Five Outfielders on the Rise: Fantasy Baseball Draft Prep

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Every successful fantasy season is marked by those players who make you look like an absolute genius. In 2013, it was breakout seasons by Jean Segura, Carlos Gomez and Jose Fernandez which made fantasy owners look like gurus. The constant search for the next big thing is one reason we come back year after year to play this glorious game of imaginary management. In my favorite 16-team keeper league, the points-loser has to wear a dress to the following season draft. Every year a grown-ass man shows up to the door with a dress on, myself included last season. We love the annual pursuit and constantly striving for an edge. Here are five outfielders who may or may not make you look like a genius, give you that edge, and keep you out of a dress.

 

5 Fantasy Outfielders On The Rise In 2014

 

1. Khris Davis - MIL, Opening Day Age: 26

Height: 5'11" Weight: 200# Bats/Throws: R/R

SEASON

AB

BA

R

HR

RBI

SB

2013

136

.279

27

11

27

3

2014 Proj

505

.261

67

25

70

8

 

While one Chris Davis was smashing 53 homers for the O’s, the Brewers Khris Davis was a late-season addition to fill the void left by Ryan Braun in left field when he was suspended. Davis arrived and showed he belonged quickly by smacking nine homers in a 33-game span. The Brewers are digging Davis so much that they let Norichika Aoki go in the offseason and are slotting Ryan Braun into right field. Davis somehow slipped through the “uber-prospect” hype, even though he amassed 26 HR in 2010, 28 HR in 2011 and 21 HR in 2012 while traveling all over the Brewers farm system, and he hit above .300 from 2011-2012 with impressive slugging and OBP. Davis is my favorite sleeper for a Carlos Gomez-type breakout in 2014.

 

2. Oswaldo Arcia - MIN, Opening Day Age: 22

Height: 6'0" Weight: 210# Bats/Throws: L/R

SEASON

AB

BA

R

HR

RBI

SB

2013

351

.251

34

14

43

1

2014 Proj

485

.254

60

20

66

3

 

archive.kare11.comOswaldo Arcia was promoted by the Twins because they were running out of options and the kid was scorching in Triple-A. Through 38 games at Triple-A, Arcia was hitting .313 with 14 HR and 34 RBI. The Twins gave him a shot and honestly, he didn’t disappoint for a 22-year-old. He struck out at a scary high 31% clip and trotted out a 6.1% walk rate, but with some time to prepare and a full offseason planning to be a big-leaguer, Arcia could find more success in 2014. He has real power and had some truly majestic shots in his first taste of the show. He’s a low-risk, late-round flier worth taking a shot on in shallower leagues.

 

3. Kole Calhoun - LAA, Opening Day Age: 26

Height: 5'10" Weightt: 190# Bats/Throws: L/L

SEASON

AB

BA

R

HR

RBI

SB

2012 (AAA)

410

.297

79

14

99

12

2013

195

.282

29

8

32

2

2014 Proj

510

.278

67

14

73

11

 

After Peter Bourjos was lost to injury, Kole Calhoun was given a shot to play every day after hitting .354 with a 1.047 OPS to start the season off with Triple-A Salt Lake. Yes, the Pacific Coast League is known for being hitter-friendly, but those numbers got him a shot nonetheless. Obviously those numbers didn’t carry over to The Show, but the Angels saw enough in Calhoun that they let Peter Bourjos go in the offseason, essentially handing Calhoun everyday duties. He may not have the highest ceiling, nor does he possess ridiculous speed or power, but he is a max-effort player in the mold of a Hunter Pence. Calhoun probably wont hit 20 home runs or steal 20 bags, but he will put up useful numbers across the board and do enough to merit a late-round flier as a fifth OF.

 

4. George Springer - HOU, Opening Day Age: 24

Height: 6'3" Weight: 205# Bats/Throws: R/R

SEASON

PA

BA

R

HR

RBI

SB

2013 (AA)

323

.297

56

19

55

23

2013 (AAA)

266

.311

50

18

53

22

2014 Proj

360

.245

56

17

52

19

 

How fun would it be to see someone else with Mike Trout-type tools in the majors-- fun, right? Well, that is what we may have here in Astros OF prospect extraordinaire George Springer. Springer may have a high K% which leads a lot of gurus to project him for a low average, but that didn’t stop him from coming three HR short of the first 40-40 season in minor league baseball since 1956. Unfortunately, the Astros may be tempted to push back his arbitration clock by keeping him in the minors for the first month of the season. I look at that as a way to get him cheaper and allow him to get his game locked-in before being called up. The Astros have to be better in 2014, and Springer will be a big part of that. This kid has the "it" factor.

 

5. Gregory Polanco - PIT, Opening Day Age: 22

Height: 6'4" Weight: 170# Bats/Throws: L/L

SEASON

AB

BA

R

HR

RBI

SB

2012 (A+)

437

.325

84

16

85

40

2013
(A+ - AAA)

470

.285

66

12

71

38

2014 Proj

310

.265

31

6

28

13 

 

Obviously, the Twins have the number one prospect in all of baseball, and he will be talked about and drafted in keeper leagues this year. However, I don't foresee him making his MLB debut until 2015, unless there is an injury to hasten his arrival. Pittsburgh's Gregory Polanco, on the other hand, has a shot to earn a roster spot in Spring Training, and I believe he will do so. Polanco rose through three levels of the farm system, starting at High-A and ending up at Triple-A. While he may not be as hyped as some prospects, Polanco has increasingly good plate discipline and a knack for hitting, as demonstrated by his 84% contact rate and 11% walk rate. His stolen base totals, coupled with 20+ homer potential, lead me to believe we will see him soon after June 2014.

 

Follow Shawn Caswell on Twitter @CasKnowsRoto.