Dynasty Fantasy Baseball: Outfield Prospects on the Rise
When it comes to Dynasty Fantasy Baseball prospects, the outfield always seems to be incredibly loaded. You’ll have your mashers, speed demons, contact guys, and some times, a combination of the three. Over the last few months, we’ve seen the likes of Victor Robles, Eloy Jimenez, and others graduate from the prospect outfield ranks, while Yordan Alvarez and Kyle Tucker likely will get above the prospect at-bat threshold by season’s end. But don’t worry, the state of the outfield in Prospectville is in very capable hands. There are so many outfield prospects rising up my rankings, I could’ve pumped out a few more of these articles just for kicks.
If you thought there were some good names in the pitching prospects on the rise were good, just wait until you see the names below. As with the last piece, these aren’t guys that are likely going to be available in your dynasty league. These are prospects to target in trade talks due to their rising stock. Some will be big names that I have ranked at elite levels, while others are in the low minors with huge upside. Tried to get a good mix of names here to target in your dynasty league.
If you aren’t playing your dynasty leagues on Fantrax, you’re missing out on the deepest player pool and most customization around. Just starting out in a dynasty league? Then check out Eric Cross’ Top-250 prospects, Top-300 Dynasty League Rankings, & 2019 FYPD/J2 Rankings.
Dynasty Fantasy Baseball: Outfield Prospects on the Rise
Let’s start with the big guns shooting way up into or near my top-50 overall prospects. Guys like Kristian Robinson and George Valera are not included below as they’re season’s are just starting and haven’t really “risen” since my last rankings update.
Jarred Kelenic, Seattle Mariners
Age: 19 | Current Level: California League (A+) | ETA 2021
To be honest, I almost didn’t include Kelenic in this article. Yes, he’s certainly on the rise and fits the mold for this article, but he was already inside my top-30 overall prospects back in February. For that reason, I initially left him out. But then I got to thinking (Yes, that was the smoke you were seeing in the sky). Even since Kelenic was drafted, I’ve been one of the highest around on him for dynasty leagues. From my initial 2018 FYPD rankings to now, Kelenic continues to move up my overall rankings. And just you wait for my mid-season rankings update in a couple of weeks. Kelenic is very high in those rankings, ahead of some names that might surprise you. How high you ask? That’s not information I can dish out at the moment. You’ll have to check out the rankings update piece in two weeks.
Without giving away where I have Kelenic ranked, I’m going to explain why exactly I have Kelenic as high as I do. To put it simply, all of his offensive tools are phenomenal, mainly, his hit tool and speed. From the moment I first saw video of Kelenic at the plate, I fell in love with his swing. With his quick wrists and clean mechanics, Kelenic has one of the best-looking swings I’ve seen in years. He generates plenty of bat speed with a clean swing path through the zone and can use the whole field to his advantage.
— Brent Hershey (@BrentHQ) May 2, 2019
While his power isn’t as robust as his hit tool and speed, I’d still project him as a 25-homer bat down the road thanks to his raw power, bat speed, and sound mechanics. He’s already flashing additional power this season, hitting 13 homers in 57 games so far. Add in 30-plus steals and a batting average north of .300 and you have a dynamic offensive outfielder in the making. This is one of the top offensive prospects in the game and someone I’d be doing everything I possibly could to get him on my dynasty teams.
Julio Rodriguez, Seattle Mariners
Age: 18 | Current Level: South Atlantic League (A) | ETA 2021/2022
If having Jarred Kelenic wasn’t enough, the Mariners also have Julio Rodriguez and his massive upside in the low minors. Talk about an embarrassment of riches. In the outfield anyway. Rodriguez was part of the STACKED 2017 J2 class that also contained Julio Pablo Martinez, Everson Pereira, Antonio Cabello, Philly Luis Garcia, Ronny Mauricio, Eric Pardinho, George Valera, Kristian Robinson, and some guy named Wander Franco. So many players with monster upside on this list and J-Rod is firmly in the running for the title of highest non-Franco upside.
Here’s a blurb I wrote about him earlier in the season:
“The first thing you notice about Rodriguez at the plate is his quick wrists and phenomenal bat speed. He never really comes set pre-pitch but that’s something that can be ironed out over time. The swing itself is relatively clean with moderate load/hand coil and good use of his lower half. Rodriguez already has above-average raw power to all fields and projects to add more power as he develops and fills out his slight 6’3 frame.”
While Kelenic is the gem in this system, Rodriguez isn’t too far behind. The offensive tools are damn fine looking and Rodriguez has already displayed an advanced plate approach for an 18-year-old getting his first taste of full-season Single-A. If he develops according to plan, Rodriguez has the upside to hit for both a high average and plenty of power, somewhere in the .280-.300 range with 30-plus homers and double-digit speed to go with it. To give you a little tease of my mid-season prospect rankings, Rodriguez is firmly within my top-50 overall.
Drew Waters, Atlanta Braves
Age: 20 | Current Level: Southern League (AA) | ETA 2020
For a while now, Cristian Pache has been the outfielder of note in this deep Atlanta system. Move over Pache, Drew Waters is taking a seat at the table. He might even take the dad spot at the end with how he’s performed of late. After a breakout 2018 season where he hit .293 with 57 extra-base hits, nine home runs, and 23 steals in just 114 games (A/A+), Waters has arguably been even better this season with a .338 average, 36 extra-base hits, five home runs, and 10 steals so far in 68 Double-A games. His middle name must be “Extra-base hit” or something. Yes, I know that’s a long middle name, but it fits him with how often his at-bats end up with him standing on second, third, or trotting around the diamond.
Offensively, Waters currently possesses a plus hit tool and speed with developing raw power. He doesn’t walk a whole lot, but his high contact skills, clean swing, and feel for the barrel should continue to keep his batting average high, likely in the .300 vicinity. While he’s more of a line drive hitter at the moment, there’s more raw power in Waters bat. Some added loft could unlock his 20-25 homer upside. Basically, he’s Jarred Kelenic, but slightly scaled back across the board. Waters is already inside my top-25 overall prospects, but you can likely get him for a little cheaper than that in dynasty leagues.
Heliot Ramos, San Francisco Giants
Age: 19 | Current Level: California League (A+) | ETA 2021
Never give up on high-end talent due to struggles in the low minors. I’ll say that until I’m blue in the face. Heliot Ramos burst onto the prospect scene with a .348/.404/.645/1.049 slash line, 23 extra-base hits, six homers, and 10 steals in 35 Arizona Rookie League games back in 2017. That performance earned him a promotion to the Single-A South Atlantic League the following season where he was one of the youngest players at the level for the entire season. The surface numbers weren’t as rosy as 2017’s onslaught, but Ramos did make subtle improvements, mainly improving his strikeout rate.
Heliot Ramos has improved drastically in 2019 after what was considered a "down" 2018 season where he was one of the youngest in the SALLY & still made some minor improvements. He remains one of the top young OF prospects in the game w/ plus offensive skills.#SFGiants #MiLB pic.twitter.com/6pZV20rMt8
— Eric Cross (@EricCross04) June 11, 2019
We’re now over two months into the 2019 season and Ramos has shown that 2017 was no fluke. As you can see above, Ramos has improved in many offensive categories, with many being sizable improvements. The plus raw power that he’s shown glimpses of is finally starting to poke its head out consistently with Ramos on a 35-homer pace this season. What has impressed me the most, though, is Ramos’ improved walk rate. If he can remain patient at the plate and wait for a pitch to drive, there’s no reason why Ramos cannot blossom into a 25-plus homer bat that can also hit for an average north of .270 or so and chips in a handful of steals. I’d highly recommend making an offer for Ramos now before his price continues to rise. And it will.
Dylan Carlson, St. Louis Cardinals
Age: 20 | Current Level: Texas League (AA) | ETA: 2020
Coming into the season, Jhon Torres was the Cardinals outfield prospect that dynasty league owners were clamoring for. Two months into the season, that name has changed to Dylan Carlson. There’s still high upside when it comes to Torres, but Carlson has really come on this season, slashing .287/.371/.516/.887 with 30 extra-base hits, 10 home runs, and 11 steals in 64 Double-A games, putting himself right around a 25/25 pace. On top of that, Carlson has maintained his above-average walk and strikeout rates from Single-A and looks to be a good source of both average and OBP moving forward with his above-average hit tool and sound approach. While the power is legit, I’m not expecting quite this much speed moving forward, but a .280/25/15 type of player is one anyone can sink their teeth into.
20-year-old Dylan Carlson crushed his first spring training home run! 💥 pic.twitter.com/F8hrqATvZp
— St. Louis Cardinals (@Cardinals) March 11, 2019
Alek Thomas, Arizona Diamondbacks
Age: 19 | Current Level: Midwest League (A) | ETA: 2021
Thomas has been a personal favorite of mine since the 2018 draft. The Diamondbacks used a 2nd round pick on the Chicago prep star and the pick is looking like a steal thus far. In 114 career games, Thomas has slashed .310/.387/.461/.848 with 44 extra base hits, eight home runs, 91 runs, 18 steals, and a 10.7% walk rate. What drew me to Thomas almost immediately was his combination of contact, bat speed, approach, and speed on the bases. He’ll never likely be more than a 10-15 homer threat, but the skills are here for Thomas to develop into a strong top of the order threat capable of hitting .300 with a high OBP and 25-plus steals. If I were to re-rank the 2018 FYPD crop now, he’d be in the conversation for top-10.
Jarren Duran, Boston Red Sox
Age: 22 | Current Level: Eastern League (AA) | ETA 2020
There wasn’t a ton of hype on Jarren Duran after the 2018 draft when the Red Sox took him in the 7th round out of Long Beach State. What a difference one year can make. Since the first time Duran stepped foot on a minor league field as a professional, he’s done nothing but dazzle at every level. The elite speed was obvious when he was drafted and has already turned him into one of the top speed threats in the minors, both on the bases and as a plus defender in center field. But what has really impressed me so far is the hit tool.
Sure, you can say he was a 22/23-year-old prospect dominating younger competition in the lower minors, but what else should he do? Take it easy on them? Duran hit .357 with 24 steals in 67 games last year between the NY-Penn League (A Short) and South Atlantic League, and was hitting .387 with 18 steals in 50 games in the Carolina League (A+) before his promotion to the Double-A Eastern League a couple of weeks back.
There have been some struggles so far in Double-A, but Duran has shown that he possesses plus contact skills with a solid approach and good feel for the barrel. He is able to use the whole field, routinely sending line drives into the gap and utilizing that dynamic speed of his. There’s not a ton of power here, but Duran projects to hit for average moving forward with plenty of speed and above-average to plus defense in the outfield, albeit, with a below-average arm. Outside of Tristan Casas and Bobby Dalbec, there’s no one in this Boston farm system I’d want more than Duran in dynasty leagues. The time to buy in is now.
Misael Urbina, Minnesota Twins
Age: 17 | Current Level: Dominican Summer League (RK) | ETA: 2022/2023
Just profiled Urbina last week in my Fantasy Baseball Prospects Report and included my blurb about him below. I’m very high on the Twin’s outfielder and here’s why:
“The 2018 International J2 crop was loaded with talent, especially at the shortstop position. Prospects like Marco Luciano, Noelvi Marte, and Victor Victor Mesa garnered the most buzz along with the six thousand guys the New York Yankees signed. (Insert Red Sox fan grumble here). And while Misael Urbina was considered one of the 10 best prospects from this period, he hasn’t gotten nearly as much buzz as he should. I’m going to try and correct that today.
Now, Urbina isn’t cut from the same cloth as a Luciano, Marte, or Orelvis Martinez. He doesn’t possess the big plus power that draws the oohs and aahs from spectators. No, Urbina is more of an AVG/Speed threat with big upside in both. At the plate, Urbina generates a ton of bat speed with quick wrists, fluid hip rotation, and a clean swing path. The swing is more geared for line drives than over the fence shots right now due to the linear path through the zone, but Urbina has enough raw power to develop into a 15-20 homer guy once he adds more strength to his frame and some loft to his swing.
As for the speed, Urbina is a plus runner with 25+SB upside to go along with his double-digit pop and above-average to plus hit tool. He’s already putting his enticing offensive tools on full display in the Dominican Summer League, recording eight hits in his first 23 at-bats with five extra-base hits, one homer, and four steals. He’s still miles away from the Majors, but all the raw tools are here for Urbina to become an offensive star. Get ready to see his name skyrocket up prospect rankings over the next year or two.”
Brennen Davis, OF, Chicago Cubs
Age: 19 | Current Level: Midwest League (A) | ETA 2021/2022
An easy way to describe Brennan Davis is raw with tons of upside. What, you want more? Okay. The first thing you notice with Davis is that the kid is incredibly athletic and moves well for a 6’4 lanky outfielder. Double-plus speed is Davis current calling card and still he projects as at least a plus runner once he fills out and likely adds strength to his frame. That speed will be key, but it’s his developments at the plate that will define his true upside. Davis has flashed above-average to plus raw power that should continue to become more prominent in games as he adds bulk. We could be looking at a 20/25 threat or better at peak.
There are some questions around his contact skills and overall approach, but he has plenty of time to iron those out and is off to a good start at the plate this season with a .338 average and nearly as many walks (11) as strikeouts (13). If Davis can continue to improve in those areas, the upside here is huge.
Jake Fraley, Seattle Mariners
After two lackluster seasons in 2016 and 2017, Jake Fraley burst onto the scene in 2018, slashing a robust .347/.415/.547/.962 with 30 extra-base hits, four homers, and 11 steals in 66 games in the High-A Florida State League. Maybe his stint in the Australian Baseball League rejuvenated the bat that made him a 2nd round pick by Tampa Bay back in 2016. In 2019, new level, same great results. Fraley’s slash line is nearly the same while he’s hit for more power and been more efficient on the basepaths. Like with Duran, Fraley has been old for the levels he’s played at, but with his above-average hit tool, plus speed, and blossoming power, the upside is here for Fraley to become above-average offensive outfielder that can hit for a solid average, home run totals int he teens, and 25-plus steals. Plus, he gets bonus points for the sweet beard.
Photo/Video Credit: Robert Robinson (Featured Image), Jason Pennini, St. Louis Cardinals, Brent Hershey.
Eric Cross is the lead MLB/Fantasy Baseball writer and MiLB prospect analyst for FantraxHQ and has been with the site since March 2017. In the past, he wrote for FantasyPros and FanSided. He is also a member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association (FSWA) and a contributor in the best-selling Fantasy Baseball Black Book. For more from Eric, check out his author page and follow him on Twitter @EricCross04.
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