The Dynasty Guru’s Top 125 Dynasty Outfielders, Nos. 81-95
It’s the time of the year where we offer congratulations to those of you brave dynasty league owners that survived the offseason. The greatness that 2016 will surely offer is upon us and that means we’ll be spending the next six weeks moving our way through the positional landscape, offering thoughts on the respective values of roughly 700 players throughout the process.
We sincerely hope that you enjoy the countless hours of hard work that went into these rankings and continue to support The Dynasty Guru by showing your appreciation through this link or via the splendid ‘donate’ button located on the upper right-hand corner of the homepage. Donations of any size are greatly appreciated.
Players are ranked where they played 20 or more games at during the 2015 season at their highest position on the defensive spectrum, e.g. Chris Davis played 30 games in the outfield, meaning he’s an outfielder for our purposes. We can’t assume that a player will have eligibility at a position in the future (so no Hanley Ramirez at 1b for these rankings) or that a player will lose eligibility at a position in the future. This should clear things up for all non-Javier Baez/Jurickson Profar players, and we’ll do our best to explain where those players are ranked when the time comes. All DH types, such as Evan Gattis and David Ortiz, appear on the 1B rankings, as we will not be doing a UTIL rankings list.
We start the next grouping of our outfielder rankings with a man whose beard needs no introduction:
81) Jayson Werth, Washington Nationals (Age: 36, Previous Rank: 33)
A vastly underrated player for a long time, Werth was well on his way to justifying a once ridiculed contract, but multiple injuries struck in 2015, causing his stock to plummet. When healthy, Werth is a well-rounded contributor, hitting for average, power and stealing a few bases for good measure. Werth struck out over 20 percent of the time in 2015, the first time that number has been over 20 percent since his days with the Phillies. He has also stopped running almost entirely, as he hasn’t stolen more than 10 bases in a season dating back to 2011. If Werth can stay healthy, a .270 average with 15 home runs and 80 runs scored is in play. If not, then he’s only useful in leagues that award extra points for beard thickness.
82) Anthony Alford, Toronto Blue Jays (Age: 21, Previous Rank: NR)
A former two-sport star, Alford hung up his football helmet in favor of a baseball glove full-time in 2015 and has since enjoyed a quick rise on most prospect lists. Speed and athleticism have been long been his calling cards, but he took strides forward at the plate in 2015, posting a .302/.380/.444 line in High-A, while adding 27 stolen bases across two levels. Alford has also trimmed his strikeout rate at every stop in the minors, which in combination with his above average walk rate is a dream profile for speedsters.
83) Kevin Pillar, Toronto Blue Jays (Age: 27, Previous Rank: NR)
Pillar got his first taste of an everyday role in 2015 and put up solid, if unspectacular numbers, hitting .278/.314/.399 with 12 homers and 25 stolen bases. Yet another example of a guy who will be kept in the lineup for his elite defense, that simply means he’ll have the opportunity to improve on his steady 2015 numbers. It’s easy to see that Pillar could improve on his infield fly ball rate (a ghastly 17.7 percent mark), which was about 10 percent higher than number he’s posted previously. Getting that number down could result in more hits, and in a daunting Blue Jays lineup it could produce more opportunites for runs and RBI.
84) Desmond Jennings, Tampa Bay Rays (Age: 29, Previous Rank: 57)
A once highly touted prospect, Jennings hasn’t stayed healthy long enough to maximize his potential. Once thought to be a potential 20/20 guy, injuries to Jennings’s lower half have hampered his speed to the point where he has a Nova engine in a Ferrari body. Additionally, Tampa’s big offseason splash–acquiring Rockies outfielder Corey Dickerson–has created a logjam in their outfield. Unless he is traded (a legitimate possibility this spring), Jennings could see his playing time reduced even if he manages to stay healthy. The good news is that, while the vast upside has probably decreased, so has the price. Jennings could be worth a flier to see if he can recapture any of the production that made him such an exciting prospect earlier in his career.
85) Gerardo Parra, Colorado Rockies (Age: 28, Previous Rank: 110)
Parra quietly had a career year in 2015, slugging .452 and spreading his production out to all counting categories with 14 homers, 83 runs, 51 RBI and 14 stolen bases. It’s worth noting that his offensive production cratered after a late-season trade to Baltimore. Parra has all but given up on drawing walks, lowering his already poor walk rate to 4.8 percent. However, he also cut his strikeout rate to 15.6 percent, which is above league-average. Parra’s strong contact rates could make him a very intriguing option, as they should translate very well in the thin air of Coors Field and with Corey Dickerson no longer in the picture, he could receive regular at-bats in 2016.
86) Delino DeShields, Jr., Texas Rangers (Age: 23, Previous Rank: NR)
It was curious when the Astros didn’t protect DeShields in the Rule 5 Draft, and he made them regret it, posting an impressive rookie season for the Rangers. DeShields has shown above average patience at every level in his career, a skill that pairs nicely with his speed. There is even reason to believe that he could show more power in 2016. His home run to fly ball ratio is laughably low for his batted ball profile, checking in at 1.9 percent in 2015. The only drawback to DeShields is the fact that the Rangers are absolutely loaded with young, minor league outfield talent, most notably centerfielder Lewis Brinson and corner outfielder Nomar Mazara. If he stumbles at all, he could be relegated to fourth outfielder status, which would put a damper on his fantasy value. Still, very few hitters possess his brand of electrifying speed.
87) Victor Robles, Washington Nationals (Age: 18, Previous Rank: NR)
Affectionately nicknamed “The Monster” by TDG alum George Bissell for his exploits in destroying much older competition in the short-season New York-Penn League last summer, Robles is both incredibly young and insanely talented. It’s a sentiment shared by many in the prospect community, as he went from a relative unknown international free agent to one of the top prospects in the Nationals system in just over a year. Robles hit .352 with a .944 OPS between the GCL and the NYPL in 2015. He also shown plus speed, stealing 46 bases over 108 career games. If Robles can supplement his already near elite contact skills (about 12.6 percent strikeout rate thus far) with an improved walk rate and add even a little power as he develops, it’s hard to imagine him staying in this range of the list for long. The time to invest is now.
88) Cameron Maybin, Detroit Tigers (Age: 29, Previous Rank: NR)
Finally, Maybin has come back…to Detroit. He was pretty good in his first full season since 2012, but more importantly, he was healthy. When healthy, Maybin shows promise as a category stuffer, hitting for a .267 average, with 10 homers, 65 runs, 59 RBI and 23 stolen bases with Atlanta in 2015. In 2016, he’ll receive the added benefit of being in a formidable lineup, which could help him with runs and RBI. Maybin hasn’t shown a pronounced platoon split in his career (.645 OPS vs. LHP, .691 OPS vs. RHP), but he could end up in one with Anthony Gose still on the roster.
89) Alex Jackson, Seattle Mariners (Age: 20, Previous Rank: 68)
The bloom seems to have faded from the Jackson rose. After being drafted sixth overall in 2014, Jackson looked like a stud in the making, slugging .476 in his first stint in rookie ball. In 2015, however, the wheels came off. Jackson started the year hitting .157/.240/.213 in Low-A ball, striking out in nearly 29 percent of his plate appearances, before being sent down to short-season Everett once their season started in June. He’s still young, and remains the top prospect in the Mariners system (yikes), but he’s going to need to unearth the power and hit tool he showed as a draft prospect to be worth taking a chance on in dynasty leagues.
90) Kevin Kiermaier, Tampa Bay Rays (Age: 25, Previous Rank: 99)
Kiermaier is an awesome, awesome defender. Sadly, unless you play in a weird league that gives points for sick catches or route efficiency, you can’t utilize his best skills. That said, Kiermaier has showed promise at the plate for the Rays, putting up a career line of .263/.305/.432, averaging 10 homers in each of his first two seasons. He also stole 18 bases in 2015 with a 78 percent success r. The stellar defense will keep him in the lineup, and if he can improve on his meager 4.5 percent walk rate, he could do even more damage on the base paths in 2016 and beyond.
91) Preston Tucker, Houston Astros (Age: 25, Previous Rank: NR)
Tucker was implemented as a platoon bat against right-handed pitching in 2015 and he hit 13 home runs in 255 plate appearances against righties. Tucker hit 24 home runs between Triple-A and the majors last season in 131 games, marking the third consecutive season where he hit at least 24 home runs. Tucker’s power is legitimate, but the Astros will likely limit his exposure to left-handed pitching, which will limit his counting stats in other categories.
92) Alex Rios, Free Agent (Age: 35, Previous Rank: 62)
That Rios could be as brutal as he was in 2015 and not fall off this list completely is a testament to how good a player he was. Last year he hit .255 with 4 homers and only 9 steals as one of the only players on the Royals who didn’t exceed, or even meet, expectations. As of now, he is still a free agent, and if he can land on a team where he’ll play regularly he might get a dead-cat bounce. The complete disappearance of his speed last year is a huge red flag, and if he can’t turn that around this may be his farewell tour, at least for fantasy purposes.
93) Carlos Beltran, New York Yankees (Age: 39, Previous Rank: 74)
The Yankees are likely to platoon Beltran given their sudden depth in the outfield and at designated hitter for 2016, and if you are in a league with daily lineups and can sit him against left-handed pitching he could be a sneaky source of value. His batting average against righties in 2015 was .285, better than his career average. The idea of rostering a 39-year old platoon bat is probably not appealing in all but the deepest leagues, but until he hangs up the cleats Beltran can still be a source of value if you deploy him correctly.
94) Brandon Nimmo, New York Mets (Age: 23, Previous Rank: 96)
The 2015 season was a misadventure in slumberland for Nimmo, who took a step back in his second tour at Double-A Binghamton. A knee injury cost him a month, and a recent foot injury adds further risk that he could be moved from center. If you haven’t noticed, the Mets figured out their corner outfield situation for the near term, so Nimmo’s path to major league playing time is also murkier. A late 2015 promotion to the PCL saw a return of his power stroke, and will need to build on that success to ensure he’s part of the Mets’ future outfield dreams.
95) Anthony Gose, Detroit Tigers (Age: 24, Previous Rank: 98)
A full season of playing time in Detroit didn’t provide the speed breakout that some envisioned a year ago, but there were some surprises in Gose’s 2015. Tweaks to his swing, and a more aggressive approach swinging at pitches in the zone, which contributed to a jump in his batting average. The batting average was still .254, but that coupled with 20 or more steals isn’t terrible. Well, it isn’t good, but it’s a considerable improvement over where he was in previous seasons. Gose is still entering just his age-24 season, so it’s not unreasonable to expect continued maturation. The speed breakout could still happen too. Put it all together and there’s limited upside. A little bit, anyway.
Commentary by Mark Barry & Tyler Baber