Outfield is probably the best offensive position to find fantasy baseball sleepers. There's no shortage of players, whether they're full-timers or part-timers, and if you're in a five-OF league, you have no shortage of need. It's a position where you can look for power specialists and speed specialists -- and play them both at the same time. Basically, you have to keep your outfield rankings and tiers in front of you throughout your entire draft.
This is the type of list that could really go on forever, especially if we start including all prospects (thankfully, we already have that list here), so we tried to focus on guys with more upside than they're being given credit for or your classic, late-round breakout candidates.
2017 Fantasy Baseball Sleepers: Outfield
Position eligibility based on Yahoo standard leagues.
Adam Duvall, Reds.Duvall feels like an "is-what-he-is" guy -- low-average, high-strikeout slugger. Those players always have value, but it feels capped unless they really go off in the homer/RBI department or have a really lucky BABIP season and hit at least .260-.270. Well, we can't predict the latter, but the former is more possible than you think for Duvall, starting with the fact he plays in one of the most homer-friendly stadiums in the majors. The next thing he has going for him is that his power numbers dropped sharply in the second half (.434 SLG compared to .551 in the first)as he walked more and struck out less. It's certainly possible he'll continue to be pitched to more carefully this season, but Duvall is the type of guy who could easily pop for 40 homers and outproduce his draft position by several rounds.
Nomar Mazara, Rangers.Mazara clubbed 10 homers in his first 47 games, then "only" hit 10 more in his next 100 contests (counting two postseason games). Nonetheless, it was still an impressive performance for the rookie considering he's just 21. Given his age, the upside is clear; however, the downside is also pretty obvious. If Mazara continues to struggle against lefties (.270 SLG last season), he could become a platoon player. He'll hit homers regardless,so don't miss out on your chance to get him for cheap.
Keon Broxton, Brewers.The 26-year-old speedster hit nine homers and swiped 23 bases in just 75 games, pushing his totals to 17-41 if you include his 47 games at Triple-A. Broxton has never been a great contact hitter, but his high BB-rate helps him get on base enough to do damage. The Brewers run more than any team (by a wide margin), so Broxton will have the green light all year. Despite his ridiculously high K-rate (36.1 percent), he should provide a good amount of power and speed.
Byron Buxton, Twins.Buxton has been a big disappointment the past two years, but a big September/October last season (.287/.357/.653, nine HRs) has fantasy owners excited. Buxton's strikeout rate is still way too high, but the 23-year-old outfielder remains a 20/20 threat. If he can get on base at any sort of consistent rate like he did in the minors, 30-40steals isn't out of the question.
Michael Brantley, Indians.A shoulder injury limited Brantley to just 11 games last year, and his health is still a concern, but a healthy Bradley has 20-20, high-averageupside, as he's shown in the past. At his current ADP, Brantley is worth the risk.
Hunter Renfroe, Padres.Renfroe only played in 11 games for the Padres last year, but he crushed four homers. This was on the heels of a .306-30-105 campaign in Triple-A. Renfroe's BB-rate has gone down the past two seasons, perhaps as a sacrifice for more power, but his K-rate has remained fairly steady, which is a good sign. Either way, he has 25-plus homer potential, even playing his home games in Petco Park. The average is a question mark, but if last year's improvements are for real, Renfroeis a big-time breakout candidate.
Domingo Santana, Brewers.Santana was targeted by many as a breakout candidate last year, but injuries limited him to just 77 games. He still managed 11 homers and a good OBP, but it's fair to wonder if that breakout is ever going to come. The power is certainly there, and playing for the Brewers, he has nothing to do but swing for the fences and try to steal some bases; but the average will never be great because of all the strikeouts, and top prospect Lewis Brinson could eventually push him for playing time.
Jorge Soler, Royals.Soler mostly disappointed in Chicago, but he did hit 12 homers and upped his BB-rate to 11.7 percentin just 86 games last season. Now with an everyday gig in Kansas City, the 25-year-old will be free to swing away and get on base in the middle of a solid lineup.
Randal Grichuk, Cardinals.Grichuk was supposed to break out last year, but his high strikeout rate limited his production and contributed to two minor league stints. He still managed to club 24 homers, showcasing his impressive power. If he can stay on the field (which should be a little easier now that Jeremy Hazelbaker is gone), a 30-HR season isn't out of the question.
Tyler Naquin, Indians.All things considered, Naquin had a solid rookie year, posting a .296/.372/.514 line in 116 games, but a ridiculous .411 BABIP makes it tough to know what to trust. The 25-year-old lefty certainly has talent, but Cleveland has a deep roster with some good prospects ready to come up, so Naquin can't afford a slow start or he might find himself on the bench or in a platoon. If he picks up where he left off, he'll be a great value in drafts.
Travis Janikowski, Padres.Renfroe and rookie Manny Margot are the more exciting sleepers in San Diego's outfield, but don't overlook Janikowski if he has an everyday role. He's largely a one-category player, but with a full season's worth of at-bats, he could rack up 45-plus steals. His huge jump in BB-rate last year is a good sign for both his SB and runs scored potential.
Max Kepler, Twins.Kepler's age-23 rookie season yielded 17 homers, six steals and more than respectable strikeout (20.8) and walk (9.4) rates. A .261 BABIP helped depress his final line, but there's somedefinite potential here. Like almost all young lefties, the splits against southpaws are a concern (.203/.273/.322), so if Kepler doesn't improve there, his upside is limited, but overall, Kepler is one of the "late-round 20-10 candidates" who could blossom into something more.
Mitch Haniger, Mariners.Haniger is 26, so he's a little old for a "prospect", but nonetheless, he was dominant at Triple-A last season, posting a .341/.428/.670 line. Across three levels, including 34 major league games with the Diamondbacks, he hit 30 homers and stole 12 bases. Now in Seattle, he'll get a chance to play every day, and if his minor league career (especially last season) is an indication, he could be primed for a major breakout.
Scott Schebler, Reds.Schebler might only be a platoon starter against righties, but the 26-year-old lefty has done some legit mashing his minor league career. He hit 22 homers split almost equally between the majors and minors last year, clubbed 33 in 2014 and 27 the year before that. It's easy to imagine 20 homers here, and if things really break right, Scheblercould be "this year's Adam Duvall", only with a slightly better average.
Rymer Liriano, White Sox.This one is a total guess, as Lirianomissed all of last season because of facial injuries. If he makes the big club out of spring training, he'll be an intriguing player to watch, as he's always flashed talent. At Triple-A in 2015, Liriano hit 14 homers and stole 18 bases while posting a .292/.383/.460 line. Still just 25, it's not as if he's washed up.
Andrew Toles, Dodgers.Toles showed an advanced approach in his 48-game rookie stint last year, batting .314/.365/.505. A .385 BABIP certainly helped that, but Toles is the type of player who can consistently produce high marks in that category because of his speed. All told, across three levels of the minors and the majors last year, Toles hit 10 dingers and stole 24 bases while batting at least .314 at every stop. A regular spot near the top of L.A.'s potent lineup would make Toles a prime three-category sleeper (average, runs, steals).
Aaron Judge, Yankees.Judge just couldn't stop striking out in his 27-game call-up last season, whiffing 42 times in just 95 plate appearances. His power potential has been talked about for a long time, so he's worth watching from that standpoint, but Judge is more of a wait-and-see sleeper.