Fantasy Baseball: Outfielder ADP Bargains and Busts

Fantasy Baseball: Outfielder ADP Bargains and Busts

by April 4, 2022 0 comments

Many fantasy baseball leagues have already drafted with Opening Day only three days away. However, there are always those last-minute leagues. With that in mind, I’ve decided to continue the bargains and busts series to help get you prepared. The outfield is considered a deep position. Let’s dive in, take a look at some value options, and veer away from the potential landmines. 

ADP used is from NFBC 15-team leagues from March 21 until now.  

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Bargains

Nick Castellanos (59.81 ADP)

Currently, ‘Nicky Two Bags’ is going on average in the fourth round. Listening to podcasts and checking out work that’s out there in the fantasy baseball industry, you’d think Castellanos leaving Great American Ballpark is a death sentence. “Where will Castellanos sign? It depends where he signs. He’s a ballpark-dependent hitter.” That’s pretty much all anyone said during the offseason. 

We don’t have to speculate on where Castellanos will land now. He signed with the Philadelphia Phillies to join a potent lineup featuring Bryce Harper, Kyle Schwarber, J.T. Realmuto, and Rhys Hoskins

When he left Detroit, he went to the Chicago Cubs. Castellanos raked over there. Yes, Wrigley Field is an upgrade for hitters compared to Comerica. However, it’s not the greatest hitter’s park, considering it is more like a pitcher’s park when the wind blows in. Wrigley Field had a 98 home run park factor in 2019 for right-handed batters. Comerica Park was considered average with a 100 home run park factor for righties. 

Castellanos led the league last season with 21 “doubters,” which are balls that would’ve left the yard in seven parks or fewer. However, the three-year rolling average for Statcast’s “Park Factors” shows Citizens Bank Park as the seventh-best park for right-handed batters to hit home runs. 

Let’s break down the batted ball metrics. Over the last six years, Castellanos has consistently sat 70th percentile or better in barrel rate, xISO, xSLG, xBA, and xwOBA. The auction calculators also love Castellanos as a value. I’m not overthinking it. Depending on roster construction, I’ll gladly take Castellanos where he’s going in drafts.  

Stat line prediction: .290 AVG, 32 HR, 104 RBI, 94 R, 2 SB 

Andrew McCutchen (296.33 ADP)

The disrespect is real. McCutchen doesn’t deserve to be hanging around the 300 mark. Even at 35 years of age, McCutchen can still mash the ball. His max ADP over the last two weeks in 15-team leagues on NFBC is 337. I’ll take that value all day long. Roster Resource shows McCutchen DH-ing and hitting cleanup in the Milwaukee Brewers’ lineup. Taking the Joey Votto approach as he ages, Cutch has sacrificed some points on his batting average for power. Last season, he had the highest strikeout rate of his career. Despite that, he still has terrific plate discipline, ranking 97th percentile in walk rate and 94th percentile in chase rate. 

At his age, you’d expect a decline in steals. That’s been true for McCutchen, and another reason could be the torn ACL he suffered in 2019. However, McCutchen’s sprint speed was in the 89th percentile last season. I think there could still be some stolen bases if he chooses to run. 

Hitting in a solid Brewers lineup, the counting stats (runs and RBIs)  have potential. His home run total climbed to 27, the third-most of his career. Although he’ll be hitting at a good ballpark, I think that will drop slightly. However, the batting average could tick up closer to what it was from 2018-to 2020. 

Stat line prediction: .252 AVG, 24 HR, 79 RBI, 80 R, 6 SB

Brandon Marsh (339.34 ADP)

When the draft season first got underway, I was selecting Marsh as a flier, thinking he might get more playing time this season. On Saturday, the Los Angeles Angels designated veteran outfielder Justin Upton for assignment. After getting a taste of the big leagues last year, Marsh seems locked into a role now, given that he performs well enough to avoid a minor league option or bench duties. 

Aside from the obvious prospect pedigree, Marsh showed some things in limited action at the bigs last year. In 260 plate appearances, Marsh struck out 35 percent of the time with a 7.7 percent walk rate. He only hit two homers but stole six bags, which can be helpful later in drafts. Another positive was his 51.7 percent hard-hit rate. 

Marsh’s sprint speed was in the 95th percentile range. His BABIP was high, but the sprint speed should help keep it relatively high moving forward. In an article I read by Justin Choi on Fangraphs, he outlined why and I encourage everyone to read it to understand better. The short version is Marsh’s .403 BABIP, combined with his 33.3 percent line-drive rate and sprint speed, should keep it relatively high compared to his peers. 

The power might not be as fully developed yet. Marsh’s career-best at any stop in the minors is seven homers. Nonetheless, if he can cut down the strikeouts while hitting for a high average and stealing some bases, Marsh could be a steal this late in drafts.

Stat line prediction: .265 AVG, 10 HR, 45 RBI, 57 R, 15 SB 

Clint Frazier (441.09 ADP)

Depending on the size of your league, Frazier could be an under-the-radar pick. Frazier’s suffered two concussions in the past four years, which had lingering effects on his play and day-to-day life. The Yankees never really gave him a fair shake. Between false reports of him wanting Mickey Mantle’s number seven and the team’s outdated hair rules, Frazier’s back was against the wall in New York even without dealing with concussions. 

Frazier claims he’s nearly 100 percent. Coming off a down year where he hit .186 with five home runs in 183 at-bats,  it looks like it so far. This spring, Frazier is batting .273 with one home run, four RBIs, and one steal. Frazier’s bat speed is off the charts, which is a huge reason why current Cubs general manager Carter Hawkins wanted to get him after being a part of the process of drafting him in Cleveland as their Assistant Farm Director. 

Frazier’s most significant issues have been the lingering concussion symptoms. On the field, he’s struggled with in-zone contact and whiffs. However, he has excellent plate discipline. In 2020, Frazier sat in the 100th percentile in chase rate. If he gets rolling to start the year, Frazier should be in line for everyday playing time, whether as a DH or in left field. Frazier is still only 27 years old and has the prospect pedigree. He was drafted only five spots behind Kris Bryant in the 2013 Draft. I think Frazier could be a late-round steal. 

Stat line prediction: .255 AVG, 20 HR, 55 RBI, 58 R, 4 SB

Busts

Cody Bellinger (122.03 ADP)

Oh, how far the mighty have fallen. Bellinger, a former Rookie of the Year and MVP, makes the busts list. More than anything, he’s hard to trust and has the widest range of outcomes. He could quickly bounce back this season and pour gasoline over this article by sharing it to “Freezing Cold Takes” when it’s all said and done. Out of the players going outside the top-100, he has one of the highest ceilings. If you were to ask me which players are the most likely to have a first-round ADP next season going outside of the top-100, Bellinger would make the list.  

That said, he’s looked horrible during spring training, and he’s coming off his worst season as a big leaguer. His timing and mechanics look entirely out of whack. This spring, Bellinger is 4-for-27 with a .148 average, zero home runs, and 17 strikeouts. Last season, Belli slashed .165/.240/.302 with a 45 OPS+. In the 2020 NLCS, Bellinger suffered a dislocated shoulder, which required offseason surgery. Then, in 2021, Belli sustained a fractured left fibula, which kept him out nearly eight weeks, a hamstring injury, and a fractured rib. 

Clearly, he has a good excuse for the struggles he had. Nonetheless, I’m not finding the need to draft him, hoping that he’ll return to MVP form. There are many players to choose from, of which I know what kind of production I’ll be getting.

Stat line prediction: .242 AVG, 25 HR, 70 RBI, 72 R, 7 SB

Alex Kirilloff (205.00 ADP)

Kirilloff is a bust for many of the same reasons he’s a bust at the first base position. The outfield is deeper than first base, so if he will underperform there, I’m not drafting him to be an outfielder, either. I’d rather wait and draft several different options. 

Stat line prediction: .273 AVG, 22 HR, 70 RBI, 70 R, 3 SB

Rafael Ortega (349.22 ADP)

It’s hard to call someone who has a post-300 ADP a bust but hear me out. I’ve seen him hyped up by a few fantasy baseball analysts. Every draft pick you make is important, even in the later rounds. Ortega was a nice story last year. In the second half of the season, he hit .306 with nine home runs and ten steals in 260 plate appearances. You’re drafting him, hoping he’ll continue that production and be a later-round value for stolen bases. 

I think people are drafting him thinking he’s going to bat leadoff and play center field every day. With the influx of outfielders the Cubs have, including their top prospect Brennen Davis, he’ll need to come out of the gates mashing to stick in the lineup. If Frazier, Ian Happ, and Jason Heyward outperform him early on, he could be riding pine more days than not. Okay, get it out of the way now. Let’s make a quick Heyward joke. Regardless of what you or I think, the Cubs aren’t paying him over $20 million a year to be strictly a defensive replacement.  

Not to mention, Ortega was horrible against left-handed pitching last season. He hit .128 with a .222 wOBA and 34 wRC+ against lefties. The only reason to draft him is for late steals and batting average, but I think you can find a better source. I hope he has a productive season, but I’m not sure the at-bats will be there to justify where he’s going in drafts, even as late as it is.  

Stat line prediction: .247 AVG, 8 HR, 33 RBI, 40 R, 7 SB

Honorable Mentions 

Bargains: Marcell Ozuna, Seiya Suzuki, AJ Pollock

Busts: Jesse Winker, Jarred Kelenic, Harrison Bader


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