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Sleepers and Busts

More-For-Your-Money Series Pt 2: Undervalued Outfielders for 2015

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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

Season Team G PA R HR RBI SB AVG
2012 Indians 155 686 88 16 67 21 .283
2013 Reds 154 712 107 21 54 20 .285
2014 Rangers 123 529 58 13 40 3 .242

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.

Season Team 1B 2B 3B BB% K% BABIP
2012 Indians 108 43 2 10.60% 21.90% .353
2013 Reds 105 34 2 15.70% 18.70% .338
2014 Rangers 77 19 1 11.00% 24.80% .308

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.

Season Team GB/FB LD% GB% FB% HR/FB
2012 Indians 1.83 23.30% 49.70% 27.10% 13.20%
2013 Reds 1.68 21.10% 49.40% 29.40% 16.40%
2014 Rangers 1.68 20.20% 50.00% 29.80% 13.40%

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

Season Team G PA R HR RBI SB AVG
2012 White Sox 157 640 93 25 91 23 .304
2013 2 Teams 156 662 83 18 81 42 .278
2014 Rangers 131 521 54 4 54 17 .280

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.

Season Team 1B 2B 3B BB% K% BABIP
2012 White Sox 114 37 8 4.10% 14.40% .323
2013 2 Teams 116 33 4 6.20% 16.30% .311
2014 Rangers 96 30 8 4.40% 17.90% .335

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.

Season Team GB/FB LD% GB% FB% HR/FB
2012 White Sox 1.05 21.80% 40.00% 38.20% 12.60%
2013 2 Teams 1.25 21.40% 43.70% 34.90% 10.10%
2014 Rangers 1.27 23.50% 42.80% 33.70% 2.90%

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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Fabian Taylor

Fabian Taylor lives in Vancouver, BC. In his previous life, he traded natural gas for a couple firms in Calgary. He now trades stocks, bonds, and commodities out of a float home office. Family, finance and Fantasy Sports -- Is there anything else?
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