Recreational Fishing: Outfield

We’re doing a little recreational fishing here at Today, we’re ignoring the trophy fish that landed Joe Bucher in the Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame. We want those rough, ugly fish; the fish whom nobody pays attention. Round 25 and beyond, no one who goes before our 288 ADP cut-off. We’re looking to snag an Outfielder and we don’t have much for bait. Grab a handful of that jellied head cheese and a piece of corn, we’re fishing for bottom-feeders. Make the jump for the underrated few who the public largely (and mistakenly) ignore.

12-team Mixed Leagues

Michael Brantley -ADP NA- You have to love Michael Brantley, he is the prototypical leadoff hitter. He takes walks (above 10% BB% at all stops in the minors), doesn’t strike out much (12.8% in ’10), has speed to burn (59 SB in 188 games at AAA) and he hits a ton of Line Drives and Ground Balls. If he had power, he’d be a perennial All-Star. His .246 Batting Average from ’10 was sabotaged by a .217 BABIP in (32) April At Bats and a .152 BABIP in (70) July At Bats. The BABIP numbers he put up in August (.318) and September (.330) are more indicative of his skill set. This forecast uses a .322 BABIP. 2010 Projection: .290-7-88-52-35 (600 AB)

Ryan Raburn -ADP 320- I could have sworn Raburn had a much better ADP when I wrote the 2B Recreational Fishing piece. Even if Raburn doesn’t qualify at Second Base in your league, he’s still Utility or Bench worthy in 12-team mixed leagues as an Outfielder. You’re getting a guy who hits plenty of Fly Balls and a decent chunk of them leave the yard. Hitting behind Magglio Ordonez, Miguel Cabrera and Victor Martinez will have its benefits. Don’t worry about the playing time, Raburn is the everyday Left Fielder in Detroit. 2010 Projection: .276-25-85-89-5 (565 AB)

Coco Crisp -ADP 335- According to BaseballMonster, Coco was the 15th best player on a per-game basis last season. Only Carlos Gonzalez, Josh Hamilton, Carl Crawford and Nelson Cruz ranked higher at the Outfield position. This was the result of an extraordinary number of Stolen Bases (35 attempts, 32 steals in 290 At Bats). The only problem was the 290 At Bats. Coco Chanel is dainty. He’s reached 500 At Bats twice since 2002. As you can see in the above picture, something is up with Coco’s fingers. He’s hit the 15-Day DL three times due to a sprained thumb and a fractured pinky and index finger. His InjuryTool page has nine injuries listed for his hands. Nein! There’s six listed for his shoulder (including a trip to the 60-day DL in ’09), three for the knees, three for the thighs and one for the forearm, foot, chest, leg, trunk, neck, hip, groin, back and face. In other words, he’s prone to injuries. There’s loads of potential here and the risk is negligible. Crisp could easily steal 50 bases, but I played it safe with the projection. It’s very unlikely that he reaches this number of At Bats. 2010 Projection: .272-10-83-53-34 (500 AB)

Mono-league (AL and NL Only) and Deep Mixed Leagues

Nyjer Morgan -ADP 361- Morgan is another source of cheap speed. He is, however, a high maintenance player (weekly leaguers beware). You’ll want to take him out of the lineup when Washington faces a Left Handed Starter. Morgan sports a career .200 AVG with stolen 13 bases (25 attempts) in 290 AB against LHP. Not good. Also not good, Morgan was caught stealing 17 times in 51 attempts last season and plans on being more selective on the base paths in ’11. What is good is the expected Batting Average that comes from a below average K% and large number of Line Drives and Ground Balls. This projection assumes Nyjer will lose some playing time due to his struggles against Lefties. Even if he doesn’t lose PT, you don’t want the other 200 At Bats. 2010 Projection: .302-1-73-31-35 (450 AB)

Will Venable -ADP 356- Nobody likes a Padre, the fantasy baseball community is comprised of heathens. This worldwide disdain for all those who call Petco home enables Venable to sneak past the clueless masses. Venable is another high maintenance player. Like Nyjer Morgan, he doesn’t perform well against LHP (.223/.303/.280). However, Will has enough power to reach double digit HR and steal 30 plus bases in his limited At Bats. The higher powers plan on giving Venable the green light more often after the team excommunicated Adrian Adonis. If you can ignore the Batting Average and don’t mind tinkering with your lineup, you’ll praise Venable. 2010 Projection: .249-15-69-59-34 (450 AB)

Nate McLouth -ADP 388- Remember Nate McLouth? The guy who won the Gold Glove in ’08 with a -12 UZR. The guy who posted a .190 Batting Average last season. The guy who has a sore shoulder and just received a cortisone shot. He’s back. Fredi Gonzalez has McLouth penciled in as the No.2 hitter if Chipper Jones is healthy. That’s right, McLouth is hitting second and Jason Heyward is being pushed down to the 6th spot. I have a feeling Braves fans will be asking Bobby Cox to come back soon. We can’t dismiss McLouth though, he put up a 26/23 season in ’08 and a 20/19 season in ’09. The Batting Average won’t be pretty (due to the very low number of Line Drives), but if he’s healthy he should provide some value at that ADP. Remember, McLouth finished strong in ’10 after serving time at AAA. Don’t be afraid to play in Nasty Nate’s naughty jungle of love. 2010 Projection: .253-20-77-79-20 (550 AB)

Alex Gordon -ADP NA- It’s hard to believe, but the former AA MVP is already 27-years old. How time flies when you’re recovering from injuries. Gordon has hit the 15-day DL in each of the past three seasons, one of those visits lasted 91 days (hip surgery in April of ’09). Gordon has patience at the plate, solid power and some speed, but we shouldn’t expect any help in the Batting Average department. The K% isn’t pretty (25.1%) and the high BABIP numbers from the minor leagues (.373, .373, .391) haven’t translated to the majors even though he hits plenty of Line Drives. If he can get past the injury problems, I think he has a solid chance of being useful in deeper leagues. He’s currently on a hot streak in Spring Training if that counts for anything (it doesn’t). 2010 Projection: .264-21-82-74-12 (550 AB)

Travis Snider -ADP 295- Snider, the Blue Jays 1st Round pick in ’06, has the potential to break out and provide generous profits at this ADP. He has power to all fields, his 18.3% HR/FB% would have been the league’s 14th best mark had he logged enough At Bats. His ’10 season was derailed by a wrist injury that sidelined him for two months. If Snider can reduce the strikeouts (26.5% K% in ’10) and generate more Fly Balls, he’d be able to put up some serious power numbers. 2010 Projection: .263-24-76-78-7 (560 AB)

Chris Coghlan -ADP 384- Chris Coghlan is the Marlins leadoff hitter. That should be enough to warrant some attention. He’s not going to wow you in any roto categories, but he’s an all around solid player. His 23.1% career LD% is very good, it’s actually the league’s 5th best percentage since 2009. He drives the ball well, but he doesn’t hit enough Fly Balls to generate exciting HR numbers. Coghlan had knee surgery last August, but his recovery from the operation appears to be ahead of schedule. As long as that continues, he should be a useful fantasy option in deeper leagues. 2010 Projection: .279-11-91-43-18 (610 AB)

Seth Smith -ADP 360- Smith is another high maintenance player (surprise!). Not even the thin air of Colorado can help Seth against southpaws (.190/.267/.331 in 121 career AB vs LHP). Enter Spilborghs and Wigginton. Smith may struggled against Lefties, but he destroys Right Handed Pitching (.876 career OPS). If you enjoy adjusting your lineup on a daily basis, Seth Smith makes for a more-than-solid option most days of the week. 2010 Projection: .290-18-71-67-4 (400 AB)

Carlos Gomez -ADP NA- Carlos Gomez is pure speed. The one-time, overrated Mets prospect doesn’t have the Plate Discipline to be a traditional leadoff hitter. He strikes out bunting. He doesn’t hit many Line Drives. The power is minimal. And if he doesn’t produce, there is a chance of Mat Gamel getting some playing time in the Outfield at Gomez’ expense. But the speed is amazing and the Brewers will let Carlos run wild if he can get on base. There is the potential for 35-50 SB here. 2010 Projection: .258-8-70-47-39 (500 AB)

Cameron Maybin -ADP NA- It’s 2011 and everyone has given up on Cameron Maybin. They have the right to do so. Cam-ron, now a Padre, hasn’t hit double digit HR or stole double digit bases in any MLB season. It’s hard to believe he was the centerpiece in the Miguel Cabrera trade. He has talent, there’s no doubt about it, but he strikes out too much (31.4% career K%) and doesn’t drive the ball consistently when he does make contact (his 15.2% career LD% is awful). This is a no-cost, speculation grab based on raw talent, not skills. 2011 Projection: .254-14-81-60-23 (560 AB)

Austin Jackson -ADP 339- It’s surprising to see the Tigers’ leadoff hitter, who hit .293 last season, being drafted so late. I guess everyone knows about his insanely high BABIP (.396) and the unlikelihood of him repeating such a number. Jackson says he wants to steal more bases this summer. His goal is 40 bags, but he’ll have enough trouble repeating the 27 steals from last season when he’s not on base as often. I could bash on Jackson all day (poor K%, limited power, overrated Yankees prospect, meh BB%, etc.), but we should give him some credit for all the Line Drives he hit in ’10. His 24.2% LD% was topped by only James Loney. Will he repeat that number? Doubtful, but he did it. There, I said something nice. Time for the 2010 Projection: .263-6-88-41-27 (620 AB)

Peter Bourjos -ADP 394- The fantasy community breathed a sigh of relief when Podsednik signed with the Blue Jays. Not because Peter’s job was safe, but because the chances of Mike Trout being called up weren’t crushed. Peter has the amazing feet (119 SB during the past three years), but lacks the on base skills (poor BB%, LD%) to take advantage of his wheels. Mike Trout may be able to do it, but Peter can’t steal First Base. Mike Trout. 2010 Projection: .255-9-70-46-27 (500 AB)

Domonic Brown -ADP 335- We were already worried Dom’s playing time and then he decided to break his hand (hamate bone). That’s what he gets for abandoning a mechanical adjustment after 17 At Bats in Spring Training. Now Ben Francisco will get the full run in Right Field to start the season as Brown spends the next six weeks in recovery mode. Francisco was a popular deep sleeper in NL Only leagues last season and has a decent shot at earning some serious playing time. Is it possible that Brown disappoints us like Cameron Maybin did? It is, the K% isn’t anything special and the Line Drives are inconsistent. He doesn’t strike out as much as Cameron and he’s in a better situation (lineup, ballpark) so the hope is alive and well. If you have the room to stash him, might as well do it. Just remember, the power might not be there right away because of the hamate bone injury. This projection was made before the injury and had him receiving most of his playing time against RHP. 2010 Projection: .258-10-55-61-13 (400 AB)

Desmond Jennings -ADP 300- Oh Desmond Jennings, how I love thee. Anytime you hear the words “Carl Crawford clone”, your ears perk up and your heart opens. The Rays top prospect is a dandy. He’s a disciplined hitter, limits the Ks, has developing power (which is code for “very little right now”) and steals bases by the dozen. The only problem; the Rays went out and signed Johnny Damon and Manny Ramirez when they already had B.J. Upton, Ben Zobrist and Matt Joyce to play the Outfield. Desmond Jennings is stuck in AAA for the time being and no one knows when he’ll be promoted. Knowing the Rays, he won’t be brought up until September. This is the team who let Wade Davis throw ugly pitches all season while Hellickson dominated AAA with ease. Them rat bastards. No projection! I’m protesting.

The Boring Veterans Club: Deep League Value Grabs

Jonny Gomes -ADP NA- 2011 Projection: .262-26-69-72-4 (450 AB)
Marlon Byrd -ADP 356- 2011 Projection: .282-13-77-71-4 (585 AB)
Juan Rivera -ADP 397- 2011 Projection: .275-21-66-78-1 (480 AB)
David DeJesus -ADP 395- 2011 Projection: .288-8-73-73-5 (550 AB)
Luke Scott -ADP 348- 2011 Projection: .262-24-64-71-1 (450 AB)

Recreational Fishing [C] [1B] [2B] [SS] [3B] [OF] [SP] [RP]

2011 Outfield Rankings and Projections

ADP numbers provided by MockDraftCentral