Fantasy Baseball Outfield Rankings

The fantasy baseball outfield landscape begins with the two of the best players in the game followed by strong, consistent veterans to young budding stars. With so many more outfielders available, there is a bit more room here to find hidden gems and other upside players. The strategy here is to get at least 1 elite outfielder or 2 very good outfielders to

Tier 1

  1. Mike Trout: He’s been the best baseball hitter over the past four seasons and is the number one fantasy option. His power is on the rise and while he likely won’t maintain a 25% HR/FB%, Trout should be good for at least 35 homers. While his steal totals have been dropping in each year, Trout has stated he wants to run more and could swipe anywhere between 10-20 bags. The biggest knock on Trout is the strength of his teamamtes. He only managed 90 RBIs. Regardless, he is the best baseball player on the planet; fantasy and real life.
  1. Bryce Harper: You can make a solid case for Bryce as the number one especially in OBP leagues where his 19% walk percentage was the second highest among qualified hitters to Joey Votto. Bryce put all of his tools together to become the number one fantasy baseball player last season. Questions remain whether or not his 27% HR/FB% is sustainable, and whether he can have a BABIP at .369 again. Harper always had the skillset, it was just about time before he put it all together. Harper will hit over .300, and he will flirt with 40 home runs once again. It wouldn’t surprise me to see Harper as the number 1 overall player again.

Tier 2

  1. Mookie Betts: Remember how good AJ Pollock was last season? Well now imagine you get similar production but more power. That’s Mookie Betts, an all around star in the MLB. He has batted .291 in each of the past two seasons and his HR/FB% has remained static. He increased his power output to from 2014, something many were expecting. Betts could hit upwards of 25 home runs although 15-20 is more likely. Betts stole 21 bases. Across the minors, he had years where he stole 40 bases. The Red Sox have a fairly good offence and should lead to many run scoring opprotunities for Mookie. His all around game and five category production should lead to strong results. I think Betts hits over .300 with 20 home runs, more than 100 runs, and 20-25 stolen bases. Betts is a stud.
  1. Giancarlo Stanton: Aside from steals, power is the rarest aspect of fantasy baseball. Stanton has immense strength making him the only real 50 home run threat over the course of a full season. And that’s the problem: Stanton has struggled to stay healthy. He has had a fluke injury like getting hit in the face with the ball so perhaps his injury prone label is a bit overdone. Last season, his BABIP at .294 was below his career average (.328). It is likely Stanton can get back to hitting at least .275. The power for fifty homer runs still remains, and you won’t be disappointed with forty either. Lastly, with Dee Gordon and Christian Yelich hitting in front of him, plenty of RBI opportunities await Stanton.
  1. Andrew McCutchen: This is all about consistency and floor here. The 29 year old has hit 20 or more home runs in each the past five years, batted .300 or higher in three of those five, more than 80 RBIs in each of those five seasons and although the steals are waning, he is still good for 10-15. McCutchen struggled in April due to injury. After that, he was his same old self. Players like Bryant and Pollock may provide greater upside, but they don’t have the track record of McCutchen.
  1. Kris Bryant: I wrote about Bryant here. What separates Bryant is his potential. He can hit 30 home runs and drive in 100 or more while providing a decent average.
  1. Jose Bautista: Bautista is in a contract year and will be an instrumental member of the Toronto Blue Jays. He is slated to bat third, right behind Josh Donaldson giving him a great environment for RBIs. He has shown no signs of slowing down as his strikeout rates are in line with his past four seasons. He also improved his walk rate making him one of the best outfielders in OBP leagues. He hit 40 home runs for the first time since 2011. His .285 ISO was higher than his career .240 but his HR/FB% was right in line with what he’s been doing as a member of the Blue Jays. Due to his heavy pull tendencies and above average flyball rate, his batting average is low and could hover as low as .240. Regardless, Bautista stands a good chance at obtaining 200 runs + RBIs for the third consecutive season.
  1. Chris Davis: I wrote more about Davis here. While he does come with his risks especially with that horrendous strikeout rate, Davis has an exorbitant amount of power. The Orioles have a strong lineup making it possible Davis exceeds 100 RBIs.

 

Tier 3

  1. Justin Upton: The Detroit Tigers added Upton to an already good offence. This means that Upton will have plenty of RBI opportunities as well as run scoring. Upton has remained relatively healthy appearing in 149 or more games in each of the past five seasons. His BABIP at .304 was the lowest of his career in years where he had at least 400 plate appearances. Better fortune here will allow Upton to regain his .270 average of 2014. His line drive rate at 17.3% represented a career low (minimum 400 plate appearances). His ISO stayed at career levels making it likely Upton will once again reach the 25 home runs mark. After two consecutive seasons of 8 stolen bases, Upton swiped 19 bags. Part of this was luck, another part was increased stolen base efficiency. Upton has a good shot at obtaining 10-15 SB. Upton still strikes out way too much but he’s a good hitter and should be able to do well with the Tigers.
  1. Starling Marte: Marte is another power speed player who has hit 32 home runs over the past two seasons and stolen 60 bases while batting .289. 13 of his 19 home runs came in the first half. He cooled down to 6 in the second half which is more reasonable given his track record. The 18.6% HR/FB was high as his two full seasons before was 12.45%. Add on his above average groundball tendencies as a hitter, and I’m not optimistic he comes close to 20 home runs again. He cut back on his strikeout percentage but his swinging strike percentage went up. I have a tough time believing he will have a strikeout percentage below 20% this season. As a whole, Marte is what Marte has been. A .285 hitter who can hit 10-15 home runs and swipe 25-30 bases while scoring 80+ runs. He’s a good player. Due to him and Blackmon being similar players and having similar floors and ceilings, I am inclined to choose Marte over Blackmon because of Marte’s superior home and road splits. There is greater week to week consistency from Marte.
  1. Charlie Blackmon: Blackmon will be playing in Coors and will be atop the Rockies lineup so he should have a good year. He has hit 36 home runs over the past two seasons giving him a floor of 15 and a ceiling of 20 home runs. His power + speed combination is hard to find as he was the only player to obtain 15 home runs while swiping 40 bags. Blackmon is unlikely to steal forty bases. He will be a year older and it is tough to project a player to continue stealing as much as he did when he stole 15 fewer bases in 2014. Blackmon is still good for 15 HR, 30 SB while batting .285 and scoring 80+ runs.
  1. JD Martinez: Martinez proved 2014 was no fluke as he belted 15 additional home runs. His 93 runs and 102 RBIs were a welcome sign for the 28-year-old. Martinez’s HR/FB% and ISO remained relatively similar. His average dropped due to his BABIP coming down from .389 to something more sustainable (.339). His strikeout rate is still very high at 27.1% but his approach has led to success. Part of a strong Tigers offence, JD Martinez will be a key contributor and is in line for another strong season.
  1. Adam Jones: Jones value is lower in an OBP league because of his career 4.3% walk rate. Last season Jones disappointed but that was largely due to his .286 BABIP. His career BABIP at .311 indicates Jones should be able to bat .280. His power hasn’t yet waned evidenced by his .205 ISO. Jones will have plenty of run scoring and RBI opportunities in the strong Orioles offence.
  1. George Springer: Springer is a power + speed threat. He has the capability to go 30/20. He has been hit with injuries every now and then but his production has still been good. He stole 16 bases last season in 451 plate appearances. Over the course of a full season, he could swipe 20+. The power for 30 home runs is there as he has a career .206 ISO. Springer cut back on the strikeouts and as the main power threat in the Astros lineup, Springer should be in line for lots of RBIs.
  1. Yasiel Puig: Puig had an off year as he was battled a hamstring injury. His .255 average was low relative to his career .307. This was due largely to his BABIP being below average. One of the more encouraging signs was Puig hitting for more flyballs. This should in turn lead to more home runs making it a possibility Puig crosses the 20 home run threshold. Puig comes with a risk, but he very well could bat .300 with 15-20 home runs, 10 stolen bases, 90+ runs and 80+ RBIs in a good Dodgers offence.
  1. Ryan Braun: Braun is still a good hitter as he hit .285 with 25 home runs. He stole 24 bases on top of that. The Brewers offence is not going to be good making it difficult to accumulate counting stats. Nevertheless, Braun is a good hitter and should be in line for a similar season.
  1. Gregory Polanco: I wrote more about Polanco here. If he can figure out left handed pitching, Polanco will have a breakout year. He should be good for 15 home runs and 30 stolen bases.
  1. Jason Heyward: Heyward is a member of the Chicago Cubs and will be looking to make his mark on his new club. He has stolen 20 or more bases in each of the past two seasons and with John Maddon’s managerial skills, I see no reason other than age as to why Heyward won’t. Heyward has hit 38 home runs over the past three seasons but he leaves us wanting more when taking into account he has hit 18 and 27 before. Heyward’s average will likely fall somewhere between .270-.280. He’s a good hitter and will provide plenty of counting stats on route to five category production.
  2. Lorenzo Cain: Cain is fresh off a career year and a World Series win with the KC Royals. He was able to have a slightly higher batting average over 2014 by cutting down on the strikeouts. The 16 home runs were largely the result of playing time as he has had a similar ISO in 2012. Cain has had trouble staying on the field due to injuries, but when he does he can do significant damage. He should be able to bat .300, hit 10-15 home runs, score 80+ runs and steal 25-30 bases.

Tier 4

  1. Yoenis Cespedes: Cespedes had a career year in 2015 and as a result, he won’t be the same player next season. His ISO at .251 was much higher than his ISO (.202) from 2012-2014. His batting average was the result of an inflated BABIP. He will be the main power threat for the Mets. He should be able to combine for 180 runs + RBIs, hit 20-25 homeruns with a .270 average.
  1. Christian Yelich: Yelich has had a good start to his major league career. He should bat around .290 if not better and he has some additional power potential with the fences coming in (7-13 HR). Batting after Dee Gordon and in front of Stanton, Yelich is in a good position to rack up counting stats. A heavy groundball hitter, Yelich hits the ball all over the field leading making him tough to match up for opposing defences. Yelich is a good hitter and he’s only gonna get better.
  1. Nelson Cruz: I went into Cruz here. He could very well be a bust. The higher strikeout rate is concerning and he is 35. Nevertheless, he could hit 30+ home runs. He’s a risk, but there is a good reward.
  1. Carlos Gonzalez: Gonzalez had a good season as he hit 40 home runs. But it came with a .269 ISO which was 36 points higher than his career average. His HR/FB% was close to 26% making it very high. While his BABIP was below his career average, I am inclined to believe this is the new norm as it was similar to 2014. He doesn’t steal anymore either. Playing at Coors has its benefits, but I believe Gonzalez won’t reach 30 home runs and will have a batting average close to league average. He should be able to obtain 150+ runs and RBIs. Gonzalez’s best days are behind him, and the 40 home runs did a good job of disguising his decline.
  1. Billy Hamilton: Billy Hamilton can single handily win you steals. He is the fastest player in the game. Hamilton struggles to hit; otherwise he could steal 80 bases. The good news is that he cut back on his strikeout rate last season. He also didn’t pop out as much dropping his infield flyball percentage almost 8 percentage points. The bad news is that his average dropped. This was due largely to his BABIP being at .264. That’s why I remain optimistic about Hamilton heading into this season. He made some gains in plate discipline and in his batted ball profile but suffered some poor luck. Some of his struggles can be attributed due to a lack of skill but it a .264 BABIP is low. He chased less and made slightly more contact. He’s not gonna hit home runs and he won’t get many RBIs. He will be able to reach close to 70 runs while hitting .260 (more realistic would be .250) while stealing 60 or more bases.
  1. Kyle Schwarber: I went over Schwarber here. He has struggled against left handers and he did exhibit some bad signs. As a whole, he has lots of power and is able to hit 25 or more home runs. He will be your catcher, but the OF eligibility helps.
  1. Adam Eaton: If you are looking for this year’s AJ Pollock or Michael Brantley, Eaton might just be the closest comparable. He is in a good position to exceed 100 runs and has the speed to swipe 20+ bases. He showed some power last season but it is unlikely he hits over ten even with the adjustments he made. Eaton is a strong contact hitter who can flirt with a .300 batting average.
  1. Carlos Gomez: Gomez had a rough season as he batted .255 with 12 home runs and only 17 steals. At age 30, it sure looks like he is in decline. His BABIP was close enough to his career numbers that it wasn’t an anomaly. Gomez will likely bat .260. The home run totals were low when looking at his ISO and HR/FB%, Gomez should be able to hit 15-20. He will bat in the middle of the order giving him plenty of RBI opportunities. His speed is drying up. I wouldn’t be surprised if he doesn’t reach 20 stolen bases. Gomez is still a good player, but not the fantasy star he used to be.

 

Tier 5

  1. Matt Kemp: Kemp’s BABIP dropped leading to a .265 average. At 31, this might be the most likeliest of scenarios as to where his average will be come October. He managed to drive in 100 runs and with 48 home runs over the past two seasons, Kemp still has some solid power. He still hits the ball with authority, evidenced by his 41% hard hit percentage. His best days are behind him.
  1. Michael Brantley: Brantley is recovering from an injury but recent reports have indicated he shouldn’t miss more than three weeks. Brantley is good for a strong batting average (> .300), can hit 10-15 home runs and steal 15-20 bases. He should get 70+ runs as well. Brantley is a good hitter and he increased his walk rate last season as well.
  1. Jacoby Ellsbury: Ellsbury was hit with injuries once again but managed to be somewhat productive. He still has good enough speed to swipe 20-25 bases and the power to hit 10-15 home runs. He should obtain lots of runs while not hurting your average.
  1. Ben Revere: Revere is a contact hitter and one of the best in the game at making contact. He will likely steal 30+ bases. Due to him likely batting atop the Nationals order, Revere has a shot at 90+ runs. He won’t hit home runs, but he will bat over .300. Steals are the most scarce fantasy resource, and Revere provides plenty of em.
  2. Michael Brantley: Brantley is recovering from an injury but recent reports have indicated he shouldn’t miss more than three weeks. Brantley is good for a strong batting average (> .300), can hit 10-15 home runs and steal 15-20 bases. He should get 70+ runs as well. Brantley is a good hitter and he increased his walk rate last season as well.
  1. Marcell Ozuna: Ozuna’s HR/FB% and ISO both dropped last season. Part of that can be attributed to regression and the other early season struggles. Ozuna is a good hitter who has the ability to bat .270 and hit 25 home runs. Only 25, and currently slated to bat after Yelich and in front of Stanton, Ozuna is in a prime position to enjoy a good season.
  1. Kevin Pillar: The Blue Jay center fielder had a breakout season, but questions remain as to whether or not he can do it again. The Jays offence will be strong once again, and with him leading off, Pillar has a great chance at scoring upwards of 90 runs. His walk rate is poor, but he makes good contact making it likely he bats .270 or higher again. He cut down on the strikeouts last season and stole 25 bases. The Jays may be reluctant to have him steal when he is top of the order making me believe 15-20 stolen bags are more likely.
  1. Kole Calhoun: Calhoun is a good player likely to bat in the .260-.265 range. He changed his approach slightly last year to hit more home runs. This is evident as he struck out more. He should be able to hit 20-25 home runs and not kill your average. Calhoun will provide 150+ runs and RBIs as long as he stays healthy.
  1. Hunter Pence: Pence was injured for most of last season appearing in only 52 games. Judging by his numbers, he looked like the same consistent Pence we have come to know. 2016 should be no different. Another season of a .270 average, with 20 home runs and 10 stolen bases is on the horizon for Hunter Pence.
  1. Brandon Belt: I wrote more about Belt here. He is a good player and should be in line for another solid season.
  1. Shin-Soo Choo: Choo’s 2015 was a solid bounceback season after his first year with the Texas Rangers. Choo’s home run totals will likely decrease as his HR/FB% was higher than his career mark. His .276 average could decrease slightly due to normal regression and aging. He is still a good hitter and has a good bat eye. Choo is a top 40 player at outfield.
  1. David Peralta: Peralta had a good year for the Diamondbacks and should be a key contributor again. His batting average will drop because very few players can rock a .368 BABIP. Aside from that, he should churn out a similar season.

 

Tier 6

  1. Curtis Granderson: Granderson enjoyed a strong season helping the Mets reach the World Series. He still has 20 home run power but the batting average won’t easily meet .250. This is beacause he had a .305 BABIP which is above his past four season average. He still has speed to steal 10 bags and could end up with a healthy amount of runs and RBIs. Just don’t count on the average.
  2. Gerardo Parra: If he wasn’t playing in Coors, I wouldn’t think Parra could be a borderline top 40 outfielder. Parra put together a very good season in 2015 and he could do the same or exceed it this year. Parra’s .291 average had some to do with a 23%-line drive rate which was 2 percentage points higher than his career average. His BABIP was in line with his career mark and he cut down on the strikeouts. This makes me believe Parra will bat .291 or higher this season. He will hit 10-15 home runs with a similar amount of steals. Parra might just be able to combine for 150+ runs + RBIs once again if not higher. He is playing in Coors with a good lineup consisting of Charlie Blackmon, Nolan Arenado, and Carlos Gonzalez. Parra should have a good year.
  1. Joc Pederson: Joc had a very good first half and a horrendous second half. The talent is there. Characterized as a power + speed threat, we only saw the power as he stole only four bases. I do think he gets to at least ten this season. His strikeout percentage is enormous showing he has trouble making contact. But the .206 ISO tells you he can flirt with 30 home runs. In OBP leagues, Joc gets a boost due to his 16% walk rate. He should have a similar season as last year with the potential for growth making him an intriguing outfield option.
  1. Corey Dickerson: The move away from Coors definitely hurts his value. Evidenced by his career 124 wRC+, Dickerson is a good hitter. It may take him some time to adjust but he is capable of hitting .265 with 15-20 home runs.
  1. Delino DeShields: I wrote more about DeShields here. He gets a boost in OBP leagues and has some serious wheels.
  1. Alex Gordon: Gordon gets the job done. He is consistent and you know what to expect. He will bat around league average and contribute 15-20 home runs and 140+ runs and RBIs.
  1. Jayson Werth: He hit well when he wasn’t injured. If he can stay healthy I believe he can produce. His average was low due to a below average BABIP. He can still hit 15-20 home runs and will likely be batting in good opportunists for RBIs
  1. Hanley Ramirez: Ramirez had a poor first season with the Red Sox and is a prime bounceback candidate. He had a .257 BABIP which will regress upwards closer to his career meaning Hanley won’t bat .249 again. His ISO was consistent with his career giving him 15-20 HR power. He will provide a decent number of counting stats. Hanley should be better than 2015.
  1. Michael Conforto: Another young player, Conforto has 20+ home run power. His 20% strikeout rate was good for a rookie and his .270 average was another welcome sign.
  1. Mark Trumbo: Trumbo has lots of power and I went over him here. He should get good opportunities in the Orioles offence.
  1. Josh Reddick: His ISO nor his BABIP were not outlandish. Reddick benefitted from playing the entire season on route to his best year since 2012. More of the same should be expected.

 

 

Other Outfielders to Keep an Eye On

  • Byron Buxton: He is one of the game’s top prospects who has the ability to steal 30+ bases. He’s on my radar in every league.
  • Dexter Fowler: A lot of his value depends on where he bats as this impacts how many runs he will get. Good hitter and baserunner.
  • Jay Bruce: Bruce is good to hit 25 home runs. Cheap power.
  • Khris Davis: Davis is another power hitter who could make it into the top 40 by season’s end. That’s his ceiling.
  • Billy Burns: Burns will hit for a good average and steal plenty of bases.
  • Jorge Soler: He hits the ball very hard. He had a bad 2015 campaign and the Cubs outfield is fairly stacked. He may have a tough time getting playing time but there is lots of upside.
  • Odubel Herrera: Will likely hit .270 and contribute in runs and stolen bases.
  • Steven Souza: Good candidate to go 20/20 but has contact problems.

This concludes my outfield rankings. Thank you for your time. It will be an interesting landscape as we have veterans who could decline such as Cruz and Gonzalez as well as young players who could enter the top 20 such as Yelich, Polanco, and maybe even Byron Buxton.

 

 

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