Need an outfielder in your deep league? Here are two options.
Greg Allen | OF CLE | CBS 6% Owned
The Indians have used five different center fielders this year, and now it appears that Allen is atop the heap at the moment. The switch-hitter doesn’t need to worry about sitting against any pitchers, as long as he hits. But will he?
He makes above average contact, so that’s good. But he rarely walks, and hasn’t posted a high enough BABIP to keep his OBP in acceptable territory. He also has little power. During just one minor league stint did he post a HR/FB rate above 5.8%, while his ISO has never exceeded .152. So then why the heck am I recommending him?! Because of the 11 steals, silly!
Allen’s calling card is his speed. He swiped 46 bases across two levels in 2015 and 45 in 2016. Those 11 steals with the Indians this year have come in just 12 tries, so he has been quite successful. There’s little reason to think he’ll suddenly stop running.
The risk, of course, is that he owns a putrid .267 wOBA. Even worse, he has been negative defensively! So his playing time could be cut at any time. But for now, he’s playing and continuing to earn starts. For as long as the Indians are starting him, he’s worth starting in deep leagues.
Austin Dean | OF MIA | 2% Owned
Shocker, the Marlins are in last place. That means it’s time to see what they got. The 24-year-old Dean is now getting his chance as the every day left fielder after an impressive run in both Double-A and Triple-A this season. He posted a superb .495 wOBA at the former and .387 mark at the latter.
What impresses me most is his contact ability. Since Double-A in 2016, his SwStk% marks have sat in the mid-single digits, while his strikeouts have generally jumped around the low teens. He hasn’t walked a whole lot, but that’s more acceptable when you make so much contact.
To go along with the contact skills, he even enjoyed a bit of a power spike in the minors this year. His HR/FB rate jumped into double digits for the first time at both levels, and while it’s still just league average, it means he could perhaps contribute 10-15 homers in a full season if he hits enough fly balls.
Unfortunately, he hasn’t shown much interest in stealing bases since he swiped 18 at High-A in 2015, so you’ll have to just hope for a couple of homers and a respectable batting average the rest of the way. His skill set reminds me of what Nick Markakis was projected for heading into the season. It’s certainly not exciting, but it gets the job done in a deep league.
Mike Podhorzer is the 2015 Fantasy Sports Writers Association Baseball Writer of the Year. He produces player projections using his own forecasting system and is the author of the eBook Projecting X 2.0: How to Forecast Baseball Player Performance, which teaches you how to project players yourself. His projections helped him win the inaugural 2013 Tout Wars mixed draft league. Follow Mike on Twitter @MikePodhorzer and contact him via email.