We’ve gone through the recent ADP trends in the infield, so it’s time to head on out to the grass and check in with the trends we’ve recently seen in the outfield. I have to say, this position is one of the trickier ones to draft well if you don’t act quickly. That’s not to say that the position isn’t deep and rich with talent, because it is, but as I’ve seen with the obscene number of mock drafts I have done this spring, those who act quickest to fill their outfield, tend to have some of the stronger teams come the end of the draft.
In recent years, we’ve seen outfielders representing roughly 25-percent of the top-100 picks. It makes sense, obviously, as most leagues tend to require five or six in your active roster. This season, we’re looking at a mark closer to 30-percent, and while that increase may not seem like much on the surface, when you hit that drop-off in talent that tends to come after the first 30 picks and then the next drop that comes 10-15 outfielders later, those few early-round selections become that much more valuable. Given that level of talent found in the first 30, it makes a whole lot of sense for you to think about stock-piling outfielders first before worrying about that old “position scarcity” myth.
I think I first noticed the trend while doing a mock draft about a month or so ago. I was loving my team as I had guys like Prince Fielder at first, Jason Kipnis at second, Jean Segura at short and finally Mark Trumbo who could slot in either at the corner infield spot or in the outfield. But by the time the draft pulled back around to me, I noticed that the best outfielder left on the board, based on a composite of a few different site rankings, was Domonic Brown. Now I don’t want to sit and hate on him here, but given the fact that he’s so streaky and I have little confidence in him to sustain some of those power numbers from the season before, he just wasn’t an appealing option. The drop-off in quality at the position had already made its first drop and if I didn’t act now, I was looking at the later rounds to fill the balance of my outfield.
Fortunately for me, this was just a mock draft and I was able to just sit and watch how things played out rather than truly sweat it out and scramble for late-round outfielders. Now there was definitely some specialized talent to be found late as guys like Ben Revere, Denard Span, Michael Bourn and Dexter Fowler all found their way into the later rounds. As for power though, your biggest bats were maybe Josh Willingham or Michael Morse, but the pick’ns were slim. Carlos Quentin, maybe? Meanwhile there were a number of middle infield options available late, and while I was obviously psyched to have my Kipnis/Segura tandem, I think I would have been much happier bulking up on the early OF power and worrying about speed and middle infield later on.
Now let’s check out some of the more recent and notable risers and fallers.
|Rank||Player||Team||Current ADP||1 Month Ago||Trend|
|41||Alejandro De Aza||CWS||186.98||179.11||-4.21%|
Bryce Harper, WAS (+17.85%) – So the highest percentage increase translates to just a few picks, but it moves Harper from an early second round choice to a first round pick in leagues of 12 teams or fewer. He showed solid year-to-year growth both in plate discipline and isolated power and he looks primed to take another step forward in 2014. Good health is a must, like it is with everyone else, but this jacked-up Harper looks like he means some serious business this year. If he can increase both his power and steals total, he’ll easily be worth the late-first round choice.
Shin-Soo Choo, TEX (+12.63%) – Reports of a recent sore elbow may have made some people nervous, but Choo is already back in the spring lineup and should be good to go for another 20-20 season. If he can get an even bigger boost in his stolen base total because the Rangers are a run-happy team, then he could even push for a 20-30 season. Add to that a boatload of runs scored and he should be pushing second-round value. Hitting against lefties is still a sticking point for some, but not enough to downgrade at all.
Kole Calhoun, LAA (+11.86%) – If you’re still asking “who?” when someone mentions Calhoun, then you’re not looking too good for a successful 2014 campaign. With news that he will bat leadoff in front of Mike Trout, Albert Pujols and Josh Hamilton, the diminutive outfielder should rack up the runs scored and post some strong stolen base totals. If he can continue to improve his plate discipline and maintain a strong on-base percentage, then I’m really going to regret trading him in my keeper league this winter. His ADP is on the rise now and could be going even higher within another week or so. Don’t reach though as he simply isn’t a marquee name and should maintain a bit of anonymity amongst the casual owners.
Billy Hamilton, CIN (+11.50%) – He’s enjoying a strong start to the spring and because of that, his ADP continues to rise. But don’t get caught up here as one of the first lessons you are taught as a fantasy owner is not to get too caught up in spring numbers. But again, while he’s got ridiculous speed and could conceivably win you the category on his own, he is losing return value with every bump up the ADP ladder. He still has to prove that he can get on-base during the regular season and that, for me, is no guarantee.
Kelly Johnson, NYY (+8.27%) – A piece of me is a little sad that Johnson is climbing up the ADP ranks right now as I prefer to steal him in the later rounds. The dimensions of Yankee Stadium will certainly cater to his 20-home run power and he should get full-time work at third base. His low-profile draws comparisons of a 1998 Scott Brosius and he is more than capable of putting up big numbers. The batting average could still be a bit of an issue but when you’re grabbing him in the late rounds of your draft, you have to expect a shortcoming or two. If his ADP continues to stay in the high-200’s, then his return value should be a huge boost for your squad.
Matt Kemp, LAD (-14.87%) Keep falling, baby. Keep falling. I’m not going to say that he’ll every be the Kemp of 2011, but I also don’t see him being the Kemp of 2013. Maybe somewhere in the middle. With the shoulder healed and the ankle looking good this spring, Kemp should be on-track for the Dodgers’ States-side Opening Day in San Diego on March 30th. If he can recover 25-30 home run power and kick in 15-20 stolen bases, then he’ll easily post a strong return value from being a fifth or even sixth-round pick. In my FSWA draft, he fell to me in the early sixth round and I just couldn’t pass up the value. Neither should you. A risk? Sure, but there’s too much there to let slide too far.
George Springer, HOU (-8.32%) – The power/speed threat is for real, but his slow spring and the potential of opening the year in the minors for at least the first month or so are knocking him down the ADP ranks. But while he hasn’t shown much power yet, he does have four stolen bases and has six walks to his seven strikeouts. If you’re just starting a keeper league, he’s a must-own as you’ll want him for your long-term plans but if it’s a re-draft league, there’s no need to reach too high. The ADP drop should help you land him at a nice, bargain price but he’s more of a stash right now than anything else.
Giancarlo Stanton, MIA (-7.49%) – The current ADP drop is nothing more than a personal preference as his percentage amounts roughly two picks. If you can land him in the early third round like his ADP says, then he should provide you with a decent return value despite the lousy cast of characters he calls teammates. Just be careful. He’s off to a great start this spring, batting .364 with two home runs and five RBI, but the publicity that he’s getting now seems to be focusing on the fact that he’s struck out only twice. I still see the strikeout rate being a little too high, but if there’s even just a bit of improvement on the plate discipline, his breakout, now that he’s healthy, is overdue.
Avisail Garcia, CHW (-6.51%) – Here’s another guy who I hope keeps dropping in ADP, because I love grabbing him as a fourth outfielder in the 15th round of drafts. He seems to have right field all to himself and should he get a full-season’s worth of at-bats, I believe that he has 20-20 potential as early as this season. Even Paul Konerko thinks this kid is a beast , so consider where you’re getting him now to be a huge bargain. Again, keeper league owners must take notice.
Coco Crisp, OAK (-5.48%) – Health is always a major concern when it comes to Crisp as he hasn’t played in more than 136 games since 2007. I don’t really expect him to post another 20-20 season this year, but he should have center field all to himself this season with an occasional spelling by Craig Gentry and post solid numbers. The improved walk rate was huge for him and if he can sustain that, then a breach of the 30-steals barrier is more than just a possibility. Just be careful because with the outfield running thin quickly, his ADP could spike over the next two weeks.