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Staff Post: Outfielders to avoid in 2020

The Fake Teams writers tell you which outfielders to pass over in your fantasy baseball drafts.

Getty Images/Pete Rogers Illustrations

It’s been Outfield Week all week long, and we’ve been pumping out the fantasy baseball content for over a month now! If you’re just now tuning in, be sure to roll back around over the next two weeks as we cover starters and relievers...and culminate with our FREE fantasy baseball draft guide!

This morning we gave you our favorite buys in the outfield, and now we’ll share our guys to avoid. As always, the usual disclaimer applies—consider this the other side of the coin, okay? Everyone has a price, and I’ll draft guys I don’t “like” if the prices changes or in a particular format if it’s warranted based on team needs. So as you read about who to avoid, be sure to run it through your own filter, your own league settings or team needs, and yada yada yada.

Pittsburgh Pirates v Colorado Rockies Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images

Charlie Blackmon, Rockies (Jonathan Butler)

NFBC ADP: 45.44

Entering his age-33 season, Blackmon has been consistent, but I don’t like his value here in 2020. His home and road splits scare me off of him at pick 46 this year. In 2019, he hit .379/.435/.739 at home while struggling on the road with a triple slash of .256/.299/.432. Especially in H2H leagues, he will only be valuable at home and this trend has been getting worse each of the last couple years. At pick 46, I want someone who can be more consistent and who isn’t so relying on their home park for their production.

Chicago White Sox v Seattle Mariners Photo by Ron Vesely/Getty Images

Luis Robert, White Sox (Garrett Atkins)

NFBC ADP: 79.42

Luis Robert’s ADP is way too rich for my blood. He’s a great prospect but that doesn’t mean he will be great in 2020. Eloy Jimenez was a bust given his draft price, as was Vladimir Guerrero Jr. Robert struck out at a 23.4% rate last season in the minors while drawing a walk at only a 5% rate. The big concern for me is if he will steal as many bags as projected. Looking back at past White Sox prospects, the answer is probably not. Yoan Moncada had back-to-back 40+ steal seasons in the minors but has only stolen 22 bases total in his two big league seasons. Tim Anderson had a 49-steal season in the minors, yet he has only averaged 17 steals a year with the major league club. It’s not like the team hasn’t had speedsters, it seems like they just don’t use them to their fullest extent. This limits Robert’s potential ceiling as a steals source.

Minnesota Twins v Kansas City Royals Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images

Jorge Soler, Royals (Mark Abell)

NFBC ADP: 88.54

Count me among those who are out on Soler. Perhaps it comes from years of being burned by him, perhaps it comes from his .294 BABIP actually being high in comparison to the previous three seasons (.273), perhaps it comes from his HR/FB rate being a full 40% higher than any of his five other seasons in the MLB. Ultimately, for the ADP of 88 (per recent NFBC drafts) I am looking at more certainty/track record of strong play. I think Soler will hit 30+ home runs, but we might be looking at Mark Trumbo 2.0 with a HUGE variance year over year in stats.

Philadelphia Phillies v Boston Red Sox Photo by Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images

Andrew Benintendi, Red Sox (Heath Capps)

NFBC ADP: 112.88

You can just call me bitter, as I drafted Benintendi aggressively last year. I thought I had a low-key 20/20 threat leading off in Boston—someone who could vie for top honors among run scorers in the MLB. Instead, Beni posted a measly 13/10 season, while posting career-lows in BA (.266) and OBP (.343). Sure, the 9.6% walk rate was nice, but a career-high 11.6% swinging strike rate aided the career-worst 22.8% strikeout rate. It’s true that Benintendi may leadoff for Boston regularly in 2020, at least until Alex Verdugo gets healthy (if he gets healthy). It’s also true that Boston will be forced to go in another direction if Beni doesn’t produce, too. Last year, he swung more than ever before, and that resulted in a big spike in Z-Swing%, which was a good thing. But he also chased out of the zone more (up to 33.0%) and his contact rate dropped from 83.5% to 77.3%. Seems to me that he should return back to being more judicious when he swings, and focus on getting on base. But even then, the 27.1 ft/s sprint speed isn’t spectacular (54th percentile). He also doesn’t hit the ball hard, as he ranked 40th percentile in exit velocity and 42nd percentile in hard hit rate last year. He really just seems kind of “meh” to me, and I’d rather chase the upside of youth a few picks later with a guy like Oscar Mercado. Mercado has his own fleas—i.e. he didn’t hit the ball very hard last year, either—but he did give us a 15/15 year in part-time duty AND he’s stinking fast, at a blazing 29.5 ft/s (97th percentile). He’s being drafted around pick 116, a few slots after Benintendi. I’d rather go that direction. At least there’s one elite skill to bank on. With Benintendi, about the nicest thing you can say is that he might get a chance to lead off...

Cleveland Indians v Washington Nationals Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images

Yasiel Puig, free agent (Zack Waxman)

NFBC ADP: 143.37

This was low-hanging fruit. Potentially one word. Sayonara. He’d be a superstar in Japan. All joking aside, there is a strong possibility he operates on the weak side of a platoon on a team like the White Sox.

And that’s it for outfielders this week! Be sure to roll back around on Monday morning for our starting pitcher rankings!