As we all prepare for the 2018 fantasy baseball draft, this week’s fantasy analysis focuses on the top 5 outfielders for fantasy baseball according to Fantrax ADP data. While there are couple surprises in the top 5, the top spot still belongs to Mike Trout. This outfielder position, in general this season, is quite deep with some true elite talent.

While the top 5 outfielders for fantasy baseball listed in this article differ from this year’s Fantasy Baseball Handbook, there’s no question that these 5 players have elite talent as the reviews below show.

Mike Trout

OUTFIELD RANK:

OVERALL RANK:

ADP:

1

1

1

Mike Trout

OUTFIELD RANK:

OVERALL RANK:

ADP:

1

1

1

This isn’t breaking news since we all know that Trout is the best outfielder/player in the game today (unless you’ve been living under a rock the past few years). However, the recent acquisitions and moves by the Angels give hope for even bigger numbers than most projections list. The signing of Zack Cozart, Ian Kinsler and Shohei Ohtani increase the firepower of the Angels considerably. This should most likely boost Trout’s RBI and Run expectations.

As far as skills go, Trout is as close to a picture of perfection as it gets. Over the past 3 seasons, Mike Trout has improved his contact rate from 80% to 84%. His Walk per Strikeout rate (BB/K) has almost double in the same time perios going from .58 to 1.04. His isolated power rating has risen every year since 2013 (except for 2016) and current sits north of .320. In 2017, he missed 45 games due to a thumb injury and still hit 33 home runs while stealing 22 bases. Did I forget to mention that he’s only 26 years old? Hands down, this is a player with skills to spare on a much improved team compared to the last few seasons.

Bryce Harper

OUTFIELD RANK:

OVERALL RANK:

ADP:

2

5

6

Bryce Harper

OUTFIELD RANK:

OVERALL RANK:

ADP:

2

5

6

Ranked the second best outfielder in baseball, Harper definitely has the tools to pay big dividends in 2018. However, he doesn’t come without ownership risk if you choose to spend your first pick of the draft on him. Bryce Harper spent 45 days on the DL last season for a knee issue and all together, he’s had145 official DL days since 2013. With a history of injury and repeat knee injuries, I can’t help being cautious. However, the potential he can bring to your fantasy team is impressive. Below is a snapshot of the skills he brings to the table.

Harper has some flaws that include a contact rate that isn’t what we call “elite” and his overall strikeout rate is pretty much league average. However, he possesses some true elite power potential. His walks per strikeout is extremely good although intentional walks I think bolster this number a bit. All-in-all Harper has the tools to take your fantasy team to new heights, but as we stated earlier, the injury risks associated with him are there, so buyer beware if you’re spending your first round pick on Harper.

Charlie Blackmon

OUTFIELD RANK:

OVERALL RANK:

ADP:

3

7

7

Charlie Blackmon

OUTFIELD RANK:

OVERALL RANK:

ADP:

3

7

7

There is a lot to like about Blackmon and the potential he can bring to your fantasy team. He’s a top of the lineup hitter with near ironman dependability to go along with power gains over the past 3 years. Add this to the fact that plays in the most homer friendly park in baseball and you can get a good glimpse at what there is to like. And this is the plainly visible stuff that most can see at a glance.

Once we dig a bit deeper, there’s reason to be even more optimistic about his 2018 prognosis. Blackmon’s power surge and wOBA improvements are the biggest reasons for my optimism going into 2018. His ISO power rating has gone up in the past 3 consecutive seasons and now sits near the elite category at .270. Additionally, his wOBA has also risen over the past 3 seasons topping the .400 mark. The charts below highlight his core skills which are also nothing to sneeze at.

The above graphic outlines a superb skill set and the only knock I have is the rising strikeout rate and a small dip in his contact rate. These, I chalk up to what appears to be, an intentional move to improve his power numbers. This isn’t such a bad idea since he hits in the most homer friendly park the Rockies rank 25th in stolen bases amongst all the teams in the majors.

Overall, the ranking that Blackmon has as the 3rd best outfielder is well deserved and if he’s available when it’s your turn at the draft table, you’d be wise to grab as one of your fantasy baseball anchors.

Mookie Betts

OUTFIELD RANK:

OVERALL RANK:

ADP:

4

9

9

Mookie Betts

OUTFIELD RANK:

OVERALL RANK:

ADP:

4

9

9

Betts is moving up the ADP, and is now a top 10 draft pick despite a 2017 season that wasn’t much to boast about. His .264 average was much lower than the last 2 seasons and he didn’t reach 25 home runs after hitting 31 in 2016.

However, if we look deeper into the core skills of Betts, we can see they’re still quite stable. Looking even further in his 2017 trouble, there’s reasons for betting on a rebound in 2018.

First off, his BABIP was 35 points lower than his career average. This alone leaves me confident that his batting average will serve my fantasy team well in 2018. Secondly, his core skills are still excellent, and his plate discipline is in the elite category as the charts below show.

Mookie’s strikeout rate is half the league average while walking almost as much as he strikes out and his walks per strikeout have improved each of the last 3 seasons. While his ISO took a small step backwards, he’s still a 25-home run candidate and an almost sure lock to get 25-plus stolen bases.

Combine that with a batting average that should rebound near the .300 mark and you can easily see why he ranks as the 4th best outfielder and a top 10 draft pick. So, if it’s your turn in the 1st round and Betts is still available, my advice would be to take him as your top fantasy baseball outfielder.

Giancarlo Stanton

OUTFIELD RANK:

OVERALL RANK:

ADP:

5

10

11

Giancarlo Stanton

OUTFIELD RANK:

OVERALL RANK:

ADP:

5

10

11

The 2017 MVP who blasted 59 home runs while batting .281 finds himself sitting at #11 in the ADP despite signing with a Yankees team that should provide considerably more run support than his previous team. I believe most of this is due to the risk brings your team.

Like Bryce Harper, Stanton carries substantial injury risk with him. He’s been on the DL 163 days since 2013 and 2017 was his first DL free season since 2014. While, power is not the issue with Stanton, injury risk is. There’s also some core skill concerns that raise some batting average concerns as the charts below will show.

Stanton finished last season with a .281 batting average, which he’s only done 3 times in the past 8 seasons. His 70% contact rate and above average strikeout rate give plenty of reason to doubt a high batting average in 2018. My prediction here would be something along the lines of his career average in the .260’s, which isn’t really all that bad considering the power he brings to your fantasy team.

However, make sure you consider the risk he brings to your team as well. Stanton is still only 28 years old, but his injury history is concerning, especially when it’s your first-round draft pick we’re talking about. For this one, I’m on the fence and not sure if I take the chance considering the other talent that’s most likely to be available albeit not at the outfield position.

Conclusion

The top 5 outfielders according to ADP ranks differs slightly from our top 5 rankings in The Fantasy Baseball Handbook for 2018 as shown below.

1- Mike Trout – ADP: 1

2- Charlie Blackmon – ADP: 7

3- Mookie Betts – ADP: 9

4- Nelson Cruz – ADP: 49 (Extreme Value Pick)

5- George Springer – ADP: 28 (Value Pick)

The Fantasy Handbook takes into consideration the risk factors briefly detailed above in the ADP top 5. Our rankings also independently factor in the expected contribution to the five primary fantasy categories while taking a deep look at playing time.  Finally, we look at all the other factors that impact overall player value.

Understanding these factors while combining the ADP can help you identify true player value to team in your upcoming fantasy drafts. I would highly encourage you to check out The Fantasy Baseball Handbook for 2018. For more information on all the benefits The Fantasy Baseball Handbook has to offer Click Here.

Follow me

Doug Lukas

Dedicated baseball enthusiast with a serious passion for helping readers succeed in all areas of fantasy baseball.
Follow me
Share

Your above the fold CSS (copy the text bellow) :