The outfield position has players full of power and speed. This year I'm highlighting a handful of players who are going to emerge as stars in 2021 fantasy baseball. Some were previously stars, and others have been on the cusp, waiting for their moment.
1. Andrew Benintendi goes for 20 home runs and 20 stolen bases for the first time since 2017
What was once a very promising player quickly deteriorated over the last 18 months into an unrecognizable outfielder. Looking into his stats, it’s clear he’s been trying different approaches from being more patient to swinging more in attempt to break from the slump. I think the best thing for him is a fresh place with new coaches and a team who will encourage him to run freely on the bases.
2. Clint Frazier is a top 25 OF this year
It sounds like he will get starting time for the New York Yankees, and from what we’ve seen in small samples he can be really good. He’s got experience, he’s got hard hit capabilities, and he has a park that could be favorable to his hitting. It’s been a few years late but I think this could be his breakout year. Many in dynasty leagues will be clamoring for him after his performance in 2021.
3. Mitch Haniger is a top 40 OF this year
To be fair I should say that I am about as big of a fan of his as you will find. List him on my ‘can’t quit’ list, but I think if he can stay healthy (big if) he has the skill set to be the 25-30HR, 90+RBI & Run, .285+ batting average player that we saw in 2018. He has power, patience at the plate and if you watch his pedigree and pitch recognition, he works during the offseasons on his areas of weakness (watch how he handled Offspeed pitches (which he struggled with) in 2018 vs. 2019. Finally, his injuries have been fluky in nature and not a sign of ongoing body issues.
4. JJ Bleday gets called up around the All-Star break, and hits 15 HR over the second half of the season
He lead NCAA Division 1 in homers in 2018 and he has the raw power and hit tool when he’s aggressive. I will be curious to see if that translates to a high K-rate along with the home runs, but either way it’s clear from the team’s comments that he is progressing quite well. He is showing all the right signs to a team that many thought would be terrible last year, but surprised quite a few with a strong performance. He had a nice home run in spring action the other day as he continues to showcase his abilities.
5. Nick Senzel has a breakout year, going for 20 homers and 20 stolen bases
It’s becoming a pivotal time for Senzel, who has been toying in and out of a lineup for years now in a somewhat crowded Reds outfield. He showed some promising features in 2019 when he had 12 homers and 14 stolen bases across 104 games. Last year he cut his K-rate down and was much more selective on his swings in zone vs. out of zone. It’s clear he was working on his game, but he was swinging too hard and pulling the ball. Teams shifted and his average took a serious hit. If he can take his Year 1 and Year 2 learnings and pull them together in an important year, he’s going to turn some heads.