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2022 Fantasy Baseball: 6 outfielders to target

Garrett takes a look at who to target at the outfield position in fantasy baseball this season.

Cincinnati Reds v Chicago White Sox Photo by Ron Vesely/Getty Images

Outfield has, and always will be, the deepest position in fantasy baseball. It makes sense though. You have three starting outfielders per lineup compared to just one starter at every other offensive spot. Outfield also offers the most variety. Need power? We have outfielders for that. Need speed? We have outfielders for that. Need batting average? You guessed it, we have outfielders for that. Just be mindful of your roster. Three outfielder leagues mean you can fill the position up quickly in drafts while there will still be starting caliber players on waivers. If you play in five outfielder leagues, the position can thin out. You don't want to wait as long to address it. Now the only question that remains is, who should you be targeting? I’m glad you asked!

Here are a few names I’m targeting in drafts at outfielder.

Luis Robert, Chicago White Sox

My Rank: 6
ECR: 8
NFBC ADP: 17.47

ATC projection: .286, 28 HR, 84 RBI, 86 R, 19 SB, 140 games

Can a guy going inside the top 20 be undervalued? Well, this might be the best value you get on Luis Robert for years to come. What I'm saying is, Robert has first-round upside and could be a future top 5 pick as soon as 2023. On the surface, Robert hit .338 with a .946 OPS. He had 13 home runs and six steals in just 68 games. Robert put up a 91.2 MPH average exit velocity, comparable to Kyle Tucker and Freddie Freeman. He also had 9.1% barrels per AB, which is similar to Nelson Cruz and Teoscar Hernandez. Perhaps most impressively, Robert had a max exit velocity of 117.7 MPH, which was 11th best among all hitters. He also cut his strikeout rate. In 2020, Robert had a 32.2% K-rate. Last year, he dropped that to 20.6%. Robert has monster upside in an ever improving White Sox lineup. I'm buying in big time in 2022.

Kyle Schwarber, Free Agent

My Rank: 31
ECR: 35
NFBC ADP: 124.51

ATC projection: .245, 34 HR, 83 RBI, 83 R, 2 SB, 136 games

Last season, among hitters with at least 450 PAs, Schwarber had the 4th highest HR/FB ratio at 28.6%. This was behind only Shohei Ohtani, Fernando Tatis Jr., and Franmil Reyes. He also had the 6th best ISO at .288 and the 7th best wOBA at .392. The Statcast numbers back it up, as his xStats are almost identical to his actual ratios. Speaking of Statcast, Schwarber was 90th percentile in average exit velocity, 93rd percentile in hard hit rate, and 96th percentile in barrel rate. And who could forget his monster June, where he went on an absolute tear and hit 16 home runs in 18 days? Schwarber could push for 40+ home runs in 2022. I'll take that around pick 125 all day.

Adolis Garcia, Texas Rangers

My Rank: 38
ECR: 48
NFBC ADP: 166.13

ATC projection: .229, 26 HR, 77 RBI, 72 R, 12 SB, 137 games

Last season, as a rookie, Adolis Garcia burst onto the scene with 31 home runs and 16 steals. He's now a year more experienced and the lineup around him has improved substantially. I feel it is a drastic mistake for fantasy owners to write him off for poor performance post All-Star break. Including his poor 2nd half, Garcia still had a 74th percentile hard hit rate and an 80th percentile average exit velocity. He also had an 83rd percentile sprint speed and is on a team that won't hesitate to steal bases. The high K-rate is a risk, but I think Garcia can make improvements to it. I'm banking on it at his current ADP.

Championship Series - Boston Red Sox v Houston Astros - Game Six Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

Alex Verdugo, Boston Red Sox

My Rank: 41
ECR: 45
NFBC ADP: 158.77

ATC projection: .288, 15 HR, 66 RBI, 82 R, 6 SB, 144 games

Need stability, batting average, and run production as you enter the tail end of your draft? Alex Verdugo is your guy. And that's just his floor. Verdugo had a 50.3% ground ball rate in 2021. If he can turn just 5% of those batted balls into line drives or fly balls, you’re unlocking more home runs and more extra base hits. There is untapped upside with this former high-end prospect.

Jesus Sanchez, Miami Marlins

My Rank: 53
ECR: 78
NFBC ADP: 229.45

ATC projection: .255, 23 HR, 73 RBI, 64 R, 3 SB, 133 games

Sanchez is one of the guys I'm planting my flag on in 2022 in every league I'm in. I mean, I have him ranked around 20 spots higher than consensus. He has tools for days. Last year, he was 71st percentile in sprint speed and 91st percentile in max exit velocity. In fact, according to Statcast, 12 of his 14 home runs were no-doubters. That's some legit power. He has 30-homer upside and should get plenty of playing time, especially with the universal DH giving the Marlins (along with every other NL team) an extra hitter each day.

Julio Rodriguez, Seattle Mariners

My Rank: 70
ECR: 112
NFBC ADP: 275.76

ATC projection: .271, 9 HR, 34 RBI, 37 R, 7 SB, 66 games

Everyone is talking about Bobby Witt Jr. I mean, Witt Jr. already has an ADP inside the top 100. But Julio Rodriguez has similar upside, and can be had nearly 200 picks later. The 21-year-old has a 60-grade hit tool and 65-grade power according to MLB Pipeline. Last season, between High-A and Double-A, Rodriguez hit .347 with 13 home runs, 47 RBI, 64 runs, and 21 steals. All of this in just 74 games. For the record, most of the production came in Double-A. The Mariners are a team looking to take a step forward in 2022 and J-Rod could be a key contributor to that approach. I'm thinking the ATC projection of just 66 games is low. Rodriguez could even beat Witt Jr. to the majors. Don't forget this prospect at the end of drafts so you can avoid the race to the waiver wire he will trigger once he gets the call.