AL OF Stock Watch

I hope you all had a fantastic weekend, I know I did. I assume that you’re all ready and can’t wait to get back to work, I know I am (just in case the boss sees this). What better way to spend your Monday lunch break than reading up on the current state of my opinion on the American League Outfield?

Bullish:
Nick Markakis – Although its only been three games since his activation from the disabled list, Markakis is showing us that he hasn’t missed a beat. He has four extra base hits already, all of the doubles variety. He is currently owned in just 58% of Yahoo! leagues and 64% of ESPN leagues. He is guaranteed playing time and at his best he is able to fill all five major fantasy categories. He deserves to be owned in all but the shallowest of formats.

Yoenis Cespedes – Cespedes has hit a home run in two straight games coming into today and is also coming off of his first career four hit game. He is still swinging at a few too many pitches for my taste (14.3 SwStr%) but there should be zero doubt about his power at this point. His ZiPS rest of season calls for nine homers, but I’d take the over on that. After a total of two homers in an injury shortened May and June, Cespedes should bounce back into form for the rest of the season. If you’re looking for what could be perceived as cheap power (at least in redraft leagues), he is a nice trade target.

Dayan Viciedo – Sure his AVG is pretty brutal, but Viciedo has been a legitimate source of homers and RBI up to this point. He should see his AVG raise to the .270 neighborhood, at least according to ZiPS. With enough power to hit double digit home runs from this point on, Viciedo is definitely a cheap and available source of power. He is sitting on the waiver wire in over 70% of Yahoo! leagues and almost 80% of ESPN formats. If you have a struggling or injured outfielder, grab Viciedo to help stem the bleeding.

Bearish:
Desmond Jennings – After continually dropping him in the monthly Tiered Rankings Update, Jennings still hasn’t responded the way fantasy owners have been hoping for. And yes, of course if he played better it would be in response to the fact that I ranked him so aggressively. Of course! In the last edition of the AL Tiered Rankings Update, reader and commenter Everdiso made solid points about “not getting the hype” surrounding Jennings, and Jennings hasn’t done anything to prove Everdiso wrong. Over the past 30 days, Jennings has just 18 hits and a .198 AVG. He does have seven steals over that time frame, but that hardly justifies where many (myself included) fantasy owners drafted him. Jennings only projects to hit for a .250 AVG for the rest of the way. In redraft leagues I’d look to trade Jennings to an owner who is looking for speed and for someone who goes with name recognition. In dynasty leagues I’d pray to Jobu and hope that he takes the fear out of Jennings’ bat.

Note:
A lot of players are coming back from injury right now, with Jacoby Ellsbury back already, Carl Crawford soon to follow him and apparently (maybe) Brett Gardner soon after. I am pretty optimistic on all of them, but cautiously optimistic on Crawford. None of those three players should be available in your leagues, but if you want my opinion on whom to target in a trade, I’d take Ellsbury, Gardner and Crawford in that order. With these players coming back, this causes an adverse effect on players such as Daniel Nava, Cody Ross and Raul Ibanez. I am of course skeptical of their playing times, and thus am bearish on them. Rather than breaking this opinion up on six separate paragraphs, I figured this would be the easiest way of conveying my thoughts.




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You can catch David spouting off about baseball, soccer, esports and other things by following him on twitter, @davidwiers.


18 Responses to “AL OF Stock Watch”

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  1. Dave (UK) says:

    I dropped Markakis because Berkman was available. I’m hoping Berkman’s injury doesn’t hold him back from producing at a level we know he can.

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    • Sabermetric Solutions says:

      I believe that Markakis is the better option of the two. He is posting a career high in ISO and has a career low in BABIP by 24 points. I’m skeptical on Berkman because he is coming off an injury, although I do think that the power spike was legit; Berkman’s HRs averaged a distance of about 405 ft. That’s his highest since 2007.

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    • David Wiers says:

      I would have stuck with Markakis.

      If Berkman struggles at all he’ll probably lose playing time to Allen Craig or maybe even Matt Adams gets recalled.

      Neither the Cards nor the O’s can afford to have someone struggle, I just feel that Markakis has a longer rope.

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  2. kellemonster says:

    Markakis does not have any HR since coming back.

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  3. Pops says:

    Just included Cespedes in a deal… the other owner asked for Jennings and I hesitated. Wish I would have read this article before pulling the trigger.

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    • David Wiers says:

      This is of course just one (poorly informed) opinion. It’s possible that Jennings breaks out in the second half. The BABIP gods sure know I could use him too…

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  4. kid says:

    ZiPS doesn’t think much about Cespedes’ power for ROS (.431 SLG), but that seems really low – he’s gotta be more of a .480 SLG guy at worst, right?

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    • David Wiers says:

      Yeah, as stated above, I’m pretty optimistic about his power now that he is back and apparently healthy.

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  5. Me says:

    Annoyingly indecisive player here… please feel free to reprimand me at your leisure for asking for fantasy advice. However….

    Jennings, Alex Gordon, Brantley, Cody Ross, or Carlos Quentin. I have Bruce, Trout, Ellsbury already. Trying to round out the bench for the stretch run.

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    • David Wiers says:

      This is RotoGraphs, nothing is annoying. Except when a reliever for the other guy gets a vulture win from your starter. I despise that ish.

      With Bruce, Trout and Ellsbury I’d say you have a very good starting OF already. But to rank those players listed for the rest of the season I’ll go:

      Quentin, Gordon, Jennings, Brantley then Ross.

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  6. R M says:

    I love me some Viciedo, but his 40% O-Swing % scares the crap out of me. You really think his average is going to go up, or were you just taking a quick glance at ZiPS?

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    • Sabermetric Solutions says:

      Despite owning Viciedo in my league, I completely agree. His .21 BB/K is atrocious along with the 33% FB rate that only provides homers because of his 21.4% HR/FB. In all, I don’t see any reason why his average would rise.

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    • David Wiers says:

      I really do. Dubious as they may be (and I think they are to a certain degree), his batted ball profile isn’t one indicative of such a low average. His LD% is almost 21% and that alone makes me think a few hard hit balls will drop in. He doesn’t hit many fly balls (and his HR/FB vs overall FB is something worth noting) and grounders have a higher BABIP than fly balls.

      I’m still buying him.

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  7. kevin says:

    So would you rather Markakis or Jennings? I just don’t see Markakis hitting for real HR power ever again, and Jennings still has upside, but I’m curious who you’d take straight up

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    • David Wiers says:

      In a keeper league I’m taking Jennings hands down. For the rest of this season I’d actually take Markakis. Jennings has left a bad taste in my mouth.

      Metaphorically speaking of course. Not that I judge, love should be government free. But you know what I meant there.

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  8. bluetuzo says:

    I know this article is old, but I was just looking at yoenis cespedes contact rates and didn’t know where to point this out, so here it is: Look at the guy’s last 18 games: 16 of them he has had 100% contact rate on pitches in the zone. This is a completely different story from the first few months, where his contact rate was absolutely horrible. I still agree that he is swinging at too many pitches outside the zone, but I am much less pessimistic about his ability to hit for a decent average now that his contact rate has regressed back to a decent rate.

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