Fantasy Baseball: Five outfield sleepers for drafts

To help with your fantasy baseball draft prep, Dalton Del Don will examine potential draft bargains at each position. He's already offered up sleepers at catcher, first base, second base, shortstop and third base. Below you'll find his outfield draft values.

Charlie Blackmon, Colorado Rockies

While some “sleepers” are unknown youngsters, often the best undervalued players are older, boring veterans like Blackmon. His ADP has rarely been this low (outside 200), as the 35-year-old posted his worst OPS in nearly a decade. But Blackmon was much better during the second half and most importantly, still calls Colorado home. Coors Field has increased run scoring by 34% over the last three seasons; Great American Ballpark is second over that span at 16%. Colorado has boosted batting average by 18% over the last three years, with the second-best a full 10% lower. It’s simply an unfair advantage to hit there.

Blackmon’s expected batting average (.292) was in the top 8% of the league even during a down season last year, and he’s slated to hit leadoff in 2022 (with a pitcher no longer batting ninth in the NL). There are 50+ outfielders being drafted ahead of Blackmon in Yahoo leagues.

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AJ Pollock, Los Angeles Dodgers

Pollock isn’t likely to play 150+ games (he’s already missing time right now with “general soreness”), but that’s why his ADP remains so affordable for such a good hitter (and fantasy contributor). After swatting 16 homers in fewer than 200 ABs during 2020’s shortened season, Pollock added 30 homers/steals in just 384 ABs last season. He was in the top 10% of the league in expected batting average in 2021 and will also get you steals. Pollock can also remain a fine source of counting stats despite hitting at the bottom of LA’s lineup, as the Dodgers are projected to score by far the most runs in baseball. Pollock will be a fantasy difference-maker when in the lineup.

AJ Pollock still is a valuable fantasy baseball asset when he's on the field. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
AJ Pollock still is a valuable fantasy baseball asset when he's on the field. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

Myles Straw, Cleveland Guardians

With steals at an absolute premium, Straw is a fine target should you miss out on speed early (when you should be drafting pitching). Straw isn’t a great hitter but good plate discipline leads to strong OBPs. Slated to hit leadoff in Cleveland, Straw’s elite centerfield defense should also help keep his bat in the lineup. He once stole 70 bases over 131 games in the minors as a 23-year-old yet isn’t being drafted among the first 60 outfielders in Yahoo leagues.

Andrew McCutchen, Milwaukee Brewers

Another boring veteran, McCutchen saw a nice boost to his fantasy value after signing with Milwaukee, where he’s suddenly projected to bat cleanup in between two lefties (including Christian Yelich’s high OBP in front of him). McCutchen hit just .222 last season but remained a slightly above average hitter (107 wRC+) while finishing in the top 3% of the league in walk rate. The 35-year-old’s sprint speed remained strong (89th percentile), and Miller Park has actually increased home runs for righties (15%) more than Philadelphia (11%) over the last three seasons (they were the same in run scoring). McCutchen had been going undrafted in some Yahoo leagues, although his ADP has moved up since joining the Brewers.

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Nick Senzel, Cincinnati Reds

Senzel was the second pick in the 2016 draft and produced 26 homers/steals in just 375 ABs as a rookie. He’s been a huge disappointment while battling numerous injuries over two years since, but the former top prospect is going to once again be given a chance at an everyday role for the rebuilding Reds. Senzel is still 26 years old, possesses a “70” grade on his future hit tool and has real power/speed upside. He has a career .402 wOBA and a 156 wRC+ in more than 1,000 career PAs in the minors, so health is the real issue. Moreover, Great American Ballpark has been one of the friendliest venues for hitters, increasing homers a whopping 28% for right-handed batters over the last three seasons. Senzel is even eligible at 2B as well, so he’s a real sleeper in Yahoo leagues.

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