2019 Preseason Rankings: Top 15 Outfielders: Where Do The Newly Elite Fall?


by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

As we’ve said with our other early rankings, here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • We are still extremely early in the process so player movement, among other factors, will have an impact on these rankings as we get closer to the start of the season
  • Just because a player his ranked #3 doesn’t mean you should draft him in that spot. In most cases you shouldn’t have to, it just shows the potential value they hold
  • These rankings are based on our projections and expected production for 2019

When it comes to the outfield we’ve seen an influx of talent over the past few seasons, including the emergence of Aaron Judge and Cody Bellinger in 2017 followed by Juan Soto and Ronald Acuna in 2018.  The position is now extremely deep, and the rankings are definitely dependent on your preference and league settings.  With that in mind, let’s take a first look at how the top of our rankings currently look:

  1. Mike Trout – Los Angeles Angels
  2. Mookie Betts – Boston Red Sox
  3. J.D. Martinez – Boston Red Sox
  4. Aaron Judge – New York Yankees
  5. Bryce Harper – Free Agent
  6. Christian Yelich – Milwaukee Brewers
  7. Andrew Benintendi – Boston Red Sox
  8. Giancarlo Stanton – New York Yankees
  9. Juan Soto – Washington Nationals
  10. Cody Bellinger – Los Angeles Dodgers
  11. Charlie Blackmon – Colorado Rockies
  12. Rhys Hoskins – Philadelphia Phillies
  13. Khris Davis – Oakland A’s
  14. Ronald Acuna – Atlanta Braves
  15. Mitch Haniger – Seattle Mariners

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  • We all know that Bryce Harper is one of the better outfielders in the game, though his spot on the rankings is tenuous until we know where he lands via free agency.  While his locale shouldn’t have a significant impact on his projection, it will play a role and we can’t finalize our projection until he signs. He could rise to #4 or potentially fall a few spots as well, so stay flexible in your thinking.
  • Recently we discussed both Bellinger and Hoskins, as we explained why our opinion has swung in the favor of Bellinger (last year we had Hoskins ranked slightly ahead).  To read that article click here.
  • Surprised to find Andrew Benintendi as highly ranked as he currently is?  You likely aren’t alone, and the ranking is based on an expected step forward in his power.  As it is he hit .290 with 16 HR and 21 SB last season, but having added 41 doubles and 6 triples while clubbing 14 HR in the first half it would appear that he’s ready to fully explode in the power department.  View him in the same light as Christian Yelich, and while his draft day cost won’t be that of a Top 10 outfielder it’s easy to envision him reaching that plateau.
  • It was a breakout season for Mitch Haniger, who hit .285 with 26 HR, 93 RBI and 90 R.  The biggest “knock” against him is a pull heavy approach, with an 18.5% Oppo%, but everything else points towards him being able to maintain last year’s average (including the improvement in his strikeout rate, with a 19.4% second half mark).  Throw in the potential growth in his power (18 HR in the first half) and he should continue to emerge as one of the better options in the league.
  • Sure it was a “step back” for Judge, who only hit 27 HR in 413 AB last season.  Part of the “problem” was the injury, and a healthy Judge should continue to set a 40+ HR pace.  Plus, despite the strikeouts, his ability to hit the ball hard and willingness to use the entire field should allow him to continue hitting .270+.  Put those together and you get an elite player.

Sources – Fangraphs, Brooks Baseball

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    • Perhaps, but it’s not like I have him down in the 30s or 40s. I wouldn’t bank on him maintaining the power he showed last season (he had 11 HR in August), but he 100% has 25/25 written all over him

  1. Ranking Acuna that low is insane.. you assume Benintendi will become someone he’s never been while deciding that Acuna will not be what he has already been?

    • For one, keep in mind that these rankings will change as all of the projections get finalized. Also, there’s no knock against Acuna at all. The rankings are all very close from #11-14 and it’s easy to see some fine-tuning pushing him up at least a few spots (and potentially into the Top 10).

  2. Acuna has 433 career ABS. Thats nothing. To automatically assume he will repeat is ridiculous and you’d be a fool to overpay. WIll he be a superstar one day? I believe so but lets see what he does his sophomore season before putting him into the first round.

    • He brings an advanced approach, despite the age, which coupled with his power should allow him to push .300. Couple that with the power and RBI/R potential there’s an awful lot to like

  3. Stanton at 8 is the steal in the OF Dept. A year removed from the NL, Stanton gets his sea legs under him in NY and the AL. Betts won’t repeat his career year, as Stanton was unable to do, but a bounce back return to upper 40’s HR power, not out f the question. Where do you see the Mazara’s, Winkler’s and Conforto’s of the world breaking out?

    • Conforto I’m a huge fan of. He fell short of the Top 15, but could find himself inside the Top 20 when the full rankings start to roll out (or if you’ve ordered the guide, you will see for yourself next Friday :))

      I still believe in Mazara, but he profiles more as an OF3 at this point. Winker is a little bit below that, as the power is more limited and he isn’t going to steal many bases.

  4. HI Professor, Keeper question for you.
    Allowed 4 keepers, (at least 1 batter at least 1 pitcher)
    right now my for sure keepers are: G. Cole, Altuve and Yelich. Currently in a dilemma to decide between Stanton and Vladdy. Should be easy I know but I’ve already vested a lot of time in holding Vladdy, drafted him with my last round pick last year. Should I be comfortable locking down my infield and and just replacing Stanton since my primary OF is Yelich or is this totally ridiculous?
    Thanks for your input.

    • It’s crazy, but not “totally rediculous”. At the same time it depends on how long you can keep someone for. If it’s forever, keeping Vlad is a little more palatable.

      Just remember, while Vlad seems can’t miss (and very well could be) a prospect is a prospect is a prospect until he actually proves it in the Majors.

    • I’m a big fan, but the news of Will Myers moving back to the OF definitely complicates things. We’re going to have to wait and see how the situation plays out, but if Renfroe is getting regular AB he’s going to hold a lot of valu

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