After each week of positional coverage, we will wrap things up here with our 2016 dynasty/keeper rankings. Players are ranked with the next five years of production in mind, so the higher ranked player may not be the best short-term solution. Also players are ranked at their primary position only so multi-eligible players will only be ranked on one list. Our 2016 Rankings which begin in January will reflect all eligible positions.
Just like first base, outfield is where the power is. In 2015 there were 20 outfielders (or outfield eligible) who hit 25 or more home runs – eight of which hit 30+. You need speed? Out of the 30 players who stole 20 or more bases, 21 of them were in the outfield. Another 20 players stole between 15 and 19 bases, and 13 of those were in the outfield. What about power and speed? There were 30 players that recorded at least 15 home runs and reached double-digit steals; 19 of those 30 played the outfield. Those numbers are somewhat low compared to years past, but they are on the rise as new prospects continue to make their way to the majors. That’s good news for dynasty and redraft owners alike. You’ll still have to act fast if you want one of the truly dependable names at the top of the rankings, but even if you ignore the big bats early, you should be able to fill out your outfield with some formidable depth.
Taking part in our dynasty rankings will be Paul Hartman, Kevin Jebens, Jim Finch, Will Emerson, Ron Vackar and Michael Zakhar. Our six experts each ranked their top 60 Outfielders. Players marked N/R were not ranked inside the top 60 by that particular person, Here are the results along with last year’s rankings.
Order them any way you want; the top six players are just that. Enough has been written on Mike Trout over the years that even people who don’t play fantasy baseball know how valuable he is. Bryce Harper‘s name was mentioned along side Trout’s early on, and he finally stayed healthy long enough to prove he can be just as good. Andrew McCutchen has been a staple in the top 5 for years now and is a 5 category player who is on the right side of 30. Giancarlo Stanton‘s immense power and upside overshadow the injuries he has dealt with; a healthy Stanton is a game changer. Mookie Betts made a big splash in his first full year, and his upside as a future 20/20 player earned him the number 5 spot. Rounding out the top 6 is George Springer who finally displayed his speed, cut down on his strikeouts and displayed more patience at the plate. Some are skeptical of him being a top outfielder, but few will argue he is a future top 10 player at the position.
As for the remaining players, our panel shares their thoughts on each below.
7. A.J. Pollock – Diamondbacks
- Ron: My Pollock love runs deep. I was hooked as soon as former slap-hitter turned coach, Brett Butler likened Pollock to Mike Trout with less power.
- Will: 20 dingers and over 100 runs in 2015. At just 27 years old, you got plenty of fantasy goodness still on the way.
8. Starling Marte – Pirates
- Zak: He blossomed into the five-category player I envisioned. Some expect a step back in power, but his batted ball distance and athleticism make me a believer. He will be solid in all five categories and will be a cornerstone of your team for years to come.
- Paul: I may have been a little hard on the near 20/30 outfielder. He hit just 9 HR over the seasons final four months, which would put him back at around 13 per year. He doesn’t walk at all, though he at least improved his K rate. A very good player, but the difference between 20/30 and 13/25 is about 15 spots.
9. Justin Upton – f/a
- Jim: Since becoming a full-time player in 2009, Upton has only had two seasons with fewer than 26 homers, two seasons with fewer than 18 steals, two seasons with fewer than 84 runs scored and two seasons of hitting below .270. He’s only 28 and a free agent; where he signs will be the only thing that could sway me to move him down.
- Kevin: Yes, he has talent. Yes, he’s still pretty young. But we’ve been waiting forever for a new level, and it’s time to move on.
10. J.D. Martinez – Tigers
- Will: I guess the Astros losing faith in JD in 2012-13 soured me on him, and I just need one more season to be sold.
- Kevin: He improved his HR/FB and FB%, got to play a full year, and should continue hitting 30+ home runs in the future.
11. Michael Brantley – Indians
- Jim: 2015 marked Brantley’s floor as far as counting stats go. He’s not a top 10 outfielder, but he’s one of the next best things if you’re looking for a five tool player.
- Paul: Brantley is an excellent choice for your OF2 or OF3 depending on league size. His home run output predictably went down and his stolen base total (15) looks about right for him. He hits for a great average though, so at 15/15 he has a lot of value.
12. Adam Jones – Orioles
- Zak: We are forgetting that last year he had 100 fewer plate appearances. Add those back in and we have a typical Adam Jones year. I may have under-sold him with this ranking.
- Ron: Adam Jones might be the safest outfielder pick you can make. A run at 25-30 homers with 180 runs+RBIs is going to be in play for Jones for several years moving forward. The biggest worry I have with him is the current lack of lineup protection set to hit behind him.
13. Yoenis Cespedes – f/a
- Zak: He was the toast of the town in New York, but the playoff revealed his warts and showed why he can be frustrating to own. A rediscovered ground ball tilt and an unsustainable HR/FB% (It nearly doubled) suggest caution no matter where he lands.
- Paul: Cespedes always had power, but it finally manifested in 2015 with 35 dingers. A lot depends on where he ends up, but 30 home runs (and hopefully plenty of run and RBI opportunities) should be realistic moving forward.
- Cespedes is one of several outfielders James Krueger discussed in an article which you can Read HERE.
13. Lorenzo Cain – Royals
- Ron: It took a while for Cain to put his game together, but now that he has, he offers a nice contribution across five categories. We saw Cain’s ceiling in 2015, but there should be plenty more stat box filling for him over the next three years.
- Will: One real “breakout” season on his record and he’ll be 30 next April? No thank you.
15. Carlos Gomez – Astros
- Kevin: Leg/hip injuries in 2015 may slow his running. Three years of falling HR/FB% plus a not-inflated BABIP in 2015 point to a 20/20 guy with .260 batting average, not a superstar.
- Jim: Gomez is being discounted because of his down 2015 season; this is a mistake. He is a legitimate 4 category player with a nice home park. The only thing keeping him from being a guaranteed 5 category guy is his batting average; he should average in the .260 range most years.
15. Jose Bautista – Blue Jays
- Paul: I know he’s 35 years old, but is there a more consistent power hitter in the game? Count on Joey Bats for 35+ home runs and 100 RBI for the next few seasons. He’s got an excellent OBP and solid K rates too for those in points leagues.
- Ron: Joey Bats might put up a couple more elite season, but the back-end of this 5-year period we are looking at for dynasty purposed might not be so glorious. It should also be noted that 2016 has a strong chance of being Bautista’s last hurrah in the homer dome of Toronto.
17. Jason Heyward – Cubs
- Kevin: He’s a better real-life player than fantasy. No skills growth and a career high GB% mean it’s time to call 2012 a fluke.
- Will: Always been higher than most on Jay-Hey, but his knack for getting on base coupled with the fact I feel the power coming has me all in.
18. Charlie Blackmon – Rockies
- Zak: I was a skeptic last year and I looked like a fool, but I am not buying in. The Rockies are selling everyone off, and his OPS was nearly 200 points lower on the road so his value could plummet. He’s older than you think, so my resistance is doubled in dynasty leagues.
- Jim: I was touting Blackmon in 2014 when everyone was jumping on the Corey Dickerson train. He’s not a 20 home run guy and hitting leadoff you won’t get 90+ RBIs. What you will get is around 15 homers, 60 or so RBIs along with 30+ steals, 90 runs scored and an average in the .285 range. I’ll take that.
18. Carlos Gonzalez – Rockies
- Kevin: He’s a health risk, but with 500 at bats comes 35 home runs. Loss of LD% has hurt the average, but that could bounce back.
- Zak: The steals are gone forever, but his power exceeded even the most optimistic projections. The injury risk is still there and I don’t think the reward justifies it any longer, especially since he is a trade candidate.
20. Ryan Braun – Brewers
- Paul: The stolen bases were a nice surprise last year, but more back surgery makes me nervous. He’ll likely keep producing 25-HR power if he stays healthy, but the extra strikeouts have hurt his average meaning he needs the steals to keep his value up.
- Ron: Nagging injuries will always be a concern with Braun, but he tends to grit it out and play through them. I imagine Braun will settle into a 25 homer, 10 stolen base contributor in each of the next few years. That would essentially make him Adam Jones at a slight discount.
21. Byron Buxton – Twins
- Ron: Ron had a little fun in his article last week looking for Buxton’s fantasy doppelganger; some interesting comparisons.
- Jim: Buxton could very well be a top 10 outfielder one day, but I’m not ranking him as one until he proves he can at least hit at the major league level. I ranked him just outside the top 24; where he goes from there is up to him. I would trade him for approximately half the players I ranked above him in a dynasty league, so if an owner is big on Buxton and makes a strong offer, consider taking it.
22. Corey Dickerson – Rockies
- Zak: He probably deserves a mulligan for an injury-plagued 2015 but I wish I had seen more from him to this point to make me want to buy in going forward. Still, if you are a believer, this is a good time to see if he’s available.
- Ron: Carlos Gonzalez might not stick around in Colorado for long, but Dickerson won’t become a free agent until 2020. We just have to hope his plantar fasciitis issues are behind him. I see a lot of similarities between Adam Jones, Ryan Braun, and Dickerson. It really just comes down to weighing draft day cost and risk.
23. Yasiel Puig – Dodgers
- Will: I am betting on Puigy boy being healthy, and when healthy, he has the ability to crush pitching.
- Kevin: Raw talent, but it’s still raw. A leg injury could sap stolen base expectations, HR/FB% is not amazing, and he still hits too many grounders.
24. Gregory Polanco – Pirates
- Paul: Polanco had 50 extra base hits last year as a 23-year-old while stealing 27 bases with a decent walk rate. It all adds up to a potential beast at the top of the order if things come together.
- Jim: The 24-year-old can draw a walk, has some decent speed and will score 80 or more runs batting at the top of the order. I might rank him higher if I was sold on the fact his average would continue to improve. He has the potential to do more and become a solid number two outfielder in fantasy, but until the batting average improves Polanco is an average number three – with upside.
25. Joc Pederson – Dodgers
- Ron: His age and power upside make Pederson appealing. The k-rate and overall approach at the plate leave plenty of room for growth. The backside of the next five years could start to be special for Pederson but there will be growing pains in the early going.
- Paul: Pederson had mixed results in his rookie season; hitting 20 first half homers and just 6 in the second half. His walk rate stayed consistent over 15% and with that kind of power he should be just fine.
25. Christian Yelich – Marlins
- Will: Only 24 come opening day, a guy who can already get on base consistently is money in my book.
- Jim: I think Yelich is a good hitter (batting average wise), but 3 straight years with a GB% over 60 is not going to turn any of those doubles into home runs. Not to mention he’s on a team that has a fire sale when things aren’t going their way so you can’t depend on runs and RBIs. Yelich is only 24 so there’s a chance he improves, but for now he’s a .300 hitter with limited power than can steal 20 bases on a good year.
27. Nelson Cruz – Mariners
- Zak: Blackmon has made me look foolish for two years running; Cruz laughs and says that’s an OK start. Call me stubborn. I’m remaining skeptical. A high BABIP out of nowhere for a lumbering guy, insane HR/FB% that’s bound to regress, rough home park, age – all suggest the floor is lower than you might anticipate.
- Kevin: He’s old, but I put more value on the next two years than the last three. Strong power in an era where it’s hard to find means you ignore age and expect 35+ home runs for 2016-17.
28. Billy Hamilton – Reds
- Kevin: Empty steals. Batting average and OBP cut opportunities, not good enough to warrant a price. How can you rank him in the top-30, but not rank Revere (.300 BA, 30 SB) at all?
- Paul: No doubt the speed plays, but he’s a drain everywhere else. If Hamilton can get his OPS up at all he could make this ranking look silly, but I just don’t know if he can. His FB% is way too high to maximize his speed.
29. Jorge Soler – Cubs
- Zak: Hopefully his little postseason streak will be forgotten by the time we draft next year because I really like Soler to take a step forward in his second year. Make him a top target in dynasty leagues.
- Ron: Much like Joc Pederson, Jorge Soler still has some growing pains to deal with, and health issues may continue to plague him. His effort in October showed Soler’s immense potential and maybe it was a sign of things to come.
30. Matt Kemp – Padres
- Jim: The past two seasons are almost identical as far as counting stats go. This is what you can and should expect from Kemp going forward – around 20 homers, solid run and RBI totals, a batting average that won’t kill you and 7-9 steals. Kemp is still a solid outfield option, but the lower average and lack of speed drop him down to the third outfielder tier.
- Will: I’ve never really been a Kemp fan, and while last year was solid, he is on the wrong side of 30 and I feel a decline a comin’.
Continued on Page 2: Players 31 through 60