Fantasy Baseball prospects 2020: Top 20 outfielders for dynasty led by Luis Robert, Jo Adell

If you play in a dynasty league, particularly one that uses a 5x5 categories scoring format, it's safe to assume you have some outfielders stashed away.

You can't avoid it. Not only are there so many -- three times the number of prospects as at any one infield spot -- but they tend to be some of the most athletic, which gives them higher ceilings overall and a higher chance of contributing a usable number of stolen bases.

Even going 20 deep, this list only scratches the surface of what the position has to offer in terms of prospects. The back end is particularly nearsighted, highlighting those who could have a more immediate impact over some longer-term lottery tickets.

Note: This list is intended for a variety of Fantasy formats and thus weighs short-term role against long-term value. Not all of these players will contribute in 2020 — most, in fact, will not — but among prospects, they're the names Fantasy owners most need to know.

1. Luis Robert, White 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 Robert off 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 Adell, Angels

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 Kirilloff, Twins

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 Kelenic, Mariners

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 Carlson, Cardinals

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

Age (on opening day): 19
Where he played in 2019: low Class A, high Class A
Minor-league stats: .326 BA (328 AB), 12 HR, 26 2B, .929 OPS, 25 BB, 76 K 

While Kelenic's polish at age 20 is impressive, Rodriguez's at 18 is almost too good to believe. While he still has quite a few levels to conquer, which leaves open the possibility he's exposed against more advanced competition, he went 30 for 65 with 11 extra-base in his first 17 games at high Class A, showing a knack for waiting for his pitch and then destroying it. My biggest fear right now is ranking him too low.

7. Cristian Pache, Braves

Age (on opening day): 21
Where he played in 2019: Double-A, Triple-A
Minor-league stats: .277 BA (487 AB), 12 HR, 9 3B, 36 2B, .802 OPS, 43 BB, 122 K

Pache will show up higher on traditional prospect lists because of his superlative defense, but investing in him in Fantasy requires a leap of faith, albeit one with potentially massive rewards. His considerable athleticism points to a high ceiling offensively, and though it may not look it by the numbers, he has made big strides over the past couple seasons in terms of recognizing pitches and shortening his swing. Keep in mind he has always been among the youngest at his level.

8. JJ Bleday, Marlins

Age (on opening day): 22
Where he played in 2019: high Class A
Minor-league stats: .257 (140 AB), 3 HR, 8 2B, .690 OPS, 11 BB, 29 K

Bleday has long impressed with his bat skills, but a power breakthrough during his junior year at Vanderbilt catapulted him to fourth overall in this year's draft. High Class A is an unusually aggressive assignment for a player just drafted, but he didn't embarrass himself there. There's a chance he's anchoring the middle of the Marlins lineup before the end of 2021.  

9. Riley Greene, Tigers

Age (on opening day): 19
Where he played in 2019: Rookie, short-season Class A, low Class A
Minor-league stats: .271 (221 AB), 5 HR, 5 SB, .749 OPS, 22 BB, 63 K

The best high school hitter of the 2019 draft class has already advanced to full-season ball, which says more than the actual production at this stage. He hasn't fully tapped into his power yet but can put on a show in batting practice and could explode as he adds strength and loft. The hit tool alone is probably enough to carry him, but there's optimism he'll deliver on the best of both worlds and become a middle-of-the-lineup force.

10. Trevor Larnach, Twins

Age (on opening day): 23
Where he played in 2019: high Class A, Double-A
Minor-league stats: .309 (476 AB), 13 HR, 30 2B, .842 OPS, 57 BB, 124 K

Larnach's plate discipline made him a darling pick in dynasty leagues a year ago, and now that we've seen him in action at some more advanced levels, it looks to have been a worthy pursuit. He's a bit too opposite field-minded at this stage, which isn't altogether a bad thing, but he's also an intelligent hitter who has shown a willingness to adjust and is already making efforts to pull the ball for more power.

11. Drew Waters, Braves

Age (on opening day): 21
Where he played in 2019: Double-A, Triple-A
Minor-league stats: .309 BA (527 AB), 7 HR, 9 3B, 40 2B, .819 OPS, 39 BB, 164 K  

Waters is a curious sort of prospect who has a plus hit tool but a difficult time making contact, which puts pressure on his BABIP to be in the highest percentile. It has been so far in the minors, and some players (think like a Bryan Reynolds) are geared for that. Waters does stand out for his athleticism, which has some scouts thinking there's more power to come, and it's true that what he lacked in homers he made up for in extra-base hits.

12. Taylor Trammell, Padres

Age (on opening day): 22
Where he played in 2019: Double-A
Minor-league stats: .234 BA (436 AB), 10 HR, 20 SB, .689 OPS, 67 BB, 122 K

Trammell's star was on the rise when he hit .281 with 13 homers, 41 steals and a .819 OPS as a 19-year-old in A-ball, but he's been trending the wrong way since then, enough that the Reds were willing to move him in the deal that brought them Trevor Bauer this past July. The Padres paid a hefty price for Trammell, though, believing they can tweak his swing to unlock more power, and he's still an athletic player with a disciplined approach.

13. Heliot Ramos, Giants

Age (on opening day): 20
Where he played in 2019: high Class A, Double-A
Minor-league stats: .290 BA (389 AB), 16 HR, 24 2B, .850 OPS, 42 BB, 118 K

A strong Rookie-league showing as a 17-year-old two years ago first put Ramos on the prospect radar, and a breakthrough performance at high Class A this year will keep him there. His power now looks to be his carrying tool, with strikeouts presenting something of an issue. But his youth would suggest he's not a finished product in that area, especially given the strides he has already made.

14. Jasson Dominguez, Yankees

Age (on opening day): 17
Where he played in 2019: Did not play

The number of hurdles Dominguez still has to clear at his age of course presents significant risk, but there's best-in-baseball-type upside here. He's had the eye of scouts since he was 13, with some calling him the best international amateur they've ever seen, and the Yankees, no strangers to the international market, ponied up more for him than any before him. The switch-hitter has delivered exit velocities as high as 108 mph from both sides and already has an advanced approach, so you'll want to get while the getting's good.

15. Kristian Robinson, Diamondbacks

Age (on opening day): 19
Where he played in 2019: short-season Class A, low Class A
Minor-league stats: .282 BA (255 AB), 14 HR, 17 SB, .881 OPS, 31 BB, 77 K

Robinson mostly stands out for his potential, but the actual production in the lower levels has been encouraging so far, especially when you consider that players who sign out of the Bahamas generally aren't as far along as those who sign out of the Dominican Republic. There are some strikeout issues, as you might expect, but he's a surprisingly disciplined hitter with considerable power and plus speed.

16. Austin Hays, Orioles

Age (on opening day): 24
Where he played in 2019: short-season Class A, high Class A, Double-A, Triple-A, majors
Minor-league stats: .248 BA (351 AB), 17 HR, 23 2B, .763 OPS, 18 BB, 83 K 
Major-league stats: .309 BA (68 AB), 4 HR, 6 2B, .947 OPS, 7 BB, 13 K  

Hays exploded onto the prospect scene with a .329 batting average, 32 home runs and .958 OPS in his full-season debut back in 2017, actually earning himself a late-season look in the majors, but an onslaught of injuries and misguided efforts to make up for them have derailed him since. He bookended another uneven minor-league showing in 2019 with big numbers against major-leaguers in spring training and September, so there's still hope.  

17. Sam Hilliard, Rockies

Age (on opening day): 26
Where he played in 2019: Triple-A, majors
Minor-league stats: .262 BA (500 AB), 35 HR, 22 SB, .893 OPS, 54 BB, 164 K
Major-league stats: .273 BA (77 AB), 7 HR, 2 SB, 1.006 OPS, 9 BB, 23 K 

Hilliard's conversion to hitting after mostly pitching in college was supposed to be a long-term project for the Rockies, but the skills are perpetually playing catch-up to the tools, which propelled him all the way to the majors last season. His strikeout rate actually improved a little at that highest level, where he also showed big power playing mostly against right-handers, and the extreme environment of Coors Field should help conceal his faults if he's given more regular playing time.

18. Jesus Sanchez, Marlins

Age (on opening day): 22
Where he played in 2019: Double-A, Triple-A
Minor-league stats: .260 (415 AB), 13 HR, 14 2B, .723 OPS, 39 BB, 100 K

That Sanchez's upside remains mostly theoretical even as he's getting his first taste of Triple-A is a little concerning, as is the Rays' decision to move him for what the Marlins regarded to be a couple extra arms (though Nick Anderson has since proven to be more). The scouting reports remain effusive, pointing to a big power ceiling to go along with at least average contact skills, but it's getting to be put-up-or-shut-up time.

19. Kyle Lewis, Mariners

Age (on opening day): 24
Where he played in 2019: Double-A, majors
Minor-league stats: .263 (457 AB), 11 HR, 25 2B, .741 OPS, 56 BB, 152 K
Major-league stats: .268 BA (71 AB), 6 HR, 5 2B, .885 OPS, 3 BB, 29 K  

A scintillating debut in which he homered six times in his first 10 games went a long way toward restoring Lewis' prospect status, which had trended steadily downward since the Mariners drafted him 11th overall in 2016. Of course, it was accompanied by an alarming strikeout rate that wasn't much better at Double-A and may be untenable over a six-month season, big power or not. Then again, it'd be fair to call him a work in progress still given all the injury interruptions in the minors.

20. Brent Rooker, Twins

Age (on opening day): 25
Where he played in 2019: Rookie, Triple-A
Minor-league stats: .282 (234 AB), 14 HR, 16 2B, .928 OPS, 36 BB, 95 K

Rooker has the sort of power that would play anywhere, but given that power is so easy to cultivate in today's game, it's his strikeout issues that stand out the most. Of course, last year's 34.7 percent rate was a new low (er ... high?), and it improved to 28.2 percent after he returned from a wrist injury in June, leading to a .319 batting average, .462 on-base percentage and 1.024 OPS the rest of the way. More of that would certainly earn him a big-league look this year.

Senior Fantasy Writer

Raised in Atlanta by a board game-loving family during the dawn of the '90s Braves dynasty, Scott White was easy prey for the Fantasy Sports, in particular Fantasy Baseball, and has devoted his adulthood... Full Bio

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