As you work to fill your fantasy outfield for 2019, keep a close eye on the value a player offers in relation to his ADP. Every year certain players go for less despite similar (or better) production to other choices due to age, potential, or lack of name recognition. While you should be willing to pay up for top-level talent in your drafts and dynasty leagues, do not forget to consider alternative options that may lead you to the same end results.
- Shin-Soo Choo
If you are looking for a late round, steady option to plug into your fantasy outfield, you have a solid choice in Arlington. Since an injury-ridden 2016, Choo has quietly posted productive back-to-back seasons for the Rangers:
A professional hitter with a strong plate approach (13.8% BB%, 23.5% K% in 2018), Choo offers low variability in production and, other than his 2016 campaign, a history of staying healthy (one season under 120 games over the last seven years). Despite an ADP of 273.81, Choo’s 2018 production stand up very well when compared to other outfielders going ahead of him in most fantasy drafts:
His age (36) has something to do with that, as do his struggles in the second half last season (.216/.329/.316 with 3 HR and 3 SB). While those two factors are worrisome, Choo’s second-half struggles were heavily impacted by an abysmal Sept/Oct (.178/.302/.205) after a mostly consistent month-to-month production line beforehand. At his age an eventual decline is inevitable, but I see another solid season for Choo in 2019.
- Billy Hamilton
Another year, another fantasy draft season where Billy Hamilton is obscenely overrated due to his otherworldly speed. Searching ‘Billy Hamilton Speed’ will bring you all sorts of video content celebrating the fleetness of his feet (30.1 ft./sec – third best sprint speed in MLB in 2018), whether on the bases or as he roams center field. While special skills like that are incredible to watch, the lack of a supporting cast skill-wise has and continues to limit Billy’s value in fantasy baseball.
Hamilton’s 34 steals (sixth in MLB last season) snapped his streak of four straight 50+ steal seasons. His career-long issues getting on base (only one season with a .300+ OBP) continued, as did his complete lack of power (4 HR). A move over to the bottom of the Kansas City Royals lineup (25th in Runs Scored in 2018) will not help things in 2019, making it unlikely that Hamilton sees an increase in his offensive numbers.
Despite Hamilton’s one category production, he is being drafted ahead of several outfielders who offer more upside next season (Nimmo, Bader, Braun, and Renfroe). Unless Hamilton can dramatically improve his ability to get on base, his upside in fantasy remains limited despite the stolen base potential he offers.
Need power? Don’t want to spend a lot? Grichuk is your man. Over the last three seasons, Grichuk has averaged 23 home runs and showed the ability to ball out when he gets on a hot streak (.294/.341/.647 with 8 HR, June 2018). He generates great contact (14.4% Barrel%, 43% Hard Hit%) and usually earns any home run that he hits (403 ft. Average HR, 12th longest HR of 2018).
While the power is for real, some issues remain. Grichuk strikes out a lot (26.4% K% in 2018), chases outside the zone (15% SwStr%, 35.8% O-Swing%), and rarely walks (5.8% BB% in 2018). His grip it and rip it approach results in a pull-happy (49.8% Pull%), high fly ball (46.5% FB%) approach that limits his batting average (.245 in 2018). Even with those issues, Grichuk’s power is an interesting option given his age (27) and current ADP (250.60).