Fantasy Baseball: Outfielder draft strategy, sleepers, prospects and more
Fantasy Baseball: Outfielder draft strategy, sleepers, prospects and more
The top two players off the board in fantasy baseball this year will be outfielders, but what will happen with the rest of the position in 2019?
The top two players off the board in fantasy baseball this year will be outfielders, but what will happen with the rest of the position in 2019? Mike Trout and Mookie Betts are the consensus top ranked players in the field. After them, there's plenty of debate for how owners should proceed at the position. Christian Yelich is the reigning MVP. J.D. Martinez ranked 6th overall in fantasy last year. Bryce Harper has a hitter-friendly home in Philadelphia. A pair of former MVPs are available in Kris Bryant and Giancarlo Stanton while young phenoms Juan Soto and Ronald Acuna are on the rise. It's also the deepest offensive position which makes draft strategy even more important. Chris Mascaro and Tommy Stokke take you through their strategies with opinions on sleepers, overrated players, prospects and more. Average draft position (ADP) is from [Fantasy Pros](https://www.fantasypros.com/mlb/adp/of.php). __More fantasy baseball previews:__ [Catcher](https://www.betchicago.com/fantasy-baseball-catchers-draft-strategy-sleepers-prospects) | [1B](https://www.betchicago.com/fantasy-baseball-first-base-draft-strategy-sleepers-prospects) | [2B](https://www.betchicago.com/fantasy-baseball-second-base-draft-strategy-sleepers-prospects) | [3B](https://www.betchicago.com/fantasy-baseball-third-base-draft-strategy-sleepers-prospects) | [SS](https://www.betchicago.com/fantasy-baseball-shortstop-draft-strategy-sleepers-prospects) ## Draft strategy __CM:__ If you have the first pick, take Mike Trout. If you have the second, take whomever is left between Trout and Mookie Betts. If you're third, give J.D. Martinez a look. Fourth? Christian Yelich. I think you see my point -- talented outfielders are plentiful, but the cream of the crop are the best fantasy players in the league, and that isn't likely to change this season, with each still firmly in the prime of their careers. Martinez's .375 BABIP suggests a slight regression in 2019, but if he hits 40-plus home runs for the third straight season, are you really going to care if his batting average (.330 last year) drops a few points? __TS:__ Outfield is deep and I can't knock many guys going in the top four or five rounds. They all have concerns, whether it's health or regression, but they all have reasons for going where they are. In the past, I've grabbed an outfielder early and waited to fill in later in the draft because it's so deep. Then in a league this week I drafted J.D. Martinez, Giancarlo Stanton and Juan Soto in the first three rounds. The other thing I did in that draft was reach for the guys I wanted. I took Mallex Smith a round or two early; I took Victor Robles a little early. I went for safer options early instead of high-risk, high-reward late. ## Auction strategy __CM:__ You have to spend the money somewhere. The four guys I mentioned above are worth breaking the bank for, so make sure you get at least one no-doubt fantasy stud before bargain hunting. Cheaper players like the Mets' Brandon Nimmo (.886 OPS in 140 games last season) or Stephen Piscotty of the A's (27 homers, 88 RBIs in 151 games) will be readily available. __TS:__ I'm a little different in my auction strategy for outfielders compared to snake draft. I'd go big for Trout or Betts, but instead of loading up with expensive players in the outfield I'd look for cheaper players and spend big at other positions that aren't as deep. ## Player going too high __CM: Giancarlo Stanton, Yankees (8 OF, 20 OVR):__ If he hits 60 homers, I apologize. But did you realize he's hit more than 38 home runs in a season only once? It was two years ago, when he hit 59. He also has only three seasons of 100-plus RBIs, and they are his only years with more than 87 RBIs. He struck out an almost unfathomable 211 times in 158 games last year and had an .852 OPS, lower than Nick Castellanos (.854), who's going 26th among outfielders. Stanton will score runs in the Yankees' potent offense, but Charlie Blackmon (going one spot behind) is a much more well-rounded player (119 runs, 29 homers, 12 steals, .860 OPS). __TS: Dee Gordon, Mariners (30 OF, 102 OVR):__ A player going too high outside the top 100? Gordon doesn't offer much besides steals at this point. In a batting average league, he gets a little bump if he can hit better than the .268 average he had last year. For a low on-base guy depending on steals, I'd rather get Billy Hamilton later or settle for someone in the 20-steal range who can contribute in other areas. ## Player going too low __CM: Khris Davis, A's (15 OF, 38 OVR):__ Power hitters usually aren't the model of consistency, but the 31-year-old has hit at least 42 home runs with 100 RBIs the last three seasons (and has, coincidentally, hit .247 each of the last four), and his OPS has gone up each of his three years with Oakland. He's about as low-risk as it comes for a power hitter, and it wouldn't shock me if he finishes with more fantasy points than Stanton. __TS: A.J. Pollock, Dodgers (27 OF, 95 OVR):__ Pollock's reputation has taken a hit, but I still believe in his upside of 30-30 potential with 20-20 more realistic. I'm not worried as much about his health and think he can be Tommy Pham, who is going two rounds earlier by ADP. ## Player I won’t draft __TS: Marcell Ozuna, Cardinals:__ Ozuna's ceiling is his 2017 season, but that year is well beyond the rest of his career. Hitting 23 homers with 80 RBIs is fine, but I can find that production later in the draft. The bigger concern for me is his health. He just started playing in games this week as he battles a shoulder injury. That's something that could linger and adds to a profile I don't want to invest in. __CM: Andrew McCutchen, Phillies:__ Pains me to say this, because he's been one of my favorites for many years, but his better days are behind him. He hit 20 home runs last season between the Giants and Yankees, his lowest total since 2010, and he struck out a career-high 145 times. I could see him ending up in a platoon. ## Player I keep drafting __TS: Victor Robles, Nationals:__ There's a chance he doesn't break camp with the team, but I don't think the Nats can let Michael A. Taylor stay in his way for long. I love his talent with double-digit home run power and stolen bases with counting-stat potential in a good Nationals lineup. __CM: Aaron Hicks, Yankees__ Make sure to monitor his back injury, but he finally reached his potential last season, hitting a career-high 27 home runs. He also walked 90 times in 137 games, so he'll help your on-base percentage greatly. He got paid this offseason, which I don't love because most guys' fantasy production tails off after that, but he appears to be hitting his prime at 29 years old. ## Prospect to watch __TS: Robles:__ Eloy Jimenez will be drafted too early and Houston's Kyle Tucker has more competition around him for playing time, which makes Robles the prospect I want in 2019. __CM:__ I have to agree with Tommy on this one, and that's been a rarity as we've done these fantasy previews. He's hit at every level he's been on, including limited action with the big-league club last September. Nobody is can't miss, but he's about as close as it comes. ## Bold prediction __TS:__ David Dahl finishes as a top-15 outfielder. __CM:__ The top-3 fantasy players at the end of the season will be outfielders.2019-03-13T23:13:49.138Z2019-03-13T14:00-04:00