The Outfield is my favorite position to draft in Fantasy Baseball. Why? Well, for one, it's the deepest offensive position with over 250 players to choose from. Second, it's a great position to "fill in the blanks" as you go along. From the outfield position, you can draft just about anything you lack at any time. Need batting average in the middle in your draft? No problem. You can take Alex Verdugo in the 10th round. Need more runs? Max Kepler , likely batting leadoff for the Twins, is currently there for you in the 13th. Need speed? Jon Berti could get you 25 bags, also play for you at 2nd base, and you can find him in the very last rounds of your draft. This brings me to the third reason I love Outfield. Many late-round qualifying outfielders also qualify inside the diamond, making them valuable pieces as the season goes along and the inevitable injury bug begins to bite. That expanded eligibility allows you to take chances or wait at other positions depending on your draft flow. To sum up: you can use the outfield position to get creative and put your unique managerial stamp on your team. 

From the above paragraph, you could assume I think it's best to wait on drafting your Outfield. That's certainly one viable option now that there is so much power and speed found in the previously shallower positions of shortstop and third base. However, there are always outfielders that I seek out at the beginning of my drafts. These are five-category players like Mike Trout , Ronald Acuna, Mookie Betts , and Christian Yelich . And speaking of Christian Yelich , I think it’s time to address the elephant in the room:


What in the world do we do with it? It was a 60-game season filled with injuries, canceled games, abbreviated double-headers, the universal designated hitter, games played only within geographical divisions, and regardless of league. We are looking at a small sample size from a season playing a different, although similar, game. Can we trust it? Short answer: no. If a player was a stud before 2020, he's probably still a stud. If a player broke out in 2020, take it with a grain of salt. Of course, we did see some breakouts in the short 2020 season, but remember, sixty games are just a blip in the marathon of baseball.     

For purposes of this article, I will be using ADP (average draft position) from current NFBC drafts. I will also be using a 12- team standard 5x5 roto league as the basis for my picks. If your league is 14 teams or more, players will go a little earlier, and if you play in a head-to-head league, many of these picks will be the same, but you will want to account for your unique scoring.   

Now- let's get to the fun part!

Absolute, No-Doubt, Slam Dunk First Round picks:

Assuming no significant injury or sudden alien abduction (hey, after 2020, you never know), these Outfielders are musts in the first round: Mike Trout , Ronald Acuna, Mookie Betts , Juan Soto , and Christian Yelich

All of the above players will contribute to average, runs, RBI, home runs, and stolen bases. Trout is perennially an MVP candidate, contributing across every category. Last year he even added "dad-power" to his resume. Acuna broke out in a big way in 2019 and followed it up with a strong, although a little sluggish, 2020 while also nearly doubling his walk rate. Juan Soto showed no signs of slowing down in 2020, posting his best batting average yet as well as career highs in walk rate, hard-hit rate, exit velocity, and barrels while also posting a career-low strikeout rate. Mookie lived up to superstar status on the West Coast, delivering precisely what everyone expected- a perfect power/speed combo with 16 home runs and ten stolen bases while batting .292 in only 55 games. Christian Yelich had a down 2020 with "only" 12 home runs and four stolen bases after a 2019 season saw him hit 44 bombs and steal 30 bags. The only player I have listed that could give you some pause is Christian Yelich . 2020 was the first time in his eight-year career that he batted less than .282. However, because of this, Yelich could fall into the second round. If that's the case, be sure to scoop up the value. It's worth noting Yelich also had career-highs in hard-hit rate and exit velocity in 2020.

The Next Best Things (Rounds 2-6):

If you miss out on one of the above studs, here are the next best things. As a fantasy baseball manager, I like to get a solid floor in my first 5-6 rounds. I try to accumulate power and speed as much as possible here so that I can take big shots on some high-potential players later. The great news is, Outfield has a lot of these "safe floor" players that will contribute to your offensive categories. 

Bryce Harper , Starling Marte , Kyle Tucker , and Luis Robert  all combine for power and speed and are everyday players on competitive teams. All four of the above players have the potential for big power and speed. Harper has the most power and could hit upward of 35+ home runs while swiping fifteen bags. Luis Robert isn't too far behind with thirty expected home runs and twenty stolen bases. Starling Marte will be starting for the Marlins this season. He should easily swipe 30 bags and has plenty of power for 20+ home runs, plus he will bat for very strong average. Finally, Kyle Tucker will be the new everyday left-fielder for the Astros with 25+ home run potential and the speed for at least 20 extra bases. 

If you want to start building up your power in these rounds, Marcell Ozuna , Eloy Jiménez , and George Springer  are all available here. Though these players likely won't contribute much to the stolen base category, all four of these players will contribute to your counting stats without batting average taking a big hit. Expect 30+ home runs from these three. 

Still really good and possibly undervalued (rounds 7-14):

Charlie Blackmon , Nick Castellanos , Jeff McNeil , and Michael Brantley  all fall into these middle rounds. I want at LEAST one of these guys on every one of my teams. Though he has slowed down a little, Blackmon hits in Coors and still has the potential for 25 Home runs, 80+ runs, and a .300 batting average. Castellanos easily could hit 30 bombs with 90+ RBI for the Reds. Castellanos is a career .274 hitter, so don't be distracted by the 2020 numbers. In three short seasons in the big leagues, Jeff McNeil has never batted below .311, and he'll be batting at the top of a Mets lineup that's on a mission to win. McNeil should return 20 HR and 90 runs. Bringing up this group's rear is Michael Brantley , currently going as late as the 13th round. Brantley is a career .297 hitter hitting third in a strong Houston lineup. Fifteen home runs, 75 runs, 75 RBI, and a .300 batting average should be in the cards again for 2021.

Late Picks to Cover the Bases (rounds 15+):

Here is where I like to take multi-positional players, specialists, and sleepers. Many times this is where your draft is won. I remember drafting Mike Trout here back in 2011 (spoiler alert: I won). 

Yasiel Puig - Ok, sure, he doesn't have a team and hasn't played since 2019, but let's not get too nit-picky. This is a guy with 20-bomb and 20-bag potential, and he is essentially free in round 20 of your draft. I'll take that lotto ticket. 

Trey Mancini  missed all of 2020 due to colon cancer, but the good news is he is now cancer-free and will try to pick up right where he left off. His 2019 was spectacular: batting .291 with 35 home runs and 97 RBI. Bonus: depending on your league rules, Mancini may also have 1B eligibility.

Myles Straw  is currently the starting center fielder (unless the Astros sign the player listed next). He will steal 30 bags if he remains the everyday starter. Straw is going in the ....40th round. 

Jackie Bradley, Jr is another player that is yet unsigned but is worth drafting. His 2020 campaign was strong, batting .283 with seven home runs and five stolen bases. If JBJ ends up with a starting job, and he should, this could be a free square. 

Manuel Margot  swiped 12 bags in only 47 games in 2020 while batting .269. He's currently expected to bat in the middle of the order for the AL champion Rays, and he's going in the 21st round. 

Jurickson Profar  may qualify at OF, 2B, MI, and UT. He may not have an everyday role, but his versatility and new 3-year contract suggest he will see plenty of playing time. Profar is coming off a strong 2020 batting .278 with seven home runs. Profar is currently going after the 20th round. 

Now- let's try a little cheat sheet. There are far too many outfielders for me to profile them all, but you can use this deep position to "fill in the blanks" as you go, as I suggested earlier. Here are some players I haven't yet mentioned to target in each round based on category. This list is non-exhaustive and based on current ADP, which subject to change. Some players listed qualify in multiple categories but are only listed in one. When making this chart, I found many great players available in rounds 11-15. 

Remember, there is always value to mine in Outfield. You can choose to attack the position right away or wait and gather strong pitching and infield first. You can also fill it in along the way. Most importantly, have fun, and don't be afraid to take shots when you see potential!