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Top 5 Prospects Per Position: Outfielders (2022 Fantasy Baseball)

Jan 28, 2022

Many fantasy enthusiasts get giddy with excitement when talking prospects and I’m certainly no different. There’s just something about envisioning what could be and how far a certain player’s abilities will take them. Trying to predict who will be the next Mike Trout or Clayton Kershaw is an enigma, but simply trying to figure out whose early successes and skill-sets will translate well into the Show is always an entertaining task. I love the topic, as I could go on for days, but for today we’ll be discussing the top five outfield prospects in terms of fantasy value for the 2022 season.

It’s too bad a crystal ball doesn’t exist because with the lockout dragging on and no CBA in place, it’s anyone’s guess when these guys will finally get their shot. But whether service-time is still an issue or not, these five players should be up relatively soon helping push their team and respective fantasy squads towards victory.

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Julio Rodriguez (OF – SEA)

At just 21 years old and without setting foot on a Major League field, Rodriguez’s game is already being compared to the late, great, Frank Robinson. There is so much hype surrounding this young man, that when the Mariners signed Rodriguez back in 2017, he was already ranked as the 10th best international prospect, despite being just 16 years old. Then over the next five years, Rodriguez added to his already high expectations by showing there simply isn’t much he can’t do.

The 6’3″ Dominican hits for power to all fields and consistently makes hard contact, which should result in plenty of home runs as well as a high batting average. He takes an advanced approach at the plate and his discipline and make-up are well off the charts. Rodriguez also possesses strong defensive skills, great speed, and a fantastic arm. And as if that wasn’t enough, he exhibits an enthusiasm to constantly improve and is said to bring a youthful and positive daily attitude which should help him become the next big star in Seattle.

If numbers are your thing, then how about a .362 average last season in Double-A with nearly as many walks as strikeouts? He totaled 13 home runs with 21 steals (Single and Double-A combined) while racking up a total of 111 Runs + RBI in just 74 games (he spent some time on the IL with a wrist injury). And don’t forget he was only 20 years old!

With the organization finally in win-now mode, it shouldn’t take long for the second-ranked overall prospect to earn a chance to shine at the Major League level. He has been a top commodity in dynasty leagues for a few years now and should be a late draft target in all deep, re-draft formats.

Riley Greene (OF – DET)

The Tigers have a couple of top-ten uber prospects ready to burst onto the scene, but it’s the less talked about Greene who could actually end up the bigger fantasy asset. His swing is described as being “as fluid and balanced, as it is explosive,” by numerous scouts. And one even goes as far as proclaiming it as the prettiest left-handed swing in all the Minor Leagues. After putting together a robust .298/.381/.525 slash line in Double-A last season, the toolsy outfielder rolled to an even more impressive .308/.400/.554 line in Triple-A, good for a .411 wOBA and a 153 wRC+. Greene even runs well, adding 16 steals (across both stops) to his already remarkable numbers.

As of now, the only players standing in his way are a cast of characters better regulated to replacement duty with Victor Reyes as likely the top competition. The 6’3″ 200-pound lefty was the fifth overall pick in the 2019 draft and it’s only a matter of time before the Tigers, who could make a run at a playoff spot this year, call up the impressive Greene.

Alek Thomas (OF – ARI)

Thomas is a dark horse in some circles to take the gold as the most valuable outfielder to roster in fantasy leagues this season. The 40th ranked prospect, according to MLB, absolutely demolished Minor League pitching last year. Obviously aided by an outlandish BABIP, Thomas still deserves plenty of credit as he consistently hit lasers all over the field, including 29 doubles, 12 triples, and 18 home runs. His .453 wOBA over 166 Triple-A plate appearances was quite the eye-opener, as well as his .658 SLG percentage.

He was a star athlete across multiple sports in high school and is the son of former Minor League outfielder and current White Sox director of strength and conditioning Allen Thomas. If Arizona doesn’t keep him on the farm too long, then the soon to be 22-year-old could become a table-setter atop the D’backs lineup.

Josh Lowe (3B/OF – TB)

Josh Lowe may have a bit of a swing-and-miss problem, but his combination of power and speed more than make up for it. The Rays originally drafted Lowe 13th overall in the 2016 draft and while he consistently got on base and racked up the steals, the power was somewhat lacking and the strikeouts were fairly abundant.

That all started to change in 2019, however, during his age 21 season. The 6’4″ Lowe noticeably had grown into his body putting on mass and started lifting the ball more. He clubbed 18 long balls that season to go along with 23 doubles and an impressive 30 stolen bases. The Minor League season in 2020 was knocked out by Covid, but in 2021 Lowe started the season in Triple-A where he mashed 22 home runs contributing to his total of 52 extra-base hits, a .291 average, and an eye-popping 26 steals on 26 attempts. The Rays called him up for a game in September where he went one for one with a walk and a stolen base.

Rumors have been circulating all off-season discussing a Keven Kiermaier trade and if that’s the case, the club should have no problem finding regular playing time for the talented young Lowe. He has all the tools necessary to succeed at the big league level, just keep in mind his BA may not be the most favorable.

Brennen Davis (OF – CHC)

The 14th ranked prospect according to MLB may be the least enticing on this list, but is still worth keeping tabs on. There is little reason to rush the toolsy Davis, but there’s also little standing in his way in terms of starters at the Major League level. The 6’4″ 22-year-old crushed 4 home runs in 15 games at Triple-A after launching 13 in Double-A, and two in single-A last year. He’s graded as possessing 60 speed, but only stole eight bags on 12 attempts last season and none in Triple-A. He also shows a great eye at the plate, but may not hit over .250 in his first taste of big-league pitching.

Davis’s ceiling is high and he is definitely someone worth paying attention to throughout the Spring. Plus, if the Cubs trade Ian Happ or a few players go down with an injury, an early call-up for Davis could be right around the corner.

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Austin Lowell is a featured writer at FantasyPros. For more from Austin, check out his archive.

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