MARKET PULSE: 2020 Outfielders

NOTE: Our preseason Market Pulse column is an exercise in identifying the gaps between the valuation of the "popular" market (as reflected in Average Draft Position, or "ADP") and that of BaseballHQ.com. If a player is not listed here, it's likely that he qualifies at a scarcer position, or he's not in the ADP Top 500-600 (it's a bit fluid). Remember that this is an exercise in relative valuation, not absolute.

Each hitter is being considered at his scarcest qualified position (in order: C/DH, SS, 2B, 3B, 1B, OF), as it is the scarcest eligible position that typically drives fantasy value. The rankings are a risk- and position-adjusted estimate using current BaseballHQ.com projections. It is a purely quantitative ranking, with no specific consideration of "upside" (aside from reliability scores). The dollar values are position adjusted, but do not incorporate risk. Average auction values are approximate. These are not the "official" BaseballHQ.com straight draft rankings, but they should be close.

The article assumes a standard 15-team, mixed, 5x5 league, though the recommendations here will generally apply in most formats. A positive number in the "Diff" column indicates a player that BaseballHQ.com ranks higher than the "market," and a negative number indicates we have the player ranked lower, based on ADP. The list is split into tiers, based on the ADP. The ADP itself is based on recent NFBC drafts.

Previous columns: C/DH | SS | 2B | 3B | 1B 

(NFBC ADP Report) | Unofficial Rankings

There are a lot of outfielders. Okay, duh. But that means that there are outfield choices throughout the draft, so it's a matter of picking the right players at the right time. There's a mix of over- and under-valued players according to the ADP, without a lot of obvious bargains.

                                     HQ                      --  HQ Projections --
Player               TM POS REL ADP Rank Diff HQ$ AAV Diff |  AB AVG HR RBI  R  SB
==================  === === === === ==== ==== === === ==== | === === == === === == 
Acuna, Ronald       ATLo879 ABA   1    3   -2  36  59  -23 | 582 275 38  91 107 30
Yelich, Christian   MIL  9o AAF   2    1    1  46  52   -6 | 566 319 44 105 107 24
Trout, Mike         LAA  8o BAC   3    2    1  40  48   -8 | 499 300 43 100 114 18
Betts, Mookie        LA  o9 AAF   5    8   -3  33  43  -10 | 571 298 31  78 116 20
Soto, Juan          WAS  o7 CCB  11   27  -16  30  35   -5 | 540 287 34 105 106 10
Martinez, J.D.      BOS 0o9 BAC  22   16    6  31  28    3 | 575 301 40 106  98  2
Harper, Bryce       PHI  o9 AAD  23   15    8  29  28    1 | 544 270 35 106 102 14
Judge, Aaron        NYY  o9 DBC  26   64  -38  24  27   -3 | 519 274 38  90 101  4
Marte, Starling     ARI  8o ABA  29   18   11  28  26    2 | 550 288 21  79  93 29
Meadows, Austin     TAMo907 ACC  35   39   -4  22  24   -2 | 533 275 30  84  81 16
Springer, George    HOU o89 CAD  44   44    0  24  21    3 | 511 281 34  85  99  7
Blackmon, Charlie   COL  o9 AAC  46   23   23  26  21    5 | 566 307 28  76 108  6
Stanton, Giancarlo  NYY   o FBC  50   93  -43  20  20    0 | 546 261 36 105  90  2
Jimenez, Eloy       CHW  o7 BDD  54   50    4  22  19    3 | 576 288 37  95  82  0

Robles, Victor      WAS  o8 ADC  74   58   16  19  16    3 | 570 269 16  59  85 31
Pham, Thomas         SD o70 BAB  76   85   -9  16  16    0 | 504 264 19  64  82 24
Laureano, Ramon     OAK  o8 BCC  79   69   10  19  16    3 | 468 280 25  67  84 17
Robert, Luis        CHW   8 AFF  80  122  -42  12  16   -4 | 516 237 20  68  81 23
Gallo, Joey         TEX o87 DBC  83  187 -104  10  15   -5 | 458 228 37  77  77  3
Soler, Jorge         KC 0o9 DCC  88  130  -42  15  15    0 | 542 258 31  91  80  4
Rosario, Eddie      MIN  o7 AAA  93   66   27  17  14    3 | 521 279 27  91  80  5
Ozuna, Marcell      ATL  o7 BAC  96  100   -4  15  14    1 | 522 261 28  90  75  8
Castellanos, Nick   CIN  o9 AAC 101   70   31  17  13    4 | 574 288 25  83  84  2
Benintendi, Andrew  BOS  o7 AAD 109   88   21  15  13    2 | 551 273 18  77  81 14
Conforto, Michael   NYM o98 BAC 114   90   24  16  12    4 | 533 260 31  87  85  5
Mercado, Oscar      CLE o87 ABA 117   79   38  16  12    4 | 570 260 15  57  84 30
Brantley, Michael   HOU o70 CBA 126   60   66  21  11   10 | 562 310 19  86  86  6
Puig, Yasiel        FAA  o9 BBB 133   75   58  18  11    7 | 529 270 24  79  75 17

Kepler, Max         MIN o98 CAB 141  148   -7  11  10    1 | 487 255 25  76  84  4
Schwarber, Kyle     CHC  o7 CBA 143  133   10  12  10    2 | 473 255 34  79  75  2
Reyes, Franmil      CLE o90 ABC 145   86   59  15  10    5 | 556 257 36  89  80  1
Dahl, David         COLo879 FFC 146  176  -30  11  10    1 | 476 282 21  65  71  7
Tucker, Kyle        HOU   o ACB 149  279 -130   3   9   -6 | 376 251 14  59  56 14
Gurriel, Lourdes    TOR  o7 CDB 154  180  -26   9   9    0 | 488 257 26  72  64  7
Buxton, Byron       MIN  8o FDD 161  196  -35  10   9    1 | 513 247 13  63  75 24
Calhoun, Willie     TEX  o7 ACC 166  248  -82   4   8   -4 | 504 258 25  62  61  1
Smith, Mallex       SEA o89 BBD 171  167    4   9   8    1 | 469 255  4  34  63 42
Cain, Lorenzo       MIL  8o BAC 179  153   26  10   8    2 | 496 282 11  43  71 20
Aquino, Aristides   CIN  9o ACD 184  449 -265  -2   7   -9 | 349 239 22  52  45  5
Reynolds, Bryan     PITo798 ADC 185   76  109  17   7   10 | 557 295 19  75  89  5
Eaton, Adam         WAS  o9 FCB 204  152   52  13   6    7 | 486 288 12  50  94 14
McCutchen, Andrew   PHI  o7 FBB 205  207   -2   8   6    2 | 468 265 20  65  79  4
Verdugo, Alex       BOSo897 BCA 212  307  -95   2   6   -4 | 378 303 13  43  48  4
Garcia, Avisail     MIL o90 CBC 213  161   52  10   6    4 | 511 269 20  79  68  7
Adell, Jo           LAA   8 AFA 214  326 -112   1   6   -5 | 374 270 10  40  61 11
Upton, Justin       LAA  o7 DBC 215  188   27  10   6    4 | 483 241 27  87  78  4
Senzel, Nick        CIN  8o DDF 225  383 -158  -1   5   -6 | 344 263 11  41  48 12
                                     HQ                      --  HQ Projections --
Player               TM POS REL ADP Rank Diff HQ$ AAV Diff |  AB AVG HR RBI  R  SB
==================  === === === === ==== ==== === === ==== | === === == === === == 
Mazara, Nomar       CHW  o9 BBA 241  481 -240  -3   5   -8 | 443 242 17  59  55  2
Braun, Ryan         MIL  o7 BBB 245   91  154  16   5   11 | 471 278 23  76  74 14
Renfroe, Hunter     TAM o97 BCA 246  165   81   9   5    4 | 472 250 34  67  64  4
Hays, Austin        BAL  8o ADD 247  253   -6   4   5   -1 | 487 249 20  62  59 10
Choo, Shin-Soo      TEXo097 CAB 248  270  -22   4   4    0 | 508 248 20  51  71 10
Peralta, David      ARI  o7 FBD 251  265  -14   5   4    1 | 500 274 18  64  61  3
Pollock, A.J.        LA  o8 FCA 256  259   -3   5   4    1 | 380 266 17  54  60 10
Canha, Mark         OAK o89 CCC 257  271  -14   4   4    0 | 394 256 22  55  68  3
Akiyama, Shogo      CIN  8o AFF 265  163  102   9   4    5 | 492 285 11  51  73 13
Grichuk, Randal     TOR o98 BBB 271  109  162  14   4   10 | 610 249 34  88  81  4
Riley, Austin       ATL  o7 BDC 274  397 -123  -1   3   -4 | 378 249 19  58  54  1
Hilliard, Sam       COL   o AFF 277 1000 -723 -13   3  -16 | 191 226 10  24  27  5
Myers, Wil           SD o78 CBA 290  194   96   8   3    5 | 488 248 19  64  64 18
Haniger, Mitch      SEA o98 FCD 295  423 -128  -2   3   -5 | 338 258 16  45  53  5
Dickerson, Corey    MIA  o7 DBA 298  205   93   8   3    5 | 482 287 19  66  61  3
Polanco, Gregory    PIT  o9 FCD 299  346  -47   1   3   -2 | 405 252 15  52  56 11
Carlson, Dylan      STL   9 AFF 300  441 -141  -2   3   -5 | 278 272 13  31  45 10
Calhoun, Kole       ARI  o9 AAB 306  242   64   4   2    2 | 518 233 25  66  80  4
Yastrzemski, Mike    SF o79 ACC 310  249   61   4   2    2 | 465 245 24  63  69  4
Gardner, Brett      NYY o87 AAB 314  243   71   4   2    2 | 428 257 11  53  73 11
Happ, Ian           CHC   o ACB 316  770 -454  -8   2  -10 | 240 239 14  35  37  5
Santana, Domingo    CLE o79 CBC 322  222  100   6   2    4 | 458 246 21  70  68  8
Grisham, Trent       SD  o8 ADF 323  693 -370  -7   2   -9 | 292 254  9  37  43  6
Nimmo, Brandon      NYM o87 FCF 326  348  -22   1   2   -1 | 400 243 16  52  67  9
Santander, Anthony  BALo978 CDF 334  350  -16   0   2   -2 | 519 243 21  61  55  4
Kiermaier, Kevin    TAM  8o FCB 339  356  -17   0   1   -1 | 448 238 12  46  60 17
Pillar, Kevin       BOS o89 AAA 340  456 -116  -2   1   -3 | 361 259 11  45  48  9
Hernandez, Teoscar  TOR o87 ACB 341  142  199  10   1    9 | 495 238 32  82  71  5
Winker, Jesse       CIN o78 DCC 360  296   64   3   1    2 | 418 289 17  53  57  1
Martinez, Jose      TAM  o9 BCD 362  433  -71  -2   1   -3 | 310 282 14  43  44  3
Tauchman, Mike      NYY  o7 ADB 368  352   16   0   1   -1 | 309 267 16  44  47  8
Reyes, Victor       DET o87 ACD 383  306   77   2   0    2 | 427 273  7  41  58 15
Piscotty, Stephen   OAK  o9 CCD 386  395   -9  -1   0   -1 | 409 256 16  56  56  2
Bader, Harrison     STL  8o ACB 388  247  141   4   0    4 | 464 235 17  52  75 15
Cespedes, Yoenis    NYM   7 FFC 391  541 -150  -6   0   -6 | 218 280 14  39  33  2
O'Neill, Tyler      STL  o7 BCD 402  308   94   2   0    2 | 409 250 19  62  62  5
Bradley, Jackie     BOS  o8 ABA 408  351   57   0   0    0 | 432 232 17  56  63  9
Inciarte, Ender     ATL  8o FBB 409  291  118   3   0    3 | 400 267  9  42  61 16
Lewis, Kyle         SEA   o AFC 411  758 -347  -8   0   -8 | 371 226 20  40  40  2
DeShields Jr., D.   CLE  8o BCC 417 1017 -600 -15  -1  -14 | 216 227  3  15  27 12
Cordero, Franchy     SD   o FFB 418  843 -425 -13  -1  -12 | 189 241 11  22  22  4
Heyward, Jason      CHC o98 BBA 421  230  191   5  -1    6 | 519 255 15  63  77  7
Margot, Manuel      TAM  8o ABA 429  998 -569 -12  -1  -11 | 220 245  5  21  28 10
Rojas, Josh         ARI  o7 ADC 442 1133 -691 -21  -1  -20 |  61 251  1   8   9  3
Garcia, Leury       CHWo897 DCA 457  388   69  -1  -2    1 | 426 269  7  38  51 13
Markakis, Nick      ATL  o9 CAC 468  309  159   2  -2    4 | 431 292  9  59  50  3
Frazier, Clint      NYY  o9 DDD 472  898 -426 -14  -2  -12 | 188 248  9  22  27  2
Tapia, Raimel       COL  o7 ACC 477  826 -349  -9  -2   -7 | 260 285  5  25  33  7
Desmond, Ian        COL o87 BBA 478  439   39  -2  -2    0 | 378 249 14  52  53  7
Souza, Steven       CHC   9 FDD 479  611 -132  -8  -2   -6 | 307 233 12  38  39  7
Jones, JaCoby       DET  8o DCA 485  430   55  -2  -2    0 | 471 237 13  40  63 12
Haseley, Adam       PHI o87 AFC 486  531  -45  -4  -2   -2 | 408 266  8  39  54  4
Fraley, Jake        SEA   o AFF 494  732 -238  -8  -2   -6 | 224 251 11  33  29  8

Do we really need to sweat the one-round difference in Juan Soto (OF, WAS)? Possibly, yes. Let's start with this: BaseballHQ skill metrics love Soto. Statcast loves Soto. It's also reasonable to hope for more growth, since he's only 21 and his 2H ct% (78%) was a small step forward, but ... regression. It's a powerful force, and growth isn't always linear. The real issue is not Soto—it's who you're passing on if you grab him at No. 11. There are players like Nolan Arenado (3B, COL), Anthony Rendon (3B, LAA) and J.D. Martinez (OF, BOS) who project for similar numbers, but with better track records. You may have misgivings about some or all of these players, but there are good reasons to drop Soto down to the second round. There may also be good reasons to take him at No. 11. Take all of that into consideration when deciding where to slot him.

The biggest knock against Aaron Judge (OF, NYY) is his DBC reliability; that's not the kind of risk you want to take on in the second round. Then there's his current shoulder issue, which should be dropping him down all by itself. There's a more subtle issue, too: While he has tremendous power (39% xhr/f), his 63% ct% limits his production. Given his power and his home park, he'll hit a ton of HR. Plus, he has some room to grow if he can make better contact or increase his FB%. However, the Three True Outcome nature of his game leaves him short in RBI (and would leave him short in runs, too, on a different team). Those peripheral numbers subtly separate him from some of the other power hitters going in the early rounds. His second-round price is just too high for us.

Charlie Blackmon (OF, COL) has limited upside, but it's there if you squint. There's also some age-related downside, of course. The upside mainly comes in steals, as he was only 2-for-7 in 2019. However, a calf injury may have slowed him down last year, so there's a possibility of a return to double-digit steals. His skill metrics (ct%, xPX, xHR), track record and home park all point to something close to a repeat of his 2019 BA and power stats. He's relatively safe with a tiny bit of upside, so he's worth grabbing a round before his ADP.

Giancarlo Stanton (OF, NYY) has a skill set that's very similar to Aaron Judge, though with a much longer track record (including injury history). With 575+ AB, it would be reasonable to expect 40 HR, 100 RBI and a .260-ish BA. The problem is his FBC reliability. He's also only a three-category player, and there are plenty of those available around his ADP who are much lower risk. We recommend fading Stanton.

Joey Gallo (OF, TEX) has 50 HR upside. Okay. His history says he's likely to be a drag on BA—there's aren't many hitters who can overcome a 50%-ish ct%. Sure, his power is tremendous, but that's the only skill you can rely on. His .240 xBA from 2019 relies on his 26% LD%, which is a rate that will be hard to repeat. That 50-HR upside also comes with .200-.220 BA downside. There are plenty of players in the 85-100 range who provide almost as much power with nowhere near the BA agita. Fade Gallo hard. 

Kyle Tucker (OF, HOU) is not the kind of guy you bank on. He has 20/20 upside, and has nothing left to prove at Triple-A, but he could still see some time there. With an ADP of 149, he has to hit close to his upside, which at its best puts him right around the bottom of the top 100. There are paths to playing time if he hits, but his marginal ct% (71%) could be a hindrance. We're just seeing too much downside for the limited upside.

Among hitters with 200+ PA in 2019, Aristides Aquino (OF, CIN) ranked No. 224 in average exit velocity and No. 160 in hard-hit percentage. He was in the top 30 in Barrel%, so he did some things right, but his 14 xHR vs. 19 HR show his downside. GMs are stepping up and paying full price, but there are a lot of questions about his 2019 performance and his role in 2020. The Reds went out and signed two players (Shogo Akiyama and Nick Castellanos) who can be expected to compete for close to full-time roles, leaving Aquino in a PT scrum. There's upside, sure, if he was priced reasonably, but he's not. His absolute upside is about 40 picks higher than his current ADP, and his downside is much lower. Even in the 12th round, that doesn't work.

Bryan Reynolds (OF, PIT) is more of a high-floor guy, and while there's a definite possibility of regression, his skills mostly supported his 2019 pro debut. If he can improve on his 75% ct% or 108 xPX, there's also some upside. He's not sexy, but he's a good, solid bat any time after the 10th round.

BaseballHQ projects Nomar Mazara (OF, CHW) as essentially undraftable, and if all we get is a repeat of 2019 (.268-19-66-4), he probably is. But there are a couple of things going for him: first, he recently revealed that the thumb injury he suffered in 2018 bothered him through the end of 2019. That suggests some power upside if the injury hampered his hitting. He also moves to a ballpark that loves left-handed power. We wouldn't suggest taking him over a guy like Hunter Renfroe (OF, TAM), but there is some hidden upside. As a 16th- or 17th-round pick, you're overpaying a bit, but it's late enough in the draft where the upside may be worth it.

Ryan Braun (OF, MIL) is old (36) and fantasy GMs rightfully fade age. However, his ADP is more of a cliff dive than a fade. Braun's skills remain intact, though they are slowly fading. He still has strong ct% (77%), league-average power and enough speed to swipe 10-15 bases. If you think his speed game will dry up, fade him a bit, but otherwise, the 10-round difference between projection and ADP is too big of an age adjustment. We'll be looking for him around the 13th round. 

Hey, Randal Grichuk (OF, TOR), welcome to the boring veteran club! Before we celebrate, we'll note the very wide opinions about Mr. Grichuk, who's gone as early as the eighth round but is going in the 19th, on average. There are some minor risks in his projection—his xHR was slightly lower than his HR in 2019, and his projection is pretty much for maximum PT, so there's downside if he misses any time. His BA will also likely drag yours down with all that PT, but that's baked into his BaseballHQ projection. Even if he doesn't meet his 95% PT projection, he should still be a value in the 13th round or later.

A lot of GMs will be scared off by Teoscar Hernandez (OF, TOR) and his .228 BA in 2019. However, that was due to a terrible first half that ended with a demotion to Triple-A. He ripped when he returned, though we wouldn't set his second half as a baseline either. He has some BA downside, as he's shown, and even at his best, he'll be a minor drag. But that's factored into his projection, and there's still a 13-round difference. He's basically going for nothing, but with a 10th-round projection. He's a great value any time after the 16th.


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  For more information about the terms used in this article, see our Glossary Primer.