The Dynasty Guru’s Top 125 Dynasty Outfielders, Nos. 96-110
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 our next batch of outfielders with a former top prospect who is struggling to find an everyday role in the majors:
96) Jake Marisnick, Houston Astros (Age: 25, Previous Rank: 94)
A bad team can afford to give a full season of at-bats to a light-hitting, speedy, glove-first center fielder. The Astros are no longer a bad team, and thusly Marisnick finds himself on the bench beside Marwin Gonzalez and Preston Tucker competing for “late inning defensive replacement” status. With a full season of at-bats, Marisnick can steal enough bases to end up providing a modicum of value and the speed ensures he is still worth keeping an eye on, but aside from that, there’s not much to see here.
97) Josh Hamilton, Texas Rangers (Age: 35, Previous Rank: 66)
Hamilton bookended 2015 with surgeries, missing time in the spring to fix a bad shoulder, and in the fall to fix a bad knee. After a dramatic move from Arte Moreno and the Angels back to Texas, he showed brief flashes of his glory days when healthy. Hamilton has made a career of battling back and there’s reason to believe that when he’s able to stay healthy and on the field, he can still knock the stuffing out of the ball and strike fear into the hearts of pitchers (when he’s not striking out). The likelihood of staying on the field enough to put up 20 or more home runs seems low, but we’ve been surprised by Hamilton before, for better and for worse.
98) Andre Ethier, Los Angeles Dodgers (Age: 34, Previous Rank: 102)
Did you know Ethier was good last year? He hit .294 with 14 home runs, and played in more games than all but four of his teammates. While he was overshadowed by the much more enticing youth and promise of Joc Pederson, Ethier was the better fantasy option last year, with an .852 OPS and 137 wRC+. There remain questions as to whether Ethier will open the season as a Dodger, or find himself traded, but in either case, he’s likely to get plenty of playing time and could quietly surprise. The 2014 decline appears to have been the exception, and return to his career norms of double digit home runs with a .280-ish average is likely.
99) Leonys Martin, Texas Rangers (Age: 28, Previous Rank: 45)
After putting up a .219/.264/.313 line, ‘good’ for a sparkling 50 wRC+, Martin was one of the worst hitters in baseball last year. The Mariners, under new management, traded for Martin in November, counting on that abysmal year to be a great buy-low opportunity. A bounceback seems reasonable as there were no clear red flags that would lead us to conclude the bottom has completely fallen out for Martin. If he receives regular playing time (or even as a strong-side platoon option) in Seattle, there’s still enough speed to propel Martin back to a 30-stolen base season.
100) Odubel Herrera, Philadelphia Phillies (Age: 24, Previous Rank: NR)
Last year, two former middle infielders were selected in the Rule 5 Draft, were converted to center field, and finished right next to each other on ESPN’s Player Rater. One was Delino DeShields Jr, who you read about earlier on this list. The other was Herrera, who rode an absurdly high .387 BABIP to a surprisingly productive season as one of the bright spots on the 2015 Phillies. That BABIP points to batting average regression, but even when the batting average inevitably comes back down to earth Herrera has enough pop and speed to be valuable.
101) Trenton Clark, Milwaukee Brewers (Age: 19, Previous Rank: NR)
The Brewers’ first-round pick in the 2015 Rule 4 Draft received plenty of attention, with some reports tagging “best bat in the draft” on his hit tool. The former prep bat is several years away from contributing, but he impressed in rookie ball and should find himself moving up top prospect lists quickly. His approach limits his power potential for now, but he has enough speed and a mature enough approach to be a valuable asset on any team.
102) Albert Almora, Chicago Cubs (Age: 21, Previous Rank: 83)
Almora’s second taste of Double-A should enable Cubs fans (and his fantasy owners) to breathe a sigh of relief. He showed real improvements across the board, bringing his walk rate up while showing the ability to make adjustments to his approach and improve the quality of his contact. That walk rate rose from “Jeff Keppinger” to just over seven percent, so he still has work to do in order to balance his overall approach. He’ll get a chance to show his tools this spring, where he could impress and gain a bit of helium. The Cubs can afford to let him continue to figure things out in the minors, and his adjustments last year should give confidence that he can indeed figure things out.
103) Kyle Tucker, Houston Astros (Age: 19, Previous Rank: NR)
Upside is the name of the game with Tucker, who has one of the best power profiles of the 2015 draftees. Tucker’s profile can lead to dreams of 25-plus homer seasons with a high batting average, but there are a lot of unknowns to get sorted out at this point. Tucker isn’t enough of a force on the basepaths to project much in the way of steals, and he is miles away from the majors with a lot of work to do in order to prove his tools can hold up against elite competition. Risk-averse owners may want to react accordingly, but if you’re reaching for upside Tucker is a great play.
104) Avisail Garcia, Chicago White Sox (Age: 24, Previous Rank: 55)
Garcia was healthy for most of 2015, which makes the sting of his continued struggles all the more painful. The risk with big, raw tools is that they never coalesce into Major League talent. As a reminder that the wide-eyed optimism of youth will soon give way to the bitter realities and disappointments of unfulfilled promise, Garcia still has a lot to contribute to your fantasy team. If you want him to be anything more than a metaphor for your own hubris, you should adjust his ceiling to 15 homers/10 steals with a .250-ish average and a significant possibility of losing playing time due to his poor defense.
105) Austin Jackson, Free Agent (Age: 29, Previous Rank: 60)
Offensively, Jackson managed to improve upon his stinker of a 2014 season. That is in no way a compliment, as he posted his second consecutive season of below-league average production. He’s going to continue getting MLB jobs because of his solid defense, but in fantasy he’s a player with bad splits who should be on the short end of a platoon in 2016 no matter where he ends up.
106) Billy McKinney, Chicago Cubs (Age: 21, Previous Rank: NR)
McKinney continued to hit for a high average in his ascent through the minors. His 77 games in Double-A could be called a “light raking,” while his 29 games in High-A were more like an industrial strength leaf blower for Yellowstone National Park. In High-A, McKinney walked more than he struck out, hit for a high average and showed very good power. In Double-A, he posted a strong .285/.346/.420 line, and McKinney has the tools to be a good depth player, as he hits for high averages, and has gap power. Despite having average speed, he steals at a David Ortiz-ian rate.
107) Carl Crawford, Los Angeles Dodgers (Age: 34, Previous Rank: 63)
Crawford’s shoulder, hamstring, and oblique injuries led to terrible play in a 69 game sample. He no longer has a starting role, and the Dodgers have more interesting OF options to use in backup roles. He has pilfered 20 or more bases only once since 2011, and he is now a single digit homer player. He’s difficult to roster in anything but the deepest of leagues as it appears he’s reached the point in his career where he’s ready to trade in his PF Flyers for cement shoes.
108) Derek Fisher, Houston Astros (Age: 22, Previous Rank: NR)
Across both levels of A-ball, Fisher posted a 22 home run, 31 steal season. With above average power and plus speed, Fisher is the classic high risk/high reward minor leaguer. The range of outcomes go from 20/20 performer all the way down to a fourth outfielder. Presently, the gamble you’re taking is that his hit tool becomes at least average, allowing his other tools to flourish. Tyler Baber had the following to say about Fisher: “he also looks like one of those pink rubber muscle men action figures you used to find in the quarter machines at grocery stores.” So, he has that going for him, which is nice. Fisher could potentially explode up this list in the next year, but it all hinges on his ability to make contact at the Double-A level.
109) Domingo Santana, Milwaukee Brewers (Age: 23, Previous Rank: 114)
A trial by fire is the likely the only way to decide how Domingo Santana will fare in the majors. He tore Triple-A to shreds, and did so while also lowering his strikeout rate. The hulking 6-foot-5 inch outfielder blasted 26 home runs between the Triple-A and the majors in 2015. Lastly, while not a fantasy factor, Domingo seems to not be phased by travel as he managed to play for five teams last year, in cities all over the world (Houston, Milwaukee, Colorado Springs, Fresno, and Santo Domingo), and OPS’d over .700 for all of them.
110) Eddy Julio Martinez, Chicago Cubs (Age: 21, Previous Rank: NR)
This ranking has a lot to do with the mystery surrounding Martinez. After dealing with issues regarding being signed by both the Cubs and Giants this offseason, he’s finally found a home on Chicago’s North Side. The Cuban import has had Andruw Jones comps thrown on him, and scouts have had made positive remarks about his simple swing and the power he generates to all fields. His fielding has also drawn praise, allowing the bat to dictate the path he takes to the majors.
Commentary by Tyler Baber and Jack Cecil