Draft This, Not That: Outfield Part II

Last week I gave you part one of Draft This, Not That for Outfielders. It focused on a few guys who can produce stat lines featuring double-digit power and speed. Today we go searching strictly for power. The goal here is to uncover a sneaky 25-30 homer bat that can be had on the cheap. How cheap? We are literally going to dip into the clearance bin today and go searching for power that can be had beyond pick 200 in a majority of leagues.

To say that power is down across MLB is an understatement. In terms of power, MLB blew a transformer and is currently operating on a rickety backup generator. Today’s 20-home run hitter is yesterday’s 30-home run hitter. It was not too long ago that you could literally go to the waiver wire in a 12-team league and pluck a 20-home run bat to plug and play. That simply is not happening in today’s version of this game of numbers we are all addicted to.

Draft Mike Morse, Not Josh Hamilton:

Does anyone really want Josh Hamilton? His ADP is a little tough to nail down at the moment with his recent injury news hitting the e-waves. My guess is that even with the injury he will still go off most draft boards before Mike Morse. About that injury by the way, it was an AC joint injury to his right shoulder that required surgery to repair. I am not a fan of shoulder surgeries for power hitters and this one happens to be Hamilton’s lead shoulder in his swing. For yet another year, Josh Hamilton will not find his name on a roster of mine.

Mike Morse is no stranger to injury himself. It was encouraging that he was able to play in 131 games last season but that is about his ceiling. He played in 102 and 88 games respectively in 2012 and 2013. Morse played in a hitting environment tough on the dudes holding the lumber in 2014. San Francisco and Miami are not all that different in that regard. Bouncing between the outfield and first base, Morse was able to post a 48/16/61/0/.279 line in 482 plate appearances as a Giant in 2014. Something encouraging for Morse going forward is that he will go into the season as the Marlins’ primary first baseman and will not likely be expected to man an outfield spot too often.

Assuming that Morse hits fourth in the Miami lineup, I see the following scenario playing out frequently in 2015:

Dee Gordon and/or Christian Yelich find themselves in scoring position with one or two outs in a given inning. Giancarlo Stanton steps to the plate, does his little shimmy, and four wide ones later he takes his lead off first base. Enter one Michael John Morse for RBI opportunities galore!

Want the answer for who could carry 2015’s greatest ADP number and still top 90 and possibly even 100 RBI if the stars align? Mike Morse! He carries dual eligibility as an outfielder or first baseman and can be had around an ADP of 260 according to NFBC Slow Draft results.  Streamer has Morse pegged to tally a 60/20/71/0/.259 slash line this coming season. Nothing in Morse’s underlying stat line from 2014 suggest that Morse cannot easily reach the Streamer projection. Grab Rajai Davis a pick or two earlier and you might land two players who can combine to average north of 15 home runs and 15 stolen bases in 2015. Not bad for a time in most drafts when people are picking players they are likely to drop to waivers before the calendar turns to May.

Draft Oswaldo Arcia, Not Brandon Moss:

Injury issues concerning Oswaldo Arcia’s back may be the culprit for why he is going off the NFBC Slow Draft boards at an ADP of just 230. Oddly, Brandon Moss is going off the draft board with an ADP of 163. Sure, Moss carries dual position eligibility as an outfielder and first baseman but he is coming off of hip surgery.

I am willing to mostly write off Brandon Moss’s struggles from 2014 and chalk them up to the hip injury he needed to have repaired in the off-season. His second half was atrocious with just four home runs and a .173 average in 216 plate appearances. What I am unwilling to do is consider Moss instantly ready to repeat what he did in 2014’s first half where he posted 21 home runs and a .268 average. He had hip surgery and I certainly have to think that impacted his off-season regiment and it will take him some to get back to normal in 2015.

In Oswaldo Arcia’s case, I see a player with a similar batted ball profile to that of Brandon Moss. Check out the following batted ball data for Moss’s fully healthy 2013 season compared to what Arcia did a season ago:

  LD% GB% FB% HR/FB%
Brandon Moss 2013 18.1% 30.1% 51.8% 18.8%
Oswaldo Arcia 2014 21.5% 36.6% 41.9% 19.4%

Arcia hits the ball with authority with an average fly ball distance of 289 feet. His Achilles heel is that he rarely takes a free pass, walking just 7.6% of the time. Moss by comparison took a walk 11.6% of the time a season ago. Arcia has also had a bit of an issue with his K% since arriving in the big leagues. In both 2013 and 2014 he struck out 31% of the time. Moss is no stranger to the strikeout himself with a K% of 27.7% and 26.4% in each of the past two seasons. Given that Arcia managed to keep his K% between 19% and 24% at every stop in the minors I have to believe there is room for growth in this aspect of his game. Arcia will be just 24 in May whereas Moss will play most of the 2014 season as a 31-year-old. Because of his age, I see Arcia closing the gap on Moss in GB/FB% and cutting down on his K% which should lead to a stat line we will be thrilled to have as part of our fantasy baseball plans for several years to come. Oswaldo Arcia may not be this cheap again for several seasons.

I like to minimize my risks in the top 200 players off the board. Because of that I am unlikely to roster Brandon Moss coming out of my 2015 drafts. If I have built up a little batting average tolerance in the early going and find myself a little light on power sometime after the first 200 players are off the board I will gladly take a shot on Arcia. His back issues make him a risk, no doubt. His potential also makes him a heckuva value around the 230 ADP mark. Arcia is the ultimate risk/reward player. If the back continues to be an issue it will hurt far less to have to drop a player you draft around 230 overall. The potential of having to bail on a guy like Brandon Moss who you might have taken around 160 overall seems much more difficult to swallow.

Draft Colby Rasmus, Not Curtis Granderson:

In this case, both players named can be had well beyond pick 200 in most leagues. Curtis Granderson currently holds an NFBC Slow Draft ADP of 252, while Colby Rasmus checks in at an ADP of 351. Granderson gets the nod for fantasy drafters because of his pair of 40 home run seasons back in 2011 and 2012. Those numbers were accomplished by a younger version of himself in a ballpark practically built with his swing in mind. A ballpark/league change, a couple of injury issues, and age (34 in March) have caught up with Granderson and reduced him to a 20-homer, 5-10 stolen base producer. In a health 2014, Granderson managed a slash line of 73/20/66/8/.227 in 654 plate appearances. Unless Granderson stumbles upon the Hot Tub Time Machine, what you saw in 2014 is about his ceiling at this point.

Let me get back to that 2014 slash line of Granderson’s for just a moment of your time and compare it to what Colby Rasmus’s 2014 slash line looked like. Not only that but I want to play the dangerous game of looking at what Rasmus’s slash line might have looked like over the same number of plate appearances as Granderson tallied in 2014:

Curtis Granderson 2014 654 73 20 66 8 .227
Colby Rasmus 2014 376 45 18 40 4 .225
Colby Rasmus Prorated 2014 654 78 31 70 7 .225

The prorated version of Rasmus shows a hitter who would have produced 31 home runs over the same number of plate appearance as Granderson gave us in 2014, while giving a nearly identical amount of Runs, RBI, SB, and AVG.

As mentioned above, prorating a stat line is a dangerous game. For fantasy purposes, this might be The Most Dangerous Game when it comes to stat hunting. There are some reasons to believe in the prorated line and other reasons that will poke some serious holes in this exercise. To support the prorated Rasmus line I would like to point out that he took 35.7% of his 2014 plate appearances against lefty pitchers. By comparison, Granderson took 36.8% of his plate appearances against lefties. Neither player was severely protected due to some sort of platoon. It is important to point out that Rasmus did severely struggle against southpaws to the tune of a .195 batting average. One reason to believe Rasmus could see a healthy bump in plate appearances this coming season is that just him, Luis Valbuena, and Jed Lowrie, can swing the bat from the left side. The Astros lineup is one dominated by righty-power and will need to feature Rasmus hitting fifth or sixth to break up the righties.

To poke a hole in the prorated Rasmus line, unless he becomes a more patient hitter I will tell you that reaching 654 plate appearances simply is not going to happen regardless of how many games he plays in 2015. Rasmus walked only 7.7% of the time compared to Granderson who took a walk 12.1% of the time in 2014. Walking 4.4% of the time less would leave Rasmus with a prorated amount of plate appearances in the 625 range which is exactly what he managed in his last full season in 2012.

For the sake of predicting what you can reasonably hope for from Rasmus in 2015, I will give him 135 games played, factoring in his same ratio of at bats from his healthy 2012 season. This gives him 559 plate appearances and a slash line of 67/27/59/4/.225. Is that really all that different from what you might expect from Granderson 100 picks earlier?

Draft This: Not That
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Outfield Part 1 Outfield Part 2 – Pitcher Part 1 – Pitchers Part 2 – Relievers

2 thoughts on “Draft This, Not That: Outfield Part II”

  1. if the fences were moved at Citi a year earlier, Granderson would have had an additional 9 home-runs as well as a (slight) bump in average as well as a career low ISO percentage. not completely disagreeing with the idea to take Rasmus much later, but granderson is better than his 2014 numbers suggest

    1. That will be an interesting one to follow. If you have built up enough of a batting average buffer I could see taking a show on Granderson, but I won’t be surprised when he only nets 20 HR and a .225 average.

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