For most fantasy owners not fortunate enough to get Miggy Cabrera or Paul Goldschmidt, here is where the meat and potatoes of their hitting stats reside with Mike Trout, Andrew McCutchen, Giancarlo Stanton and Adam Jones — all multi-category contributors — expected to go in the first round of mixed-league drafts.
Miss out on one of those, as well, and there is a gang of others in later rounds who may provide similar benefits in smaller doses, including Starling Marte, Kole Calhoun and A.J. Pollock. Beyond that, there is something for everyone among the outfielders: Pure power (Jose Bautista, Mark Trumbo, Nelson Cruz), basepath speed (Billy Hamilton, Jacoby Ellsbury and Ben Revere), and solid average (Michael Brantley, Corey Dickerson).
And because most fantasy leagues have five spots set aside for starting OFs, the pickings can get pretty slim for the final two spots. Not that there isn’t quality but, by that time, you are into outfielders who offer up only one- or maybe two-category help. So it’s good to monitor your team during the draft. If you’ve loaded up on power in the early rounds, then you can target a Michael Bourn later on. If you require a batting average boost, Jon Jay is likely available.
The other salient point to remember about the outfield selection is that, like pitchers, due to sheer numbers, it’s pretty much run-proof. While other positions can be stripped of their prime talent within the course of one round, there always seem to be decent outfielders available.
Mike Trout LAA Even as his SB totals inch downward, still the consensus No. 1 overall pick at 23
Giancarlo Stanton MIA That he put up Trout-like stats with Casey McGehee batting behind him is astounding
Andrew McCutchen PIT Safe pick with three seasons in a row of excellent five-category fantasy production
Adam Jones BAL Stats dipped after two huge seasons, but not so much to hurt his draft day stock
Jose Bautista TOR Injury concerns behind him in ’14, he returned to his turn-of-the-decade fantasy production
Carlos Gomez MIL Back-to-back 20-20 seasons but climbing K rate has to be a concern approaching 30.
– – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
Billy Hamilton CIN The .250 AVG and 56 SBs were exactly as advertised, though 5.6 walk rate disappointing
George Springer HOU Hit 20 HRs in essentially half a rookie season … and wait until he starts stealing bases
Bryce Harper WAS Could threaten Trout and Stanton if injuries didn’t keep getting in the way
Yasiel Puig LAD Produced less in six months last year than he did in four as a rookie, but still a 5-category threat
Ryan Braun MIL Rare off-season thumb surgery complicates his post-suspension, mere-mortal status
Jacoby Ellsbury NYY HRs back up to 16 in first year as a Yankee, but hit only seven of them at home
Carlos Gonzalez COL How far will he drop after injury-shortened, career-worst season? Still just 29
Starling Marte PIT Former four-cat leadoff man’s RBIs should spike if he stays in the lineup’s five-hole
Corey Dickerson COL Posted top-10 OF stats, but will defence and Rockies’ OF depth curtail fantasy value?
Nelson Cruz SEA Led majors with 40 HRs but figure on low 30s now after landing at Safeco Field
Michael Brantley CLE AL’s 2nd-ranked OF last year, but expect less power as HR/FB rate returns to normal.
Mark Trumbo ARZ Broken foot in ’14 makes OF-1B a sleeper. Could produce 40 HRs but AVG still lacking
Matt Holliday STL Remarkably consistent in 5+ seasons with Cards, but may start to finally show his age
– – – – – – – – – – – –
Justin Upton SD Waning plate discipline and a less hitter-friendly home park may cap his ceiling
Matt Kemp SD Move to Petco Park could take back the gains he made with his second-half resurgence
Christian Yelich MIA Did everything pretty well, but are those 94 runs and nine HRs repeatable?
Jay Bruce CIN At 28, think three consecutive years of 30+ HRs, not last year’s career-worst disaster.
Kole Calhoun LAA Second-year starter a Mike Trout-lite, with five-category production as a rookie last year
Yoenis Cespedes DET Getting out of O.co will aid his power, but inability to lay off breaking pitches won’t
Marcell Ozuna MIA Had the biggest jump in HR distance in the majors last year, which could regress
Charlie Blackmon COL Red-hot April fuelled his breakout season and he could threaten 20-20 again
Shin-Soo Choo TEX Never really got on track last year with elbow, ankle injuries producing a brutal start
Jason Heyward STL Will he continue to (unwittingly or not) sacrifice power for AVG with the Cards?
Brett Gardner NYY Keeps fouling off pitches until one comes over the plate, and bam … career-high 17 homers
Alex Gordon KC His .265 AVG the past two years more of what to expect, not the .303 of 2011.
Mookie Betts BOS Showed speed, power and plate discipline in 205-AB debut, but still unproven
Gregory Polanco PIT Impact potential undeniable, but July/August rookie woes (.217) show he’s not there yet
Hunter Pence SF Reliable, durable power-speed guy who, ironically, will miss April with a fractured forearm
Jayson Werth WAS Superior on-base skills compensated for a drop in power that he likely won’t recover
Lorenzo Cain KC A late-bloomer his entire baseball career, maybe 2014’s breakout is the start of something big
Avisail Garcia CHW Three years later, he’s still a question mark, though that 30-HR potential remains
J.D. Martinez DET Easily 2014’s best waiver claim, but expect some regression from .315, 23 HRs
Adam Eaton CHW An on-base demon when healthy, which he wasn’t a lot last year, and good for 20 bags
Alex Rios KC While .280 AVG remained in place last year, HR-SB totals plummeted from 18-42 to 4-17
A.J. Pollock ARZ He and his five-cat potential will slip in most drafts after missing three months injured last year
Jorge Soler CHC Debuted at .292 with five HRs in just 89 ABs late last year but must adjust to outside pitches
Brandon Moss CLE Should hit 30+ HRs now that he’s out of Oakland and his hip has been surgically repaired
Melky Cabrera CHW Last year’s solid stats realistic with no more PEDs and no more back tumor
Ben Revere PHIL His game is singles and steals (41 last year) and he struggles when he thinks otherwise
Leonys Martin TEX A full season leading off should boost his runs total and keep him at 30-plus steals
Marlon Byrd CIN On his sixth team in four years, and though AVG dropped, should produce another 20+ HRs
Khris Davis MIL As a rookie, was top 10 in the NL with 61 extra-base hits (22 HRs), even with a second-half slide
Michael Cuddyer NYM Mets hoping he has another 20-HR, .320 season in him at 36. Good luck with that.
– – – – – – – – – – – – – –
Joc Pederson LAD Last year’s PCL MVP definitely has the stick, and will be better defensively than Kemp was
Austin Jackson SEA Went homerless, batting .229, after trade to Safeco Field from the Tigers.
Torii Hunter MIN HRs have tailed off somewhat, but still remarkably consistent, though at age 39, for how long?
Wil Myers SD A new pitcher-friendly home park doesn’t bode well for a turnaround after hitting .222 with six HRs
Carlos Beltran NYY At 38, durability a concern, but he’s only one year removed from that terrific year with Cards
Curtis Granderson NYM Hit 20 HRs in an up-and-down season, but moving the fences in at Citi Field will help
Nick Markakis ATL A little out of place as a No. 3 in hitter, but the best the Braves have for that role
Oswaldo Arcia MIN Hit 15 of his 20 HRs after the all-star break, though inability to hit lefties hurts AVG
Denard Span WAS Awesome second half produced career bests in AVG (.302) and SBs (39), but on DL until May
Carl Crawford LAD Will likely continue to platoon, even though he hit .321 (18-for-56) versus lefties last year
Desmond Jennings TB Still a solid mid-round pick but value decreasing with his stolen base totals the past two years
Rusney Castillo BOS Impressive late-season debut may inflate expectations. Could also begin on DL
Michael Bourn CLE Gets a clean slate after hamstring injury limited speedster to just 10 bags last season
Dexter Fowler CHC Cubs’ new leadoff hitter owns great OBP but has spent time on the DL in five of past six seasons
Angel Pagan SF Injuries the past two years have sliced his value, but still a decent source of AVG and SBs
Steven Souza TB Rays figure he’ll flash that 20-20 minor-league form, handing him the starting RF job
– – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
Josh Reddick OAK No shock here, he starts season on the DL, likely undoing his red-hot August and September
Kevin Kiermaier TB Rookie callup last year hit more HRs (10) than expected and a solid .265 to earn starting role
Steve Pearce BAL Journeyman had 21 HRs in just 383 mostly second-half ABs. Expect a regression. Also 1B
Coco Crisp OAK Steals have plummeted steadily over the past four years. Shifting to LF may help.
Michael Saunders TOR Turned in a 20-20 season (okay, it was 19-21) in the only year he’s had 500 ABs
Juan Lagares NYM Raked lefties (.349) to produce .281 AVG and 13 SBs, but defence will keep him in lineup
Colby Rasmus HOU Has hit over .225 only once the past four years, but always good for 20 homers
Travis Snider BAL Cut his whiff rate and upped his AVG last year, and could see everyday ABs for first time
Norichika Aoki SF AVG has stayed between .285 and .288 all three years, but HRs, SBs have fallen in each
Nick Swisher CLE After nine consecutive seasons with 20+ HRs, injuries limited him to eight last year.
Dustin Ackley SEA Should produce just enough across the board to warrant a late-round selection.
Josh Hamilton LAA Dwindling power and pending MLB suspension leave $125-million man as mid-round flyer at best
Matt Joyce LAA His stock goes up with the length of Hamilton’s suspension. Offers up respectable power and AVG
Dalton Pompey TOR Rocketed from rookie ball to the Jays last year, but expect some growing pains as rookie starter
Alejandro de Aza BAL He’ll see the strong end of a LF platoon and should produce decent stats across the board
Jordan Schafer MIN Should get most of the starts until one of Rosario, Hicks or Buxton shows he is ready in minors
Shane Victorino BOS Had too many DL stints and the Bosox have too many quality OFs to risk a high pick on him
Eric Young Jr. ATL NL’s 2013 SB leader hasn’t been the same since last May. Leading off might give value a pulse
Chris Coghlan CHC He’ll start against righties only with an outside chance to hit double digits in homers and steals
Melvin Upton ATL Has hit .198 in two years with Atlanta but will play every day and chip in with a few HRs, SBs
Seth Smith SEA Lefty-swinging RF’s fantasy stock gets a mild boost if he winds up hitting out of the No. 2 slot.
David Peralta ARZ Does everything pretty well but playing time uncertain with D-Backs’ muddled roster situation
Jon Jay STL Will give way to Bourjos against lefties and produce a nice AVG and OBP but little else
Anthony Gose DET Jury’s still out on his bat, but a big spring may have him leading off against righties
Drew Stubbs COL A 24% HR/FB rate in the thin Denver air, a .404 BABIP and CarGo’s injury aided his surprising year
Odrubel Herrera PHIL Rookie INF may be surprise CF starter (Revere goes to left) with a .321, six SBs in spring
Andre Ethier LAD Looks like he’s out of a starting role, but that could change if he is traded
LATE-ROUNDERS: Craig Gentry OAK, Allen Craig BOS, Wil Venable SD, Gerardo Parra MIL, Rajai Davis DET, Chris Young NYY, Domonic Brown PHIL
FUTURE WATCH: Byron Buxton MIN, Jackie Bradley BOS, Michael Taylor WAS, Jake Marisnick HOU, Ryan Rua TEX, Rymer Liriano SD