2019 outfield values: Mike Trout, lone wolf of Anaheim

Angels star Mike Trout gets ready for his age-27 season. He’s once again the top pick in fantasy drafts. (Keith Birmingham/Getty Images)
Angels star Mike Trout gets ready for his age-27 season. He’s once again the top pick in fantasy drafts. (Keith Birmingham/Getty Images)

Here are your outfield prices. Lots of fun here, as usual.

Your standard disclaimers:

To some in the fantasy community, rankings are a dirty concept. Some people don’t like tiers so much, either. I’m not dug in here, I just think you need some rough sketch of how you feel about a player pool. Just understand this is a sketch, in pencil. And I’m always going to be ready to pivot in the middle of a draft or auction — and later drafts and auctions this spring will help me determine just how I feel about the player pool.

[Positional Rankings: Top 300 Overall | C | 1B | 2B | SS | 3B | OF | P]

The prices are unscientific, and meant to illustrate how I feel about the pockets of value and the differences between players. Players at the same price are considered even.

I might tweak this list within the first day or so of publishing. Assuming a 5×5 scoring format, as usual.

I welcome your intelligent and respectful disagreement. It’s a game of opinions. And if I missed an outfield-eligible asset who is draft-worthy, let me know that, too. Yahoo has the easiest positional tags earned, which I view as a feature, not a bug.

Just prices for now. I’ll add commentary later on Wednesday.

First-Round Viable

$46 Mike Trout
$45 Mookie Betts
$42 J.D. Martinez
$42 Christian Yelich
$41 Aaron Judge
$39 Bryce Harper
$39 Giancarlo Stanton
$39 Ronald Acuna

Baseball is mostly a game of individual acts, but run production is a team exercise. And when you take Trout, presumably with the No. 1 pick, you have to ask yourself if you’re willing to spend six agonizing months with his Angels team.

The Orange County Angels led baseball in runs scored back in 2014. Since then, they’ve ranked 20th, 17th, 22nd, and 15th. Imagine what Trout might be capable of if he had a strong team around him, or a hitter-favoring park.

In the Friends & Family Draft Lottery, I landed an early selection and had most slots available, including the Top 2. I decided to take the second pick, figuring Betts is who I’ll get. I don’t see that big a gap between them, and the undertow of the Red Sox and Fenway is a key for me. I also hate being on the absolute end of a draft unless one player is miles ahead of the pack; I don’t think that’s the case here. At the deuce, I can at least play off the 1-slot a little bit, skip where he’s deep and preemptively grab guys who might make sense for him.

Judge is sliding a little too far in some drafts, as owners aren’t taking into account that he missed 50 games last year and it messed up his counting stats. Judge’s floor is probably what he did last year — .278/.392/.528. And go look at those insane 2017 stats again. The park is a bonus, and this lineup is loaded. The No. 3 overall pick is a mess this year; I wouldn’t say Judge would be my guy there, but you could at least consider him. If you get him in the second round, you’re stealing.

Legitimate Building Blocks

$34 Charlie Blackmon
$34 Kris Bryant
$32 Andrew Benintendi
$32 Juan Soto
$31 Starling Marte
$30 Whit Merrifield
$29 Khris Davis
$28 Rhys Hoskins
$26 George Springer
$26 Marcell Ozuna
$26 Lorenzo Cain
$25 Tommy Pham
$24 Cody Bellinger

Maybe Springer wants to run again, and maybe he has an excuse for not doing it much the last few years. Then again, the Astros are a team that understands how marginalized the stolen base is in today’s three-outcome game. Springer is mostly a volume play, the idea that you’re getting a very good-not-great bat at the top of a loaded lineup. Houston’s park is also misunderstood; it’s chummy down the lines, but a pitcher park overall. Getting rid of the hill in center field was another boost for the pitchers. I guess this makes Springer more reactive pick than proactive pick for me.

Proactive Picks

$23 Eddie Rosario
$22 Wil Myers
$21 Yasiel Puig
$21 Mitch Haniger
$21 Justin Upton
$21 Michael Conforto
$20 Nicholas Castellanos

Rosario crashed in the second half, but I’m writing that off on the injury. He’s a strong contributor without being loud in any one category, and he plays in the quiet Minnesota market. This is the type of player who’s almost always underappreeciated and underpriced. Cain and Pham, from the group above, also quality for this perception discount.

Upside and Downside Apparent

$18 Joey Gallo
$17 Aaron Hicks
$16 David Peralta
$16 Andrew McCutchen
$14 David Dahl
$14 A.J. Pollock
$13 Victor Robles
$13 Ian Desmond
$12 Nomar Mazara
$11 Dee Gordon
$11 Michael Brantley
$11 Eloy Jimenez
$11 Ender Inciarte
$11 Ryan Braun

McCutchen is probably a borderline Hall of Fame case right now, and he’s one of the smartest players in baseball — I’ll always have a sweet spot for guys like that. His average is no longer bankable, but he remains an elite OBP guy, and he’s doing to hit 20-plus homers and steal 10-16 bases in his sleep. The Phillies don’t have an obvious answer to their lineup puzzle and I have some fear that Gabs Kapler might dream up 162 lineups for 162 games, but McCutchen’s profile and status in the game likely protects his slot near the top. This is going to be a carnival, and I want in — especially if McCutchen is in his Ibanez All-Star years, where discounts commonly apply.

Pollock and Dahl are players with extensive injury histories, and man, Dahl’s young to be saying that. AJP also moves to a park that won’t help him, and his manager is like to use his bench. Dahl gets the Coors buzz attached to his name, but I can’t pay for more than 120 games. Bottom line, I don’t expect to be in a room where everyone fades these guys as much as I will.

Gordon was hurt in the second half, which is why the stolen bases faded away. He might have another 40-plus in him, and the average should be fine. But I’d prefer a worker-bee approach to the stolen base column; if you pay a digit round on Gordon, or Mallex Smith, you’re doing it wrong.

Throwing Pasta Against the Wall

$10 Mallex Smith
$10 Stephen Piscotty
$10 Brandon Nimmo
$10 Byron Buxton
$9 Corey Dickerson
$9 Kyle Schwarber
$9 Austin Meadows
$9 Harrison Bader
$9 Adam Eaton
$9 Max Kepler
$9 Jesse Winker
$7 Billy Hamilton
$7 Hunter Renfroe
$6 Shin-Soo Choo
$6 Chris Taylor

Bader should offer double-digit category juice and his glove will help mark the position. But I also worry about him getting a lesser batting slot; batting order position is critical in the National League, since the pitcher spot wrecks rallies and stealing opportunities . . . Not going to fake it, ten bucks is the “I don’t know either” price on Buxton. I think most rooms are a little more interested than I am. I thought his defense would protect the job last year, that wasn’t the case. But if the Twins can leave him alone, maybe the confidence grows as he’s not looking over his shoulder.

[Batter up: Join or create a 2019 Yahoo Fantasy Baseball league for free today]

I want to believe the Reds will install Winker and leave him alone. Heck, I want them to do that with Senzel, too. The $9 tag on Winker leaves me some room to be skeptical . . . Eaton is a $20 bat when healthy, and man do the Nats need his lefty bat. But he’s been hurt for us to see him as a building block, despite his array of skills . . . Schwarber’s defense used to be a joke, but he’s cleaned it up nicely. Perhaps it will save him some of those late-game at-bats he’d lose, ostensibly because of his defense.

Bargain Bin

$5 Jackie Bradley Jr.
$5 Franmil Reyes
$5 Gregory Polanco
$5 Manuel Margot
$5 Brandon Belt
$5 Kevin Pillar
$5 Marwin Gonzalez
$4 Randal Grichuk
$4 Trey Mancini
$4 Jake Bauers
$4 Nick Markakis
$4 Ian Happ
$4 Joey Wendle
$4 Brian Anderson
$4 Brett Gardner
$3 Domingo Santana
$3 Ramon Laureano
$3 Jose Martinez
$3 Adam Jones
$3 Cedric Mullins
$3 Kevin Kiermaier
$3 Jorge Soler
$2 Odubel Herrera
$2 Steven Souza Jr.
$2 Joc Pederson
$2 Jason Kipnis
$2 Franchy Cordero
$2 Delino DeShields
$2 Greg Allen
$2 Willie Calhoun
$2 Kike Hernandez
$2 Lewis Brinson
$1 Kole Calhoun
$1 Avisail Garcia
$1 Matt Kemp
$1 Mark Trumbo
$1 Teoscar Hernandez
$1 Daniel Palka
$1 Kyle Tucker
$1 Scott Schebler
$1 Tyler O’Neill
$1 Jay Bruce
$1 Niko Goodrum
$1 Leonys Martin
$1 Adam Frazier
$1 Josh Reddick
$1 Hernan Perez
$1 Bradley Zimmer
$1 Eric Thames
$1 Billy McKinney
NR *Yoenis Cespedes

More fantasy draft prep from Yahoo Sports

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