Impact Prospect Rankings: Corner Outfielders

I began the year at RotoGraphs by producing a semi-regularly-updated Top 25 prospects list. For the second half of the year and into the offseason, I’ll be rotating expanded Top 10, 12 or 15 lists (on a far more regular basis) by position: C, 1B, 2B, 3B, SS, LF/RF, CF, RHSP (tier 1), RHSP (tier 2), LHSP. Whether you play traditional formats of fantasy baseball or dynasty/keeper styles (or you’re just a prospect nut like me), you’ll surely find these lists indispensable. You can read the Impact Prospect Catchers, the Impact Prospect First Basemen, the Impact Prospect Second Basemen, the Impact Prospect Third Basemen and the Impact Prospect Shortstops.

 

#1 Oscar Taveras | Cardinals | ETA: 2014 (OF)


Age PA BB% K% AVG OBP SLG wOBA wRC+ Off Def WAR
22 150 5.3 % 15.3 % .206 .247 .284 .239 49 -9.0 -4.0 -0.9

Aug 15 Notes: Taveras’ rookie eligibility has technically (just) expired but I’ll let him hang around for this ranking. The young outfielder has struggled out of the gate in the big leagues but he has an above-average hit tool and will come around. St. Louis fans just need to be patient. 

 

#2 Jorge Soler | Cubs | ETA: 2014 (OF)


Age PA H 2B HR BB SO SB AVG OBP SLG wOBA
22 184 54 20 12 28 36 0 .353 .451 .732 .506

Aug 15 Notes: Injuries delayed Soler’s ascent through the minors but the Cuban prospect is now on the cusp of a big league call-up while playing at the Triple-A level. His bat is on fire this year and he has a 1.217 OPS in 50 games. He’s really flexed his muscles with 33 of his 55 hits having gone for extra bases.

 

#3 Kyle Schwarber | Cubs | ETA: 2016 (C/OF)


Age PA H 2B HR BB SO SB AVG OBP SLG wOBA
21 233 64 11 11 34 41 3 .335 .438 .576 .453

Aug 15 Notes: Schwarber has kicked off his professional career with a bang and he’s played at three levels. He’s been an on-base machine while also hitting for power and boasts an OPS of 1.014 in 54 games. He’d have more defensive value if he were to stick behind the plate but his bat is not going to allow that to happen so expect his future big league role to come in the outfield. 

 

#4 Josh Bell | Pirates | ETA: 2016 (DH/OF)


Age PA H 2B HR BB SO SB AVG OBP SLG wOBA
21 465 138 22 9 33 55 9 .325 .375 .459 .382

Aug 15 Notes: Bell was the toast of the prospect world when he was given a massive bonus to sign with the Pirates and forgo a commitment to the University of Texas in 2011. However, after a missed year of development due to injury in 2012, the young outfielder fell out of view of many prospect watchers only to re-emerge in 2014. He’s still learning to tap into his in-game power but he has the potential to hit for both pop and average. 

 

#5 Jesse Winker | Reds | ETA: 2016 (OF)


Age PA H 2B HR BB SO SB AVG OBP SLG wOBA
20 341 81 20 15 54 68 5 .287 .399 .518 .402

Aug 15 Notes: Winker should soon be ready to take over left field from Ryan Ludwick. The outfield prospect can hit for average, power and also get on base at a hefty clip. He might learn a lot playing with Joey Votto, who is a similar type of hitter. Winker, 20, also holds his own against southpaws.

 

#6 Alex Jackson | Mariners | ETA: 2018 (OF)


Age PA H 2B HR BB SO SB AVG OBP SLG wOBA
18 85 22 6 2 6 21 0 .289 .333 .500 .377

Aug 15 Notes: Similar to Kyle Schwarber, Jackson is a catcher who has been moved to the outfield to allow his bat to dictate his development, rather than his glove. The big difference between the two players is that Jackson hails from the prep ranks while Schwarber was drafted out of college. The Mariners prospect could, nonetheless, be a fast mover through the Seattle system. 

 

#7 Aaron Judge | Yankees | ETA: 2016 (OF)


Age PA H 2B HR BB SO SB AVG OBP SLG wOBA
22 490 126 20 16 78 113 1 .311 .422 .499 .421

Aug 15 Notes: Anyone who’s watched the Yankees for any length of time in 2014 knows that the club is aging badly. The 22-year-old Judge could eventually replace one of the aging stars and bring some right-handed thump — and strong on-base presence — to the lineup.

 

#8 Hunter Renfroe | Padres | ETA: 2016 (OF)


Age PA H 2B HR BB SO SB AVG OBP SLG wOBA
22 488 119 29 20 42 121 10 .274 .344 .493 .364

Aug 15 Notes: The Padres’ 2013 first round selection, the power-hitting Renfroe remains a curious pick from an organization that plays in a park that mutes over-the-fence pop. A modest fielder, he’s not the kind of player you’d necessarily want roaming the outfield — even left field. It’s possible he could prove me wrong — or he could also end up as a very valuable trade piece.

 

#9 Domingo Santana | Astros | ETA: 2015 (OF)


Age PA BB% K% AVG OBP SLG wOBA wRC+ Off Def WAR
21 18 5.6 % 77.8 % .000 .056 .000 .038 -91 -3.6 -0.4 -0.4

Aug 15 Notes: Santana has been one of the most consistent power sources in the minor leagues over the past three or four seasons but his 127 strikeouts in 104 minor league games in 2014 certainly hinted that there was work yet to be done on his overall approach. The young outfielder has been given a couple tastes of the big leagues but he’s struck out in 14 of his 17 at-bats. 

 

#10 Mikie Mahtook | Rays | ETA: 2015 (OF)


Age PA H 2B HR BB SO SB AVG OBP SLG wOBA
24 475 122 29 8 38 122 15 .289 .358 .438 .358

Aug 15 Notes: Mahtook, 24, does a little bit of everything but doesn’t stand out in any one department, which could be why Tampa Bay has yet to take a look at him at the big league level in 2014. He’s spent some time in center field but doesn’t project as a regular there due to his lack of range but he doesn’t have the power that teams like from their corner outfielders.  




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Marc Hulet has been writing at FanGraphs since 2008. His work focuses on prospect analysis. Follow him on Twitter @marchulet.


10 Responses to “Impact Prospect Rankings: Corner Outfielders”

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  1. vonstott says:

    Shortstop link is dead

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Shorstop says:

      It’s spelt shorstop.

      No seriously, the article is linked with “shorstop” in the address, the typo from the article title apparently made it into the web address as well

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  2. Stuck in a slump says:

    Marc, how do you handle prospects playing one position in the minors, but who are believed to get moved shortly after being promoted? Do you handle them on a case by case basis, or just default them to the position that they are currently handling in the minors?

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  3. Bryan Shaw says:

    Marc, what’re your thoughts on Austin Wilson of the Mariners. Big time arm and tons of power potential

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  4. Balls in the Dirt says:

    No way in #### Taveras outproduces Soler.

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  5. cnote66 says:

    what about newly promoted Rymer Liriano?

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  6. Mike Schmidt (not that one) says:

    I’d like to know Marc’s thoughts on a couple other intriguing fantasy outfielder from the 2014 MLB Draft: Bradley Zimmer and Michael Conforto. Were they close to being ranked here?

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  7. Who is Zorbist? says:

    If the Rays trade Jennings this offseason, as I’ve seen speculated about, Mahtook likely becomes the backup CF and/or Platoon partner of Kiermaier. With the emergence of Guyer and Kiermaier, along with Myers, Jejesus, and Joyce, at least 2 would have to be traded for Mahtook to see any kind of MLB action. If Jennings is moved though, Mahtook is the only one of the group capable of backing up Kiermaier in CF.

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  8. Happy jones says:

    Happy that with the prospect rebranding I still get my Hulet fix.

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