The Dodgers have enough outfielders for three separate teams. Though, only three can start at a time. Who are the outfielders to target in fantasy drafts?
The Los Angeles Dodgers seem to be stockpiling outfielders like the MLB is going to introduce a fourth outfield position. Unfortunately, that is not the case and they can only start three on a daily basis. With the regular season about to begin, which Dodgers outfielders should you target during your draft?
According to the Dodgers official depth chart, there are eight different outfielders listed for the three positions. That’s just as many as their starting rotation. Granted, not all of them will be making the Opening Day roster. We will learn who the few that make the 25-man roster are, but until then, let the speculation begin.
The eight outfielders on the depth chart are, in no particular order, Andrew Toles, Joc Pederson, Yasiel Puig, Enrique Hernandez, Andre Ethier, Franklin Gutierrez, Trayce Thompson and Scott Van Slyke. Most of them have seen significant playing time over the past couple of years to warrant a starting job.
Let’s get the obvious out of the way. Pederson is the starting center fielder. He hit .246 last season with 25 home runs and 68 RBI.However, it wasn’t all good. He hit just .125/.250/.219 against lefties last season. The Dodgers can’t rely on that this year, but he will start for the majority of games.
However, it wasn’t all good. He hit just .125/.250/.219 against lefties last season. The Dodgers can’t rely on that this year, but he will start for the majority of games.
That is where Gutierrez comes in. The Dodgers signed him in February and for good reason. He hit .280/.373/.511 against lefties in 186 at-bats in 2016 and has a .289/.351/.495 line against them in his career. The negative is that he hasn’t played center field since 2013, but just for 17 games. Regardless, I think he still makes the team as a backup.
Now onto Puig. There’s been so much back and forth with him that I don’t need to waste anyone’s time. We’ve seen the good and the bad. After a great first two seasons, Puig’s stock took a hit in 2015. He played in just 79 games.
Puig did his best to rehabilitate it last year in his 104 games. He hit .263 with 11 home runs and 45 RBI. Looking at the other options and his improvements both on and off the field, I think it’s safe to say he is the starting right fielder.
The rest of the outfielders can easily platoon in left field. Toles is currently listed there with Ethier, Van Slyke and Thompson behind him. Ethier can never stay healthy. He fractured his right tibia just 26 plate appearances into the season. Thompson is also dealing with an injury, missing the second half with two different stress fractures in his back.
I think Toles, who hit .314 in 48 games, will start in left. Ethier, whenever he returns, will take over the left field duties. That leaves Thompson and Van Slyke down in Triple-A. That’s not a bad thing. In another year or so, if Puig becomes more trouble or Toles doesn’t turn out great, they can find themselves as a starter.
Unless something drastic happens between this post and Opening Day, the starting outfielders will be Pederson, Puig and Toles. Pederson has power, Puig and power and speed, and Toles can get on base. That is not a bad trio to have in the outfield.
As for ADP, Pederson is a 17th round pick, Puig in the 22nd and Toles will go undrafted. In the late rounds, you are looking for a lot of upside at a low risk. At least two of the three provide that.