Late Round Fliers: Outfielders: Three Intriguing Names To Consider

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

At the tail end of our drafts we are all looking for value, regardless of position or category.  While outfield is generally viewed as a deep position, that doesn’t mean that all late round options are equal.  Here are a trio of outfielders who bring significant upside and can be had for next to nothing (and therefore, even if they fail they are easy to move on from):

 

Mikie Mahtook – Detroit Tigers (ADP – 338.4)
He appears primed to open the season as a starter in Detroit and there’s reason to think that he can thrive.  In 348 AB last season Mahtook hit .276 with 12 HR while displaying strong plate discipline and even more upside in his power.

The home run total came courtesy of a 13.3% HR/FB, which is elevated from what he showed in the past but is very reasonable (and now 28-years old it’s easily repeatable).  Couple that with 15 doubles as 6 triples and it’s easy to envision a 20+ HR campaign.

I’m regards to his average, he proved capable of making consistent contact with an 8.1% SwStr%.  He also wasn’t bad against any type of pitch (Whiff%):

  • Hard – 7.52%
  • Offspeed – 8.97%
  • Breaking – 15.76%

That profiles as a .280/20 outfielder who can also chip in some speed.  What’s not to like at a negligible price?

 

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Jose Pirela – San Diego Padres (ADP – 389.0)
There’s still a chance that he wins a spot in the outfield, though the clearer path could be a transition back to second base.  Either way Pirela showed last season that his bat can play in the Majors:

.288 (90-312), 10 HR, 40 RBI, 43 R, 4 SB

It’s easy to point towards a .343 BABIP and 11.2% SwStr% (20.6% strikeout rate) as reasons to be skeptical moving forward.  Those are fair concerns, but he’s added some power (13.2% HR/FB in the Majors in 2017 after hitting 13 HR over 201 PA at Triple -A) and has always showed some speed.

Even as a .270/15/10 type player there’s ample value at his current ADP, but he also could easily outperform those marks.  Throw in the potential positional flexibility and there’s every reason to make the selection.

 

Lewis Brinson – Miami Marlins (ADP – 304.5)
While he likely would’ve been lost in the deep Milwaukee outfield shuffle, landing in Miami should allow him an opportunity to not only be on the Opening Day roster but as a fixture in the middle of the lineup.  We’ve talked a lot about Brinson before, both after the trade and in terms of his prospect status.  Our #5 ranked outfield prospect, having earned an “A-” grade, here is what we said:

The biggest question facing Brinson as he’s developed is his ability to command the strike zone and make consistent contact.  That took a step forward at Triple-A in ’17, with an 18.2% strikeout rate and 9.4% walk rate over 340 PA.  Those marks came courtesy of a respectable 10.2% SwStr%, a significant improvement over his 13.6% from ’16.  Considering the level it speaks volumes, and while he did struggle in the Majors (17.4% SwStr%, 40.2% O-Swing%) it was a short sample and we need to afford him time to adjust.

There’s no questioning the power, with 13 HR (as well as 22 doubles and 4 triples) while at Triple-A, nor is there questioning his speed, he had 11 SB.  He brings 30/20 potential, assuming he can maintain the approved plate discipline and continue to improve.  At 23-years old the time is now and with the trade he may get the opportunity on Opening Day (or not long after).

Sources – Fangraphs, Brooks Baseball

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Make sure to check out all of our 2018 Preseason Rankings:

Position
Standard League
OBP League
Catchers03/14/1802/02/18
First Basemen01/08/1802/09/18
Second Basemen01/15/1802/13/18
Shortstops03/21/1802/27/18
Third Basemen03/09/1803/06/18
Outfielders1-20: 03/18/18

21-40: 03/19/18
1-20: 03/12/18

21-40:
Starting Pitchers1-20: 03/24/18

21-40: 03/24/18
--
Relief Pitchers02/12/18--

2 comments

  1. CJ says:

    Hey Prof, I was wondering your thoughts on Kyle Schwarber. He looks great physically. And doing well in the spring. Do you think he will improve this year despite a possible platoon?

  2. Rotoprofessor says:

    As long as he can handle the position defensively I do love the outlook as a 30+ HR hitter. Currently have him ranked #30 among OF, but the potential is there for more than that.

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