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2018 Fantasy Baseball Draft Values - AL Outfielders


Everyone knows that in fantasy baseball, values are king. Any of the different terms you might see bandied about - bargain, sleeper, flier, lotto ticket - are all driving at that same basic idea.

Obviously, finding the players who can provide a huge return on a modest investment goes a long way toward winning your league. But there's also a lot of joy in beating your rivals to the punch on the next breakout player.

As we draw closer to the start of the season, I'm offering my thoughts on potential 2018 fantasy baseball draft bargains at every position. Today we're covering American League outfielders.

Editor's Note: Get any full-season MLB Premium Pass for 50% off, with exclusive access to our season-long articles, 15 in-season lineup tools and over 200 days of expert DFS research/tools. Sign Up Now!

 

It's AL Good

Bradley Zimmer, Cleveland Indians

If you want Byron Buxton at about 150 picks later than his current ADP, good news! You can get Zimmer, who’s quite similar – a physical specimen with great speed, some pop, and issues making contact. Zimmer will likely hit in the bottom half of the order, which isn’t ideal for his run production. But he’s got the talent to force his way into a meatier role in Cleveland’s top-heavy lineup, and put up eight home runs and 18 stolen bases as a rookie last year in half a season’s worth of plate appearances.

Delino DeShields, Texas Rangers

It feels like nobody was talking about DeShields last week, and now everybody’s talking about him. That’ll happen when you’ve got a guy’s manager targeting 50 stolen bases as a feasible goal. Jeff Bannister had already announced that DeShields is penciled in as the Rangers’ leadoff hitter and center fielder, so there appears to be plenty of confidence in him from management. I’ve been down this road before with The Dentist and been burned, but if he can take advantage of the opportunity this time around, he should score a ton of runs to go with those steals. Now can we all agree to shut up about him before his draft price rises any higher?

Mitch Haniger, Seattle Mariners

Haniger’s rookie season started and ended excellently; the injury-ravaged in-between was the problem. Sure, injuries can sometimes be a convenient excuse for regression or struggles that would’ve happened anyway. Even if you believe that in Haniger’s case, ultimately he hit .282 with solid run production, 16 HR, and 5 SB in 410 plate appearances. That sort of production over a full season is a nice profit at his current 216 ADP.

Stephen Piscotty, Oakland Athletics

Piscotty’s mother was diagnosed with ALS last year, and it isn’t hard to imagine that playing a role in his 2017 struggles. Regardless, everything went sideways on the field, with dramatic declines in production from his 2016 breakout occurring across the board. But rather than the declines in contact and walk rate you often see in a lousy season for a hitter, Piscotty actually surged in both areas. Traded to Oakland, he’s close to his mom and has a lock on a starting job, neither of which would have been true if he’d remained with the Cardinals.

Mallex Smith, Tampa Bay Rays

Smith bears more than a passing similarity to DeShields. Both are players who ran wild on the base paths in the minor leagues and draw enough walks to partially atone for the fact that they strike out too much for low-power hitters. The difference is mainly in circumstances; Smith’s playing time is less certain and when he does play, he’s expected to bat ninth. Still, cheap speed isn’t anything to sneer at these days, and Smith’s ADP remains helium-free outside the top 300.

 

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