Your Daily Fantasy Rx
by Tim Polko
American League Outfielders without Positive Draft Value
Quick Key to the tables:
We ranked players in order from the highest draft value in a 4x4 league to the lowest. As the majority of fantasy leagues allow you to keep anyone traded to the other league, we listed each player in the league where he started the season.
Gerut returned from rehabbing his torn right ACL at the end of April, spend two weeks crushing AAA pitching, and then rejoined the Indians in mid-May. While he posted the best OBP of his young career, two months later Cleveland dealt him to the Cubs for Jason Dubois in the club's search for right-handed power. Dusty Baker unsurprisingly failed to give Gerut much playing time, prompting Jim Hendry to dispatch Gerut to Pittsburgh two weeks later for Matt Lawton. A recurrence of knee problems then ended Gerut's season in August despite respectable overall numbers for this comeback. Unfortunately for the sudden journeyman, the Pirates foolishly wasted money on Jeromy Burnitz rather than employ a platoon of Gerut and Craig Wilson in right field, which offers more offense for far less money. Instead Gerut heads into camp as the club's fourth outfielder and a fantastic fantasy sleeper due to his double-digit upside in both homers and steals, plus solid plate discipline that mandates a useful BA in the friendly environs of PNC.
Landing a spot on the end of the Rays' bench resulted in a respectable .271/.348/.356 performance, but limited playing time and a need to deploy superior rookies quickly pushed Singleton off the roster. Contract confusion then led to his departure from the organization, and his de facto retirement gained official recognition upon his acceptance of a job as the White Sox's radio color commentator. Given that he never experienced much success outside of his three-year tour in Chicago from 1999 to 2001, then moved to Baltimore in the deal that netted the White Sox Willie Harris, Singleton landed a perfect job, providing a comfortable coda to his unimpressive playing career.
Please refer to our Post-2005 Prospect Review: Baltimore for my comments on Fiorentino.
Spending much of a third year at AAA Syracuse(IL) resulted in a virtual repeat of his previous stats as Gross registered a .300/.383/.444 performance with 6 HR, 49 RBI, and a 52:83 BB:K in 390 AB. Only the addition of a 13/15 SB success rate proved at all noteworthy, and I doubt Toronto hesitated before dispatching their former top pick to Milwaukee in the Lyle Overbay deal. Gross again finds himself in an uncomfortable situation with the Brewers with Geoff Jenkins going nowhere and prospects like Corey Hart and Nelson Cruz merely at the top of the list of likely replacements for pending free agent Carlos Lee. Yet he appears assured of joining Hart on the big league bench, and as long as Gross owns a solid OBP, he just might replace Brady Clark in center within the next couple of years. Consider Gross as an excellent target for your last outfield slot if you can land him for a few bucks.
A couple of miserable months spend in Japan merely pushed Kapler back to Boston by July, where he battled back problems for a couple months before suffering a ruptured left Achilles in mid-September. The rehab for that injury may prevent him from beginning the year with the Red Sox, but once healthy, his .314/.306/.571 output in 35 at-bats against left-handers aptly demonstrates his usefulness as Trot Nixon's platoon partner. Adding Kapler during Dollar Days should net a small profit by year's end.
Please refer to our Post-2005 Prospect Review: Texas for my comments on Botts.
Ludwick contributed little with Cleveland before heading to AAA Buffalo(IL), where he faired even worse, posting a meager .191/.272/.330 performance with 4 HR, 16 RBI, and a 17:48 BB:K in 188 AB. A broken wrist completed this disastrous outing, which pushed him off the Indians and onto the Tigers via a minor league deal. Of course, I don't see him seeing more than a handful of at-bats with no less than eight players ahead of him in the competition for no more than seven roster spots, rendering Ludwick useless in 2006 barring a return to the skills he demonstrated in the Rangers' system earlier this decade.
Please refer to our Post-2005 Prospect Review: Seattle for my comments on Snelling.
Five hundred and eighty-eight home runs, fifteen hundred and seventy-five RBI, and the eternal goodwill of MLB accountants all failed to result in a single big league contract for Sosa this winter. Exiled from Chicago due to a horrendous failure on the part of Cubs' management, he hit acceptably for Baltimore in April before foot problems sidelined him for much of May. Sosa completely collapsed in June, his usual breakout month, only gradually improving over the course of the summer until toe problems ended his season in late August. However, Sosa's skills haven't budged in any significant way from recent years as only dramatic difficulty with right-handers kept him from registering positive value. The future Hall of Famer still should succeed when given the opportunity, especially if he can accept reduced at-bats. Most reports indicate he'll land with Washington by Opening Day, although a role as a platoon partner for Trot Nixon or Cliff Floyd would offer more upside to fantasy owners that correctly gaze at Sosa with an extreme degree of skepticism regarding his ability to return to double-digit value.
An unexpected career-high in at-bats for Ryan failed to translate into any value either for fantasy participants or the Twins. His poor BA destroyed his overall averages, and his .283/.343/.461 performance with a 15:34 BB:K in 152 AB for AAA Rochester(IL) similarly failed to echo his superlative numbers from 2002. I no longer consider him so much as viable roster filler, and even a move to Atlanta this winter doesn't offer much hope for Ryan seeing many big league at-bats this summer.
With a .207/.239/.270 line in 111 AB for AAA Ottawa(IL) ceding to a similarly pitiful .240/.305/.307 performance in 150 AB for AA Bowie(EL), Nivar no longer belongs anywhere near the majors. He possesses poor baserunning instincts, and although signing with the Cardinals could create another opportunity due to Tony LaRussa's preference for highly flexible bench players, Nivar's weak BA prevents him from contributing to successful fantasy reams.
Traipsing from Colorado Springs to Durham, Tampa, and eventually Memphis left Taylor with below-average stats on four clubs, nicely demonstrating his negligible likelihood of succeeding in the majors. A minor league deal with Detroit virtually insures an extended tour with AAA Toledo due to the Tigers' surprisingly respectable outfield depth, leaving little room for Taylor even to see big league at-bats, forget about positing positive value.
I frankly can't believe Costa lost his rookie eligibility. The unfortunate youngster performed adequately in the California League in 2004, but his .274/.340/.435 performance in the first two months at AAA Wichita(TL) resulted in his promotion to the majors despite the availability of vastly preferable options like Aaron Guiel and Adrian Brown. Costa spent seven weeks with the Royals, didn't start every day, and then returned to the minors, where he finished the year with a .282/.349/.448 line and a 24:23 BB:K in 277 AB, numbers which suggest he'll peak as a fourth outfielder. He didn't deserve this level of abuse and hopefully will reemerge as a quality big leaguer if given the additional development time he requires.
Please refer to our Post-2005 Prospect Review: Seattle for my comments on Strong.
Please refer to our Post-2005 Prospect Review: Boston for my comments on Stern.
Please refer to our Post-2005 Prospect Review: Baltimore for my comments on Reed.
Please refer to our Post-2005 Prospect Review: Chicago(A) for my comments on Anderson.
On May 31st, Carlos Silva induced Gonzalez to ground out to Mike Cuddyer on the third pitch Gonzalez saw in 2005. Forced to miss the first two months of the year with hamstring problems, he reinjured his hamstring while running to first on that play, left the game without playing even an inning in right field, and then returned to the DL for the rest of the season. With two injury-plagued campaigns interrupted only by 149 unimpressive at-bats, Gonzalez absolutely requires an outstanding WBC performance to continue playing baseball. Of course, given his difficulties staying on the field over the past four years and the skill deterioration he demonstrated even when healthy, I see no reason to roster him in any league barring a completely unexpected NRI from Colorado.
Please refer to our Post-2005 Prospect Review: New York(A) for my comments on Reese.
Please refer to our Post-2005 Prospect Review: Baltimore for my comments on Calzado.
Please refer to our Post-2005 Prospect Review: Detroit for my comments on Hooper.
Please refer to our Post-2005 Prospect Review: Boston for my comments on Machado.
An early slump pushed Thames back to AAA Toledo(IL), where he crushed the ball for the second straight season, registering a .359/.443/.714 performance with 24 HR, 59 RBI, and a 42:59 BB:K in 273 AB. He certainly seems capable of echoing those numbers with the Tigers, so although I don't envision him breaking camp in the majors, expect a recall upon an injury or the approaching trade of Dmitri Young. Thames looks particularly interesting in Ultra leagues where he'll only cost a mid-round reserve pick yet could add $5-10 of value during the year
Returning to the International League resulted in a respectable .284/.372/.473 output from Cummings, along with 12 HR, 40 RBI, and a 36:69 BB:K in 264 AB for AAA Ottawa(IL). He only saw the briefest of looks in Baltimore, but given his skill history, he shouldn't you if you ever need low-risk roster filler.
Please refer to our Post-2005 Prospect Review: Los Angeles(A) for my comments on Prieto.
Please refer to our Post-2005 Prospect Review: New York(A) for my comments on Vento.
While Torres spent a month in Texas as injury filler for Gary Matthews, shoulder problems prevented him from accumulating even a hundred at-bats. Of course, he still owns impressive speed, so his minor league deal with Minnesota just might result in a few bucks of positive value for clubs looking for mid-season SB boosts.
Please refer to our Post-2005 Prospect Review: New York(A) for my comments on Cabrera.
Please refer to our Post-2005 Prospect Review: Detroit for my comments on Gomez.
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