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Later-Round Outfielders - Targets and Avoids in 2021

Once you reach the middle-to-late rounds of drafts, everyone wants to draft some upside fliers that can provide a great return on value. You can take a risk or two on a variety of different players, including a prospect, forgotten veterans, players returning from injuries, or even players with skills but have playing time concerns. But it's essential to know the player pool so you can take a chance at a spot in the draft that you're comfortable without deviating from your overall strategy, and also avoid players with some question marks coming into the season.

Today we are looking at some later-round outfielders for you to consider drafting, and also those to be cautious of. Are their ADPs undervalued? Will they make significant fantasy contributions and be one of your later-round draft sleepers? Read on to see our take.

Our editors have hand-picked these specific MLB players for your draft prep enjoyment. Normally only available to Premium subscribers, the five outlooks below are meant to give you a taste of the in-depth analysis you receive with our industry-leading 2021 Draft Kit. Be sure to subscribe today and start reading all 300+ of our 2021 player outlooks, and many other premium articles and tools, available exclusively in our 2021 Draft Kit.

Editor's Note: Our incredible team of writers received five total writing awards and 13 award nominations by the Fantasy Sports Writers Association, tops in the industry! Congrats to all the award winners and nominees including Best MLB Series, NFL Series, NBA Writer, PGA Writer and Player Notes writer of the year. Be sure to follow their analysis, rankings and advice all year long, and win big with RotoBaller! Read More!

 

Jesse Winker, Cincinnati Reds

Cincinnati Reds outfielder Jesse Winker had a 2020 season that, in many ways, reflected the arc of his career. With consistent playing time at DH (including against left-handed pitchers), Winker slashed .255/.388/.544 with 12 home runs, 23 RBI, and 27 runs scored. He doubled his HR count from 2019 in half as many plate appearances and posted a career-high 25.1% strikeout rate and 15.3% walk rate.

Winker hit the ball hard throughout the season with an average exit velocity and hard-hit rate both in the 90th percentile of baseball. However, August was Winker's only productive month, when he slashed an impressive .369/.459/.798 with 10 of his 12 total HR.

If Winker can again receive regular playing time and hit for both average and power consistently, he will be a valuable fantasy player. However, all of the above-mentioned things would have to happen for that to be true. Winker's high ceiling/low floor dynamic makes his current ADP of 208 seem overall reasonable.

--Connelly Doan - RotoBaller

 

Anthony Santander, Baltimore Orioles

In 2019, Santander received his first extended action in the big leagues and he delivered with 20 home runs with a .261/.297/.476 slash in 405 plate appearances. The walk rate was 4.7%, strikeout rate was 21.2%, and ISO was .216. Last season, albeit in only 165 plate appearances, every stat increased. One noticeably change was that Santander started to elevate the ball more.

The GB/FB ratio went from 0.91 to 0.48. The launch angle went from 15.3 to 24.7. That is yummy for home run production, especially in Camden Yards. Steamer has Santander projected for 30 home runs and five stolen bases with a .260/.309/.475 slash. He's being drafted as the 152nd player. Teoscar Hernandez, who is projected for 30 home runs and four stolen bases with a .236/.307/.453 slash is going at pick 77. That discrepancy seems crazy to me.

--Stan Son - RotoBaller

 

Ian Happ, Chicago Cubs

Ian Happ was presented with the opportunity to show what he could do with more regular playing time last season, and there appears to be significant power promise heading into 2021. He popped 12 homers in 57 games, and his 13.0 BB% helped him fashion a .361 OBP. That latter stat may be a lofty expectation over a full season this year, but he can be an above-average contributor in that regard if that is among the categories you are basing your drafting strategies on.

The 27.3 K% points to the BA remaining mediocre at best. He does need to generate more of his better work against lefties, as he had one homer and two RBI in 48 at-bats vs. southpaws. It does appear David Ross will continue to give him the opportunities to improve against LHPs, and he will be Chicago's leadoff hitter based on his OBP skills. Happ lowered his Launch Angle to 10.3 from 13.7 last year, and his xBA jumped from .240 to .262 and the Hard Hit% leaped from 38.2 to 48.5.

Happ seems to be trending towards a baseline of a batting average that won't be a major drag, while providing strong power and quality on-base skills. He could turn out to be a solid play for pop at an ADP of 162.

--Scott Engel - RotoBaller

 

Avisail Garcia, Milwaukee Brewers

Avisail Garcia usually finds himself in a platoon, making consistent playing time difficult for the 28-year-old outfielder. Garcia has averaged just under 125 games played in the last four seasons, but there is hope for change in 2020. Before we talk 2020, let’s look back at his solid 2019 season where he was a member of the Rays (.282-20-61-72-10). With that solid season, Garcia was another member of the 20 home run and 10 stolen base club.

He was finally on a team that let him take advantage of his 90th-percentile sprint speed. We also saw Garcia hit 20 home runs which give him 18 or more home runs in three straight seasons. In 2020, Garcia finds himself as a member of the Milwaukee Brewers and a hitter-friendly Miller Park, a far cry from spacious Tropicana Field. Garcia will also be playing for a team with a manager (Craig Counsell) who loves to let his players run. Currently, Steamer is not as high on Garcia as I am since they only have him hitting 21 home runs, stealing six bases and playing 117 games.

These projections may be correct as the Brewers have four outfielders now with Garcia, Ryan BraunChristian Yelich and Lorenzo Cain. 21 home runs would still be very nice and there is always potential that Garcia could swipe ten or more bases. If for some reason Garcia gets regular playing time and plays 140 or more games then he would destroy his current ADP of 230.

--Brian Entrekin - RotoBaller

 

Nick Senzel, Cincinnati Reds

Cincinnati Reds outfielder Nick Senzel may be looking at his last shot to prove that he can crack the starting lineup as a regular. The former #2 overall pick has struggled with injuries, hasn't found a permanent home defensively, and has failed to produce at the plate at the pro level. As a rookie in 2019, Senzel slashed a mediocre .256/.315/.427 but showed off his wheels with 14 steals.

In 2020, he struggled mightily with a slash line of .186/.247/.357 over 78 plate appearances before landing on the IL. He collected just two hits in his final 25 at-bats upon returning from injury. Once thought to be a star in the marking, his role is now very much in question. If Senzel can stay healthy and start hitting, he could earn regular at-bats.

That looks like a risky proposition, however, as he's not projected to be in the starting lineup come Opening Day. Senzel is merely a late-round flier with an ADP of 261 in early NFBC drafts, so there is little risk to acquire his services and take a chance on a breakout.

--Pierre Camus - RotoBaller



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ROTOBALLER PLAYER NEWS

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