2020 Fantasy Baseball Draft Prep: Outfield preview, top-24 rankings, sleepers, breakouts, busts and prospects

Outfield is a tough position to break down for Fantasy in 2020, because there's no one way to approach it. It is the most top-heavy position, with the potential for each of the first five picks in your draft to come from there, but it's also an incredibly deep position with value all the way through the draft.

That means you probably don't need a strategy on Draft Day with outfield. If you pick in the top five, you're probably going to start with an outfielder anchoring your squad:  Mike Trout, Christian Yelich, Cody Bellinger, Mookie Betts and Ronald Acuña in some order. That's a great start because all five have five-category skills nearly unmatched by anyone else in Fantasy. But if you want to wait on outfield, you can do that too — the likes of Michael Brantley, Max Kepler, Danny Santana and Franmil Reyes should all be available after the 10th round, with plenty of upside beyond.

Just know this: Whether you're in a three-outfielder league or a five-outfielder league, you won't have any trouble filling this position. 

2020 Draft Prep
Outfield Preview
Scott White's Top 12
LAA L.A. Angels • #27 • Age: 28
2019 Stats
AVG
0.291
HR
45
R
110
RBI
104
SB
11
SO
120
Trout very rarely actually finishes as the No. 1 player in Fantasy, but it's more rare that another player finishes ahead of him multiple years in a row. If you want to poke a hole in his profile, the 11 steals last season were his lowest since 2015. Of course, he followed that up with 30 steals the following season. Bet against Trout at your own peril.
MIL Milwaukee • #22 • Age: 28
2019 Stats
AVG
0.329
HR
44
R
100
RBI
97
SB
30
SO
118
Of course, we have here a player who actually has finished ahead of Trout in consecutive seasons, if just barely. If Yelich wasn't coming off a season-ending knee injury, he'd be a fine choice for the No. 1 overall pick — he led the NL in average, on-base percentage and slugging percentage, and was just three homers and four steals from the league lead in both.
LAD L.A. Dodgers • #35 • Age: 24
2019 Stats
AVG
0.305
HR
47
R
121
RBI
115
SB
15
SO
108
If Bellinger can sustain the contact gains he made last season, he's a legitimate five-category stud and a contender for the No. 1 pick for the next half-decade, at least. It was such an incredible improvement that a bit of skepticism is warranted, but don't let his second-half letdown scare you off because he still kept most of the gains.
LAD L.A. Dodgers • #50 • Age: 27
2019 Stats
AVG
0.295
HR
29
R
135
RBI
80
SB
16
SO
101
On the one hand, a down season for Mookie Betts looks something like his 2019, which is pretty great. On the other hand, that's the second time in three seasons he been a significant disappointment. That says how high expectations have grown for Betts, as well as how high the floor is.
ATL Atlanta • #13 • Age: 22
2019 Stats
AVG
0.280
HR
41
R
127
RBI
101
SB
37
SO
188
You're going to see Acuña go first overall in some leagues, and it's hard to make a case against it. He led the NL in steals and probably would have been the first player since 2006 with 40 steals and 40 homers if he had hit leadoff from Opening Day — he had just two steals on May 9 when he moved back to the top of the order. And he's only 22, so he could conceivably get better.
BOS Boston • #28 • Age: 32
2019 Stats
AVG
0.304
HR
36
R
98
RBI
105
SB
2
SO
138
Like his teammate, Betts, the term "down season" is a relative one with regards to Martinez. He still hit .300 for the fourth season in a row and was a strong four-category contributor. Martinez also hit for more power in the second half, so concerns about his decline may be unfounded.
WAS Washington • #22 • Age: 21
2019 Stats
AVG
0.282
HR
34
R
110
RBI
110
SB
12
SO
132
How young is Soto? He couldn't drink champagne until the Nationals' World Series win last season — he was still 20 when they won the NLCS. He elevated the ball more in his second season while maintaining his preternatural strike-zone control, and there's every reason to think he has a .300, 40-homer season coming soon.
COL Colorado • #19 • Age: 33
2019 Stats
AVG
0.314
HR
32
R
112
RBI
86
SB
2
SO
104
Too often when older players have a down year, the tendency is to write them off, but Blackmon showed why that isn't a great idea in 2019. The decline to just two stolen bases is a sign that part of his game might be gone for good as he gets closes to his mid-30s, but he still calls Coors Field home, so expect strong contributions in the other four categories yet again.
ARI Arizona • #4 • Age: 26
2019 Stats
AVG
0.329
HR
32
R
97
RBI
92
SB
10
SO
86
It took a year for Marte's swing change to stick, but he had actually flashed plus power before, so his 2019 wasn't as out of nowhere as it might seem on the surface. He combines plus contact ability with a consistent swing that maximizes the power he does generate, and he'll steal a few bases, to boot.
NYY N.Y. Yankees • #99 • Age: 27
2019 Stats
AVG
0.272
HR
27
R
75
RBI
55
SB
3
SO
141
Judge hasn't been able to stay healthy since his incredible rookie season, but has still hit .276 with 41 homers, 93 RBI, 116 runs and seven stolen bases per-162 games over the past two years. If he just plays 150 games, you're going to get a great return on investment here.
HOU Houston • #4 • Age: 30
2019 Stats
AVG
0.292
HR
39
R
96
RBI
96
SB
6
SO
113
His 2019 was about as close as Springer has ever come to living up to the enormous expectations he carried with him as a prospect, so of course an injury limited him to just 122 games. The Astros should once again have one of the best lineups in baseball, so expect him to dominate counting stats, even if he can't sustain the near-50 homer pace he had in 2019.
CHC Chi. Cubs • #17 • Age: 28
2019 Stats
AVG
0.282
HR
31
R
108
RBI
77
SB
4
SO
145
If Bryant feels a bit underwhelming at this point in his career, it speaks to how high expectations have been set for him. A Springer-esque mid-career breakout isn't out of the question, but if 2019 is all he is, that's still a super valuable player.
PHI Philadelphia • #33 • Age: 27
2019 Stats
AVG
0.260
HR
35
R
98
RBI
114
SB
15
SO
178
It's fitting that Bryant and Harper come in behind Springer, because you'd like to see both have that same kind of mid-career breakout. In Harper's case, we've seen how high the ceiling is in both in 2015 and 2017, which makes the struggles all the more frustrating. However, Harper had 19 homers and 10 steals in just 67 games after the All-Star break last season, so he's closer to realizing his considerable potential than you might think.
ARI Arizona • #2 • Age: 31
2019 Stats
AVG
0.295
HR
23
R
97
RBI
82
SB
25
SO
94
At 31, Marte is probably a bit older than you think. Still, there aren't many 20-20 guys out there, and he's one of them.
TEX Texas • #13 • Age: 26
2019 Stats
AVG
0.253
HR
22
R
54
RBI
49
SB
4
SO
114
If you buy Gallo's increase in batting average, he's a bargain at his 2020 price. An increase in line-drive rate should help him sustain a higher BABIP, but the margin for error is razor slim with a 38.4% strikeout rate.
KC Kansas City • #15 • Age: 31
2019 Stats
AVG
0.302
HR
16
R
105
RBI
74
SB
20
SO
126
If Merrifield doesn't start running more, he's still a valuable Fantasy option with one of the highest batting average floors in the game. But the stolen bases will be what make him a value or not on draft day.
TB Tampa Bay • #17 • Age: 24
2019 Stats
AVG
0.291
HR
33
R
83
RBI
89
SB
12
SO
131
Meadows has long been one of those guys the scouts liked more than the numbers, so chalk one up for the eye test. There's 20-steal upside here, too.
NYM N.Y. Mets • #6 • Age: 27
2019 Stats
AVG
0.318
HR
23
R
83
RBI
75
SB
5
SO
75
A throwback player, McNeil's all-contact approach has generated more pop than expected thanks to the juiced ball. The contact skills will always play, giving him a high floor and triple eligibility at third, second and the outfield.
KC Kansas City • #12 • Age: 27
2019 Stats
AVG
0.265
HR
48
R
95
RBI
117
SB
3
SO
178
Sure to be a controversial player, the metrics mostly back up Soler's breakout. So does the pedigree.
SD San Diego • #28 • Age: 31
2019 Stats
AVG
0.273
HR
21
R
77
RBI
68
SB
25
SO
123
Because he didn't really get a chance until he was 29, Pham is older than you might think. However, he's an on-base whiz and one of the few players you can project for 20-20, health willing.
HOU Houston • #23 • Age: 32
2019 Stats
AVG
0.311
HR
22
R
88
RBI
90
SB
3
SO
66
Brantley may get pushed down by concerns about the Astros sign-stealing scheme, but he's also perpetually underrated. He may not run much anymore, but with just 126 strikeouts in 1,268 plate appearances the last two seasons, he's as sure a bet to hit .300 as anyone in the game.
NYY N.Y. Yankees • #27 • Age: 30
2019 Stats
AVG
0.288
HR
3
R
8
RBI
13
SB
0
SO
24
You want upside? Stanton's your guy. His 2019 was an absolutely lost season due to injury, but he missed just seven games in the previous two seasons, clubbing 97 homers between them.
MIN Minnesota • #26 • Age: 27
2019 Stats
AVG
0.252
HR
36
R
98
RBI
90
SB
1
SO
99
If Kepler can hang onto his gains against lefties, there's every reason to think his 2019 breakout was for real. He isn't being priced right now as if his 2019 gains were totally real, so there's an opportunity for value.
MIN Minnesota • #20 • Age: 28
2019 Stats
AVG
0.276
HR
32
R
91
RBI
109
SB
3
SO
86
Rosario isn't going to be someone you reach for to fill an outfield spot, but he'll be a solid option for high-20s to low-30s homers and plenty of runs and RBI in arguably the deepest lineup in baseball.
2020 Draft Prep
Don't forget about ...
BOS Boston • #16 • Age: 25
Fantasy Breakdown
ADP
79
Roto
125
Roto (OF)
32
H2H
135
H2H (OF)
31
2019 Stats
AVG
0.266
HR
13
R
72
RBI
68
SB
10
SO
140
This time a year ago, Benintendi was being drafted as a top-12 outfielder, but now he's barely in the top 24. I love buying low on players in situations like that, and I'd bet on the batting average bouncing back, even if I don't see the superstar potential in Benintendi many have in the past.
ATL Atlanta • #20 • Age: 29
Fantasy Breakdown
ADP
89
Roto
115
Roto (OF)
28
H2H
117
H2H (OF)
27
2019 Stats
AVG
0.241
HR
29
R
80
RBI
89
SB
12
SO
114
Ozuna has underperformed his expected wOBA per Statcast tracking data, so it's probably not just bad luck. Still, if all he does is repeats 2019, that's a bargain at his current price outside of the top 100 in ADP. The floor is pretty high, and if he has another season like 2017, there's top-12 upside.
CIN Cincinnati • #2 • Age: 27
Fantasy Breakdown
ADP
40
Roto
129
Roto (OF)
33
H2H
140
H2H (OF)
32
2019 stats
AVG
0.289
HR
27
R
100
RBI
73
SB
2
SO
143
Another guy who consistently underperformed his underlying batted ball metrics for years, Castellanos got out of Comerica Park and turned into an absolute stud, hitting .321/.356/.646 in 51 games with the Cubs. The bat has to play up for Castellanos to be a high-level Fantasy option because he doesn't run, but if what we saw post-trade was real, it won't matter.
SEA Seattle • Age: 26
Fantasy Breakdown
ADP
NR
Roto
196
Roto (OF)
57
H2H
NR
H2H (OF)
95
2019 Stats
AVG
0.227
HR
6
R
70
RBI
37
SB
46
SO
141
Smith managed to lead the majors in stolen bases despite hitting just .227 and earning a trip back to Triple-A. The strikeout rate spiked, so it wasn't just bad luck, but if he does something closer to his career .259 average, there's value there.
MIN Minnesota • #25 • Age: 26
Fantasy Breakdown (PPR)
ADP
267
Roto
184
Roto (OF)
51
H2H
238
H2H (OF)
54
2019 Stats
AVG
0.262
HR
10
R
48
RBI
46
SB
14
SO
68
Buxton is, somehow, still just 26 years old, less than a year older than NL Rookie of the Year Pete Alonso. Injuries remain a real issue, and they limited him to just 87 games in 2019, but he finally started to look more like the guy we've been hoping for, putting together something close to a 20-homer, 30-steal pace.
2020 Draft Prep
Outfield Sleeper, Breakout & Bust
Sleeper
Projections powered by Sportsline
SD San Diego • #4 • Age: 29
Fantasy Breakdown
ADP
354
Roto
299
Roto (OF)
81
H2H
NR
H2H (OF)
82
2019 Stats
AVG
0.239
HR
18
R
58
RBI
53
SB
16
SO
168
There is still some uncertainty as to where Myers will play in 2020 because reports indicated the Padres were still looking to trade him in December. Of course, that wouldn't necessarily be a bad thing because Myers found consistent playing time tough to come by in San Diego last season, and it's never been a great place to hit. At this point, Myers might be a Better In Fantasy Than Real Life All-Star, so the hope here is he finds consistent playing time, in San Diego, or somewhere else. There's still an intriguing skill set here, as he showed in 2019 by hitting 18 homers and stealing 16 bases in just 490 plate appearances. Pro-rate that to a similar amount of playing time, and it's not hard to see Myers getting back to that 30-homers, 20-steal pace he managed in 2016 and 2017. There aren't many 20-steal threats out there, let alone ones with 30-homer potential available in the mid rounds. Bet on a bounceback.
Breakout
Projections powered by Sportsline
CLE Cleveland • #32 • Age: 24
Fantasy Breakdown
ADP
236
Roto
174
Roto (OF)
47
H2H
221
H2H (OF)
50
2019 Stats
AVG
0.249
HR
37
R
69
RBI
81
SB
0
SO
156
There aren't many players who hit the ball harder or more consistently than Reyes; in fact, in 2019, only three players had a higher average exit velocity than Reyes, and only six had a higher hard-hit rate. Reyes could probably stand to raise his launch angle a few ticks to take better advantage of his raw power, however all signs indicate he is one of the premiere power hitters in the game. And as good as his 2019, I think even better things are coming in 2020. He'll have a consistent spot in a good lineup and park, and should have better luck on balls in play after running a .279 BABIP in 2019. Don't be surprised if Reyes hits .275 with 40 homers this year.
Bust
Projections powered by Sportsline
KC Kansas City • #12 • Age: 27
Fantasy Breakdown
ADP
98
Roto
68
Roto (DH)
4
H2H
81
H2H (DH)
7
2019 Stats
AVG
0.265
HR
48
R
95
RBI
117
SB
3
SO
178
Sometimes, it just takes a while for everything to come together. Soler showed signs of improvement in 2018, when he cut his strikeout rate to 26.8%, but struggled to stay healthy enough for it to matter, ultimately playing just 61 games. However, he stayed healthy and sustained those contact gains in 2019 and more than doubled his career home run total as a result. He clubbed 48 homers, and there wasn't much fluke-ish about it; he ranked in the 95th percentile or better in barrel rate, average exit velocity, hard-hit rate, and expected wOBA, per BaseballSavant.com's Statcast data. The problem? You're paying close to full price for his 2019 breakout this season, with an ADP in the sixth round of 12-team leagues. Reyes profiles similarly at a significant discount, as does Khris Davis, whose 2018 wasn't much worse than Soler's 2019. Davis is coming off the board nearly 100 picks later, and if I'm looking to invest in an all-or-nothing power hitter, I'll go with the guy with the longer track record who comes much cheaper.
2020 Draft Prep
Outfield Top Prospects

1. Luis RobertWhite Sox

Age (on opening day): 22
Where he played in 2019: high Class A, Double-A, Triple-A
Minor-league stats: .328 BA (503 AB), 32 HR, 36 SB, 1.001 OPS, 28 BB, 129 K  

There was a temptation to write off Robert after he failed to hit even a single home run during an injury-plagued 2018, but the steadfast were rewarded with a breakout season in which he positioned himself as a Rotisserie darling -- one who surely would have gotten a late-season look for a more competitive team. He's not the perfect prospect, coming up short in the plate discipline department, but his tools are so loud that you can be sure he'll impact the game in some way.

2. Jo AdellAngels

Age (on opening day): 20
Where he played in 2019: high Class A, Double-A, Triple-A
Minor-league stats: .289 BA (305 AB), 10 HR, 7 SB, .834 OPS, 30 BB, 94 K

The tools for Adell aren't so different from Robert, namely the top-of-the-line bat speed that translates to high exit velocity to all fields, but he has yet to actualize them in the same way. A 2020 impact is less than assured after his 2019 ended with him failing to homer across 121 at-bats in the outrageously hitter-friendly PCL, but when he does heat up at Triple-A, there won't be any holding him back.

3. Alex KirilloffTwins

Age (on opening day): 22
Where he played in 2019: Double-A
Minor-league stats: .283 BA (375 AB), 9 HR, 18 2B, .756 OPS, 29 BB, 76 K

Fresh off a breakthrough 2018 that saw him hit .348 with 20 homers, 44 doubles and a .970 OPS across two levels, Kirilloff disappointed with his move up to Double-A. But considering he missed all of April with a wrist injury that also cost him time in June, it's fair to assume he wasn't playing at 100 percent. He recovered to hit five home runs in August and still possesses a kind of innate hitting ability that has invited comparisons to Christian Yelich.

4. Jarred KelenicMariners

Age (on opening day): 20
Where he played in 2019: low Class A, high Class A, Double-A
Minor-league stats: .291 BA (443 AB), 23 HR, 20 SB, .904 OPS, 50 BB, 111 K

Though he's only 20, Kelenic stands out most for his polish, demonstrating an ability to work the count, a willingness to go with the pitch and a comfort level against same-handed pitchers. It's why he was able to move up two levels, showing enough power at every stop to cement himself as one of the game's elite prospects and most certainly the biggest asset in the deal that brought Edwin Diaz to the Mets last offseason.

5. Dylan CarlsonCardinals

Age (on opening day): 21
Where he played in 2019: Double-A, Triple-A
Minor-league stats: .292 BA (489 AB), 26 HR, 20 SB, .914 OPS, 58 BB, 116 K

Some aggressive assignments early in his professional career kept this switch-hitter's numbers down and prospect profile low, but improved production from the left side led to a massive breakthrough in 2019 -- one that got bigger and bigger as the season went on. Of particular note was the .306 batting average, 15 homers, nine steals and .989 OPS over Carlson's final 209 at-bats, and most of that came before he got a whiff of the juiced ball-infused PCL.

6. Julio Rodriguez, Mariners
7. Cristian Pache, Braves
8. JJ Bleday, Marlins
9. Riley Greene, Tigers
10. Trevor Larnach, Twins

So which sleepers should you snatch in your draft? And which undervalued first baseman can help you win a championship? Visit SportsLine now to get rankings for every single position, all from the model that called Kenta Maeda's huge breakout last season, and find out.

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