Outfield is always presumed to be deep. It makes sense. There are thrice the amount of players in the outfield than at shortstop or first base. This belief can be true but it really depends on your league setup. Many sites use three outfield spots. Even after factoring in owners who will draft outfielders at utility or as bench players, the free agent pool for the position is usually rather rich in this format. Dive deeper into leagues using five outfield spots, and the waiver wire looks less appetizing. Here are a few names to keep in mind on draft day for the outfield.
Current Rank: 79
Expect Consensus Rank: 121
We quickly forget Eaton was #103 overall in fantasy in 2016. He had an almost identical season in 2015. Those were Eaton numbers in a much, much worse White Sox lineup. In 2018, he will lead off for a Nationals team that was fifth in runs scored last season. Need further proof? Look at his stats prior to his injury in 2017. Eaton hit .297 with a .393 on base percentage and scored 24 runs in just 23 games. A healthy Adam Eaton is a lock for 110+ runs scored and a lock at returning top 100 value. Maybe we should draft him as such?
Current Rank: 110
Expect Consensus Rank: 157
Margot has been a top 100 prospect since 2015. Last year, he started to show what he was capable of. In 126 games, Margot hit .263 with 17 steals and a surprising 13 homers. The minor league numbers tell us Margot is a high batting average speed specialist, but then the power surge happened. Even if Margot’s power ceiling is 15 homers, which I believe it could be higher, Margot will be a stolen base threat of 30 or more. The counting stats will follow as the Padres improve around him. Margot could be a top 20 outfielder by season’s end.
Current Rank: 168
Expect Consensus Rank: 189
Fowler just seems underrated, perhaps even by me. His three-year average line is 16 home runs, 85 runs, 53 RBI, and 13 steals. Health is a concern—he’s missed 81 games over the past two seasons combined—but the production is solid across the board. He’s a great pick as a fourth or fifth outfielder in deeper leagues or NL-only leagues. You can rely on him when he is healthy.
Current Rank: 182
Expect Consensus Rank: 223
As a Rangers fan this DeShields love could end up being a pipe dream. In my mind, the Rangers give DeShields the everyday role in center and use him as the primary leadoff hitter. DeShields hit .269 with 75 runs and 29 steals last season in just 376 at bats. His .338 on base percentage would work leading off. Give him 500 at bats and you have a 100-run, 40-steal season from a player going outside the top 50 at outfield. Plus, he added a sweet back tattoo in the offseason!
Current Rank: 184
Expect Consensus Rank: 225
Piscotty crushed me last season. I drafted him in most of my leagues and he did not pan out. In 107 games he hit a dreadful .235 with an awful .708 OPS. He battled injuries and personal issues last season as well. He seems to be in a much better place following the trade to Oakland. He also has a clearer path to everyday at bats with the Athletics. The new home ballpark isn’t as bad as you would think, either. The Oakland Coliseum actually outranked Busch Stadium in terms of runs in two of the past three seasons. Additionally, O.co was #6 in baseball last season! If he returns to his 2016 self, which was a .273 hitter with 22 homers and 85 RBI, Piscotty could be a great value at his current ECR.
In addition to these players, here are a few other options who are currently ranked outside the Top 300 of the FantasyPros Expert Consensus Rankings:
My Rank: 294 Expert Consensus Rank: 307
Orioles top prospect. Hit 32 home runs in minors last season.
My Rank: 303 Expert Consensus Rank: 332
20-20 threat in one of the best lineups in baseball.
My Rank: 475 Expert Consensus Rank: 510
Hit .262 with 9 home runs and 23 RBI in just 43 games last year.