Under-the-Radar Outfielders to Target in Your Draft

It’s spring, baseball season is near, and fantasy drafts are just about to get going. Is there a better time of the year? Let’s take a look at some mid-to-late round outfielders that will benefit your pun-inspired team.

George Springer (HOU) – His rookie campaign was cut short due to injury, and Houston had no intentions of rushing the five-tool player back. In only 295 at-bats last year, Springer launched 20 home runs with a .231 AVG. Springer’s minor league season in 2013 showed the potential of this rising star, where he racked up 37 home runs and 45 stolen bases, and he will look to get his legs going again in 2015. In Spring Training so far, George is hitting .324, with 2 home runs and 2 stolen base in 37 at-bats. The young power hitter will be slotted into the starting right-field role, so you know the work load will be there. Houston has also made it clear that they want to stay active on the base paths this season, so 30+ stolen bases isn’t out of question. With just a small sample size of his work in the bigs, Springer may drop to later rounds in your draft. Drafted with the 11th pick overall in 2011, look for George to have an outstanding 2015 season.

Dalton Pompey (TOR) – It looks like Pompey has won the starting job in center field for the Toronto Blue Jays. The work load will be there for the gap-to-gap speedster who now has 13 hits this Spring, with four of them going for extra bases. Dalton’s average now sits at .310. Last year, the 22-year-old shot through all levels of the minors with impressive numbers (.319 average in Single-A, .295 in Double-A, and .358 in Triple-A). In September of 2014, Dalton got his call to MLB and played 17 games. Although he only hit .231 with 9 hits and 1 HR (his lone HR coming off of Felix Hernandez), Pompey has shown tremendous promise and the Blue Jays are willing to roll the dice on him this season. With below-average numbers in the big leagues, Pompey may fall right your lap, and could turn out to be a great catch.

Drew Stubbs (COL) – I had Stubbs last season, and he turned out to be a great player to plug in if he was in the the Rockies’ lineup. His combination of power and speed is a considerable option in deep leagues and late rounds. Drew had a .289 BA with 15 homers and 20 stolen bases last year in 388 AB’s. Stubbs will platoon in the outfield with Corey Dickerson or Charlie Blackmon, and will most likely get a nice chunk of playing time against left-handed pitchers. Playing in Colorado also gives Drew a huge advantage at the plate. Due to the high altitude, Coors Field continues to be a tremendous hitting environment, giving up the second-most homers in the league in 2014.

Nick Markakis (ATL) – In my opinion, one of the most consistent outfielders in baseball. Since signing with the Orioles in 2006, Markakis has played over 100 games each season. Seven of those campaigns saw him in 155 games or more. Not only is he made of steel, but his batting average speaks for itself. Over the last five seasons, Nick has hit for an average of .285. Markakis had been a staple at the top of the lineup for the Orioles before signing with Atlanta in the off season. If you want a player who will be consistent, get a huge chunk of work, and have multi-hit games, the 31-year-old will make a great selection. Markakis is 2-6 in Spring Training since coming back from off-season neck surgery, and will be Atlanta’s everyday right fielder.

Desmond Jennings (TB) – The 28-year-old is having an outstanding Spring. Having a .478 BA is a sign of good things to come when the lights turn on. Jennings will bring your team a little bit of speed and a little bit of power this year, but not plenty. 2012 was Jennings’ breakout year, launching 13 home runs, with 31 stolen bases. Manager Kevin Cash has already said that Jennings will be hitting in the middle of the lineup, which will mean more opportunities to drive runners in. If healthy, Jennings could swipe 20-30 bags and hit 10-15 home runs, and could be a very nice sleeper after coming off a sub-par 2014 season.

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