A few days ago, we discussed my two favorite Undervalued Infielders for 2015.
But today, we’re bringing you my two top undervalued outfielders for this season, as I think people aren’t paying enough attention to these two characters.
There’s an interesting irony surrounding the two players I chose today, and I think you’ll pick up on it pretty quick.
Undervalued Outfielders for 2015
This “More-For-Your-Money Series” is meant to help you find good players at cheap prices.
Shin-Soo Choo, OF, Texas
Choo was plagued with both elbow and ankle injuries in 2014 and it clearly impacted his performance. It sounds like the injuries both occurred in April, so he played hurt the entire year, finally shutting it down in late August. His batting average and stolen bases took the biggest brunt of the injuries.
It appears that he is now healthy, however. His batting average should recover, aided by a return to his career BABIP of .345. This will result in him being on base more, which should lead to more stolen-base opportunities. The increase in K% needs to be watched to determine if it was due to the injuries or career decline.
Most of his batted ball data was in line with career norms. Ankle injuries would clearly affect your ability to run and steal bases. With a clean bill of health and a full season, Choo should approach his 20/20 seasons of the past. A healthy Rangers lineup will also provide a boost to his runs total, as he will be on base more often than last year.
His early ADP according the www.fantasypros.com is the 46th outfielder and 168th Fantasy player overall. I forecast a top 30 OF season with projections of 90 R, 18 HR, 60 RBI, 18 SB and a .275 batting average.
Alex Rios, OF, Kansas City
On the surface, Rios had a poor 2014. Injuries cost him 30 games, plus he appeared to have played injured for roughly another 30 games. He first got hurt on July 19, and finally shut it down in early September. The constant stream of injuries to his other fellow Rangers also negatively affected his numbers.
However, there is room for optimism. Despite the disappearance of HR, he still managed 30 doubles and 8 triples, proving there is still some pop in his bat. He also maintained a solid batting average.
As you can see, the lack of homers seems to be driven by an extremely unlucky HR/FB% of sub 3%. Moving to Kansas City from Texas is not a plus in terms of park factors, however, it is relatively minor. According to ESPN park factors, Arlington ranked 17th in terms of HRs and Kauffman ranked 22nd. The move to K.C. should be very supportive of his SB totals, as we all saw how much the Royals love “small ball” on their improbable run to the World Series last year.
His early ADP according to www.fantasypros.com is the 47th OF and 171st overall. I also forecast a top-30 OF season with projections of 75 R, 15 HR, 75 RBI, 25 SB and a .280 batting average.
As was the case with my undervalued infielders, both Choo and Rios have the risk of returning from injuries. However, this is also the reason that there is an opportunity to buy an asset at a discount. The power/speed combo of these outfielders will produce solid OF3 numbers at an OF5 price.
Data contained in all the charts courtesy of www.fangraphs.com
Shin-Soo Choo Photo Credit: Keith Allison
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