The outfield position is my favorite position to draft each year in fantasy leagues. A part of the reason is because in my ‘autograph only’ leagues (I only draft players I have autographs of) I can chose from Kemp, Ethier, McCutchen, Justin Upton and a lot more players. I also enjoy it in my regular leagues because there are just so many quality offensive outfielders that every team should have at least one stand out and 2 or 3 solid players on their roster.
Without realizing it a lot of people take into consideration how good an outfielder is defensively before they draft the player. Mike Morse of the Seattle Mariners is not a great defensive outfielder. He isn’t horrible but no one is putting his name in the mix for gold glove candidates, but let’s be honest in fantasy baseball I don’t care if he drops every fly ball, as long as he hits a lot of fly balls into orbit.
The hardest thing about drafting outfielders is deciding when to start drafting them. There will be the early first round selection of Trout and Kemp but after that when should you start to try and fill your outfield positions. As I mentioned already there are a lot of quality players at this position so should you try for the cream of the crop in the first 5 rounds or focus on other positions that aren’t as deep and may not have as much upside in the early rounds.
My recommendation is to have about 8 outfielders on your target list that fall all throughout the draft rounds. If you can get one of the top players in the first round go for it but then take a few rounds to fill other positions and if by round 5 on of your targeted guys is still available pick him up.
Don’t over draft an outfielder. If you have a guy listed as a 7th round pick and you are afraid someone might pick him in the 5th or 6th round don’t go out and get him. A catcher, 2nd baseman or even a top starter you can do that with but not an outfielder.
The last bit of advice I normally give for outfielders is don’t be afraid to pick up a guy who just steals bases like crazy. A lot of teams look at homeruns and RBIs and they skip over the steals category. If you can get one or two players that can rack up some steals and get you some easy points in your league then do it.
I actually have two sleepers that I think will be solid fantasy players this year. The first is Jason Heyward. His season last year was not great but going into this season he is going to be put in a position where there isn’t as much pressure and he is going to have guys in front of him that can get on base and drive in runs. If the Upton brothers can play nice, look for Heyward to be the big winner in this deal.
My second sleeper is Adam Eaton. Justin Upton was used as trade bait in large part because of the potential of Eaton. He may not put up super star numbers this year but look for him to steal some bases and score runs.