2015 Outlook: Marisnick had shown an intriguing power/speed combination (with much more of the latter to date) coming up through the minors, but he has been unable to replicate it in a limited major league sample, thanks in part to an overly aggressive approach that has seen him strike out 27 percent of the time with a meager 4 percent walk rate. Pitchers have challenged Marisnick, and he has been unable to make them pay, offering up a punchless .227/.264/.300 line in 355 plate appearances with the Marlins and Astros. Youth is on his side, though, and he does have a spectacular glove at a prime position, so the Astros are going to give him a chance to see some action in center this season. However, that playing time will likely come on the short end of a platoon in center with Colby Rasmus, a role which likely won't yield value outside of deeper mixed and AL-only leagues.
2015 Outlook: Smith was one of the only offensive bright spots in San Diego last season, hitting .266/.367/.440 with 12 home runs in 520 plate appearances, but he became expendable after the Padres revamped their entire outfield with a flurry of trades in December. Smith was subsequently traded to Seattle, where he'll presumably enter a platoon situation in right field with Justin Ruggiano to open 2015.
2015 Outlook: Young surpassed expectations in his first season in Baltimore, despite getting a modest 35.1 percent of his at-bats against left-handed pitching. While certainly capable of hitting right-handers, Young has typically fared better against southpaws, and he was expected to see a good chunk of his playing time against them. He still finished the year with a surprising .302/.337/.442 slash line, though he managed just seven home runs and two stolen bases over 242 at-bats. While an uncharacteristically high .359 BABIP contributed, Young owns a lifetime .324 BABIP, and his fly ball rate plummeted in 2014. Some regression can be expected, but Young still figures to post a BABIP well above the league average in his upcoming age-29 season. As always, the bigger issues are his lack of plate discipline and inability to play in the field, which should limit his opportunities at the plate. With Travis Snider and Alejandro De Aza offering capable options in the corner outfield spots, Steve Pearce will now challenge Young for starts at DH. Even as an everyday player, Young lacks significant appeal, and the smart money is on Pearce to cut into Young's playing time in a major way in 2015.
2015 Outlook: Grichuk, a former first-round pick of the Angels who was acquired by the Cardinals in the David Freese trade, made his major league debut last season after showcasing his power (.234 ISO) at Triple-A Memphis. He didn't play a major role for St. Louis, but the 23-year-old outfielder hit .259/.311/.493 with 25 home runs in 108 minor league games last season. Grichuk can be a streaky hitter who needs to improve his plate discipline (26.7 percent strikeout rate with a 4.3 percent walk rate in 116 big league plate appearances), but he is particularly strong against left-handed pitching and could eventually find himself in a platoon situation in St. Louis. His path to playing time remains unclear, however, after the Cardinals acquired Jason Heyward from the Braves.
2015 Outlook: Murphy served a platoon role in right field during his first season with the Indians, putting a poor 2013 behind him to post a .262/.319/.385 slash line in 462 plate appearances. The 33-year-old managed only eight home runs, however, marking it the first time that he's failed to reach double digits in that category in his career. No longer a factor on the basepaths, with three steals in 10 attempts over the past two seasons, Murphy needs to regain his power stroke in 2015 to get back on the fantasy radar.
2015 Outlook: The Yankees took a flier on Young, signing him to a minor-league deal in August soon after the Mets released the struggling outfielder. The 31-year-old posted a disappointing .205/.283/.346 slash line in 88 games in the National League before turning things around in the Bronx with an .875 OPS over 23 games to close out the season. Young's 20-20 days are long behind him, but he can be a cheap source of power and speed if he gets enough playing time. More than likely, he'll serve a platoon role against left-handed pitching as the Yankees' fourth outfielder.
2015 Outlook: A career .284/.344/.370 hitter in the minors, Inciarte got more than a cup of coffee during his first big league call-up last year. Injuries to the D-backs' starting outfielders mounted early in the season, leading the 24-year-old to appear in 118 games as the team's primary center fielder. At the plate, Inciarte made plenty of contact (87 percent) hitting atop Arizona's lineup, slashing .278/.318/.359 with 19 steals in 22 attempts. He could be a cheap source of speed in 2015 drafts, but he isn't assured regular at-bats as a possible platoon situation looms with David Peralta in left field.
2015 Outlook: Gentry dealt with a slew of injuries in 2014, his first season as a member of the Athletics. The issues limited him to just 258 at-bats, but he flashed his usual skills when healthy, combining excellent speed on the basepaths with impressive defense in the outfield. He finished the year with 20 swipes in 22 attempts, and while his .254 batting average and .319 on-base percentage were respectable, Gentry posted a meager .289 slugging percentage. He didn't hit any home runs and managed just six doubles and one triple. He's never going to be a power hitter, but he did have 12 doubles, four triples and two homers in nearly the same number of at-bats in 2013. Some form of rebound can thus be expected at the plate, though the 31-year-old Gentry might soon start to see his speed drop off. He figures to be a regular against left-handed pitching, but his bat is nearly unplayable against right-handers, even when accounting for the excellent defense and baserunning. As for his health, Gentry should be fine for spring training after a concussion brought an early end to his 2014 season.
2015 Outlook: Ethier delivered career lows across the board in 2014, slashing a mere .249/.322/.370 with four home runs and 42 RBIs in 380 plate appearances as the Dodgers' fourth outfielder. You'd think the recent departure of Matt Kemp via trade would reopen the door to regular at-bats for the 32-year-old, but alas, that's likely not the case. Top prospect Joc Pederson has nothing left to prove in the minors and should slot in as Los Angeles' starting center fielder on Opening Day, leaving Ethier to presumably back him up while also battling for playing time in left with Carl Crawford. Ethier's heavy contract will also make it difficult for the Dodgers to trade him unless they're willing to eat a significant chunk of his salary. For fantasy purposes, he's best left for the waiver wire unless he recaptures both a starting role and his pre-2011 form.
2015 Outlook: Parra is a classic fourth outfielder, whose ability to man all three spots exceptionally will keep him employed, but his offensive production has slowly trickled downward from a 2011 peak to a level that barely kept him on rosters in 2014. During that breakout campaign four years ago, he dominated on the basepath, with a 15-for-16 stolen base success rate, but he has delivered at a putrid 34-for-60 clip (57 percent) since then and didn't even eclipse double digits last season. His inability to hit lefties eats into his potential playing time as well. Perhaps more alarming was his decline against righties last year. His .704 OPS against them was his lowest in four years, and if he can't turn the tide on that, he might become merely a defensive replacement and dip back below 400 PA for the first time since 2010.
2015 Outlook: Venable was a disappointment to fantasy owners in 2014 after he caught the attention of many with a 20-20 campaign the year prior. The 32-year-old outfielder struggled from the outset last season, hitting just .201 with two homers and four steals in the first half while battling minor injuries. Venable turned things around after the All-Star break (.261/.333/.401), but finished the year with only eight home runs and 11 steals. The Padres revamped their outfield by acquiring Matt Kemp, Wil Myers and Justin Upton this offseason, leaving Venable as the fourth or fifth option entering 2015. You can safely ignore him in drafts unless he lands a starting role with a new team via trade.
2015 Outlook: Following a stint of more than four years with the Padres, Denorfia was traded to the Mariners last summer to give the team another outfield option against left-handed pitching. Things didn't work out as expected, as his down season in San Diego got even worse with the Mariners. Following four consecutive seasons with an OPS of .718 or better, the 34-year-old Denorfia finished 2014 with an ugly .602 mark. While a lower BABIP certainly contributed, Denorfia also saw his strikeout rate spike to 19.6 percent, up from 16.2 in 2013 and 13.6 in 2012. Given his age, the trend should not be dismissed, and neither should his lack of power, following a three-homer season (.088 ISO) over 358 at-bats. Not that power has ever been his forte, but Denorfia at least managed an ISO over .100 in each of the previous four years. He did finish 2014 with nine stolen bases, which is in line with his career norms. After signing a one-year, $2.5 million contract with the Cubs, Denorfia likely will settle into a platoon role, with the vast majority of his playing time coming against left-handed pitching. A far better hitter against southpaws for most of his career, Denorfia oddly fared a bit better against right-handers in 2014.
2015 Outlook: Blanco has been a model of consistency for San Francisco over the past three seasons, surpassing 140 games and 400 plate appearances while posting nearly identical statistics each year. He doesn't hit for power, but he'll provide runs and double-digit steals without hurting your batting average. However, following the addition of Norichika Aoki in January, Blanco is likely to be relegated to fourth on the outfield depth chart to begin the year. That doesn't mean he can't approach 400 plate appearances again, as center fielder Angel Pagan has found it difficult to stay on the field in recent seasons, but unless you play in a really deep league, you can probably leave Blanco on waivers until he gets hot or you become desperate for steals.
2015 Outlook: Due to injuries and poor play by players ahead of him on the depth chart, Holt found his way to 279 plate appearances and a .327/.371/.463 slash line in the first half. He became something of a mythical figure among Red Sox fans and at the same time he developed into a small-sample-size punch line among the pessimistic sabermetric crowd. After hitting .219 in the second half, almost all of his midseason shine is gone, and he will enter 2015 as a strict utility option. Boston has amassed perhaps the best and deepest collection of hitters in the big leagues, leaving nowhere for Holt to play at the moment. In addition to the predictable regression to his batting average, Holt is even less appealing for fantasy purposes, as he figures to hit fewer than five home runs and steal fewer than 10 bases in even the most optimistic part-time role.
2015 Outlook: Don't let the impressive and endearing swagger Dyson displayed in the playoffs lead you to overrate him in your 2015 drafts. He is no doubt cool, but unless your league counts that, it won't do you much good. That doesn't mean he is devoid of value, though. He has logged three straight 30-SB seasons -- increasing yearly to boot. However, he is a complete zero with the bat, which means you need to have your power categories covered before rostering him, but the pure value he offers at virtually no cost cannot be denied. The Dee Gordons of the world are fun to roster because their overwhelming stolen-base totals can severely lighten your speed burden in the draft, but sometimes it is wiser to pick up handfuls of steals here and there and roster a Dyson type about 300 picks after Gordon goes off the board.