As we have discussed before, fantasy leagues split their treatment of outfielders into two separate groups. Some treat all outfielders the same while others go position specific. We will be going position specific here. Obviously, that will impact the rankings some as some of the outfield positions (right field) tend to be deeper than others. So, some of these guys may not be fantasy regulars overall, but we do it for the benefit of those owners that must consider specific positions in the outfield.
- Ryan Braun—Milwaukee Brewers (Preseason #6)
(.318, 24 HR, 66 Runs, 74 RBI, 38 BB, 14 SB)
Braun really wasn’t the sixth best left fielder coming into the season. The top two guys on the board in Yahoo leagues aren’t primarily left fielders (Kris Bryant and Charlie Blackmon), but Braun was placed behind the likes of Justin Upton, and Starling Marte. Upton in particular has been a huge disappointment. Braun is not what he used to be when he was cheating, but he has been really good.
- Christian Yelich—Miami Marlins (Preseason #11)
(.312, 15 HR, 66 Runs, 75 RBI, 54 BB, 6 SB)
The mantra before the season was that Yelich would be very valuable in fantasy terms if he ever saw a bump in his power production. He has seen that bump, so he is now a solid contributor across the board. I might be tempted to put a player or two higher on the list than this, but he has definitely taken a step forward.
- Jayson Werth—Washington Nationals (Preseason #41)
(.252, 18 HR, 70 Runs, 58 RBI, 61 BB, 4 SB)
Admittedly, this rank is buoyed by his awesome walk total. He ranks first amongst left fielders in that category and many of you reap no direct benefit from that. Still, his runs total is strong due to his on base abilities and he contributes across the board when you substitute OBP in place of batting average. When healthy, Werth is one of the more consistent performers in baseball.
- Yoenis Cespedes—New York Mets (Preseason #4)
(.294, 25 HR, 53 Runs, 64 RBI, 38 BB, 2 SB)
Cespedes began the season in center field, so he will be eligible in both spots next season. That makes him play up in position specific leagues. He lost about 100 plate appearances to nagging injuries or he would be much higher on the list. He likely will still finish with 30+ home runs on the season and over 80 RBI. He potentially could be a free agent in the offseason, so he will be an interesting player to watch.
- Adam Duvall—Cincinnati Reds (Preseason #53)
(.244, 28 HR, 70 Runs, 82 RBI, 31 BB, 4 SB)
Duvall may have been the top waiver wire addition in the outfield this season. Sure, his batting average is low, but in five category leagues he brings three very strong showings to the forefront. He is also somewhat weak in on base ability and that might hurt him a little as we move forward. He definitely hasn’t been as good in the second half as he was before the all-star break.
- Michael Saunders—Toronto Blue Jays (Preseason #56)
(.266, 21 HR, 63 Runs, 50 RBI, 50 BB, 1 SB)
Saunders didn’t exactly come out of nowhere like Duvall, but he has been healthy for the first time in his career. In particular, the last two guys demonstrates the wisdom of punting on outfielders in general. Three of the top six left fielders were not selected on draft day. As an impending free agent, he has turned things around at just the right time for his own financial well-being.
- Khris Davis—Oakland Athletics (Preseason #25)
(.257, 33 HR, 67 Runs, 82 RBI, 21 BB, 1 SB)
Keep in mind, a number of the players ranked above Davis are not actually left fielders in fantasy baseball. So, Davis was likely selected and was a preseason starter in leagues that carried five outfielders. His production shouldn’t be that unexpected given his past, but he was overlooked for some reason. Granted, he will never hit for average or steal many bases, but that power is too great to ignore.
- Yasmany Tomas—Arizona Diamondbacks (Preseason #50)
(.263, 26 HR, 61 Runs, 61 RBI, 26 BB, 2 SB)
In five category leagues, stolen bases are his only true weakness. In real baseball, his low OBP will hamper his overall value. That gap between fantasy baseball and real baseball could serve you in a league with fellow seamheads. He was obviously overlooked on draft day, but that shouldn’t happen again.
- Rajai Davis—Cleveland Indians (Preseason #48)
(.253, 11 HR, 61 Runs, 42 RBI, 30 BB, 33 SB)
I’m shocked he went this low, but coming into the season he was just a part time performer that would steal around 20 bags for you. Still, you would think that this skill alone would get him on most people’s rosters. This season he has played a little more and brought a little power to the equation this season.
- Starling Marte—Pittsburgh Pirates (Preseason #3)
(.304, 7 HR, 67 Runs, 43 RBI, 23 BB, 43 SB)
Marte really hasn’t disappointed per se, but he has taken a step back in terms of power production and that step back has caused him to tumble some in the rankings. Speed is more rare than power, so he probably plays up in reality for most folks. Coming into the season, he was expected to provide both.
- Brett Gardner—New York Yankees (Preseason #12)
(.260, 7 HR, 64 Runs, 33 RBI, 53 BB, 13 SB)
Gardner might get lost in the youth movement that is occurring in New York. His best trait it his durability. He used to bring more speed to the table, but sacrificed that for a little power. Now, he really isn’t bringing that much of either. In real baseball terms he is more valuable because he is a plus defender in left field. It will be somewhat interesting to see if he will end up in New York in 2017.
- Brandon Moss—St. Louis Cardinals (Preseason #51)
(.270, 25 HR, 57 Runs, 60 RBI, 29 BB, 1 SB)
Moss has spent his entire career as a poor man’s Khris Davis. He has been a reliable power source for the last several seasons and he is eligible at first base, right field, and left field. Coming into the season he wasn’t expected to play every day, but his versatility has him at a little more than 300 at bats at press time.