In case you somehow missed it, our RotoGraphs February rankings series has begun with outfielders. I’m here today to discuss my five biggest deviations from the consensus. I’ve disqualified a few players like Avisail Garcia, who I’ve been saying is terrible for the last half decade. Unsurprisingly, I still won’t be picking him.
These five players should be more relevant. I listed my rank, the RotoGraphs consensus, and my Way Too Early Outfielders ranking.
My Rank: 125
Way Too Early: Unranked
I thought I liked Haniger. In fact, I do like Haniger. That doesn’t mean I’m ready to overlook an extremely risky profile. He’s a defense first prospect with decent plate discipline, adequate power, and enough speed to swipe a few bags. His combination of pulled and fly ball contact is modestly interesting for breakout home run upside. I like him as a last round flier or waiver target.
If he sticks, and we’ll have a good idea about that from Spring Training and the first couple months of the season, he profiles as a top 60 outfielder. Unproven players come with high bust risks. They could be unsuited to the majors or they may simply need months or years to adjust to top quality pitching. Either scenario is death in a redraft.
All that said, the difference between 88th and 125th is only relevant in leagues with five outfielders and over 14 teams. Or AL-Only leagues. He was still blocked in Arizona when I released the WTE series. I was probably a little too pessimistic with the 125 ranking.
My Rank: 96
Way Too Early: 85
First off, it’s been my contention that Bruce is mostly unrosterable in H2H leagues, especially if you don’t have a giant bench. While studies have shown that the concept of consistency is vastly overblown, there’s no denying that Bruce is absurdly volatile. Yea, he’ll singlehandedly win a few weeks per year. He’ll also torpedo two-thirds of the season. That’s an entire format where I won’t touch him in all but the most extreme emergencies.
Now, take a peek at the Mets roster. Go on, I’ll wait. Michael Conforto is blocked by Bruce. I’m told that the Mets refuse to even discuss Conforto in trades – that’s how much they like him. Yet they’re willing to block him with a rapidly declining clone. And if David Wright magically approaches a regularly playable state of health, the club may be inclined to give Jose Reyes some outfield reps too. He’s supposed to practice out there during the spring.
I understand that a full roto season of Bruce probably adds up to around a 60th ranking. Do we really think he’ll continue to find the playing time on this Mets roster? And if not, do we really believe they’ll find a willing trade partner when the entire league has roundly rejected Bruce’s skill set.
My Rank: 80
Way Too Early: 76
This is weird. I really don’t think much of Chisenhall. He’s fine streaming depth for those Thin Thursdays. I think what we’ve found here are some biases. As any regular reader of my in-season content knows, I’m a fan of streaming. Chisenhall, as I mentioned, is a nice high floor streamer. I think that has value. My colleagues probably disagree. They prefer the upside and volatility of Haniger. Which is fine. This late in the draft we’re just bickering over managerial preferences.
My Rank: 115
Way Too Early: 100
We’ve come a long way with our analysis here at FanGraphs. Yet with Naquin, I’m comfortable dusting off the 2008 playbook. A .411 BABIP is super lucky. A 22.2 percent HR/FB ratio is super lucky. There are reasons to think he might improve upon his 30.7 percent strikeout rate to help mitigate regression elsewhere. I’m having trouble buying him as an everyday guy.
My Rank: 56
Way Too Early: 52
This might be a case of reverse-Bruce. Perhaps everybody else is tired of tracking this guy, and I’m the only one who still believes. Thanks to his consistent walk rate, Werth generally has a useful lineup role. He’s hit at a 20 home run or better pace in seven of the last nine seasons. In short, he’s deceptively reliable for a late round flier.
Picking Werth is a commitment to checking lineups every day. He’s not a fire and forget asset. You’ll need a bench guy who can fill in for his occasional off days. Ideally, you’ll use him mainly against left-handed pitchers and righties with unexceptional fastballs.
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