You’ll never be short on picking an outfielder from the massive pool of players your fantasy baseball draft will include. However, just because you have all these players to choose from, doesn’t mean they’re all great options. We’ll break a few potential sleepers to target as your draft winds down and you’re looking to fill some of the remaining spots on your roster.
Avisail Garcia, Milwaukee Brewers
As President of the Avisail Garcia fan club, I’m happy to write about his sleeper potential ahead of the 2020 season. I’ve been a big backer of him for years now and he continues to be overlooked in drafts. I have a funny feeling that sentiment may end this year as he plays for his new club with the Brewers in a much friendlier ballpark for half of those games.
Through 125 games last season with the Rays, Garcia slashed .282/.332/.464 with 20 home runs, 61 RBI and 10 steals. The steals are a bit of an anomaly, as his previous career-high came in 2015 with the White Sox when he had seven. Not saying he can’t swipe 10 bags but I’d consider anything you get in that category as a bonus rather than something to bank on. The rest of his stats were fantastic as he’s a reliable source of power and has been considerably strong against lefties. The move to Miller Park should be a big upgrade to his power and quite frankly, I wouldn’t be shocked if he pushed 30 home run territory if he stays healthy. He remains one of my favorite outfielders to be excited about in 2020.
Austin Riley, Atlanta Braves
We have lots to love about Riley and plenty of hate. Let’s talk about the positives first. Riley was called up to the majors and ended up playing 80 games and cracked 18 (!) home runs through 297 plate appearances. He knocked in 49 but only slashed .226/.279/.471 (remember when I said “things to hate?”). Still, that type of power is eye-popping to see in such a short amount of time. At that pace, Riley would be hitting 36 home runs if he played all 162 games. Sounds great, right?
If Riley wasn’t hitting bombs he was striking out, a lot. He ended the season with, wait for it, a 36.4 K%!! Amongst players who registered at least 250 plate appearances, Riley ranked third in K% behind two notorious players known for K’s, Chris David and Joey Gallo. These players, along with Miguel Sano, were the only players in the majors with over 35 K% with a minimum of 250 plate appearances. This is something that is going to need to change dramatically for Riley to take the next step. There isn’t anything wrong with taking guys like Davis, Gallo and Riley but the strikeouts is the biggest deterrent. As a late-round option, he’s a great power option but it comes with its downfalls.
Jo Adell, Los Angeles Angels
Adell is not projected to make the Opening Day roster, at least as of yet. A strong spring could change plans for the Angels, as Adell is one of the top prospects in all of the majors currently. At just 20 years old, Adell has already blown through the Angels minor league system and ended 2019 up in Triple-A. The majority of his time was spent in Double-A where he slashed .308/.390/.553 with eight home runs, 23 RBI and six steals. Not bad numbers through 43 games, right? If you take his numbers throughout all the minors last year, which included three different levels, he slashed .289/.359/.475 with 10 home runs, 36 RBI through 76 games. He’s a five-tool player that should be up in the big club at some point this season and taking him before he becomes a household name would be ideal.
Currently, the Angels have a logjam in the outfield, making it unclear where Adell would play. Of the three outfielders, Brian Goodwin is the weakest link, projected to hit out of the leadoff spot. Goodwin isn’t exactly an on-base juggernaut, posting a career .320 OBP in his four years in the majors. Granted, we don’t know when Adell will be in the majors but for an Angels team that is in a “win now” mode, Adell is a perfect fit to take over the leadoff spot. While it’s a gamble to take a risk with Adell, the benefits you could reap from him once he’s called up seem immense.