Fantasy Baseball Outfield Shuffle Up: Tiered draft rankings

Scott Pianowski
·6 min read

Ah, the outfield. So many choices, but you need a handful of good ones. Take a good look around.

Shuffle Up Series: Corner Infielders | Middle Infielders | Starting Pitchers | Outfielders | Catchers | Relievers

Usual disclaimers apply. Players at the same dollar figure are considered even. Assume a 5x5 format, the best scoring format in the world.

I am sure there are a few outfield-eligible players that I missed in Sweep 1; Yahoo has the most liberal position rules in the industry. I will try to iron those out today. But let’s get these tiers out to the good people.

The Big Tickets

$43 Juan Soto

$43 Mookie Betts

$43 Ronald Acuna Jr.

$41 Mike Trout

$39 Christian Yelich

$38 Cody Bellinger

$37 Bryce Harper

I am not seeking the No. 1 pick this year because there is excellent and undistinguishable depth at the top. The player someone takes at seventh overall could easily beat the No. 1 guy . . . Yelich deserves a pass for last year — enjoy the one-time discount . . . Harper seems to have that outfield recklessness out of his game now, understanding it’s more about the long haul. He’s stopped running into things. This matters. This is wisdom.

Legitimate Building Blocks

$28 Marcell Ozuna

$28 George Springer

$27 Aaron Judge

$27 Eloy Jimenez

$26 Whit Merrifield

$24 Yordan Alvarez

$24 Michael Conforto

$22 Luis Robert

$22 Kyle Tucker

$22 Starling Marte

$21 Yordan Alvarez

$21 Randy Arozarena

$21 Cavan Biggio

$20 J.D. Martinez

$19 Nicholas Castellanos

Judge could easily smash and be back in the first tier next year, but he’s broken enough times that we have to partially discount his rank . . . I love all the Whit Merrifield All-Stars, starting with, well, Merrifield. These are players who were not rated prospects, players who needed extra time to get a chance. As a result, they’re often underrated through their prime years, as they don’t have the Endowment Cost baked into their expectations . . . Arozarena’s playoffs was too good to be true, but remember, the Rays hadn’t roster-committed to him before the season ended. Part of that was injury and happenstance, but Tampa’s also one of those teams in love with constant lineup shuffling . . . Tucker’s improvement is mildly baked into his early ADP, something that makes me a little nervous. And given the L/R fit of the lineup, it’s possible he could slot as low as seventh. But his swing is a dream and sometimes you have to steer into a pedigree, especially when his skill set is this broad. I won’t be the leader in the Tucker clubhouse, but I’ll be active in the chase.

Talk them up, talk them down

$17 Jesse Winker

$17 Austin Meadows

$16 Jeff McNeil

$16 Charlie Blackmon

$15 Wil Myers

$15 Mike Yastrzemski

$14 Trent Grisham

$14 Anthony Santander

$14 Teoscar Hernandez

$13 Tommy Pham

$13 Byron Buxton

$13 Joey Gallo

$13 Lourdes Gurriel Jr.

$13 Dylan Moore

$12 Andrew McCutchen

$12 Ramon Laureano

$12 Kyle Lewis

$12 Victor Robles

$12 Eddie Rosario

$12 Alex Verdugo

$12 Ryan Mountcastle

$12 Tommy Edman

$11 Kyle Schwarber

$11 Max Kepler

$11 Ian Happ

$10 Brandon Nimmo

$10 Michael Brantley

$10 Dominic Smith

$10 Hunter Dozier

$10 Nick Solak

My rank of Buxton means I’m unlikely to draft him, and that’s fine. He might slot in the bottom third all year. Last year he showed zero interest in walking or stealing bases — we can let one of those things go, but not both. And he’ll always be a batting-average risk, given all the holes in his swing. He sure is pretty on defense, though . . . Grisham has lovely category juice, but also some average risk and the lingering concern of a glutted Padres roster (though the infield is even more crowded) . . . Yaz, go stand next to Merrifield. Enough said . . .

[Draft Rankings: C | 1B | 2B | SS | 3B | OF | SP | RP]

Verdugo is probably getting discounted because of the statcast data, but his 5x5 numbers look fine to me, he’s in the right age pocket, and he passed my eye test. Nebulous? Sure. Leap of faith? Maybe. But although the Red Sox will always get killed for the Betts deal )and I get it, Verdugo was a smart player to target on the way back . . . I wish I could bank on Nimmo playing 150 games. He’s an OBP god with some category juice. But he seems to run into physical issues — getting plunked so often doesn’t help — and the Mets lineup has some gridlock.

Plausible upside, but not without fleas

$9 Aaron Hicks

$9 A.J. Pollock

$9 David Peralta

$9 Clint Frazier

$9 Nick Senzel

$9 Leody Taveras

$8 Mark Canha

$8 Mitch Haniger

$8 Randal Grichuk

$8 Austin Slater

$8 Adam Eaton

$8 Avisail Garcia

$8 Daulton Varsho

$7 *Kole Calhoun

$7 Chris Taylor

$7 Jarred Kelenic

$7 Austin Hays

$7 Raimel Tapia

$7 Manuel Margot

$6 Alex Dickerson

$6 Joc Pederson

$6 Justin Upton

$6 Corey Dickerson

$6 Andrew Benintendi

$6 Lorenzo Cain

$6 Garrett Hampson

$5 Hunter Renfroe

$5 Jurickson Profar

$5 Jon Berti

$5 Adam Duvall

$5 Myles Straw

$5 Willie Calhoun

$5 Robbie Grossman

$5 Tyler O'Neill

$5 Dylan Carlson

Hopefully, last month’s Rotary Club snafu will help Kelenic get to the majors quicker than expected. There’s nothing left for him to learn in Double-A or Triple-A . . . Hays could easily be in the $13-15 area if the Orioles commit, but right now he’s in a position battle. There’s category juice potential, and he might bat leadoff . . . Eaton will be a lovely fit in Chicago’s No. 2 slot, just a matter of staying on the field. His health concerns are baked into the ADP; a good upside play . . . I’ll hold out hope that this is the year the Rockies find 135 games for Hampson, who has shown flashes of being a solid OBP source, an active runner with just enough pop . . . Pollock’s worth will fluctuate depending on format, given that the Dodgers jockey the lineup a lot and he’s sure to miss 20-40 games with various nicks. He’s still a plus offensive talent when on the field, though, and the buoyancy of the lineup also boosts his value.

Seattle Mariners outfielder Jarred Kelenic
Here's to hoping we see Jarred Kelenic in the Majors this season. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

Discount Rack

$4 Bryan Reynolds

$4 Mauricio Dubon

$4 David Dahl

$4 Oscar Mercado

$4 Franchy Cordero

$4 Gregory Polanco

$4 Stephen Piscotty

$4 Kevin Kiermaier

$3 Tim Locastro

$3 Alexander Kirilloff

$3 Jason Heyward

$3 Victor Reyes

$3 Sam Hilliard

$3 Jo Adell

$3 Jackie Bradley Jr.

$3 Harrison Bader

$3 Nomar Mazara

$2 Yoshitomo Tsutsugo

$2 Josh Naylor

$2 Kevin Pillar

$2 JaCoby Jones

$2 Shogo Akiyama

$1 Jordan Luplow

$1 Enrique Hernandez

$1 Michael Chavis

$1 Cedric Mullins

$1 Brett Gardner

I still think Bradley could be a $12-14 bat in the right place, but he’s still looking for a team . . . I thought Reynolds would hit .300-plus last year, and it went the other way. But the base skills are still there, and given his anonymous team, he’ll be at a free ADP point . . . For every Tatis and Harper, remember we get 10 Jo Adells.

Baseball is hard. Development takes time and isn’t always linear.