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Deeper AL Outfield Sleepers for 2020

As usual, the outfield position is deep in 2020. You can draft the position early or late and still find plenty of value to fill your roster. Finding the right guys is not always easy, but we are here to help.

The players mentioned in this article have ADP's somewhere in the 240-300 range. These players are not meant to start on your roster from day one, but could provide solid depth for when your stars have rest days or if you suffer an injury at the position. It is also possible that a couple of these options breakout and could eventually start at outfield for you.

Now that we have a foundation for the types of players we are looking at, let's take a look at some possible deep sleepers at outfield in the American League.

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Nomar Mazara, Chicago White Sox

Nomar Mazara finds himself in a new location in Chicago and could finally have that breakout season we have been looking for over the past four seasons. He has been a steady producer over this time frame and showed this in 2019 by slashing .268/.318/.469 with 19 HR, 66 RBI, 69 R, 28 BB, and four SB in 429 at-bats. It was a solid output given the fact he only played in 116 games thanks in large part to an oblique strain he suffered late in the season. Much of his value is derived from his ability to hit for modest power as well as drive in runs.

His advanced metrics tell us he should be able to continue providing value here as he was above average in barrel rate (10.7%), exit velocity (89.1 mph), xSLG (.485), and hard-hit rate (39.3%). The barrel rate stood out most in 2019 as it was 4.4% above league average and was the best of his career. Had the oblique injury not slowed him down and reduced his playing time to 116 games, we easily could have seen 25 home runs and 80 plus RBI.

His transition to Chicago should be solid as well. While the lineup only scored the 24th most runs in the league in 2019, they have added the likes of Edwin Encarnacion and Yasmani Grandal to the mix and should also see improvements from their talented youth in Eloy Jimenez, Luis Robert, and Yoan Moncada.

By all means, this lineup should be much improved from a season ago. Guaranteed Rate Field also ranked fifth in terms of park factors for home runs in 2019, so you could certainly expect his home run totals increase in this park as well as with more playing time.

Mazara currently has an ADP of 244, which makes him an early 20th-round pick in most mixed leagues. He should provide plenty of value off the bench to replace starters with off days to begin the season and could certainly work his way into your starting lineup at some point during the season.

 

Brett Gardner, New York Yankees

Gardner may be getting up there in age, but his run-scoring opportunities are not diminishing. In 2019, Gardner slashed .251/.325/.503 with 28 HR and 86 runs scored at the age of 35. He was able to put up this run production despite a majority of his at-bats coming out of the sixth and ninth spots in the batting order.

The short porch in right field at Yankee Stadium is one of, if not the main reason, that we see home runs from Gardner, but his ability to consistently get on base is why he should have success scoring runs in 2020. While Gardner may have only put up a .325 OBP in 2019, he has a career OBP of .342. One of the key reasons for this is his ability to make zone contact, as well as chase contact, as noted by his plate discipline metrics.

Another reason Gardner should be able to get on base at a solid clip and score runs is his walk rate. In 2019, Gardner put up a walk rate of 9.5%, which was 1.2% above the league average. He also has a career walk rate of 10.4%, so we could see this increase in 2020.

Gardner's speed is also not something to be overlooked. In 2019, he ranked in the 91st percentile with a sprint speed of 28.9 ft/sec, which allowed him to steal 10 bases while only being caught twice. His ability to steal bags and go first-to-third will certainly come in handy for run production in 2020.

With the injury to Aaron Judge, Gardner is now projected to bat second in the Yankees' lineup. While we do not yet know the timetable for Judge's return, we do know that Gardner is capable of scoring runs, even if he is eventually pushed down in the lineup, as he scored 57 runs from the sixth spot on down in 2019. Batting second (in a lineup that led baseball in runs scored in 2019) to begin the season will only bolster his run-scoring value.

Gardner currently has an ADP of 290, which means that he is being taken near the beginning of round 24 in most 12-team mixed leagues. Fantasy owners looking for run production at the end of their drafts should feel comfortable selecting Gardner here.

 

Randal Grichuk, Toronto Blue Jays

Randal Grichuk is another under the radar value for RBIs heading into 2020. In 2019, he slashed .232/.280/.457 with 31 HR and 80 RBI. While the .232 average is not ideal, the home run and RBI production he provided for the Blue Jays cannot be understated.

The RBI production came in large part because of the home run total, which was a direct result of his power. While Grichuk found himself below his career average in several metrics, he was still above league average in barrel rate (8.5%), exit velocity (89.3 mph), xSLG (.427), and hard-hit rate (.378). If he can return to a level near his career averages in 2020, we could see a spike in home runs and RBIs.

Grichuk finds himself in an ideal situation for RBI production in the Blue Jay lineup. He is projected to bat fifth or sixth depending on pitcher handedness in a lineup that should certainly outperform its run total of 729 from 2019. He will have the likes of Bo Bichette, Cavan Biggio, and Vladimir Guerrero Jr. hitting in from of him, who put up on-base percentages of .358, 364, and .339, respectively. He also calls the Rogers Centre home, which ranked 12th in terms of runs scored and first in terms of home runs in 2019. All of this adds up to Grichuk being a late-round value for RBIs.

He currently has an ADP of 272, which makes him a 22nd-round pick in 12-team mixed leagues. If you find yourself looking for RBI production with one of your last picks, Grichuk should be your guy.

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