Lefty Gomez once said, “The secret to my success was clean living and a fast outfield.” I tend to agree with Mr. Gomez. I’ll go one further though and say the secret to my success as a fantasy baseball player is clean living, fast outfield, and balance.
Whether you use Stars-and-Scrubs, LIMA, Best Available, or any of the other billion roster-building methods, one constant remains, you need to find balance in your outfield. What I mean by balance is finding players that can do a multitude of things. You need the box score fillers. By the natural demands on the outfield position, balanced, athletic players tend to be readily available.
If you play in three outfield leagues, you should be ashamed of yourself, but I understand that not everybody likes to play in deeper leagues. You players in three outfield leagues should have no problem filling a great lineup of outfielders. This post is more for you hardcore fantasy baseball enthusiasts out there in five outfielder leagues. Rankings become more important the deeper the league that you call home.
Bryce Harper OF WAS- I haven’t been this in love with a player since Ryan Braun came onto the scene. If you haven’t watched Harper play, you wouldn’t know what I’m talking about. I ranked Mike Trout ahead of Bryce Harper, but in my heart of hearts (this is where that clean living comes into play), I believe Harper will outperform Trout as soon as this season.
Take away the Lebron-James like prospect hype. Don’t look at the best September of all MLB hitters. Ignore Harper’s work ethic, playing style, heart, swing, defense, etc… Draft Bryce Harper because he’s the epitome of balance and value. If you believe that he is ready to be a top 5 player, as I do, then drafting Harper in the second, third, or fourth rounds of drafts should have no real impact on whether or not you should take him. Just shut up, put the face paint on, and buy the hype. It’s time.
Justin Upton OF ATL- My heart says thank you every time I get the joy to write the name Justin Upton and ATL together. Upton’s talent has never been in question. His attitude and desire to succeed are another story. He actually reminds me of Matt Kemp in regards to that. In Atlanta alongside his brother B.J., he will have comfort and happiness (so will I).
Don’t buy what other writers or experts are saying about Upton’s home-field splits or that he’s an injury risk. He will be fine in Atlanta. Watch the videos of his massive Spring Training home runs, they would have no problems making out of any park. If he somehow happens into 20+ steals, you’re golden.
Dexter Fowler OF COL- If you are looking for that guy to take a gamble on in the middle rounds of drafts, look no further than Fowler. He has all the speed you need from a lead-off hitter and expect his stolen base opportunities to continue to grow. His OBP is great. He’ll score runs with the mashers hitting behind him. He has just enough power to be dangerous in Colorado.
Twenty homers is not insanity. I’m not overly impressed with the pitching this year in the NL West. Put all that together and add that Fowler is entering the mystic age 27 season, and you have all the makings of that breakout we’ve all been waiting for.
Guys I Don’t Like:
Carlos Beltran OF STL- If you read anything that I wrote over at The Hardball Times, you’d know that I was a fan of Beltran last year. I’m not a fan this year. While he was awesome in the first half, Beltran fell off the map in the second half of 2012. He’s at that age where I think we’ll see more injuries which is scary because Beltran’s value throughout his career has been interlaced with his health.
I also think we’ll see the home runs come down to more of his career norms. If you expect .270/22/10SBs then you’re about right. Pay for that. I’ll probably be drafting pitchers when Beltran gets his turn to be picked anyways.
Adam Eaton OF ARI- Everybody I read spurned this love affair with Eaton this off-season as Eaton teased with a special blend of speed and power. Here’s where that annoying saying “Spring stats don’t mean anything” should be echoing your mind. He has some skills no doubt.
I just don’t buy that he is going to be as good as the hype has driven his value to be. Some experts out there have this guy in their top 150. I don’t get that at all. I have the benefit as I write this to know that Eaton is out for 6-8 weeks with an elbow sprain, but even if he’s healthy I’m not paying the price. With the injury, Eaton should only be drafted in NL Only leagues.
Jayson Werth OF WAS- I have no reason for hate on Werth. He will probably repay his draft position. He’s burned me one too many times. In daily fantasy you have to have a short memory, in yearly leagues I hold grudges. Werth is dead to me.