Building a Balanced Team: Outfield

Over the last several weeks, we have identified catchers, first basemen, second basemen, third basemen, and shortstops who have the potential to contribute to three or more hitting categories. Today we conclude our quest to build a balanced team and turn to the outfield. As a reminder on the methodology behind this series, I began this exercise by gathering data for each position over the past decade (plus a bonus year because why not?) to determine the average production for each hitting category. In order to eliminate outliers resulting from limited sample sizes, I used a 400-plate appearance qualifier for all positions with the exception of catcher, for which I set the threshold at 300 plate appearances. I also wanted to control for lost playing time resulting from unforeseeable injuries, so rather than calculate the average counting stat totals for each category, I calculated the ratio of plate appearances to each counting stat (e.g. 30 plate appearances per home run as opposed to an average of 20 home runs).

After calculating the baseline for each category and year, I tallied the number of players who met three or more category thresholds as a measure of positional scarcity. Finally, I calculated the average for each category and position over the 11-year period to reduce the noise and determine the baselines we will use to identify multi-category contributors in our draft. For those who have the time, I highl1y recommend creating your own player projections and comparing them against the following baseline calculations, but for this article, I am going to use the Steamer 600 projections provided by Fangraphs. For reference, current NFBC ADP figures for each player are listed in parenthesis.

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The Dynasty Guru’s Top 125 Dynasty Outfielders, Nos. 1-20

 

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.

As we move to the outfield in our rankings, we start off with a future meteorologist who happens to be pretty damn good at hitting a baseball:

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The Dynasty Guru’s Top 125 Dynasty Outfielders, Nos. 1-20

Congratulations on surviving another off-season. Now that the new year is upon us, it’s time to spend the next month  traveling across the positional landscape, labeling players with numbers that correspond to their value. It’s the very definition of freedom. A ton of hard work was put into these rankings, and will continue to be put in as we bring you just an ungodly amount of information over the next month. We hope you enjoy the product we’ve created, and if you’d like to show appreciation for that work you can do so through this link, or via the donate button on in the upper right-hand corner of the homepage. All donations are truly appreciated.

With so many outfielders as options, even rankings 125 is going to leave some guys that deserve a ranking out in the cold. Just remember that the deeper the list gets the less that actually separates these players. So while there could be 15-20 spots between two players, they may actually be quite similar in overall value. Speaking of being similar in overall value, there’s no one that can say that about the guy leading off our outfield rankings:

1) Mike Trout, Los Angeles Angels (Age: 23, Previous Rank: 1)

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Trader’s Corner: Big Names, Big Trades

This week features several top ten talents changing hands. As I’ve been reading through the emails sent in for this column, I can’t help but notice two things:

1. Our readers are really smart fantasy players who make savvy trades.

2. Our readers sometimes play in really complicated leagues!

Seriously, the response has been great so far and I think it’s a lot of fun to vote on fantasy trades like the ones coming in to Trader’s Corner. What gives it another dimension is we’ll be able to look back through some of these posts later to see how the trades really pan out. If you’d like to submit a recently completed or pending trade for a vote, send it to traderscornertdg@gmail.com. I can usually respond to most emails within a day or two to give you my take, and at the very least every trade submitted gets posted in the column. Without further ado…

Trade #1

12-team keeper, keep 6 (count as first 6 rounds), keep forever

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Bold Luke’s 11 Bold Predictions about Bold Baseball Players. Bold.

1. Jose Abreu goes off for 40+ HRs/100+ RBIs

He didn’t destroy Cuba because he is bad. He destroyed Cuba because he is really good and he wasn’t allowed to play anywhere else. Probably the best Cuban to compare Abreu to is Kendry Morales and Abreu blew Morales’ Cuban numbers out of the water. So assuming Abreu is better his base line should be set at 34 HRs, 40 is going to be easily reachable.

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Mike’s Eleven Bold Predictions for 2014

Bold predictions are fun. Instead of just being ‘high’ on a player, I can create an outlandish bold prediction to really profess my love for them. I got a little homesick editing these. Without even realizing it, my eleven bold predictions begin and end with my hometown Phillies. I hope you enjoy reading them as much as I enjoyed writing them.

1. Ben Revere steals 50 bases and hits his first career home run.

It is a warm July day at Citizen’s Bank Park. Revere is in the midst of a career year, with 24 steals already on the season. He feels good today having eaten a second bowl of Wheaties before heading to the ballpark. He takes a first pitch fastball over the right field scoreboard to the surprise of everyone in attendance that day. ESPN home run tracker will call it “lucky”. Ben Revere will just call  it “awesome”. He flashes his trademark smile as he crosses home plate to put the Phils ahead 1-0.

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TDGX Recap: Team Karaman and the Top 5

I drew the #9 pick for the Dynasty Guru draft, and it proved to be a more challenging slot that I anticipated. You can read about the bidding guidelines for purchasing draft slots here, along with some stellar analysis for the staggering 15-keeper price paid by winning bidder Mike Buttil for the right to draft Mike Trout 1st overall. In planning my pre-draft strategy I assessed very quickly that I was not going to be willing to go as high as I anticipated I’d need to in order to compete for the slot. I made a smaller wager on the 3 spot to see if I could snag Miguel Cabrera for a short-term run, but that didn’t pan out (I bid 4 slots, winning bid was 6). So I threw in a slot apiece on the 8th, 9th, and 10th spots with an eye towards hopefully grabbing Giancarlo Stanton in the first round followed by nice, evenly spaced picks for the duration of the draft.

The first part of the equation didn’t happen either as Stanton was popped at #8, one pick before me. I immediately regretted not going to 2 picks with my bid on that slot, even moreso after seeing what remained on the draft board. And what was left, you ask? A whooole lotta question marks, that’s what. Can you count on Hanley Ramirez to stay on the field, and even if you can what is the baseline performance expectation for him at this point, anyway? Can Ryan Braun come back from a half season of lost at-bats and again be the elite power/speed combo now that he’s (presumably) off the sauce? Can you count on Joey Votto for elite production in more than two categories? What do we make of Yasiel Puig? Did Troy Tulowitzki’s achilles just explode while I was typing this? Not a fun bunch of questions to be asking ahead of your first pick in an indefinite-keep dynasty league. Here’s how things went down:

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The Dynasty Guru’s Top 125 Dynasty League Outfielders, Nos. 1-20

From the 21st of January to the 20th of February, the writers at TDG will be taking you through our rankings position-by-position. As I mentioned in the primer, this year we’re doing things a little differently. Instead of having my personal rankings up on this site, like last year, these rankings for 2014 are of the consensus variety and being brought to you by all of the TDG staff. Everyone put a lot of work into this project, so we hope you enjoy the end result. And if you are looking for my personal dynasty league rankings, you can find them this off-season at Baseball Prospectus.

So we hope you enjoy the rankings package that we’ve put together here. And if you do, I hope that you will make a donation to show appreciation for the content you’ve seen here at the Dynasty Guru. You can do that through this link, or by clicking the “Donate” button on the top-right corner of the homepage. All donations are truly appreciated.

Outfield is always a strange position to evaluate in a general context since it’s really so league-specific. Different leagues start different numbers and there’s such a huge difference from the 60th outfielder to the 90th. In shallower leagues, it remains a strong position that you can target when the wind moves you over the course of your drafts or rebuilding process. In deeper leagues, it has to be a more heightened focal point or else you’ll be the guy starting Raul Ibanez and Jon Jay, and hoping for the best. On a more uplifting note, the upper crust here is particularly delicious and it starts with the guy who may cement himself as one of the all-time greats before even hitting free agency (closely followed by a guy who could end up being just as good).

Now the 20 best outfielders in dynasty leagues, starting with one of the best hitters in the game today:

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The Top 150 Dynasty League Outfielders, Part 1 (#1-50)

There are two very distinct sides to the crop of outfielders out there today. The most obvious side that we see is the star side, which is as deep as ever – led by as strong of a top-10 at the position as we have seen this century. And not only are they a strong group, they’re a young group as well, including four players 23 years old or younger. And nearly all of these players are of the five-tool variety, except for potentially off-the-charts power guys like Giancarlo Stanton and Josh Hamilton.

The dark side of the outfield position these days is the underbelly, which really shows itself once make your way beyond the top-40 or so. Essentially, the middle class of outfielders has nearly eroded – dropping the position quickly from your solid #3 OFs to your seemingly never-ending string of fliers. And the results of this are twofold on how you have to evaluate the position. First of all, high floor players are of greater value than at many other positions, and Nick Markakis is a great example of this. We’re not exactly waiting with bated breath for him to be a star anymore, but at least we know we’ll get some level of production from him. Because of this, he makes the top-50. Second of all, while it doesn’t show up in a positional list, the bulk of fliers out there for your final OF spot or two causes the entire group of players to get devalued on an overall standpoint. So unless there’s a particular guy you really like, you can wait and wait and wait – there will be outfielders starting the 2013 on waivers that will outperform most of the 4/5 OF types being drafted. So be patient and be prepared to scour the waiver wire.

And now your top 50 dynasty league outfielders, with commentary:

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Transaction Analysis: Jays/Marlins Supertrade

“That’s not a knife, THIS is a knife.”

There are going to be a lot of transactions written up here at The Dynasty Guru, but few are likely to be bigger trades than the one which went down last night between the Marlins and Blue Jays. Now, I know everyone is up in arms about the deal for reasons much larger than the talent exchanged between the two teams, but for fantasy purposes, we’re not interested in that. However, I will add one brief thought to the echo chamber on the non-baseball related aspect to this deal: I hope that this trade finally spells the end of publicly financed stadiums for sports teams.

And with that said, let’s move on to the baseball aspect of this deal. Here is the full trade:

Blue Jays receive Jose Reyes, Josh Johnson, Mark Buehrle, Emilio Bonifacio and John Buck

Marlins receive Yunel Escobar, Henderson Alvarez, Adeiny Hecchevaria, Jeff Mathis, Jake Marisnick, Justin Nicolino and Anthony Descalfini

Value up

Justin Nicolino

The biggest winner of this trade, as far as future fantasy value, is clearly Nicolino. He is a left-hander with average stuff that plays up due to advanced command and pitchability for someone his age. However, don’t think we’re talking about Tommy Milone here — Nicolino can dial his fastball up into the low 90’s. The biggest issue with Nicolino is that he may arrive in the big leagues without a feature pitch, something which will garner swings and misses from batters at the highest level on stuff alone. Fortunately, life is a lot easier for pitchers like that in the NL East than in the AL East — not to mention the difference in future home parks on top of that. Expect Nicolino to make a big jump in my dynasty prospect rankings solely based on the scenery change.

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