The Dynasty Guru’s Top 125 Dynasty League Outfielders, Nos. 111-125
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 wrap up our outfield list, beginning with a former KBO player who has more upside than one may expect.
111) Hyun Soo Kim, Baltimore Orioles (Age: 29, Previous Rank: NR)
Kim has had a wild start to his big league career, to say the least. After putting up some eye-popping numbers in the KBO and leading his team to the Korean Series championship in 2015, the Orioles signed him to a two-year, $7M contract last offseason. He struggled mightily throughout Spring Training and into the beginning of the regular season, and after refusing a minor-league assignment, there was talks of Kim returning to the Korean Baseball Organization as it looked like he just couldn’t hack it against pitchers in the MLB. What initially looked like struggles turned out to just be an extended adjustment period for Kim, as he finally started to get comfortable at the plate after learning the new strike zone, all the new pitches that Major League pitchers throw, etc. If he gets even more comfortable this offseason, he could take another step forward and start to approach those crazy, loco KBO numbers. Although he is 29, I think his stock is pointed in the right direction.
112) Nick Markakis, Atlanta Braves (Age: 33, Previous Rank: NR)
Markakis has been one of the most consistent fantasy performers over the past decade. Unfortunately, he has been consistently mediocre, having not crossed the 20-homer or .300-batting average threshold in eight seasons now. At age 33, it is probably safe to say that he is not about to turn a corner in his career, but pencil him in for another 600+ at-bats, 10-15 homer, and a .270-.290 batting average, which is definitely still useful.
113) Gerardo Parra, Colorado Rockies (Age: 29, Previous Rank: 85)
Parra had been a Diamonback his whole career before bouncing around between the Brewers and Orioles prior to landing in Colorado last offseason. A high ankle sprain cut his debut well short, and he now finds himself on the outside looking in as the fourth lefty outfielder on the team, behind Blackmon, Car-Go, and Dahl, not to mention Raimel Tapia waiting in the wings. Due to the log-jam at the position and the lack of success the team has had in finding appropriate value for Blackmon and Gonzalez, Parra could end up being the one dealt. If it’s someone else and Parra finds himself with an everyday job, I would invest heavily, as he is under team control for at least two more seasons with an option for 2019.
114) Travis Jankowski, San Diego Padres (Age: 25, Previous Rank: NR)
A former 2012 first-round pick, Jankowski has a few things going for him but also some serious drawbacks from a fantasy perspective. First, the pros: he’s left-handed, he’s got great speed, and he’s a solid defender. The cons: he’s not a great hitter, has almost no power, and could find himself on the bench in favor of Alex Dickerson, Manuel Margot, and Hunter Renfroe. He put up good batting averages in the minors, so there is still some hope he can raise his career .238 batting average, but at this point, he looks like Mallex Smith but two years older and with a superior hitter breathing down his neck. If the Padres opt for Jankowski’s glove in the outfield and speed on the basepaths, they may live with the low batting average, but he’s got to cut down on the strikeouts and find a way to raise his batting average if he wants to become an every day in the future.
115) Scott Schebler, Cincinnati Reds (Age: 26, Previous Rank: NR)
I nearly chose Schebler as my breakout pick for the NL Central this year (I chose Tommy Pham instead, before the Cardinals signed Fowler, of course). He was already featured here as a deep(ish) league early offseason target and here again just last month, so make sure you check out both of those articles, but needless to say, Schebler is one of the prime candidates to shoot up this list next season if he can take advantage of the ample opportunity he has in Cincinnati’s outfield. Who knows, maybe he’s this year’s Duvall.
116) Eddie Rosario, Minnesota Twins (Age: 25, Previous Rank: 119)
After surprising everyone by contending for the Wild Card back in 2015, there was a lot of optimism for the Twins heading into last season, particularly due to the presence of young talents Byron Buxton, Miguel Sano, Max Kepler, Jose Berrios, and Rosario. However, most if not all of their youngsters struggled with injuries, poor performance, or both, and as a result, Rosario enters 2017 in what could be a make-or-break season. He has flashed impressive power/speed numbers throughout his career but will need to make large improvements on his career 3.4 BB% and 25.2 K% if he wants to become an average regular corner outfielder some day.
117) Ben Revere, Los Angeles Angels (Age: 29, Previous Rank: 46)
WOW, what a season to forget for Revere and his owners. It’s never good when you cut your already below-average wRC+ in half as Revere did last year, going from a 98 wRC+ in 2015 to a dismal 47 wRC+ last year, meaning he produced weighted runs 53% worse than the league average. A BABIP that was 80 points below his career rate of .314 can be mostly to blame for that, so even if he ends up in a platoon with newly-acquired teammate Cameron Maybin, he could still put up 30 steals, and that should come with a useful batting average. At age 29, I don’t think he’s done being productive just yet.
118) Dalton Pompey, Toronto Blue Jays (Age: 24, Previous Rank: 55)
There are no two ways around it: Pompey has disappointed in his brief MLB career thus far. The receiving end of a lot of hype the past two offseasons, Pompey finds himself stuck in “prospect purgatory,” as he has technically exhausted prospect status, so he won’t find his name on offseason prospect lists. Still, Pompey is no different than any other 24 year-old outfielder; he’s young, he’s got a high floor because of his speed and defense, and he possesses a fair amount of upside given the offensive potential he showed throughout his minor league career, particularly at the higher levels. Like Rosario above, this could be a make-or-break year for Pompey, but I am strong believer of his and think he makes for a nice post-hype sleeper that you can nab from your opponents who may have grown impatient and exhausted waiting on that breakout that hasn’t happened yet.
119) Jon Jay, Chicago Cubs (Age: 32, Previous Rank: NR)
After the club moved Jorge Soler for Wade Davis and saw Dexter Fowler sign with the Cardinals, it made sense to bring in Jay on a low-cost, one-year deal. He provides most of his value in the field but has found his way into fantasy lineups in years past for his solid batting average, and while he’s a low-speed, low-power guy who relies on a high BABIP, Jay could score a lot of runs in the high-powered Cubbie offense.
120) Nori Aoki, Houston Astros (Age: 35, Previous Rank: 112)
Like Markakis, Aoki has been one of the league’s more consistent performers since he signed with the Brewers back in 2012. Like Jay, he doesn’t provide much in the power or speed department, but he has been able to find a job due to his good defense and strong batting average. Now 35, he may find himself in a platoon in a crowded Houston outfield, but as long as he stays healthy, you know what you’re getting from him…something around his career numbers of .286/.353/.387.
121) Trayce Thompson, Los Angeles Dodgers (Age: 26, Previous Rank: 117)
The son of former NBA player Mychal Thompson, Trayce was part of the giant, eight-player trade a year ago that sent Todd Frazier to the White Sox. Thompson tore the cover off the ball in his 135-PA debut in 2015 and was starting off last season on the right foot, hitting .266 with 7 homers and 6 doubles through the team’s first two months. However, a prolonged slump combined with a back injury limited him to 262 plate appearances, and he now finds himself in an even more crowded outfield than Aoki is in (but without the advantage of being left-handed). He needs to show that he can be more than just a platoon bat/4th outfielder before investing too heavily, but if he could ever come close to replicating his 2015 output over a full season, he would shoot up this list.
122) Colby Rasmus, Tampa Bay Rays (Age: 29, Previous Rank: 59)
After tantalizing and frustrating fantasy owners for years, Rasmus finally looked like he had figured out his platoon issues and was ready to take that final leap into fantasy superstardom heading in to last season. Fast forward to right now, and his 2016 line of .206/.286/.355 dropped him from 59th last year down to 123rd for this year’s list. The Rays are making an interesting bet in seeing if last year was just a fluke, so look for him to rebound from this precipitous drop and become a nice buy-low option for dynasty owners to take advantage of.
123) Alex Kirilloff, Minnesota Twins (Age: 19, Previous Rank: NR)
The 15th pick in the 2016 draft, Kirilloff is a lot like teammate Eddie Rosario with his above-average raw power and ability to hit the ball the opposite way. He should be at least an average future hitter and could be an above-average defender in right field. He is a long ways away so his skills are mostly projection at this point, but Kiriloff could ultimately become an above-average player in several years.
124) Taylor Trammell, Cincinnati Reds (Age: 19, Previous Rank: NR)
Selected 20 picks after Kirilloff, Trammell is a much different prospect from the Minnesota Twin. He was a two-sport stud in high school who played running back and projects to use his plus-plus speed in center field, although like many players with the raw tools and lack of experience Trammell has, his routes remain a work in progress. He possesses a very high-risk, high-reward profile and his bat will have to come a long way for him to reach his ultimate ceiling, but he should not be looked at as the same 19 years of age that Kirilloff is, as Trammell is extremely raw and has a wide variety of outcomes. He could become a free-swinging, power-hitting, plus defender, or he could choose to work on his contact abilities and use his premium speed to become a protypical leadoff hitter. There is a lot of risk here, but the reward could be equally substantial.
125) Harold Ramirez, Toronto Blue Jays (Age: 22, Previous Rank: 122)
Ramirez may not have the most exciting skillset of all time, but he’s done the most important thing you can ask from a prospect: hit. Sure, Ramirez only chipped in two home runs and seven steals over 98 Double-A games last season, but that came with a .306 average. Ramirez doesn’t have the look of a player who will steal more than 15 bags in a season, and while there’s always been hope for some power growth, it’s more likely that he struggles to reach double digits while in the big leagues. Still, if he can hit, which he has always done, there’s an interesting player here.
Comments by Ryne Alber