The 2014 fantasy baseball outfield draft class is full of speed, power, and guys hitting for a good average but the difference between the fantasy position of outfield and the real-life outlook is that many fantasy leagues have owners starting more than three at a time. This does deplete the pool quickly but this can also work to your advantage because there is Mike Trout then roughly 15 additional players that could finish at two overall and over 25 that I could see finishing in the top ten once the season is said and done.
Wait it out at this position and do not reach, you should be able to have a solid core by just letting players fall to you at the appropriate spots (or the appropriate values if in an auction leagues). Also be smart when drafting if you grabbed power at your other positions find a few sneaky steals guys at this position or conversely if you got speed then ensure you get your power out of this position. It is really a Swiss army knife position so use that to your advantage when drafting.
Second Best at Position – Andrew McCutchen
We almost went Ryan Braun here but the question marks that surround him due to the PEDs allowed McCutchen to sneak by him. McCutchen has proven himself a 5 category stud now. With the Pirates actually a decent team for once McCutchen’s counting stats should be extremely solid again. We do not see him replacing Trout as the top guy at the end of the year but 25 bombs, 35 steals, 100 runs, 100 RBIs, all while batting over .300 is realistic.
Power Champion – Jay Bruce
I have loved this guy for years and I think he has a chance to blast 40+ bombs this season. He has the pedigree, the right protection in the line-up, and has hit 30 or more homeruns each of the last three seasons. One major thing to keep in mind with Bruce and with the call for who will hit the most homeruns in a position is also health. Sure a guy like Josh Hamilton could really bounce back and blow up but he is always hurt Jay Bruce should give you 155 games right in the prime of his career.
Must Have Sleeper – Kole Calhoun
Kole Calhoun could end up the steal of everyone’s draft. His average draft position is outside of the top 200 and he has a real chance to finish inside the top 20 at the position. Calhoun really came on last season and in only 241 trips to the plate he finished with 8 homeruns and just about 30 runs and RBIs. So if he plays a full season one would not be crazy to think he will get 600 at bats this year as he will be the everyday Right Fielder for the Angels. Simple algebra here (and you thought you would never use it!) shows that for Calhoun to get to 600 at bats he will have 2.5 more than last season. Take that 2.5 and multiple it by his counting stats and you are looking at a 20 homerun, 75 runs, 75 RBI guy that will not hurt your average that you are getting after pick 230!
High Upside Potential – Wil Myers
Wil Myers is a name that almost all baseball enthusiasts know this 23 year old has had scouts drooling since he was in high school. Living up to the hype is typically easier said than done but Myers looks like he is going to and might exceed expectations. He has all the tools to be a fantasy superstar and is going outside of the top 65 at this point. When looking at player being taken around Myers he is the only one I can see really breaking out and being a top 20 pick next year. Anytime you gamble on youth you could lose but it is these types of gambles that can help you win championships.
Cheap Speed – Billy Hamilton
Well I don’t know how cheap he will end up being but when talking about speed at this position we have to bring up the Hamilton debate. For those that do not know Billy Hamilton is crazy fast and even swiped just about 150 bags in the minors in 2012. So now that he is penciled in to lead off for the Reds the fantasy world has dreams a 100 steal guy in the bigs. If the price is right, meaning somewhat cheap, as in the late middle rounds in standard leagues, go ahead and grab him but if someone takes him in the 4th round thinking they locked up steals in a roto or every week in a head to head league they are wrong. Sure he is batting leadoff but has a hard time getting on base. If he does not get on base he does not steal bases.
Cheap Power – Alfonso Soriano
Alfonso Soriano hit 34 homeruns last year just 4 less than his age. Yep, Soriano is 38 years old (feeling old writing this as I remember him in the Yankee farm system) so there is a reason you can get a guy that hit over 30 bombs at a bargain discount price. I never put too much stock in stadiums but where the Yankees play always tend to increase production for a player so if he can stay healthy maybe he can give you 25 bombs this year.
Draft Day Advice
Let the outfielders come to you, do not reach, do not panic if they start flying off the board. There is some depth at this position and in the later rounds round out your team with some specialists.