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We, at Baseball Prospectus, have been talking about outfielders for a while now (seven days and change to be exact, depending on when you are reading this) and the party continues to rage on. Yet before we rage, we shall calibrate—since rankings aren’t useful without knowing what you’re reading. The list you are about to read here presupposes a 16-team standard (read: 5×5 roto) dynasty format, in which there are no contracts/salaries, players can be kept forever, and owners have minor-league farm systems in which to hoard prospects. So feel free to adjust this as necessary for your individual league, whether it’s moving non-elite prospects without 2016 ETAs down if you don’t have separate farm teams or moving lower-risk, lower-reward players up in deeper mixed or -only formats.

There are a lot of players here, and a lot of great ones at that. The intro renders helpless and suffers from, well, not being necessary. Greatness awaits.

1) Mike Trout, Los Angeles Angels


2) Bryce Harper, Washington Nationals

3) Mookie Betts, Boston Red Sox

This was not a conversation a year ago. In fact, I got a lot of pushback for putting Betts third prior to 2016 because he didn’t have enough upside. Well, so much for that. Harper still trumps him in the upside game—as he’s still plenty capable of a 40-homer, 20-steal campaign—but as we saw last season, Mookie is certainly no slouch when it comes to ceiling. Harper is also younger than Betts, albeit only by nine days. Choosing between these two is a nearly impossible task, and tomorrow might give me a different answer. However, today, it’s Bam Bam.

4) Starling Marte, Pittsburgh Pirates

Batting average, lots of speed, and enough pop to still contribute in the category. He won’t get on base at all via the walk, but he’s been hit by 79 pitches in his career—in fact, he nearly was hit more times than he was talked back in 2013—and his .362 OBP last year was more than respectable given his secondary skills.

5) Gregory Polanco, Pittsburgh Pirates

6) Christian Yelich, Miami Marlins

7) Giancarlo Stanton, Miami Marlins

I’ll be honest, when I first sketched out this list, I had these three in a different order. Then I found myself on the clock in a start-up dynasty draft staring these three outfielders in the face. In the end, I couldn’t pull the trigger on either Marlin. Polanco has long been a favorite of mine, but he finally broke out in the majors last year by tapping into the power oozing from his tall frame. The speed won’t always be there, but until it falls away, 20/20 seasons await as he makes his way towards his prime. Yelich could find himself at the four-spot next year if he can take another step towards lowering his ground-ball rate, like he did in 2016. Stanton could as well if he can play 150 games, which he hasn’t done since 2011, and show that trademark power throughout.

8) George Springer, Houston Astros

9) Charlie Blackmon, Colorado Rockies

10) Andrew McCutchen, Pittsburgh Pirates

Springer was on his way towards being an elite option at the position, but he went 9-for-19 in stolen base attempts—that’s bad, folks—and now his five-categoriness is jeopardy. Blackmon is certainly the best bet of this tier for 2017, but the risk of him leaving Colorado is too great. He’s got two years left before free agency, and if the Rockies disappoint, look for him to potentially end up on the trade block as soon as this summer. Finally, doubt McCutchen at your own risk. A return to .300 with 20 homers is likely, just don’t expect all of those steals to come back.

11) Nomar Mazara, Texas Rangers

With such a quiet rookie season in Texas, it’s easy to overlook just how impressive that season was for a 21-year-old. In fact, he won’t even turn 22 until the end of April. That makes him almost a full year younger than the “sexier” name that shows up in the next tier.

12) J.D. Martinez, Detroit Tigers

13) Andrew Benintendi, Boston Red Sox

14) A.J. Pollock, Arizona Diamondbacks

15) Kyle Schwarber, Chicago Cubs

16) Yoenis Cespedes, New York Mets

17) Byron Buxton, Minnesota Twins

18) David Dahl, Colorado Rockies

That’s Benintendi, of course, though Mazara is more than a full year younger than either Dahl or Buxton. The argument that was incorrectly made for Betts up until this year is actually a good argument to make against Benintendi—he just doesn’t have elite upside, even if he can hit .300 and knock 20 homers. Pollock has been unreliable due to injury, but when he’s played over the last three seasons, he’s been excellent. Even at 29, there’s no reason to think he’ll fall off from being a 20-homer, 30-steal outfielder with batting average help. Health permitting, of course. Whether Schwarber has or will be getting catcher eligibility is certainly part of the conversation around his value, but it also misses the boat a little. The 2014 first-rounder can absolutely rake and should do just that this year as he comes back from his 2016 knee injury. Buxton is likely going to be more of a long burn than his September might have hinted at, but then again, you already knew not to take September stats too seriously. Buxton’s tools, though, should be taken extremely seriously.

19) Ryan Braun, Milwaukee Brewers

At some point, injuries and age are going to catch up with him, but on an at-bat basis, there are very few more valuable outfielders in fantasy baseball right now.

20) Billy Hamilton, Cincinnati Reds

This is a tough one. My reputation has certainly preceded me as the high guy on Hamilton, and based on the combination of where I have him for 2017 and his age, you’d think he’d be higher on this list. The reason for that is his downside isn’t just poor performance; it’s a life of reserve play—so that is factored in a little heavier than it is with other players his age. That said, he got on base at a .369 clip in the second half of 2016 and he stole 36 bases in 45 games. His elite fantasy upside hasn’t gone anywhere.

21) Justin Upton, Detroit Tigers

22) Odubel Herrera, Philadelphia Phillies

23) Carlos Gonzalez, Colorado Rockies

24) Adam Eaton, Washington Nationals

25) Victor Robles, Washington Nationals

This tier has two players on their way down, two players in the prime of their career and one who is making prospect hounds drool all across the East Coast. Gonzalez carries the same “leaving Colorado” risk as Blackmon, except with just one year left on his contract, it’s a little more urgent. He might still be a .275 hitter with 25 homers in a more neutral home park, but we just can’t say for sure.

26) Marcell Ozuna, Miami Marlins

27) Stephen Piscotty, St Louis Cardinals

These two 26-year-olds get there in pretty different ways, but they are more or less the same player for fantasy purposes. If you’re looking for youth with safety, especially in deeper formats, these two are great places to start, as they should be able to hit-.270-ish with 20-plus homers for a while.

28) Ian Desmond, Colorado Rockies

29) Nelson Cruz, Seattle Mariners

30) Austin Meadows, Pittsburgh Pirates

31) Khris Davis, Oakland Athletics

32) Mark Trumbo, Baltimore Orioles

33) Clint Frazier, New York Yankees

34) Lorenzo Cain, Kansas City Royals

35) Eloy Jimenez, Chicago Cubs

Desmond, unlike Gonzalez or Blackmon before him, doesn’t carry the “leaving Colorado” tax. He just carries the tax of possibly losing outfield eligibility altogether after the 2017 season. Coors should still make him an attractive first baseman into his 30s, but it does take a bit of the shine off. Meadows makes four Pirates outfielders in the top-30 of this list, which seems a little unfair to the rest of the league. Though, they’ll likely remedy themselves of this logjam before the next iteration of this list is written. Cain would be higher on this list were it not for his litany of injuries, but the raw skill keeps him propped up as a very solid OF3. Jimenez versus Frazier was a really tough decision, but my affection for the red-headed one is long-known, and there’s no quitting him now. The upside for Jimenez might be sky-high, but so is Frazier’s.

36) Adam Jones, Baltimore Orioles

37) Jose Bautista, Toronto Blue Jays

Don’t forget about these two old guys. Jones had a typical Adam Jones season in 2016, and yet there is still a contingent out there that assumes his drop is going to be precipitous and around the corner. Bautista saw a tick up in strikeouts and a tick down in fly balls—which certainly isn’t the direction you’d want to see either go in—but he’s back in Toronto and should still vie for 35 homers in another couple of seasons.

38) Joc Pederson, Los Angeles Dodgers

39) Raimel Tapia, Colorado Rockies

40) Michael Brantley, Cleveland Indians

41) Jackie Bradley Jr, Boston Red Sox

42) Michael Conforto, New York Mets

43) Yasiel Puig, Los Angeles Dodgers

44) Matt Kemp, Atlanta Braves

45) Nick Williams, Philadelphia Phillies

This is officially the tier of uncertainty. Puig and Conforto were both top-25 names last year, and due to performance and playing time issues are now lingering in purgatory. Both are talented enough to play everyday, but their rosters aren’t exactly overly friendly at the moment. Bradley looks like a top-10 outfielder some months and looks like he doesn’t belong on this list at all in others. We’re not quite splitting the difference, but any sort of consistency would do wonders for his long-term value. Tapia and Williams both suffer from over-aggressiveness at the plate, but the former’s hit tool lets him get away with it, as opposed to the former who is still trying to dig out from a disappointing 2016. Both still carry a ton of upside in hitter-friendly parks starting in 2017.

46) Hunter Pence, San Francisco Giants

47) Lewis Brinson, Milwaukee Brewers

48) Ronald Acuna, Atlanta Braves

49) Max Kepler, Minnesota Twins

50) Corey Ray, Milwaukee Brewers

The elder alien of this group, Pence is reliable when he’s on the field and he’s probably not going to eat you. After playing in 162 games in both 2013 and 2014, he played a combined 158 games in 2015 and 2016. A full return to health would make him an OF2 once again, but players don’t generally get healthier as they dive deeper into their 30s. Brinson, Acuna, and Ray all have intense upsides. Brinson is much closer than the other two, but still carries nearly the same risk. If he doesn’t hit, the other stuff won’t matter. There’s more batting average than Kepler showed in 2016, but unfortunately there might be less power, as he’s probably not a 25-homer guy long-term.

51) Kole Calhoun, Los Angeles Angels

52) Hunter Renfroe, San Diego Padres

53) Dexter Fowler, St Louis Cardinals

54) Keon Broxton, Milwaukee Brewers

55) Jorge Soler, Kansas City Royals

56) Manuel Margot, San Diego Padres

57) Kyle Tucker, Houston Astros

58) Aaron Judge, New York Yankees

59) Blake Swihart, Boston Red Sox

60) Jason Heyward, Chicago Cubs

We’ll go by 10s the rest of the way out. Renfroe and Judge should both get opportunities to show their prodigious power will play against major-league pitching. Renfroe is a bit safer, but Judge still has more upside. Tucker has more upside than either of them if the power develops as many scouts think it will. Don’t be surprised if he’s a top-10 fantasy prospect at this time next year. Swihart gets lumped in with the outfielders because of an eligibility quirk, but I think he’ll get that eligibility and job back relatively quickly in 2017 and will have restored himself as a top-10 fantasy catcher by year’s end. Wilson Karaman highlighted all of the upside and risk in Broxton last week, and he’s definitely onto something.

61) Mickey Moniak, Philadelphia Phillies

62) Kyle Lewis, Seattle Mariners

63) Blake Rutherford, New York Yankees

64) Corey Dickerson, Tampa Bay Rays

65) Yasmany Tomas, Arizona Diamondbacks

66) Ender Inciarte, Atlanta Braves

67) Jay Bruce, New York Mets

68) Kevin Kiermaier, Tampa Bay Rays

69) Bradley Zimmer, Cleveland Indians

70) Tyler O’Neill, Seattle Mariners

That Moniak/Lewis/Rutherford trio was the same one I struggled so much with when putting together the top-50 list for dynasty drafts back in January. The decision hasn’t gotten any easier. Dickerson, Tomas, and Bruce all have reasonable shots to get to 30 homers in 2017 but they all have flaws they’ll have to overcome. Dickerson needs to be able to dong at home, as 17 of his 24 homers came on the road last year. Bruce needs to fight through the impediments to his playing time, namely Michael Conforto. Tomas needs to prove that he’s actually an above replacement level player in order to stay in the lineup, as he plays the outfield like a retired designated hitter. Zimmer’s contact issues aren’t getting any nicer, but the power/speed combo is still there. He’s a far better investment in OBP leagues, but even in standard formats, he can still reach OF3 status with 25-30 steals and a .240-.250 average.

71) Curtis Granderson, New York Mets

72) Shin-Soo Choo, Texas Rangers

73) Alex Gordon, Kansas City Royals

74) Jesse Winker, Cincinnati Reds

75) Brett Phillips, Milwaukee Brewers

76) Carlos Gomez, Texas Rangers

77) Leody Taveras, Texas Rangers

78) Juan Soto, Washington Nationals

79) Josh Reddick, Los Angeles Dodgers

80) Rajai Davis, Oakland Athletics

The veterans in this group aren’t to be forgotten. Choo will likely get almost all of his playing time at DH this year, meaning he’s a little more likely to stay healthy, but still not a great bet. Gordon should bounce back from a really ugly 2017 and Gomez should split the difference between his Houston disaster and Arlington rise. His underlying numbers weren’t drastically different, after all, and he’s not going to be a reliable contributor in steals anymore. Taveras and Soto are all upside at this point and forever away, but could find themselves as elite prospects sooner rather than later. Davis looked like he was finally on his last legs as a fantasy starter, but then Oakland got involved and now he looks to be the starting center fielder. This makes us happy.

81) Jacoby Ellsbury, New York Yankees

82) Randal Grichuk, St Louis Cardinals

83) David Peralta, Arizona Diamondbacks

84) Domingo Santana, Milwaukee Brewers

85) Albert Almora, Chicago Cubs

86) Steven Souza Jr, Tampa Bay Rays

87) Kevin Pillar, Toronto Blue Jays

88) Anthony Alford, Toronto Blue Jays

89) Adam Duvall, Cincinnati Reds

90) Luis Alexander Basabe, Chicago White Sox

There’s a LOT of swing and miss in this tier. Santana and Souza could breakthrough with even a slight dip in their strikeout numbers, but there’s been little so far in their MLB careers to make that seem likely. At least they’ll hit for power regardless. Speaking of power and contact issues, don’t be the owner who believes in Adam Duvall—at least as anything more than a fringe starter. It looks strange to see Ellsbury this far down the list, but he’s lost his explosiveness after years of injury and he’s now just someone who’s tolerable in your lineup. The exciting guy here is Basabe, who is a potential five-category outfielder if he can make enough contact for it to matter. That doesn’t sound familiar at all, does it?

91) Melky Cabrera, Chicago White Sox

92) Michael Saunders, Philadelphia Phillies

93) Brett Gardner, New York Yankees

94) Alex Verdugo, Los Angeles Dodgers

95) Jayson Werth, Washington Nationals

96) Leonys Martin, Seattle Mariners

97) Roman Quinn, Philadelphia Phillies

98) Jahmai Jones, Los Angeles Angels

99) Trent Clark, Milwaukee Brewers

100) Carlos Beltran, Houston Astros

Beltran and Werth may both be old, but neither is done as a useful contributor in the back-end of your outfield. Cabrera is still a contact machine and should approach .300 once again in 2017—albeit without much else of use around it. Saunders is a nice fit in Philly from a fantasy sense, and 20-plus homers are certainly within reach this season. Martin has the boom-or-bust nature of a prospect, but frustrates fantasy owners daily with his inability to keep up the highs for very long. Quinn and Jones are the two highest-upside prospects of this group, as the former could steal 50-plus bases if he were to get regular playing time and the latter has five-category potential with a long lead time. It may be very worth the wait though.

101) Greg Allen, Cleveland Indians

102) Mallex Smith, Tampa Bay Rays

103) Yusniel Diaz, Los Angeles Dodgers

104) Cameron Maybin, Los Angeles Angels

105) Travis Jankowski, San Diego Padres

106) Derek Fisher, Houston Astros

107) Jorge Ona, San Diego Padres

108) Alex Kirilloff, Minnesota Twins

109) Matt Holliday, New York Yankees

110) Tyler Naquin, Cleveland Indians

111) Andrew Toles, Los Angeles Dodgers

112) Mitch Haniger, Seattle Mariners

113) Denard Span, San Francisco Giants

114) Jarrod Dyson, Seattle Mariners

115) Brandon Moss, Kansas City Royals

116) Hyun-Soo Kim, Baltimore Orioles

117) Matt Joyce, Pittsburgh Pirates

118) Colby Rasmus, Tampa Bay Rays

119) Ben Revere, Los Angeles Angels

120) Taylor Trammell, Cincinnati Reds

121) Nori Aoki, Houston Astros

122) Dalton Pompey, Toronto Blue Jays

123) Randy Arozarena, St Louis Cardinals

124) Eddie Rosario, Minnesota Twins

125) Nick Markakis, Atlanta Braves

My fingers are tired. There are no hot takes here. Don’t @ me.

Thank you for reading

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I don't see Chris Davis anywhere on the list. He was ranked 14.5th last year on your Dynasty OFer rankings. Has he dropped outside the top 125?
I'm guessing they are considering him strictly a 1B now - he's #10 on that list.
Bret, What are you looking for in prospects to signify strides have been made? Is it different for players playing in different levels? For example, what would you specifically need to see/hear for a player like Alex Verdugo (AA/AAA), Jahmai Jones (A/AA), or Jorge Ona (A) to get the helium a Ronald Acuna, Tyler O'Neil received in the last year?
Verdugo is going to have to show he'll have fantasy impact outside of batting average. If Jones does in Low-A what he did in Rookie ball, he'll jump way up the list. His issue is just proximity at this point, not upside. Ona needs to show the power that he's showcased can show itself in games.
Verdugo's #2 Pecota comparable and the person he's been compared to by the Dodgers is Joc Pederson, and the main concern is that he'll only contribute batting average?

That doesn't make any sense.
At 20, Pederson had only showed power in pretty extreme environments (he had just come off an 18-homer season in the Cal League). His power developed. That doesn't mean Verdugo's will. Point is, he needs a step forward to show he can hit more than 15 homers or so a year. Without doing that, his fantasy value has a governor.
Makes sense!

I would argue that Buxton is a sexier name than Benintendi - if we're just going by name sexiness.