Dynasty Dugout: Breakout Outfield Prospects
While the infield has its fair share of power hitters and speedsters, the outfield is where you find the players with the perfect blend of herbs and spices. Sorry, got KFC on the brain. By herbs and spices, I mean power and speed. And I’m not just talking about one or the other. While there are power and speed-only players in the outfield, there are a ton that bring plenty of both to the table. That extends deep down into the depths of the minor leagues as well. So strap on a bib and get out the wet naps, ’cause this is bound to get messy. In a good way, though. Don’t worry.
If you missed the infield edition last week, have no fear, just click here. See those rhyming skills? Just call me the baseball version of Eminem.
Akil Baddoo (OF – MIN)
Org Rank: 2nd, Level: A, ETA: 2020
Some would say I’m slightly infatuated with the 19-year-old outfield prospect. And those who say that wouldn’t be wrong. I’m going to talk about 20 or so players in this three-part series regarding breakout prospects, and Akil Baddoo is the only one that I ranked in my top-100 overall dynasty prospects back in February. He didn’t just sneak into my top-100, either. After some back and forth, inner turmoil, and sleepless nights, Baddoo finally settled at No. 53. Yes, Baddoo almost cracked my top-50.
You might be sitting there wondering how this outfielder who didn’t even crack the top-10 for Minnesota in MLB’s rankings was my 2nd ranked prospect in their system and almost a top-50 overall prospect. First and foremost, Baddoo has plus-plus speed. As I’m writing this, he’s had 332 at-bats since being drafted and has swiped 20 bags while being caught only five times. That includes three steals already this season through his first six games. Many scouts have given him 60-grade speed, and nothing I’ve seen can dispute that. Baddoo should be a 40+ steal threat at the Major League level.
On top of that speed, Baddoo also has above-average bat to ball skills and plate coverage. In 243 plate appearances last season in Rookie ball, Baddoo accumulated 36 walks against only 32 strikeouts, which, along with a .323 average, helped him post a strong .436 OBP. Not too shabby for an 18-year-old playing in his first full professional season.
Don’t think he’s just a slap hitter, either. Baddoo has added muscle since he was drafted, and more power has come along with it. He’ll never profile as a middle-of-the-order masher, but he should be able to hit 15+ homers annually to go along with some .300+ seasons and plenty of steals.
See, I didn’t just rank him 53rd overall because he has a cool name. Baddoo can rake and has future all-star leadoff man written all over him.
Julio Pablo Martinez (OF – TEX)
Org Rank: 3rd, Level: TBD, ETA: 2020
If Martinez had signed a month or two earlier, he would’ve cracked the top-100 prospect rankings that I finished back in February, landing somewhere in the 60-75 range. And if it weren’t for some guy named Shohei Ohtani, Martinez would’ve been the top-ranked international prospect during last year’s signing period.
When looking at Martinez, it doesn’t take very long to notice that he has near-elite speed upside. He got thrown out more than you’d like to see while in Cuba, but there’s 40+ steal potential in his legs if he can improve his reads better and get a better jump. Martinez did make improvements there over the last year or two. He converted on 24-of-29 attempts during his final season in Cuba and 20-of-24 attempts last season in the Canadian American Association.
At the plate, Martinez has plenty of upside and more polish than you expect from a foreign player his age. His swing is quick through the zone, and he barrels up pitches consistently. While more of a gap hitter than a masher, Martinez should be able to reach double-digit homers to go with a solid average north of .275. If he can put it all together, Martinez has Starling Marte upside. The time is now to buy on him in dynasty leagues before his price begins to rise.
Lolo Sanchez (OF – PIT)
Org Rank: 5th, Level: A, ETA 2020
The Pittsburgh Pirates churn out good outfielders like Burger King churns out Whoppers. The only difference is that the Pirates outfielders won’t add a thousand calories to your midsection. Over the last several seasons, this system has given us Starling Marte and Gregory Polanco, is about to give us Austin Meadows, and also pumped out a former MVP named Andrew McCutchen if you want to go back a little further. Getting ready to join that talented group is a soon to be 19-year-old by the name of Kevin Bryan Sanchez. You might know him by Lolo.
Whatever you want to call him, Sanchez needs to be on your radar in dynasty leagues. Like the two men above him, Sanchez’s best asset is his plus speed. The only problem is, he hasn’t quite figured out how to be a productive base stealing threat quite yet. Through his first 393 minor league at-bats, Sanchez has racked up 18 steals. Unfortunately, he’s also been caught 16 times for a mediocre 52.9% success rate. Like most players his age, he’ll need to work or reading pitchers if he wants to fully capitalize on his plus-speed.
An area that Sanchez has already impressed in is his plate coverage and approach at the dish. Coming into this season, he had recorded more walks (43) than strikeouts (37), while sporting a .359 OBP in both 2016 and 2017. That’s damn impressive for anyone, let alone a player the same age as most high school seniors. Sanchez gets the barrel on the ball with regularity and has shown the ability to drive the ball to all field with quick hands and bat speed. Like Martinez, he’s more of a line drive hitter, but that bat speed should help Sanchez hit for more power as he develops and adds some strength.
Seuly Matias (OF – KC)
Org Rank: 3rd, Level: A, ETA: 2021
Let me start off by apologizing to Royals fans. I might have been a tad harsh in my blurb about this system a few weeks ago. This farm system might not be total garbage, as there are a couple of bright spots, headlined by outfielders Khalil Lee and Seuly Matias. The ladder is the one we’ll be focusing on here. Matias is a tad different than the prospects above him, as his calling card is his above-average raw power.
When you look at Matias, your first impression is a power hitter. And when you see him put on a show in batting practice, your first impression will be confirmed. Matias’ plus power comes from his bat speed and ability to drive the ball to all fields while generating good loft with his swing. However, he can get a little long with his swing at times, which can lead to higher strikeout totals. Through his first 120 minor league games, Matias has struck out in 34.4% of his at-bats while hitting a pedestrian .243. It’s only gotten worse this year, as Matias’ strikeout rate has risen to 44.7%.
If Matias can refine his plate approach and cut down the strikeouts, he might just be able to live up to his lofty Yoenis Cespedes comparison and turn into a middle-of-the-order slugger with .260/35 upside.
D.J. Peters (OF – LAD)
Org Rank: 8th, Level: AA, ETA: 2019
If you thought Matias looked like a power hitter, then take a look at D.J. Peters. The 22-year-old slugger stands at 6-foot-6 and is listed at 225 pounds. He uses all of that strong frame to generate impressive raw right-handed power to all fields. His swing generates plenty of loft, and when he makes contact, good things tend to happen. Well, unless you’re the pitcher who has to whip his head around and watch Peters bop one into the outfield bleachers.
While the power is surely impressive, it’s not all sunshine and rainbows here. Peters doesn’t have the greatest bat speed, which can cause him to have a hard time with higher velocity pitches, especially in the upper half of the strike zone.
Put it all together and you have a slugger that has 43 home runs and 266 strikeouts in 808 career minor league at-bats. Somehow, he’s still managed to hit .303 despite all those strikeouts. A BABIP of .385 or higher at every level certainly helps. Don’t expect that average to continue, but Peters also will likely never hurt you in the batting average department.
The Dodgers’ outfield is crowded as usual, but Peters could force his way into the mix as soon as 2019.
Thank you for reading another edition of Dynasty Dugout here on Fantrax. I hope you can use this article to your advantage and get a leg up on your fellow league members. Got a question that I didn’t cover here? Ask below or follow me on Twitter @EricCross04 and ask there.