Welcome to the annual exercise in futility known as fantasy baseball rankings for outfielders. Sure, starting pitcher and closer rankings are even more of a crapshoot, but good luck trying to rank 100-plus OF-eligible players who run the gamut of fantasy baseball production, have minor to severe injury histories, aren't all assured of consistent playing time, and could be completely unproven. You could fill your entire cheat sheet with potential sleepers and busts from this list alone.
Perhaps more than any other position, the idea of tieringoff playersbytypeof production as opposed tooverallproduction is most important with outfielders. That's been a common theme throughout our rankings, but the sheer amount ofoutfielders makes it ring truer.
So, when talking about OFs, we'll focus on the top half or so of the rankings. After that, it's kind of a free-for-all depending on your needs and willingness to trust injured/unproven/platoon players.
Fantasy Baseball Draft Strategy: Outfield
Mike Trout and Mookie Betts could easily be the first two players off the board in any draft this spring, but after that, it's possible no other players only eligible at OF will go in the first round. Bryce Harper probably will, but even as early as the late-first/second round, you can start playing the "category game" with OFs. Charlie Blackmon, Starling Marte, and A.J. Pollock have all stolen at least 39 bases in one of the past two seasons, so getting a "steals" guy who also hits homers is big. Of course, you can just go for consistent raw power and take Nelson Cruz or Giancarlo Stanton and hope the former can fight of Father Time for one more year and the latter can stay healthy.
There will be plenty of OFs taken in each following round, with a mix of power-speed threats and mashers going intermittently. Therearen't many pure speedsters worth drafting in the first six or seven rounds aside from Billy Hamilton, but you can clean up several much later (Rajai Davis, Jarrod Dyson, Travis Janikowski) to balance out your team. In the interim, SB-leaning guys with some pop like Keon Broxton, Odubel Herrera, Byron Buxton, and even Carlos Gomez loom as major sleepers.
When it comes to the heavy hitters, it's really a matter ofpreference. Obviously, younger players have a little more appeal, and anyone who can approach double-digit steals stands out a bit more, but at the end of the year, the difference between someone like Yoenis Cespedes and Adam Jones will likely be batting average and RBIs -- two things that are more difficult to predict, especially since health is so important to the latter.
It's easy to say "that's why you don't need to reach for an outfielder", and while that's generally true, OF runs can happen before you're even done clicking "draft player". Even though OF is deep -- it will always seem like there's a guy who will hit .265 with 20-25 HRs available -- it might not be as deep for your specific category need, especially if you're looking for a 10-20 or 20-10 candidate.If you like someone, go ahead and grab them, even if it might be a round "too early". Your guess on who's going to break out is just as good as anyone else's.
2017 Fantasy Baseball Rankings: Outfield
Note: These rankings were compiled as if every player isonlyeligible at OF. A player like Trea Turner will be ranked higher overall because he is also eligible at 2B and SS.
|2||Mookie Betts||Red Sox||--|
|3||Kris Bryant*||Cubs||1B, 3B|
|10||Trea Turner*||Nationals||2B, SS|
|22||Jose Bautista||Blue Jays||--|
|27||Kendrys Morales*||Blue Jays||1B|
|34||Andrew Benintendi||Red Sox||--|
|39||Jackie Bradley Jr.||Red Sox||--|
|42||Jose Peraza*||Reds||2B, SS|
|54||Melvin Upton Jr.||Blue Jays||--|
|79||Jurickson Profar*||Rangers||1B, 2B, 3B, SS|
|80||Hernan Perez*||Brewers||2B, 3B|
|84||Steven Souza Jr.||Rays||--|
|91||Melky Cabrera||White Sox||--|
|92||Pedro Alvarez*||Orioles||1B, 3B|
|94||Kevin Pillar||Blue Jays||--|
|95||Hyun Soo Kim||Orioles||--|
|97||Brandon Drury*||D-backs||2B, 3B|
|98||Steve Pearce*||Blue Jays||1B, OF|
|103||Howie Kendrick*||Phillies||1B, 2B, 3B|
12 Wil Myers* Padres 1B
*Eligible at another position