Welcome to Baseball Prospectus in-season rankings update to our preseason positional tiers article. As we did before Opening Day, players at each position will be divided into five tiers, represented by a “star” rating. In addition, unlike with the preseason “star” ratings, these lists can also be viewed as a straight ranking.

If you are wondering why a specific player isn’t listed, please note that in many cases players in the one-star tier and players who are not ranked are interchangeable.

The rankings above assume a 15-team, standard 5×5 Roto scoring format, with 23-man rosters and the following positions: C (2) 1B (1) 2B (1) 3B (1) SS (1) CI (1) MI (1) OF (5) UT (1) P (9). Position eligibility is based on either 20 games at the position last year or five games this year.

Here's the preseason outfield list (part one) and (part two).

Here's the schedule:

Wednesday: Catcher, First Base, Second Base

Thursday: Shortstop, Third Base, Outfield

Friday: Starting Pitcher, Relief Pitcher

The outfield is large and it takes many names to patrol the position in fantasy, so while we won’t cover every player in the article here, we can cover anyone you want in more detail in the comments. Without further ado…

Five Star

Bryce Harper

Mookie Betts

Charlie Blackmon

Billy Hamilton

J.D. Martinez

There’s a large fish-shaped hole at the top of this list, but Harper fills in admirably for now. The power and plate discipline are back from his 2015 season, but unfortunately the steals are not. And while it’s true he doesn’t need them to be an elite outfielder, any increase would set him apart from the rest of this pack throughout the rest of the year as he marches towards 50 homers.

In no universe does it make sense for a leadoff hitter to be pacing the league in RBIs, yet here we are. Blackmon’s 40-steal campaign seems like an eyesore of an outlier at this point, and he’s likely going to be in the 10-15 range going forward, but the step forward in power is offsetting that very nicely.

There’s been no shortage of Hamilton talk on these pages in the last few seasons, but the value he brings is tough to overstate. He currently sits at 28 steals. The next two most-prolific stolen base artists in the National League are Dee Gordon and Eduardo Nuñez, and they have a combined (you guessed it) 28 steals. Hamilton is having categorical impact for fantasy that we have never seen before, as he’s been nearly three times as valuable in this one category as any other player in any other category this year. To top that off, he’s on pace for nearly 120 runs. He’s not a good hitter, but he’s an elite fantasy player.

Martinez has been straight up killing the ball since he returned from the disabled list and his uptick in fly-ball rate is something that gets bandied about too much with former has-beens like Yonder Alonso, but doesn’t get talked about enough with those who elevate themselves from star to superstar status with their launch angle.

Five-Star Trade Target: Betts

Betts was a consensus top-three pick this year, and he’s performed like one so far. Just not in terms of fantasy value yet. When you look at his raw numbers, which are causing him to be a barely-top-10 outfielder through May, some see a batting average under .300, homers and steals that sit in single-digits, and a pace for only around 100 runs. Instead, I see a hitter who is walking more and striking out less than 2016 with a higher isolated power. He not only will be great, he has been great. Buy with impunity.

Four Star

Mike Trout

Michael Conforto

Nelson Cruz

George Springer

Giancarlo Stanton

Yoenis Cespedes

Ryan Braun

A.J. Pollock

Christian Yelich

Aaron Judge

Andrew Benintendi

Marcell Ozuna

Jose Bautista

Corey Dickerson

Matt Kemp

Gregory Polanco

Carlos Gonzalez

Michael Brantley

Justin Upton

It turns out that eight weeks of Trout and eight weeks of a replacement-level player is still a really damn good fantasy player. Conforto and Cespedes lead the Metropolitan contingent of this high-end tier, as the former has been one of the breakout fantasy players of 2017, but hits his first cold streak at the same time the latter is close to returning from injury. They both have the potential to perform like five-star players, but one has Terry Collins risk and one has Ray Ramirez risk. Speaking of injury issues, Braun is on the DL again, but he’s not as injury prone as his reputation suggests. He had missed around only 80 games due to injury during the first 10 years of his career heading into 2017, and while players only get more maladies as they age, there’s not a ton of risk to factor in comparatively.

The new class of star outfielders includes a Red Sox and a Yankee. Benintendi is the steady performer who will earn more than you might think due to his unsexy numbers. Judge is a dynamic talent to watch and will earn less than you might think due to his incredible feats of strength. It all comes out in the wash for the rest of 2017, but if you have either of them, you’re already a step ahead of the competition.

The old guard hangs around as well. While the overall numbers don’t show it yet, Bautista has been on an absolute tear over the last month, hitting .320/.417/.660 with nine homers in May and being, well, Bautista like. It hasn’t been a great start for Gonzalez, but we’ve learned not to worry about slow starts from him before. After all, his .240/.306/.372 line looks far better than his .219/.296/.331 line at this point in 2015 before he scorched everyone over the next four months on his way to 40 homers and a .270 average.

Four-Star Trade Target: Ozuna

It turns out that being more aggressive in the strike zone can do wonders for you when you’re a power hitter trying to tap into said power. Ozuna has jumped his swing rate on pitches in the zone over five percentage points from his previous career high, and seven for his career. And it’s not just fastballs he’s taking advantage of. He’s hit three changeups, three curveballs and one slider. The HR/FB rate will likely backslide a bit, but the nature of his contact has changed and his fantasy value needs to change with it.

Three Star

Keon Broxton

Kyle Schwarber

Aaron Hicks

Ian Desmond

Cody Bellinger

Adam Duvall

Avisail Garcia

Andrew McCutchen

Lorenzo Cain

Ender Inciarte

Brett Gardner

Nomar Mazara

Kevin Pillar

Yasiel Puig

Adam Jones

Starling Marte

Jay Bruce

Khris Davis

Mark Trumbo

There’s no fantasy player more attractive on the surface but ugly underneath than Broxton, who continues to strikeout at nearly a 40 percent clip and put up a .400 BABIP to the horror of regression analysts everywhere. However, even if the average is a mirage, the speed is enough to keep him on everyone’s good side.

The post-hype sleeper machine is in full effect here with Hicks and Garcia. The former Twin and current Yankee might be seven years removed from being a top-30 prospect, but is still only 27 years old and is finally tapping into the power-speed potential he long ago hinted at. He’s also walking more than he’s striking out to boot. Garcia, meanwhile, is somehow just 25 and is showing off the batting average and power potential from his prospect days. The speed might be long gone (as you would know in a second by watching him in action), but it’s a far cry from where he’s been so far in his career. Even with the rough plate discipline, a .290 average with 20-plus homers in that park is realistic.

Gardner the power hitter just makes me wholly uncomfortable, so it’s a good thing it’s unlikely to continue at this pace. Bruce not being a disaster in New York also makes me slightly uncomfortable, but he’s also been hitting .215 in May and he might not be spared that outfield crunch that will come when Cespedes returns. The fact that he’s a marble statue in right field won’t help his cause to stay in the lineup. There’s plenty of low-average power to go around at the bottom of the tier, and I’m excluding former resident Duvall in that group because his strikeout rate is down and he might actually be able to scrape .270 now.

Three-Star Trade Target: Ian Desmond

Let me tell you a story of a 20-20 hitter who goes to Coors. Wait. Where are you going? Sure, Desmond has had a tough start to the season, including 30 strikeouts to only two walks at the time of writing this. He also has a 60 percent ground-ball rate. These are not the selling points. Yet, he still plays in Coors and is still recovering from not having a real spring training. At some point, the pull-side grounders will turn into, well, not pull-side grounders, and his batting average should not be risky at elevation. This recommendation goes double if you’re a team in need of risk taking, as Desmond is a player who can go on a hot streak and help carry you.

Two Star

Jacoby Ellsbury

Kevin Kiermaier

Scott Schebler

Aaron Altherr

Yasmany Tomas

Odubel Herrera

Josh Reddick

Cameron Maybin

Matt Holliday

Dexter Fowler

David Peralta

Shin-Soo Choo

Steven Souza

Joc Pederson

Melky Cabrera

Byron Buxton

Mitch Haniger

Domingo Santana

Jarrod Dyson

David Dahl

Jason Heyward

Kole Calhoun

Stephen Piscotty

Jayson Werth

Michael Taylor

What has gotten into the Yankees outfielders this year? Between Judge, Gardner, Hicks, Ellsbury and Holliday, they’ve all healthily outperformed preseason expectations, and even though those latter two are always poor bets to make it through a full season, there’s no questioning their production so far.

Reddick is doing his usual thing against right-handers (.275/.338/.479 with six homers in 142 at-bats). So is Peralta out in the desert with a .319/.362/.478 line of his own. In Texas, Choo is hitting .268/.375/.457 against right-handers with six homers and even three steals to boot. Meanwhile, Pederson’s .687 OPS with the platoon advantage is just not going to cut it when he’s nearly halving that against left-handers (.382). He surely has the talent to get back there with the others in this paragraph, but he also needs to get healthy first, which puts him at a further disadvantage.

If you told me that Dahl would play in 90 games the rest of the season, I’d put him in the three-star group. If you told me that he’d play in 30 games this year, I wouldn’t be surprised. Such is life in the glut. Buxton has been better in May than in April, but it would have been really hard for him not to, given his .693 May OPS is a 250-point upgrade. He’s stealing bases, but we need more from him either in the average or power departments (or stolen base department, honestly) to warrant a three-star tag.

Two-Star Trade Target: Kiermaier

Another week of the bounce back and he’d probably be a three-star guy, so this feels like slightly cheating, but this is the world we are living in. Since the start of May, the Rays uber centerfielder is hitting .274 with four homers and five steals. He’s almost a lock to get banged up at some point, which keeps him from elevating too high, but a potential 15-homer, 25-steal outfielder is a rarer breed than you think these days and the batting average won’t hurt you terribly if it sticks around .250.

One Star

Curtis Granderson

Carlos Beltran

Hunter Renfroe

Max Kepler

Rajai Davis

Bradley Zimmer

Carlos Gomez

Jackie Bradley

Manuel Margot

Leury Garcia

Jorge Bonifacio

Hunter Pence

Randal Grichuk

Delino DeShields

Jorge Soler

Let’s just do this one in the comments. If you’re relying heavily on any of these guys outside of a mono league, I really hope you’re strong at those other positions.

One-Star Trade Target: Rajai Davis

Trying to find steals this year is like trying to find a joke about the orb that was funny. So yes we’re grasping at straws with a 36-year-old speedster with a .245 on-base percentage. He’s been successful in 60 percent of his steal attempts too! But this is Oakland, and their centerfield depth chart looks like this:

Rajai Davis

Jake Smolinski (60-day DL and no return date in sight)

Mark Canha (30 career innings in centerfield)

Coco Crisp, probably (retired)

Dave Henderson

So, yes, he’ll play as long as he’s an upright member of the Bay Area and he’ll try to steal as long as he’ll play. It’s a good combination if you can stomach his performance.

Thank you for reading

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He's right towards the bottom of the three-star group. Similar thought process to Trout, but obviously with less impact upon his return.
Correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't see Happ in either 2B or OF lists. Is he not valuable enough?
There's a good argument to have him in the one-star group among 2B (and that's likely where I would have had him if these were solely my rankings), but it's just hard to see him accumulating much fantasy value the rest of the way given the sheer number of bats they have in Chicago and the adjustment pitchers are making to him. That said, I'm a big fan long-term and were I considering him for the OF list, I'd slide him right in the back half of the one-star group.
Jorge Soler going forward? Any chance of a rebound here?
Sure, there's a chance, but the issue is now that his playing time is in question with Bonifacio hitting this well. There's almost no chance Alex Gordon becomes a part-time player despite how bad he's been, and I think Soler needs regular playing time to adjust to the AL and get his groove back after missing a lot of early time. It just might happen in Triple-A.
So Brett where is Bonifacio ?
He's in the middle of the one-star group.
Rajai Davis, it's been tough to stomach his performance this year... drafted him very late for his SB and .200/6-SB, 4-CS after 4 years of.249/43-SB, 6-CS, .258/18-SB, 8-CS (112 G), .282/36-SB, 11-CS, .260/45-SB, 6-CS has given thought to him dropping off a cliff this year and has me wondering if I should have faith he'll rebound in the summer or cut bait and take a chance on Eric Young Jr.
I'm surprised that 2/3rds of the Nationals starting OF (Werth and Taylor) don't make the list at all. Over 90 outfielders are listed... Werth is currently the #56 OF on ESPN's player rater and Taylor has been the #37 OF over the last month (basically since Eaton's injury). Oversight or intentional decisions? Thanks!
Those two were actually my last two names in the two-star tier, but they were cut off for the article. I've fixed that now. Long story short, more confident about Werth's performance and more confident about Taylor's health, but I've never been a huge Taylor believer long-term.
Wow, I really don't get the Schwarber ranking. There seems like a lot of Tier 2 guys I'd take over him.

What do you see there?
I see a hitter with very similar underlying statistics to his 2015 season. I also see a hitter who is still coming back from missing a full season and has room to improve on top of his current underlying performance level. I also see a hitter whose manager has a ton of confidence in him long-term and will let him work through his current "struggles" despite a crowded offense.
Isn't he pulling a lot of grounders into a shift a lot more?

Hasn't Maddon moved him out of the lineup spot? Aren't you worried that the Cubs underperformance will lead to this patience evaporating? You're not worried about the massive decline in the Cubs defense this year and Schwarber's impact upon it?

Here are the numbers on that. Yes, Schwarber is being shifted against more this year (53) than 2015 (36%). However, he's pulling grounders into the shift at a 29% clip in 2017 versus 28% in 2015. Not much of a difference. In fact, overall he's pulling the ball less than in 2015, while his ground-ball rate is only slightly up (three percentage points). He's been ostensibly the same hitter as 2015, and I think the Cubs are the kind of organization that will not let surface numbers affect playing time. I actually agree with their decision to move him down in the lineup temporarily to take some pressure off him, but I do believe it will be rather short-lived.

So my answer is no to all of those questions.
Is Corey Dickerson for real or what? His numbers are obviously not going to stay this high all year, but when looking at his year-by-year numbers, it's starting to look like last year was an outlier, rather than the away-from-coors adjustment of doom that it looked like.
He goes where his BABIP goes, but yes he's real and he doesn't need to even hit .300 to be a comfortable four-star outfielder. (Which is a good thing since I don't think he will.)
Mancini one-star?
You could absolutely make an argument for him there, but I don't buy the playing time moving forward, and I don't think he's a good enough hitter to either convince the Orioles to keep playing him in the outfield all year or fantasy owners to continue using him despite spotty playing time.