The outfield (or the field outside of the infield, to you laymen) is deep and diverse in 2020, as usual. Due to the sheer number of outfielders we can dissect, I’m going to make this entry a little different from the rest of the series. There are going to be a few more players discussed here than usual, but they’ll be a bit more of the quick-hit variety. Here are the values in the outfield as projected by our Fantrax Score compared to the ADP.
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Projected Outfield Values
Marcell Ozuna, Atlanta Braves
Fantrax Projection: 630 PA, 85 R, 32 HR, 98 RBI, 6 SB, .271/.344/.494
The first outfielder to go outside of the top 100 in ADP probably won’t actually be available here in March. Now that Marcell Ozuna signed with the Braves, his ADP will undoubtedly rise. That will suck some of the value out of this projection, but keeping this ADP in mind when you’re in the draft room could help you nab him before someone else peeks down the ADP and spies him at 102. The Braves lineup will allow plenty of opportunities for him to meet or surpass 170 R+RBI. The power and average projections are reasonable.
The stolen bases are a crapshoot, on the other hand. Ozuna had stolen 14 total bases over his previous six years coming into 2019 – when he stole 12. He was efficient, too, getting caught just twice. Steals are a bit of a “want-to” stat, and it’s anyone’s guess whether Ozuna is going to want to steal bases in 2020. Considering he signed a one-year deal, he may want to take it easy on the bases to avoid an injury that could cost him serious money in 2021 and beyond. Conversely, if he stole bases in 2019 in an effort to pump up his value as an impending free agent, why wouldn’t he do it again? Six steals is a solid hedge, but be aware that he could reasonably steal either another dozen bases or absolutely zero like he did in 2016. The ADP has him as OF25 while the projected Score has him at OF17. I’m with the projections, but the ADP should catch up.
Lourdes Gurriel, Jr., Toronto Blue Jays
Fantrax Projection: 574 PA, 79 R, 30 HR, 82 RBI, 9 SB, .275/.323/.508
This projection is a sort of confirmation bias for me since Lourdes Gurriel, Jr. stands out as a bargain in my eyes. Following an absolutely dreadful start in 2019, Gurriel was demoted to Triple-A. He didn’t return until over a month later, but when he did he was a changed man. His bat came to life with a new flyball-heavy approach and he slashed .292/.339/.580 the rest of the way with 20 HR and 15 doubles in just 70 games. This OF29 projection already likes him relative to his OF40 ADP. If he can actually repeat what he did from May 2019 and on, he will make even the rosy projection look conservative.
Aristides Aquino, Cincinnati Reds
Fantrax Projection: 582 PA, 79 R, 38 HR, 87 RBI, 8 SB, .251/.315/.517
Whereas I’ve been pro-projection thus far, I’m heading the opposite direction here. Aristides Aquino was a very fun out-of-nowhere masher down the stretch for the Reds. He smashed 19 HR in just 56 games, hitting a reasonable .259 while even chipping in seven steals. However, Aquino has never been a contact king, and already in September, MLB pitching seemed to figure him out. He hit just .196/.236/.382 with a 30.9% K% over 110 September plate appearances. That does not bode well for future mashing.
This projection also includes a lot of playing time, which is much less likely now that the Reds signed Shogo Akiyama (more on him shortly) and Nick “I used to be Nicholas but now it’s just Nick again” Castellanos. They also have Jesse Winker as well as (eventually) Nick Senzel, when he’s healthy. I’ll take the hard under on every single one of the projected numbers. I’ll also wait until the ADP drops by at least 100 picks from 153 before I’m interested.
Nomar Mazara, Chicago White Sox
Fantrax Projection: 590 PA, 79 R, 26 HR, 87 RBI, .263/.326/.468
It’s funny to me how not only the Fantrax projection system but every major projection system that I have seen, has Nomar Mazara hitting well over 20 HR in 2020. In his first four years, he has hit 20, 20, 20, and 19 HR. All Mazara has to do is stay healthy (and probably avoid a platoon situation in Chicago) to do it, but can we really project that scenario? 590 PA would be the second-highest of his career but is entirely possible.
He is now part of a relatively stacked lineup on the South Side. Even so, his 166 R+RBI projection seems optimistic since he isn’t likely to hit higher than 5-6 in the order. Perhaps there is a breakout coming and the change of scenery does him good, but he hasn’t done anything to indicate a breakout is imminent. I’ll side with the less enthusiastic ADP on this one.
David Peralta, Arizona Diamondbacks
Fantrax Projection: 604 PA, 80 R, 21 HR, 88 RBI, 2 SB, .284/.353/475
Every year people underrate David Peralta’s sheer ability to hit. I mentioned him as a cheap batting average anchor in my earlier draft strategy piece, so I’m doing my part in the David Peralta Awareness Campaign (DPAC). Yes, I just made that up. Don’t look it up. The downside with Peralta is that he tends to miss time due to injury, and he doesn’t have plus power. He is a terrific contributor in R+RBI as well as average while he’s on the field though, and the addition of Starling Marte shouldn’t ding Peralta’s playing time. His projected 604 PA would be the second-highest he’s been able to muster. If his shoulder is good to go he will have a chance at that number, but I’m taking the under. Still, as the projected OF41 compared to his OF57 ADP, he looks like one of the better outfield values as an everyday bat hitting in the heart of an improved Diamondbacks lineup.
Teoscar Hernandez, Toronto Blue Jays
Fantrax Projection: 515 PA, 66 R, 30 HR, 68 RBI, 6 SB, .244/.314/.510
A lot of the projected profit here for Teoscar Hernandez comes down to the playing time. He could potentially see some time at first base in 2020 in addition to the outfield, which would help him approach his previous career-high of 523 PA. However, Hernandez is frankly just a pure low-average masher. That is the easiest profile to find late in drafts these days. A .510 SLG would be the highest he has posted over a full season, so combining that with 500+ PA would be the only way he nets 30+ HR and is a true bargain as the projections say. He is at least a not-nothing stolen base contributor, but this is not the type of profile you have to reach for.
Shogo Akiyama, Cincinnati Reds
Fantrax Projection: 540 PA, 73 R, 17 HR, 58 RBI, 6 SB, .270/.345/.440
This is as much of a PSA as anything. Shogo Akiyama is in the player pool, but he’s buried! Dig him up and draft him! Obviously, the late signing has affected Akiyama’s ADP as he is in the ADP dungeon with the likes of Ian Desmond and Nick Markakis. It’s difficult to accurately project what Akiyama will provide fantasy-wise at this point, but he should have a platoon role at or near the top of the Reds lineup at the very least. He’s known more for his contact ability than his power or stolen base potential. If I had to conjure a projection out of thin air as a wizard would a…rabbit? Whatever wizards conjure. In any case, if I were to conjure a projection personally, it would look a great deal like this one. It’s probably not an impact player in standard mixed leagues, but an upside OF4/5 in 15-team mixers.
Who are your top outfield values for 2020? Drop a few names in the comments below and help spread the word.
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