We continue with our fantasy rankings in anticipation of the upcoming 2017 fantasy baseball season (which cannot get here soon enough). If you’re reading this and haven’t looked at our Top 20 Outfielders or Top 40 Outfielders articles, take a look before we continue with another 20 outfielders with the Top 60 Outfielders today.
Tier 5: So Hot Right Now (Continued)
41. Stephen Piscotty (St. Louis Cardinals) – After what was a nice half a season in 2015, Stephen Piscotty came out and surprised a lot of people in 2016, hitting .273 with 22 home runs, 86 runs, and 85 RBIs. The power makes sense if you pace out his 2015 campaign, in which he hit seven home runs in 256 plate appearances. If you pace that out to the 649 plate appearances he had last season, 22 home runs doesn’t sound all that crazy. There were some not-so-positive signs with Piscotty last year, however. His hard-hit rate dropped but his HR/FB rate went up. He also saw a big increase in infield fly balls, which is never a good thing. I don’t see Piscotty necessarily improving upon last season, I think that’s just about his ceiling, but I could see him batting in the high-.260s/low-.270s with 16-20 home runs and 70-75 runs and RBIs.
42. Hunter Pence (San Francisco Giants) – Just stay healthy Hunter, please, we’re begging you. After two straight seasons of 162 games, Hunter Pence has spent two straight seasons marred by injury. Now, 2016 was much better than 2015, as he was able to play in 106 games, but he still missed a substantial amount of the year, which hurts fantasy owners. We all know his ceiling is 20/20 batting in the .280s, but at 33 years old with the injury history he has, I think that’s well in the past. More realistically, if he can stay healthy (and that’s a big if), I think Pence could hit 15-20 home runs, steal a few bases, and bat in the .270s. He’s useful, but you have to have a backup plan just in case an injury happens again.
43. Adam Eaton (Washington Nationals) – Adam Eaton is one of those guys whose numbers never look sexy. Like, when you’re checking your lineup at the end of the day, you’re rarely going to say “Whoa check out the day Adam Eaton had!” But he gets it done. It doesn’t look sexy, but he gets it done. Eaton is typically good for 15ish home runs and steals a piece while batting in the .280-.290 range and accumulating 80-90 runs and RBIs. He doesn’t really hurt you in any category, but he’s also not going to win you a category in any given week. He’s a nutritional part of a balanced team.
44. Josh Reddick (Houston Astros) – If Josh Reddick could stay healthy, he could get back to being a 20-30 home run threat, but two of the past three seasons since his 2012 breakout have been marred by injury. He’s only played more than 115 games once in those past three seasons, and he’s not getting any younger. The positive things about last year: he saw an uptick in average, and his hard-hit rate was the highest it’s been since 2012. The negatives: his groundball rate went up to a six-year high. While Reddick isn’t slow, he’s not fast enough to be beating out groundballs all the time. Despite that though, his batting average went up, thanks partially to an increase in plate discipline, and while I don’t think he’ll hit in the .280s again this year, I think he could hit in the high-.260s/low-.270s, and if he can stay healthy (and that’s a huge if), I think 20 home runs is within the realm of possibility. But I don’t think you can count on Reddick staying healthy. He’s risky but could be worth it.
Tier 6: Eugoogoolizers
45. Lorenzo Cain (Kansas City Royals) – Lorenzo Cain was having a pretty Lorenzo Cain-like season last year until it was cut short by injury, leaving him with only 103 games played, the fewest since 2012. Cain will be 31 entering this season, and I honestly don’t think that he’s going to show much in the way of a decline, he’s been a pretty consistent player for quite awhile. The only thing I could see a decline in is stolen bases, as those just tend to decline as a player gets older, but overall, Cain is a relatively safe, high-floor/low-ceiling player. You can expect an average in the .280s with 10-15 home runs and around 20 steals. I don’t see 100 runs happening again, but probably in the 60s-70s for runs and RBIs each.
46. Carlos Beltran (Houston Astros) – He’s not dead yet. Somehow, some way, at 39 years old, Carlos Beltran is still kicking, and even crazier, he’s still productive. Amazingly, last season, Beltran hit .295 with 29 home runs. his best season since probably 2013. Now he’s with the Astros and will be splitting time between left field and DH, so the at-bats will most certainly be there for him, so should we expect more of the same? Honestly, I don’t see any reason to expect Beltran to suddenly fall off a cliff this year. I mean, could it happen? Yes. He’ll be 40 this season, and age is certainly a concern, but there’s no reason to expect it to happen. Injury is obviously a valid concern given his age and the fact that he’s missed time (albeit not too much) over the past couple years, but I think spending time in the DH role will help that. I don’t think he’ll have the year he had last year, but I could see 20 home runs batting in the .270s with about 60ish runs and 70ish RBIs.
47. Eric Thames (Milwaukee Brewers) – Yea, I know right? Eric Thames? I couldn’t believe it either when I first heard about it, but the guy could seriously be a major contributor this year. Thames is coming off a stupidly good run in Korea, where he averaged a slash line of .348/.463/.720 with 40 home runs and 20 stolen bases. That was his average. His 2015 season was absolutely insane, as he hit 47 home runs, stole 40 bases and had an OPS of 1.288. So yea, Thames has earned his way back into the major leagues, after spending most of his time in the minors as a talented, but unrefined player. So what should you expect from Thames this year? Anyone who says they know what he’ll do this year is lying to you, because we can only make an educated guess at this point. It seems that Thames has figured something out, and I would say that he could bat in the .260s-.270s, though lower is possible as he re-adjusts to MLB pitching. His power and speed potential are through the roof though, considering what he did in Korea. I’d say don’t get too crazy, but I think 30 home runs and 10-15 steals is possible. Thing is though, all of this is in theory, Thames is a huge risk because he could come back to the MLB and bomb hard, he’s a huge unknown. He’s got a high ceiling, but he’s got a very low floor, be cautious.
48. Adam Duvall (Cincinatti Reds) – Another player to lob in that category of “power and little else,” Adam Duvall popped up last year kind of out of nowhere and crushed 33 home runs while batting .241. Honestly, I don’t see why Duvall can’t do essentially that again. His average is going to be difficult to deal with because his plate discipline is awful (27% strikeout rate last year), and if you’re in a points league, those strikeouts are going to kill you. That being said, Duvall could easily hit another 30 home runs this year, he’ll just probably bat in the .230s/.240s. You’re going to see a lot of 1-for-4 with a home run games from him, but that’s a useful player, power is always important. If you can stomach the low average and the strikeouts, Duvall could be very useful.
49. Melky Cabrera (Chicago White Sox) – Melky is still hanging around, doing his thing like he always has. Cabrera is another one of those guys whose stats never look sexy, but are still really useful. He contributes a little bit in just about every category except steals, he’ll hit for an average in the .280s, hit about 12-15 home runs, and snag about 70ish runs and RBIs. You’re never going to be amazed by one of Melky’s stat lines on any given week, but he can be a nice base for you if you’re in need of average. He’s a low-risk, low-floor guy.
50. Kevin Kiermaier (Tampa Bay Rays) – While Kiermaier is mostly known for his amazing glove, he’s a solid offensive contributor as well. He’s being considered for the leadoff spot for the Rays, which will only help his fantasy value, especially in the runs department (though those will still be somewhat limited considering how bad the Rays lineup will be). Kiermaier is a speedy guy who can steal 20 bases, hit like 15 home runs and bat in the .240s. The average is kind of a bummer, but he’s relatively useful in steals and runs. The RBIs are going to be a little difficult to come by on the Rays, but Kiermaier could be a useful player for your team.
51. Byron Buxton (Minnesota Twins) – Byron Buxton is just itching for a breakout year. The one-time top prospect in baseball has somewhat struggled over the past couple seasons, but he’s still only 23 and has all the talent in the world. His speed is insane, and he has the potential to one day be a .280 hitter who goes 20/30, but we’ll just anxiously await that day for now. Buxton’s plate discipline has been the big obstacle, his strikeout rate last year was an absurd 35.6%, which lead to the .225 batting average. I’m hopeful that Buxton can take a step forward in that regard this year and get his average up to the .240s at least. If he’s able to do that, I think he could steal 15-20 bases and hit 15-18 home runs. That’s assuming that 1. The Twins don’t send him down to the minors, and 2. He’s able to get his plate discipline on track. Those are big assumptions. The RBIs will be hard to come by since he’ll be batting towards the bottom of a mediocre Twins lineup, but Buxton is someone who could break out any season, we’re just waiting for him to put it all together.
52. Carlos Gomez (Texas Rangers) – ‘Member when Carlos Gomez stole 40 bases, hit 24 home runs and batted .284? I ‘member. Unfortunately, that’s not Carlos Gomez anymore, but he’s still a useful player, and he’ll be likely leading off for the Rangers this year. Between Gomez’s excellent 2014 season and his sad 2015 season, his plate discipline got way worse, and his quality of contact dropped. His hard-hit rate dropped, his groundballs went up, his HR/FB rate dropped, it all didn’t look good, and he’s maintained those numbers since then. His strikeouts hurt, as he struck out 30% of the time last year and I’d expect something similar this year, so if you’re in a points league, look elsewhere. But Gomez could still hit in the .240-.250s, hit 15-20 home runs and steal 20 bases. He could, but he’s unpredictable. Leading off, however, should help with the run totals, so Gomez could potentially be in a situation to have a better season than he’s had the past couple years. We can hope.
53. Joc Pederson (Los Angeles Dodgers) – We can all hope that Joc Pederson’s hit tool will get better as gets older, he’s only 24, but if the past two seasons are any indication, that average is gonna stay pretty low. Pederson’s average saw an improvement last year and the strikeout rate saw a decrease, so that’s positive, but he still struck out 27.3% of the time, which is crazy high, and way too much to expect any kind of good batting average out of him. He showed he could hit in the .300s in the minors, and he showed he could steal 30 bases too, but we’ve yet to really see a good average or good speed out of him. We can hope he’ll take that step forward, I know I certainly hope he will, but as of now, I’d see Pederson hitting in the .240s with 25 or so home runs and maybe six or seven steals. Now, fortunately, he’s in a good lineup, so the RBI numbers won’t be bad, but he’ll likely be batting towards the bottom of that lineup, so that limits the RBI potential a bit, as well as his run potential. Still, I could see both runs and RBIs being in the high-60s/low-70s.
54. Jacoby Ellsbury (New York Yankees) – Jacoby Ellsbury used to be an incredible stolen base machine (I mean the guy stole 70 bases one year). Now, he’s still a good base-stealer, but the skill has been steadily declining with his age. It’s important not to overrate Ellsbury’s name value, because that’s easy to do. He’s not a 40-50+ steal guy who bats near .300 anymore. Instead, Ellsbury is a guy who can steal 20 bases while batting in the .260s and hitting around 7-10 home runs. The steals numbers are very useful, and he won’t kill you in average. He could get in the mid-60s in runs too. As long as you don’t overvalue him based on his name, Ellsbury can be a useful player late in drafts.
55. Domingo Santana (Milwaukee Brewers) – In just 77 games last season, Domingo Santana was relatively impressive. He batted .256 with 11 home runs in 281 plate appearances. Santana is only 24, so there’s still time for him to improve, and there are some things he needs to improve on. First off, his strikeout rate is obscenely bad, coming in at 32.4% last season. Santana doesn’t offer you anything in the speed department, but what he does give you is power and an average that won’t kill you. Over the course of a full season, if he shows no improvement from last year (and I think there’s a chance that he does), I could see him batting in the .250s with 20+ home runs and 60-68 runs and RBIs a piece. Power has become less and less of a commodity these days, but finding a guy who can hit a good handful of home runs without killing you in average is good to find.
56. David Peralta (Arizona Diamondbacks) – David Peralta is really hard to predict. He had a really nice breakout year in 2015, batting .312 with 17 home runs, and then his 2016 got cut short by injury. He only managed to play in 48 games and was less than spectacular in those appearances, batting .251 with four home runs. Now, you could, and should, argue that the injury had a part to play in those poor numbers, and this year will hopefully be the year Peralta can get back to his 2015 form (though as of this writing, he’s apparently having visa issues getting to spring training). Peralta will have a spot in Arizona’s outfield, and will probably bat in the middle of the order, so the opportunity is there, he just needs to stay healthy and take advantage of it. I think if he can stay healthy, he can get close to what he was in 2015, but he has to prove he’s healthy. I’d say an average in the high-.270s/low-.280s with about 15 home runs and 60-65 runs and RBIs each is within reason.
57. Leonys Martin (Seattle Mariners) – Leonys Martin is an odd bird in the outfield. Similar to Steven Souza Jr., Martin is a low-average, decent power, good steals guy, which you don’t come across a whole lot. He used to be a lot more focused on the steals, but has seen an uptick in power and a slight drop in steals over the past couple seasons. The guy strikes out a bunch, racking up a 25.9% strikeout rate last season, so in points leagues he could hurt, but he’s someone who could easily steal 25+ bases while hitting in the .240s and hitting 10-15 home runs. Hurts a little bit in average (though he won’t kill you) and will rack up some good steals for you. Martin is someone to be considered late in drafts if you’re looking for steals and a little pop.
58. Matt Holliday (New York Yankees) – 37 years old and Matt Holliday is still kicking. He even managed a .246 batting average and 20 home runs last year. Now he’s with the Yankees, and he’ll likely spend the vast majority of his time at DH, though I wouldn’t be shocked if he shares a fair amount of time at that position with Chris Carter and even perhaps Aaron Judge. Keeping in mind health (he is 37 after all), I think Holliday could get to 500 plate appearances, though just barely, and in that time I think expecting a .260-.270 batting average with close to 20 home runs is reasonable. I’d say make sure to have him in daily transaction leagues, however, because he’s not going to play every day.
Tier 7: Derek Zoolander Center for Kids Who Can’t Read Good And Who Wanna Learn to Do Other Stuff Good Too
59. Steve Pearce (Toronto Blue Jays) -Steve Pearce is a guy who has the ability to hit like .260 with 20 home runs. The only problem is, he’s only played more than 100 games once in his career, and that was his breakout .293, 21 home run season with the Orioles. Other than that, Pearce hasn’t been able to stay healthy. He’s been relatively productive, however, when he is healthy, but he’s getting older, and based on his track record, there’s no reason to assume that he’ll play over 100 games for the Blue Jays. He might, but it’d doubtful, even if the team says they want to play him every day. As such, I’d see him batting just under .270 with 15-18 home runs and maybe 50-some runs and RBIs a piece. He’s probably going to lose playing time to either Melvin Upton Jr. or Ezequiel Carrera, so it’s hard to really count on him, but when he plays, he’s pretty productive. He’s useful to own in a daily transaction league.
60. Jay Bruce (New York Mets) – Jay Bruce could very easily be on a different team once the season starts, and that may change his ranking a bit, but as of now, he’ll be with the Mets, and what he’s shown over the past couple seasons is that he’s all power and little average. I wouldn’t be shocked if some of Bruce’s playing time gets interrupted by Michael Conforto (or at least, I hope so, even though the Mets apparently hate one of their most talented prospects). Bruce, if he makes it a full season, is someone who could hit 25-30 home runs but is going to bat in the .230s. If you need cheap power late in the draft, Bruce isn’t a bad person to check out, but be wary of that average, because it’s not going to look good. He strikes out quite a bit too, which limits his upside even more in points leagues. That being said, 25-30 home runs is 25-30 home runs, and there’s a place for that on any team.
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