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Mid-Round Outfielders - Fantasy Baseball Outlooks


Here at RotoBaller, we've been producing fantasy baseball analysis all offseason. As part of that, our awesome MLB team has written up detailed 2019 fantasy baseball outlooks for 400+ players. These player outlooks include RotoBaller's analysis on how we expect player to perform in 2019, where to target them in 2019 drafts, and supporting stats to back up the analysis. Typically, we only include these outlooks for premium subscribers, but we have a special treat for you.

Over the next few weeks we'll be releasing some exclusive player outlooks for each position. 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.

Today we are looking at some middle-round outfielders who need to be considered. Do we think they are draft targets, or players to avoid? Are their ADPs overvalued or undervalued? Will they make significant fantasy contributions and be one of your key draft sleepers? Read on to see our take. Be sure to subscribe as well, and read all 400+ of our 2019 player outlooks available exclusively in our 2019 Draft Guide.

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!

 

Ian Desmond - OF/1B, Colorado Rockies

Colorado Rockies first baseman and outfielder Ian Desmond heads into 2019 seeking his sixth 20/20 campaign after standing as one of the 10 players to do so in ‘18. Desmond should see more run in the outfield with Daniel Murphy at first base but should spell Murphy enough to retain 1B eligibility into 2020 since the Rockies aren’t shy about shuffling.

The real questions for Desmond are whether his average can rebound and if his power is sustainable. His average fell to .236 in 2018 due in large part to a lowly .279 BABIP that didn’t jive with his plus speed and the 62% groundball rate, but he hit .233 in ‘15 and came back to life the next season. The BA dip in ‘18 wasn’t due to shifting given his 30% pull rate and the career-best 34.1% hard-hit rate makes him a solid bounce-back candidate there. The power is another story, as his fly-ball rate was a lowly 21.5%, but a hefty 24.7% HR/FB rate buoyed the dingers. His previous career-high mark was 18.2% and it was 13.2% in his previous Coors campaign in ‘17, not to mention a 40-point drop in ISO at home, so it isn’t the mile-high air.

Perhaps his stats at Coors will blossom and offset the overall HR/FB regression, but banking on lesser pop with an improved average seems wise. Look for roughly 40 HR+SB with an average in the .260s (Steamer projects .268), which certainly plays around our staff’s rank of 132 overall and his ADP of 143.

--Nick Mariano - RotoBaller

 

Brandon Nimmo - OF, New York Mets

Brandon Nimmo offered strong value as an end-of-draft outfielder in 2018. His 17 home runs and nine steals were useful if managers only needed him as a fourth outfielder. What is most shocking is that in Nimmo’s 241 MLB games, he owns a 135 wRC+. It seems unlikely that Nimmo will manage to maintain that type of pace over the longer run, but his batted ball profile indicates that he may able to make the most of pitcher mistakes.

He has the plate discipline to lay off bad pitches and he takes advantage when pitchers do make mistakes. The 2018 Mets were a poor offensive team, but with a full season of a healthy Michael Conforto, an improved Amed Rosario, and trade-import Robinson Cano, the Mets should be meaningfully improved on offense. Expect Nimmo to bat first or second and for his run total to settle around 90 this season.

Nimmo’s ability to get on base and to hit the ball hard means that he should have some value in nearly all leagues. However, in OBP leagues, Nimmo takes on a new look, as his elite 15% walk rate makes him a top-125 player. Nimmo offers Kevin-Youkilis like potential. However, if he can continue to get on base and the team context supports him, he could be a top-80 player. Nimmo is a draft value at his current ADP of 163.

--David Emerick - RotoBaller

 

Nomar Mazara - OF, Texas Rangers

Texas Rangers outfielder Nomar Mazara’s performance in 2018 was very similar to 2017, but it could have been more. He finished the year with 20 HR, 77 RBI, and a .258 AVG. It was the third consecutive season hitting exactly 20 homers, this time in only 489 at-bats. Even his walk rate, strikeout rate, and a slash line of .258/.317/.436 were very similar to his previous year's performance.

Mazara’s strong start to the season (15 HR, 58 RBI, .272 AVG in the first half) was derailed when he had a surgery to repair a broken thumb. His post-surgery second-half performance (five homers and a .221 AVG) didn’t resemble anything near his first-half output. At only 23 years old, Mazara already has three years of experience; he still has plenty of time to achieve some of the high praise bestowed upon him when he arrived. Mazara will never be a stolen base threat, but he can provide power and a suitable batting average, with a floor of 20 homers and a .260 batting average.

The power output and plate discipline are the keys to Mazara advancing to the next level. He needs to improve upon his 55% ground-ball rate and limit his tendency to chase pitches outside the zone (33%); he is young enough to still improve in these areas, but he will have to start demonstrating the results this year. Going into the 2019 season, Mazara should be fully healthy. He will still be undervalued, ranked as the 44th outfielder, and is generally going in the 12th round of early drafts.

--Ellis Canady - RotoBaller

 

David Dahl - OF, Colorado Rockies

Colorado Rockies outfielder David Dahl has only played 140 career MLB games, but has shown enough in that time to warrant a good amount of fantasy attention. In what has basically constituted a full season of plate appearances (508) in 2016 and 2018, Dahl has a .293/.341/.518 slash line with 53 extra base hits, 145 R+RBI, and 10 stolen bases. This was in between an injury-riddled 2017 season, but Dahl’s .859 OPS in the big leagues shows that he has the tools to be a fantasy mainstay.

A first-round draft pick in 2012, Dahl has been dominant at each level, culminated with a .963 OPS in 2016 while splitting time with Double-A and Triple-A. Hitting 14 home runs in 2014 and 18 home runs in 2016, Dahl has shown power to go along with averaging 20 stolen bases from 2014-2016. Posting a line drive rate above 20% throughout the minors, Dahl had a 23% line drive rate in the majors last season. Paired with a 37.7% hard hit ball rate, Dahl has done a solid job of making contact. A .311 BABIP paired shows that Dahl was a bit unlucky compared to his batted ball profile, but his 23.2% HR/FB shows that his 16 home runs in 271 plate appearances may have been a bit lucky.

Dealing with a rib injury in 2017 and a broken foot in 2018, it seems that injuries are the only thing keeping Dahl from consistent production in the big leagues. No matter what analysis we give on Dahl, there is one thing that supersedes all; he is projected as the cleanup hitter for the Rockies. With Charlie Blackmon and Nolan Arenado in front of him and Trevor Story behind him, there is a good chance that Dahl approaches 175, or even 200, R+RBI this season. Considering that he is slotted in as an OF3 currently, Dahl has the opportunity for massive ROI during the 2019 season.

--Chris Zolli - RotoBaller

 

David Peralta - OF, Arizona Diamondbacks

David Peralta enjoyed a career year in 2018. The Diamondbacks outfielder posted career highs in plate appearances (614), home runs (30), and RBI (87). His steal total dropped to four, but he wasn't caught stealing a single time.

The departure of A.J. Pollock does more to ensure that Peralta is on the field every day, and while managers shouldn’t expect Peralta to hit 30 HR again this year, Peralta should manage about league-average power production while providing a strong batting average and useful run production. The peripheral stats suggest that Peralta’s newfound power is legitimate: he increased his hard-hit rate by 10%, and his xwOBA was right between Justin Upton (ADP 92) and Andrew Benintendi (ADP 30).

Without Goldschmidt and Pollock, Peralta likely won’t have the team support to generate the same RBI total, but his value should be closer to Upton than his current ADP of 127, making him a strong fourth outfielder or platoon player if managers are inclined to take advantage of his dramatic home/away splits.

--David Emerick - RotoBaller

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