Outfield Sleepers (2019 Fantasy Baseball)
This article will give you a comprehensive look at outfielders who could become unexpected success stories relative to their average draft position (or ADP). In other words, this group isn’t entirely made up of late-round lottery tickets with a wink, shrug, and fingers-crossed emoji next to their names. Instead, we will pinpoint undervalued outfielders across all draft stages and ADP levels.
Speaking of average draft position, we’ll utilize FantasyPros’ convenient “ADP Consensus Board” to reference draft expectations of these proud sleeper candidates. Rounds are based on standard 12-team leagues and will differ as draft sizes fluctuate.
Feel free to drop a comment with some of your favorite outfield sleepers. There are only 2,563,713 outfielders to choose from, so a variety of opinion shouldn’t be hard to come by. With that, let’s go ahead and dive into the good stuff!
Early Round Sleepers (ADP 60 or less)
There’s plenty of hype surrounding Juan Soto, so he’s not a “sleeper” in every sense of the definition. However, the 20-year-old’s upside is uncapped while offering intriguing value with an ADP of 30. That makes him the 11th taken outfielder in most drafts. I’m having a hard time definitively ranking Soto over any of the players in front of him, although a case could be made for leapfrogging Andrew Benintendi or Charlie Blackmon. Either way, I’ll aggressively target Soto in the second round of standard drafts (third round works too) without hesitation.
Looking at outfielders ranked beyond eighth at the position, Soto is one of the few with legitimacy in cracking the top five. We are talking about production along the lines of Aaron Judge, Ronald Acuna, Giancarlo Stanton, and others. Soto should flirt with a .300 average as well as 30 HRs, 100 runs, and 100 RBIs. He could even steal 10 bases. The guy has no ceiling either!
Middle Round Sleepers (ADP 60-120)
There will likely be ups, downs, and GIFs along the way, but Yasiel Puig could have himself a career season in Cincinnati. Let’s set his 2017 marks as the standard at 28 HRs, 72 runs, 74 RBIs, 15 stolen bases, and a .263 average. Going in sequence, I’ll take the over, over, over, same, and same for 2019.
Yes, I believe Yasiel Puig will push for 30 HRs and 90 RBIs in the hitting utopia of Great American Ball Park. Take note of the obligatory health risk disclaimer attached to him, but this is a truly great situation for Puig. He looks good in red, right? Fantasy backers will certainly think so.
David Dahl checks in with an ADP near 100, which means he’s going in Round 8 or 9 of standard drafts. That’s way too late in my book. I’d place him somewhere around the Lorenzo Cain mark of ADP 65-70. Go ahead and make room for Puig in that same opening.
As for Dahl, it appears that he will finally get a chance to see everyday at-bats in the big leagues. That’s good news when taking into account the raw talent combined with the sweet park factor of Denver. With that in mind, we could realistically expect 25+ HRs, 80 runs, 85 RBIs, 10-15 SBs, and a .270 average. That’s a very similar expectation to higher ranked outfielders like George Springer and Marcell Ozuna. There’s upside well beyond that too.
Mid-Late Round Sleepers (ADP 120-168)
Victor Robles is a fantasy superstar waiting to happen. He has no blemishes in his scouting profile, plausibly banking 20 HRs and 20+ SBs with a .280 average in his rookie season. Robles has already been named the starting center fielder for Washington, which is a relief not having to wonder when the Major League club will call on their heralded prospect. His fantasy outlook is very similar to Starling Marte, but Robles has an ADP of 123 compared to 36 for Marte. Sure, there’s more risk with the rookie, but upside and value are on the side of Robles.
Nomar Mazara has cranked 20 HRs in three straight seasons, tallying 77+ RBIs over the last two of those. I’ll remind you that he’s only 24 years old with potential to ascend into his prime. The park factor in Texas is great along with a premium lineup spot for the Rangers. Mazara won’t give you anything in the stolen base department, but he’s a solid fallback outfielder with an excellent chance to hit .270 with 25 HRs and 85-90 RBIs. There’s room for more if this happens to be the year Mazara can put everything together. If you are already good on steals this late in the draft (ADP 148), go ahead and invest in the intriguing floor/ceiling combination of this Texas slugger.
Late Round Sleepers (ADP 168-240)
I’ll go ahead and disclose that Franmil Reyes is on the highest side of this ADP range at 243. He’s an exciting late-round lottery ticket while hoping everything works towards his favor.
The primary hurdle comes in the form of playing time. Reyes was hitting cleanup in spring training, which Padres’ beat writers suggested could be the case on Opening Day. Will that stick? Will Reyes see the field every day? We have no way of knowing for sure.
However, Reyes has some massive power (70/70 on raw power scale), while posting a surprising .280 average through 285 at-bats last season. If he sees regular at-bats, we could get 25-30 HRs out of him. The potential reward is worth the risk this late in drafts.
Waiver Wire Sleepers (ADP 240 or more)
Both of these guys could end up on the waiver wire depending on how deep your draft is. Daniel Palka is someone worth adding to your watch list, as he smoked 27 HRs through 417 at-bats last season. The batting average probably won’t be any better than .240 with a hearty strikeout rate to boot. However, Palka could make for a fine source of power if 2018’s breakout campaign carries into this summer.
Cedric Mullins is still battling for the starting center field job in Baltimore and winning that competition would obviously help his fantasy stock. He didn’t do much through 45 games at the Major League level last season, but Mullins has an intriguing power/speed combination that could result in 15+ HRs and 15+ SBs. That’s the baseline projection for Cardinals’ outfielder Harrison Bader, who most consider as another sleeper pick. However, Bader’s ADP is 176 compared to 320 for Mullins.
Spencer Limbach is a featured writer at FantasyPros. For more from Spencer, check out his archive and follow him @spencer_jl.