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Fantasy Baseball: Outfield Points League Rankings

“Put me in coach.” “I could be centerfield”! If you haven’t gotten ready for opening day yet by listening to the song, “centerfield”, I highly suggest you stop what you’re doing and listen to it. Well, after reading this article!

If you’re looking for a five-tool player, it may be coming from the outfield. Yet, there are a variety of prototypes you can find at the outfield position. Light-hitting defensive gems, prototypical sluggers, or a mix of the two; the diversity at this position cannot be matched, though I guess that’s to be expected considering there are three spots to fill.

This makes the position very intriguing when it comes to fantasy production. Usually, most of content about fantasy baseball is centered on category/roto leagues. That being said, I’d bet that a survey would show that a great proportion of fantasy baseball players partake in points leagues.

While there are some similarities between points leagues and category leagues, the differences vastly outweigh it. In category leagues, you need to focus on reaching certain targets in each category, aiming to build a very balanced team. In points leagues, though, all that matters is the fantasy points provided; it doesn’t matter if it comes from home runs or stolen bases.

With that addressed, it is time for us to examine how players are going to produce from a points league perspective. Most of the time, this is done through standard rankings, which utilize data, intuition, and gut feeling to put players in a specific order of expected production. Yet, there might be a way to simplify the approach even further to have more success.

What do I mean like this? As opposed to standard rankings, these are my own manual projections, with a full explanation here. While there may be players that I prefer that are ranked below certain players, I am aiming to establish enough objectivity to go with the subjective touch of manual projections.

Rejoice! There will be baseball in 2022! Why not celebrate with one of our Fantrax Classic Draft contest? Get a jump on the season with a Best Ball league or maybe a Draft and Hold. Or put some green on the line with a new season-long league to try and conquer. There’s no better time than now to get your baseball on!

With that, let us get to the rankings! Today, we’ll be focusing on outfielders. As you’d expect, this position is deep in talent, but since many leagues require you to roster five of them, you’ll have to make sure you’re consistently supplementing talent at the position. Will you embrace the depth, or look to get the top-tier stars? That’s up to you; there is no perfect strategy!

So, which outfielders should you be targeting or avoiding? Which outfielders get a boost or drop-off in points leagues as compared to category leagues. Let us dive into it!

Stats via Fangraphs and Baseball Savant

Category League Outfield Projections & Tiers: Part One, Part Two

2022 Points League Outfield Rankings

1Juan SotoWSHOF560
2Mookie BettsLADOF532
3Bryce HarperPHIOF493
4Kyle TuckerHOUOF480
5Mike TroutLAAOF475
6Whit MerrifieldKC2B, OF433
7Ketel MarteARI2B, OF425
8Ronald Acuna Jr.ATLOF417
9Yordan AlvarezHOUOF417
10George SpringerTOROF415
11Cedric MullinsBALOF413
12Luis RobertCHWOF406
13Aaron JudgeNYYOF402
14Nick CastellanosPHIOF401
15Bryan ReynoldsPITOF389
16Kris BryantFA3B, OF385
17Starling MarteNYMOF384
18JD MartinezBOSOF384
19Jesse WinkerSEAOF379
20Teoscar HernandezTOROF375
21Byron BuxtonMINOF366
22Cody BellingerLADOF365
23Seiya SuzukiCHCOF364
24Christian YelichMILOF361
25Charlie BlackmonCOLOF361
26Tommy EdmanSTL2B, OF358
27Marcell OzunaATLOF357
28Alex VerdugoBOSOF357
29Jorge SolerMIAOF356
30Trent GrishamSDOF355
31Austin MeadowsTBOF354
32Kyle SchwarberPHIOF354
33Mitch HanigerSEAOF351
34Giancarlo StantonNYYOF348
35Hunter RenfroeMILOF343
36Michael ConfortoFAOF342
37Enrique HernandezLAD2B, OF342
38Michael BrantleyHOUOF341
39Randy ArozarenaTBOF340
40Tyler O'NeillSTLOF339
41Robbie GrossmanDETOF339
42Eloy JimenezCHWOF339
43Andrew BenintendiKCOF339
44Joey GalloNYYOF333
45Max KeplerMINOF333
46Eddie RosarioATLOF332
47Daulton VarshoARIC, OF323
48Dylan CarlsonSTLOF320
49Ryan MountcastleBAL1B, OF319
50Avisail GarciaMIAOF315
51Randal GrichukCOLOF315
52Tommy PhamCINOF315
53Andrew VaughnCHWOF315
54Lourdes Gurriel Jr.TOROF314
55LaMonte Wade Jr.SF1B, OF313
56Mark CanhaNYMOF311
57Myles StrawCLEOF310
58Chris TaylorLAD2B, SS, OF310
59AJ PollockLADOF309
60Brandon NimmoNYMOF309
61Jarred KelenicSEAOF307
62Austin HaysBALOF306
63Tony KempOAK2B, OF301
64Ian HappCHCOF301
65Andrew McCutchenMILOF298
66Akil BaddooDETOF297
67Luis ArraezMIN2B, 3B, OF294
68Anthony SantanderBALOF292
69Jeff McNeilNYM2B, 3B, OF290
70Mike YastrzemskiSFOF287
71Harrison BaderSTLOF285
72Alex KiriloffMIN1B, OF284
73Tyler NaquinCINOF279
74Adam DuvallATLOF278
75Nick SenzelCINOF278
76Fernando Tatis Jr.SDSS, OF274
77Jesus SanchezMIAOF274
78Ramon LaureanoOAKOF273
79Manuel MargotTBOF272
80Raimel TapiaTOROF265
81Aaron HicksNYYOF263
82David PeraltaARIOF262
83Joc PedersonSFOF261
84Josh RojasARI2B, SS, OF258
85Lane ThomasWSHOF257
86Lorenzo CainMILOF257
87Jurickson ProfarSD1B, OF257
88Josh HarrisonARI2B, 3B, OF248
89Wil MyersSDOF248
90Rafael OrtegaCHCOF242
91Victor RoblesWSHOF242
92Seth BrownOAKOF241
93Jo AdellLAAOF235
94Pavin SmithARI1B, OF235
95Adolis GarciaTEXOF235
96Connor JoeCOLOF231
97Brad MillerTEX1B, OF229
98Riley GreeneDETOF226
99Kole CalhounTEXOF224
100Willie CalhounTEXOF221
101Hunter DozierKC3B, OF221
102Yoshi TsutsugoPIT1B, OF219
103Julio RodriguezSEAOF219
104Steven KwanCLEOF218
105Kyle LewisSEAOF217
106Jake FraleyCINOF210
107Chas McCormickHOUOF209
108Darin RufSF1B, OF208
109Garrett CooperMIAOF205
110Clint FrazierCHCOF203
111Michael A. TaylorKCOF201
112Brandon MarshLAAOF198
113Garrett HampsonCOL2B, OF196
114Dominic SmithNYMOF191
115Tyrone TaylorMILOF185
116Sam HilliardCOLOF182
117Corey DickersonSTLOF178
118Jorge MateoBALOF176
119Jarren DuranBOSOF162
120Bryan De La CruzMIAOF158
121Vidal BrujanTBOF146
122Eric HaaseDETC, OF143
123Bradley ZimmerCLEOF136
124Tyler WadeLAA3B, SS, OF130
125Dylan MooreSEA2B, OF115
126Josh LoweTBOF110
127Jorge AlfaroSDC, OF106

Who Gets a Boost In Points Leagues?

PlayerTeamRoto RnkPoints RnkDiff
Tony KempOAK9463-31
Michael BrantleyHOU6638-28
Jurickson ProfarSD11187-24
Enrique HernandezBOS6037-23
Willie CalhounTEX120100-20
Jesse WinkerSEA3819-19
Charlie BlackmonCOL4425-19
Alex VerdugoBOS4728-19
Max KeplerMIN6445-19
Aaron HicksNYY9981-18
Andrew VaughnCHW6953-16
Pavin SmithARI11094-16
Tommy EdmanSTL4126-15
Mark CanhaNYM7156-15
Brandon NimmoNYM7560-15
Robbie GrossmanDET5441-13
Seiya SuzukiCHC3623-13
Andrew McCutchenMIL7865-13
Kole CalhounTEX11299-13
Yoshi TsutsugoPIT115102-13
Luis ArraezMIN8067-13
Ketel MarteARI187-11
David PeraltaARI9282-10
Bryan ReynoldsPIT2415-9
Steven KwanCLE113104-9
Austin MeadowsTB3931-8
Dylan CarlsonSTL5648-8
Joc PedersonSF9183-8
Mike YastrzemskiSF7770-7
Raimel TapiaTOR8780-7
Jorge SolerMIA3529-6
Michael ConfortoFA4236-6
Anthony SantanderBAL7468-6
George SpringerTOR1510-5
Christian YelichMIL2924-5
Whit MerrifieldKC116-5
Kris BryantFA2016-4
Trent GrishamSD3430-4
LaMonte Wade Jr.SF5955-4
Jeff McNeilNYM7369-4
Josh RojasARI8884-4
Connor JoeCOL10096-4
Clint FrazierCHC114110-4
Corey DickersonSTL121117-4
Vidal BrujanTB125121-4
Cody BellingerLAD2522-3
Andrew BenintendiKC4643-3
Manuel MargotTB8279-3
Dominic SmithNYM117114-3
Bryan De La CruzMIA123120-3
Cedric MullinsBAL1311-2
Victor RoblesWSH9391-2
Dylan MooreSEA127125-2
Eddie RosarioATL4846-2
Tommy PhamCIN5352-1
JD MartinezBOS1918-1
Mike TroutLAA65-1
Nick SenzelCIN7675-1
Tyrone TaylorMIL116115-1
  • Michael Brantley and Charlie Blackmon generally get grouped together as “boring” veteran players who will likely give you steady production. Brantley, specifically, gets a boost in points leagues with elite contact skills (10.4% K, 99th percentile). Blackmon, though, also makes plenty of contact (15.6% K), and should be in line for improved power; his expected home run/fly ball rate (13.3%) was much better than his actual 9.9% home run/fly ball rate. In this format, don’t be afraid to make the non-flashy pick!
  • The move from Cincinnati to Seattle is the opposite of ideal for Jesse Winker‘s fantasy value. Fortunately, that matters less in points leagues, as he’ll still have his tremendous plate skills (10.9% BB, 15.9% K) to lean on. The likely decrease in batting average and power makes him a tough sell in roto leagues, but much easier in this format.
  • Alex Verdugo and Tommy Edman each make noticeable gains in points leagues do their tremendous contact skills. Both were also top underachievers in their respective expected home run/fly ball rate; their production last year is much closer to their floor than their ceiling. That’s music to my ears, and hopefully yours too!
  • Speaking of expected home run/fly ball rate, there is a massive difference between how Andrew Vaughn should’ve produced versus how he actually did. In roto leagues, his lack of a strong batting eye or any speed hurts him. In points leagues, though, take advantage of his above-average contact skills mixed with the underlying power (10.9% barrel) he showcased last season. As someone not being drafted as a top-75 outfielder in ESPN targets, he’s an absolute bargain; bet on the breakout.
  • Max Kepler, Mark CanhaBrandon Nimmo, and Robbie Grossman all aren’t premium targets in roto leagues due to their projected below-average batting average. However, the latter three are all projected to have double-digit walk rates, while Kepler possesses productive plate skills with a lot of power. As we adjust to this format, they’re all relatively reliable sources of production.
  • Based on consensus projections, Seiya Suzuki is projected to post a double-digit walk rate with a sub-20% strikeout rate, along with power. That combination is very enticing in this format. There’s obviously some risk when it comes to adjusting from pitching in Japan to in the MLB. At the same time, the reward is also obvious.
  • If you want to bet on Dylan Carlson breaking out, which I would be completely content to endorse, this is the best format to do so in. The 23-year-old doesn’t stand out in roto leagues necessarily with an average batting average, and questions about the power and speed. However, he’s already demonstrated strong plate discipline, and could easily see more growth at his age, especially in terms of power; I wouldn’t expect him to strike out as much (24.9% in 2021) either. He’s got a pretty steady floor, but could easily be the player we look back on a year from now and label him as a consensus top-25 outfielder.

Whose Value Decreases In Points Leagues?

PlayerTeamRoto RnkPoints RnkDiff
Fernando Tatis Jr.SD407636
Adolis GarciaTEX689527
Tyler O'NeillSTL164024
Randy ArozarenaTB213918
Wil MyersSD728917
Eric HaaseDET10512217
Daulton VarshoARI304717
Ryan MountcastleBAL324917
Eloy JimenezCHW264216
Adam DuvallATL587416
Ramon LaureanoOAK627816
Akil BaddooDET516615
Chris TaylorLAD435815
AJ PollockLAD455914
Jo AdellLAA799314
Michael A. TaylorKC9711114
Joey GalloNYY314413
Riley GreeneDET859813
Avisail GarciaMIA375013
Ian HappCHC526412
Giancarlo StantonNYY223412
Brandon MarshLAA10111211
Sam HilliardCOL10611610
Teoscar HernandezTOR102010
Kyle SchwarberPHI23329
Alex KiriloffMIN63729
Seth BrownOAK83929
Kyle LewisSEA961059
Jorge MateoBAL1091189
Byron BuxtonMIN12219
Julio RodriguezSEA951038
Jorge AlfaroSD1191278
Jesus SanchezMIA70777
Brad MillerTEX90977
Harrison BaderSTL65716
Tyler NaquinCIN67736
Lourdes Gurriel Jr.TOR49545
Luis RobertCHW7125
Mitch HanigerSEA28335
Chas McCormickHOU1021075
Garrett CooperMIA1041095
Garrett HampsonCOL1081135
Aaron JudgeNYY8135
Jarred KelenicSEA57614
Lane ThomasWSH81854
Ronald Acuna Jr.ATL583
Hunter DozierKC981013
Jake FraleyCIN1031063
Myles StrawCLE55572
Hunter RenfroeMIL33352
Lorenzo CainMIL84862
Josh HarrisonARI86882
Randal GrichukCOL50511
Austin HaysBAL61621
Rafael OrtegaCHC89901
Darin RufSF1071081
Jarren DuranBOS1181191
Bradley ZimmerCLE1221231
  • As we touched on in the roto league outfield projections & tiers, Adolis Garcia had quite the peak month with a weighted on-base average (wOBA) over .400 in May. After that, though, his performance declined significantly. Meanwhile, based on weighted-runs-created-plus (wRC+), he was a well below-league average hitter (77 wRC+) from July 1st on; the league clearly adjusted to him, and it’s likely that what we say in May cannot be replicated again. Plus, with his serve plate discipline issues (35.8% chase, 34.4% whiff), he’s the exact type of player that loses significant value in points leagues. Honestly, I’m not sure he’ll finish as a top-100 outfielder in this format.
  • Even in Tyler O’Neill‘s breakout season, he still had just a 7.3% walk rate with a very high 31.3% strikeout rate. Based on his quality of contact, his breakout could definitely be legitimate. Nevertheless, this isn’t the format for his power/speed/whiff combination to do damage.
  • The chances of Randy Arozarena repeating a .363 batting average on balls in play (BABIP) is unlikely, though there are reasons to expect him to maintain a high BABIP. He’s a 20/20 player without a clear weakness, which plays well in roto leagues, but the contact issues (28.1% K) hurt him in this format.
  • Eloy JimenezAvisail Garcia, Byron Buxton, and Teoscar Hernandez all see their value suppressed in points leagues due to projected walk rates under 7%. All also strike out at relatively high rates, which also impact them negatively.
  • On the surface, Akil Baddoo‘s 26.5% strikeout rate seems like a potential liability. However, it did come down to 23.5% after the first month of the season, which is very encouraging. Since his best asset comes from stolen bases, he certainly takes a hit in points league. That being said, it will be very fascinating to see how he continues to adjust to the MLB level; the contact quantity came with less barrels, which is not ideal.
  • Ian Happ and Joey Gallo do have above-average walk rates, but both also may strike out 30% of the time or more. Usually, points leagues do a strong job of recapturing real-life offensive value, but, in this case, Happ and Gallo are the outliers.

Top Target: Jorge Soler, Miami Marlins

Everyone in the world could use a little bit of Soler power!

The league’s home run leader in 2019, Soler was long considered to be a breakout candidate based on his prospect pedigree after signing with the Cubs out of Cuba. It appeared to be coming together with that monster season in 2019, but, unfortunately, that production couldn’t be sustained.

In 2020, Soler was still above a league-average hitter with a prodigious 18.9% barrel rate, but his strikeout rate spiked to 34.5%. Then, in 2021, his struggles went to a new level. Through June, his numbers were as poor as it can get:

  • 285 PA, .186/.283/.318, .132 ISO, 6 HR, 66 wRC+, 10.2% BB, 28.8% K

To say, the least, that was not ideal. If you drafted Soler, the chances are you probably cut ties with him. The swing-and-misses were there, but the power wasn’t there- it was the worst case scenario for him.

At the same time, there was reason to always be optimistic about Soler bouncing back. He had a 12.1% barrel rate, but he had just an 8.6% home run/fly ball rate; that was bound to improve. After all, his 12.9% barrel rate in the second half wasn’t much better, but his home run/fly ball regressed positively to 24.7% With better batted-ball luck, his power (.277 ISO) got back to the level you’d expect it to be, but there’s more than just luck here. In actuality, Soler made legitimate changes:

From July 1st on, Soler’s strikeout rate dropped down to 18.9%. While that isn’t completely backed up by his underlying data, he did make more contact in the zone, but his overall 23.6% strikeout rate is mainly backed up by a 24.4% expected strikeout rate.

Per Baseball Savant, Soler had seven fewer home runs than expected. With a 50.7% pull rate, there’s no reason this should be the case. Signing with the Marlins isn’t ideal, but it’s much better than Kaufman Stadium, and his power plays anywhere. Essentially, you’re getting top-notch power from him, along with a double-digit walk rate, and the improved strikeout rate boosts him in points leagues. Plus, his lack of speed also matters less in this format, which is why he ranks notably higher in my points league projections/rankings than in roto.

Regardless of format, though, he’s a tremendous target where he’s being drafted. Expect much more of this in 2022:

Top Fade: Eddie Rosario, Atlanta Braves

From one Braves postseason hero to another one!

The last we saw of Eddie Rosario, he was performing like one of the best hitters in baseball. In the postseason, he posted a .383/.456/.617 slash line, winning the NLCS MVP with home runs like this:

Unfortunately, Rosario isn’t quite the same player in the regular season, to say the least. In 2021, he actually rated below-average in wRC+ (98), and there are signs his peak may be behind him. His home-to-first times have been on the decline starting in 2019, while he’s started to pull the ball more often. The combination of the two has hurt his on-base ability, while he also isn’t someone who walks very often.

Meanwhile, after a down year in terms of barrel rate (6.2%) in 2020, Rosario’s power dropped even further with a 5.9% barrel rate in 2021. Honestly, based on his spray charts, it’s surprising he was able to post a .177 ISO:

Rosario’s skillset, an athletic player who expands the zone often, isn’t the type that ages well. Even if the barrel rate improves slightly, he’s likely not getting back to the same power levels he once had, while he’s also not someone going to accumulate points by getting on base much. Sure, the stolen bases help his value for a roto format, but even if they stand, that isn’t enough to carry him. Add in the risk that the strikeout rate eventually balloons with less contact in the zone – his 73.1% contact rate outside the zone was a career-high mark – and it’s likely that he doesn’t finish as the top-35 outfielder he’s being drafted as on ESPN.

If Rosario was being drafted in the mid-40s for outfielders, then he’d be a fine pick. However, this is just a case where the opportunity cost is too high; there are a lot of talented outfielders being drafted around him or after him. As they say, don’t fade the player, but fade the price!

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