We are just a few weeks away from opening day and while draft season picks up, it’s hard to contain the excitement for the coming season. Today we’re taking a walk through the what I feel is the most important offensive position — the outfield. The position contains the largest volume of first round talent, a swath of power/speed guys as well as some of the most exciting young players in the game.
Checking your league settings and eligibility rules will be of the utmost importance when planning your draft day strategy in the outfield. Restrictive Util-only candidates in some platforms can turn into underrated studs if they carry that extra eligibility, so why not take a look and see if Giancarlo Stanton, Yordan Alvarez or Trey Mancini can help you outside of the single utility spot. I love to hammer away at the outfield in the first quarter of the draft and if you are playing in a 5 OF league, finding the core of your offense is even more critical.
The top four players on my draft board sit in the outfield and while Mookie Betts gets the nod for me for his blend of stability, lineup support and plus production in literally every category, I certainly can’t doubt that Juan Soto or Ronald Acuna offer a bit more upside. Mike Trout could easily top the list as well and while Christian Yelich is not in that No. 1 overall conversation right now, he certainly was there 365 days ago and he has all the ability to get right back to that level. Cody Bellinger and Bryce Harper round out the top-tier and I am likely walking away from the draft table with at least one of these players on my roster.
At the back end of the first round, Christian Yelich (10 adp) seems like a strong consolation prize for anyone wishing they could snag a top-4 guy. The shortened season was not kind to Yelich and while he finished with a disappointing .205 average, he continued to post a strong walk rate while mashing 12 homers and stealing four bags in 247 PAs. In Yelich’s previous two seasons, he averaged 40 home runs 26 steals with a .327 average, I’m willing to give just about anyone a pass for struggling in 2020.
Digging a little deeper, Starling Marte (52) always offers underrated juice for your fantasy squad. Yordan Alvarez (82) claims he’s healthy and has already shown he can be an elite bat when he’s right. Perhaps its a bit risky in deep leagues, but in a 10 or 12-teamer, Alvarez is a tasty gamble. Mike Yastrzemski (115) would be a top-100 player on draft day if he played in an east coast market. Michael Brantley (146) is quietly excellent year in and year out. Trey Mancini (151), Joc Pederson (281), and Justin Upton (321) ahve consistently produced when on their field and make nice back end options very late.
Top 120-ish Outfield Rankings for 2021
|4||Ronald Acuna Jr.||ATL|
|43||Lourdes Gurriel Jr.||TOR|
|98||Jackie Bradley Jr.||MIL|