Went over the catchers, 1st basemen, 2nd basemen and shortstops and top 20 3rd basemen for 2018 fantasy baseball. Guess what’s next! No, not pitchers. Read the title, man. In 2010, there were only 5 outfielders that hit 30 homers, in 2011 there were 9, 14 in 2012, in 2013, there were 3, a small bounce back with 6 in 2014, eight in 2015, 11 outfielders in 2016, and last year there were 15. This year…DRUM ROLL!….10 outfielders hit 30 homers. Womp, womp. Obvious trend…denied! As for steals, there were 14 outfielders who stole 30 bases in 2012, 10 in 2013, 11 in 2014, five in 2015, seven in 2016 and last year there were…2! This year: five outfielders stole 30 and eleven players overall, up from six. Steals are on the come up! As before, these rankings are from our Fantasy Baseball Player Rater with my comments. Anyway, here’s the top 20 outfielders for 2018 fantasy baseball and how they compare to where I originally ranked them:
1A. Christian Yelich – If you don’t know how well Yelich hit this year, you’d have to have your head so far up your ass, much like Yelich in a certain ‘accidentally’ released video. If I were Yelich, I’d just say it was Pete Davidson. Yelich came within two home runs of winning the Triple Crown. Oh…*climbs a ladder that goes from the earth to the moon*…kay. He was always a floor player, now his floor is made of Doritos and we’re all gobble-gobble. His HR/FB rate (35) was a bit goofy and his fly balls actually came down from 2017, but his average home run distance (407) was top ten for guys with 25+ homers. Not a ton of difference between that and Trout or Arenado, to grab two names that are supposed to impress you. Then again, his launch angle on home runs was 41st out of 48 for guys with 25+ homers. He was also top 10 overall for exit velocity on outs. Can you tell I’m at Statcast? Okay, moving on before I start talking about his horizontal release point on his ‘accidentally’ released video. Preseason Rank #20, 2018 Projections: 105/19/67/.291/17 in 581 ABs, Final Numbers: 118/36/110/.326/22 in 574 ABs
1B. Mookie Betts – For the first time in as long as I can remember, though I’m only remembering back about fifteen days, the top two guys on the Player Rater tied at #1 — Yelich and Betts, and if you had them both on one fantasy team and lost, what the hell did you do? By the way, I had a revelation the other day. We’re in the middle of one of the best groups of young players I can remember. Peaks are so crazy sexy right now. Sure, our slightly older cousins are likely thinking about the salad days of Pujols and Hanley, and their slightly older cousins are still talking about Bonds, McGwire and Sosa, but some of the young guys in the game have me hot and bothered. Mookie Ballgame is at the top of that list for me. 30/30/.340 is ridunk and he missed at least twenty games. That’s deliciously gorgeous — engorgedelicous? Hmm, maybe not. Preseason Rank #3, 2018 Projections: 104/25/109/.305/25 in 605 ABs, Final Numbers: 129/32/80/.346/30 in 520 ABs
3. J.D. Martinez – This post will be 5,000 words long if I don’t start adding in some pith, and it is my wish to keep it short like Altuve would say to a genie. Just Dong will hit 40+ homers every year if he plays 150 games, so not a ton surprising here, except the 150 games played. Maybe like guys before him who could never stay healthy, then suddenly started playing 150 games every year (thinking Nelson Cruz, Kinsler), this is the new Just Dong. Different than the old Just Dong. Preseason Rank #6, 2018 Projections: 91/36/109/.284/4 in 505 ABs, Final Numbers: 111/43/130/.330/6 in 569 ABs
4. Mike Trout – A great class of outfielders this year and Trout was still top five in only 471 ABs with a mediocre offense around him. And, in 2019, he will still only be entering his age 27 season! Preseason Rank #1, 2018 Projections: 116/40/105/.312/18 in 541 ABs, Final Numbers: 101/39/79/.312/24 in 471 ABs
5. Khris Davis – You can set your watch to Khris Davis’s stats. Only thing is, you’ll always think it’s .247 o’clock. Preseason Rank #19, 2018 Projections: 86/41/106/.245/3 in 551 ABs, Final Numbers: 98/48/123/.247 in 576 ABs
6. Whit Merrifield – Went over him in my 2nd basemen recap.
7. Charlie Blackmon – If you owned Chazz Noir this year, you got the last vestige of him as a top outfielder season. Just by the hair on his chinny chin chin. Preseason Rank #9, 2018 Projections: 107/24/71/.289/15 in 597 ABs, Final Numbers: 119/29/70/.291/12 in 626 ABs
8. Giancarlo Stanton – As someone who has spent many nights on Giancarlo’s floor, hidden beneath his bed, I can accurately say this year was his floor. There’s some promising stuff under the hood, which is something no gyno should ever say. Giancarlo’s exit velocity on outs was top 7 in the league and his hard contact was up from his 2017 season. Less promising, Ks were up, walks were down, fly balls down, ground balls up and his chase rate was way up. That all means to me is he was struggling like we hadn’t seen in a few years. Maybe it was New York, maybe it was he was longing for my embrace. I like to think it was the latter. The good news goes back to the floor — 38 HRs, .265 and all the runs and RBIs that comes with that really isn’t that bad. I love him, and I hope you respect our privacy. Preseason Rank #4, 2018 Projections: 107/53/121/.273/3 in 547 ABs, Final Numbers: 102/38/100/.266/5 in 617 ABs
9. Bryce Harper – Out of curiosity, I went to look at our OBP Player Rater, and Harper moves up to top 5. By the by, if you find more comprehensive Player Raters somewhere, let me know, because I don’t think they exist. Not to mention, most of the Player Raters I’ve seen have random numbers for each category, whereas ours have dollar amounts, because, ya know, when you’re in auctions, you use dollar amounts. Yes, it is as simple that if you paid $40 for Harper, then you lost $7 in value because he earned $33 worth of value. Speaking of dollars and Harper, some team’s about to lose $750 million! Preseason Rank #2, 2018 Projections: 96/35/109/.308/12 in 533 ABs, Final Numbers: 103/34/100/.249/13 in 550 ABs
10. Andrew Benintendi – Lots of talk about floors this post, and I didn’t even mention Harper’s season was yet another floor, but Benintendi is the ultimate floor champion which I will abbreviate as UFC! That’s not used in any other arena, is it? Like an octagonal arena? Preseason Rank #13, 2018 Projections: 90/22/81/.282/14 in 566 ABs, Final Numbers: 103/16/87/.290/21 in 579 ABs
11. Starling Marte – He seemed to alter his approach a tad this year. Went for more fly balls. However (aw shucks, this isn’t going to be good), he only hit eight homers over 400 feet, had six homers under 385 feet (and one at 386 feet) and averaged a 87 MPH exit velocity, which was about 230th overall in the league (when sorting by 100 or more PAs). Not a ton of 20-homer hitters behind, as you can imagine, which is me asking you to make your fantasy reality about fantasy. Not to me confusing, said Yoda. Preseason Rank #12, 2018 Projections: 88/15/61/.272/32 in 551 ABs, Final Numbers: 81/20/72/.277/33 in 559 ABs
12. Mitch Haniger – This year was exactly what you can hope for from Haniger if he stays healthy, i.e., an active Haniger is better than resting Mitch face. Preseason Rank #47, 2018 Projections: 71/25/80/.259/7 in 543 ABs, Final Numbers: 90/26/93/.285/8 in 596 ABs
13. Scooter Gennett – Went over him in my 2nd basemen recap.
14. Michael Brantley – Decent enough time as any to point out how reliable hitters are vs. pitchers. I haven’t gone over pitchers yet (so maybe not a decent enough time to mention this), but you’ll have to take my word for it while seeing hitters, outfielders specifically. There were three real surprises in the top 20 outfielders — Brantley, Haniger and Peralta. I liked Haniger and Peralta, so they weren’t that big of surprises, but they were ranked, and drafted after the top 40 outfielders. Brantley was the only absolute out of nowhere surprise. He had done it before, but it hadn’t been a while because he was injured, often. And Brantley’s final stats that propelled him here were, in no small part, due to being sandwiched between Lindor and Jo-Ram. The literally-a-hero sandwich. Starters, which I’ll go over next, had eight guys in the top 20 who were surprises. Preseason Rank #91, 2018 Projections: 64/14/68/.287/7 in 442 ABs, Final Numbers: 89/17/76/.309/12 in 570 ABs
15. Rhys Hoskins – Went over him in my 1st basemen recap.
16. Nicholas Castellanos – Went over him in my 3rd basemen recap.
17. David Peralta – The only thing that bums me out about Peralta is how old he is (31). I’m pretty much convinced he would’ve had five to seven years like this year if he stayed healthy earlier in his career, and wasn’t platooned. C’est la vie as they say in Jeff Francoeur’s house. By the way, how about that terrible, awful, adjective humidor that saw Peralta hit 16 homers at home. You bad, bad humidor! (Okay, to be fair, Chase Field was slightly below average for homers last year.) Preseason Rank #65, 2018 Projections: 74/16/67/.273/7 in 509 ABs, Final Numbers: 75/30/87/.293/4 in 560 ABs
18. Tommy Pham – My preseason schmohawk post on Pham seemed all but confirmed, prior to his trade to the Rays, then he quickly fractured his foot and I was high fiving myself in the mirror while making googly eyes. Then my googly eyes went moogly-boogly and Pham had an insane final six weeks. I’ll take the bogey on Pham’s overrated post, but don’t forget I also told you to avoid Carlos Correa (when little to no one was avoiding him), Josh Donaldson, Elvis Andrus and Aaron Judge. 4-for-5 gets me into the Hall of Fame on the 1st ballot. Preseason Rank #31, 2018 Projections: 83/16/63/.275/19 in 484 ABs, Final Numbers: 102/21/63/.275/15 in 494 ABs
19. Ronald Acuna Jr. – Guys and five girl readers, I had a pretty good year with my rankings. Maybe it’s selective memory, but Tildaddy is just another in a long line of exceptional picks. You can try to find someone who ranked Tildaddy as high as me, but I don’t think you’re going to find it. Ya’ll thought I was crumby with crackers putting him in my top 25 outfielders when he had no set ETA. ETA-schmETA! You only have to watch one home run fly off his bat and one quick jaunt into 2nd base on a steal and know, Tildaddy is completely all right. Though, only when Tilmommy says he’s right. Preseason Rank #25, 2018 Projections: 74/17/77/.304/21 in 514 ABs, Final Numbers: 78/26/64/.293/16 in 433 ABs
20. Eddie Rosario – Was yet another preseason sleeper of mine that I ranked incredibly high and everyone was like, “Yo, Grey, you are handsome AF, but Rosario is about sixty picks earlier in your rankings than everyone else.” He trailed off a bit in the 2nd half, and he dealt with some injuries towards the tail end of the season, but he still ranked 50th overall on the Player Rater, after I ranked him 77th overall in the preseason. You’re welcome. Preseason Rank #28, 2018 Projections: 88/30/96/.286/4 in 551 ABs, Final Numbers: 87/24/77/.288/8 in 559 ABs
Imagine if Peralta wasn’t a failed pitcher living in Venezuela not in affiliated ball 7 years ago…
Kudos on the prescient rankings! Great stuff as always.
The first place team in my league had Yelich and Betts. Also drafted Morton, Corbin, and got a sub-3 ERA out of Bundy somehow. Had Sale anchoring the staff too. Talk about smooth sailing.
Rosario absolutely disappeared after June. Probably got hurt sometime in early July. On fire in May and June, but the other four months were ugly, all below 700 OPS.
Kinda torn whether to keep him or not.
Thanks, papasmurf! I hear ya on Rosario, depends on options… There’s a new post for followups
What round are seeing Devers drafted? Would you assuke folks will be drafting him later than they should or sooner? Looking forward to next season…
@Johnnyhobbes: assume not assuke
I think he might be a solid sleeper, but I have to look into him more… Worried he might get some overratedness from the playoffs, only concern
I spent a ton of the pre-season on Razzball getting ready for my drafts, best site out there. Thank you.
So besides picking your brain Gray, I studied and implemented the Razzball player ranking tools, customizing them the best I could to fit my leagues’ specifications. However, I kept thinking that something was inherently wrong with the rankings, or I was converting the auction values incorrectly, or something, because Michael Bradley kept showing up really high on Rudy’s player rater. Welp…
Thanks! Yeah, I think it also liked Kevin Kiermaier, so welp womp — sometimes the Rater likes known commodities a lot, but then it loved Acuna too, so hard to say
ya, I’m definitely guilty of some cherry picking there, there’s probably no moral to this story other than Brantley just never let up this year.
Speaking of an accent (~) placed over Spanish n when pronounced ny (as in señor ), i get to keep 2 of these fellas in a keep forever 12 team H2H points league:
I’ll pick 11th (so like 36th overall accounting for keepers) in the draft. which 2 do I keep? I’ve had Goldy since I drafted him in the 7th round (67th over all) in 2013. Thank you.
Oh, don’t get me wrong, I like cherry picking when it makes the tools look good! Acuna, Judge
I have 1 open spot on my minor league roster, ( i can keep a player on this roster up until the opening day after he exceeds rookie eligibility) Basically an extra keeper year for rookies.
I have tried to use one of these spots for a guy that flashed good production, but not someone I would lock in as one of my 6 available mlb keepers.
Who do you like more going into next season, Franmil Reyes or Ramon Laureano?
Feel pretty good about that part of my roster for talent/trade chips
How deep is this league?
12 team Keeper
keep 6, but to be keeper eligible player has to be drafted after the 6th round. Players can be kept for 4 years.
Also the 8 player minor league roster.
Ah, okay, minor league roster is fairly deep then, but that league is crazy deep on its own
Hey, great write up as always!
Off topic, but in a keeper
Thanks, ngb! Gotta go Betts, dude’s an all-worlder
Thank you for these but we all know the real question is where does Acuna rank for 2019? The correct answer is #1. I don’t mean in OFs are even in baseball but among human beings in general. Can you tell I have Acuna in a keeper league and he’s the only spark of optimism for me to come out of 2018?
If he’s not somehow above #1, I think there’s some injustice
Nice! Drafted 4 of the top 20 OFs. Managed to draft Yelich and Betts. I didn’t disappoint Grey. I won! The SON had a lot to do with it as well.
Very nice! If you dominated in OF, you prolly dominated on offense, so kudos
Right on about yawnstipating. It is no wonder I felt I could never get a solid 5 OFs on a 12 team l ague no matter how hard I worked trades and the waiver wire. Thanks for the clarification for me.
Yup, no problem
Pham! If you check out his batted ball profile and plate discipline while factoring in his overall skill set, he’s basically an older version of Yelich, which is why I was banging the drum for him in the preseason. A top 20 OF and top 50 overall season isn’t too bad considering he played through injuries and had a stint on the DL too.
Maybe it’s a bit less impressive when you consider that Haniger, Gennett, and Brantley were all top 15 outfielders this year. Quite a yawnstipating trio (and I owned all of them in various leagues). Doubt too many people will be chomping at the bit to spend early picks on those guys next year.
Don’t think Haniger and Scooter will go that early, but don’t think they necessarily shouldn’t… Not a ton saying they’re terrible, just not that flashy and predicated on some runs and RBIs… Yeah, Pham seemed to be okay in the end…Sure wasn’t clear sailing to get there
@Grey: Looking at the razz player rater, Pham was more valuable than guys like Cain, Altuve, Cruz, Bellinger, Springer, and Soto. I’d say he did just fine.
Could see a repeat, or something close, from Haniger next year. Gennett looks like a prime candidate for one of those schmohawk posts of yours though. He was very mediocre in the 2nd half, and a good chunk of his value is tied to batting average and counting stats. A neutral-ish BABIP would really sap his value.
Yeah, he did fine, but it was not clear sailing, there were moments when it appeared like he was about to go south (then he did actually go south)… Maybe on Scooter, I did notice the 2nd half (hard not to)… The problem with him being a potential schmohawk is I don’t think perception about him is all that great for him to be overrated… Feels a bit like a younger Jed Lowrie, usable, not really overrated tho
@Grey: In one early NFBC 15 teamer (money league, not a mock), Gennett went off the board in the 5th round and Haniger in the 6th. I’d consider that to be potential schmohawk territory.
That’s overrated! Haha, yeah, that’s too high for a 22-25 homer, .265-280 hitter
And the Peabody for excellence in Fantasy Baseball journalism goes to…Grey Albright, Fantasy Master Lothario (Do not abbreviate)
a. Some great names on this list. My fantasy season really petered out because I paired Harper with Freeman. Not too bad but if it weren’t for other contributors…If your number 1 is laying out a #2, then you might lose your league despite all the other good moves you make.
b. Mark Twain quote of the day for October 18
There isn’t a Parallel of Latitude but thinks it would have been the Equator if it had had its rights.
What if your #2 does a #1?
I believe Grey’s 4,5 and 6 had a threesome and created a love-child and it generated a W.
A big giant W all over the sky
@Ante Galic: Yes, finally I win something! A. I hear ya B. Hehe, nice
By the way, I have both Yelich and Betts together with Lindor, Arenado, Rizzo and Goldschmidt in my keeper league and I still didnt win. Ended 4th.
Did your pitching suck? How many teams in league?
12 team, H2H, 6×6,keeper league. My pitching sucks, I have Bauer, then loong pause and Hamels is next. I swept offensive cotegories but the league is heavily biased towards pitching, so I suck regardless.
By the way I have Vlad Jr. and Kyle Tucker in my farm.
You have it wrong, Yelich needed more than one HR to overcome Arenado.
Oh, two, my bad
if Acuna is 19 then “i can only imagine” Soto was pretty close to top 20 as well. Mercy me ….what a year!
@Brian: Soto was 37 on the player rater.
Soto is 37, as said by dude — They’re both gonna be special for a long time too