We know who the elite outfielders in baseball are. Guys like Mike Trout, Andrew McCutchen, Giancarlo Stanton will produce year on year out. So, let’s look at some players who are on the upswing, and may be overlooked.
Dexter Fowler, CHC
In case you missed it, Dexter Fowler was traded from the Astros to the Cubs this off-season. Fowler, barring injury, will start in center and likely bat leadoff for the much improved Cubbies. Batting in front of Anthony Rizzo, Starlin Castro, and Jorge Soler, will give him plenty of opportunity to score runs. Fowler’s 12.5 percent walk rate will also help in that sense. He could provide some sneaky value for those willing to take a shot, and given his ADP is 257, you can get a decent OF for pretty cheap.
Oswaldo Arcia, MIN
Arcia hit 20 homers with a .231 average in 2014. Not appealing, right? Look again. Arcia will never hit for a great average, that’s a given. But, look at the power. 20 homers in only 327 ABs and 103 games? I’ll take that rate any day of the week. If he can stay healthy, he’s a candidate to join the 30 homer club. You’ll have to eat a bad average and a lot of strikeouts, but with power being the scarce commodity it is, he’s worth the add.
Shin Soo Choo, TEX
In 2013 with the Reds, Choo had a monster year, hitting 21 homers and slashing .285/.423/.462. After signing a 7 year mega-deal with Texas, 2014 was a significant regression for Choo, only hitting 13 homers and a .242/.340/.374 line. While Choo was bothered by a nagging ankle injury, that was not the main reason for his regression. Texas was plagued by injury last year, namely Prince Fielder. After a full off-season of healing for Texas, expect Choo’s numbers to be closer to his 2013 numbers, because batting in front of Fielder and Beltre can’t hurt.
Michael Taylor, WSH
Michael Taylor will likely have more fantasy value in 2016, but he is expected to fill the home in the Nationals outfield if Jayson Werth finds himself on the DL to start the year. Taylor absolutely raked in AA in 2014, hitting 22 bombs, scoring 74 runs, stealing 34 bags, and driving in 61 RBIs. Oh, did I mention his incredible .313/.396/.539 line? His one downside is strikeouts. In his 40AB in the bigs last year, he struck out 17 times. But, given his 20/20, maybe even 30/30 potential, fantasy owners should be fine with swallowing the Ks. Speaking of strikeouts…
George Springer, HOU
If you aren’t high on George Springer, you shouldn’t be playing fantasy baseball. This is a guy who almost joined the 40/40 club in 2013. Yes, he hits for low average. Yes, he strikes out a lot. But, a guy who has 40 homer upside has MAJOR value in today’s baseball. At 24, he hit 20 bombs in just 78 games, and his disappointing steal total was due to a nagging quad injury. If Springer can put all his tools together, he could be looking at joining the 30/30 club, and the elite outfielder ranks.