The Dynasty Guru’s Top 125 Dynasty League Outfielders, Nos. 81-95
It’s been over two months since the Cubs won their first World Series in 108 years, ending the 2016 baseball season. But if you’re like most fantasy baseball owners, those two months probably feel like two years. Considering it’s still another month until Spring Training even starts, late January has to be the worst time to be a baseball fan. It’s too late to reflect on last year, but next season is too far ahead to look forward to. Luckily, with a little help from The Dynasty Guru, the next month is survivable, as we’ll be ranking and commenting on a whole lot of players over the next six weeks.
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You can view our rankings for previous positions, and the dates future rankings will come out, by clicking the link to TDG’s 2017 Consensus Dynasty Baseball Rankings splash page. With that, let’s dive into the next part of our outfield rankings, starting with one of the many post-hype Brewers.
81) Domingo Santana, Milwaukee Brewers (Age: 24, Previous Rank: 109)
A handful of injuries and loads of strikeouts derailed what could have been a breakout year for Santana. Despite striking out nearly one-third of the time, Santana was able to maintain a subpar, yet allowable batting average, while crushing 11 homeruns in a half-season’s worth of at-bats. He did this by hitting the ball harder on average than all but five hitters in the majors. Strikeouts may always been an issue for Santana, but if he continues to hit the ball as hard as he did in 2016, a full-season’s worth of at-bats will make him a decent option for power needy owners.
82) Andrew Toles, Los Angeles Dodgers (Age: 24, Previous Rank: NR)
Toles tore threw three minor league levels on the way to his Major League debut in 2016. During that time, he showed the skills expected of him as a prospect before off-the-field concerns plagued his early career. Toles possesses solid speed, decent pop, and an ability to hit for solid average. He may be the lefty-hitting part of a platoon, but with a full season’s worth of at-bats, Toles could be a sleeper late in redraft leagues, or a solid dynasty league target.
83) Steven Souza, Tampa Bay Rays (Age: 27, Previous Rank: 65)
Souza offers a tantalizing blend of power and speed with a maddening propensity for striking out. The Ray was second in the league in K%, behind only Miguel Sano, striking out over 34 percent of the time. If he can put it all together, he has the chance to be one of the better outfielders in the league, but as he approaches his thirties, time is running out. At the very least, dynasty owners have a decent four category contributor who is going to hurt their batting average.
84) Roman Quinn, Philadelphia Phillies (Age: 23, Previous Rank: NR)
Quinn’s speed will probably keep him a relevant fantasy player for years, ala Rajai Davis or Jarrod Dyson. Beyond that, there isn’t much there. With the addition of Howie Kendrick and Michael Saunders, Quinn is out of a job to start 2017, but should see some solid playing time this season, making him a cheap source of steals.
85) Alex Gordon, Kansas City Royals (Age: 32, Previous Rank: 31)
For the second straight year, injuries limited Gordon’s playing time, while also affecting his play. He continued his remarkably stable ISO, but struggled with strikeouts more than usual, and hit well below his career average (.220 in 2016 versus .264 career). At his best, Gordon is a solid, but not spectacular, contributor in all five categories. But injury concerns and his age may indicate his best is fading quickly.
86) Kevin Pillar, Toronto Blue Jays (Age: 28, Previous Rank: 83)
A popular pick heading into last season, Pillar regressed in nearly every category on his way from fantasy sleeper to fantasy disappointment. A year after contributing modestly in all five categories, and expected to hit atop a potent Jays lineup, dynasty league owners were salivating over more than just his stellar defense. Enter: Letdown Year. Pillar still possesses enough speed and pop to contribute in deeper leagues, and he’s still in his prime, but last year definitely took a little of the shine off.
87) Matt Holliday, New York Yankees (Age: 37, Previous Rank: 45)
Similar to Beltran, Holliday has staved off Father Time, posting consistent numbers well into his late 30s. Besides an injury shortened 2015, Holliday has at least 20 homeruns and 50 RBIs in each of the last 13 seasons. The career .303 hitter finished with a .246 batting average last year, by far his career worst, but that may have been to tough luck in the BABIP category. The injury and age concerns are real, but if his luck rebounds a little bit, and he stays healthy enough to play a large chunk of the season, there might just be gas in the tank.
88) Michael Saunders, Philadelphia Phillies (Age: 30, Previous Rank: 116)
Saunders is another outfielder that has teased dynasty owners for years. Formerly a potential power/speed combo, now the wheels are all but gone. A perennial health concern, Saunders was able to stay in the lineup, playing in career high 140 games. He rewarded the Blue Jays and fantasy owners with 24 homeruns and 70 runs. His strikeouts will limit his batting average, and his injuries may limit everything else. But if he can put another full season together, he’s definitely worth a starting spot in deeper leagues.
89) Cameron Maybin, Los Angeles Angels (Age: 29, Previous Rank: 88)
Maybin is another high-risk, high-reward, injury-prone outfielder on this list. With all of the speed in the world, a full season could see Maybin steal over 35 bases with enough pop to make him a top-20 outfielder. But a full season seems like a pipedream, as Maybin has played more than 100 games just once in the past four years. The oft-traded outfielder’s value may be getting a bump this season, as he’s expected to lead off for the Angels. If only he could stay healthy.
90) Tyler Naquin, Cleveland Indians (Age: 25, Previous Rank: NR)
Despite not hitting more than 11 homeruns in any full season in the minors, Naquin exploded on the scene for the AL Champion Indians, mashing 14 homeruns in just over a half season’s worth of plate appearances. Unfortunately he struck out nearly one-third of the time and his batting average was boosted up by a league-leading BABIP (minimum 350 plate appearances). In his second go-round against Major League pitching, Naquin is bound to get exposed, but if he can fight through the lumps he takes, he might just come out the other side as a useful fantasy option.
91) Albert Almora, Chicago Cubs (Age: 23, Previous Rank: 102)
Almora peaked as a top 25 prospect in 2014 and proceeded to stumble towards the bottom of the top 100 as the bat stagnated in the upper-minors. He’s a plus defender and would be nearly guaranteed to see every day playing time in any other organization. On the Cubs he looks like a part-time player at best in 2017, but Almora could do a great Kevin Pillar impersonation with the bat moving forward if given the chance.
92) Rajai Davis, Oakland Athletics (Age: 36, Previous Rank: NR)
Davis can still play a solid centerfield and he stole 43 bases in 2016. No one knows for sure what his role in 2017 will look like, but he’s a safe bet for 400 plate appearances and 30 stolen bases. You could do worse than Davis as your 5th outfielder in deep leagues.
93) Jarrod Dyson, Seattle Mariners (Age: 32, Previous Rank: 111)
Imagine Billy Hamilton in six years, playing for a contender, facing only right-handed pitchers and striking out a little less.
94) Jesse Winker, Cincinnati Reds (Age: 23, Previous Rank: 74)
Winker can hit for average and has recently hit for modest power. He hit 13 home runs in 123 AA games in 2015, but only 3 in 106 AAA games last year. He was able to maintain a .300 batting average and an on-base percentage around .400. I’m not sure how the playing time will shake out in 2017, but there are plenty of ways to imagine Adam Duvall or Scott Schebler struggling enough to give Winker his opening. He could be a Kole Calhoun type fantasy player at his peak if the power shows back up.
95) Aaron Altherr, Philadelphia Phillies (Age: 26, Previous Rank: 125)
Altherr slipped into the last spot on this list a year ago on the strength of his solid 39 game run to close out 2015. The Philadelphia outfield situation doesn’t shake out well for him and at this moment, Altherr is the odd man out. It appears he’ll have to fight off Roman Quinn and Nick Williams on top of incumbent starters Michael Saunders, Odubel Herrera and Howie Kendrick for playing time in 2017. He strikes out a bit too much and doesn’t hit for massive amounts of power. Sell if you can find a buyer.
Comments by Jesse Meehan and Frank Sides