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Hoping I haven’t lost you yet: the top 40 OFs (Part 2 of 4)

So we’re on to 26 through 40 here, after last week’s review of the top 25.

The wife and I had a good friend’s 40th birthday party over the weekend.  We have a son that’s about a year old, so we don’t get out much.  We lined up a babysitter and headed out way too excited for a night on the town with friends, which started with margaritas and ended on bourbon, with a whole bunch of beers sandwiched in between.  A rough simulation of the evening can be found here.  (Turn the sound down if you’re at work).  The next day it felt as though I had gotten into a broken-glass-eating contest and then had my head sat on by Mama June.  Holy shit.  Just wow.  People say, “I am starting to feel old.”  I’ve uttered that phrase before, but this Sunday morning was the first time I really meant it.

Moral of the story is: everything in moderation.  My rankings are broken into tiers and in general you don’t want more than one player from the same tier, at least in my opinion.  Just because I am super-high on Broxton and Pederson, doesn’t mean I want them both on my team because average in most leagues is, unfortunately, a category.  I don’t think you want Ramirez and Eaton on your team either even though they’re ranked back-to-back, because you’ll end up with a power problem.  You get the picture.

To the meat.



(26) Mark Trumbo

(27) Matt Kemp

(28) Adam Jones

(29) Khris Davis

I get it, Trumbo hit 47 home runs this past season.  I understand.  Thing is, it was and will remain the best season of his career.  The rate at which he hit flyballs jumped along with his HR/FB percentage to a career high of 24%.  If it drops back down to the 14% range as it was in the previous two seasons, you’ve got trouble.  I don’t foresee a total collapse unless he gets injured.  But the likelihood of that has diminished now that he’ll be mostly DHing for the O’s.  While there is a chance that he repeats, there’s also a chance he reverts back to a 30 home run hitter with a weak average or worse (he hit 22 homeruns in about 60 less at-bats the previous season).  In the second half of last season he hit .214, albeit with 19 homeruns.  That’s unplayable.

So, then, Steve, why’d you rank Schwarber and Bautista ahead of Trumbo — kind of the same profile, no?  No.  Bautista and Schwarber are better hitters, period.  With Trumbo and the next two guys the low OBP, no steal profile scares the bejesus out of me.  If they aren’t contributing home runs, they aren’t contributing anything.  And there’s the rub, I don’t see Trumbo hitting home runs at the same pace as last year and as a result, he’ll be unplayable for stretches of time.  But you’ll be playing him because of the cost.  .250/30/1/75/85 is where I have him, with a risk of doing what he did in the second half of last year for the entirety of ’17.  The volatility here reminds me of his teammate Chris Davis.  The range of outcomes is wide as all hell.  Proceed with caution.

I have Kemp over Jones, but that’s a coin-flip really.  It’s hard to hit 35 homers like Kemp did last year and end up with an OPS that barely cracks .800 and hit only 9% better than league average.  That’s what he did though–thanks to a .304 OBP.  After the ’15 season with 12 steals on a Padres team that liked to run, Kemp swiped only 1 last year and I don’t see the steals ticking up in any meaningful way for ’17.  No steals, mid-twenties homeruns, 75 runs , and mid-80s RBI to go with a .270 average seems about right … then you start to worry about the health.  Like Cargo, I might take the plunge, but the price has to be right.  You know who Kemp is and you know the risk.  You don’t need 500 words on him.  And that’s all I have to say about that.

With Jones it feels like the bottom is going to fall out any season now.  He put up a very respectable .265/29/2/86/83 line last year.  But, with a wRC+ of 96.  He was not a good hitter.  His slugging dropped to .436 and his OBP hovered around it’s usual level at .310.  (What’s weird to me too is Jones’ reverse splits.  He has always struggled a bit against lefties but last year put up a triple slash line of .218/.268/.313 against southpaws.  That’s some backup catcher shit.)  There’s my added fear that he’s going to be hitting leadoff and reducing his RBI opportunities without a corresponding uptick in runs given that his OBP barely cracks .300 every year.  He still managed a solid line last year, but if a case of bad luck hits or the power dips a bit, I don’t think it’s going to be pretty.  Draft him and pray for last year’s line, but if he starts slow he won’t be on any of my buy-low lists.

Davis hit 42 homeruns last year on his way to a huge .247/42/1/85/102 line.  Strange that he left the confines of friendly Miller Park and entered the cavernous stadium and upped his homeruns by 15 over the previous year.  A dozen or more of those home runs, however, were just-enough home runs, i.e., he was lucky.  Add in the fact that he’s a .245 hitter and you’ve got a recipe for a .247/31/1/76/91 season.  I stole all those numbers from Steamer even though I think the RBIs are high.  I think Oakland’s offense will be terrible again (they ranked 28th in runs scored last year).  Davis’ predicted line is fine, but give me Miguel Sano and his (fleeting) upside or Adam Duvall and his Great American Ballpark, both being drafted about 5 rounds later.   As with Trumbo, if you’re drafting Davis expecting a repeat I think you are going to be disappointed.



(30) Jose Ramirez

(31) Adam Eaton

(32) Odubel Herrera

(33) Lorenzo Cain

(34) Jose Peraza

I am going to be honest with you here, this tier is boring.  Boring is okay and boring often wins championships.  A little power, above-average speed and a nice average for each is what I am expecting.  I will probably own some of them in some leagues, so I am not saying avoid them.  They’re just not that sexy to me, that’s all.

Ramirez had somewhat of a breakout year on the way to a .312/11/22/84/76 line and it all appears to be real.   He doesn’t strike out, with a K% of 10% last year, and has decent speed, so the average should hover in the .285 to .300 range.  HR/FB has stayed at 6% over the last two seasons, with a FB% at 36%, so I don’t expect much movement there.  Steals should hover around 20 as well.  He’s not a great thief, being caught 7 times in 29 attempts, but that’s not enough of a deterrent to stop his running next year.  He should hit fifth for the Indians assuming Santana remains in the leadoff role, so the numbers there won’t likely move too much either.  Ramirez is still young and there might be more there, but even with a little more, we’re still talking solid, but unspectacular, to the tune of .295/10/20/80/80.

Speaking of guys looking like they’ll repeat their performances from last year.  Eaton hit .287 in ’15 and .284 in ’16.  OBP went from .361 to .362.  Slugging percentage went from .431 to .428.  Homers stayed consistent at 14.  Steals went from 18 to 14.  He scored 98 and 91 and drove in 56 and 59.  That’s creepy consistency.  Only thing that changes is the scenery as Eaton will now, likely, hit in front of Turner, Murphy, and Harper.  I would like to see him in the two-hole, but he’s always been a leadoff hitter and Baker adapts to changes at a glacial rate.  He’s gonna score a lotta runs though.  .285/14/14/110/50 for ’17.  Cool.  Let’s move on.

Herrera is a bit more interesting.  He came busting out of the gates with a WRC+ of 145 in April and 132 in May, fueled largely by a .462 and .393 OBP.  As the league adjusted his numbers came back to earth, though he did show an uptick in homers in ’16 popping 15.  He slashed his K rate 4% points in ’16 and has run above-average BABIPs for the past two seasons so I think the average is for real.  The 26-year-old is who he is at this point and that’s fine and somewhat valuable.  Ramirez has the potential for a little bit more with his line, Eaton has the average and lineup security, but Odubel has a bit more speed with the 25 swipes last year and 13 in the second half without being caught.  I think a repeat of last year is about right: .280/15/25/90/50.

Like I said in the title, I had Peraza lower until Phillips finally agreed to waive his no trade clause.  It’s tempting to project out Peraza’s .324/3/21/25/25 line over 256 at bats and see 10 homers and 50 steals with a full season of at bats.  The power for double digit home runs, though, won’t be there.  He’d never hit more than 3 home runs in any season over the course of his minor league career.  I am nervous about the speed too with him being caught a third of the time in his 31 attempts.  That keeps up and he’s likely to stop running as much.   The average will be there with his speed, but not to the tune of the .324 he hit last year and he doesn’t walk (2.7 BB% last year.  Yikes.), so I do have concerns about even getting on base to attempt steals given a OBP likely hovering in the .300 range.  That said, the Reds suck so he’ll play and likely steal 30 with an outside shot at 40.  Something to the tune of .285/6/35/70/50 fits right into this tier.

Cain makes me a little nervous, I think he had a career year ’15 and he’s never been a picture of health.  That said, when he plays he is consistent to the tune of .285 to .300, with a 15 home run 30 steal pace.  He hits in the middle of the KC lineup, so his counting numbers will look a little better than the guys above.  I’d say .290/15/25/100/70 with a moderate size asterisk for health.  Fine, good, okay, let’s get the heck out of this tier before I fall asleep.


(35) Keon Broxton

(36) Joc Pederson

You:  Keon Broxton at number 35.  Joc Pederson at 36.  You serious?




Broxton put up a .242/9/23/19/23 line in ’16 in 207 ABs.  The speed is for real.  He stole 28 in 367 plate appearances in AAA in ’15 and 18 in 188 plate appearances again in AAA ball in ’16 before getting the call-up.  He stole 23 only being caught 4 times with the Brewers last year in 244 at-bats the rest of the year in ’16.  With the Brewers rebuilding he should get his shot to hit at the top of, or in the heart of the order being possibly their best player.  The power numbers may have been a bit inflated last year, with a HR/FB ratio of around 25%.  Still, though, given the exit velocity, I don’t think a homerun total in the teens is hoping for too much.  Getting more the meat, Broxton’s exit velocity has me intrigued.  He fucking smokes the ball and had a game last year where every ball he bit exited his bat at over 100 mph.  His hard hit percentage is 43.3% sneaking right in around Freddie Freeman and Stanton, so I think the .373 BABIP doesn’t scream major regression, though it is due to go down some.  Problem is, he doesn’t make that much contact with a 36.1% k-rate.  Ouch.  That’s it though; that’s the only wart I see.  If he can cut the strikeout rate he’ll be a next year’s Jonathan Villar.  I think he can do it.  That’s just my gut though.  Even if he doesn’t, you still have a valuable player.  I am cherry-picking but in August of last year in 96 PAs he struck out 34 times … on his way to a .275, 3 homer, and 11 steal line for the month.  If he stays who he was last year he has value.  If he takes a step forward, he’s a top-10 outfielder.  Let’s go out on a limb and go with .255/18/47/80/70.

At some point outside the first five or six rounds, you have to start accepting that players are gonna have issues, whether it be health, power, average, etc.  What I look for is power and potential upside and I see both in Pederson, who had a triple slash line last year of .269/.371/.547 … against righties.  Still, he’s only 25 and has a 30/30 season in AAA just two years ago.  The power has translated to the majors, we just need the speed.  So what if he platoons.  You sit him against lefties too and you’ve got a great player for 2/3 of the season.  If he does step up against lefties, you have an all-star.  In the second half his WRC+ was 143 with a .900 OPS.  As with Polanco, we are starting to expect these guys to bust on the scene and be all-stars a-la Trout and Harper.  It takes time.  I think that Pederson is figuring it out and .255/30/12/80/80 is where he’ll end up with potential for more.  Don’t think so?  Don’t draft him.



Join me for a ride with these geriatrics.

(37) Kendrys Morales

(38) Carlos Beltran

(39) Matt Holliday

I could write blurbs about these guys, but you should go check out their player pages and save yourself the time here.  They’ve been around forever and have long track records.  Speaking of which, I say upside and you think young.  Old guys have upside too, don’t forget.  Where’s the upside you ask?

Well, Morales is moving from Kaufman stadium to Rogers Centre, where he’ll hit behind Devon Travis, Donaldson, and Bautista.   .270/28/75/100.  Yes, please.

Beltran‘s move isn’t so much about the park as the lineup, where he should slot fifth behind Springer, Bregman, Altuve, and Correa.  .275/22/85/100. Again, yes, please.

Holliday had a down year, but still hit the ball hard with 20 homeruns in 426 ABs.  He’ll be able to DH and play first to stay healthy and will be playing in a bandbox. .275/25/80/90.  Yup.

Solid-to-acceptable average, somewhere in the mid-to-high twenties in home runs and great counting stats.  I will take that all day at their prices.  No speed, but you can’t have it all.

I get it, they’re not super-fun to draft, so you do you.  You draft Billy Hamilton though and you’re on your way to winning steals with a team that finishes in sixth place.  If you’re in a re-draft league expecting a top 20 season from Bennitendi, I am not sure what you’re seeing.  Mazara is awesome and I would be over the moon if he were on the O’s, but look at his projections and compare to the three guys above, you seeing what I am seeing?  Just my take.

Wait, there’s only 39 guys here?  I know, but the tiers broke out this way and I don’t want to split them up.  You’ll get 40-60 next time.  Till then …


Major League Fantasy Football 2017 League Openings

(Click the RED link below to listen)

Major League Fantasy Baseball Radio Show: Join Corey D Roberts, and Kyle Amore live on Sunday March 26th, 2017 from 7-9pm EST for episode #80 of Major League Fantasy Baseball Radio. We are a live broadcast that will take callers at 323-870-4395. Press 1 to speak with the host. This week we will discuss players in the draft going for nice bargains.

Our guest this week is Steve Hamilton. Steve is a writer, and editor with focusing on baseball. His articles publish every Saturday.

You can find our shows on I-Tunes. Just search for Major League Fantasy Sports in the podcasts section. For Android users go to “Podcast Republic,” then download that app, and search for “Major League Fantasy Sports Show”


(Click the RED link below to listen)

Major League Fantasy Baseball Radio Show: Join Corey D Roberts, and Kyle Amore live on Sunday April 2nd, 2017 from 7-9pm EST for episode #81 of Major League Fantasy Baseball Radio. We are a live broadcast that will take callers at 323-870-4395. Press 1 to speak with the host. OPENING DAY SPECIAL! We will discuss some of the days events as well as relevant fantasy baseball updates.

Our guests this week are Ron Shandler, and Bilal Chaudry. Ron is FSTA Hall of Famer, and one of the pioneers of fantasy baseball. You can find his work at Bilal is a veteran owner in Major League Fantasy Baseball leagues and frequent radio guest.

You can find our shows on I-Tunes. Just search for Major League Fantasy Sports in the podcasts section. For Android users go to “Podcast Republic,” then download that app, and search for “Major League Fantasy Sports Show”

I have been playing fantasy baseball for about a decade over just about every format. Long time player, but first time writer. Hope to provide you helpful, informative, and entertaining insight throughout the season.



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@brandonziman You are more than welcome Brandon. You were a fantastic writer and a joy to work with. As we move through a very big transition for us hopefully we can continue to work with one anither.

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