Separating the very good from the merely goodby Paul Singman
March 09, 2010
Looking over the Mock Draft Central ADP report and focusing on when certain positions are taken, it becomes clear that a run of outfielders generally occurs in drafts from picks 50 to 70. In a standard 12-team draft those picks equate to the beginning of round five to the end of round six.
Looking at the data I count a total of 24 players picked on average over this 21-pick stretch and 12 of them happen to be outfielders. Forgoing anonymity, they are the following players.
So this means about half of the players taken over this stretch are outfielders and even with the usual ADP caveats, I think it is worth investigating to find out who the best options are of this grass-roaming group. Using the recently debuted THT Projections we can come up with a general expectation for each player and using those numbers as a baseline, separate the very good from the merely good.
Here are those same 12 players again but instead of their 2009 numbers next to their name, their projected stat line for the 2010 season follows.
+-------------------------------------------------------------+ | THT 2010 PROJECTED STATS | +-------------------+-----+-----+-----+----+-----+----+-------+ | Player | Age | AB | R | HR | RBI | SB | Avg | +-------------------+-----+-----+-----+----+-----+----+-------+ | Nick Markakis | 26 | 585 | 85 | 18 | 85 | 9 | 0.298 | | Adam Lind | 27 | 569 | 78 | 24 | 92 | 1 | 0.291 | | Curtis Granderson | 29 | 617 | 102 | 28 | 95 | 19 | 0.277 | | Josh Hamilton | 29 | 497 | 74 | 22 | 80 | 9 | 0.290 | | B.J. Upton | 25 | 539 | 86 | 14 | 63 | 38 | 0.269 | | Adam Dunn | 30 | 509 | 90 | 40 | 108 | 2 | 0.262 | | Nelson Cruz | 30 | 557 | 92 | 38 | 107 | 18 | 0.274 | | Manny Ramirez | 38 | 466 | 83 | 29 | 96 | 0 | 0.317 | | Andre Ethier | 28 | 550 | 84 | 24 | 92 | 5 | 0.289 | | Shin-Soo Choo | 28 | 541 | 89 | 20 | 83 | 16 | 0.301 | | Carlos Lee | 34 | 567 | 82 | 26 | 97 | 6 | 0.301 | | Shane Victorino | 29 | 591 | 92 | 11 | 66 | 32 | 0.289 | +-------------------+-----+-----+-----+----+-----+----+-------+
As you can see, there are a couple of speed options such as Upton and Victorino, a few power options in Dunn in particular, and then there are those desirable across-the-board players in Granderson, Choo, and Cruz. Check out that line projected for Nelson Cruz! I don't like saying that my eyeballing of a player's peripheral stats is more accurate than a projection system, but in this case I do feel comfortable knocking a decent amount of home runs off of Cruz' projection.
|It's OK, Nelson. Some of us just take longer to develop than others. (Icon/SMI)|
Even with the detraction, Cruz comes off as an appealing option with his ability to contribute across the board. If, however, the fact that Cruz was in the minor leagues not more than a year ago makes you afraid to pull the trigger at this stage of a draft, then Granderson appears to be a similar, yet much safer option. The third five-category contributor, Choo, I find less appealing than most, mainly because of his notoriously high BABIP, which when regressed, would wipe away the extra value he provides in the batting average category.
If you are looking for power, Adam Dunn is the only player of the group besides Cruz predicted to hit over 30 home runs and with his average projected to not drop below the .260 mark, should not wreck havoc on your team's batting average. Carlos Lee and Manny, while capable of hitting 30-plus home runs with ease no too long ago, are now well into their thirties and most likely will top out at about 25 home runs.
The hidden power supply in this group is found where Adam Lind stands with, in my opinion, the ability to hit another 30 bombs or more in 2010. A projection system, understandably, would be skeptical of Lind's power outburst last year but as someone who predicted the outburst, it does not seem altogether too improbable for it to happen again. Couple his power ability with his relatively high .290-.300 average and out comes an attractive outfield option in the sixth round.
Andre Ethier is close to having the home run and average capabilities of Lind but will more likely finish with around 25 to 28 home runs instead. He may be a safer option given his more proven track record, but Lind is definitely more capable of posting home run totals well into the thirties and is also the player I am partial to taking given the choice between the two similar players.
Rounding out the last of the players: Markakis, while perhaps the safest player to draft of this bunch, does not appear to have the ceiling anymore of the other players. In retrospect, I should not have argued in favor of Markakis over Troy Tulowitzki in the comments section of this article.
Hamilton has a ceiling that reaches into the stratosphere, but his riskiness due to poor health and general inconsistency when on the field turn me away from him. Another risk magnet, B.J. Upton, is a player almost impossible to forecast. At least with him if all else fails, you can count on around 40 steals and somewhere indeterminable, yet tangible, there exists the possibility of a year reminiscent of his magnificent 2007.
Finally there is Victorino, who is an overall solid fantasy player as his projected line indicates. The difficultly with him is deciding where to rank him amongst this group of players. A comparison between Victorino and Ethier looks like this: even in terms of batting average, Ethier gets a slight edge in RBI/run totals and so it comes down to home runs and steals. Ethier can be expected to hit about 15 more home runs while Victorino will thieve approximately 25 more bases.
Which is more valuable, the 15 home runs or 25 steals? It is a difficult question to answer and one that makes rankings two players like this a struggle. Most of the time I would opt to take the slugger early and grab Ethier, though a reasonable case could also be made for Victorino.
If I had to make a definitive list ranking these players it would look something like this:
1) Curtis Granderson
2) Nelson Cruz
3) Adam Lind
4) Adam Dunn
5) B.J. Upton
6) Andre Ethier
7) Shane Victorino
8) Josh Hamilton
9) Nick Markakis
10) Shin-Soo Choo
11) Carlos Lee
12) Manny Ramirez
Having sorted (for the most part) these outfielders out, the question now is will you take an outfielder during this popular spot in the draft? And the answer to that question ... I'll let you decide.
If you are interested in the THT Projections for all players for the 2010 season (and beyond), check out this page for more information.
Paul has been managing fantasy baseball teams for many seasons and writing for THT Fantasy over the past three years. He is currently a student at UPenn welcomes readers' thoughts at his email here or in the comments below.
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