(Photo by Mark Goldman/Icon Sportswire)
We featured the Top 25 Catchers, Top 30 First Basemen, Top 30 Second Basemen, Top 30 Shortstops, and Top 30 Third Basemen in dynasty leagues so far this week — today, we finally are out of the diamond and into the outfield of our positional dynasty rankings. Today will be ranking the top 30 – tomorrow the next 30 — overmorrow the next 30.
Tier One: Whisper Sweet Nothings to Me
1. Mike Trout (Los Angeles Angels, 26)
2. Bryce Harper (Washington Nationals, 25)
3. Mookie Betts (Boston Red Sox, 25)
Tier Two: I’d Catch a Grenade for You
4. Giancarlo Stanton (New York Yankees, 28)
5. Andrew Benintendi (Boston Red Sox, 23)
6. Aaron Judge (New York Yankees, 25)
7. George Springer (Houston Astros, 28)
8. JD Martinez (Boston Red Sox, 30)
9. Rhys Hoskins (Philadelphia Phillies, 25)
Tier Three: Just the Way You Are
10. Christian Yelich (Milwaukee Brewers, 26)
11. Marcell Ozuna (St. Louis Cardinals, 27)
12. Khris Davis (Oakland Athletics, 30)
13. Ronald Acuna (P) Atlanta Braves, 20)
14. Charlie Blackmon (Colorado Rockies, 31)
15. Dee Gordon (Seattle Mariners, 29)
16. Billy Hamilton (Cincinnati Reds, 27)
17. Starling Marte (Pittsburgh Pirates, 29)
Tier Four: That’s What I Like
18. Justin Upton (Los Angeles Angels, 30)
19. Michael Conforto (New York Mets, 25)
20. AJ Pollock (Arizona Diamondbacks, 30)
21. Lorenzo Cain (Miluakee Brewers, 31)
22. Ender Inciarte (Atlanta Braves, 27)
23. Manuel Margot (San Diego Padres, 23)
24. Eloy Jimenez (P) (Chicago White Sox, 21)
Tier Four: 24k Magic
25. Byron Buxton (Minnesota Twins, 24)
26. David Dahl (Colorado Rockies, 24)
27. Domingo Santana (Miluakee Brewers, 25)
28. Yasiel Puig (Los Angeles Dodgers, 27)
29. Tommy Pham (St. Louis Cardinals, 30)
30. Victor Robles (P) (Washington Nationals, 20)
Way Too Deep Prospects
I plan on doing three outfield prospects for each of my three outfield articles. The first three I have my eye on but do not own (yet) are: Alberoni Nunez (Minnesota Twins, 19), Daniel Paulino (Miami Marlins, 19), and Jonathan Machado (St. Louis Cardinals, 19).
- I am amazingly high on Christian Yelich spending the next few years in Milwaukee – coming from one of the worst home run parks to one of the best. I think he will easily set career bests across the board. Yelich was 16/18 on stolen bases last year and I fully expect the Brewers to keep him running atop their order. We’re about to see the Christian Yelich that the community has hyped for so long.
- Ronald Acuna is the hype train that should not, cannot, and will not stop. If you haven’t heard, the kid is pretty good at this stickball thing. Hitting .325/.374/.522 across A+/AA/AAA last year, Acuna got better and better the closer he got to the majors by cutting his strikeout rate (to 19.8% by AAA) and raising his average (to .344). Though individually small sample sizes, his minor league season put together an attractive picture for fantasy owners. At 13, his rank is building in some regression and adjustment (he’s only 20 years old) – but Acuna has the look of the next Tier One superstar for the next two decades.
- Khris Davis has put up astounding numbers given his home park and lack of talent on his roster. Oakland should steadily improve as their already young core progresses and top talents like Franklin Barreto finally get the call (and stick). Best/worst case scenario, Davis is in the final year of his contract and a team like Colorado signs him at a discount in 2020 (after Colorado inevitably doesn’t pay Charlie Blackmon). Too much possibility for a guy hitting 40+ home runs and an incredibly palatable near .250 average.
- Charlie Blackmon may seem low at 14, but hear me out. He is 31 (32 during the season), in a contract year (playing for Colorado), and was only 14/24 on his stolen bases last season. While he hit a career high in home runs, it is hard to separate how many were Blackmon, how many were the “Coors Effect,” and how many were because of the juiced balls. Together, I am looking at a player who if he stays in Colorado, would still hold tremendous value – but there are too many red flags for a top 10 ranking.
- Unpopular opinion, a guy who can single-handedly win a single category each week deserves to be drafted pretty quickly. Billy Hamilton is only 27 years old and has stolen 174 bases over the past three seasons. He is still the fastest man in baseball (seriously, a speed score of 9.0). Dee Gordon is more valuable currently as he’ll be on a better team and can hit above .300 (Hamilton would be lucky to hit .250 this year), but Hamilton’s age gives him an edge. A two-category contributor that presents flexibility when roster building in a fantasy world lacking speed.
- Manuel Margot is poised for a breakout season. His rookie year was defined by incredible highs and lows, ultimately finishing with 13 home runs, 17 steals, and an underwhelming .263 batting average. I think the Padres will take a step forward this year and continue to grow stronger as their younger talent rises — Margot will be a building block around which that team is built. A 15/30 season is not outside the realm of possibility this year, although how many runs and RBIs he’ll have will be determined by the quality of his team.
- He hurts me, then he hurts me so good. Such is the past two seasons for Byron Buxton. Finally finishing his first full season in the majors, Buxton looked like a competent star in the second half of his season batting .300/.347/.546. It was not enough to wipe away the dismal start to his season, but it was enough to get the rust off the Buxton hype train. He has the talent and pedigree to be a top-ten talent (and is only 24 years old) – not every player progresses immediately, we could finally be seeing Buxton produce. I would count myself among the skeptics, but I would love to be proven wrong.
- I think a healthy David Dahl is a David Dahl that is worthy of a top-15 ranking. I think a .300 batting average is unrealistic this season, but he should provide stable floor while he is able to move past the injuries that kept him out of baseball in 2017.
- I am being hawkish on Tommy Pham’s breakout. Not that breakouts don’t happen at players age 29+, but its hard to trust when it is this much of a breakout. While his 2017 numbers are alluring – don’t chase a career year (at least, too hard). Pham may well be a useful player in 2018 and beyond, but a career-high (well, as much of an MLB career as he’s had) batting average on balls in play of .368 and 18/25 on stolen bases (with a speed score of 6.0) indicates to me that Pham may have peaked in 2017. Tread lightly.
I’ll be making notes in each of my rankings for players/situations/choices worth noting — if there is something specific you wish to discuss regarding the ranks — drop a comment.
I hate to say it, but I think you need to go 100 deep or at least 50 for OF rankings. Consider the relative garbage at the back-end of the other positional 30s and then see where this list ends up, which is in Tommy Pham territory. I don’t think prospects even belong on this list outside of Acuna, just due to the depth at the position, but that’s my whole point. You never really get to the part of the list that gets interesting. People will nitpick the top tiers, but that is inevitable – see below.
The two cents – I can’t tell you how fast I would trade Acuna for Blackmon. I can’t imagine how Ender cracks this list and I wouldn’t have Yelich that high.
On yet a third note, I don’t think the industry is correctly reacting to juiced balls. I think repeatably of the feat will be tough. There may be way more HR overall, but the good hitters are going to do it reliably while the rest of the league will pick up their fluky HR intermittently. My point – I am not undervaluing the HR skills of guys who are good at it. There is also the weird effect where we give a guy like Ender credit for having double digit pop, but really that means nothing in this context.
There are more OF articles to come, Kraken.