Top 10 Outfielders for 2018

Top 10 Outfielders for 2018

This is part seven of my eight part position preview for the 2018 fantasy baseball season.

Kris Bryant comes in 5th in both standard 5×5 roto and points formats if he is OF eligible on the provider you use for your fantasy league. He is not featured in the chart below.

Here are the top ten outfielders for the upcoming year:

Rank Rotisserie Points
10 Charlie Blackmon (Rockies) J.D. Martinez (Red Sox)
9 Nelson Cruz (Mariners) Charlie Blackmon (Rockies)
8 Joey Gallo (Rangers) Cody Bellinger (Dodgers)
7 J.D. Martinez (Red Sox) Nelson Cruz (Mariners)
6 Aaron Judge (Yankees) George Springer (Astros)
5 Cody Bellinger (Dodgers) Rhys Hoskins (Phillies)
4 Mookie Betts (Red Sox) Mookie Betts (Red Sox)
3 Bryce Harper (Nationals) Bryce Harper (Nationals)
2 Giancarlo Stanton (Yankees) Giancarlo Stanton (Yankees)
1 Mike Trout (Angels) Mike Trout (Angels)

 

Blackmon has been a really solid player in all categories, posting a career high .311 batting average with 37 home runs, 104 RBI and 137 runs scored in 2017. While the 31 year old isn’t the stolen base threat he once was, he still should post double digit steals in his 2018 campaign. Blackmon has a low first round ADP, and while I don’t think I’ll be selecting him much there, I can’t really argue with his results the last few seasons. Landing Blackmon should put you in a position to have an elite outfield in 2018.

Martinez looks to bring some much needed power to the middle of Boston’s lineup in 2018. He profiles slightly better in standard 5×5 roto leagues than he does in points leagues, but he’s a worthy addition in a vacuum given his track record. His ADP may end up a little higher than his actual value, however.

Nelson Cruz is entering his age 38 season, and shows no signs of slowing down. His mid-fifth round ADP feels like phenomenal value for a player who was consistently reached or threatened the 40 home run, 100 RBI plateau for four consecutive seasons. Age related decline is always a concern, but Cruz’s contact rates have stayed remarkably consistent past what is considered the traditional prime of the average player. He would make a nice addition to any squad at his ADP.

Joey Gallo, Cody Bellinger and Rhys Hoskins are eligible at multiple positions, which adds tremendous flexibility to your roster construction. Read more about them in my first base preview.

Aaron Judge faced off against his new teammate, Giancarlo Stanton in the 2017 Home Run Derby at Marlins Park. The 25 year old became an immediate league wide sensation, hitting .284, smacking 52 dingers and driving in 114 runs after a really disappointing 2016 debut that saw him hit just .179 in 27 games. Judge falls out of the top ten in points leagues (coming in 11th) thanks to his affinity for the strikeout, notching 208 on the season last year.

Placing 11th in the standard 5×5 roto rankings? George Springer, who profiles much better for points leagues in 2018. Springer is an extremely patient hitter who often logs walks and extra base hits, which explains the increase in his value for points formats. The 29 year old Connecticut native should have another solid year atop the Houston Astros lineup in 2018.

Now for (as I see it) the clear top four at the position: Betts, Harper, Stanton and Trout.

Mookie Betts had a disappointing 2017 campaign compared to the expectations in Boston. His batting average dropped by 54 points (from .318 to .264) from his 2016 season. The models expect him to be closer to the player he was in 2016 than 2017 this upcoming year, as they call for a .299 average, 26 home runs, and 87 runs batted in. I’d like to see a higher RBI total out of the Boston outfielder, but if he can swipe 20+ bases like he has in each of his major league seasons, he’ll make for a phenomenal five category contributor in 2018.

Bryce Harper has been considered a generational talent since he was selected #1 overall in the 2018 MLB draft. It’s hard to believe that eight years later, Harper is entering his age 25 season. Harper has plenty of incentive to perform; he’s in the last year of his contract and projects to become one of the highest (if not the highest) paid free agent player in league history. Harper offers elite batting average, power, and RBI potential at his late first round ADP.

The biggest story of the MLB offseason was the Miami Marlins trading the reigning National League MVP to the New York Yankees, creating a powerhouse lineup that features three of the top players at their respective positions (real and fantasy baseball). Will Giancarlo Stanton stay healthy? That feels like the biggest question mark, as he’s only logged 150+ games twice in his career since 2011. Stanton hit 59 home runs last season, and moves to hitter friendly Yankee Stadium, where he projects to have 55+ home run upside in 2018. His late first round ADP is arguably a steal for an outfielder who projects to be the second best player in all of fantasy baseball.

Mike Trout isn’t just the consensus number one outfielder, he’s the consensus number one pick in fantasy baseball for what feels like the millionth time in a row. The 26 year old is still in the early part of his prime, has 27+ home runs in each of his full major league seasons, and is a perennial triple crown threat for the Los Angeles Angels. Trout had an abbreviated 2017 campaign thanks to a torn ligament in his left thumb in May, but returned in July to put together a respectable second half with a .285 average, 17 home runs, 36 RBI and 12 stolen bases. With a full offseason of rest, expect the star outfielder to threaten once again to hit .300 with 30+ HR and 100+ RBI.