We continue our prospect rankings with a look at the future of the outfield position. As he will be throughout this series, Andy Germani joins me to rank the top outfield prospects for 2016. Our rankings will be consolidated to give you our final site rankings, but you can see where Andy and I ranked them in the table as well. These are fantasy rankings, and I remind you that Andy and I are not scouts, just simply heavy followers of baseball prospects. We hope you enjoy the rankings!
|9||Andrew Benintendi||Red Sox||21||2017||10||8|
|T15||Eddy Julio Martinez||Cubs||20||2018||17||15|
|19||Anthony Alford||Blue Jays||21||2017||21||20|
The following players received one vote: Hunter Renfroe, Padres (Andy 24), Billy McKinney, Cubs (Paul 25)
Who is your favorite outfield prospect to break out in 2016?
Andy: Daz Cameron was a first round pick last June, but didn’t impress much in his minor league debut. He has a lot of upside when it comes to stolen bases, and steals are becoming more scarce every season. Only 15 players totaled 25 or more stolen bases last season. I can’t base much of his breakout potential on what he did in 2015, but more on what I think he can do. In terms of what his future could hold I think Cameron can do something similar to what Starling Marte did last season if everything works out, around a .280 average with 15-18 homers and 25-30 steals.
Paul: It was Anthony Alford‘s first full season last year and he showed off his speed as well as some good plate discipline. He’s already ranked #19 here, but he really has the potential to hit that number in the overall prospect list next year. His power hasn’t shown up yet, but I suspect that’s what will happen this year, vaulting him up prospect lists in the process. He’s a legitimate five-tool prospect who just needs some development time after splitting his efforts between baseball and football through 2014. I wish I could have ranked him higher, but I will next year.
What prospect could make a surprising contribution to fantasy teams in 2016?
Andy: Max Kepler has a chance to make it out of spring training with a spot on the Twins 25-man roster. Kepler hit .318 last season with nine homers, and actually had one more walk than strikeout. Although he stole 19 bases last year I don’t think he will provide more than 10 or so in the majors. He has room to grow in the power department though, and could possibly be a 15 homer player with an average of .280 plus.
Paul: I think the Gregory Bird injury opens the door slightly for Aaron Judge (or Gary Sanchez). We know that Mark Teixeira and Alex Rodriguez will spend time on the DL, and Judge is nearly ready for the majors. There’s a lot of swing and miss with Judge, but that generally goes along with big power hitters. If given the opportunity, Judge will hit more than his share of home runs and could impact not just the AL race, but your fantasy races.
What lesser-known prospect should fantasy owners put on their radars now?
Andy: Because the outfield technically contains three actual MLB positions, it is hard to classify my number 20 outfielder as really an off the radar type player. With that being said I really think Kyle Tucker could be a kind of off the radar name for people playing in shallower leagues. He doesn’t have insane power upside, but 20 homers every year is a reasonable expectation. He only hit .246 last season, but that was in a very limited amount of action. I think with his upside he could hit .290 plus in the big leagues.
Paul: Drafted in the first round last year by the Philadephia Phillies, Cornelius Randolph is hardly under the radar. He is still 3-4 years away from the majors though, so this is as low as his profile will ever likely be. The trouble with Randolph is at 18, there are already questions about his defense, but he seemed to do well transitioning from shortstop to left field in 2015. His plus hit tool and power potential will play anywhere, so as long as he can be serviceable in left he could be a force at the plate for fantasy leagues.
What prospect would it not surprise you if he fell significantly in the next year?
Andy: A lot of people are on the Victor Robles hype train, but I think they are a little too excited. He has shown some nice ability and put up some gaudy numbers, but people need to remember this was in the rookie leagues and he only played a total of 38 games in low-A last season. To this point his entire career is 108 games with 70 of them split between two rookie leagues. He is really far away from being able to produce at the major league level, and there are a lot of chances for him to slip up and fall off the radar.
Paul: Max Kepler had a huge break out season in 2015 with an OPS of .949, while walking more than he struck out. He even earned a brief cameo with the big league club and is being penciled in the Twins starting outfield for 2016. The trouble is that while he warrants a good spot on the list based on that performance, there isn’t much else in his past to indicate that he’s anything more than an average major league outfielder. If 2015 turned out to be the anomaly in an otherwise lackluster career I wouldn’t be terribly surprised.
Come back in two weeks when we will publish our Top 25 pitching Prospects.
Still need more rankings? Head on over to Fantasy Rundown, where Goose has compiled Prospect Rankings from all the top sites on the web along with rankings for the 2016 season and the best baseball links available.