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Matty Kiwoom’s Rankings Deep Dive: Outfielders

My rankings are out now!

Link: Matty Kiwoom’s Fantasy Baseball Positional Rankings – (couchguysports.com)

Whenever you are talking about outfielders in fantasy baseball you have to list your league’s format.  In 3 outfielder leagues the position is super deep.  In 5 outfielder leagues, well the herd thins out a lot faster.  This week I dive into some of the outfielders from my rankings.  If you haven’t seen the breakdowns that have been released so far, be sure to do that right after you’re done with the OF breakdown.

Kyle Tucker (HOU)

Current ADP: 39

My OF Rank: #12

I can’t lie, I did not want to buy into the Kyle Tucker hype.  He has always been a very touted prospect but wasn’t finding he way to everyday reps.  Well in 2020, he got them.  Tucker’s pace was outstanding in the shortened season.  He was on tap to potentially hit 24 home runs, drive in over 115 runs, steal 22 bags, and score an additional 89 runs.  What was a very good 60 games could have turned into a monster fantasy campaign.  I was so temped to shout sample size but after looking into Tucker’s batted ball data.  He deserves all the hype he has received.  His baseball savant page is red and that is great for projecting prospective future outcomes.

If you would like to employ Tucker’s services in 2021, you will need to pay up for him.  He is currently being selected as a top 10 outfielder.  Whether or not I target the younger Tucker brother will depend on my team build at the time.  It is not a matter of whether he will return value.  Even as a top 5 pick he has the talent to be worth such a selection.  So far this spring Kyle Tucker has batted mainly in the 4 or 5 spot in the Astros lineup.  I think he can be super productive there.  Given his speed I’d prefer to see him in the 1 or 2 hole.  Either way the production can be there for Tucker.  You have to pay up but I think Tucker is worth it.

Mike Yastrzemski (SF)

Current ADP: 114.6

My OF Rank: #32

The 30-year-old Andover, MA native has become a solid big-league bat over the past two seasons.  Yaz has hit close to .300 each of the last two seasons.  And if 2020 was a full 162 game schedule than he would have had back-to-back 20 home run seasons.  Late age breakout is a more than fair label for Yastrzemski.  Going into the 2021 season I currently have him ranked ahead of players like Mike Brantley, Tommy Pham, and Randy Arozarena.  I believe in Yaz’s hit tool.  I know he doesn’t seem to hit the ball extremely hard, but the outfielder still barrels enough baseballs to make it work.  If Yaz maintains the walk percentage from 2020 than he is a must in points or OBP leagues.

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Mike Yastrzemski is a good fit for a number of different team builds.  That is another reason he should be valued going into drafts.  He can return value as a number 2 outfielder even in a shallower outfield format.  Yaz is a lock to bat atop of the Giants lineup.  Mike Kurland’s Spring Training Lineup Tracker pretty much says that he will more than likely be the number 2 in the lineup.  A perfect spot for the outfielder in my opinion.  Mike Yastrzemski is batting over .300 in spring with 2 home runs.  Just the extra draft confidence you need.

Joey Gallo (TEX)

Current ADP: 131.6

My OF Rank: #48

Joey Gallo has let down many of my fantasy teams.  The kid comes with tremendous pop but can cause you to rip your hair out in any given matchup.  Two statistics indicate to me that Gallo is a stay away.  The first being that is expected batting average was below .200.  So his lack of contact is not dude to bad luck.  Matter of fact, his xBA has never been about .240.  The second is that his batting average against fastballs in 2020 was .157.  Perhaps he could have brough that up if the season were normal.  Either way getting overpowered that severely is a major red flag.

Gallo is getting selected before some outfielders that are more reliable.  Add that to the list of red flags.  So far in Spring Training the power hitting lefty has hit with…well, power.  He has mashed 5 home runs in 31 at bats.  But in those same amount of AB’s, Gallo also posts a strikeout rate of 35%.  So essentially much of the same profile as he as always displayed.  I like Joey Gallo and I will definitely use his card in MLB the Show but not in fantasy baseball.

Jesse Winker (CIN)

Current ADP: 221

My OF Rank: #55

The Cincinnati outfielder is an anomaly wrapped in a riddle engulfed in a mystery.  A former high-end prospect, Winker hasn’t been the fantasy darling he was expected to be.  He has been the radar of so many fantasy team builders but has been a let down a majority of the time.  Well in 2020 Winker seemed to make good on his former hype.  Ranked amongst the top 10% in hard hit rate, exit velo, barrel percentage, and walk rate.  He saw the highest exit velo of his entire career.  Winker’s strikeout rate increased about 10% but that wasn’t a killer because of those previously mentioned stats.

Winker is being drafted outside the top 200.  Grabbing an outfielder like Winker is what you should be looking for when you’re drafting in the late teens.  If the spring is any indication than it is looking like Jesse Winker will be batting in the very top of the lineup.  I keep referring to players’ spot in their team’s lineup because it has importance whenever investing in a player’s upside.  More at bats and more opportunities to score runs can be a difference maker.

Joc Pederson (CHC)

Current ADP: 264.6

My OF Rank: #NR (Yet)

If fully expect Joc Pederson to rise up draft boards.  Not so much that he loses his draft value but getting him with one of your final selections is probably out the window.  Pederson looks like he will get everyday at bats with his new squad.  The Cubs have put him out there to face lefties as well as righties.  Pederson has always hit the ball hard. The problem is that he wasn’t used as a no doubt starter.  The lefty has been in amongst the best when it comes to hitting the baseball really hard.

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In Spring Training Joc has already hit 5 homers and has a K to BB ratio of 8 to 5.  Encouraging to say the least.  Will playing more often than not lead to a massive fantasy season?  Tough to claim with 100% confidence.  The question marks are baked into the draft price.  Take a flier on Joc Pederson?  I say yes!

My rankings are always on the website and will be updated before Opening Day.  The latest episode of the High Heat Fantasy Podcast is out now. Do yourself and your fantasy baseball squads a favor and check out all of the rankings episodes.  Good luck and study up.

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– Matt Desrosiers (@MattyKiwoom on Twitter)

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