With Jeff having moved on to bigger things at BP (I wish him the best of luck over there, it was a pleasure to write with him, even for just a few months), I have taken the task of looking at the remaining dollar draft guys for both the AL and NL. To briefly recap, these are possible $1 auction values in AL or NL-only, 10-team, 5×5 roto leagues with the following positions: 2C, 1B, 2B, SS, 3B, MI, CI, 5 OF, UT, 9 P and a $260 budget.
In leagues of this depth, it can safely be assumed that 55 OF will be drafted (10 teams each require 5 and then a few more for UT slots). When playing in an AL or NL-only league this means that several #4 OF will be owned.
Also in a roto-style league, I like to utilize my final OF slots to target specific single category producers. My reasoning is that I can load up on power hitters in the earlier rounds and then focus on drafting a few base stealers late, who may end up playing 3-4 times a week, or mostly be used in pinch running scenarios. These players often produce as much benefit in one category as a player drafted for many more dollars (or many rounds earlier in traditional drafts). Now, onto the outfield.
Assumptions for the outfielder end game:
- Because of the shortage of players in a single league setting, players with multiple position eligibility are assumed to be drafted for the position outside of the OF. Examples include Dustin Ackley & Skip Schumaker as a MI and Daniel Nava & Darin Ruf as a CI.
- When it comes to rookies, some of the top tier prospects will go for more than $1, but in year-to-year leagues, with short benches or smaller leagues, you may be able to select a player who is considered by some to be a year away or a mid to late season call-up who could later make an impact in the event of injury, trade or just mashing in the minors. The overall value of these players are subjective and will vary from owner to owner.
The last bunch in: Xavier Paul, Henry Urrutia, Jackie Bradley Jr, Jeff Francoeur, Nyjer Morgan, Grady Sizemore, LJ Hoes, Jarrod Dyson, Ichiro Suzuki, Craig Gentry, Anthony Gose, Jonny Gomes, Ryan Raburn, Rajai Davis, Colin Cowgill, Michael Choice, Zolio Almonte/Slade Heathcott, George Springer
A note on minor league OFs who could get playing time in 2014: Michael Choice has a shot at winning a role as the DH in Texas, while George Springer in Houston may be a mid-season call-up who can make an impact. Additionally, Zolio Almonte and Slade Heathcott have an opportunity to see playing time in the Yankee outfield. Byron Buxton is probably a year away from patrolling the OF in Minnesota.
Ichiro Suzuki: The Yankee OF is Ellsbury, Beltran, Gardner, all of whom have missed time with injuries. While Ichiro is not the same hitter as he was when he consistently batted 0.320, scored 100 runs and stole 40 bases, he still managed to steal 20 bases in 2013. An injury to any OF could bump Ichiro up to consistent playing time, and 15-20 steals, 5-7 HR are definitely solid values for $1.
Jarrod Dyson, Kansas City: In parts of 3 major league seasons Dyson has yet to top 300 at-bats in a single year. Yet, he is coming off back-to-back 30 stolen base seasons (Mike Trout, Rajai Davis and Carlos Gomez are the only other OF to do that, while Everth Cabrera, Jose Altuve and Jason Kipnis are the only other MLB players to do that). Dyson opens the year as the odd man out in the KC OF, but he should get his chances to run, and score a few runs as well.
Craig Gentry, Oakland: Gentry is similar to Dyson but on a slightly lower scale. As a utility OF for the Rangers, Gentry stole 24 bases in 2013, up from 13 in 2012. He offers slightly more at the plate than Dyson, but don’t expect much more than a source for some steals.
Anthony Gose, Toronto: Gose has shown the ability to steal bases in the minors, though it has not completely translated to the majors just yet. He is a Jose Bautista or Colby Rasmus injury away from consistent playing time. The Jays should have a more productive offense this year, so he could also give you some decent run totals if he gets playing time.
Grady Sizemore: I am hoping that Sizemore becomes the feel good story of 2014 (especially after the terrible news about Mark Mulder’s ruptured Achilles tendon this past weekend). Sizemore has not played an MLB game since 2011. And as a friend in one of my fantasy leagues said “Great, now the Sox get my man-crush when he has little to offer.” But remember, the Red Sox won a World Series last year with several scrapheap OF. Expecting 5HR, maybe 8-12 SB, and perhaps a bunch of runs scored as a part-time player could be a $1 well spent.
Recommendation: I am making sure to land at least 1 top 10 OF and then 2 more in the 11-25 range too. I am focusing on power with those players, and trying to steal some steals with my $1 guys.
Last bunch in: Cody Ross, Tony Campana, Jordan Schafer, Chris Heisey, Drew Stubbs, Scott Van Slyke, Jake Marisnick, Caleb Gindl, Bobby Abreu, John Mayberry, Chris Denorfia, Jon Jay, Nate Schierholtz, Gregor Blanco, Nate McLouth, Gary Brown, Gregory Polanco, Oscar Taveras, Joc Pederson, Jorge Soler
A note on minor league OF who get some playing time in 2014: Oscar Taveras was rumored to be a near shoe-in to make the Cardinals Opening Day roster, but now there are rumors that he may start 2014 in the minors. Jorge Soler could make an appearance in Chicago this season and have a Yusiel Puig type impact. Joc Pederson may have a hard time finding a way into the crowded Dodger OF, but should the Dodgers make a trade he is an interesting speculative pick.
Looks like slim pickings when you reach the end of your budget, but there could be a couple of values:
Jake Marisnick, Miami: Don’t let his 40 game audition in 2013 scare you away. While Marisnick struggled to make contact and get on base (0.183AVE, 0.231OBP), he still offers double-double potential.
Nate McLouth, Washington: McLouth bounced back in a big way in 2013, with 12 HR, 30 SB and 76 runs scored for Baltimore. A slight change of scenery as he will head to the nation’s capital for the 2014 season, likely slated as the #4 OF. Expect McLouth to get plenty of playing time, between off days and Bryce Harper’s likely DL-stints. He will continue to run, score runs and offers the potential of some HR.
Tony Campana, Arizona: Why not spend a $1 on a guy who is 3 seasons, has 62 stolen bases in a mere 401 plate appearances? Campana may not get regular at-bats, but he should see time as a pinch runner. With a career 90% success rate in steals, he is a great pick to help out in that one category.
Bobby Abreu, Philadelphia: Abreu is returning to the City of Brotherly Love, and if he makes the team out of spring training, owners should show him some love. A career 0.303 hitter for the Phils, Abreu had been mashing in the Venezuela (8 HR, 26 RBI in 15 games). Has he found the fountain of youth? 40-year old Raul Ibanez has been hitting 20+ HR, and while I do not expect Abreu to get enough at-bts to reach that level, he is worth a $1 flier.
Recommendation: Similar recommendation as the AL. I am focusing on power with my first 3 OF, and then taking a shot on a few one-category (steals) guys for a $1. Grab some #4 OF, especially in situations where the guys ahead of them have a history of injuries. And grab a minor league player like Polanco, who could make an impact later in the season.
Dollar Draft Series