cuba. With the latest players like Puig, Cespedes and Abreu to come from Cuba and make a big splash into the majors, Tomas now has a chance in very hitter-friendly Chase Field. It is still undetermined where he will play when Opening Day comes. I know there is some talk about him trying out at third base for the Diamondbacks. Tony La Russa, who is not the club’s president of baseball operations, had his remarks about the signing. He stated, “The game starts with talent and this young man has very special talent. There was a lot of competition for him and we are really thankful that our ownership stepped up. Early on in the process, we were not sure if we could be a factor, but they said, ‘Go for it.’” Tomas’ swing often resembles that of Justin Upton, who is a continuous offensive threat in the league now a days. Since 2008, he has played 205 games with his club team from Havana. In those games, he hit 30 HRs and 104 RBIs.

Rusney Castillo (BOS) – Much like Tomas, here is another Cuban star that could make an impact in the majors very soon. A little difference between him and Tomas is he has already got a little bit of a taste of the big show and is three years older. In the 10 games he played for the Red Sox at the end of the 2014 season, he hit .333 with 2 HRs, 6 RBIs, 6 Rs and 3 SBs in 40 plate appearances. I see these types of numbers to continue for him. He will be inserted in the lineup, where he doesn’t have to be the main man. Ortiz, Pedroia, H. Ramirez and Sandoval all have leadership roles in this league and Castillo can learn a lot from them. As he probably will not play on an everyday basis, I believe he will end up a top 40-outfielder by the end of the year. I project him to hit around .330, with 15 HRs, 70 Rs and RBIs, and 25 SBs.

Player(s) to Avoid
Ryan Zimmerman (WAS) – Zimmerman has now been moved to the outfield because of his thumb injury; which occurred in 2014. His power decline could be a huge reason for this. I am honestly going on a hunch with this guy not being able to rebound this year. Most statistics will show he is going to be very undervalued when it comes to where he is going to be drafted this year, but that is a chance I am not willing to take. He is also battling arthritic conditions in his right shoulder since 2012. He did not put up horrible numbers (.280/.342/.449) in the 61 games he played last, but I just see his better days behind him now.

About Tyler Gettmann

You can follow me on Twitter @RedSox_SF49ers for more fantasy news and advice. Also be sure to like us on Facebook, Google+ and Instagram for all updates from Fantasy Six Pack.

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