Outfield is a position that many assume is deep. That assumption is somewhat correct in the fact that there are plenty of outfielders, but you might be surprised to know that less than half of them did not reach 500 at bats – 42 out of 90 had over 500 to be exact. Consider this important fact when you are sitting at the draft table, especially if you play in a roto league. It’s nice to look at the pretty numbers, but not many consider the at bats. More games played means more at bats, which in turns means more potential counting stats.
If you click on the above link and look at the players over 500, the number of players you would turn your nose up at are few and far between. Those players below 500, those are the guys you’ll encounter later in the draft. Those are the players you’ll be filling your team with should you decide to wait on the position. You can get away with ignoring the outfield in the early rounds, but don’t wait too long. The longer you wait, the more outfielders you may need to field a team on a nightly basis.
Now on to what you came here for. Taking part in our rankings will be Tommy Landseadel, Kevin Jebens, Jim Finch, Ron Vackar, Michael Zakhar and Neil (Mister DFS). Our six experts each ranked their top 75 outfielders for the 2016 season. Players marked N/R were not ranked inside the top 75 by that particular person.
If you feel we overlooked someone or would like to debate a player’s ranking, feel free to do so in the comment section below.
You may not agree with the order, but our top 25 are the top 25 outfield choices for 2016. You need reassurance? With the exception of Miguel Sano, Kris Bryant and Chris Davis, everyone ranked inside our top 25 also appear in the top 25 for outfielders in NFBC drafts. Davis, Bryant and Sano are being drafted high enough that even though they are not listed in the OF, their ADP would place them in the top 20. You will need to act fast to get a top outfielder; almost two-thirds of them are being taken within the top 50 players, and all of them should be gone after round six in standard 12 team leagues.
Players that you would Reach for
Tommy: Although there is a pretty steep drop-off from the super elite outfielders to the next tier, there are plenty of fantasy viable OF bats. For that reason, I prefer to focus on the infield with my first few picks, but I will not pass up on a great outfielder if it presents itself. I like Miguel Sano’s upside, so I could be tempted to reach a little there. In the middle rounds, David Peralta and Kevin Pillar are two guys who I think get undervalued by many. I would be willing to go a round early on them.
Kevin: Power and speed are important, but so are the high BA options. Andrew McCutchen, A.J. Pollock, Michael Brantley, and Starling Marte could all be top-tier guys in batting average, with true 5-category help.
Jim: Charlie Blackmon is slipping into the third round in some drafts, some even later. Considering the drop off of double-digit power speed guys as the draft goes on, I would easily consider him if I picked towards the end of the second round. Michael Brantley has gone as high as round 4, but has fallen much further in some drafts. I realize he is coming off an injury, but he played injured last year and still managed to hit over .300 with 15 each for home runs and stolen bases. Then there is Hunter Pence who fantasy owners have downgraded majorly after a off season. I’d reach a round or two early to procure his services; that means somewhere around the eighth round.
Ron: The ceiling for George Springer is likely higher than anyone in the group of outfielders he’s going to be linked closely to in 2016 drafts. The deeper the draft and the greater the prize, I want high ceiling players. If just one player is going to pull off a 30/20 season in 2016, Springer is the guy who will do it and I’m reaching for him just a tad to make his upside a part of my fantasy roster. A little further down the draft board, the name David Peralta stands out to me and I am far from alone on that observation. You will absolutely have to reach if you want Peralta to be a part of your 2016 plans and he will be worth the draft day cost.
Zak: I like Gregory Polanco to break out, and he is a bargain where he is being taken now. He showed some progress in the second half and is just 24 years old. Double digit homers and 25-30 steals is attainable with more growth possible.
Neil: Starling Marte is entering his prime age (27), and has increased his slugging percentage and home run output the last three years. His stolen bases are down a smidge, but he is still a real threat for 30-40 stolen bases. It would not surprise me one bit if he was the highest fantasy producing Pirates outfielder this year. Jacoby Ellsbury struggled last year, but if he can stay healthy he can net you top 10 outfield value as the 25th outfielder off the board. Let’s not forget that he is a year removed from 16 homers, 70 RBI and 39 steals. I would not bet against a 20 homer 40 stolen base season. It has been two down seasons in a row for Jay Bruce, but it’s also two seasons in a row with a sub .270 BABIP. I think Bruce has been a bit unlucky. He’ll only be 29 when the season starts and his ISO was back over .200 in 2015 after it sunk to .156 in 2014. I think this is going to be a huge bounce back season. Get on the train.