Last Updated: 3/26
A couple of things to note before reading:
- These rankings are for 10- and 12-team head-to-head category leagues with standard scoring and a starting lineup consisting of 1 C, 1 1B, 1 2B, 1 3B, 1 SS, 3 OF, 2 UTIL, and a shallow bench, and were created by me with input from Nick Pollack.
- Within the write-ups, I will call out individual players who would see value boosts or drops in alternative formats, such as rotisserie leagues, deeper leagues, or points leagues.
- Projected stat totals assume that teams each play at least 145 games unless specifically stated otherwise.
- I am more than happy to answer your questions, requests, and counter-points on Twitter!
- Reranked both Tier 9 and Tier 10.
- Kole Calhoun (injury) was dropped to Tier 10.
- Added Robbie Grossman to Tier 10.
- Yasiel Puig and Kevin Pillar were moved to the unranked tier.
- Myles Straw was added to Tier 9.
- Adam Eaton was dropped to Tier 10.
- Robbie Grossman was dropped to the extras.
- Tons of reranking and news.
Tier 9: Taking a Flyer (Continued)
No. 81: Joc Pederson (Chicago Cubs)
If you can just start him against righties, you can get some nice power and ratios that won’t kill you. That’s what we’ve seen for years out of Joc, and I think that’s just what he’s able to do. That’s a fine player in real life and in some deeper daily fantasy formats, but shallow and weekly players can probably do better.
No. 82:Sam Hilliard (Colorado Rockies)
He has pretty good power and speed, but his strikeout rates and the fact he plays for the Rockies really limits his upside. Coors is great and all, but you have to be put in the lineup (and the Rockies famously don’t play any of their recent homegrown talent very consistently) and hitting the ball (his 36.8% strikeout rate shows he doesn’t do that very often) to take advantage of it.
If you need a Hail Mary and want to dream of a 20/20 season, I won’t stop you.
No. 83: Raimel Tapia (Colorado Rockies)
If the Rockies weren’t so bent on jerking around their young talent, Tapia might be a 10 home run, 15 stolen base outfielder with a strong batting average. He could still be that, theoretically, but I’ll believe it when I see it when it comes to young Colorado hitters.
No. 84: Nick Senzel (Cincinnati Reds)
While Senzel might still have the potential to clear 15 home runs and 15 stolen bases with a .260 batting average, odds are that he’ll split playing time with some of the other outfielders with the Reds and wind up with barely 10 home runs or steals and a .245 batting average.
That really only plays in NL-only formats, but the theoretical upside is enough for me to list him here.
Tier 10: Watch List Candidates
No. 85: Adam Eaton (Chicago White Sox)
In deep roto leagues, there’s always a place for a guy like Eaton to wind up. He can do just a little bit of everything, and there are formats where that’s a really nice thing to have. In 10- and 12-teamers, though, Eaton just can’t move the needle in any category, and even though he’s greater than the sum of his parts, it’s still not enough.
No. 86: Josh Naylor (San Diego Padres)
I’m intrigued by the power and the opportunity to play. In a full season, he could hit 20 home runs with a .275 batting average, which is a fringe starting outfielder.
No. 87: Manuel Margot (Tampa Bay Rays)
He could steal 20 bases and hit 10 home runs like he did in 2019, but I’d be more than a little surprised if he plays in more than 120 games.If you’re desperate for steals at the very end of your draft, this is probably the best play.
No. 88: Jurickson Profar (San Diego Padres)
Stop me if you’ve heard this one before for a Padres middle infielder: “If you told me he’d play a full-time role, I’d be moving him up this list.”
Profar returned to San Diego on a nice little three-year deal, and while he was a full-time player for them in 2020, it’s hard to see more than 100 games or so in 2021. It’s a shame, too, because 2020 was probably the best showing of his career and had me hoping he could be more than the 20 home run, 10 stolen base guy with a mediocre average we saw in 2018 and 2019.
No. 89: Cristian Pache (Atlanta)
Pache is coming up for his glove, but his bat is probably good enough to put up 10-13 home runs and his legs could likely add up to 10 steals. I’m not sure whether he’ll hit closer to .240 or .260, but I’m not sure Atlanta will care that much when they’re watching him glide around in center field.
No. 90: Gregory Polanco (Pittsburgh Pirates)
Sure, why not? What’s one more offseason of hoping for something? He did fracture his wrist playing in the Dominican League this winter, but reports suggest he should be good to go for Spring Training. If you can ignore the awful ratios, there’s 20 home runs and 10 stolen bases in there somewhere, though he’d have to be healthy to make that happen, and it’s not a quality he’s well-known for.
No. 91: Hunter Renfroe (Boston Red Sox)
Renfroe could smash anywhere from 20 to 30 home runs, the only question is going to be how often the Red Sox give him the chance when he’s striking out 30% of the time and batting around .220.
At 29, Renfroe is a bit old to be a prospect and it wouldn’t be a shock at all if he became a platoon player at some point this season.
No. 92: Edward Olivares (Kansas City Royals)
The athletic young outfielder has a clear-ish path to playing time at some point this season and enough power and speed to hit 15 home runs and steal 15 bases in a full season. I don’t think the batting average would be great, but it’s a start! For a deeper analysis, I recommend Nate Handy’s breakdown of the Royals system from earlier in the offseason.
No. 93: Jackie Bradley Jr. (Milwaukee Brewers)
He’ll play full time with the Brewers, and don’t be shocked if he has a useful hot streak or two where he beats up some weak righties and steals a few bases. Other than that though, he’s not so good. His cold spells, specifically, are incredibly brutal.
No. 94: Jared Oliva (Pittsburgh Pirates)
If he plays 100 games, he could feasibly steal 25 bases and do almost nothing else. There are leagues where that matters, and I felt I needed to point out that there is such an upside play this late in the draft. It just has no business in a 10- or 12-team league.
No. 95: Robbie Grossman (Detroit Tigers)
While most of his production in 2020 came in the opening month, it was enough to convince the Tigers to give him a two-year deal and peg him as a starting corner outfielder. He’s got a little bit of pop and a little bit of speed, and while the upside is fairly low, the floor is fairly high compared to others in this tier as he’ll hit near the top of a lineup and play every day.
No. 96: Victor Reyes (Detroit Tigers)
As much as I love what he can do for fantasy as a lead-off hitter, the Tigers don’t seem interested in giving him the role. He has upside due to his speed and batting average, but playing time needs to open up before he can be considered.
No. 97: Jo Adell (Los Angeles Angels)
It wasn’t long ago that Adell was a consensus top-five prospect in the game due to his explosive power and plus speed. Strikeouts have plagued him so far in the majors, and the addition of Dexter Folwer to the Angels roster clutters up the outfield enough to assume that Adell will report to triple-A by the end of camp. That said, Adell has elite athleticism and if he turns it around, he could be an electrifying piece to the outfield puzzle.
No. 98: Enrique Hernández (Boston Red Sox)
He’s being bumped up by default due to injuries and demotions to the minor leagues. I chose him because you’ll always know when to start him (against lefties only) and he might bat first in those matchups.
No. 99: Kevin Kiermaier (Tampa Bay Rays)
He has pop and speed, but his amazing-yet-aggressive work in the outfield leaves him on the IL a few times per season. He’s a guy you might find yourself picking up and dropping multiple times throughout the season, and that’s OK.
No. 100: Kole Calhoun (Arizona Diamondbacks)
Update: Calhoun was injured and required knee surgery. He’ll miss several weeks and I wouldn’t expect him back until mid-May.
This might be a little harsh for Calhoun, but I just have very little fantasy interest in a player with his profile. The power spikes in 2019 and 2020 are somewhat interesting, and it’s pretty apparent in this handy rolling chart (I hope you didn’t think I was quite done with those yet):
Calhoun may have 25 home run upside even with the missed time, but the floor is abysmally low and even if he does hit for power, the .230 batting average is tough to swallow.
…And a few more for the road
Willie Calhoun (Texas Rangers)
I don’t have much faith that he’s going to pan out, but once upon a time we had dreams of 30 home runs and he should at least start the season with regular playing time.
3/26 Update: He’ll start the season on the IL, and I’m not that interested in holding him in standard leagues.
Oscar Mercado (Cleveland)
If you forgot how bad he was in 2020, look again. A .128/.174/.174 line in 93 plate appearances. A negative wRC+. While 2019 suggested he had 20/20 upside, the bad taste 2020 left in my mouth made it hard to even rank him at all. Update: He’s been sent down to the depth camp, so he won’t be starter. He is not draft-worthy in almost any format.
Yasiel Puig (Free Agent)
If he signs somewhere, he shoots up this list. It is worth noting that there is virtually no news about him signing somewhere.
Nomar Mazara (Detroit Tigers)
He was sort of good once for fantasy purposes, and should be able to play most days for Detroit on the strong side of a platoon. He was relatively useful as recently as 2019, and I suppose I could see him being that again.
Kevin Pillar (New York Mets)
I had Pillar as high as 61 on this list because I foolishly assumed he’d wind up on a team that needed a starting outfielder. Instead, he joined the Mets, who now have three of them on their bench.
Daulton Varsho (Arizona Diamondbacks)
He’s ranked at catcher, but let’s be clear—his outfield eligibility is meaningless. He also was sent to triple-A, so he’s off my radar.
Jason Heyward (Free Agent)
If he finds a starting job, he can do what he did with the Cubs and hit for a little power and show off a little speed.
Michael A. Taylor (Kansas City Royals)
He could push for 15 home runs and 15 steals if he had a full time job, but he probably doesn’t. Not even for the Royals.
Oscar Colás (Free Agent)
He’ll generate some buzz when he signs, but it’s mostly for dynasty and keeper league managers.
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