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Outfield will never be shallow position. Even in those years when it's a little lighter at the top, it becomes deep somewhere down the line just by virtue of the number of players who play there.

But I'm a little surprised at all the new names populating the top 30. Particularly after a pint-sized season in which we could only glean so much from the numbers, it's a concerning amount of turnover.

One explanation is that some big names disqualified themselves by playing DH almost exclusively during the pandemic-shortened season. They include J.D. Martinez, Giancarlo Stanton, Jorge Soler and Franmil Reyes. Meanwhile, Ketel Marte now only qualifies at second base and Kris Bryant  at third base.

Also, the demand for some of the newcomers might not be so high if not for the scarcity of stolen bases in 5x5 leagues. They have an outsized influence wherever they present themselves, and they most often present themselves in younger players.

Since the focus whenever there's an arbitrary cutoff (like a top-30 list) so often becomes the players who didn't make it, I'll go ahead and reveal that those just outside my top 30 include Austin Meadows, Anthony Santander, Max Kepler, postseason hero Randy Arozarena, Clint Frazier and Kyle Lewis. So if you're wondering where they are, there's your answer.

We discuss the top outfielders on the Fantasy Baseball Today podcast. Follow all of our podcasts and subscribe here.    

Note that these rankings are intended for 5x5 scoring (such as Rotisserie leagues), but I note distinctions for points leagues where applicable.  

Top 30 outfielders for 2021
1
Ronald Acuna Atlanta Braves RF
Between the starts and stops due to injury and the small sample size hovering over everything, you can forgive the rise in strikeouts and drop in batting average, especially since he remains the preeminent power/speed threat. Drop him to fourth at the position in points leagues.
2
Mike Trout Los Angeles Angels CF
It's becoming increasingly clear that we can't count on him for much in the way of stolen bases anymore, which might push him lower for some, but he remains the safest bet of all with the bat, without so much as a hiccup over the course of nine years.
3
Mookie Betts Los Angeles Dodgers RF
We now know that his home stroke works just as well outside of Fenway Park and that he'll enjoy the same freedom to move about on the base paths with the Dodgers, so short of Mike Trout, there isn't a more bankable option at the position.
4
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Juan Soto Washington Nationals LF
Having only just completed his age-21 season, the guy continues to one-up himself, his plate discipline becoming the envy of all of baseball and his power production becoming too impressive to harp on his often elevated ground-ball rate.
5
Christian Yelich Milwaukee Brewers LF
Though the actual output made him a bust in 2020, his quality of contact was actually the highest of his career, which means most of the blame falls on his bloated strikeout rate. It's forgivable enough for a player with his track record in a weird two-month season.
6
Cody Bellinger Los Angeles Dodgers CF
The strikeout gains actually held from his MVP season, and his .284 xBA backs up the belief that he deserved better than he got. As with Yelich, grace is easy to grant to Cody Bellinger given his considerable ceiling and the oddities of 2020.
7
Bryce Harper Philadelphia Phillies RF
With the strikeouts decreasing and the stolen bases becoming a more bankable attribute, Bryce Harper is amazingly back on the rise -- and that may be underselling it considering he had an even higher xBA (.307) and xSLG (.657) than during his MVP-winning 2015.
8
Whit Merrifield Kansas City Royals RF
You're almost certainly drafting him to man second base, but particularly in a 5x5 context, he'd be a stud at this position as well, allaying concerns this year about his declining steals total while continuing to deliver the sort of line-drive rate that makes for a high batting average.
9
Marcell Ozuna Atlanta Braves DH
Marcell Ozuna became the ultimate testimonial for Statcast analysis, finally performing up to (and even exceeding) his impressive xBA, xSLG and xwOBA to finish as the No. 1 outfielder in 2020. Of course, it means he likely priced himself out of the Braves' budget, which will mean a change of scenery.
10
Kyle Tucker Houston Astros LF
The Astros finally entrusted the Triple-A stud with a full-time job, and he delivered exactly the sort of numbers everyone had hoped for, performing at the sort of 25/25 pace that would make anyone a stud in 5x5 play. You might drop him a couple spots in points leagues, but the strikeout rate is solid.
11
George Springer Houston Astros CF
A late surge brought his numbers back closer to where we're used to seeing them, though it isn't so clear how he excels beyond the home runs. He may not benefit from the usual top-of-the-lineup bump if he departs via free agency.
12
Aaron Judge New York Yankees RF
For the 28 games he played, Aaron Judge performed at about a 50-homer pace. Once again, it isn't the talent that's under microscope but the chances of keeping that hulking 6-foot-7 frame on the field long enough to get the most out of it.
13
Eloy Jimenez Chicago White Sox LF
Placing in the 98th percentile in hard-hit rate as a sophomore, Eloy Jimenez has proven himself to have a special ability to impact the ball, his all-fields approach and modest launch angle also making him a projectable source of batting average.
14
Luis Robert Chicago White Sox CF
The power/speed profile isn't in question after his rookie season, but a miserable contact rate caused him to spiral down the stretch, batting just .136 in September. You won't pass up a slugger who steals bases in 5x5 play, but a more cautious approach is warranted in points leagues.
15
Charlie Blackmon Colorado Rockies RF
The power production was lacking for the longtime early-rounder, which lends credence to the idea that he's fading in his mid-30s, but it's worth noting his batted-ball profile remained intact in every other way. The power may well have manifested if given a full six months.
16
Starling Marte Miami Marlins CF
Starling Marte's ability to impact the stolen base category while still being of some use in batting average and home runs will ensure he remains a 5x5 darling even as his poor plate discipline sets him back quite a bit (perhaps even out of the top 25) in points leagues.
17
Trent Grisham San Diego Padres CF
If nothing else, two months were enough for Trent Grisham to prove his worth as an everyday player, emerging as a viable base-stealer and on-base threat while delivering the sort of line-drive rate that may offer more room for batting average in the future.
18
Nick Castellanos Cincinnati Reds RF
Though the move to a smaller ballpark didn't make for the sort of fireworks so many predicted, there's still reason to believe it eventually will, provided he gets his strikeout rate back in line and has better BABIP luck going forward. He continued to hit the ball exceptionally hard with an elite line-drive rate in 2020.
19
Cavan Biggio Toronto Blue Jays 2B
Also qualifying at second and third base, Cavan Biggio has a weird profile that will keep him a liability in batting average, but he gets on base often enough to make use of his speed and puts the ball in the air enough to factor in home runs.
20
Dominic Smith New York Mets 1B
You're more likely to draft him to man first base, where I've slotted him in the top 10, but if his breakthrough, which is backed up by Statcast's expected stats, proves to be legit, he'll be a bargain at both positions. Hard to say how legit it is after just two months of results.
21
Brandon Lowe Tampa Bay Rays 2B
Again we have a player who'll more likely be drafted to man an infield spot (in this case, second base) than the outfield. Brandon Lowe's big power and improved strikeout rate point to a high ceiling. However, he followed a sizzling start with a month-long slump and eventually stopped playing against lefties.
22
Wil Myers San Diego Padres RF
The data backs up his stud turn, though it's not immediately obvious what helped him deliver a batting average so much higher, his strikeout rate being only slightly better than his career norm. Now, if he can only get back to running like he normally does (which seems to be the Padres' MO).
23
Teoscar Hernandez Toronto Blue Jays RF
The most surprising breakout of 2020 deserves a healthy dose of skepticism heading into 2021, his outlier barrel and hard-hit rates quite probably being just a product of a two-month sample. He strikes out too much to stand out without them, but there is some measure of power and speed here.
24
Michael Conforto New York Mets RF
Selling out less for power, with reduced fly-ball and pull rates, put him in the running for a batting title, but a .412 BABIP suggests it wasn't all that it seemed. His plate discipline will always give him a leg up in points leagues, where I'd rank him just behind Dominic Smith.
25
Mike Yastrzemski San Francisco Giants RF
Some good BABIP luck helped fuel his breakout, and who's to say if Oracle Park will continue to play more fairly after long suppressing power? But at least we know he's a full-timer now, with on-base skills that make him especially valuable in points leagues.
26
Lourdes Gurriel Toronto Blue Jays LF
Though slow out of the gate, Lourdes Gurriel ended up establishing himself as a more complete hitter, lowering both his strikeout rate and launch angle (as in more line drives, fewer fly balls) without greatly compromising his power production.
27
Eddie Rosario Minnesota Twins LF
While his on-base skills are lacking, batting average has never been a concern for Eddie Rosario, and his career-low mark in 2020 looks mostly like the result of bad BABIP luck in an all-too-short season. A low walk rate still limits his ceiling.
28
Joey Gallo Texas Rangers RF
It stood to reason that the players most likely to feel the effects of a 60-game season, whether being bolstered or buried by it, were those with a volatile, all-or-nothing profile. Joey Gallo was one who came up empty, but you can bet the next home run binge was right around the corner.
29
Jeff McNeil New York Mets 2B
The main thing putting Jeff McNeil in this top 30 is his second base eligibility, which counts for more than any quibbles over the numbers. He's among the safer choices for batting average, but his power potential is in question again after he failed to validate it in the shortened season.
30
Michael Brantley Houston Astros DH
He's entering his age-34 season, but statistically, the free agent is showing few signs of slowing down, once again hitting .300 with a mid-.800s OPS. His destination could shift his value slightly, and he remains most valuable in points leagues thanks to his low strikeout rate.