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Prospect Positional: OF

by Mike Rosenbaum
Updated On: October 4, 2018, 4:04 pm ET

The updated outfield rankings are broken into three parts: the top 10 prospects in order, the next 10 prospects in alphabetical order and a ranking of the top outfield prospects from the 2015 draft. 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.

 

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The Top 10:

 

1. Nomar Mazara, Texas Rangers (Double-A Frisco, Texas League)

2015 Stats: 100 G, 422 PA, .284/.353/.443, 13 HR, 31 XBH, 53 RBI, 9.2% BB%, 20.6% K%

 

Few prospects have seen their stock improve as much in 2015 as Mazara. The 20-year-old outfielder has made it look easy this season in the Texas League despite being one of its younger everyday players, showing an advanced feel for hitting as well as huge power potential. Specifically, he’s tied for the third-highest home-run total (13) in the Texas League (min. 400 plate appearances), and he also ranks fifth (53) and sixth in RBI (53) and OPS (.796), respectively. The best part is that Mazara still has so much room to grow as a hitter, especially in terms of maximizing his plus-plus raw power, which could translate to 30 home runs annually at maturity. And considering the Rangers have continuously challenged Mazara with aggressive assignments early in his career, it would almost be surprising if he didn’t reach the major leagues in 2016.

 

Fantasy Upside: .300+ AVG, .350+ OBP, 30 HR

 

2. David Dahl, Colorado Rockies (Double-A New Britain, Eastern League)

2015 Stats: 66 G, 276 PA, .270/.288/.393, 39 R, 4 HR, 22 XBH, 18 SB, 2.5% BB%, 25% K%

 

Dahl suffered a lacerated spleen on May 28 during an ugly outfield collision and, after subsequently undergoing emergency surgery, was expected to miss the remainder of the 2015 season. However, the 21-year-old center fielder opted to undergo a splenectomy instead, and, amazingly, was able to return to the field in early July. Dahl has swung the bat well back at Double-A New Britain in spite of the nearly six-week layoff, batting .328 with an .852 OPS, nine extra-base hits and 11 runs scored over his last 16 games. Dahl has one of the best all-around profiles in the minor leagues thanks a combination of his plus speed, excellent defense in center field, power potential and innate hitting ability. I can’t help but wonder whether he’d be in the conversation for a call-up this September if not for lost developmental time due to injuries across the last three seasons.

 

Fantasy Upside: .280+ AVG, 15-20 HR, 20+ SB

 

3. Aaron Judge, New York Yankees (Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, International League)

2015 Stats: 92 G, 406 PA, .277/.350/.482, 15 HR, 40 XBH, 57 RBI, 10% BB%, 24.1% K%

 

Judge has cooled off since moving up to Triple-A in late June but hasn’t been overmatched, batting .262/.349/.402 with three home runs and a 12.7% walk rate. The 23-year-old outfielder was promoted to the minor’s highest level after an impressive first half at Double-A Trenton in which he posted an .866 OPS with 12 bombs in 63 games. Judge, a 6’8” right-handed hitter, has made quick work of every minor league level throughout his young career - hard to believe this is just his second professional campaign - showing the ability to hit for average and power against advanced pitching while also getting on base at a high clip. Depending on the health and productivity of the team’s big league outfield, Judge could be an interesting option for the Bronx Bombers at some point during the final two months of the regular season. If that turns out to be the case, expect him to receive serious consideration for a spot in the team's Opening Day outfield next spring.

 

Fantasy Upside: .270 AVG, .350 OBP, 25-30 HR

 

4. Raimel Tapia, Colorado Rockies (High-A Modesto, California League)

2015 Stats: 100 G, 463 PA, .315/.340/.465, 62 R, 9 HR, 41 XBH, 55 RBI, 22 SB (9 CS), 3.7% BB%, 17.7% K%

 

Tapia has raked like everyone expected he would this season in the California League, as the 21-year-old leads the league with 134 hits while ranking fifth in batting average (.315). But while Tapia projects for a plus hit tool at maturity, there are some concerns about how his free-swinging approach will translate at more advanced levels. That said, his strikeout (17.7%) and walk (3.7%) rates this season are about what was expected after he posted strikeout and walk rates of 16.7% and 6.5%, respectively, in 2014 at Low-A Asheville during his full-season debut. It’s also worth pointing out that Tapia, who posted an .802 OPS in 166 at-bats against left-handed pitchers last year, has furthered his success against southpaws this season, with a .958 OPS with 13 extra-base hits in 103 at-bats.

 

Fantasy Upside: .280+ AVG, 10-12 HR, 20+ SB

 

5. Nick Williams, Philadelphia Phillies (Double-A Reading, Eastern League)

2015 Stats: 97 G, 415 PA, .299/.357/.479, 13 HR, 38 XBH, 45 RBI, 10 SB, 7.7% BB%, 18.5% K%

 

Williams’ career with the Rangers came to an end last week when he was traded to the Phillies (along with fellow top prospects RHP Jake Thompson and catcher Jorge Alfaro) in the Cole Hamels deal. The 21-year-old has long projected as a potential high-ceiling talent thanks to his pure hitting ability, but his overly aggressive approach (to the point where he almost swings at anything and everything) and lack of discipline has hurt his overall development. That has all changed in 2015; Williams has suddenly developed a consistent approach at the plate, as his 7.7% walk rate and 18.5% strikeout rate represent vast improvements compared to his career averages of 5.5% and 24.7%, respectively. Perhaps more importantly, his newfound selectivity hasn’t negatively impacted his production, evidenced by his .299 batting average, 13 home runs and .836 OPS (seventh-best in the Eastern League). If Williams’ 2015 campaign is a sign of what’s to come, then he could be ready to take over as the Phillies' left fielder next summer.

 

Fantasy Upside: .290+ AVG, 15+ HR, 10+ SB

 

6. Manuel Margot, Boston Red Sox (Double-A Portland, Eastern League)

2015 Stats: 82 G, 358 PA, .267/.315/.401, 55 R, 4 HR, 28 XBH, 30 SB, 6.5% BB%, 11.2% K%

 

Margot missed nearly three weeks early in the season with a shoulder injury but came off the shelf in late May to bat .316/.342/.474 with six extra-base hits and nine steals over his next 18 games at High-A Salem, resulting in a promotion to Double-A Portland in late June. Margot has continued to showcase his complete skill set even though he’s a 20-year-old facing advanced pitching in the Eastern League, with a very respectable .250/.306/.378 batting line, 14 extra-base hits and 10 steals in 36 contests. In general, Margot is viewed as one of the more intriguing up-the-middle prospects in the minors thanks to his blend of contact ability, raw power and speed, while his quick ascent through Boston’s system could have him on the big-league radar in 2016.

 

Fantasy Upside: .270 AVG, 12-15 HR, 30+ SB

 

7. Bradley Zimmer, Cleveland Indians (Double-A Akron, Eastern League)

2015 Stats: 95 G, 409 PA, .291/.394/.464, 70 R, 11 HR, 35 XBH, 37 SB, 10.8% BB%, 22.5% K%

 

Zimmer had an outstanding first half at High-A Lynchburg, batting .305/.401/.488 with 10 home runs, 29 extra-base hits, 52 runs scored and 32 stolen bases over 77 games. At the time of his promotion, the 22-year-old paced the Carolina League in runs scored, stolen bases and OPS (.889), ranked second in batting average and OBP, and was tied for third in home runs. Zimmer, who was selected by the Indians with the No. 21 overall pick in the 2014 draft, has seen his prospect stock soar this season behind a projectable blend of power and speed, strong on-base skills and impressive defense in center field. Zimmer has the talent and baseball savvy to be an impact player in the major leagues, so it’ll be interesting to see how quickly he adjusts to the Eastern League.

 

Fantasy Upside: .280 AVG, .340+ OBP, 20+ HR, 25+ SB

 

8. Austin Meadows, Pittsburgh Pirates (High-A Bradenton, Florida State League)

2015 Stats: 93 G, 434 PA, .303/.360/.397, 60 R, 5 HR, 24 XBH, 17 SB, 8.3% BB%, 13.6% K%

 

Meadows played in only 38 games last year due to a hamstring injury, but a clean bill of health this season has allowed the 2013 first-rounder to showcase a promising blend of hitting ability, on-base skills and gap power. Specifically, the 20-year-old is thriving in the pitcher-friendly Florida State League, ranking fourth in batting average (.303) and seventh in both OPS (.757) and OBP (.360), the latter of which contributing to a career-best 17 stolen bases. And while Meadows will never offer much over-the-fence power, the left-handed hitter’s five home runs this season is just two off his career high. Meadows doesn’t necessary project as an impact fantasy asset, but a player who contributes consistently in at least three or four categories is plenty valuable.

 

Fantasy Upside: .300 AVG, 25+ 2B, 10-12 HR, 12-15 SB

 

9. Clint Frazier, Cleveland Indians (High-A Lynchburg, Carolina League)

2015 Stats: 103 G, 458 PA, .278/.371/.447, 12 HR, 39 XBH, 56 RBI, 13 SB, 11.4% BB%, 22.5% K%

 

Frazier had a disappointing first half of the season at Lynchburg, batting just .248/.334/.395 with seven homers and a 72/27 K/BB ratio in 67 games. However, the 20-year-old outfielder has been rolling since the midseason mark, highlighted by a .353/.453/.579 batting line, five homers, 18 extra-base hits and, most importantly, a 31/26 K/BB ratio in his last 37 games. Frazier still strikes out a lot, but the rate has been much more manageable this season, as he’s shaved some of the swing-and-miss from his game without adopting a less aggressive approach.

 

Fantasy Upside: .270+ AVG, 20-25 HR, 10-15 SB

 

10. Jesse Winker, Cincinnati Reds (Double-A Pensacola, Southern League)

2015 Stats: 93 G, 395 PA, .256/.359/.378, 45 R, 7 HR, 25 XBH, 36 RBI, 12.9% BB%, 16.2% K%

 

Winker had an up-and-down first half in the Southern League, batting .246 with 14 extra-base hits in 55 games, but his 12.3% walk rate and .287 BABIP suggested that the 21-year-old’s numbers were bound to improve. Improve they have, as the left-handed hitting outfielder has rebounded to bat .271/.384/.414 with 11 extra-base hits and a 26/23 K/BB ratio over his last 39 games at Pensacola. Winker is one of the more advanced young hitters in the minor leagues, standing out for his potential plus hit talent and tremendous plate discipline, but he’s unlikely to reach the major leagues before 2016.

 

Fantasy Upside: .280+ AVG, .350+ OBP, 15-20 HR

 

The Next 10 (Alphabetical Order):

 

Anthony Alford, Toronto Blue Jays (High-A Dunedin, Florida State League)

2015 Stats: 84 G, 381 PA, .295/.396/.404, 72 R, 2 HR, 27 XBH, 19 SB, 13.7% BB%, 22.0% K%

 

Lewis Brinson, Texas Rangers (Double-A Frisco, Texas League)

2015 Stats: 68 G, 314 PA, .337/.411/.626, 13 HR, 45 XBH, 13 SB, 7.1% BB%, 21.3% K%

 

Derek Fisher, Houston Astros (High-A Lancaster, California League)

2015 Stats: 94 G, 434 PA, .279/.355/.503, 87 R, 19 HR, 42 XBH, 74 RBI, 24 SB, 10.1% BB%, 24.0% K%

 

Alex Jackson, Seattle Mariners (Short Season Everett, Northwest League)

2015 Stats: 51 G, 214 PA, .201/.290/.312, 2 HR, 16 XBH, 24 RBI, 6.5% BB%, 30.8% K%

 

Billy McKinney, Chicago Cubs (Double-A Tennessee, Southern League)

2015 Stats: 97 G, 393 PA, .297/.366/.442, 6 HR, 35 XBH, 53 RBI, 9.9% BB%, 13.% K%

 

Brett Phillips, Houston Astros (Double-A Biloxi, Southern League)

2015 Stats: 100 G, 480 PA, .317/.376/.540, 91 R, 16 HR, 52 XBH, 71 RBI, 15 SB, 6.7% BB%, 19.6% K%

 

Harold Ramirez, Pittsburgh Pirates (High-A Bradenton, Florida State League)

2015 Stats: 49 G, 211 PA, .359/.408/.505, 69 H, 3 HR, 17 XBH, 36 RBI, 17 SB, 6.6% BB%, 11.9% K%

 

Hunter Renfroe, San Diego Padres (Double-A San Antonio, Texas League)

2015 Stats: 100 G, 411 PA, .268/.324/.448, 14 HR, 37 XBH, 49 RBI, 7.3% BB%, 23.1% K%

 

Victor Robles, Washington Nationals (Short Season Auburn, New York-Penn League)

2015 Stats: 38 G, 162 PA, .364/.449/.576, 4 HR, 16 XBH, 20 RBI, 14 SB, 8.6% BB%, 11.1% K%

 

Alex Verdugo, Los Angeles Dodgers (Low-A Great Lakes, Midwest League)

2015 Stats: 93 G, 408 PA, .293/.324/.391, 46 R, 4 HR, 28 XBH, 40 RBI, 13 SB, 3.9% BB%, 12.5% K%

 

Top 10 OF Prospects from 2015 Draft:

 

1. Ian Happ, Chicago Cubs (Low-A South Bend, Midwest League)

2. Kyle Tucker, Houston Astros (Rookie-level Greeneville, Appalachian League)

3. Andrew Benintendi, Boston Red Sox (Short Season Lowell, New York-Penn League)

4. Garrett Whitley, Tampa Bay Rays (GCL Rays, Gulf Coast League)

5. Daz Cameron, Houston Astros (Rookie-level Greeneville, Appalachian League)

6. Nick Plummer, St. Louis Cardinals (GCL Cardinals, Gulf Coast League)

7. Cornelius Randolph, Philadelphia Phillies (GCL Phillies, Gulf Coast League)

8. Trent Clark, Milwaukee Brewers (AZL Brewers, Arizona League)

9. Donnie Dewees, Chicago Cubs (Short Season Eugene, Northwest League)

10. Mitch Hansen, Los Angeles Dodgers (AZL Dodgers, Arizona League)

 

Previous installments from Prospect Positional series:

 

Starting Pitchers (July 29, 2015)

Catchers (July 22, 2015)

Shortstops (July 15, 2015)

Third Basemen (July 8, 2015)

Second Basemen (July 1, 2015)

First Basemen (June 24, 2015)

 

Rotoworld Season Pass Prospect Rankings (Updated weekly)

 

*All stats reflect games through August 3.