2021 Fantasy Baseball Outfield Preview: Sleepers, Breakouts, Busts, top prospects, rankings and more

If you’ve got one of the first five picks in your 2021 Fantasy baseball draft, there’s roughly an 80% chance you’re taking an outfielder with your first pick. Unless you go with a starting pitcher or Fernando Tatis, you’ll end up with one of Ronald Acuña, Mookie Betts, Mike Trout, or Juan Soto. Lucky you. 

You can’t really go wrong with any of the four, though which one you get may determine the path the rest of your team takes. With Acuña or Betts, you’ve got a solid steals total locked in, which makes having to take a specialist a bit less important. Trout and Soto are arguably the two best hitters in baseball, but they probably won’t get much more than a dozen steals in a best-case scenario — Trout is almost certainly capable of more, but that part of his career might be past him. 

The position obviously isn’t short on star power even beyond that group, and let’s not forget that Christian Yelich and Cody Bellinger were right there at the top of drafts last year. However, even if you pass on outfield early, there are plenty of viable options to load your lineup with no matter where you draft them — especially in a three-outfielder points league, where there are many more starting-caliber options than lineup spots. Things get a little tighter in a five-outfielder league, especially a categories league, but even then, you can often find yourself wishing you had one more roster spot left for another outfielder late in your drafts. It’s that kind of position. 

  • Position Previews: C | 1B | 2BSS | 3B |

2021 Draft Prep

Outfield Preview

2021 Draft Prep

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2021 Draft Prep

Outfield Sleeper, Breakout, & Bust

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2020 Draft Prep

Third Base Top Prospects

Age (on opening day): 21
Where he played in 2019: low Class A, high Class A, Double-A
2019 minors: .291 BA (443 AB), 23 HR, 20 SB, .904 OPS, 50 BB, 111 K  
The Mariners managed to resist the urge to call up Kelenic even as they found themselves on the fringes of contention, but there may not have been a prospect who screamed for a promotion more. He’s an advanced hitter with a plan for each at-bat and enough speed to make him a true five-category threat when he arrives.
Scott’s 2021 Fantasy impact: fighting this spring  

Age (on opening day): 20
Where he played in 2019: low Class A, high Class A
2019 minors: .326 BA (328 AB), 12 HR, 26 2B, .929 OPS, 25 BB, 76 K 
It’s a worthy debate whether Kelenic or Rodriguez is the better Mariners outfield prospect, but with Rodriguez a step behind and a couple steps slower, Kelenic gets the nod on this list. Rodriguez’s bat might play even louder, though, which could make him the best hitter the Mariners have developed since that other Rodriguez guy 25 years ago.
Scott’s 2021 Fantasy impact: midseason hopeful  

Age (on opening day): 26
Where he played in 2019: Double-A, Triple-A, majors
2019 minors: .344 BA (343 AB), 15 HR, 17 SB, 1.003 OPS, 37 BB, 71 K
2020 majors: .281 BA (64 AB), 7 HR, 4 SB, 1.022 OPS, 6 BB, 22 K 
A late bloomer who couldn’t even crack this list last year, Arozarena wound up hitting .333 with 17 homers in 141 at-bats between a late-season tear and postseason explosion. The performance was too loud for too long to dismiss as a fluke, which justifies a bold ranking in a process that’s mostly wish-casting anyway.
Scott’s 2021 Fantasy impact: pencil him in  

Age (on opening day): 22
Where he played in 2019: Double-A, Triple-A
2019 minors: .292 BA (489 AB), 26 HR, 20 SB, .914 OPS, 58 BB, 116 K
2020 majors: .200 BA (110 AB), 3 HR, 1 SB, .616 OPS, 8 BB, 35 K      
One of the most hyped prospects heading into 2020 struggled initially but looked better in a late-season return and into the playoffs, which should give him a role from the get-go this year. As a hitter, he profiles a bit like
Michael Conforto, but there’s a speed element that could make him potentially more impactful overall.
Scott’s 2021 Fantasy impact: pencil him in  

5. Alex Kiriloff, Twins

Age (on opening day): 23
Where he played in 2019: Double-A
2019 minors: .283 BA (375 AB), 9 HR, 18 2B, .756 OPS, 29 BB, 76 K
2020 postseason: 1 for 4
The Twins showed supreme confidence in Kirilloff by calling him up to start their lone playoff game and then doubled down by non-tendering Eddie Rosario in the offseason. A wrist injury hindered his production in 2019, but a strong performance at the alternate site suggests he’s more like the guy who hit .348 with 20 homers, 44 doubles and a .970 OPS in 2018.
Scott’s 2021 Fantasy impact: fighting this sprinh

6. Jasson Dominguez, Yankees

Age (on opening day): 18
Where he played in 2019: did not play 
The hype for Dominguez continues to build even though he has yet to play his first minor-league game. Word has it he was on scouts’ radar since age 13, has produced exit velocities of 108 mph from both sides of the plate since age 16, and could make it as a shortstop if he wasn’t so good in center field. We may have a genuine baseball prodigy here.
Scott’s 2021 Fantasy impact: don’t count on it  

Age (on opening day): 20
Where he played in 2019: short-season Class A, low Class A
2019 minors: .282 BA (255 AB), 14 HR, 17 SB, .881 OPS, 31 BB, 77 K 
Robinson is becoming a favorite of Fantasy evaluators after making quicker than expected work of the lower minors. He was thought to be more of a project after signing out of the Bahamas but already has a simple swing and disciplined approach, generating the sort of hard contact that should neutralize any contact deficiencies.
Scott’s 2021 Fantasy impact: don’t count on it 

Age (on opening day): 24
Where he played in 2019: Triple-A
2019 minors: .312 BA (520 AB), 25 HR, 35 2B, .871 OPS, 24 BB, 130 K
2020 majors: .333 BA (126 AB), 5 HR, 5 2B, .878 OPS, 11 BB, 30 K  
Mountcastle can’t field, but he can hit, and now we know he can hit in the majors as well, his all-fields approach and modest strikeout rate giving him a high batting average floor. It’s a profile not too unlike Nick Castellanos, actually, but the defensive limitations nonetheless gives him a narrow margin for error.
Scott’s 2021 Fantasy impact: pencil him in

9. Christian Pache, Braves

Age (on opening day): 22
Where he played in 2019: Double-A, Triple-A
2019 minors: .277 BA (487 AB), 12 HR, 9 3B, 36 2B, .802 OPS, 43 BB, 122 K
2020 majors: 1 for 4, 2 K 
Pache rates as a perennial Gold Glove winner in center field, which is largely the reason he shows up in the top 10 on traditional prospect lists. But evaluators seem reluctant to put a limit on his offensive potential, presumably because he’s so athletic and makes such consistent contact that it won’t take much to set him off. He didn’t seem overmatched when pressed into action in the NLCS.
Scott’s 2021 Fantasy impact: fighting this spring  

10. J.J. Bleday, Marlins

Age (on opening day): 23
Where he played in 2019: high Class A
2019 minors: .257 (140 AB), 3 HR, 8 2B, .690 OPS, 11 BB, 29 K 
The fourth overall pick in 2019 got an aggressive assignment straight out of college but held his own at high Class A. A full season of numbers would have made for a more confident outlook now, but given the Marlins’ apparent confidence and the track record of the Vanderbilt baseball program, Bleday seems likely to meet his potential as a middle-of-the-order bat.
Scott’s 2021 Fantasy impact: midseason hopeful  

So which 2021 Fantasy baseball sleepers should you snatch in your draft? And which undervalued first baseman can help you win a championship? Visit SportsLine now to get Fantasy baseball rankings for every single position, all from the model that called Will Smith’s huge breakout last season, and find out.

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