Welcome to the updated version of Pitcher List’s top 80 outfielders rankings. These rankings were put together in March, but have been updated to reflect the shortened 60-game season. The blurbs were also written in March, though I’ve added a few updates to reflect recent news.
A couple of notes before we start this: first, these rankings are not my personal rankings. They are consensus rankings that were established during a rankings roundtable with myself and a handful of other people here at Pitcher List. Second, we’re going to be ranking the top 80 outfielders but to make it a little easier to parse, we’re going to be ranking 20 at a time in four different articles. We continue here with the top 60!
So let’s get into it! Also, the full list is made up of six tiers, and just for fun, I’ve decided to name the tiers after my six favorite David Bowie albums.
David Dahl has loads of talent (and has had loads of talent for a while now), but he’s constantly been blocked by the Rockies because apparently he slept with one of the Monfort brothers’ wife or something. But now, I think we might finally get a full season of Dahl, and he’ll likely be hitting at the top of the lineup. I’m all for just about any talented hitter who spends all his time in Coors, and Dahl is one of those hitters. A good average with about 20 home runs and close to double-digit steals should be good for Dahl.
I really thought big things were in store for Benintendi following his 2017 campaign where he went 20/20 with a .271 average. The following year was solid, but he’s just been declining each year since, having a very pedestrian .266/.343/.431 year with 13 home runs and 10 steals last year (in the year with the juiced ball too!). So what gives? Well, part of it has been his plate discipline. Last year saw career-worsts in chase rate (33%) and SwStr rate (11.6%). He’s also hitting more fly balls than he has before (40.7% rate last year) as his HR/FB rate has been declining (7.9% last year). Add in very mediocre exit velocity numbers and you get a guy who’s hitting a bunch of dead fly balls into the outfield. Obviously we’ve seen that Benintendo has the talent to be a 20/20 guy with a good average, but things aren’t looking great. Still, he’s only 25 and can still be a decent contributor in every category.
I think we’ve got a pretty good idea who Kyle Schwarber is at this point, and that’s a guy who crushes the ball for great power and has a mediocre at best average. Last year’s .250 average was a pretty nice improvement over the .238 and .211 averages he had the two years prior, and, fortunately, it’s supported by a .267 xBA, so I’m hopeful it can stick. As for the power, Schwarber was excellent, posting a 14.5% barrel rate (16th-best in baseball) and a .553 xSLG, so I think a season similar to 2019 can be expected for Schwarber. Who knows, maybe the average will continue to rise as it has the past three years, which would be awesome.
What a fantastic breakout season last year was for Hunter Dozier, as he slashed .279/.348/.522 with 26 HRs, 75 R, and 84 RBI. So can he repeat his performance? To an extent I think. That .279 average came alongside a .339 BABIP and a .261 xBA, both of which suggest that some average regression may be in order. However, his power seems mostly legit. He had a nice 10% barrel rate and 42.6% hard-hit rate last year, so while I think 20-25ish home runs is likely repeatable, I think he’s probably more a .260s hitter than a nearly-.280s hitter.
Mmm love me some of that batting average, and Bryan Reynolds will give you exactly that. In fact, his .296 xBA was one of the highest xBAs in the league last year (16th-highest). Luckily, there’s more to Reynolds’ game than average, as he also popped in 16 home runs. Honestly, aside from some slight average regression, I think Reynolds could pretty easily repeat the season he had last year. A high average, 15ish home runs, and a decent handful of runs/RBI.
In a somewhat limited role with the Dodgers last year, Verdugo showed off his plus hit tool, slashing .294/.342/.475 in 106 games alongside 12 home runs. Now playing for the Red Sox following the Mookie Betts trade, Verdugo looks like a guy who should be able to hit for a high average, similar to last year, with 15-20 home run power (though I think 20ish home runs is probably closer to his ceiling). However, the question is, how much playing time will he get? Benintendi is staying in the outfield, the Sox just recently signed Kevin Pillar, so you have to imagine they want him out there at least a decent amount, and while Jackie Bradley Jr. is a bit of a black hole at the plate (aside from his few, unpredictable heat-ups), he’s a good glove that I’m sure the Red Sox want in center field. And there’s no way J.D. Martinez gets moved away from DH. So where does Verdugo play? My guess is he ends up in right field removing Pillar, and Pillar is used as a depth piece, but who knows. I’d be surprised if Verdugo doesn’t get somewhat regular playing time though.
Edman played 14 games in the outfield last year, which is enough to give him outfield eligibility in Yahoo leagues. We covered Edman in our second base rankings.
I wanted Joc to be in Los Angeles so badly. So, so badly. He could’ve raked in Angel Stadium. But sadly, the Angels pulled out of the trade that would’ve sent him and Ross Stripling to the Angels, and Joc is back with the Dodgers. Given that, I think we have a pretty good idea what to expect from Pederson. He’s going to be platooned and benched against lefties because he’s absolutely terrible against them, he’s going to hit for an okay average, and he’s going to launch a bunch of home runs. I don’t think he’s going to hit 36 against like last year, but somewhere between the 25 he hit in 2018 and the 36 he hit last year sounds about right. Unless he actually gets traded (please god), then his projection might change a bit.
Hunter Renfroe is very good at one thing—hittin’ dingers. Unfortunately, he’s not going to give you much int he way of batting average, as he hit just .216 last year with a .218 xBA. That’s the worst mark of his career, and I’m hopeful that he can at least climb into the .240s with his average like he has in the past, but at best I think you can expect a .230s average with easily 30+ home runs.
I just can’t quit him. The potential, it’s all there. The speed, the power, all of it is there, but Byron Buxton has burned you, me, everyone in fantasy so many times that I get it if you don’t want to own him. However, as long as he’s healthy (and that’s far from a given considering he’s played a total of 115 games in the past two seasons combined), he’s easily got 20/20 potential with the ability to steal closer to 30 bases. Unless something drastic changes, the average will likely still be around the .250s/.260s, but the speed/power combo is super useful.
UPDATE: Buxton was carted off the field during an intrasquad game. He’s got a foot injury, but is expected to be ready for opening day.
When Mallex Smith was in the minors, I truly had the hope that he could be Billy Hamilton but with a good batting average. Unfortunately, he’s turned into Billy Hamilton but with fewer steals. After a .296 hitting season in 2018 with 40 steals, which was super exciting, Smith turned in 46 steals, which is even better, but with a lousy .227 average. So what happened? Well, the strikeouts increased, the line drives dropped, and the fly balls increased. He has virtually no power, so when his fly ball rate jumps up, that means more outs. I love Mallex, but as of now, I don’t think you can expect him to be anything more than a one-category stud. He’s going to steal between 40-50 bases if given the chance, but he could potentially be a drain in the average, home run, and RBI department. I’m hopeful for a bounceback though.
Before last season, Justin Upton was essentially a lock for around 30ish home runs, a batting average in the .250s to .260s, at least 80/80 runs/RBI production, and a few steals. He did that consistently from 2013 through 2018. Then, he lost last year due to injury, but is back and healthy and should be good to go right back to being Justin Upton. His average has fluctuated some, but I don’t see why we should all of a sudden expect him to be like a .230s hitter or something. I’m expecting a pretty standard Justin Upton season this year, and that’s a bargain where he’s going in ADP.
Gurriel had himself a nice little mini-breakout last year, slashing .277/.327/.541 with 20 HRs, 52 R, 50 RBI, and six stolen bases in just 84 games. That paces out to a very good full season, but that’s not what I’m expecting. Still, a look at his Statcast profile is impressive, as he had an 11.2% barrel rate and a 44.2% hard-hit rate. Given a full season, I could see 25-30 home runs, but I do think his average will come down some. That .277 average came with a .258 xBA, so maybe he hits closer to the .260s than high-.270s.
Tier 5: Scary Monsters (And Super Creeps)
Kyle Tucker proved last year that he is so very over being in Triple-A, hitting 34 home runs and stealing 30 bases in 125 games last year. Now he’s in the majors and will finally be getting a full-time role, so what can we expect? He’s likely not going to hit for a super-high average in the majors, but somewhere in the .260s feels fairly reasonable. Obviously he’s got a great power/speed combo, and the ceiling is ridiculous with a 20/20 season far from out of the question. Will he reach that? Maybe. I think closer to a 20/15 season makes more sense for him though, but either way, he’ll be a useful contributor in every category.
Aristides Aquino has loads of power, and he showed it off last year in what was one of the more fun hot streaks to watch in recent memory. In fact, between Triple-A and the majors, Aquino had 47 home runs and 12 stolen bases. He also hit .299 in Triple-A, showing he’s not necessarily a low-average/high-power type. That being said, he also had a miserable slump to end the season, and he’s in a very crowded Reds outfield. As mentioned earlier, the Reds have Senzel, Castellanos, Aquino, Winker, Akiyama, Lorenzen, and Ervin all as outfielders vying for a role, which makes drafting Aquino fairly risky.
Old guys like Choo often get overlooked in fantasy in favor of the shiny new prospects, but Choo quietly had a fantastic season last year, slashing .265/.371/.455 with 24 HRs, 93 R, 61 RBI, and 15 stolen bases, marking one of the best seasons he’s had in a very long time. He also posted a 49% hard-hit rate last year, good for the 13th-best in all of baseball, so even at 37, the guy can still hit. The question is, will he keep hitting this year? I don’t see any reason why not. He’s consistently posted an average between .261 and .265 and has hit at least 21 home runs each year since 2017. The 15 steals are a surprise, but given that he stole 12 in 2017, they’re not totally out of nowhere. If he keeps hitting the ball as hard as he did last year, a similar season may be in store this year.
56. Yasiel Puig (Free Agent)
The fact that Yasiel Puig is still a free agent continues to baffle me, because he’s a very solid player. Over the past two seasons, he’s had exactly a .267 average and .327 OBP, which is bizarre, and he’s been able to hit just under 25 home runs. What you can expect from him this year will vary slightly depending on where he eventually signs (especially his counting stats), but Puig has become a fairly predictable player from a fantasy standpoint over the past few years. A .260-ish average, 20-25 home runs, 15-20 steals, and solid runs/RBI totals should be in store for Puig, especially if he ends up in a nice lineup and/or park.
UPDATE: We thought Puig was signing with the Atlanta Braves, but once he tested positive for Covid-19, that deal died. As of now, he’s a free agent, and he can still join a team once he tests negative twice. He’s asymptomatic, so hopefully he can recover quickly and join a team, but a team has to be willing to sign him. The upside is great, but there are a lot of contingencies to deal with.
Adam Eaton is one of those guys that contributes a good bit in every category but is never going to blow you away with some kind of 4/4, 2 HR day. He’ll go 15/15 likely, he’ll hit for a good average, and he’ll get around 100 runs with a decent number of RBI. He’s solid, but he also needs to stay healthy, something he had trouble doing in 2017 and 2018. But after 151 games last year, I think he should be fine.
58. A.J. Pollock (Los Angeles Dodgers)
Speaking of having trouble staying healthy, we’ve got A.J. Pollock here. He’s not the 20/20 threat he used to be, but he still has 15-20 home run power with a handful of steals and a decent average. Problem is, given the Dodgers’ outfield situation right now, I wouldn’t be shocked if Pollock gets platooned with Joc Pederson to hit so Pederson doesn’t have to face lefties, and that puts a bit of a damper on Pollock’s potential playing time.
At 33, Lorenzo isn’t quite content yet with just chillin’ in his Benzo (I’m sorry that was so forced), but he also isn’t quite the speedster he used to be. He had just 18 steals last year, the lowest he’s had in a full season, and a .260 average, which is the lowest he’s had in a very long time. Age appears to be catching up with Cain, as his sprint speed has steadily been declining each year, hitting a career-low 27.8 feet per second last year. Still, I expect he can steal close to 20 bases and I anticipate the average regressing positively (he had a .290 xBA last year), making him useful.
Coming into last year a lot of people were psyched about the idea of Andrew McCutchen having a full season leading off for the Phillies and being out of that awful Pittsburgh Pirates lineup, and for good reason. Since 2011, Cutch has hit at least 20 home runs each year with double-digit steals all but one season. And while his average has diminished as he’s gotten older, it bounced from .256 in 2016 to .279 in 2017 and back down to .255 in 2018. So there was plenty of reason to think Cutch was going to be a 20 home run, 10-15 steal guy with a decent average and a good number of runs at the top of that lineup. Then, he lost the majority of last year to injury. But he’s back now, and he should be good for that kind of a season yet again. Yet he’s being valued like he died last season. I love me some boring old veterans and Cutch fits that role perfectly.
This year, I’m all about some Franchy fries (I’m not sorry). Cordero lost all of last year to injury and barely had gotten to play before that because the Padres had a crowded outfield, but when he’s played, he’s shown to have some excellent power. In the 40 games he played in in 2018, he posted a 12.9% barrel rate, 51.9% hard-hit rate, a .273 xBA, and a .502 xSLG. He’s got the skills, and now, it looks like he’s going to get the playing time and I love him as a sleeper this year.
UPDATE: Cordero was traded to the Royals and now looks slated to have a much clearer path to playing time than he did before, making him a much more interesting guy now.
62. Avisail Garcia (Milwaukee Brewers)
I feel like Avisail Garcia is pretty consistently underrated. Last year with the Rays, he slashed .282/.332/.464 with 20 HRs, 61 R, 72 RBI, and 10 stolen bases. That’s a really solid season. Nothing life-changing for an outfielder, but it’s super useful. It came supported by an 11.7% barrel rate, a .275 xBA, and a .494 xSLG, so it feels pretty legit. Now with the Brewers, Garcia could potentially face some playing time questions, depending on what the Brewers elect to do with Ryan Braun, but I still expect Garcia to get a sizeable amount of playing time. In the hitter-friendly park that is Miller Park, I could easily see Garcia contributing in just about every category once again.
Tier 6: The Man Who Sold the World
Nomar Mazara has been consistently mediocre the past couple years, getting you about 20 home runs with around a .250s/.260s average, which is kind of a bummer considering he was a fairly highly-touted prospect. Well guess what? Turns out, he’s probably been playing with a thumb injury since the middle of 2018. Up until that injury, Mazara had been hitting .272/.332/.450 and then plummeted to dark nothingness after that. He’s supposedly healthy now, and while this may feel like he’s “in the best shape of his life,” it could be meaningful. Now, he’s with the White Sox and will likely be hitting in the middle of the best lineup he’s ever been in. Could this be a nice comeback year for Mazara? It just might be.
Speaking of sleepers, hello Austin Hays. Hays was one of my bold predictions entering last year that he would be the new Trey Mancini for the Orioles and that very much did not happen. But he did get some action late in the year and he looked very good, posting a .309/.373/.574 line in 21 games. He’s going to finally get a full-time role with the Orioles because the Orioles have absolutely no reason not to throw him out there, and he looks like a guy who could hit around 20ish home runs with a solid average and five to 10 steals. Obviously the potential is high, he’s 24 and a top prospect for the team in the second-most hitter-friendly park in baseball, so if you’re looking for a lottery ticket (and this late in the outfield rankings, that’s mostly what you’re looking for), you could do a lot worse.
What can we expect from Corey Dickerson in 2020? I’ll be honest, it’s hard to tell. In 2017, he had a fantastic campaign with the Rays, hitting 27 home runs with a .282 average. Then, with the Pirates in 2018, the average improved to .300, but the power all but vanished. Then last year in limited play thanks to injuries, Dickerson hit .304 with 12 home runs in 78 games, which roughly paces out to a 20+ home run season in a full year. Now with the Marlins, Dickerson will have plenty of opportunity, just unfortunately not much of a lineup around him. Still, he should be good for a solid average and probably around 20 home runs.
Kingery is a nice piece to have because he contributes fairly well across the board except in batting average, where he’ll be below average but won’t absolutely kill you. There’s 20/20 potential there pretty obviously, the question will be his average, as he posted a pretty meh .247 xBA last year. There’s also the potential question of playing time next year. Could Alec Bohm show up fairly quickly and supplant Kingery? I could see it, especially if Kingery struggles for a good portion of the beginning of the year. But absent that, Kingery could be a pretty solid fantasy player.
67. Teoscar Hernandez (Toronto Blue Jays)
Teoscar Hernandez was another one of my bold predictions last year as I predicted he’d lead the league in home runs (again, I remind you these are bold predictions). While obviously that didn’t happen, Hernandez did go on a nice little power tear at the end of the year, posting a .333 ISO in the second half of the year including a July where he slashed .284/.346/.662. He’s got the skills, he posted an 11.7% barrel rate last year alongside a 42.3% hard-hit rate, and his 15.5% barrel rate in 2018 was among the best in baseball. It’s just a matter of consistency. But he’ll get the opportunities this year, so if you want another lottery ticket, Hernandez is interesting.
Obviously if we knew that Adell was starting the year in the majors, he’d be up much much higher, but we don’t know that. In fact, we really don’t know when Adell will come up this year, if at all. He’s still just 20 and the Angels have a fairly workable outfield with Justin Upton, Mike Trout (who’s he?), and Brian Goodwin. While Goodwin isn’t exactly amazing, he’s a very usable major league outfielder, and if the Angels don’t have a reason to bring Adell up, I doubt they will. But if he does come up, he’s got a very nice skillset with a power/speed combo that looks to have the ceiling of something like peak Matt Kemp. He’s another interesting flier worth taking in the later rounds if you’ve got the space to hang onto him.
This is another speculative pick where you’re hoping Hampson gets a solid amount of playing time. As of now, it doesn’t look like he will. The outfield is full and likely Ryan McMahon is going to start at second base instead of Hampson. But if Hampson is able to get some playing time, he’s got good potential. His speed is ridiculous, he stole 51 bases in High-A and stole 38 between Double-A, Triple-A, and the majors in 2018. He doesn’t have a ton of power, though Coors Field can help a bit for that. Were he to get a full season (which he almost definitely won’t), he looks to be a guy who could approach double-digit home runs with 25-30 steals and a solid average. This late in your draft, I don’t have a problem chasing that upside.
Braun’s value is going to depend on playing time. Given a full season, we’ve got a decent idea of what Braun is likely to do, he’s been fairly consistent the past few years. He’s going to hit around 20 home runs with a decent average and a good handful of steals. But now that the Brewers have signed Justin Smoak, it seems likely that Braun and Smoak will be in a platoon at first base. It’s also possible that Braun could play in the outfield some. Still, Braun has decent fantasy potential in just about every category, making him a worthwhile bench bat in deep leagues.
The Angels were very kind to Kole Calhoun last year, lowering their right field wall and letting him hit 33 home runs, which was a career-best for Calhoun by a good bit. Now in Arizona, Calhoun is almost definitely going to see a bit of a power drop considering Chase Field now leans more pitcher-friendly since it added the humidor. Still, Calhoun hits the ball pretty well, posting an 11.2% barrel rate last year alongside a 42.6% hard-hit rate., and he’s likely got a consistent gig. There’s still 25ish home run potential here for Calhoun with a decent average. Yes, he hit .232 last year, but that came with a .247 xBA, so I think he could do a bit better.
In 2018, David Peralta hit 30 home runs while batting .293 thanks to a major gain in hard-hit rate up to a career-best 45.7% and an increase in barrel rate to a career-best 7.4%. Then, last year, Peralta lost pretty much all of that and went back to being the David Peralta of old, with a 5.4% barrel rate and a 40.9% hard-hit rate. Sure, he lost a good bit of last year to injury, but with a full season, I don’t think you can expect the 30 home run power to come back. Still, 20 home runs with a .270s-.280s average seems very doable for him, and that has some value, even if it’s kind of boring.
Mark Canha sorta jumped out of nowhere last year and ended up slashing .273/.396/.517 with 26 HRs, 80 R, and 58 RBI. Unfortunately, I have a hard time expecting that again, as it came with a .248 xBA and a .469 xSLG. I still think Canha can be a useful hitter, but I’d doubt if he can repeat last year, at least from an average perspective. But could he hit in the .250s with 20-25 home runs and a decent handful of RBI? Sure, that’s possible, and that still makes him worth owning in some leagues.
Trent Grisham’s debut season with the Brewers didn’t exactly go great, but that’s no reason to give up on the guy. He’s now moved his way to the San Diego Padres and looks to likely be on the strong side of a platoon in the outfield, potentially with Juan Lagares, whom the Padres recently signed. Grisham projects as a guy who should be able to contribute a bit in most categories. He’s probably a .240s hitter with around 20 home runs and double-digit steals, assuming he gets a sizable amount of playing time, which I would expect he will. Hitting in Petco Park isn’t great, but that Padres lineup looks pretty nice, and Grisham will be right in the middle of it.
Brian Anderson is very boring. Even his name is boring; he doesn’t sound like the #3 hitter for the Miami Marlins, he sounds like your old fifth-grade math teacher. But while Anderson’s 20 home run, .261 production from last year feels as vanilla as it can be, it’s worth noting that Anderson amped up his barrel rate to a career-best 8.9% last year and also cranked up his hard-hit rate to a career-best 45.7%, the latter of which was good for 35th-best in baseball, just below Trevor Story and ahead of Bryce Harper, Cody Bellinger, and George Springer, among others. That’s not bad company to be in. Sure, he’s on the Marlins in a terrible home ballpark for hitting, but there are definitely some interesting skills there that might be worth an investment.
Yaz kind of popped onto the scene and showed us that we should know who he is not just because he’s Carl Yastrzemski’s grandson, but because he’s actually a pretty good ballplayer. In 107 games he slashed .272/.334/.518 with 21 HRs, 64 R, and 55 RBI, supported by an 11.2% barrel rate and a 42.9% hard-hit rate. Now, that average came with a .258 xBA which suggests some regression, but his power seems to be legit, and there’s some interesting potential there. Our own Matt Wallach wrote a good piece on Yaz’s potential if you want some more.
77. Tyler O’Neill (St. Louis Cardinals)
I’ve been dying for Tyler O’Neill to get full playing time ever since he was tearing up the Mariners’ Triple-A affiliate and now, finally, it looks like he might get it. Maybe. Or he’ll get platooned with Dexter Fowler, which, if we’re being honest, is probably what’s going to happen. Unfortunately, from what we’ve seen of O’Neill, he doesn’t seem like he’s going to carry over the high average he had in the minors, but the raw power is very much there. The strikeouts will be rough, but he’s someone who could easily hit 25 home runs even in a platoon. Let’s not forget that it was just 2018 when he posted a 22.7% barrel rate (in just 61 games of course, but still), and yes, that barrel rate dropped precipitously last year, but the talent is there. He’s another interesting upside shot.
This is a new blurb and a new player added to the rankings for two reasons: 1. It didn’t look like Myers had a gig coming into the season. Now, there’s a universal DH, which means he does have a gig. And 2. even if he doesn’t DH, now that Franchy Cordero has been traded, there’s a less crowded lineup for Myers to work into. Here’s the thing though, Myers isn’t super great anymore. In 155 games in 2019, Myers slashed .239/.321/.418 with 18 home runs and 16 steals. That’s a nice power/speed combo, and the guy can definitely still steal bases, but he comes as a liability in batting average, most likely, and with mediocre power. Gones are Myers’ 30/20 days, it would seem. Still, late in drafts, you can do worse than grabbing a guy who, in a full season, would go 15/15 pretty easily.
Gregory Polanco is healthy, supposedly, and if he’s healthy, he’ll have the starting gig in Pittsburgh. There’s a lot of unknowns surrounding Polanco though. We don’t know how much he’ll be stealing bases—those have declined a good bit in recent years—we don’t know how healthy he’ll be, and we don’t know how much power he’ll have after his shoulder injury. We’ve seen what he can do, and what he can do is be a 20/20 hitter batting in the .250s. However there is no way on earth you can count on that. He’s still just 28, so hopefully the downswing of his career hasn’t quite started yet, but late in drafts if you wanna take a shot on the hopes that Polanco hits around the .250s with 20+ home runs and a handful of steals, go for it. This late, the risk is minimal and Polanco’s potential is nice.
UPDATE: Polanco tested positive for Covid-19. As with most of the other players who have tested positive for the disease, there’s no definitive timetable for his return, so keep that in mind if you want to take a swing at his upside. Hopefully you’re playing with expanded IL slots.
Kevin Kiermaier is an interesting guy. He’s got good speed, solid power, and a batting average that’s fluctuated from .276 in 2017 to .217 in 2018 and .228 last year. But Kiermaier has been tweaking his swing this offseason, and if you wanna take a shot on someone, why not take a shot on a guy who’s got a really nice power/speed combo and is tweaking his swing? If this change works, the payoff could be very nice.
Photo by Russell Lansford/Icon Sportswire | Adapted by Justin Paradis (@freshmeatcomm on Twitter)