As we continue our 2019 fantasy baseball rankings, we head into the homestretch of ranking hitters. For those confused, homestretch isn’t when you shoot up in bed late at night, remembering there’s a bag of Doritos under your nightstand and go reaching for them. That is the opening to my short film, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dorito. The main character has just been “Frito-laid off” and is described as Pringley and Ruffled. Last year, this post had David Peralta, Aaron Hicks, and Randal Grichuk. Well, they’re not all gems. My point (PLEASE!) there is some value to still be found in the outfielders, it’s just a matter of finding it, like in the landmark film, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dorito. As with the other rankings, my projections are included and where I see tiers starting and stopping. Anyway, here’s the top 80 outfielders for 2019 fantasy baseball:
61. Jake Bauers – This tier started in the top 60 outfielders for 2019 fantasy baseball. This tier goes until Pillar. I called this tier, “Riding crop.” As for Bauers, went over him in the top 20 1st basemen for 2019 fantasy baseball.
62. Jesse Winker – He’s going to be 26 years old in 2019. So crazy he’s only had 402 ABs in the majors, but it’s not entirely the Reds’ fault. Last year, he had a shoulder injury in July that knocked him out for the season. He’s in the Votto mode, and will be more valuable in OBP leagues. Last year, he had a .405 OBP in half a season. Of course, he also had 7 homers and zero steals, and that’s kinda who he is. A much better real life player than a fantasy one. Also, I have no idea where he’s playing. Is he platooning with Kemp and Schebler? Maybe, and I’m not winking some kind of code about Winker. I’m blinking. UPDATE: Reds said they expect to get Winker 500 ABs. I’m not taking them at their word just yet, because that means Matt Kemp just won’t play much, which sounds crazy to me in this godforsaken land of the MLB where upside never plays and old/boring always does. I’m over here flinching at good news like MLB has damaged my self-esteem. 2019 Projections: 71/15/41/.304/4 in 464 ABs
63. Kevin Pillar – I’ve owned Pillar in NFBC Draft Champion leagues for the past two years, and I would draft him again. “An owner in an organized league consisting of 15 teams or more that reorders team dynamics weekly or bi-weekly will draft a player late in the baseball sport of America and sometimes Canada, who gets regular at-bats and has equal parts speed and power.” That’s the Pillar Statute, a name that’s admittedly as confusing as its text. I think they made it confusing for the lawsuits. 2019 Projections: 64/15/70/.253/15 in 546 ABs
64. Kyle Schwarber – This is a new tier. This tier goes from here Pederson. I call this tier, “Sometimes.” Sometimes you’re the Hootie and sometimes you’re the Blowfish. Sometimes you’re the Mueller, sometimes you’re the Muellee. Sometimes you’re the guy who needs gas, sometimes you’re OPEC. That’s this tier; sometimes they’re playing, sometimes they’re not. As for Schwarber, he’s in a platoon as of now, but that changes with a hot start or one injury. An injury to someone else, not him, that’s obvious, no? I’m a bit surprised, tee bee aitch, that Schwarber is such an afterthought in fantasy drafts. He has easy 30+ homer power and should hit .245 or better. Also, year over year, he’s upped his walks, lowered his Ks and his plate discipline numbers are backing that up (chase rate down, contact rate holding still). There might finally be something to Joe Buck, picking daffodil petals, saying, “Schwarber loves me, he loves me not, he loves me!” Then running into his mother’s bathroom for ten minutes, and never flushing. 2019 Projections: 63/29/74/.244/4 in 471 ABs
65. Randal Grichuk – He’s a Statcast darling. If you troll through perfs (as kids call them), Grichuk is total butter on exit velocity, average homer distance, barrels per plate appearance. Only people with more barrels than Grichuk is a tour guide at Niagara Falls. Still, with all of this, Grichuk has been about as fantasy relevant as a top seven catcher. I guess call him, Yasmani Randal. That’s not bad, and I do like him, I was just trying to take some helium out of how hard he hits the ball vs. actual outcomes. Also, for those of you wondering why Grichuk is in a platoon tier and not officially in a platoon. Well, you can point at his 150+ game seasons with zero fingers, which also goes for Goodrum. 2019 Projections: 65/29/76/.247/4 in 506 ABs
67. Joc Pederson – I juggled Pederson between the tier in the top 60 outfielders of guys who are weird that I like, the tier below of outfielders who I don’t like, a tier in the top 100 of platoon guys, a tier in the top 40, then the Pollock signing happened and–Greybot, malfunction, need a sofa to rest gams. Pederson kinda fits in with all of those tiers too. He is weird, because he is so promising, but I think he remains in a platoon as long as Dave Roberts manages him — Weirderson? He should better but hasn’t caught on, and he’s only 26 — Yung Joc? But, again, platoon. 2019 Projections: 63/27/47/.244/3 in 414 ABs
68. Gregory Polanco – This is a new tier. This tier goes from here until Bruce. I call this tier, “Back to normal Grey shade.” By this tier name I mean, I usually alternate a tier of outfielders I like with a tier I don’t like, but the last two tiers were both favorable. But this tier is back to Grey shade. As for Polanco, here’s what I said merely days ago, “For most of the guys in this tier, I kinda assumed I’d like them, but not love them. When I originally saw Polanco’s name, I thought I was going to dislike him. He went 23/12/.254 last year, and I thought that was a peak on power and dip on average, but the peripherals actually say he could hit more homers this year, while continuing to bleed average. 27/10/.250 is not amazing, but it’s essentially the same he did last year when he was the 28th best outfielder. Yes, Piscotty and Polanco were back to back in the end of the season rankings last year, but I swear it wasn’t planned for me to put them like that this year. If you look at their projections 26/4/.272 vs. 27/10/.248, those are basically same thing. Or, sticking with the tier theme, it’s not great to have an arranged marriage, but at least you’re not annoying your friends with the honeymoon period.” And that’s me quotong me! Then a not-so-funny funny thing happened, I finally paid attention when someone told me Polanco had shoulder surgery. At some point in December, I Googled Polanco’s name and it sounded like he’d be back in March. Then I whistled along, thinking I was Happy Dwarf, but I was actually Dopey. About four days ago, Rudy said to me something like, “You have Polanco too high, he had shoulder surgery,” and I said, “Yup.” So dismissive! I wasn’t paying attention when I should’ve been. Then, some random commenter on Friday said Polanco would be out due to shoulder surgery, and it all clicked for me. That’s why we do the rankings now and don’t draft for six to eight weeks. Maybe I was confusing Polanco with Ozuna, but I’m not sure if that makes me sound smarter or dumber. Prolly dumber. Any hoo! Polanco won’t be back until May/June, due to shoulder surgery, so I dropped him in my rankings. 2019 Projections: 54/17/56/.248/7 in 398 ABs
73. Shin-Soo Choo – I don’t think I’ve drafted Choo in five years, i.e., I haven’t said, “I choo-choo-choose Choo in a while,” and it’s not starting now. We had a running bet last year that he wouldn’t hit 22 homers, which seemed insane when I said it in July and he was already at 18 homers. How about that 2nd half? 2019 Projections: 72/17/43/.259/5 in 523 ABs
76. Christin Stewart – This is a new tier. This tier goes from here until the top 100 outfielders for 2019 fantasy baseball. I call this tier, “Hello, Sharks,” by which I mean all of these guys are taking way too long to become household names and they could use some help with exposure. Then Mr. Wonderful would expose some underlying problem in all of these guys and it would become obvious why they’re on their tenth year of the minors. Then Robert Herjavec would say, “Give them a break, Kevin,” and Lori would say something about Scrub Daddy then I’d yawn and think, “Man, I watch too much Shark Tank.” As for Stewart, unlike some other guys in this tier, the Tigers don’t have a whole array of options to not play Christin Stewart, no matter the strongly worded letters they’ve received in protest from Robert Pattinson. We get it, man, she broke your heart! Stewart reminds me of every outfielder who took too long to break into the majors, hits 25 homers one year and chases that rather mundane glory every year after. Here’s what Prospect Mike said, “Do you like power? Me too! Do you like it when it comes with a suspicious strikeout rate but a solid walk rate? You know, the old three-outcome jawn? Well here ya go. Christin Stewart. Steamer is actually projecting him for 18 dingers in 420 plate appearances in 2019. That’s some cheap power in redrafts, especially deeper leagues or AL-only formats. If that wasn’t enough to get you going, he’s currently projected to hit second in the lineup as the only pure lefty bat. Holy cow…I think I just talked myself into drafting Christin Stewart with my last pick! Which is different than an ‘ice pick’ that I’d use on Grey.” Joke’s on you, I’m not an ice sculpture! 2019 Projections: 48/17/42/.257 in 354 ABs
Roman Quinn – It doesn’t feel like I want to draft Quinn ranking him this low, but I do. But, Part II, Back That But Up: He doesn’t have a starting job. Quinn is the type of guy who makes you drool when you think about him getting a full season of at-bats, then you take scissors and cut the drool off when you realize there’s absolutely no way he sees more than 400 ABs. One injury to a Phils’ outfielder *cough* McCutchen *cough* and Quinn is going to zoom up in fantasy value. I see your puzzled face and I have to know, am I the only one that uses a scissors to trim drool from one’s face? UPDATE: Bryce Harper killed Quinn’s value, and he was removed from my top 500. Sorry, bubelehs.
78. Manuel Margot – You are a special kind of terrible if you’ve overstayed your welcome in San Diego, which is what Margot’s currently up against. I expect the Padres to give Margot one more whirl in the Mad Hatter teacup ride (totally a saying), but I don’t have a ton of faith anymore in him. Rather than a sleeper post this year, I’ve written Margot in permanent marker on my car so people say, “Look at that manual car ‘Margot.'” See, cause it’s a gear shift car. 2019 Projections: 46/14/44/.267/9 in 441 ABs
79. Franmil Reyes – Similar to many other young outfielders I’m excited about, I almost wrote a sleeper post on Franmil, and maybe, who knows, I don’t know, do you know, I might still. Franmil is a 30-homer, .250 hitter who could be hitting cleanup for the Padres by April 15th, because Wil Myers and Hosmer have sold their rights to hitting cleanup after their previous season, and if there’s one thing Franmil knows is cleaning up at the plate (he’s big). Unfortunately, Reyes also might be the odd man out if Wil Myers plays a corner outfield position as is rumored. You figure Myers, Renfroe, then a platoon of Margot and Franchy, so where does Franmil go? I’m betting the Padres figure out something for Franmil, but I also bet on Zune over an iPod. 2019 Projections: 41/18/49/.257/2 in 341 ABs
80. Lewis Brinson – here’s nothing to Brinson’s line to point to to (stutterer!) get super jazz-handsy about. I guess if you’re jamming square pegs in round holes, he hit .239 when he returned in the 2nd half vs. .186 in the 1st half. He also had a higher BABIP and a still miserable strikeout rate. You want a crazy flyer in deep leagues? I’m not standing in your way of glory, but Brinson feels at least a half season away if not a full one. Of course, if he shows improvement in the spring, I might be able to build up a little more enthusiasm. 2019 Projections: 44/15/52/.229/8 in 456 ABs