There is nearly an infinite number of formats in fantasy baseball and working without outfielders is always a challenge. Some leagues have three starting outfielders. Others have five. Then, you get the question of whether you break it down specifically by position or whether you consider them all generically. My usual course is to consider them specifically. It is easier to adjust from specific to general than it is to do the reverse. So, the players listed here are the players projected to play left field based on rosterresource.com
If you haven’t been paying attention to this series, we have been taking the top 15 players at each position according to their five category projections. We take five popular projection systems and use the aggregate to rate the players. We haven’t used all of the projection systems, but most of them are fairly similar because of their use of computer algorithms.
Juan Soto–Washington Nationals
Projection: .294/35 HR/106 Runs/113 RBI/10 SB
Arguably, his best quality is not even shown here. Soto also will likely push 100 walks this season which makes him a very strong six category threat. You always want to be careful not to read too much into postseason performance. Soto came up huge and arguably could have been the World Series MVP. He will be a stud, but some might be tempted to put him too high on their board.
Yordan Alvarez–Houston Astros
Projection: .281/36 HR/89 Runs/105 RBI/3 SB
This is where knowing your format is huge. Left field is the weakest of the outfield positions in terms of fantasy. So, Alvarez is number two here, but might not even crack the top ten overall in terms of outfielders. He will not produce 50 home runs as he did between AAA and the big leagues last year, but he seems destined for 30 plus. Add some decent patience and he’s a nice name to keep filed away.
Marcell Ozuna–Atlanta Braves
Projection: .277/31 HR/84 Runs/101 RBI/7 SB
When you look at the back of the baseball card you begin to notice some trends. Ozuna’s 2017 campaign looked like he was coming into his own as a player. In reality, it was a career year. You can reliably take the other seasons and come up with a decent aggregate for where he will likely end up. The Braves are stronger offensively than the Cardinals or Marlins were. So, we might see an uptick in runs and RBI.
Eddie Rosario–Minnesota Twins
Projection: .282/29 HR/87 Runs/97 RBI/5 SB
In real baseball, Rosario is not that valuable as he appears to be here. He doesn’t draw any walks and he is not particularly dynamic defensively. Still, he is about as close as you get to 30/100/100 out of left field. Out of the outfield universe he likely drops out of the top 20. He would be a solid pick four an OF3 in a standard 12 team league where outfielders are treated generically.
Austin Meadows–Tampa Bay Rays
Projection: .273/27 HR/81 Runs/81 RBI/14 SB
Playing time is unfortunately a consideration. There is nothing wrong with Meadows per se. It’s just that the Rays have a ton of interchangeable parts. It makes them one of the more fascinating teams to cover. Unfortunately, it means that players like Meadows won’t get to play everyday. He might play 140 games even if he is 100 percent healthy as opposed to 155 or 160 elsewhere.
Tommy Pham–San Diego Padres
Projection: .274/22 HR/88 Runs/71 RBI/20 SB
It’s hard to understand the Pham trade from the Rays point of view. Pham lives on base. So, his best skill is not necessarily shown here. He will get to play every day in San Diego, but the ballpark might end up depressing his power numbers.
Eloy Jimenez–Chicago White Sox
Projection: .280/33 HR/80 Runs/94 RBI/1 SB
Jimenez came on late last season to produce some good numbers. If it weren’t for Alvarez he might have been rookie of the year. Now, they have Edwin Encarnacion, Yamani Grandal, Nomar Mazara, and Luis Robert added to their arsenal. He could be taking a giant leap forward this season.
Michael Brantley–Houston Astros
Projection: .291/18 HR/81 Runs/80 RBI/6 SB
In this age of launch angles and strikeouts, Brantley is a throwback to a bygone era. He has decent power, but his best skill is his ability to make consistent contact. Unfortunately, that doesn’t always translate to tremendous fantasy value. As Adam Ant might have said, “don’t steal, don’t homer, what do you do?”
Kyle Schwarber–Chicago Cubs
Projection: .249/35 HR/82 Runs/89 RBI/3 SB
Schwarber is the prototypical hitter in this current era. He gets on base and hits a lot of home runs, but there is a lot of swing and miss in his game. He is what the scouts call a three outcome hitter. He will likely strike out, walk, or hit a dinger. If you can live with the low batting average he might be a decent guy to have on your team.
Andrew Benintendi–Boston Red Sox
Projection: .271/17 HR/86 Runs/77 RBI/13 SB
Lost in the shuffle over the mess that is the Houston Astros is the mess that is the Boston Red Sox. Check out the differences between their offensive numbers in 2018 and 2019. Benintendi likely got caught up in that and so fans were expecting more last season based on his breakout 2018 season. We will likely see more of the same this year. He’s not bad, but closer to Brantley than star quality.
Khris Davis–Oakland Athletics
Projection: .237/36 HR/79 Runs/98 RBI/1 SB
Surprise, surprise. He didn’t hit .247 last season. He is essentially a lesser version of Schwarber. If he can find a way to return to 40+ home runs he could be a valuable fantasy asset, but the likelihood of another 20+ home run season will keep most fantasy players away. He lasts long enough to be a fantasy backup he could be an excellent fourth outfielder.
Bryan Reynolds–Pittsburgh Pirates
Projection: .279/16 HR/78 Runs/71 RBI/5 SB
Reynolds is essentially Brantley and Benintendi without the support. The Pirates will almost certainly finish in last place in the NL Central and those lost runs and RBI are the difference between him being a top ten left fielder and barely on the board.
Shin-Soo Choo–Texas Rangers
Projection: .251/20 HR/81 Runs/60 RBI/10 SB
If the Hall of Fame Index has a third edition, Choo could make it from the modern generation as a player that is close, but just not quite good enough. His best skill is his ability to get on base. Unfortunately, he just can’t stay healthy enough to put up the numbers you need to get into Cooperstown or appear as a fantasy regular. He is a nice bench option because he can do it for short bursts.
Justin Upton–Los Angeles Angels
Projection: .238/29 HR/77 Runs/86 RBI/5 SB
There is the temptation to grade out players based on what you expect them to be. Upton was a number one overall pick and as such there was always the expectation that he would be a superstar. He has never quite gotten there, but he has been solid to very good for more than a decade. If healthy, he could be a very nice complementary piece.
Andrew McCutchen–Philadelphia Phillies
Projection: .273/24 HR/79 Runs/70 RBI/7 SB
McCutchen will miss opening day, but when you are getting a fantasy bench player you want someone that will be productive when they do play. McCutchen was off to a good start last year before his ACL tear. Like Choo, his ability to stay on the field is more limited these days, but he will be productive when he is there.
Author’s Note: The Hall of Fame Index Part II is available at Amazon.com. You can pre-order the Kindle version for 5.99 or get a copy of the paperback version for 14.99.