Welcome to the Fantasy Roundtable, where the Rotoworld Baseball staff will have a free-flowing discussion about a topic de jour. The back-and-forth between the five of us occurred via email, but we’ve repurposed it in an article for your enjoyment. Hopefully you’ll enjoy it, anyway.
Drew Silva: The outfield is a little trickier for this experiment than catcher, first base, second base, shortstop, and third base (follow those links to see previous entries in our series), mostly because of the larger range of options. So instead of identifying one top outfielder for 2025, I'll ask that we all give three.
Ronald Acuna is probably going to be on all of our lists. For me, the other two are Juan Soto and Cody Bellinger. It feels wrong to skip over Mike Trout and Christian Yelich, but they will both be 33 years old, going on 34.
I will say that I was tempted to sneak Luis Robert in there after he batted .328/.376/.624 with 32 home runs, 92 RBI, 36 stolen bases, and 108 runs scored in 122 games last year between three different levels of the White Sox minor league system. He projects as a future five-category fantasy superstar.
What do you guys think on the top three outfielders for 2025?
Editor's Note: If you're on the hunt for rankings, projections, tiers, auction values, mock drafts, strategy and advice on how to dominate your drafts, check out the all-new Rotoworld MLB Draft Guide. Now mobile-optimized with a new look and feel, it's never been easier to take our award-winning advice with you to your drafts for that extra competitive edge! Click here for more!
D.J. Short: I'm pretty set on Acuna, Soto, and Robert. Soto remaining at this lofty standing puts some pressure on his ability to rate very highly in terms of batting average, homers, RBI, and runs scored because I don't think he's going to ever be a major asset in steals. Bellinger will be 29 by this time and might very well be spending most of his time at first base. He's never topped 15 steals in a season, so he falls in a similar bucket as Soto as far as the other counting stats.
Drew went over Robert's resume, but I think Angels prospect Jo Adell also deserves consideration. He didn't run much last year while missing time with ankle and hamstring injuries, but he has excellent speed and massive power to boot. Similar to Robert, he has work to do with the approach, but the across-the-board potential could make him a first-round mainstay.
Christopher Crawford: It would be hard for me to put anyone but Acuña and Soto at the top of this list. They're still the age of high-end prospects and even if they don't take steps forward, they don't really have to in order to justify this high of ranking. I'm a prospect enthusiast, so I echo the sentiments of Robert and Adell being candidates for that final spot. With that being said, I'm taking Trout, just barely over Yelich. No, I don't think he's going to be stealing a huge number of bases as a 33-year-old, but the average, power and run-production all should remain huge, and he's such a smart baserunner that I can't imagine him not providing double-digit steals even at that age. Yelich, Bellinger and Mookie Betts all could challenge on top of the prospects, but give me the (potential) GOAT.
Ryan Boyer: I'm with Drew on Acuna, Bellinger and Soto. Acuna is a given, and Bellinger and Soto are such great four-category bets that I fully expect them to maintain their lofty perches even if their running games fall off a tad.
Robert's upside is undeniable, and he could very well look like a given along with Acuna for this exercise a year or two from now. However, Robert's plate discipline isn't great, and I don't think we can consider him a given for big stolen base totals at this point. Bellinger and Soto are just so much safer.
Austin Meadows deserves a shout-out here. He's just 24 and is coming off a season that saw him post a .922 OPS with 33 home runs and 12 stolen bases. I'll also throw out Victor Robles' name. I'm concerned about his lackluster batted ball data from last season, but he's just 22 and has the kind of five-category upside that could make him a fantasy monster if everything clicks.
Matthew Pouliot: While Acuna is the obvious No. 1 here, Robert is second in line for me. I don't think he'll need to rank among the league leaders in steals to become a top fantasy outfielder, though it'd certainly be nice if he did. The speed is there, and he's been pretty successful on a percentage basis to date. Robert has issues with plate discipline, but he makes enough hard contact to hit for average and he has definite 30-homer ability. He's probably not as good of a prospect as Jo Adell, but I bet he'll typically be the better fantasy outfielder.
I'd like to come up with some more unpredictable pick here for the third spot, but Soto is easily the safest choice. I expect him to have a Miguel Cabrera-like run through his 20s, and while the lack of steals will make it difficult for him to rank as a top-three outfielder annually, I see him as the second most valuable outfielder (behind Acuna) for the upcoming decade.
Silva: Looking down my outfield rankings for 2020, trying to think of some players we may be leaving out ... any love for Eloy Jimenez? Yordan Alvarez, if he's outfield-eligible? I guess those two are probably more three-category guys than the four- and five-category guys we typically want in the first round of a fantasy draft. Kyle Tucker, maybe?
Short (noted Mets fan): I think Tucker fits the perfect criteria for what we look for in a top fantasy outfielder. It's still unclear if those skills will translate to the majors, but it's mostly a matter of opportunity. Hopefully he's set free this year, assuming there are actual baseball games.
Hey Chris, what about those outfield prospects with the Mariners? I'd rather not talk about one of them. It's far too painful.
Crawford (noted Mariners fan): And for some reason, it doesn't hurt me as much. Jarred Kelenic has as high of floor as any outfield prospect in baseball -- he can help in every category. My only question is whether or not there's an elite tool there, but it's really hard to see him not becoming a quality fantasy outfielder. The Mariners also have Julio Rodriguez, who might have the highest ceiling of any prospect not named Wander Franco; it's just a matter of seeing him do it at the higher levels. Dylan Carlson is also deserving of recognition here as the most improved prospect in baseball and one who appeared to have a shot at being an everyday player on Opening Day in St. Louis before the COVID-19 shutdown. He can hit for average, power and might provide some steals as well.