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Later-Round Outfielders - Targets and Avoids

Once you reach the later rounds of drafts, you start thinking about upside fliers that can provide a great return on value. These are the rounds to take risks on more unknown commodities like prospects, forgotten-about veterans, players returning from injuries or players that have previously showed promise but haven't put it all together yet. Knowing about the deeper player pool can help you be more flexible throughout the draft, especially if you can identify someone you like and plan your earlier picks around that.

Today we are looking at some late-round outfielders who need to be considered. Do we think they are draft targets, or players to avoid? 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 2019 Draft Guide. Be sure to subscribe today and start reading all 400+ of our 2019 player outlooks, and many other premium articles and tools, available exclusively in our 2019 Draft Guide.

Be sure to check all of our fantasy baseball lineup tools and weekly lineup resources:

 

Franmil Reyes - OF, San Diego Padres

San Diego Padres outfielder Franmil Reyes turned 87 games and 285 plate appearances with the Padres into 16 homers and a solid .280/.340/.498 triple slash after bashing 16 homers with a .324 average and 1.042 OPS in 250 plate appearances at Triple-A prior to his promotion.

This was extremely impressive as a 22-year-old rookie, but his 28.1% strikeout rate and low 81% zone-contact rate means he needs the 44.2% hard-hit rate to produce. And even then, his 29.6% HR/FB rate is a regression candidate that’ll probably settle closer to 20% in ‘19. In his corner is a 92.3 MPH average exit velocity, good for 17th out of 390 hitters with at least 100 batted balls.

What helps those looking to find fantasy value is that he mustered only 31 RBI on those 16 dingers -- a rate that he’s sure to exceed in ‘19, especially as fellow young bats such as Franchy Cordero, Francisco Mejia and Luis Urias continue to grow. Steamer projects Reyes for 28 homers and 149 R+RBI with a .251/.320/.458 slash in 594 PAs, which would provide solid fifth-outfielder value that aligns with our staff ranking as the 58th outfielder off the board.

--Nick Mariano - RotoBaller

 

Ramon Laureano - OF, Oakland Athletics

Oakland A's outfielder Ramon Laureano came out of the blue last season and surprised not only the fantasy world but his own organization with his play. In 64 minor league games, he hit 14 home runs, stole 11 bases and batted nearly .300. Laureano got the call-up to the club in early August and established himself as a fantastic center field option in just 48 major league games. He hit five home runs, stole seven bases, and batted .288.

Prorated to a full season, Laureano at his pace would have put up 17 HR, 24 SB, with 92 runs and 65 RBI. Expectations should be tempered for his 2019 but a stat line similar to that is not out of the realm of possibility. Unfortunately, his slash line may be a bit underwhelming. He was getting struck out nearly 30 percent of the time last season while posting a .388 BABIP. With regression taken into account, his batting average should take a dip next season but his proclivity to take a walk will keep him on base.

A 20 home run, 20 steal season is not out of the question (assuming he gets the playtime). His current ADP is around 195 which is fair given the PT concerns but if you're confident that he will play the full season, he might be going 100 spots too low. Laureano isn't a flashy name but is worth reaching on in case a savvy league-mate is eyeing him too.

--Kev Mahserejian - RotoBaller

 

Adam Eaton - OF, Washington Nationals

Washington Nationals outfielder Adam Eaton has always had an enticing mix of speed and power for a player of his stature (5-foot-9, 176 pounds), but so far, injuries have defined his career. He played in 150-plus games in 2015 and 2016 in his final seasons with the White Sox and accumulated 28 home runs and 32 stolen bases, but he's only played in 118 games in his two seasons in D.C. due to various injuries.

He also just turned 30 in December, so fantasy owners probably won't be banking on a fully healthy season from him in 2019. In 95 games in 2018 for Washington, Eaton hit .301/.394/.411 with five round-trippers, 55 runs, 33 RBI and nine stolen bases. Eaton's excellent plate discipline and improved walk rates the last two years make him the perfect leadoff hitter in D.C., but he still hits too many ground balls to be a threat to top the career-high 14 homers he set in Chicago.

He has the speed to steal 20-plus bases over a full season, but the Nats may prefer he avoid running as much in order to stay healthy. Eaton can be useful for his on-base percentage and high average as a contact hitter that can score runs atop a potent lineup, but his extensive injury history makes him a late-round target in deep mixed leagues around the 20th round. If he stays healthy for an entire season, you'll have a nice little value on your hands.

--Keith Hernandez - RotoBaller

 

Shin-Soo Choo - OF, Texas Rangers

Texas Rangers outfielder Shin-Soo Choo has been in the league for a while now, as 2019 will be the 15th season for the 36-year-old from South Korea. He made his first All-Star Game appearance in 2018 thanks to a stellar first half where he hit for a .911 OPS.

For the season as a whole, Choo hit .264/.377/.434 with 21 home runs, 62 RBI, six steals, and 83 runs scored. His .377 OBP ranked 15th among qualified hitters, while he also sported an elite 13.8% walk rate (14th) and a 42% hard hit percentage (32nd). There are a few causes for concern, however. Though Choo has proven to be durable (146+ games played in six of his last eight seasons), he is getting up there in age and showed signs of decline in the second half of 2018 with a .645 OPS after the All-Star break.

Despite these red flags, Choo still has an everyday role in the Rangers lineup as a DH and part-time outfielder and still finished with an impressive on-base percentage. He is the 65th-ranked outfielder on RotoBaller and is being drafted at 264th overall in early 2019 drafts. Choo surprised everyone by vastly exceeding his draft value last year - don’t be surprised if he does it again this year, especially in leagues that count on-base percentage.

--Kyle Ringstad - RotoBaller

 

Matt Kemp - OF, Cincinnati Reds

Traded to the Reds this offseason, Matt Kemp will look to recapture the form that sent him to the All-Star game in 2018. His struggles in the second half of last season were well documented and surely left a sour taste in the mouth of his owners. However, due to his long slump, he is going overlooked in drafts.

RotoBaller has the outfielder ranked 239 overall but his ADP is currently 315. Kemp finished the year .290/.388/.481 with 21 HR and 85 RBI, earning 2018 National League Comeback player of the year. The righty’s batted-ball profile doesn’t indicate that he made any major changes in 2018; he did have a high .339 BABIP but averages .338 for his career.

The biggest concern for Kemp owners in 2019 is playing time. The Reds have four quality outfielders, and at 34, Kemp is by far the oldest. On the other hand, the Big Red Machine won’t want to pay a $21.5 million to a bench player. The most likely scenario is that Kemp starts and gets a break from Jesse Winker occasionally. Playing time concerns makes the three-time Gold Glover more valuable in daily leagues, but he should be drafted well inside the top 300 regardless. He currently has an ADP of 313.

--Ben Holmes - RotoBaller

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