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Don’t Pay Too Much! Pt 2: Overvalued Outfielders for 2015

sleepers and busts

Last week, we talked about some overvalued infielders for this season, so now we move to the overvalued outfielders for 2015. Earlier this month, we shared a couple undervalued infielders, along with two undervalued outfielders and two more undervalued pitchers.

I believe my two choices for overvalued outfielders are too hyped up given their immense future potential.

They are both still very young and have yet to reach their prime. I do not think this will be the year that they breakout given some negative signs that they have been showing.

In a dynasty league, their lofty ADPs may be warranted. However, in a redraft league, they are being picked too high.

There are some more stable, reliable veterans that will produce similar stats being drafted much lower. Do not fall for the hype machine, seek out value and focus on profit potential.

Overvalued Outfielders for 2015

Paying for hope is a dangerous and losing proposition.

Yasiel Puig, L.A. Dodgers

Season Team G PA R HR RBI SB AVG
2013 Dodgers 104 432 66 19 42 11 .319
2014 Dodgers 148 640 92 16 69 11 .296

Puig had a pretty solid 2014, however, it probably was a mild disappointment given his stellar 2013 partial campaign. A strong average, with a power and speed combo is a rare commodity. Let’s take a look at some of the underlying stats to gain a better understanding of his performance.

Season Team 1B 2B 3B BB% K% BABIP
2013 Dodgers 80 21 2 8.30% 22.50% .383
2014 Dodgers 103 37 9 10.50% 19.40% .356

Puig made some improvements in 2014. His batting eye matured, evidenced by his falling K% and rising BB%. The large increase in doubles suggests a power gain in the future. There was the expected regression of his BABIP, however, it still maintained at an elevated level. Let’s see if we can explain this from his batted ball profile.

Season Team GB/FB LD% GB% FB% HR/FB
2013 Dodgers 1.63 19.10% 50.20% 30.70% 21.80%
2014 Dodgers 1.55 14.80% 51.70% 33.40% 11.10%

This is where things get interesting. Puig’s LD% of sub 15% does not explain an elevated BABIP, he appeared to get extremely lucky last year. As a positive, given his doubles from last year and his power numbers from 2013, there may be some upside in his HR/FB% going forward.

His early ADP according to is the 7th OF and 21st overall. It appears that the market is assuming Puig to maintain his elevated BABIP and batting average while his power improves. I agree with a slight power increase, but I think the risk to a lower average is being underestimated. If Puig’s batting average does fall then his projected numbers start to look a lot like Hunter Pence (ADP 18th OF) or Jason Heyward (ADP 22nd OF).

I forecast Puig to finish out of the top 15 OF with projections of 85 R, 20 HR, 70 RBI, 12 SB and a .280 batting average.

Bryce Harper, Washington

Season Team G PA R HR RBI SB AVG
2012 Nationals 139 597 98 22 59 18 .270
2013 Nationals 118 497 71 20 58 11 .274
2014 Nationals 100 395 41 13 32 2 .273

Harper disappointed in 2014, however, injuries played a role. He dealt with ailments to both his thumb and knee. The steals seem to have disappeared; he only attempted four stolen bases last year. This could be due to the injuries, but it is something to watch going forward.

Also, over his brief career, Harper’s RBI totals seem relatively low given his power numbers. This seems to be caused by two factors: placement in the order and batting average with RISP. He mostly hit second in 2012, third in 2013, and sixth in 2014. His RBI totals should increase relative to his other numbers if he locks down a spot in the third through fifth spot in the order.

For his career, his average with RISP is a paltry 0.234 compared to an average of 0.272 in all situations. This may be due to youth or just trying too hard. Let’s now take a look at some disturbing trends that may be occurring.

Season Team 1B 2B 3B BB% K% BABIP
2012 Nationals 87 26 9 9.40% 20.10% .310
2013 Nationals 69 24 3 12.30% 18.90% .306
2014 Nationals 71 10 2 9.60% 26.30% .352

Harper seems to be getting more impatient at the plate. You never want to see an increasing K% coupled with a declining BB%. Also, the BABIP suggests luck was on his side despite his disappointing 2014 campaign. The lack of doubles is also concerning, showing a lack of pop in this bat. Let’s see if the batted ball profile can explain the rise in BABIP.

Season Team GB/FB LD% GB% FB% HR/FB
2012 Nationals 1.35 22.50% 44.60% 32.90% 16.20%
2013 Nationals 1.40 19.90% 46.70% 33.40% 18.00%
2014 Nationals 1.26 21.80% 43.60% 34.60% 15.50%

Harper’s batted ball profile has not changed much over his brief career; this makes the increase in BABIP even more suspect. At this point in Harper’s career, it appears that we have a player that struggles with the pressure of having men on in scoring position, has stopped running, and whose batting average could be taking a fall given a poor batting eye and regression of BABIP.

There’s no doubt is a great deal of potential in Harper, remember that he is only 22. I just do not think you need to pay for future numbers that he may achieve during the peak of his career in a redraft league for 2015.

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His early ADP according to is the 11th OF and 33rd overall. I believe that you can achieve very similar stats from both Yoenis Cespedes (ADP 21st OF) and Matt Holliday (ADP 23rd OF) at a much cheaper price than that of Harper.

I forecast Harper to finish out of the top 15 OF with projections of 75 R, 23 HR, 75 RBI, 8 SB, and a .260 batting average.

Both Puig and Harper will probably improve over the coming seasons, they have not reached their peaks yet. All young players must move along the learning curve and more at bats is the only way this can be achieved. Their numbers in 2014 do not suggest that 2015 will be the year for their respective breakouts. Do not pay for future promise and potential from these overvalued outfielders. Pay for expected 2015 production by fading their overvalued ADPs.

Data contained in the charts courtesy of Yasiel Puig Photo Credit: Ron Reiring

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