The biggest issue with separating outfielders into their various spots can be seen when you look at right fielders. It is immediately obvious that right fielders are superior to center fielders and left fielders. It’s hard to explain why, but the fifth or sixth best right fielder might finish second or third at the other two spots. It might make sense to combine them all and we might do that at some point.
As we finish off the position players it is high time we go over the rules. We are integrating the different formats (five categories, six categories, total points) into one set of rankings. It can get a little messy doing that, but we are breaking it down for you so you can gleam what you want. Projections are based on the past three seasons and then prorated over either 500 or 600 plate appearances. Those numbers are based on past performance and the makeup of each team.
Total points= TB + Runs + RBI + SB + BB + HBP – SO – CS – GIDP
Mookie Betts—Boston Red Sox
Points: 1637 (1st)
PPG: 3.67 (1st)
Projection: .308/25 HR/103 Runs/86 RBI/24 SB/60 BB (2nd)
Betts has more points over the past three years than Mike Trout. He also has more points per game over that same span. Is he the number one overall pick? Well, that depends on the format. Trout probably still has him in five and six category leagues, but the margin is a lot thinner than you think.
J.D. Martinez—Boston Red Sox
Points: 1198 (5th)
PPG: 3.08 (2nd)
Projection: .315/40 HR/86 Runs/109 RBI/4 SB/62 BB (1st)
It is something that the top two players on the board here both play for the World Series champions. You could argue that they should have finished first and second in the MVP voting last year as well. Health has been the only opponent Martinez has been unable to beat and as a full-time DH, that shouldn’t be an issue anymore.
Christian Yelich—Milwaukee Brewers
Points: 1288 (2nd)
PPG: 2.81 (4th)
Projection: .302/22 HR/89 Runs/86 RBI/14 SB/66 BB (4th)
The projection really isn’t fair. It is based on two seasons in Miami where Yelich’s power numbers were depressed. I’m not sure if he is really a 30 home run guy year in and year out, but he is definitely worth 25 home runs. Add to that a little more support in the lineup and .300/25/90/90/15 should be the basis we go on from here on out.
Bryce Harper—Free Agent
Points: 1222 (4th)
PPG: 3.00 (3rd)
Projection: .267/29 HR/93 Runs/90 RBI/13 SB/102 BB (3rd)
It’s become passe to call Harper overrated. He is both overrated and underrated at the same time. He has elite on base skills and the power is elite as well. The problem comes when the contract drives the expectations. Suddenly getting 300 million doesn’t make someone the best player in baseball.
Nelson Cruz—Minnesota Twins
Points: 1233 (3rd)
PPG: 2.72 (5th)
Projection: .278/38 HR/81 Runs/101 RBI/1 SB/59 BB (7th)
Cruz will be 38 years old this year. Almost all of his production came after he was 26 years old. You have to think he will eventually show his age, but he hasn’t yet. He hit 21 home runs on the road last season, so maybe moving out of Seattle will stave off the aging process for one more season.
Giancarlo Stanton—New York Yankees
Points: 1159 (6th)
PPG: 2.66 (7th)
Projection: .265/40 HR/90 Runs/98 RBI/2 SB/66 BB (6th)
This is just proof positive of how deep right field is. You will not find a sixth ranked player this good at any other spot except for maybe first base. Everyone expects Stanton to hit 50 home runs every year. That’s not who he is. Every year something gets in the way. Sooner or later you come to expect it.
Aaron Judge—New York Yankees
Points: 793 (18th)
PPG: 2.70 (6th)
Projection: .273/39 HR/101 Runs/90 RBI/7 SB/100 BB (5th)
He only has two full seasons under his belt and the strikeouts are killing him in terms of total points. Still, he would be in Stanton territory in one more season. In a way, you can almost predict the fortunes of the AL East come down to which pair performs the best between Boston and New York.
Andrew McCutchen—Philadelphia Phillies
Points: 1091 (8th)
PPG: 2.35 (10th)
Projection: .263/22 HR/77 Runs/69 RBI/9 SB/71 BB (9th)
Keep in mind that most of these numbers came with the Pirates and Giants. Neither squad has the offensive potential that the Phillies have and Citizens Bank Ballpark is a better hitting environment than either of those two stadiums. Even with that his production in total points has been pretty good considering.
Nick Castellanos—Detroit Tigers
Points: 982 (9th)
PPG: 2.32 (11th)
Projection: .280/22 HR/72 Runs/83 RBI/2 SB/40 BB (15th)
A bet on Castellanos is a bet that he will be dealt to a contender before the season starts. He seemed to take a step forward last year as well. The hitters around you don’t literally make you better, but they do give you more run producing opportunities. The Tigers are likely bound for the cellar in 2019.
Nick Markakis—Free Agent
Points: 1107 (7th)
PPG: 2.31 (12th)
Projection: .280/10 HR/64 Runs/75 RBI/0 SB/61 BB (20th)
Markakis is here based on total points. He makes consistent contact and he is always in the lineup. So, he is constantly producing positive points in that universe. His lack of power makes him a little more ordinary in five category leagues. The walks helps him play up in six category leagues, so adjust accordingly.
Mitch Haniger—Seattle Mariners
Points: 685 (21st)
PPG: 2.39 (9th)
Projection: .278/23 HR/77 Runs/77 RBI/6 SB/56 BB (10th)
Like Judge, he only has two full seasons under his belt and he has been extremely productive in those two seasons. He will likely move up a couple of spots on draft day. The Mariners are a fascinating team in many ways, so it is hard to say whether his home hurts him or helps him at this point.
Jay Bruce—Seattle Mariners
Points: 876 (12th)
PPG: 2.16 (17th)
Projection: .246/30 HR/72 Runs/91 RBI/3 SB/54 BB (12th)
Speaking of interesting players and interesting teams. If Bruce plays every day he has a chance of coming close to the power numbers that Cruz put up on a regular basis. He obviously isn’t quite as good. That makes him a pretty good microcosm of the Mariners at large.
Stephen Piscotty—Oakland Athletics
Points: 870 (13th)
PPG: 2.12 (18th)
Projection: .262/21 HR/74 Runs/84 RBI/4 SB/53 BB (14th)
Piscotty found his sea legs in the second half last season and could be a nice addition late in the draft for one lucky fantasy player. He had a .272/.337/.536 slash line after the break with 15 home runs 35 runs and 42 RBI. That came in a little more than 60 games after the break. He might be the sleeper of this position.
Yasiel Puig—Cincinnati Reds
Points: 790 (19th)
PPG: 2.07 (19th)
Projection: .264/27 HR/77 Runs/79 RBI/15 SB/54 BB (8th)
It’s hard to pick a winner of the deal between the Reds and Dodgers, but Puig is likely the biggest winner of the players involved. He never seemed to get a full opportunity in LA, but the Reds will likely have to play him for better or worse. So, his counting numbers should get a significant boost.
Adam Eaton—Washington Nationals
Points: 668 (22nd)
PPG: 2.43 (8th)
Projection: .294/9 HR/72 Runs/44 RBI/11 SB/49 BB (16th)
Eaton is the latest star of “Career Interrupted.” Coming into 2016, he seemed like a potential breakout star based on his performance in Chicago and his move to an actual contender. Three years later and he barely has more than a season’s worth of plate appearances in three seasons. A full season from him should vault him back into that conversation.
Carlos Gonzalez—Colorado Rockies
Points: 925 (10th)
PPG: 2.21 (14th)
Projection: .280/16 HR/69 Runs/66 RBI/3 SB/41 BB (23rd)
CarGo is only relevant if he stays in Denver. He seemed to come back to life late in the season this past year, but it is highly likely that the Rockies move on. If that is the case then he can latch on somewhere as a fourth outfielder type that plays exclusively against right handed pitchers. It is possible he could also move to the American League and serve as a part-time DH.
Gregory Polanco—Pittsburgh Pirates
Points: 867 (14th)
PPG: 2.27 (13th)
Projection: .237/18 HR/63 Runs/66 RBI/12 SB/46 BB (24th)
Obviously, this is another guy where the format determines whether he gets picked or not. He does offer a little of everything in four of the five categories, but he doesn’t offer enough of any of them to get serious consideration.
Kole Calhoun—Los Angeles Angels
Points: 885 (11th)
PPG: 1.97 (22nd)
Projection: .243/18 HR/76 Runs/65 RBI/4 SB/61 BB (19th)
Calhoun produced a .750ish OPS after the break last year. That isn’t great, but it is a lot closer to the player we have become accustomed to. So, there is no reason he shouldn’t return to the 20/80/80 guy we have become accustomed to. That’s not good enough to start, but it is good enough to be on a fantasy bench.
Max Kepler—Minnesota Twins
Points: 853 (15th)
PPG: 2.04 (20th)
Projection: .233/21 HR/73 Runs/70 RBI/6 SB/56 BB (17th)
Kepler is another great example of how deep right field really is. Yes, the batting average is low, but he draws walks, hits plenty of home runs, and produces runs. He just doesn’t do it quite as often as the other guys higher on the list.
Dexter Fowler—St. Louis Cardinals
Points: 729 (20th)
PPG: 2.19 (15th)
Projection: .248/14 HR/70 Runs/52 RBI/9 SB/65 BB (18th)
There is no getting around the fact that 2018 was a brutal for Fowler. He is not at the point of his career where you would predict a downward spiral. So, some kind of a bounce back is probable. The question is how much of an opportunity he will get to prove himself.