The Dynasty Guru’s Top 125 Dynasty Outfielders, Nos. 111-125
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.
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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 last grouping of outfielders off with a player who stole 26 bases in just 90 games last season:
111) Jarrod Dyson, Kansas City Royals (Age: 31, Previous Rank: 116)
Dyson is a one-trick pony in a world where that one trick is becoming more and more scarce. Dyson’s 26 steals in 2015 placed him in a tie for ninth overall, and if he ends up being on the strong side of a platoon, that’s more than enough playing time for him to make an impact with his elite base stealing prowess–just don’t expect him to provide much else.
112) Nori Aoki, Seattle Mariners (Age: 34, Previous Rank: 101)
Following up Dyson, this new Mariner outfielder might feature an even less interesting profile–that of the ultimate plate discipline player. Aoki was on his way to posting another 20 steal season before fracturing his shin. What he did in those 93 games is similar to what you should expect going forward in Seattle, a couple of homers, 15-20 steals, a batting average in the .280s, and the one of roughly five players in baseball who can work more walks than strikeouts. He is definitely not sexy, but he makes it work.
113) Bubba Starling, Kansas City Royals (Age: 23, Previous Rank: NR)
Starling finally advanced to the Double-A level in 2015 and held his own, although injuries limited him to just over 400 plate appearances on the season. His placement on this list is more due to him finally not failing when faced with a new challenge, rather than his posting of monster offensive numbers. Starling still possesses his coveted backyard shed of tools, as he features a big projectable body, runs well, has a cannon for a right arm, and owns plenty of raw power. One remaining issue for Starling to overcome is that he’s also found ways to strike out in the 25 to 30 percent of the time at every step, and he hasn’t made up for that with an abundance of hard contact. If you could tell me he could be a .250 hitter in the majors, I would tell everyone to buy in, but that remains a major question, that we’ll have to investigate more as he likely heads back to the Double-A level to start 2016.
114) Ben Paulsen, Colorado Rockies (Age: 28, Previous Rank: NR)
Paulsen managed to be a below average hitter in Colorado last year as a 27-year-old. He doesn’t have a strong minor league resume, and with rumors of Carlos Gonzalez getting reps at first base this year, Paulsen’s usefulness may be coming to an end before it ever really began, although his ability to play both first base and the outfield gives him a couple of avenues for playing time. Fire away whatever offers you think you can get out of a present starter who calls Coors Field home.
115) Steve Pearce, Tampa Bay Rays (Age: 33, Previous Rank: 76)
With the arrival of Corey Dickerson (which happened after we completed the rankings), this ranking appears high. He is now a utility player that will likely be relegated to the bench on most nights. His batted ball profile is not good, he’s moving to a worse park, that has a worse lineup. I feel very comfortable in putting the dreaded ‘do not draft’ label on him in all but the most extraordinarily deep leagues.
116) Michael Saunders, Toronto Blue Jays (Age: 29, Previous Rank: 84)
Multiple knee issues destroyed Saunders’ 2015 campaign, and now it appears that the Jays are going to march Pillar, Pompey, and Bautista out as their starting outfield on Opening Day. If one of them gets hurt, Saunders could be a nice gamble as a backup player with a chance to provide cheap speed.
117) Trayce Thompson, Los Angeles Dodgers (Age: 25, Previous Rank: NR)
Thompson exploded onto the scene in 2015 with a magical 44 game stretch, in which he hit for a .295/.363/.533 clip. With his athletic bloodlines, it’s fun to dream on what could be, but we presently don’t have enough information on him to make any substantial projections. What I would like to point out is that after hitting .295 in the big leagues, few mention that in every minor league stop above 15 games, he never once hit over .260. Handle with care.
118) Marlon Byrd, Free Agent (Age: 38, Previous Rank: 70)
After a Raul Ibanez-style late-career power surge put him back on the map, Byrd finds himself deteriorating once again. His batting average has gone down in three consecutive years, and he’s presently searching for a job. Another job in a hitter’s park could help him greatly, but outside of that, it may be time for him to call it quits–and you to quit on Byrd.
119) Eddie Rosario, Minnesota Twins (Age: 24, Previous Rank: NR)
None of Rosario’s tools knock your socks off and he plays in a park that isn’t conducive to lefty power. However, in his rookie campaign, Rosario hit 13 home runs, stole 11 bases and added a league-leading 15 triples in 474 plate appearances, and do so while hitting for a .267 average. Rosario is slated to receive a full season’s worth of at-bats in 2016 and could establish himself as a helpful deeper league option.
120) Rymer Liriano, Milwaukee Brewers (Age: 25, Previous Rank: 77)
Liriano’s move from San Diego to Milwaukee could finally give him his first opportunity for extended playing time at the big league level, although he does face a crowded outfield picture with his new club. The Brewers are looking to rebuild, and they have a number of outfielders that could be on the move. With above average power and speed, Miller Park could be a nice place for Liriano’s tools to play up.
121) Cornelius Randolph, Philadelphia Phillies (Age: 19, Previous Rank: NR)
Randolph can flat out hit. He was drafted to be a hit first player, and the Phillies moved him from shortstop to the outfield immediately as a professional because he can hit. In rookie ball, he hit for a.302/.425/.442 line, which was the ninth best wRC+ (163) at the level. He also matched walks and strikeouts, which only 14 other players at the rookie level did in 2015. He’s undoubtedly a long-term investment, but Randolph can rake, and for fantasy purposes that makes him one of the most attractive hitters to come out of the 2015 draft class.
122) Harold Ramirez, Pittsburgh Pirates (Age: 21, Previous Rank: NR)
Ramirez took no prisoners in 2015, clobbering opponents to the tune of a .337/.399/.458 line, which was good for a 163 wRC+. He tagged on 22 steals, along with four home runs. Ramirez has run well at every stop in the minors, and he has a career .304 batting average in over 1000 minor league plate appearances. He has average power, and his stocky build doesn’t make him look like the classic speedster, but if he keeps hitting like this in Double-A, he’ll force his way up the rankings in 2017.
123) Chris Colabello, Toronto Blue Jays (Age: 32, Previous Rank: NR)
Colabello put together a strong .321/.367/.520 line over 101 games in Toronto in 2015. He’s not likely to be a starter on opening day, but he can help give guys a breather in the outfield and at first base. He has some power, and he’ll likely be a free agent in most leagues when the season starts. His six percent walk rate along with a 26 percent strikeout rate isn’t sexy, and his line drive rate doubling in 2015 seems unusual, but at this point, you’re taking unusual over downright awful. It’s hard to envision him replicating 2015, but prior to this season, everyone would have said what he did was impossible, so maybe it happens again?
124) Daz Cameron, Houston Astros (Age: 19, Previous Rank: NR)
Cameron’s MLB bloodlines have served him well, blessing him with above average bat speed, plus speed, and a questionable hit tool. He’s a long-term investment, and if you like athletes, Cameron is your man.
125) Aaron Altherr, Philadelphia Phillies (Age: 25, Previous Rank: NR)
Take the reports on all the power/speed athletes whose ability to make it work hinges on the hit tool, add on a few years of extra development, watch the hit tool remain questionable at best, and you have Altherr. A few of his homers were lined out of Citizens Bank with ease, and a walk rate of ten percent in the small sample was a good sign for him. He’s an interesting, major league ready piece on a rebuilding team, but the questions about his hit tool will keep his price down. His athletic frame allows you to dream on a bargain power/speed threat, but Altherr’s long swing could be exposed by major league pitching in extended playing time. Fair warning, he could jump up into the 50-60 range on this list next year, or be relegated to a fifth outfielder’s role.
Commentary by Jack Cecil