2020 Fantasy Baseball Primer: Outfielders
MLB’s attempted 2020 restart could shake up fantasy baseball’s outfield rankings more than any offensive position.
While no star outfielders have opted out just yet, Mike Trout has not committed to playing this season. The perennial MVP contender could join Nick Markakis and Ian Desmond (and likely others to follow) and decide to sit out 2020.
Charlie Blackmon, Tommy Pham, Joey Gallo, Scott Kingery, and Kole Calhoun are among a growing list of players confirmed to have tested positive for COVID-19. Others (Juan Soto, Victor Robles, Yordan Alvarez, A.J. Pollock, Anthony Santander) have not yet reported to camp, as of July 13.
It’s not all bleak news. When looking to fill a new DH vacancy, a handful of NL clubs will likely find their best available batters in the outfielder. That created some movement since first breaking down the position in March.
And be sure to check out all of our fantasy baseball position primers here.
Outfielders remained a fruitful source of fantasy production in 2019. Last season saw 35 of them finish among the top-75 hitters in FantasyPros’ Value Based Rank. Twenty-four hitters with OF eligibility reached the 30-homer plateau while 28 swiped at least 15 bags.
To varying degrees, Yordan Alvarez, Eloy Jiménez, Victor Robles, and Oscar Mercado delivered commendable returns as rookies. Meanwhile, post-hype sleepers Austin Meadows, Jorge Soler, Max Kepler, Willie Calhoun, and Kyle Schwarber all evolved into mixed-league mainstays.
Of course, not everyone lived up to expectations. Injuries derailed Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton, Andrew McCutchen, Mitch Haniger, and Aaron Hicks, all of whom are still dealing with health concerns.
2020 At a Glance
Because of the position’s depth, drafters often let strong contributions slip in pursuit of other needs. Definitely consider the high supply in a three-outfield league, as Tier 4 features a bevy of high-profile options rounding out the top 35. When needing five outfielders, particularly in mixed leagues with more than 12 teams, gamers shouldn’t overstate the position’s bounty.
They also, however, have no need to reach. Several underrated veterans and bounce-back candidates are available well beyond the top-150 picks. A few are bound to drop in every draft.
Last year’s elite neophytes could soon have company in a new crop led by Luis Robert. While Jo Adell and Kyle Tucker may not see the field as much during the 60-game season, Dylan Carlson could now open 2020 in the starting lineup.
The universal DH also poses a major fantasy boon to several NL outfielders. J.D. Davis, Ryan Braun, Avisaíl García , Wil Myers, Austin Riley, Sam Hilliard, and Yoenis Céspedes all moved up the rankings with the possibility of more playing time.
A: A no-doubt stud capable of winning you a category
B: A solid, consistent contributor
C: Won’t lose you the category, but won’t win it, either
D: You can do better here
F: You’re getting NOTHING
(*Grades listed are relative to position and take positional depth into consideration.)
|Christian Yelich||MIL||A||A||A||A||A-||Further removed from last year’s knee injury, Yelich is getting more No. 1 pick consideration this summer.|
|Ronald Acuña Jr.||ATL||B||A+||A||A||A+||Nobody else is as a legitimate a 15/15 threat in 60 games. Only batting average could get in the way of superstardom.|
|Cody Bellinger||LAD||B+||A||A+||A+||B||Massive contact gains suggest the breakout is for real.|
|Mookie Betts||LAD||A-||A+||A-||B+||B+||Betts could trade a little average for power outside of Fenway. He’s still leading off in a loaded lineup.|
|Mike Trout||LAA||A||A+||A+||A+||B||Trout’s pregnant wife is due in August, and he expressed some hesitance about playing.|
Let’s start with the first of many uncomfortable conversations about things that are ultimately way more important than fantasy baseball. In a story published July 3, per Maria Torres of the Los Angeles Times, Trout said he was “very concerned” about playing and then returning home to his pregnant wife. If he ultimately decides to suit up, even a week of paternity leave would turn into a substantial chunk of the shortened season.
How far can the perennial No. 1 pick fall? For now, he drops from the top to the bottom of this superstar tier, which could still place him as the fifth overall pick. Initial signs suggest he could slip further down the first round.
|Juan Soto||WAS||A-||A||A||A||B-||The best is yet to come, but drafters will gladly take a 2019 repeat. Opening Day is in question since he hasn’t reported to camp.|
|J.D. Martinez||BOS||A||A||A||A+||D||As reliable as they come, Martinez has eclipsed a .300 AVG, 35 HR, and 100 RBIs in each of the last three seasons.|
|Bryce Harper||PHI||C+||A||A||A||B||Rising strikeout rate eliminates the chances of Harper hitting .300 again, but he fills the other four standard categories with an elite walk rate.|
|Starling Marte||ARI||B+||A-||B||B+||A||Marte is money across the board. Drop him down in OBP or points leagues.|
This tier remains unaltered from the spring edition. There’s still an argument to make for bumping Soto — who is isolating away from camp after coming into contact with a teammate who tested positive for the coronavirus — and/or Martinez up into the opening tier or separating them into their own group. Marte recently cleared MLB protocol and returned to camp and should (for now) remain a top-25 pick in standard-category roto leagues.
Sixty games into 2019, Harper was batting .243/.355/.477 with nine homers and two steals. He hit .268/.380/.581 with 18 homers and 10 steals in Philadelphia’s final 60 contests. He has a wide range of outcomes for someone taken at the end of the second or beginning of the third round. Some might pass as a result, while others embrace a volatile strategy and hope for an MVP encore.
|George Springer||HOU||B||A||A-||A-||C||Health, diminished speed, and turmoil in Houston have concealed Springer’s 39 HRs and 156 wRC+ in 2019.|
|Austin Meadows||TB||B||B||B+||B||B||He’s a five-category stud, but the current cost doesn’t pay much mind to his struggles to stay on the field.|
|Ketel Marte||ARI||A-||B+||B||B+||B-||Last year was the ceiling, but don’t expect too ugly of a drop-off.|
|Charlie Blackmon||COL||A||A+||A-||B+||C||Typically a reliable star, Blackmon became the first confirmed big name to test positive for COVID-19.|
|Kris Bryant||CHC||B||A||A-||B||C||Statcast’s expected metrics (.246 xAVG, .460 xSLG, .347 xwOBA) sound the warning sirens, yet he’s routinely outperformed them and should again plate plenty of runs as Cubs’ leadoff hitter.|
|Eloy Jiménez||CHW||B||B||A||A-||D||A strong finish puts a home run title firmly in play.|
|Whit Merrifield||KC||A-||A-||C+||C-||A-||Averaging .298 AVG, 15 HR, 33 SB, and 91 R over the last three seasons, it’s safe to say Merrifield is for real.|
|Yordan Alvarez||HOU||B+||B+||A||A||D||Alvarez looked like a future Triple Crown winner in his debut, but projection systems are curiously cautious about his batting average.|
Blackmon initially topped this tier as a player I felt warranted a third-round pick (but was often attainable later). Over the last six seasons, Colorado’s star has averaged a resounding 671 plate appearances and 109 runs scored per season. He totaled 127 long balls over the last four campaigns, three of which resulted in a batting average above .310. He was one of the safest four-category studs to pick earlier in the year. Unfortunately, there’s no such thing as a safe pick during a pandemic. Blackmon tested positve for COVID-19 in late June. Having recently rejoined the team, he might need to miss much (if any) time. Don’t shy away if he slips beyond the top-50 picks.
On July 13, after his absence at camp had already sparked speculation, Houston placed Alvarez on the IL. Per Chandler Rome of the Houston Chronicle, Astros manager Dusty Baker called a “condition that prevents them from reporting to the field.” Before the development, last year’s breakout slugger seemed poised to benefit from extra time to heal a sore knee hampering him in spring. Having played only 10 of 84 games in the outfield, he’s also a utility-only option in some leagues. Alvarez dropped to the bottom of this tier, but there’s still time to rise or fall based on any updates offered by Opening Day.
|Giancarlo Stanton||NYY||C+||A-||A||A-||D||The ultimate “go big or go home”pick should now be ready for Opening Day.|
|Tommy Pham||SD||B-||A-||B-||C+||B+||One of just nine 20/20 players last year, Pham should best last year’s 77-run pace while batting second for San Diego.|
|Eddie Rosario||MIN||B||B+||A-||A||C||A better 5X5 fantasy than real-life hitter, Rosario remains an RBI master in a stacked Twins lineup.|
|Victor Robles||WAS||C+||B+||C+||C||A||Horrid Statcast metrics dampen his power upside, but Robles could run wild if the Nationals give him the chance to lead off. Has yet to report to camp.|
|Aaron Judge||NYY||B-||B||A-||B||C||The Yankees are optimistic about Judge’s Opening Day availability, but it’s a serious issue for someone who fell short of 500 PAs in both 2018 and 2019.|
|Ramón Laureano||OAK||B||B||B||C||B||He’s too unpolished to bank on another .288 AVG, but Laureano’s power/speed upside is immense.|
|Marcell Ozuna||ATL||B||B||A-||A-||C+||Ozuna made major improvements in walks, hard hits, and barrels despite the drop in AVG (.241). Any steals are gravy.|
|Nick Castellanos||CIN||B+||B+||B+||B+||D||Castellanos was looking like a draft-day steal before moving to Cincinnati. If success with Cubs (16 HRs, 1.002 OPS in 52 games) is any indication, he’s on his way to a big year.|
|Jeff McNeil||NYM||A||A-||B-||B||C+||McNeil is more than an empty average after tallying 23 HRs and 5 SBs in 133 games.|
|Michael Brantley||HOU||A||B+||B-||B+||C||Leading the majors in contact rate from 2018-19, Brantley should have no trouble hitting over .300 again.|
|Jorge Soler||KC||C||B+||A||A-||D||The raw power was never in question, but can Soler stay healthy all season again?|
|Joey Gallo||TEX||D||B+||A||A-||C||Gallo was on the verge of filling everyone’s wildest dreams before getting hurt. Despite batting .253 in 297 PAs, the average remains a major concern.|
In large part, this remains a tier I want to target aggressively. Rosario, Ozuna, and Castellanos seem to be generating more positive buzz that will make them less likely to fall under the radar. Before MLB suspended action, all three made great bargains at depressed ADPs. Pham tested positive for the coronavirus, but was asymptomatic and has since arrived at camp. He maintains his high standing in this tier, especially since San Diego gets seven games at Coors Field.
Of course, both Yankees sluggers loom as massive X-factors. Brian Cashman expected optimism that Judge will be ready for Opening Day, but that’s far from guaranteed. The 28-year-old, who has struggled to stay on the field since 2017’s AL Rookie of the Year campaign, was initially slated to miss time due to a rib injury and fractured lung. Add a stiff neck to the list now. Stanton, recovering from a strained right calf, is a better gamble if deciding between the two.
If there’s no discount on Stanton or Judge, drafters are better off waiting for Soler or Gallo. I’m more likely to target either of them in a shortened season, where there’s a better chance of the sluggers staying healthy and combining elite power with a passable batting average for two months. The mystery around Gallo’s test results, meanwhile, poses some larger questions about baseball’s ability to successfully play out the season.
|Luis Robert||CHW||C+||C+||B||C||B+||Robert could go 10/10 right out of the gate, but there’s enough rawness to envision early growing pains a la Yoan Moncada.|
|Michael Conforto||NYM||C+||A-||A-||A-||C||Pay for the 2019 baseline (.257, 33 HR, 90 R, 92 RBIs, 7 SB) rather than expecting another leap.|
|Oscar Mercado||CLE||C+||B+||C+||C+||B+||Mercado has the makings of a cheaper Robles, especially if Cleveland continues to bat him second.|
|Max Kepler||MIN||C||A||A-||B+||C-||A shoulder injury halted the breakout, but a 30-HR, 90-run pace is easily repeatable.|
|Andrew Benintendi||BOS||B||A-||C||B||B||He doesn’t do any one thing but particularly well, but Benintendi — once considered a future star — is only 25 with a 20/20 2017 and 103-run 2018 on his resume. Could lead off again.|
|Franmil Reyes||CLE||C||B||A||A-||D||He faded down the stretch after trade to Cleveland, but the 24-year-old Reyes punishes baseballs.|
|Kyle Schwarber||CHC||C||B+||A||B+||D||Schwarber hit .280/.366/.631 with a significantly lower K rate (21.8%) in second half. He’s improved enough to escape a platoon and alleviate major AVG concerns.|
|David Dahl||COL||A-||B-||B||B-||C+||Dahl set modest personal bests with 100 games played and 413 PAs last season. He isn’t running nearly much as expected either … but Coors.|
I tightened up Tier 4 from the March primer and formed a new grouping of players positioned from No. 95 – 130 in my overall rankings. Those who missed out on the past tier’s premier sluggers need not fret. ATC projects Reyes to match Stanton’s .261 batting average with one more long ball (14) and just two fewer RBIs (33). He won’t be cheap though; Reyes’ ADP has climbed to 102 in NFBC drafts conducted since the start of May. The answer may be to wait another round for Schwarber, who is all but guaranteed an everyday role with the NL welcoming the DH in 2020.
Dahl had his spleen removed in 2015, which places him at an increased risk of contacting serious infections and becoming sick. He’s reported to camp and, as of now, has not said anything about sitting out this season. According to The Athletic’s Nick Groke, Dahl is likely to lead off for the Rockies if he suits up.
|Danny Santana||TEX||C+||B-||B||B-||B||Don’t overpay for the out-of-nowhere breakout.|
|J.D. Davis||NYM||B||B-||B+||B||D||Playing time is the only deterrent to J.D. Davis becoming a poor man’s J.D. Martinez, and DH should solidify a starting spot.|
|Lourdes Gurriel Jr.||TOR||B-||B-||B||B+||B-||His brother’s late power surge drew more attention, but Gurriel Jr. hit .292/.339/.580 with 20 HRs after returning from a demotion in late May. Just recently reported to camp.|
|Byron Buxton||MIN||C||C||B-||C||A-||Buxton had his best year yet, but it was limited to just 87 games. He may have suffered yet another health setback when getting carted off the field on 7/13.|
|Lorenzo Cain||MIL||B||B+||C-||C-||B+||Cain hit .260 despite a .290 xAVG; last year’s dip could prove a false alarm.|
|Willie Calhoun||TEX||B||B||B||B||D||Calhoun showed major pop when finally given the chance. He didn’t strike out much (15.7%) and routinely hit for a high average in the minors.|
|Tommy Edman||STL||B||C+||C+||C||B+||Although power came from nowhere in 2019, Edman could be a nice source of AVG and SB. Universal DH could solidify playing time at 3B.|
|Andrew McCutchen||PHI||C+||B+||B||C||C||McCutchen was as steady as they come before tearing his ACL last year. The owner of a .378 OBP (2019 and career) should regain leadoff role in Philly.|
|Bryan Reynolds||PIT||B+||B||C+||B-||C||He may not hit .314 again, but Reynolds has the skills and minor league track record to remain an AVG asset.|
|Alex Verdugo||BOS||A-||B||C+||C||C+||Verdugo could turn strong contact skills into a key role for Boston. ADP should rise now that his injured back is healed.|
|Justin Upton||LAA||C-||B||B+||B+||C||Upton had reached at least 26 HRs and 8 SBs in six straight seasons before tumbling in an injury-plagued 2019. Could easily pile up RBIs batting behind Trout and Anthony Rendon.|
This is where things get especially interesting in terms of summer movers. Clean bills of health significantly move up Verdugo and McCutchen, who both have ADPs outside the top 200. Calhoun, who went yard 16 times in 60 second-half games last year, has had months to recover from a broken jaw. While Davis was always one of my top targets, I especially want him now with the universal DH presenting a fallback for the starting left fielder. This is a great spot for value in five-outfielder formats.
|Adam Eaton||WAS||B+||A-||C+||C-||B||Eaton could easily repeat a 15/15, 100-run pace again … as long as he stays healthy.|
|Ryan Braun||MIL||B-||C+||B-||C+||B-||Braun hasn’t fallen off nearly as much as drafters seem to think. He can still produce in all five categories, especially with a DH spot to keep him fresh.|
|Avisaíl García||MIL||B-||C+||B-||C+||B-||Now that DH alleviates fears of a timeshare, García has all the tools for a substantial breakout in Milwaukee.|
|Shin-Soo Choo||TEX||C+||A-||C+||C||B-||Death, taxes, Choo getting under-drafted. A solid asset in any format, he’s a stud in OBP or points leagues.|
|Hunter Dozier||KC||C||B-||B-||B-||D||.279 AVG is the most dubious part of 2019 breakout. Unlikely to be a major contributor anywhere.|
|Scott Kingery||PHI||C-||C||B-||C||B+||Strikeouts create a low AVG floor at the bottom of the order, but power and speed are for real. Kingery tested positive for COVID-19 in June and experienced a headache and fever, but he said he’s feeling better.|
|Garrett Hampson||COL||B-||B-||C+||C||B+||Hampson showed his league-winning ceiling in September (.318, 5 HR, 9 SB), but his basement-level floor through August.|
|Nick Senzel||CIN||C+||C||C+||C||B||It’s unclear where or how often he’ll play, but Senzel’s shoulder is at least healed.|
|Joc Pederson||LAD||C-||C+||B+||C+||D||Pederson will stay in a platoon with the Dodgers, who will likely reassign his leadoff role to Betts. He’s also more than capable of a strong 60-game stretch.|
|Yasiel Puig||FA||B-||C+||B||C+||B||Given the universal DH, positive COVID-19 cases, and players opt-outs, someone is going to have a need for Puig.|
|Mallex Smith||SEA||C-||C+||D||D||A+||He’ll need to find middle ground between .290 AVG in 2018 and .227 AVG last year to hold a spot in fantasy (and Seattle’s) lineups. Recently reported to camp.|
|Kyle Tucker||HOU||C||C||B||C||B||This should be the year Houston finally lets Tucker loose, but Dusty Baker is suggesting otherwise. ATC projects 7 HRs and 6 SBs in just 39 games.|
Let’s call this the Wild Card Tier. Tucker could emerge as a five-category stud if given the chance, but that opportunity is looking increasingly unlikely. “The future is probably Tucker’s,” Astros manager Dusty Baker told MLB.com’s Brian McTaggart, “but the now is probably [Josh] Reddick’s.”
One would think the introduction of a DH would make Puig an immediate interest for NL squads suddenly in need of another batter. So far, however, the enigmatic performer remains unsigned. The Orioles are reportedly interested, which would provide Puig an everyday role in a favorable home park.
With the DH cleaning up a logjam and his shoulder reportedly feeling better, Senzel could be a sneaky bargain. And yet, for all of this tier’s upside, the undervalued veterans of Eaton, Braun, and Choo may prove the best bets. García, whose line looked a lot like Braun’s in 125 games last season, also stands out now that there’s room for both to play regularly.
|Wil Myers||SD||D||C||B-||C||B||Ghastly 34.3% K rate cost Myers a starting job, and yet it’s impossible to ignore someone who went 28/28 in 2016 and 30/20 in 2017 now that he can DH.|
|David Peralta||ARI||B||B-||C+||B-||C-||Peralta hit .292 with a .352 OBP in consecutive seasons before a down 2019. The 30-HR power isn’t coming back, but the rest can with better health.|
|Luis Arraez||MIN||A||C+||D||C||C||Arraez could win a batting title, but he won’t offer much else.|
|Domingo Santana||CLE||C||C||B-||C+||B-||Last March’s MVP, Santana is now a bargain as a late signee whose 2019 resurgence took a hit due to an elbow injury. There’s not much competition in Cleveland’s outfield to block another go at a 25-HR, 10-SB pace.|
|Brian Anderson||MIA||C+||B-||C+||B-||C||Second-half surge (140 wRC+) raises hope of extra power jump.|
|Mark Canha||OAK||C||B||B||C+||C-||After only lefties throughout his career, Canha suddenly notched a 160 wRC+ vs. them in 2019. Rise in walks, hard hits suggests breakout wasn’t a total fluke.|
|Austin Riley||ATL||D||C||B+||C+||D||Riley belted 16 homers through 50 big league games. Then the strikeouts buried him. Raw power is still through the roof, and he’s going to play with added DH, Freddie Freeman sick, and Nick Markakis opting out.|
|Jon Berti||MIA||C+||C-||C-||D||B+||Berti should steal bags in an active super-utility role, which could be more extensive than anticipated due to the DH.|
|Sam Hilliard||COL||C+||C-||C+||C-||B-||After slugging .647 in a tiny sample, the allure of Coors (and the DH) makes Hillard a worthwhile dart throw whose stock is skyrocketing.|
|Nomar Mazara||CHW||C+||C+||C+||C+||C||Drafters can’t keep paying for a mediocre hitter just because he used to be a top prospect. But Mazara is still only 25 …|
|Corey Dickerson||MIA||B||C+||C+||B||C-||He’s hit at least .300 in the last two years and has a job in the middle of Miami’s lineup.|
|Dylan Carlson||STL||C+||C-||C+||C-||B-||The rookie is now a candidate to get the starting job and contribute in all five categories.|
|Brett Gardner||NYY||C||B||C+||C||B-||Gardner hit 28 HRs with 10 SBs last season. Nobody seems to care.|
|Shogo Akiyama||CIN||B-||B-||C+||C||B-||The 31-year-old routinely hit over .300 with steady power and speed in Japan. Think an Eaton type who could lead off for Cincinnati.|
|Randal Grichuk||TOR||D||C+||B+||B+||C-||There’s probably no higher gear or hope of a solid average, but Grichuk is a cheap HR source.|
|Mike Yastrzemski||SF||C+||C+||B-||C+||C||Huge second half saw Yas hit .287 with 16 homers. He spent most of the summer batting first or second in San Fran.|
|Ian Happ||CHC||C-||C||B-||C||B-||After spending most of 2019 in Triple-A, Happ notched a 127 wRC+ in 58 games with the Cubs.|
|Trent Grisham||SD||C||C||C+||C+||B-||Grisham tallied 35 HRs and 13 SBs across all levels last year, and the Padres look poised to play him in CF.|
|A.J. Pollock||LAD||C+||C||B-||C||B-||Pollock still looks stuck in a timeshare and has not yet reported to camp.|
|Gregory Polanco||PIT||C||C||C+||C+||B-||Polanco says he’s 100% healthy from shoulder injury that limited him to 42 games in 2019. He averaged 18 HRs and 12 SBs from 2016-18.|
Riley, Carlson, and Hilliard are all likely to emerge as trendy summer sleepers with the door opening for playing time. They’re also not without risk. Following an astounding debut, Riley went ice cold to bat .191 in his final 65 games. The Rockies could block Hilliard with the newly signed Matt Kemp, who at least could make a mark as a part-time DH. Although Carlson should play soon enough, be prepared to wait at least a week so the Cardinals can save a year of service time.
If the aforementioned players see precipitous rises in ADP, pivot to the likes of Akiyama, Yastrzemski, and Grisham. They were all falling under the radar in spring drafts, and that’s unlikely to change now. Happ, however, is gaining some helium as everyone remembers his successful comeback.
|Austin Hays||BAL||C+||C||C+||C||B-||An excellent post-hype sleeper, Hays quietly hit .309/.373/.574 as a September call-up and should play regularly in Baltimore.|
|Jo Adell||LAA||B-||C-||B-||C-||B-||He’s an elite prospect with game-changing potential, but Adell may not get a chance to play this year.|
|Aristides Aquino||CIN||C-||C||B+||C||B-||The talk of the town last summer is suddenly out of a job (even with the DH) given all of Cincinnati’s OF options.|
|Niko Goodrum||DET||D||C+||C+||B-||B-||Hard hits and walks are trending upward; he was a candidate to go 15/15 in a full season if healthy.|
|Hunter Renfroe||TB||D||C||B+||C||C-||Remember when Renfroe hit 46 HRs from 2018’s second half to 2019’s first half? Now he could be relegated to only playing against lefties.|
|Ender Inciarte||ATL||C+||C||C-||C-||B||Don’t count out some SBs now that Inciarte is likely to play with Markakis sitting out.|
|Kole Calhoun||ARI||C-||C+||B-||B-||C-||The 33 HRs look like a byproduct of MLB’s power boom. Expect closer to a 20-25 pace with a double-digit walk rate plays better in OBP leagues.|
|Jesse Winker||CIN||B+||C-||C+||C-||D||A quintessential post-hype sleeper, Winker will cost little to nothing because of Cincinnati’s crowded outfield. DH should at least lend him the strong side of a platoon.|
|Brandon Nimmo||NYM||C-||C+||C||C-||C+||A likely platoon and low average limit his 5X5 upside, but Nimmo remains a tremendous OBP play who should lead off against righties.|
|Yoenis Céspedes||NYM||C||C||B||C||D||The DH gives him a life preserver to play for the first time since 2018. Early reports out of camp are encouraging, which will likely create some draft buzz.|
|Yoshitomo Tsutsugo||TB||C||C-||B-||C||D||The lefty raker will likely have to settle for efficient numbers in a part-time role.|
|Teoscar Hernández||TOR||D||C||B||C||C+||Those who miss out on Grichuk can find another end-of-draft slugger in Toronto.|
|Eric Thames||WAS||D||C-||B||C+||C-||He’ll at least play against RHP (possibly as Washington’s cleanup hitter) and producer power.|
|Garrett Cooper||MIA||C+||C||B-||C||D||DH gives Cooper path back to playing time after posting a 111 wRC+ in 2019.|
|Adam Duvall||ATL||C-||C-||B-||C||D||Duvall crushed 10 HRs in 130 PAs last year and should now at least be part of a LF/1B timeshare.|
|Anthony Santander||BAL||C||C||B-||C||C||Approach is lacking, but there’s enough power to use him in 15-team and AL-only leagues. Has yet to report to camp.|
|Kevin Pillar||BOS||C+||C-||C+||C-||B||Fun fact: Pillar finished 2019 as the 31st-ranked OF with 21 HRs and 14 SBs. He won’t, however, get another 645 PAs (and maybe not even a starting job) in Boston.|
|Aaron Hicks||NYY||C-||C||B-||C||C||Hicks could now return from Tommy John surgery without missing any time. Consider him a better bounce-back sleeper in OBP or points leagues.|
|Jarrod Dyson||PIT||D||C||C-||D||A-||The cheap speed source has stolen 25 bags in seven of last eight seasons. (He only played 67 games in the outlier.)|
|Kevin Kiermaier||TB||D||C-||C+||C-||B||Tampa Bay appeared to abandon any hope of Kiermaier staying healthy all year when acquiring the like-minded Manuel Margot.|
|Stephen Piscotty||OAK||C+||C||C+||C||D||Like in 2018, he could have a boring bounce-back season if healthy.|
|Tyler O’Neill||STL||C-||C||B||C||C||With Ozuna gone, O’Neill has a golden opportunity to finally seize a starting role in St. Louis.|
|Franchy Cordero||SD||C||C-||B-||C-||B-||A worthy power/speed lottery ticket who should at least see the strong side of a platoon.|
|Mike Tauchman||NYY||C||C||C+||C+||C+||Following an unheralded breakout, Tauchman now appears blocked by Stanton, Judge, and Hicks. There’s a lot of health risk there, though.|
Cooper, Thames, Cespedes, and Duvall join the party because of the universal DH. While Cespedes is the flashiest gamble, he’ll still have to fend off Dominic Smith for his first action in two full years. Having hit .247 while slugging over .500 in 2017 and 2019, Thames is a poor man’s Khris Davis who should flourish in the strong end of a platoon. Duvall offered an instant spurt of power last year after a horrific 2018, so consider him a cheaper version of Riley in deeper leagues. Cooper is the most likely to stick in the starting lineup and hit for a solid batting average. The upside, however, is limited for a 29-year-old who finally made the majors last season.
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