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USATSI

Outfield is the shallowest position in Fantasy Baseball right now. And it's been that way for a few years, if we're being honest.

You might look at the NFBC ADP data and see 21 outfielders drafted in the first 100 picks and think that means I'm overreacting, but I think the ADP data actually backs me up. Because, while it is true that there are 21 outfielders in the top 100 in ADP compared to eight first basemen and second basemen, 10 third basemen, and 12 shortstops, you have to keep in mind that's in a league format where every team starts at least five outfielders. There are middle infield, corner infield, and utility spots to draw from the ranks of those other positions, but even so, it's pretty clear that the outfielders aren't pulling their share of the weight right now. 

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I'm not quite sure how this happened. Looking back at recent top prospect lists, you have a few top-10 guys like Jordan Walker, Riley Green, Jarred Kelenic, and Jo Adell who have failed to establish themselves as stars as expected. Then you look at the rankings and see Julio Rodriguez, Corbin Carroll, and Michael Harris among other success stories, and I'm not sure that necessarily explains it. 

Then again, maybe it does. Because, the problem at outfield isn't that there isn't elite talent. In any given draft, we might see as many as eight or nine first-rounders off the board in the first round, after all, including probably four of the first five picks. Carroll and Rodriguez have established themselves as two of the best players in Fantasy, so it's the middle class at outfield that has really thinned out. 

For instance, you've got Cody Bellinger in the top 15 in ADP right now, despite the fact that  nobody really knows what to make of his 2023 campaign. You've got Lane Thomas as a top-24 OF despite nobody really buying what he did last year, either, to name just another example. Once you get outside of the top 12 in the outfield, there are suddenly a ton of question marks, which isn't a great sign for a position where you start at least three players in every league, and five in Roto. 

Which is to say, while in the past, I might have been worried about filling up my outfield too quickly in drafts, I no longer have that concern. Taking three outfielders with your first three picks might actually be a viable strategy, seeing how quickly the position thins out after that, especially in a Roto league. I'm not saying it's what you should do, but when you read through my thoughts on the bottom half of the top 12 below, you might be able to see what I mean. 

Consensus Rankings
Projections powered by Sportsline
ATL Atlanta • #13 • Age: 26
Fantasy Breakdown
ADP
1
Roto
1
Roto (OF)
1
H2H
1
H2H (OF)
1
2023 Stats
AVG
0.337
HR
41
R
149
RBI
106
SB
73
SO
84
There is probably some regression coming for Acuña, if only because he had one of the best seasons in Fantasy Baseball history in 2023. He'll be the No. 1 pick in every league, and deservedly so. Want to know a pretty wild fact? In addition to being second among all hitters in wOBA, he also underperformed his expected wOBA by the eighth-highest mark. It's hard to see how he could possibly be better in 2024, but it might actually be possible.
SEA Seattle • #44 • Age: 23
Fantasy Breakdown
ADP
7
Roto
2
Roto (OF)
2
H2H
15
H2H (OF)
8
2023 Stats
AVG
0.275
HR
32
R
102
RBI
103
SB
37
SO
175
Rodriguez looked to be struggling with the Sophomore Slump in the first half of last season, when he hit just .249/.310/.411, but in the end, he looked exactly like the guy we expected him to be. He cut his strikeout rate in the second half, started hitting for more power, and ended up with a 30-30 season. There's a path to 40-40 here, given Rodriguez's raw power and athleticism, and it just makes sense to bet on a 23-year-old with his physical tools to continue to improve. He's a viable No. 2 overall pick.
ARI Arizona • #7 • Age: 23
Fantasy Breakdown
ADP
25
Roto
5
Roto (OF)
3
H2H
7
H2H (OF)
5
2023 Stats
AVG
0.285
HR
25
R
116
RBI
76
SB
54
SO
125
As is Carroll, who may not have quite the strength Rodriguez does in his swing, but who might be a bit more optimized for maximizing what he has. Carroll probably doesn't have the pop to be much more than a 25-homer guy like he was a rookie, and there's some concern here about recurring (though, ultimately minor) shoulder issues last season. But Carroll might hit .300 and he might steal 55 bases, with more than enough pop to justify a pick as early as No. 2 overall.
LAD L.A. Dodgers • #50 • Age: 31
Fantasy Breakdown
ADP
3
Roto
4
Roto (OF)
4
H2H
2
H2H (OF)
2
2023 Stats
AVG
0.307
HR
39
R
126
RBI
107
SB
14
SO
107
And here's another outfielder you can make a case for as the No. 2 overall player – especially in points leagues. Betts set a new career high in homers in his age-30 season, but there's little reason to think it was a fluke, because it also came with career-best average exit velocities and his second-highest hard-hit rate of his career. Even if there's some regression to the 35-homer range, at the top of that Dodgers lineup, you're still going to get massive run and RBI numbers, with double-digit steals and a good batting average, too. Despite being in his 30s, Betts looks like he's going to continue to age gracefully, and if you wanted to take him at No. 2 overall, I think that's perfectly reasonable.
HOU Houston • #30 • Age: 27
Fantasy Breakdown
ADP
8
Roto
8
Roto (OF)
6
H2H
8
H2H (OF)
6
2023 Stats
AVG
0.284
HR
29
R
97
RBI
112
SB
30
SO
92
You probably won't see anyone considering Tucker with a No. 2 overall pick, because he probably doesn't have the upside for 40s in either the homer or steal categories. What he might lack in upside, however, Tucker more than makes up for with a complete lack of limitations in his game, and he's one of the best bets in the entire league to contribute plus production in all five categories. Personally, I've got Tucker ranked a spot lower than this, but that's more because of how much I like Tatis and less because of any deficiencies in Tucker's game; you won't find any of those.
SD San Diego • #23 • Age: 25
Fantasy Breakdown
ADP
62
Roto
7
Roto (OF)
5
H2H
12
H2H (OF)
9
2023 Stats
AVG
0.257
HR
25
R
91
RBI
78
SB
29
SO
141
If you're out on Tatis at his current cost, I kind of understand it, but I think you're playing to not-lose, which is not the same thing as playing to win. His history of injuries is a red flag, of course, though the fact that Tatis made it through last season without issue was a very good sign. Others will point to the fact that Tatis was suspended for PEDs as a reason to fade him, and I'll be honest: I think that's a much worse reason to be scared off. Tatis' quality of contact wasn't quite as good in 2023 as it was in 2020 and 2021, but it was still borderline elite despite not playing for an entire season. I'm viewing Tatis similarly to how I viewed Acuña last year: I'm mostly giving him a mulligan for his struggles in 2023. Players who do as well as Acuña and Tatis did in their early 20s don't tend to fall off as hard as Acuña in 2022 and Tatis in 2023 appeared to -- at least, not for long. If you're looking for someone with legitimate 40-40 upside, Tatis is right there with anyone. I'll take any discount possible on a profile like this.
NYY N.Y. Yankees • #22 • Age: 25
Fantasy Breakdown
ADP
2
Roto
12
Roto (OF)
8
H2H
5
H2H (OF)
4
2023 Stats
AVG
0.275
HR
35
R
97
RBI
109
SB
12
SO
129
The discourse around Soto is really weird. There are a lot of people who will very loudly and confidently exclaim that he is overrated – both as a real-life hitter and especially as a Fantasy player. Which is really weird for a guy who just put up the numbers he did. Soto hasn't hit better than .275 since 2021, but he continues to put up elite quality of contact metrics with tremendous plate discipline, so I still think a .300 average is totally realistic for him, even if you can't just pencil it in like we thought we could three years ago. And while his swing might not be perfectly optimized to take full advantage of Yankee Stadium's right field dimensions – most of Soto's power comes from right- and left-center – he should get a few extra homers out of the short porch. He's an OBP machine who will be hitting in front of Judge, so leading the league in runs is well within the realm of possibilities. Heading into a contract year, in the best home park he's ever played in, I want to bet on a career-best season from Soto.
NYY N.Y. Yankees • #99 • Age: 31
Fantasy Breakdown
ADP
5
Roto
9
Roto (OF)
7
H2H
4
H2H (OF)
3
2023 Stats
AVG
0.267
HR
37
R
79
RBI
75
SB
3
SO
130
As expected, Judge couldn't sustain his dominance from 2022 last season; his 155-game pace was only 54 homers, 116 runs, 110 RBI, and four steals. Ho hum. Judge is the game's premiere power hitter, and his quality of contact was actually, somehow, even better in 2023 than in 2022 – his expected wOBA on contact of .635 was his highest since 2017 and the second-highest by any player with at least 400 PA since 2015. If Judge stays healthy, he's going to hit 50-plus homers, with massive run production numbers, and I'd bet on double-digit steals, too. Of course, staying healthy has been a massive issue for Judge throughout his career, and it's not likely to get any better for the soon-to-be 32-year-old -- he's already missing time in Spring Training with an abdominal injury, though the Yankees have downplayed it despite his absence from games. There's obvious risk here, but the upside is that he might be one of the few players who could realistically challenge Acuña as the best player in Fantasy.
HOU Houston • #44 • Age: 26
Fantasy Breakdown
ADP
24
Roto
14
Roto (DH)
3
H2H
6
H2H (DH)
4
2023 Stats
AVG
0.293
HR
31
R
77
RBI
97
SB
0
SO
92
Alvarez is the first outfielder we're talking about here who will probably be a complete zero in stolen bases – he has two of them in a five-year career. It says something about what an absurdly dominant hitter Alvarez is that he's arguably underrated here despite there. He's going to hit .300. He's going to hit 30 homers, and might be as good a choice as anyone but Judge to get to 50, given his elite power metrics. The biggest issue with Alvarez is simply one of health. He had issues with recurring knee injuries early in his career, but last season, the primary issue was an oblique injury that cost him a month and a half, a brand new injury for Alvarez. If he stays on the right side of injury variance, Alvarez is a legitimate threat to compete for an AL Triple Crown.
CHW Chi. White Sox • #88 • Age: 26
Fantasy Breakdown
ADP
60
Roto
24
Roto (OF)
10
H2H
42
H2H (OF)
10
2023 Stats
AVG
0.264
HR
38
R
90
RBI
80
SB
20
SO
172
Did you know last season was the first time Robert has played 100 games at the MLB level? There's so much to like about his skill set, and he put it on full display in 2023, with his 38 homers and 20 steals, and all it took was him staying healthy for the first time. The upside here is just so high, even in a bad lineup (his home park helps in this regard, thankfully), but the injury risk is enough to knock him down draft boards. The ceiling isn't that much different for Robert as it is for someone like Rodriguez, and if he plays 145 games for a second season in a row, we might be talking about him as a first-round pick this time next season.
ATL Atlanta • #23 • Age: 23
Fantasy Breakdown
ADP
55
Roto
38
Roto (OF)
11
H2H
52
H2H (OF)
16
2023 Stats
AVG
0.293
HR
18
R
76
RBI
57
SB
20
SO
101
Harris might be the one player in the Braves lineup who is actually held back by being in the Braves lineup. In any other lineup in baseball, Harris is hitting in the No. 1 or 2 spot full time and has 700-PA upside; with the Braves, he got the majority of his starts hitting ninth and ended up with just 539 trips to the plate. An injury to Ozzie Albies or Acuña could push Harris up in the lineup, but as things stand, he looks destined to hit in the bottom half of the lineup, where he'll hit close to .300 again, give us a 20-20 floor with 30-30 upside, and be held back from the kind of counting stats that might push him into top-20 consideration otherwise.
TB Tampa Bay • #56 • Age: 29
Fantasy Breakdown
ADP
42
Roto
39
Roto (OF)
12
H2H
51
H2H (OF)
14
2023 Stats
AVG
0.254
HR
23
R
95
RBI
83
SB
22
SO
156
In 2021 and 2022, Arozarena had his share of skeptics, for potentially very good reasons: No player outperformed their expected metrics more than Arozarena, whose wOBA was a whopping 39 points higher than his expected wOBA. A funny thing happened in 2023, though: Arozarena had a career-best .351 expected wOBA (his xwOBA in 2022 was just .301) and he actually underperformed it slightly for the first time. I point this out to say that while it may seem like Arozarena has plateaued, I think you could make a case there might be even more room for growth than you might think. Could he hit 30 homers? I think that ceiling is in play, as is a 30-steal outcome. I'm not necessarily expecting that kind of production, but I do think there is room for more growth than you might think.
TEX Texas • #53 • Age: 31
Fantasy Breakdown
ADP
44
Roto
40
Roto (OF)
13
H2H
50
H2H (OF)
12
2023 Stats
AVG
0.245
HR
39
R
108
RBI
107
SB
9
SO
175
That's two seasons in a row as a top-20 hitter in Roto leagues for Garcia, and yet there remains some skepticism about his chances of sustaining this level of play. His plate discipline is a hurdle, but it hasn't really hindered him yet thanks to consistently borderline elite quality of contact metrics. There's a downside outcome here where Garcia hits .220, but with his power in that Rangers lineup, he's going to do plenty to make up for it. One thing I'm less sure about is the stolen base production – he stole just nine bases last season despite the new rules, and with his sprint speed declining to right around average, there might not be much room for improvement there.
LAA L.A. Angels • #27 • Age: 32
Fantasy Breakdown (PPR)
ADP
40
Roto
49
Roto (OF)
14
H2H
47
H2H (OF)
13
2023 Stats
AVG
0.263
HR
18
R
54
RBI
44
SB
2
SO
104
When he's on the field, Trout is still one of the very best hitters in baseball – among players with at least 350 plate appearances, Trout was 13th in expected wOBA last season, just ahead of Kyle Tucker and Rafael Devers. But his price is continuing to decline in Fantasy for two reasons. One is that he just cannot stay healthy; he hasn't played even 120 games in a season since 2019. The other reason is that he's only "one of" the best hitters in baseball when healthy, rather than arguably the very best. His plate discipline has moved in the wrong direction over the past few years, and his 2023 pace was more like 35 homers, rather than 45-50 like it had been the previous few seasons. If Trout bounced back to a 50-homer pace in 2024, I wouldn't really be that surprised; if he played 150 games, I might fall out of my chair.
COL Colorado • #22 • Age: 25
Fantasy Breakdown (PPR)
ADP
54
Roto
56
Roto (OF)
15
H2H
72
H2H (OF)
18
2023 Stats
AVG
0.297
HR
20
R
60
RBI
62
SB
20
SO
126
There are a lot of holes you can poke in Jones' game, but there's one response that goes a long way toward overcoming those doubts in my mind: He plays half his games at Coors. Yes, Jones strikes out too much (29.7% K rate in 2023). Yes, his BABIP was unsustainable (.401). Yes, he kind of came out of nowhere last season (he had some prospect pedigree, but the Fantasy community largely gave up on him, as did the Guardians before last season). And yet … he's a top-15 outfielder in the rankings because he hits the ball hard, has some athleticism, and plays half his games at Coors Field. Jones is unlikely to flirt with a .300 average again, but Coors should help inflate his BABIP enough to keep him from hurting you too bad there, and there's legitimate 30-30 upside here. I wanted to be out on Jones, but even his price is reasonable enough that I can't fade him entirely.
CHC Chi. Cubs • #24 • Age: 28
Fantasy Breakdown
ADP
64
Roto
57
Roto (OF)
16
H2H
54
H2H (OF)
15
2023 Stats
AVG
0.307
HR
26
R
95
RBI
97
SB
20
SO
87
Bellinger's quality of contact metrics don't come close to supporting what he did last season, and the fact that he is having so much trouble getting the contract he's looking for in free agency despite being a premium defender and a very good baserunner suggests MLB teams are similarly struggling to make sense of what he did last season. On the positive side of the leger, he cut his strikeout rate down to 15.6%, the lowest mark of his career, while also tightening up his launch angle, leading to both fewer pop flies and harmless ground balls. He probably won't hit 26 homers again, and his average might drop by 40 points, but Bellinger could still be a 20-20 who hits .270-ish, and that should be a useful option … unless he lands somewhere like San Francisco in free agency. Then I might be entirely out on him.
MIA Miami • #2 • Age: 26
Fantasy Breakdown
ADP
56
Roto
64
Roto (OF)
17
H2H
90
H2H (OF)
20
2023 Stats
AVG
0.25
HR
19
R
50
RBI
51
SB
22
SO
118
If it was just an issue of staying healthy, I might be willing to buy the dip on Chisholm, who has 33 homers and 34 steals in 157 games over the past two seasons. But we're four years into Chisholm's career and he's hitting just .210/.257/.355 against left-handed pitchers, with no real signs of improvement over the years. That's a massive hole in his game, and combined with the inability to stay healthy, it makes me question whether Chisholm's upside is really worth chasing. On the other hand … well, he's probably a 30-30 guy if he plays 150 games, and there aren't many of those guys. He's one of the ultimate risk-reward plays out there these days.
PHI Philadelphia • #12 • Age: 31
Fantasy Breakdown (PPR)
ADP
43
Roto
66
Roto (OF)
18
H2H
49
H2H (OF)
11
2023 Stats
AVG
0.197
HR
47
R
108
RBI
104
SB
0
SO
215
You know what you're getting from Schwarber at this point: Elite power, a bunch of runs and RBI along with it, and not much else. He went from 10 steals in 2022 to zero in 2023, and I'd bet on 2023 being more representative of what you should expect. The bigger issue is the batting average, which hasn't been above .218 in either of his past two seasons – and has been north of .220 once in the past four. You're hoping Schwarber can get to the point where he isn't actively harmful to you in that category, but it seems unlikely, so you have to account for that when building your team. It limits your options, but Schwarber's three-category dominance makes up for it. He might actually be undervalued here.
MIL Milwaukee • #22 • Age: 32
Fantasy Breakdown (PPR)
ADP
58
Roto
74
Roto (OF)
20
H2H
59
H2H (OF)
17
2023 Stats
AVG
0.278
HR
19
R
106
RBI
76
SB
28
SO
140
Yelich isn't the superstar he used to be, but he's settled into the back half of his career as a very good, albeit somewhat limited Fantasy option. You won't get much power from him, but he's not a zero there; 15-20 homers seems like a decent bet. He'll probably be helpful in batting average, but he won't win you the category, and you'll get 20-plus stolen bases from him, too. The only place he really stands out is in runs, because he still hits at the top of the lineup and gets on base a ton, but he'll do enough everywhere to be a must-start option in either points or Roto.
PIT Pittsburgh • #10 • Age: 29
Fantasy Breakdown (PPR)
ADP
50
Roto
80
Roto (OF)
21
H2H
78
H2H (OF)
19
2023 Stats
AVG
0.263
HR
24
R
85
RBI
84
SB
12
SO
138
It looked like Reynolds might be reaching a new level early last season, as he hit .323/.351/.586 in April, but a couple of summer slumps left him right around where he usually is, with decent, but unspectacular five-category production. You could squint and see a world in which he's a bit more helpful in batting average than he was in 2023, but overall, expectations should probably be right where they've been for the past few years.
TB Tampa Bay • #15 • Age: 26
Fantasy Breakdown (PPR)
ADP
81
Roto
75
Roto (OF)
19
H2H
101
H2H (OF)
21
2023 Stats
AVG
0.292
HR
20
R
71
RBI
83
SB
32
SO
124
When the Rays faced two must-win games in the Wild Card round of the playoffs last season, and Lowe only started one of them. That's a tiny sample size, but it highlights what makes trusting Lowe so hard: The Rays just don't seem to trust him to play everyday, as he had just 67 plate appearances against left-handed pitching. He was actually fine in those limited opportunities, and maybe they'll give him a chance to be an everyday player and he'll prove he can hold his own. It's possible. But this is the Rays we're talking about. They're about as unsentimental as a team can possibly be, and if they think they can wring even a minor advantage out of platoon Lowe, they will. And, if he gets off to a slow start, they might respond by limiting his overall playing time. There's plenty of upside here with Lowe, a talented young player with a very Fantasy-friendly skill set, but where he plays lowers both his floor and ceiling. And opening the season on the IL with an oblique injury certainly doesn't help his cause.
CHC Chi. Cubs • #27 • Age: 29
Fantasy Breakdown (PPR)
ADP
118
Roto
100
Roto (OF)
22
H2H
111
H2H (OF)
23
2023 Stats
AVG
0.285
HR
20
R
75
RBI
74
SB
6
SO
130
Suzuki's bat took a big step forward last season, in a way that the underlying numbers totally back up. He hits the ball hard, hits lots of line drives, has good plate discipline, and has plenty of athleticism to spare. The biggest question with Suzuki is whether he'll find a way to put that athleticism into play in games more frequently – he was in the 79th percentile in sprint speed last season but stole just six bases, while being caught seven times. There's enough athleticism for 15-plus steals here if he can be a more efficient base runner, and if he pulls that off, Suzuki could absolutely end up being a top-12 outfielder this season.
MIL Milwaukee • #11 • Age: 20
Fantasy Breakdown (PPR)
ADP
152
Roto
98
Roto (OF)
24
H2H
129
H2H (OF)
29
Chourio didn't even turn 20 until midway through his first Spring Training as a big-leaguer, but he's already penciled into the Brewers Opening Day lineup after signing an $82 million contract that buys out multiple years of free agency. He has played just six games above Double-A, so there's a lot of inherent uncertainty and volatility to any projection for him, but the skill set doesn't seem all that risky -- Chourio has speed and raw power to spare, and struck out just 17.8% of the time as a 19-year-old last season. No prospect is safe, but Chourio's profile doesn't have many glaring red flags, and he could absolutely be the kind of prospect who hits the ground running.
TEX Texas • #36 • Age: 22
Fantasy Breakdown (PPR)
ADP
123
Roto
93
Roto (OF)
23
H2H
94
H2H (OF)
27
When I first wrote this position preview, I didn't even highlight Langford, who was viewed as a longshot to make the Rangers Opening Day roster. Now, he's being drafted in most leagues as a top-24 outfielder despite the fact that the Rangers haven't confirmed he'll be part of the lineup to open the season. That'll happen when a top prospect hits .381/.449/.786 in the first 15 games of his first Spring Training. We still don't know if Langford will be on the Opening Day roster, but nobody expects him to be down for long if he's not, and all he's done since being drafted last year is crush the ball -- his .360/.480/.677 line across four levels of the minors last season isn't far off from what he's done this spring. Langford's ceiling? It's hard to make a case that he doesn't have top-five upside right now.
Don't Forget About ...
Projections powered by Sportsline
TOR Toronto • #4 • Age: 34
Fantasy Breakdown
ADP
76
Roto
95
Roto (OF)
25
H2H
91
H2H (OF)
21
2023 Stats
AVG
0.258
HR
21
R
87
RBI
72
SB
20
SO
125
So, in his mid-30s, Springer is suddenly stealing bases again? After swiping 14 in 2022, he stole 20 bases in 2023, a new career-high. It helps that he's mostly managed to stay healthy over the past two seasons, including playing 154 games last season, his highest total since 2016. This would have been cause for celebration at one point, but now it's met with a collective yawn, because Springer just isn't an exciting hitter anymore. He posted career-worst numbers across the board in 2023, and if you believe the StatCast data, this wasn't just bad luck, it was a decline. A bounceback performance in 2024 isn't impossible, but I wouldn't draft him expecting it. Draft him expecting 20 homers, decent numbers of runs, and some speed, and anything else seems like a bonus at this point.
TEX Texas • #32 • Age: 21
Fantasy Breakdown
ADP
86
Roto
119
Roto (OF)
27
H2H
118
H2H (OF)
26
2023 Stats
AVG
0.306
HR
5
R
15
RBI
12
SB
3
SO
24
In 40 games between the regular season and postseason, Carter hit six homers and stole six bases, and was such a key part of the Rangers run to the World Series that he was batting toward the top of the lineup in the most important games of the season. He struck out in 29.3% of his plate appearances in that sample, so it's not like he was perfect, but he certainly didn't look like the moment was too big for him. Carter stormed through the minors, holding his own at the highest level and showcasing a knack for getting on base and some skills on the base paths, with developing power. He might not be a superstar for Fantasy, but there should be a very good player here, even if there is still some risk for growing pains.
STL St. Louis • #18 • Age: 21
Fantasy Breakdown
ADP
82
Roto
128
Roto (OF)
28
H2H
141
H2H (OF)
31
2023 Stats
AVG
0.276
HR
16
R
51
RBI
51
SB
7
SO
104
If you want the cautionary tale for the top prospects making the leap to the majors, Walker can serve as one. He never played above Double-A before cracking the Cardinals Opening Day lineup last season, but struggled enough in the field and at the plate to earn a trip to Triple-A before the end of April. That's always a possible outcome for even the most talented young players, though in Walker's case, it didn't end up ruining his rookie season. He got called back up at the beginning of June and hit .277/.346/.455 the rest of the way. He wasn't an immediate superstar for Fantasy, but he also didn't wilt after his initial struggles, ultimately holding his own as a 21-year-old. I'm surprised there isn't more hype around him, and I'm willing to bet that the elite skill set we were all salivating over a year ago is still there.
OAK Oakland • #1 • Age: 25
Fantasy Breakdown
ADP
259
Roto
168
Roto (OF)
39
H2H
225
H2H (OF)
46
2023 Stats
AVG
0.254
HR
5
R
47
RBI
47
SB
67
SO
99
In your H2H points leagues, you can probably just skip over this guy, because Ruiz is just a categories specialist. And, specifically, he's just a speed specialist at this point in his career. And, depending on where the A's hit him in the lineup, he might literally just be a speed specialist -- he scored just 47 runs in 132 games last season because he was mostly batting toward the bottom of the lineup. But, man, if you need steals, this is your guy. Ruiz stole 67 bases despite his playing time limitations, and might be the odds-on-favorite to lead the majors in steals if there was no concern about playing time. Unfortunately, the rest of his game is incredibly limited, included in the field, where he was a negative defensive presence by every metric, despite his speed. If Ruiz steals 80 bases, I really wouldn't be surprised; if he wasn't an everyday player by the All-Star break, I also wouldn't be especially shocked.
PHI Philadelphia • #8 • Age: 32
Fantasy Breakdown
ADP
105
Roto
108
Roto (OF)
27
H2H
114
H2H (OF)
26
2023 Stats
AVG
0.272
HR
29
R
79
RBI
106
SB
11
SO
185
After a weird first season in Philly where he couldn't really hit for power in the regular season, Castellanos looked more like himself in 2023, clubbing 29 homers and 37 doubles while his quality of contact metrics bounced back pretty much across the board. It's hard to shake the memory of that disappointing 2022 season, of course, but it's a pretty clear outlier for him in recent years, so let's mark it up as a risk factor, but not one that should scare you off. If he's right, Castellanos feels like a good bet for 180 runs-plus-RBI, a helpful batting average, and 25-30 homers. That'll play in any lineup.
Sleeper
Projections powered by Sportsline
BOS Boston • #17 • Age: 28
Fantasy Breakdown
ADP
416
Roto
211
Roto (OF)
50
H2H
239
H2H (OF)
51
2023 Stats
AVG
0.231
HR
9
R
27
RBI
21
SB
5
SO
67
I was a pretty big O'Neill skeptic each of the past two offseasons as Fantasy players tried to chase his massive 2021 season, but I find myself drawn to him at his massively reduced price point this season. Injuries have been a problem for O'Neill, but he's also had a bit of bad luck in his profile, posting an expected wOBA over .330 each of the past two seasons but with an actual mark below .315 in each. It can be easy to overstate the impact of a new home park on any individual player, but it's worth noting that over the past five seasons, right-handed hitters at Fenway have outperformed their expected wOBA by 12 points collectively; at Busch Stadium, O'Neill's former home park, RHB underperformed wOBA by 15 points. It's a decent landing spot if you're hoping for a bounce back.
Breakout
Projections powered by Sportsline
DET Detroit • #31 • Age: 23
Fantasy Breakdown
ADP
100
Roto
152
Roto (OF)
35
H2H
163
H2H (OF)
36
2023 Stats
AVG
0.288
HR
11
R
51
RBI
37
SB
7
SO
114
Greene has now suffered three pretty significant injuries since the start of the 2022 season: A fractured foot just before the start of his rookie season, a stress reaction in his left fibula in May of 2023, and then a torn ligament in his non-throwing elbow that required surgery to end the 2023 season. He is expected to be fully ready for the start of this season, and I continue to be very interested in his skill set. He hit .288/.349/.447 last season despite the injuries, with underlying metrics that suggest he might have deserved even better – he had a .289 expected batting average and .499 expected slugging percentage. He hasn't shown much stolen base upside, and the injury history probably means he won't run enough to have much more than about a 10-steal ceiling, but if he hits like his Statcast metrics suggest he could, that probably won't matter. It definitely feels like there's another level to unlock as a power hitter, and if he does, Greene still has a really high ceiling.
Bust
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WAS Washington • #28 • Age: 28
Fantasy Breakdown
ADP
141
Roto
153
Roto (OF)
36
H2H
161
H2H (OF)
35
2023 Stats
AVG
0.268
HR
28
R
101
RBI
86
SB
20
SO
176
For at least some of my bust picks in any given year, there's a point where I would be willing to draft them, but I have a hard time seeing myself getting there with Thomas. His ADP is about 80 spots higher than I have him ranked right now. Thomas' stolen base abilities give him a reasonably high floor, but he put up a .223/.274/.431 line during the second half of last season, which looks a lot like a guy with a career .726 OPS prior to last season turning back into what he was – that he only had a .755 OPS during his minor-league career doesn't hurt the case. The underlying metrics suggest that Thomas overachieved for most of the season, as his expected average of .255 and xSLG of .436 were both well short of what he managed for the season. A low-to-mid-.700s OPS bat with 20-steal potential can be a useful Fantasy option, but it's not worth a pick in the first 10 rounds.
2023 Draft Prep
Outfield Top Prospects

Head here to read Scott White's full top-100 prospects list. 

1. Jackson Chourio, OF, Brewers

Age (on opening day): 20
Where he played in 2023: Double-A, Triple-A
Minor-league stats: .283 BA (531 AB), 22 HR, 44 SB, .805 OPS, 43 BB, 104 K
Chourio is the sort of dynamic talent whose tools are so loud that the numbers are immaterial, but even so, they were pretty great in 2023. Most notable was how he cut his strikeout rate to 17.8 percent, down from 26.9 percent the year before, despite making the big leap to Double-A.
Scott's 2024 Fantasy impact: fighting this spring

2. Wyatt Langford, OF, Rangers

Age (on opening day): 22
Where he played in 2023: Rookie, High-A, Double-A, Triple-A
Minor-league stats: .360 BA (161 AB), 10 HR, 12 SB, 1.157 OPS, 36 BB, 34 K
The Rangers drafted Langford fourth overall in July and then watched him obliterate four levels of the minors, putting him in the conversation for a big-league job already. If there's a flaw, it's not on the offensive side, where his impeccable strike-zone judgment and picture-perfect swing could make him a triple-slash threat along the lines of a Joey Votto or Juan Soto.
Scott's 2024 Fantasy impact: fighting this spring

3. Evan Carter, OF, Rangers

Age (on opening day): 21
Where he played in 2023: Rookie, Double-A, Triple-A, majors
Minor-league stats: .288 BA (420 AB), 13 HR, 26 SB, .863 OPS, 81 BB, 111 K
Major-league stats: .307 BA (62 AB), 5 HR, 3 SB, 12 BB, 24 K
Carter's slender build makes his batting helmet appear oversized, giving him a resemblance to Dark Helmet at the dish, but his power played beyond his size and exit velocity readings in his first big-league stint. His disciplined approach quickly earned him a spot in the middle of a World Series lineup, and a Christian Yelich-like outcome seems likely.
Scott's 2024 Fantasy impact: pencil him in

4. Dylan Crews, OF, Nationals

Age (on opening day): 22
Where he played in 2023: Rookie, Low-A, Double-A
Minor-league stats: .292 BA (137 AB), 5 HR, 4 SB, .845 OPS, 14 BB, 38 K
While Wyatt Langford was the early standout from the 2023 draft, Crews was actually the higher rated of the two going in, and simply advancing to Double-A in his professional debut would normally qualify as a smashing success. He profiles similarly to Langford, projecting to hit for both average and power while reaching base at a high rate.
Scott's 2024 Fantasy impact: midseason hopeful

5. James Wood, OF, Nationals

Age (on opening day): 21
Where he played in 2023: High-A, Double-A
Minor-league stats: .262 BA (473 AB), 26 HR, 18 SB, .874 OPS, 65 BB, 173 K
This ranking is more cautious than some, owing mostly to the fact that Wood's strikeout rate climbed to 34 percent during what was a lengthy stay at Double-A, and at 6-feet-7, he's no certainty to overcome it. But we all know that the most famous 6-foot-7 slugger, Aaron Judge, eventually did, and Wood is in some ways more impressive physically, offering plus speed to go with his plus-plus power.
Scott's 2024 Fantasy impact: midseason hopeful