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We're back with another list of 2019 impact prospects. Today the focus is on the outfield. With a whole host of candidates ready to make the jump to regular roles, this might be the deepest prospect position heading into 2019. With the growth of five-outfielder leagues as well, the need to know who will be the injury replacement for stars is as critical as ever.

There are three real tiers for drafts this year listed below. The first are players who should start the year with their major league clubs. The second are players who are a strong start in the minors away from the call. And finally, the third consists of players who offer enough speed to get any fantasy owner excited. All three player types have different levels of upside, but with the chance of an extended run for all, there is 2019 value for all.

Read along to see who owners are ignoring, and who they should be targeted in drafts this year. At the very least, get used to these names, as they will be propagating the early rounds as early as next year.

Editor's Note: Get a full-season MLB Premium Pass for 50% off before Opening Day. Exclusive access to our Draft Kit, in-season lineup tools and over 200 days of DFS. Sign Up Now!

 

Top Outfield Prospects for 2019

This list below is geared towards 2019 redraft leagues, and looks at the top MLB prospects and rookies who have the best chance to rise to the major leagues at some point in 2019 and provide fantasy baseball value this season.

To be clear, this is not our list of the top overall prospects in baseball. You can find those longer-term rankings in our dynasty prospects rankings and articles section, which take a look at the top prospects at each position regardless of their age or expected ETA in the majors.

 

1. Victor Robles (OF, WAS)

ETA: Already debuted

The first two names on this list could be flipped based on playing time, but for now, Robles looks set to have a better shot to start the year in the majors. As a top speed and contact threat, Robles should be a 12-year starter with the Nationals dependent on the usual contract situation and other pieces.

In a 21-game debut last year, Robles flashed five-tool impact skills with a .288/.348/.525 slash complimented by three steals and homers. The K rate was a bit high, and the walk rate moved down a bit, but looking to his full-season numbers, there are no real concerns with the plate approach moving forward. Robles is the complete package for fantasy impact; he also has a plus glove in center field which will guarantee playing time. The ADP of 100 might turn out to be a steal when all is said and done this year.

 

2. Eloy Jimenez (OF, CWS)

ETA: May 2019

While always thought of as a top prospect at a corner spot, this is a player that the Chicago Cubs will regret sending to the South Side. A plus bat with plus power, Jimenez has impact potential in both fantasy and real-life baseball. The limit of his growth will be his batting average, as there might be a Bryce Harper-style .240 line in there if he sells out for power. Still, the swing as a whole is polished, and this is more an attempt to look for something to be concerned about, as opposed to a real concern. He is an elite hitter when he adjusts, so expect a 30-homer season shortly.

The other downside for fantasy is that he will not steal bases, but if he can produce with the bat, owners will not fret the decision to draft him at his current ADP of 199. Just be ready to wait six weeks for the call, due to service time concerns.

 

3. Kyle Tucker (OF, HOU)

ETA: Already debuted

If he was guaranteed the same playing time as those listed above, Tucker might be the top prospect at the position. Alas, the Astros have been willing to slow-walk his promotion, and in limited time with the club so far he has not made a case for a more significant role. Still, the best hit tool on the list with .300 plus upside and power to support, there are few concerns regarding his long term viability with the team. Tucker is sitting behind Michael Brantley at this point which will also limit his chances, but the talent should force its way into the lineup at the first opportunity.

The numbers at Triple-A show the value with a .332 batting average, 24 homers, and 20 steals to his name. The speed will not play up as it did in the minors, but the swing will generate 25-homer power at his prime. Tucker has excellent plate skills as well; the only reason he might not be the top player at the position when all is said and done is the lack of elite defense. Still, if there is a spot for an average corner outfield in the field, Minute Maid Park is a good fit. Tucker is being drafted a bit high at 255, but it will be good value if he finds regular playing time.

 

4. Yordan Alvarez (1B/OF, HOU)

ETA: Second-half of 2019

When Alvarez does finally get the call, it is more likely that he will be playing at first base. However, for the time being, the outfield eligibility is an added benefit. Another top bat in a loaded farm system, Alvarez is the option for owners looking to grab a player a year too early as opposed to a year too late. He had a strong season in both Double and Triple-A; the only issue last year was a hand injury. This restricted him to only 88 games, limiting some of his development time. Still, 20 homers, six steals, and 74 RBI over the full year make a case for production at the plate.

The other reason he might have to wait a bit for his debut was the declining batting average with the promotion mid-season. After hitting .325 down a level, at Triple-A his batting line dropped to .259. Still, even if that is closer to his true average with Houston, the bat is worth owning. A year away from full impact, this is the type of bat that saves a fantasy season when a star lands on the Injured List.

 

5. Alex Verdugo (OF, LAD)

ETA: Already Debuted

Another offseason of uncertainty for the young prospect has driven his draft stock down a bit, but the skills are there to be a fantasy asset in all formats. For the time being, it seems that Verdugo is staying with the Dodgers, and if so, will need to fight for a starting role. In his 36-game tryout last year, Verdugo was a bit underwhelming with only one homer and 11 runs in 37 games. The batting average was a serviceable .260, but he will need to produce more across the line for fantasy impact. Still, in the minors, he slashed .329/.391/.472 with 10 homers and eight steals, which should be what owners expect once he slots in with the Dodger starters.

With consistent playing time, the run production will be there due to the team context. Also, since A.J. Pollock has struggled with his health over the last few seasons, Verdugo’s versatility will be essential for the team. The fact that he was not traded during the offseason indicates his value to the team and bodes well for him becoming a solid fantasy option. At an ADP of 372, there is value but he needs to earn a regular spot this spring to warrant that price.

 

6. Jo Adell (OF, LAA)

ETA: Late 2019

Adell is the most significant stretch in terms of a debut this year. But if he does get the call, Adell might have the highest ceiling of the players listed. Slated to start the year at Double-A, there is little concern that Adell is on pace for big league action, and he demonstrated that with a solid year. In 57 games at High-A, he slashed .290/.345/.546 with 12 homers and nine steals. Over a full season, that is 36 homers and 27 steals. While expectations will be a bit lower, that is the upside that he offers. Add in that Adell is graded as a plus defender and this is all lining up to be the perfect addition to a Mike Trout-led offense.

The K rate is the skill that will need to improve for the call to come early, with rates closer to 30 than 20 for the full season. And yet, with a double-digit walk rate at some stops in the minors, he might be able to mix in the aggressive approach and still succeed. Adell will be a top prospect target in 2020, but owners in deep leagues should be willing to stash him this campaign, even if only for a 60-game ceiling.

 

7. Christin Stewart (OF, DET)

ETA: Already Debuted

Stewart is a prospect with a clear path to playing time on a rebuilding Tigers team who provides the offensive upside to make this all count. In a 17-game debut last year, he slashed .267/.375/.417 with two homers and seven runs in 17 games. The batting line was similar to his .264 mark at Triple-A, and his 23 homers down a level show the power impact that he can offer. Even better news? With a 0.62 BB:K line this is not just a free-swinger who makes contact, but a real professional hitter with the ability to hunt his pitch and drive the ball. With little to no speed, the OBP is the extra piece to watch, with a minimum of .335 in a full season for his career to date.

A prime run producer who likely will start the year in the heart of the Detroit offense, Stewart should be drafted higher than his current ADP of 357. Owners should cash in while the hype and name value are at the lowest they will be this season.

 

8. Yusniel Diaz (OF, BAL)

ETA: Late 2019

The leading prospect that Baltimore received in return for superstar Manny Machado, Diaz has seen the prospect luster rub off a bit, but for fantasy value, he should not be ignored. Not only is his swing and plate approach perfect for the cozy confines of Camden Park, but the opportunity to play every day adds to the floor for his 2019 production. In his 38 games after moving to the Baltimore organization, Diaz slashed .239/.329/.403 with five homers and four steals in 38 games at Double-A. With some allowance for the impact of the trade and all the noise around the move, Diaz still looked reasonably productive at the plate.

Long-term, Diaz should be a multiple-category contributor, but owners should limit their expectations for true impact value. A .260 batting average with a 15/15 might be the target, but that will still play off the bench or in five-outfielder leagues. 2020 will be his year to shine, but he should get an extended run this campaign nonetheless.

 

9. Myles Straw (OF, HOU)

ETA: Already Debuted

For Rotoballer readers last year, Straw was one of the favorites on our AL-Only waiver pieces for one skill alone: his ability to steal bases. In 133 games over both Double- and Triple-A, Straw stole 70 bases flashing elite speed and baserunning instincts. In fact, he was only caught nine times, for a success rate of 89%. Straw stole just two bases in nine games with the Astros; with a full run, this could be the next rabbit to target.

The good news for fantasy owners is that he does not offer only speed, but provided a batting average close to .285 over both levels in 2018. Even more, while there is no power in the game, he does have a close to 1:1 BB:K line. A good defender, his long term value is as a utility outfielder, but owners will take the speed at an ADP of 722 all day. Draft him now and ride the speed to eight steals in September alone.

 

10. Oscar Mercado (OF, CLE)

ETA: Opening Day or Late 2019

With the state of the Cleveland outfield, Mercado might have a legitimate shot to make the team out of spring training due to his glove and speed alone. His Triple-A numbers do look good, with a. 268 batting average with both teams, complemented by eight homers and 37 steals. Mercado also scores plenty of runs hitting at the top of the lineup, with 85 in 132 games. All in all, this is a good profile and will impact fantasy teams when given playing time. The main question will be when can he make the jump?

The other piece of context is that Cleveland added him last deadline with the idea to add him to the roster this year. So the call-up was planned in the overall team building process. Mercado is the question mark on the list but should have a chance to lead-off for Cleveland if all plays out this year. With an ADP of 657, there is little to no downside to adding him and seeing how the outfield shakes out at Progressive Field.

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