Matt Kemp Will Outperform Expectations I Jorge Soler Gets His Shot
We’re back to finish up the early outfield tiers. In Part One, there were 29 outfielders discussed, meaning at this point in a three-outfielder league, you either have your spots filled up or you’re grabbing your third, or in some instances, your second outfielder. But in deeper leagues with five outfielders, these are the guys that can make or break you. We have 47 outfielders dispersed between Tier-6 and Tier-10.
As always, we are using a 5x5 structure for the framework .
[caption id="attachment_116789" align="alignright" width="471"] Matt Kemp was rejuvenated after becoming a member of the Atlanta Braves. Photo by Tony Quinn/Iconsportswire [/caption]
While he’s still mainly a one-category player, Bill Hamilton actually didn’t crush you as much as he did in the past in the batting average department last year. He hit .260, which was the best in his career. Steamer is projecting that to go down, but with speed being hard to come by, Hamilton belongs in this tier in category leagues. In points leagues, he drops a tier … I’m not the biggest Matt Kemp fan, but I don’t get all of the hate. As our friend Greg Jewett of Today’s Knuckleball said on Twitter, over his last three years, his averages are 82 runs, 28 homers, 99 RBIs, seven steals and a .273/.319/.482 slash. You’re worried about his arthritic hip, sure, but he’s a value here … Lorenzo Cain fell back to Earth a bit in 2016. His BABIP (.341) was close to the same as it was in 2015 (.347) but his average fell 20 points and his strikeout rate went up. In 37 fewer games, his steals went from 28 to 14. I expect him to reach at least 20 in 2017 … I LOVE me some Andrew Benintendi. Fenway isn’t as great for left-handed hitters as it is for righties, but Benintendi just rakes no matter where he is. He hit just .179 in 33 plate appearances against lefties in his cup of coffee last year, so I’m hoping the Red Sox give him every chance to prove himself so he doesn’t play against only righties. He’s going to be the first rookie drafted in your draft this year … I discussed Jose Ramirez in my third base preview … Adam Eaton is a better real-life player than Fantasy player. He'll give you double-digits in steals and homers, but don't let the recent trade change your perception of him ... It was a tale of two seasons for Marcell Ozuna. He wasn’t as good as he was in the first half, but he wasn’t as bad as he was in the second half. You’ll take his production if he meets you halfway … I discussed Miguel Sano in my third base preview … I discussed Wilson Contreras in my catcher preview … By the time this goes to print, Dexter Fowler may have a home. If it’s Toronto, he gets a tier bump. He isn’t great at one thing, but he’ll contribute for you across the board.
It’s weird to think that Adam Duvall was an All-Star last year, but his big power surge in the first half made him worth it. He had 22 homers through the first three months of the season, but only 11 from July to the end of the year. He has the power and the ballpark to hit another 25 in 2017 … I don’t like Jay Bruce. I won’t own Jay Bruce. If he goes to Toronto, I may go back on my word. He’s a big power bat, but he’s more of the Bruce that we saw in New York than he is the guy that was with the Reds before the trade deadline … The bottom has to fall out on Carlos Beltran eventually, but we’ve been saying that for a few years now. He was helped out by the short porch in New York last season. He was still good in Texas down the stretch, but the drop off was clear between his two stays. Houston is a great hitter’s park, but more for right-handed hitters. Beltran’s every day at-bats in a loaded lineup will help his value … Odubel Herrera’s early value was with his elite walk-rate last year. It turned out his 22.1 percent walk rate wasn’t sustainable. Who saw that coming? He still put together a solid season and can get you double-digit homers and steals with a .280 average … Jorge Soler is this high just because he finally has a clear path to playing time. He’s worth a flier as a high-upside pick … Has Yasiel Puig disappointed since his big breakout season? Sure, but the hate has gone too far. Everyone is down on Puig, but loves Stephen Piscotty, right? Look at their last 600 at-bats. Really, go take a look. You’ll be surprised how similar they are … Byron Buxton finally flashed his potential in his final two months last season in the big leagues. He also still had a 33.6 percent strikeout rate in September, so he still has a lot of room for improvement … Kole Calhoun is just kind of there. He isn’t the sexy pick, won’t win you your league, but won’t lose you your league either.
Curtis Granderson started off slow in 2015 and rebounded quite nicely. Granderson also started off slow in 2016, but, well, didn’t quite rebound … Let’s remember that Nomar Mazara is only 21 years old. That said, his rookie season was quite spectacular last year. However, he needs to drastically improve on his .234 batting average against lefties. He’ll have this year to prove it. If he can’t, we may be looking at a Michael Conforto situation … David Peralta is going to be an afterthought during drafts this year. Take advantage of it … Randal Grichuk did enough last year with the power in stretches to keep me interested … Shin-Soo Choo just can’t stay healthy. Ian Desmond moving on to Colorado helps out the playing time situation for now, but you can’t count on more than 100 games from him … I have Aaron Judge too high. He’s maybe in the Top 5 in all of the league as far as pure power goes, but he’s going to strikeout a third of the time … It’s been two straight years filled with injuries for Hunter Pence. He used to be drafted really high due to his ability to play 155 games … Kevin Pillar won’t get you excited, but he can steal you 15-20 bases and hit 10 homers in Toronto … I’m wanting Joc Pederson more in OBP leagues than in AVG leagues, but you have to love the upside even after his second-half disappointment in 2015 and his 2016 disappointment. I don’t want to draft Matt Holliday. I don’t even really like the move to New York too much, but he’s not a pure-pull hitter, so maybe he can take advantage of the short porch in right … It’s like the Mets decided already that Michael Conforto is going to be strictly a platoon guy. Weird to decide that after just 68 career plate appearances against lefties.
I liked Aaron Altherr as a sleeper heading into 2016, and then he got injured. I’m doubling down this year again … Leonys Martin isn’t a good ballplayer, but he helped Fantasy owners with power and speed last season in Seattle. The power might dip a bit, but he’s useful … Yasmany Tomas should be higher, but sorry, I just don’t buy his 30-homer season last year … Max Kepler isn’t a power hitter, no matter what he showed last year. He’s an on-base guy, and that will start to show in 2017 … I’m hoping for some late-round speed from Jacoby Ellsbury at this point in his career … Josh Reddick is on the strong side of the platoon, which is good. But as we mentioned before, Houston is better for righties than it is for lefties. Still, in that lineup, you have to like his chances to produce … A pair of rookies are next for the Padres, and they couldn’t be any more different. Manuel Margot gives you some nice speed late, while Hunter Renfroe showed what he could do in a limited sample with his enormous power upside … I talked about Jose Peraza in my shortstop preview … Don’t draft Jason Heyward … Read Heyward, Jason. Apply it to Carlos Gomez, although he did rebound in Texas, somewhat.
Hyun Soo Kim
Brett Gardner somehow always found his way to being a Top 20 outfielder. Well, it stopped last year. I’m not chasing trends, I just don’t care for the talent much … Don’t pay attention to the power last year from Rajai Davis. He’s still a speed-only guy … In on-base leagues, I’m willing to roll the dice late with Hyun Soo Kim … Neither Jon Jay or Albert Almora are great for Fantasy, but one of them is going to be getting the majority of the playing time for the Cubs ... Alex Dickerson was quietly solid last year for the Padres. Travis Jankowski offered a lot of speed for them, too. With Margot and Renfroe in San Diego this year, who is the odd man out?
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