By the time Spring Training opens up, most fantasy managers will be in the beginning stages of total lunacy, while the select few will undoubtedly find themselves in the later stages of deep psychosis as their brains become inundated with player news, migrations, analysis, predictions, draft preparations...well, you get the idea.
So why not add five more players to the pot, right?
When we think of the outfield, we immediately think of one of the deepest positions in fantasy baseball—a reality that comes in handy in our draft strategies.
But, there is only so much room on any given roster.
So it’s no wonder why a plethora of players go unnoticed in each year’s draft and wind up as waiver wire fodder until they do something spectacular. More often than not, however, owners tend to miss out on a “hot” player either because they got the news too late or they were never prepared in the first place.
It is the diligent owner that keeps a small list of potential impact players at his ready. That type of long term preparation can allow one to be ahead of his game and always be first in line to snag up that week’s hot bat or arm.
So let us delve a bit into the cavernous outfield, and see why these fantastic five should be on that list of potentials.
Stat Line: .296/.369/.519 with 10 HR in High-A ball / .352/.446/.611 in Double-A ball with 29 SB from '07 to '09
Scouting Report: Heyward is receiving a lot of attention early on, and he has definitely caught the eye of the Braves coaching staff.
Heyward has a great eye and is a very disciplined hitter who can see the strike zone better than most at his age.
Blessed with a perfect combination of power and speed, Heyward’s talents are advanced enough to where the Braves are willing to let him take a crack at the starting lineup; his defense is just as solid.
Outlook: Heyward will more than likely end up in Triple-A at the start of the season, but he is worth grabbing late in deeper leagues or keeper leagues, as he is bound to have a break out before 2010 is over.
Stat Line: 241 AB, 34 R, 58 H, 14 DBL, 9 HR, 29 RBI, 78/28 K/BB ratio with a .241/.328/.419 line in '09
Scouting Report: Snider is a curious case in the sense that he has all the makings of a great power hitter but hasn’t always put things together when it really counted.
The kid is full of offensive potential, and that is precisely what earned him a start last year before hitting a wall. Snider was sent back to Triple-A, dealt with a minor back injury, and looked to be a bust until he worked his way back up the ladder by killing the ball whenever he had the chance.
With all of the promise and flashes of brilliance he did show, it is hard to imagine him not being on the opening day roster, but he will have to show a bit more consistency if he is to earn another starting job.
Outlook: While it was made clear to Snider that nothing is guaranteed, there is little competition in Toronto that is better than Snider. The chances of him being an everyday starter are better than most, making Snider a deep high risk/high reward player to invest in late.
Stat Line: Double-A Reading .333/.408/.569 with 22 DBL, 15 HR, and 18 SB
Scouting Report: The last two years in Double-A ball and Triple-A ball has shown Taylor to be one of the better recruits taking a crack at a MLB debut in 2010.
He has consistently hit for double digits in the home run category, has a solid OPS, and knows how to utilize his opportunities to drive in runs—something the A’s are very interested in.
Taylor will get a huge chance to make the opening day roster. If he does he could be in line to become a great addition to the A’s, as well as become a potential sleeper candidate.
Outlook: While it's a good bet Taylor will make the cut, it is still up in the air where exactly they will bat him, which could make or break his value potential. Still, he is worth a heavy look and you might want to keep track of this kid.
Stat Line: Double- A Montgomery: .314 AVG, 8 HR, 36 SB in 374 AB
Triple-A Durham: .322 AVG, 3 HR, 15 SB, 115 AB
Scouting Report: The Rays' minor league player of the year, Jennings is one of the best prospects that should be on every manager's radar in 2010.
Moving from Double-A ball to Triple-A ball rapidly, Jennings actually got better as his competition increased, which has caught the eye of John Maddon.
Jennings has excellent plate discipline and a pro level eye for the strike zone.
He has a huge upside in the fact that the kid can draw a lot of walks, can get on base just about every time he is up to bat, and offers a huge stolen base potential, which makes him an intriguing player.
Outlook: Jennings will probably start the year in Durham again, but keep in mind there is no way Maddon and his staff will be able to shy away from Jennings if he continues to smoke the ball. Adding Jennings to the mix could also offer Maddon some interesting batting order tweaks, making him great for a pickup in deeper leagues.
Colby Rasmus—St. Louis
Stat Line: 474 AB, 72 R, 119 H, 22 DBL, 16 HR, 52 RBI, 95/36 K/BB ratio and a .251/.307/.407 line
Scouting Report: While I admit that Rasmus is obviously better known than the other four players mentioned, I think it is only fair to shine the light on him just a bit because—like his minor league prospects—his ceiling is incredibly high.
Last year Rasmus had a lot of ups and downs, but when he was on, he was on. Still, there was a very low ownership rate on him much of the time he was making a big splash. I think a lot of that had to do with the Cardinals as a team hitting a slump in May and June going 25-31.
This year, Rasmus looks to do a couple of things in an attempt to better his 2009 campaign:
- Tighten up on his plate discipline
- Hit a whole lot better against lefties
- Relax and let the game come to him
Outlook: I think Rasmus has more reward than he does risk, and I also think most people won’t consider him to be a great pick up, but rather a cheap steal later on, making him an interesting grab if you avoid the conventional thinking.
Rasmus is projected as a fifth rounder, but to be honest, after the third round it’s anybody’s guess as to which outfielder will rise above the rest, and I think Rasmus has the potential to be one of the those guys.
Project Line: 505 AB, 130 H, 25 DBL, 20 HR, 70 RBI, 85 R, 7 SB and a .274/.340.460 batting line
These were a just a couple of players in a sea of available names you should take a look at, but what about players you should NOT draft.
For more in depth analysis on a variety of topics, please feel free to check out these writers from our fantasy community,as well as all of them, and feel free to leave your take on this article at the bottom!