In an incredible turn of events, I’ve done all the infield 2020 fantasy baseball rankings. Less incredible, you’ve read them. It’s like that time your favorite team won because they played better than that other team but you convinced yourself they won because you cheered loudly. When I win the Fantasy Baseball Blogger of the Millennial in 2099, and my frozen head is accepting the award, I’m going to thank you, the readers, but I’m secretly going to be thanking myself. Without me, none of this would be possible. You’re a close second though! Okay, enough ranking of you and me, let’s rank some outfielders! Here’s Steamer’s 2020 Fantasy Baseball Projections for Hitters and 2020 Fantasy Baseball Projections for Pitchers. All my projections are listed by the players and where I see tiers starting and stopping. Anyway, here’s the top 20 outfielders for 2020 fantasy baseball:
ALL PROJECTIONS ARE BASED ON 100 GAMES PLAYED, DUE TO COVID-19. BE SAFE OUT THERE!
8. J.D. Martinez – This is a new tier. This tier goes from here until Starling. I call this tier, “Tide pod flavor: Wishy-Washy.” There’s a case to be made for all of these outfielders to be higher and lower in the rankings. The major drawback for all of them is health and/or age. Just Dong clearly has had injury concerns in the past, but he’s also been fine for a while, playing in a ton of games the last few years. Then again, he’s getting older. Who would’ve thunk it?! Baseball’s salaries and contracts are severely broken, so I don’t want to read too much into how Just Dong decided not to opt-out of his deal. He likely felt, and rightfully, that the market is weak for everyone, even a guy who could be an MVP. Age does factor in, though. How much? Hard to say. For every Nelson Cruz, there’s a Justin Upton. For every Josh Donaldson, there’s a Khris Davis. For every Lorenzo Cain, there’s a Tommy Pham. Of course, none of these guys are costing as much as Just Dong to draft. Puts me in a tough spot on ranking and projecting him. The bottom may not fall out, but to expect more than his previous year’s 36/.304 feels foolish. One thing I am not is foolish– *intern whispers in my ear* –just finding out that I am, in fact, foolish. Damn. You see why I’m swallowing that Wishy-Washy Tide pod, right? Because I’m capital I iffy on all of this tier. 2020 Projections: 56/20/60/.288/1 in 319 ABs
9. George Springer – Jeez, these guys grow up so fast, huh? Springer is another age/health concern. His age (30) worries me a bit less. (At 32 years of age is when I really start to pump the brakes.) Can Springer continue to push elite numbers over the statline in his partial years? His numbers don’t give me a ton of pause — top 10% for barrels; top 5% for xSLG; starting to take a pitch, which comes with age, and is now pushing over .380 OBP and he doesn’t hit cheap home runs. His fly ball rate and HR/FB% are a tad absurd, and his ALB HR% (home run percentage after a loud bang) was almost 78%, which is suspicious. It’s hard to hate him, while I’m also not loving him to the point of pushing him into the top 20 overall. 2020 Projections: 66/18/51/.281/3 in 340 ABs
10. Starling Marte – Do I hate the guys in this tier? Not really. Do I love them for their current ADP? Not especially either. If Marte falls far enough in a draft, I guess I could see drafting him. Marte is still hopefully one more year away from becoming Lorenzo/15/15/Cain. Big time emphasis on that ‘hopefully.’ Put some of those movie premiere lights on that ‘hopefully.’ And not just for Marte’s age leading to fewer steals, his fly ball rate was 28.2% last year. When you sort by worst fly ball rates, and you’re in the bottom 15, it’s not great, Bob. UPDATE: Traded to the Diamondbacks. The Pirates obviously said to themselves, “We haven’t lost a big trade in almost a year, let’s get this done!” Now that the Diamondbacks have two Martes, they just need to sign Damaso Marte, and they can begin to build hotels. Thought the Diamondbacks were drunk on Martes before when they only had Ketel, now it’s a full-on Marte party! My guess is Marte goes to center, Marte goes to 2nd–Hold on, Starling goes to center; Ketel goes to 2nd base; Eduardo goes to 3rd and Lamb is baaaah-bye. This won’t change Starling’s stats dramatically, but a better park and lineup does inch him up a little in counting stats and power. His projections have been adjusted. 2020 Projections: 59/14/53/.289/14 in 359 ABs
11. Ketel Marte – This is a new tier. This tier goes from here until Judge. I call this tier, “Jumped out of the closet and scared a cat.” The standard trope is a cat jumps out of a closet and scares a person. Well, this tier is so shocking that it’s me jumping out of a closet scaring a cat. I was not expecting to like any of these guys, and especially not this high, but here we are and I love all of these guys. As for Ketel, already went over him in my top 20 2nd basemen for 2020 fantasy baseball.
12. Yordan Alvarez – I realized recently that Yordan Alvarez has a father who plays major league baseball. They haven’t made as much of this as the Griffeys and their father-and-son celebrations every-other-freakin day. Now, trying to figure out why Yordan has an ADP about 60 picks before his daddy, Nelson Cruz, who has done what son hopes to do for 27 straight seasons, tying the Yankees’ championship record, well, who knows. Age does make a difference. Fan them flames of upside with my pants’ tent. Yordan’s making money moves. Okay, now I’m just singing Cardi B. Yordan’s exit velocity is ridiculous. He ranked/raked 13th overall in majors, but Cruz ranked 3rd, so *raspberries lips* I don’t know. The deeper you look at it the more the comparison gets without the can, i.e., uncanny. They both averaged 411 feet on homers. Yordan is top 2% of xSLG; Cruz was top 1%. Cruz is top 2% of wOBA; Yordan is 1%. Yordan’s HR/FB% was 32.9%; Cruz’s was equally crazy at 31.3%. Yordan’s chase rate was 30.7% and Cruz’s was 30.5%. Holy crap, Nelson Cruz isn’t getting old, he’s getting younger and is now playing under a different name for a different team and OH MY GOD! Cruz is Yordan! Yordan is Cruz! Really, only thing I can think of why Yordan is dramatically over Cruz is the latter was born in 1962 and gave birth to Yordan. 2020 Projections: 54/22/65/.291/1 in 329 ABs
13. Eloy Jimenez – I might come back around on Vlad Jr. He is still so young and there’s time for me to appreciate him like Sir Mix-A-Lot would if he just caught a glimpse of his posterior. That’s not my feelings on Eloy. Him, I’m in on right now. Give me all the Eloy shares this year. (Yes, I’m loving just about every White Sox hitter this year — don’t think about it too hard, it’ll make you a little crazy.) Eloy ‘only’ had a 33.9% fly ball rate this past year, but he’s approached 40% some years in the minors. If he comes close to 40% on fly balls, he’s going to hit 40 homers with ease. I wouldn’t be shocked if between Eloy and Vlad Jr., Eloy is the first one to make an appearance in the top 15 overall. Though, I wouldn’t be shocked if Vlad beats him to the top 5. So, sticking with the tier theme, I jumped out of the closet and scared a cat, then that cat jumped out of a smaller closet and scared me right back. 2020 Projections: 53/22/63/.284/1 in 360 ABs
14. Austin Meadows – When I wrote the Austin Meadows sleeper post last year, I loved his draft price. It was so sweet. I took his ADP and ran through an abstract meadow of water lilies hand in hand with Audrey and Jayne Meadows. It was a glorious time to be alive. Now? There isn’t any kind of discount, which sucks. I feel like the Pirates after every trade or an Astros’ opponent eighteen months after a loss — I’ve been cheated! Oh well, they can’t all stay sleepers like Ian Happ. For full disclosure, where I’ve ranked Meadows won’t allow me to draft him in most leagues. It’s not that I don’t like him, I just don’t see the value any higher than this. He does hit a decent amount of fly balls so he doesn’t need to hit 30% of them for homers or something equally absurd, but lots of fly balls can get him in trouble and make him more of a 27/12/.270 hitter vs. the 33/12/.291 we covet. It’s relatively small difference in grand scheme of things, but it’s enough to pump the brakes just a bit. Speaking of which, he’s not a speed guy. With all of that said, if he’s here, at this price, I’ll draft the stuffing out of him. 2020 Projections: 56/17/54/.277/7 in 359 ABs
15. Jorge Soler – Full disclosure, I expected to not like Soler this year. His previous year screams fluke — or hirame if it’s in a sushi restaurant. If you just look at the surface and see 48 HRs, you think, “Meh, this guy was a 15-homer guy prior. Dude must’ve stepped in crap on the way to the plate every game, and now that Cam Gallagher isn’t the starting catcher, there’s no one to crap near home plate anymore.” Fair points. Unfortunately, not accurate points. Soler made some of the best contact in baseball last year. To say he’d go from 48 HRs to, say, 15 HRs is the same as saying Matt Chapman, Joey Gallo or Yelich would suddenly hit 15 homers. Soler’s 41.2% fly ball rate, 17% barrel rate, 92.6 MPH exit velocity, .593 xSLG, 50% hard hit percentage–Everything is beautiful! I’d suggest there’s actually a case to be made that Soler is only one of maybe ten guys who you can safely say will give you 35+ homers, juiced ball or not. If Soler had 10+ steal speed, I might’ve ranked him in the top 20 overall. I know it makes no sense, but his peripherals back up what he did last year with or without Cam Gallagher dropping trou. 2020 Projections: 51/22/64/.271/2 in 360 ABs
16. Ramon Laureano – I know you love the Blindfolded Name Game. It’s the one where we remove the names and just look at stats and decide which player is better. It’s helpful because names bring with them connotations and prejudices. This is not going to be super easy to hide names because one of them is obviously going to be Laureano, but let’s try anyway, shall we? Player A: 56/17/54/.277/7 in 359 ABs vs. Player B: 51/16/48/.272/9 in 356 ABs. Any guesses who is who? Okay, guess which one is Ramos Laureano’s projections and which one is Austin Meadows. Okay, just look at Austin Meadows’s projections three blurbs above and look again Ramon Laureano’s projections. So, why, over-the-internet friend, is Laureano being drafted so far after Meadows? Yeah, I don’t know either. 2020 Projections: 51/16/48/.272/9 in 356 ABs
17. Eddie Rosario – This guy is the Rizzo of the outfield — Rizzario? His upside and downside are closely aligned. You can’t see a huge, huge, HUGE, huge year from him, but you can’t really see an absolute terrible year from him either. Also, Jose Abreu comes to mind. Rosario is a solid bet for 28-32 HRs, 3-8 SBs and .275-.290. During a healthy year, do I see much below any of those numbers possible? Nope. I also don’t see a ton higher than those numbers either. On a side note that is actually related unlike most of my side notes, why do I see so many people ranking Rosario way below where they’re ranking Rizzo? You really see a ton of difference in their numbers? Rhetorical! 2020 Projections: 58/19/66/.281/2 in 357 ABs
18. Giancarlo Stanton – The other night, while laying under Giancarlo’s bed, crocheting mittens that connected at the thumb for me and him, I began to think about how fortunate I was to ever have Giancarlo in my life. The home runs, the fantasies where I was hiding in his shower while he read Men’s Health on the toilet. They were some terrific times I had, and I imagine him, as well. Wearing a giant suit made of magnet, I attached myself to the underside of his Hummer while we drove around Florida. Him doing errands, me avoiding potholes. It may never be matched again in our lifetime, and, from the bottom of my heart that reaches all the way to my pants, I say I want what’s best for him, but Giancarlo and I will not be sharing fantasy team memories this year. Only erotic glances while he’s on someone else’s team. 2020 Projections: 52/21/54/.272/1 in 316 ABs
19. Aaron Judge – If 2020 foresight were 20/20 hindsight, ideally, here’s how I’d like a 2020 draft to start: Christian Yelich, Adalberto Mondesi then Aaron Judge. Or Treat Urner, Javier Baez and Aaron Judge. Or someone, anyone, Aaron Judge. The problem with that thought bubble is its above my head in Fantasy Land. I just don’t see Aaron Judge falling into the third round. Now, if he does, then by all means, you should draft my fantasy fantasy team, then print out your team roster, and mail it to me so I have something to put under my pillow at night for my dreamchaser. So, if I’d happily draft Judge in the third round, why not in the 2nd? Mostly, there’s guys I trust a ton more to stay healthy and produce. Rather than production, Judge is one more season of prosucktion away from falling to the bottom half of the top 100. Even at this point, after two straight 27-homer seasons of barely 110 games, Judge is getting by a bit on good vibes and bad farts. Seriously, if Judge were a normal-sized human who hit 52 homers three years ago, then followed that with two straight 27-homer season, would he be ranked anywhere near this high? I doubt it. UPDATE: Will miss the start of the year. Whatever positives Judge has from being a giant it’s also hurting his ability to stay healthy. I wonder if he has the same thing as Andre the Giant. Guess on the bright side we might get a feature film with him co-starring Billy Crystal. “He used to drink 45 kegs of College Inn chicken broth during dinner.” That’s Billy Crystal on the DVD extras about Aaron Judge. Anyway, yeah, I’m now out on Judge, and have moved him down in the rankings and adjusted his projections. UPDATE II: Diagnosed with a stress fracture in his rib, which happened last September. The Yankees are going to give it two weeks of rest to see where Judge is at rather than opt for surgery. That’s right, something that didn’t heal in the last six months will be given two weeks more. The magical last two weeks of healing as Dr. Nick, the Yankees’ team doctor, describes it. “If rest doesn’t heal him, we will look at other options.” That’s Dr. Nick looking at a turtle that’s been dead for a month. I’m tempted to just remove Judge entirely from my rankings, since I wouldn’t draft him in any way, shape or humongoid form, but I left him in there. However, that will invariably lead to someone saying, “I see you have Judge around 200th overall, is that where you’d draft him?” Sure. I mean, no, I wouldn’t, but, sure, do what you want. I’m not drafting him. UPDATE III: If anyone can hit 30+ homers in only 100 games, it’s Aaron Judge, so I still don’t trust his health, but I had to move him up. 2020 Projections: 64/25/56/.262/1 in 311 ABs
20. Charlie Blackmon – This is a new tier. This tier goes from here until the top 40 outfielders for 2020 fantasy baseball. I call this tier, “The Braille word for boobs.” It seems like it would be fun to run your finger across it, but it’s just raised dots. Similarly, the guys in this tier seem like they’d be fun, but you’re going to likely be disappointed. As for Chazz Noir, it’s difficult to be too against any Rockies hitter. They play in a real-life MLB The Show park where the bat boy could homer. As with most 33-year-olds, Noir’s speed has completely vaporized. Last year, he had two steals in — and this made me laugh — seven attempts. Bud Black, man (no relation), had to keep sending him? That franchise is such a mess. Coors is so good too! It’s like a hot fudge sundae made by a five-year-old and it’s all fudge and whipped cream and there’s no actual ice cream. Chazz Noir’s sprint speed was 308th in the league. He was as fast as Jay Bruce. With his flat feet, Blackmon’s BABIP is going to come down, even in Coors, which is a notoriously high BABIP park, then his average will fall and his goofy power will fall back to earth and– This is like musical chairs. You keep sitting in Blackmon’s fantasy value, year after year, but at some point the music is going to stop and you’re gonna be left standing with a 24-homer, .270 hitter. Or worse: Daniel Murphy. 2020 Projections: 64/17/49/.288/1 in 352 ABs
Continue to the TOP 40 OUTFIELDERS FOR 2020 FANTASY BASEBALL