I’ve decided to go 106 deep with my outfielder rankings. Here’s why. In standard 15-team roto leagues with five outfield slots, leagues start 75 outfielders. Every team will have one to two additional OF eligible players at minimum totaling 105. Oh, and I guess one for good measure. OK, enough about that. The two best fantasy players in baseball are outfielders and personally, there are five first-round players (in a 15-team league) that play the outfield. The position is deep in terms of potential but as you go through my rankings, you’ll see many of the players after tier six might not play every day. Make sure you scroll down to see the blurbs for each tier where I highlight players from each tier. To see the rest of my rankings, click here.
Rankings Updated 3/13/19.
Outfielder Rankings for 2019
|5||Ronald Acuna Jr.||ATL||OF||2|
|42||Jackie Bradley Jr.||BOS||OF||6|
Tier 1: Mike Trout and Mookie Betts. These guys get their own tier. No other outfielder in the game could have realistic projections around .325-35-30 with 225 R+RBI. Both players have such high floors where they could finish inside of the top 10 for hitters. These are your clear-cut top to fantasy options in all formats. Nuff said!
Tier 2: I’ve expanded this tier to include Andrew Benintendi and Whit Merrifield because Merrifield will strongly contribute in four categories and isn’t a zero in home runs. It doesn’t hurt that he’s eligible at second base either. I feel like the 24-year-old Benintendi is being undervalued because of his 16 home runs in 2018. Benintendi actually increased his barrel rate by barreling up five more balls in 2018 than in 2017. Let me put it to you this way, in 2017 Benintendi had 47 extra base hits but in 2018 he had 63 extra base hits (41 doubles, 6 triples). I’m betting on 20-23 homers to go with 20 steals in 2018 and could lead the league in runs hitting in front of Betts, Just Dong, and Bogaerts. Christian Yelich won’t repeat his power output from 2018 but 25-27 homers with 20 steals and a .300 average is first round talent. I’ve seen Ronald Acuna Jr. go third after Trout and Betts. I don’t have him that high, but he’s a first rounder. This is the last year he won’t be a unanimous top three pick for the next seven to eight years. Judge, Harper, and Stanton all lack about 1.5 categories but could all lead the league in home runs and RBI.
Tier 3: The 2018 home run leader Khris Davis kicks of tier 3. Believe it or not, I have Davis hitting under .247 in 2019 at .242. That’s bold because Davis has hit .247 the last four years. Davis increased his fly ball rate by 6.5% while decreasing his HR/FB rate. He still maintains extremely strong power statistics, but fly balls that are not home runs are outs nearly 86% of the time. He’s still going to hit 40+ homers but with a slight decrease in average and no steals, give me Whit over Davis. I love Juan Soto, but he’s overvalued in fantasy for 2019. He will just be 20 and will be an absolute beast for the next decade plus, but I’m not projecting 30 home runs or much speed at all. He should combine for plenty of runs + RBI and batting average but for my money, he’s not going to be a top 30 fantasy asset.
Tier 4: I might be higher on Michael Conforto than anyone. I’m projecting a breakout in a big way and believe he has a 35-40 homer season under his belt. I like the improved Mets lineup and Conforto should be primed to drive in runs in bunches. Justin Upton and Mitch Haniger are steady contributors in all categories (Upton less in batting average, Haniger less in speed) but I don’t think either provide the upside of Conforto. I have Upton over Haniger because he’s in the same lineup as Mike Trout. I am not projecting a huge bump in batting average from Gallo, my projections are in line with other systems but there’s value in that. Just make sure you have some other hitters with high batting average floors. The rest of the tier is filled with high risk/high reward players like Puig, Hicks, and Myers but also some floor guys I’ll be targeting like McCutchen, Peralta, and Inciarte.
Tier 5: Eddie “Money” Rosario is who he is at this point. I don’t love his approach or his power metrics. He could fall off similar to Jonathan Schoop in 2018, but I think he’s a bit safer. I’m not buying into David Dahl given his injury history. Earlier this offseason, he was going around pick 150, I was all in on that pick. Now that he’s cracked the top 100, I’m taking a step back. Eloy Jimenez is a beast, he will hit right away once he gets the call from the White Sox. Guaranteed Rate Field in mid-summer is a great place to hit. It all depends on how quickly Jimenez gets the call. Stephen Piscotty had been through a lot in his personal life the last year and a half but really showed some skill improvements in the second half of 2018 where he hit .272 with 15 home runs in just 63 games. The Statcast metrics back it up as his barrel rate jumped three percent along with his hard contact. I like Nomar Mazara to finally approach 30 homers. I think he falls short but 25-28 is not out of the question. If there’s anyone in this tier that could jump two tiers, it’s Victor Robles. The uber-prospect, overshadowed last year by Ronald Acuna and teammate Juan Soto and now by Vlad and Eloy, should see everyday at-bats provided Harper doesn’t resign with the Nationals. I could see 12-15 HR with 25+ SB this year from Robles.
Tier 6: I love this tier and will probably grab one or two guys from this group on all my teams. I’ve touched on most of these guys in recent posts, so check out Jose Martinez, JBJ, & Ramon Laureano here. Check out Max Kepler Jesse Winker & Harrison Bader here. Check out Hunter Renfroe here.
Tier 7: Markakis through Mancini are solid floor players who should contribute in two to 2.5 categories. They are safe plays. Randal Grichuk has 35 homer upside but he needs to see more than 550 plate appearances with Toronto. Cedric Mullins is an interesting sleeper who is getting some publicity because he has a solid combination of power and speed. I have former top prospect Austin Meadows with similar power/speed projections to Mullins but think Meadows could provide more upside if he’s given a chance to get everyday at-bats. Jake Bauers has all the tools to be a 25+ homer, 12-15 SB player but he may be a year away from that. I think he needs to prove he can hit lefties first. Given the Indians lineup is not all that deep after their top few players, he should see 450+ PA.
Tier 8: As it turns out 10 tiers is A LOT! I’ll keep it short from here on out. I like Steven Duggar’s upside with high-end speed and potential double-digit pop. Given to poor depth in SF, Duggar could be a quiet 10-12 HR, 20 SB player this year. Lewis Brinson is interesting because his numbers were so bad last year, but the metrics actually contradict his performance (in a good way). He ranks inside the top 30 for sprint speed (although, his burst isn’t great) and his hard contact was well above average. His 8.7% barrel per batted ball event (BRL/BBE) ranked right in between Robinson Cano and Mike Moustakas last year. If Brinson puts it together this year, we might be looking at a 20-20 type player after all, but I wouldn’t count on it just yet.
Tier 9: If you’re this deep, I suggest going with upside. Of course Statcast Hero Teoscar Hernandez is another Blue Jay outfielder along with Grichuk that could hit 30+ homers given the opportunity. He also has a little bit of speed that could provide 8-10 stolen bases. His contact issues are so bad though that he might see the bench more often than not. Kyle Tucker‘s debut did not go well in 2018 but a talented power/speed prospect still lies within. He doesn’t have a spot on the big league roster just yet but is a player to target on your bench of reserves to start the season.
Tier 10: Tyler O’Neil could hit 40 home runs at some point in his career but he seemed overmatched at the dish too frequently in 2018. I don’t believe he’s a 40% K rate player but does need to improve his contact and find a spot to play in St Louis before I completely buy in. 2020 might be the year for O’Neil to bust out. If Joc Pederson gets traded and finds a starting role, he jumps at least two tiers. He has a solid .842 OPS against right-handed pitching but cannot figure out lefties slashing just .181/.266/.317 in his career. Jo Adell could be this year’s Juan Soto. That statement is both bold and unlikely to happen, because how often does 19 or 20-year-old talent come out of nowhere to dominate in the Majors? Adell is a bit different in that he saw 17 games at Double-A in 2018. Adell is more of a 20 HR/30 SB type player at his peak, so if he gets the call at some point, he’s an immediate grab. Thanks for reading, your input is always welcome and look for the rest of my rankings coming out next week.
image via USAToday