2018 Dudes & Don’ts Recap: The Outfielders
Check out Part One for the bulk of this series’ preamble. The purpose of this exercise is to hone our craft as fantasy players by taking a look back at why our process worked or failed. Keep in mind that the Dudes were cheaper players that could turn a profit, while the Don’ts were players I was avoiding at an ADP I considered to be too high. This all serves as a sort of fantasy baseball review of the 2018 season.
Sure the postseason is still going on, That doesn’t mean you can’t head on over to Fantrax.com and start a league today. 2019 leagues are open right now!
2018 Fantasy Baseball Review – The Outfield
Bradley Zimmer, Cleveland Indians
Projection: 550 plate appearances, 65 R, 15 HR, 70 RBI, 30 SB, .255 AVG
Final Line: 114 plate appearances, 14 R, 2 HR, 9 RBI, 4 SB, .226 AVG
Analysis: This one was a train wreck from the start. Zimmer missed most of the year due to a shoulder injury, but even while he was playing he was horrible. At least he was a player you knew you could cut quickly. His shoulder surgery is so severe he’ll miss most or all of the 2019 season, so there’s no need to look at Zimmer for a long time. Even when he returns, he’s got a ton of work to do to be a regular MLB hitter.
Delino DeShields, Texas Rangers
Projection: 650 plate appearances, 100 R, 10 HR, 75 RBI, 40 SB, .255 AVG
Final Line: 393 plate appearances, 52 R, 2 HR, 22 RBI, 20 SB, .216 AVG
Analysis: Like Zimmer, DeShields was a cheap speed source I was eyeing at 195 overall. He made huge strides over the second half of 2017 and indeed carried over his improved approach into 2018. He even made further strides in his contact rate, pushing it to a career-high 81%. His hard contact was up as well, although just to 27.7%. Power isn’t his game, so the 10 HR projection was definitely too aggressive on my part. His BABIP was super unlucky at .280 though, considering his contact ability and his wheels. I’d say he got BABIP’ed out of a job, but he is an otherwise flawed player. He’s not a great clubhouse presence by all accounts, and his defense in center field isn’t great.
When the balls aren’t falling in for you and your only calling cards are OBP and speed, you get to see the bench a lot. I still feel like this one was just a bit unlucky, and I’m going to watch his role in Texas next year and likewise monitor his ADP.
Michael Brantley, Cleveland Indians
Projection: 575 plate appearances, 85 R, 15 HR, 85 RBI, 10 SB, .295 AVG
Final Line: 631 plate appearances, 89 R, 17 HR, 76 RBI, 12 SB, .309 AVG
Analysis: Brantley was very cheap (ADP 251) and managed to stay on the field for most of the year. The projection was pretty much right on, except it took him over 50 extra PA’s to get there. He’ll be a nice category stuffer in 2019 if his ADP doesn’t get out of control.
The Deep League Dude: Roman Quinn
Projection: 450 plate appearances, 55 R, 7 HR, 35 RBI, 30 SB, .260 AVG
Final Line: 143 plate appearances, 13 R, 2 HR, 12 RBI, 10 SB, .267 AVG
Analysis: I cringed when I wrote that line, but really it would have been a good projection if Quinn hadn’t (real shocker here) got hurt again. He played only 78 games (50 with the Phillies, the rest in the minors) due to injury. That’s the story of his career, unfortunately, but when he’s healthy and active he’s a tremendous source of stolen bases. I did mention that he’s not one to draft but one to monitor throughout the season, and the same will go for his 2019 value in all likelihood.
A.J. Pollock, Arizona Diamondbacks
Projection: 550 plate appearances, 80 R, 14 HR, 55 RBI, 20 SB, .285 AVG
Final Line: 460 plate appearances, 61 R, 21 HR, 65 RBI, 13 SB, .257 AVG
Analysis: I’m a big Pollock fan, but his ADP was too high given his injury risk. Again, the risk-adverse approach worked here, but Pollock was very good while active. Pollock altered his launch angle and approach this season, resulting in a lower batting average, increased strikeout rate, and more power relative to expectations. His hard contact skyrocketed to a career-high 44.5%, and his increased fly ball and pull rates led to a career-high 17.1% HR/FB%. Take that, humidor! Considering this vastly altered offensive profile, it will be very interesting to see where his ADP winds up next year. If there is enough of an injury discount baked in, I’ll be all over him.
Billy Hamilton, Cincinnati Reds
Projection: 550 plate appearances, 70 R, 4 HR, 35 RBI, 55 SB, .250 AVG
Final Line: 556 plate appearances, 74 R 4 HR, 29 RBI, 34 SB, .236 AVG
Analysis: I was fading Billy because of his ADP (OF20; 77 overall) as a player who is a pure rabbit. He’s been a player who has actively hurt you in homers and RBI, and this year he added batting average to that list as well. For some reason, he continues to put 30%+ of balls into the air, which kills his BABIP. His blazing speed alone should be enough to float a .320+ BABIP consistently if he would just hit more grounders and line drives, but so many soft hit fly balls are a killer. His stolen base success rate dropped, and so did his attempts with Jim Riggleman showing more restraint in the running game than Bryan Price had.
Depending on who the Reds select as their manager, I’m not sure things will look too much better. This line from the original write-up remains prevalent: “You can accrue steals from a variety of other sources without sacrificing four other categories at the same time.”
Adam Duvall, Cincinnati Reds
Projection: 450 plate appearances, 50 R, 22 HR, 65 RBI, .240 AVG
Final Line: 427 plate appearances, 48 R, 15 HR, 61 RBI, .195 AVG
Analysis: Believe it or not, Duvall was bring drafted as the 40th Outfielder this year. I cited his high fly ball and pop-up rates as reasons his .290 BABIP from 2017 wouldn’t hold, and boy did it not. It fell even further than I thought to .237. His inability to hit righties turned him into a short-side platoon player, and it was wise to have been worried about Jesse Winker stealing playing time. There was much cheaper power to be found. The low-average, power-only profiles are more plentiful than ever, and it’s important not to overpay for those types.
In the next installment, we’ll round out the Recaps with a look at the pitchers.
It’s never too early to get ready for the 2019 season. Start studying with Van Lee, Jeff Zimmerman, and Rob Silver on the Launch Angle Podcast.