Top 15 Outfielders for 2020


Feature Photo Credit: Mark J. Terrill/Associated Press

Here comes the last of the position players but as the saying goes, we've saved the best for last.  We've also made it a top 15, so 5 more, which only makes sense as it's 3 positions in one.  You could make a case that the top 5 overall players reside right here.  The position if full of excitement, youth and GOAT talk.  Let's just keep our fingers crossed that number 1 on this list plays, though I don't think anyone would hold it against him if he doesn't.

1. Mike Trout – Angels – AL West

 

Peter Joneleit

Year in and year out Tout is the best or one of the best.  He’s the King.  Despite the decrease in steals he's had an increase in his fly ball rate and his HR/f which means hes a 40 homer guy now and not 30.  Bend the knee for number 1 overall.

2. Ronald Acuna – Braves – NL East

Todd Kirkland/Getty Images

If anyone is going to challenge Trout for the top spot overall it might be Acuna if he can raise is BA and OBP.  I say Acuna over Bellinger to challenge for the top for the same reason I have Acuna over Bellinger here, the steals.   If this were a regular 162 game season we’d be wondering if Acuna can go 40/40.  The speed is what could get him past Trout and will keep him ahead of Bellinger.

3. Cody Bellinger – Dodgers – NL West

Marcio Jose Sanchez/Associated Press

Cody Bellinger has the peak potential to finish 1st.  That’ll require Trout’s power numbers to decline and Acuna’s steals to decline…which are real possibilities…but that’s sort of the problem.  There is nothing he can really do to move up, he needs them to decline in some aspect.  He’s obviously still an A+ option, certainly a top 5 pick, possibly top 3.

4. Christian Yelich – Brewers – NL Central

Jeffrey Phelps/Associated Press

Yelich has just been magic since joining Milwaukee.  He Finished 2019 in the top 5 overall despite just 489 at-bats.  To put that into context – Acuna had 626 and Bellinger 558.  He’ll track towards what would have been a 100+/40+/100+/20+/.400 line (R/HR/RBI/SB/OBP) and that’s the 4th guy on this list!?  The talent in the outfield is incredible!

5. Mookie Betts – Dodgers – NL West

 

Norm Hall/Getty Images

Mookie has almost become the forgotten man.  That is in large part to what the guys listed ahead of him have done the last couple of years.  At the start of 2017 you had Betts as Number 2 or 3 overall and now he’s been passed by Acuna, Beli and Yeli with Soto nipping on his heels.  All of this is going on and Betts is still only entering his age 27 season.  Don’t let him slide past the 4 or 5 pick if you’re there.  He could lead the league in runs in that Dodger line-up, and he’s going to hit home runs and steal bases. 

6. Juan Soto – Nationals – NL East

 

106.7 The Fan

Soto is a fast riser.  He outperformed Betts in 2019 and is close to passing him on this list.  He helps you in all 5 categories and could still, and probably will get better, this’ll only be his age 21 season and his 3rd in the bigs. 

7. Yordan Alvarez – Astros – AL West (UP 1) 

Bob Levey/Getty Images

Swaps spots with Harper based on the 60 game schedule.  Everyone that was tracking Alvarez in the minors last year couldn’t wait for him to get called up.  He was basically hitting a home run every other game down in AAA.  He actually leapfrogged Kyle Tucker who was supposed to be next in line.  78 RBI in 87 games for a rookie is remarkable.  His career has all the makings of something special, but I see somewhat of a Sophomore slump looming.  I think the accumulation rate slows down for all of his stats.  That could happen and he’d still have a very good season.  I mean, I’ve got him 7th with that in mind.

8. Bryce Harper – Phillies – NL East (DOWN 1) 

 

Jose F. Moreno / Philadelphia Inquirer

Prior to the 60 game schedule I had Harper penciled in for a nice season.  He’ll still be alright, but facing Eastern foes much of the season is going to make things more challenging for Bryce.  He had a rough go of it for the first half of ’19 but by seasons end he had put up some nice numbers.  One of these years we’re going to see the Bryce that hits .300 come back around, probably not going to be this year though. 

9. Aaron Judge – Yankees – AL East  

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Can he stay healthy?  That’s the question.  He’s in the top 5 if he does.  I’m placing him 9th as a precaution.  Because of his injury history, I can not take him as my first outfielder.

10. JD Martinez – Red Sox – AL East

Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

This is how deep the outfield position is.  He’s a .300 hitter posted 98/36/105 (R/HR/RBI) and I’ve got him 10th?!  Seems crazy but even with those numbers he finished behind 9 other outfielders in 2019. 

11. Ketel Marte – D-Backs – NL West 

Fred Thornhill / The Canadian Press via AP

Another multi-positional star, talked about him with the second basemen and shortstops.  He’s part of an underrated line-up but don’t let him slip off your radar.  Numbers should track similar to that of 2019 – 90/30/90 and a .300 hitter.

12. Joey Gallo – Rangers – AL West 

Mike Stone/Associated Press

If he stays healthy he’s got 50 homer potential in a full 162.  His trouble had been a low batting average but in 2019 he started to improve in that area: .209 and .206 in ‘17 and ’18 up to .253 last season.  He checks a big box for me as well, an OBP .100 points higher than his BA.  In fact it was .136 points higher last year.  If he does that again and stays healthy, he’ll push close to the top 5 here.  If he reverts to the .200 hitter then he’ll finish between 15-20.  With that in mind I’m placing him sort of in the middle. 

13. George Springer - Astros – AL West  

David J. Phillip/Associated Press

He’s a beast but I’m knocking him down a few spots expecting the distractions from the cheating scandal to mess with him.  He could ignore them all and we’ll see the ‘17 or ’19 Springer or it’ll get to him and we’ll see a ’16 or ’18 Springer.  I think it'll be the latter.

14. Starling Marte – D-Backs – NL West

Darron Cummings/Associated Press

He’s a great talent and now he’s in a much better lineup.  He’ll be hitting in front of Ketel Marte, Peralta, Escobar, Walker and Kelly.  If they were playing a full season Starling could have been looking at career highs across the board. 

15. Charlie Blackmon – Rockies – NL West 

USA Today

He’s a .300 hitter and don't forget he led the league with .331 in 2017.  He scores more than his fair share of runs thanks to the lineup he’s in; 111, 137, 119, 112 the last 4 years AND he’s got 30 homer pop.  He’s 33 so the worry here is that his skills will start to diminish soon and in what season will that happen...I don't think it will be this year.

Good luck this year!

You can find me on Twitter @JimRileyLive


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