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Breaking down 3 outfielders to consider deeper in your 2021 fantasy baseball drafts

We take a look at some sleepers at the outfield position to target in your season-long fantasy baseball draft.

 Los Angeles Dodgers center fielder A.J. Pollock runs after hitting a double against the Tampa Bay Rays during the fourth inning of game four of the 2020 World Series at Globe Life Field.  Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Taking chances on outfield sleeper candidates is a necessity in fantasy baseball because you’ll be starting at least three or five in many standard leagues. When you add in utility spots, that’s a lot of outfielders who could be in your everyday lineup. Here are three outfielders who could pay off for you in the latter rounds of your draft.

Trey Mancini, Baltimore Orioles

Mancini is already a good story. He beat colon cancer, which caused him to miss the 2020 season, and has returned to the game prepared to pick up where he left off. It’s impossible to predict how this past grueling year has affected Mancini’s baseball skills, but when we last saw him, he was bashing 35 homers and batting .293 with an .899 OPS. He has attained a .290 average in two of the past three years. Maybe he’s never that player ever again, but at around pick No. 165, you won’t have to pay a premium to find out.

Kole Calhoun, Arizona Diamondbacks

Calhoun might provide 30-plus homers, but his National Fantasy Baseball Championship ADP is beyond pick No. 250 right now. Calhoun hit 33 balls out of the yard in 2019 and then bashed 16 HRs in 54 games last season, his first with the D-Backs. There is a concerted behind this; Calhoun increased his launch angle significantly over the past two seasons. But he is also making solid contact more often as his barrel rate surpassed 10% in each of those years. By comparison, his barrel rate in 2016 and 2017 was 5.2% He doesn’t offer much else — his career-high in steals is six, and he hasn’t recorded a batting average better than .244 since 2016 — but the legit pop in Calhoun’s bat makes him a nice value at his current draft price.

AJ Pollock, Los Angeles Dodgers

No one would question Pollock’s talent; he has achieved double-digit steals and double-digit home runs in three seasons since 2015. The only matter of concern is how often he will be healthy enough to play. Injuries kept Pollock from playing in no more than 113 games each season from 2016-19. Still, the production has been noteworthy during that time, and when he played in 55 of 60 games last year, he hit 16 HRs with a .276 average. With Joc Pederson out of Los Angeles, Pollock should be locked into a starting job with one of the best offenses in baseball for as long as his body permits. If he can stay active for even 130 games, Pollock has the ability to reach 30 homers and a handful of steals with a decent average. He is the perfect player to take a chance on in the second half of your draft.