Magazine Content

Prospect Positional: OF

Updated On: October 4, 2018, 4:04 pm ET

The rankings are broken into two parts: the top 10 prospects in order and the next 10 prospects in alphabetical order. As always, these rankings are done from a scouting perspective but with fantasy baseball in mind, generally focusing on standard 5x5 league categories – though other statistics (e.g., OBP) are considered – and long-term, dynasty-league value.

 

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The Top 10:

 

1.    Andrew Benintendi, Boston Red Sox

2016 Stats: 97 G, .295/.378/.532, 70 R, 31 2B, 12 3B, 9 HR, 76 RBI, 16 SB, 39 BB, 38 K.

 

Benintendi was taken by the Red Sox in the first round as a draft-eligible sophomore, and there were questions about whether or not he’d be able to advance quickly. Fast forward a year and a half, and Benintendi is one of the best “real” and fantasy prospects in baseball. He already can hit for average and steal bases, he’s willing to draw walks and does so with minimal swing-and-miss (a rarity for this type of hitter), and there’s power coming. He’s going to have a chance to be the everyday left fielder, and assuming he wins the job, he might be the odds-on favorite to win the Rookie Of The Year.

 

Impact stats: AVG, OBP, R, HR, RBI, SB

 

2.    Victor Robles, Washington Nationals

2016 Stats: 110 G, .280/.376/.423, 75 R, 17 2B, 8 3B, 9 HR, 42 RBI, 37 SB, 32 BB, 77 K.

 

As good as Benintendi is, you could argue Robles is more talented. After showing impressive talent in 2015, he doubled down in 2016, putting up sensational numbers for any age, much less a teenager. He’s a plus-plus runner who is going to steal 30-plus bases as long as he’s playing every day, and scouts rave about his approach and line-drive stroke. He’s also starting to develop some power, and double-digit homer seasons are not only realistic, they’re likely. He’s a few years away, but if Robles maxes out his potential, he could be the best fantasy prospect in baseball at this point next year.

 

Impact stats: AVG, OBP, R, SB

 

3.    Lewis Brinson, Milwaukee Brewers

2016 Stats: 104 G, .268/.305/.468, 63 R, 24 B, 6 3B, 21 HR, 87 RBI, 17 SB, 21 BB, 87 K.

 

When Brinson was sent to Milwaukee in the Jonathan Lucroy deal, he was not playing at his best, hitting .237/.280/.411 at Double-A Frisco. Whether it was a change of scenery, friendly confines or some combination of both, he was sensational after the deal, hitting .382 and slugging .618 for the remainder of the season. If there’s a concern, it’s that his approach seemed to digress in 2016, and the length in his swing means he’s always going to strike out. Still, Brinson has five above-average talents, and if he can be slightly more selective at the plate, he can be an impactful fantasy player for a long time.

 

Impact stats: AVG, R, HR, RBI, SB

 

4.    Eloy Jimenez, Pittsburgh Pirates

2016 Stats: 112 G, .329/.369/.532, 65 R, 40 2B, 3 3B, 14  HR, 81 RBI, 8 SB, 25 BB, 94 K.

 

There were plenty of talented players at the Futures Game in San Diego last July, but the one who impressed me -- and many scouts -- the most was Jimenez. He’s one of the few outfield prospects who have a chance to hit for both power and average, and he can square up pitches on any part of the plate and hit them with authority. He won’t steal many bases, but if he’s a high-average hitter with 25-plus homer seasons, you probably won’t mind too much.

 

Impact stats: AVG, HR, RBI

 

5.    Austin Meadows, Pittsburgh Pirates

2016 Stats: 87 G, .266/.333/.536, 49 R, 25 2B, 11 3B, 12 HR, 47 RBI, 17 SB, 33 BB, 67 K.

 

Meadows was the ninth overall pick by the Pirates in 2013, and when he’s been healthy, he’s flashed talent that makes you wonder how he could have fallen that low. When is the operative word, however, as he’s battled health issues essentially every year he’s been in the system.  He’s a smart hitter with excellent hand-eye coordination, and he’s a threat to steal any time he’s on base. There’s also solid-average power potential here, and if he can stay on the field, he has a chance to hit leadoff and score plenty of runs for Pittsburgh.

 

Impact stats: AVG, OBP, R, SB

 

6.    Manuel Margot, San Diego Padres

2016 Stats: 124 G, .304/.351/.426, 98 R, 21 2B, 12 3B, 6 HR, 55 RBI, 30 SB, 36 BB, 64 K.

 

Margot got off to a slow start after being the key prospect in the deal that sent Craig Kimbrel to Boston, but he settled in nicely, and even earned a quick trip to the bigs. The calling-card here is his speed, and Margot could be a 40 stolen base guy if he gets on enough. He should be able to get on enough, too, with a line-drive stroke and improving discipline at the plate. He’s strong enough to drive pitches on the inner-half of the plate out, but asking for more than 10-12 homers a year is being selfish. He’ll get a chance to win the centerfield job on the rebuilding Padres, and even in a less-than-spectacular lineup, he should be able to be relevant.

 

Impact stats: AVG, R, SB

 

7.    Hunter Renfroe, San Diego Padres

2016 Stats: 133 G, .306/.336/.557, 95 R, 34 2B, 5 3B, 30 HR, 115 RBI, 5 SB, 22 BB, 115 K.

 

Margot has a great chance of being the opening day centerfielder, and Renfroe very well could be playing next to him in right. It was a small sample, but he crushed big-league pitching in his time with the Padres (.371/.389/.800, four homers in 36 at-bats), and as you can see from the numbers above, it came after a strong season in El Paso. The patience leaves a lot to be desired, but he uses the whole field, and he’s strong enough to take the ball out the opposite way, too. He won’t run much, but a couple of handfuls of stolen bases are possible, too. Assuming the lack of selectivity doesn’t get the best of him, he could help your fantasy club in 2017.

 

Impact stats: AVG, HR, RBI

 

8.    Aaron Judge, New York Yankees

2016 Stats: 93 G, .270/.366/.489, 62 R, 18 2B, 1 3B, 19 HR, 65 RBI, 5SB, 47 BB, 98 K.

 

Pardon the pun, but you can’t judge Aaron’s talent by his struggles in his time with the Yankees. Yes, striking out in half of your at-bats (42 in 84) is less than ideal, but the sample size is small, and he’s too talented to dismiss. He generates plenty of extension from his 6-foot-7 frame, and he can crush any pitch on any part of the plate out of the ballpark. Despite the strikeouts, Judge has a chance to hit for average, with solid bat-speed and quick hands. The volatility here is tremendous, but a middle-of-the-order hitter who can hit 30 homers and drive in 100-plus runs is well within reach.

 

Impact stats: OBP, HR, RBI

 

9. Corey Ray, Milwaukee Brewers

2016 Stats: 57 G, .239/.307/.370, 26 R, 13 2B, 2 3B, 5 HR, 17 RBI, 12 10, 23 BB, 58 K.

 

After taking Ray with the sixth pick last June, the Brewers challenged Ray by placing him at High-A Brevard County. There were certainly struggles early on, but he finished the season on a strong note and showed why so many (including yours truly) placed him at or near the top of the class. He may not have plus talent, but there’s a chance everything here is above-average, maybe plus if everything goes right. Assuming the Ray we saw at the end of the year is the one we see in 2017, he has a chance to jump up these rankings, and jump into the Brewers lineup before the end of 2018.

 

Impact stats: AVG, OBP, R, SB

 

10. Clint Frazier, New York Yankees

2016 Stats: 119 G,.263/.335/.447 75 R, 27 2B, 5 3B, 16 HR, 55 RB, 13 SB, 48 BB, 122 K

 

Frazier came over to the Yankees in the Andrew Miller deal, and while you won’t see Cleveland complaining anytime soon after what Miller did in the World Series, this is a deal the Yankees could be looking on very fondly in a short amount of time. He has as much bat speed as you’ll see from any right-hander, and that gives him plus power potential.  He’s also made progress with his approach, but he can struggle with off-speed pitches and will strikeout or make weak contact too often to give him more than average hitting talent. It’s probably going to take an injury or trade to see him in Yankee Stadium, but he's basically ready to go, and he could be playing every day by the All-Star break.

 

Impact stats: HR, RBI

 

Next 10 (alphabetical order):

 

Derek Fisher, Houston Astros
Kyle Lewis, Seattle Mariners
Mickey Moniak, Philadelphia Phillies
Tyler O’Neill, Seattle Mariners
Blake Rutherford, New York Yankees
Raimel Tapia, Colorado Rockies
Kyle Tucker, Houston Astros
Jesse Winker, Cincinnati Reds
Alex Verdugo, Los Angeles Dodgers
Bradley Zimmer, Cleveland Indians


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