2022 Fantasy Baseball Outfield Preview

by Connor Thomure
2022 Fantasy Baseball Outfield Preview

Welcome to the 2022 Fantasy Baseball Outfield Preview.

The outfield is the deepest position for batters with over 100 players being eligible for a roster spot. Check the 2022 Fantasy Baseball rankings from Fantasy Six Pack to see all the outfielders available.

While playing Fantasy Baseball, it is key to limit risk throughout the entire draft. The outfield is difficult because there are many risks especially with young players trying to get settled in the league. That brings us to the 2022 Fantasy Baseball Outfield Preview.

The 2022 Fantasy Baseball Outfield Preview will answer some of the biggest questions of draft season. When should Fantasy managers draft Ronald Acuna Jr.? Are Tyler O'Neill and Jesse Winker legit after their breakout season? Are Christian Yelich and Cody Bellinger the best values in 2022?

On top of these questions, we have two underrated and two overrated players, two outfielders on the rise, and two late-round sleepers.

**The ADP used here is from the Fantasy Pros Expert Consensus ADP**

2022 Fantasy Baseball Outfield Preview

Looking for a Fantasy advantage? Get prepared for the upcoming season by using the free FantasyPros Draft Wizard.

Early Round Draft Strategy

There are two ways to attack the outfield position this season. The first is drafting an elite outfielder at the top of the draft, like Fernando Tatis Jr., Juan Soto, Ronald Acuna Jr., or Mike Trout. With a superstar outfielder on the team, it allows Fantasy Managers to focus on the infield or pitching the next couple of rounds. This scenario could lead to a team having an elite outfielder paired with an elite infielder or pitcher.

The next way to attack the outfield is by waiting until the third round and grabbing a Whit Merrifield, Aaron Judge, or Teocsar Hernandez (depends on if power or speed is wanted). It's even possible Yordan Alvarez or Cedric Mullins will fall into the third round. After this selection, Fantasy Baseball Managers should draft another outfielder in one of the next two rounds. This will leave the team with two above-average outfielders in the first five rounds.

When to Draft Ronald Acuna Jr.?

Acuna Jr. is the biggest question mark in the outfield heading into the 2022 season. He is coming back from an ACL injury that could sideline him for the first month of the regular season. Just how long he will be out is still up in the air due to the current MLB lockout. Now Fantasy Baseball Managers are questioning their decision to draft or not draft the star outfielder.

Almost all projections have Acuna Jr. playing at least 130 games this season while racking up 35+ homers, 100+ runs, and 20+ steals. These are only projections, but these numbers would make Acuna Jr. an MVP candidate in 2022.

Looking at the ADP, Acuna Jr. is going at pick 12, but at this price, he's a steal and should be picked sooner. I'm willing to move the Atlanta Braves outfielder up towards the number 4-6 spots with Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Jose Ramirez, and Bo Bichette. This could be seen as risky due to the uncertainty surrounding him but the player to take a gamble on this year is Acuna Jr.

Are Jesse Winker and Tyler O'Neill Legit?

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Two outfielders that had excellent 2021 seasons were Jesse Winker and Tyler O'Neill. Both of these players were able to take advantage of an everyday starting opportunity and deliver a breakout season. This has made them a hot commodity in Fantasy Baseball drafts in 2022. Yes, these two players are legit, but for different reasons.

Jesse Winker, Cincinnati Reds

For the first time in his career, he was able to reach 400 plate appearances in a season. However, Winker's 2021 was cut short due to injury, but he was able to belt 24 homers while driving in 71 RBIs and scoring 77 runs in 110 games.

When looking at Winker's statistics one can see that he is legit. He's a low strikeout, above-average power bat that gets on base at an elite level. His breakout numbers from 2021 are almost identical to what he's done in the past as well.

Tyler O'Neill, St. Louis Cardinals

O'Neill hit 34 home runs, drove in 80 RBIs, scored 80 runs, and also added value with 15 stolen bases. Fantasy Pros lists his ADP at 55.3; a season ago his ADP was after 300. Cardinals' fans have been waiting for the O'Neill breakout to happen since his rookie year in 2018.

All O'Neill needs to do now is bring the strikeout rate down. He has a gloomy 32.5% career strikeout rate paired with a below-average 7.1% walk rate.

O'Neill's breakout was also legit, but he's more of a high-risk high-reward due to his bloated strikeout rate. Still, with 35 homers and 15 stolen bases, the reward will be worth it.


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Chris Taylor, Los Angeles Dodgers

Chris Taylor has played well as the super-utility player for the Los Angeles Dodgers the last five seasons. He will continue in this role after re-signing with the Dodgers through the 2025 season. In 2021 Taylor finished in the top-25 outfielders for points leagues, but Fantasy Baseball managers are drafting him as the 42nd outfielder this season. This shows Taylor is being underrated and is worth being drafted at his ADP of 141.7

Michael Brantley, Houston Astros

Michael Brantley has the most shocking ADP thus far into the 2022 Fantasy Baseball draft season. Fantasy Managers are drafting him at an ADP of 223.3 despite his continued success. A season ago Brantley went at an ADP of 144.6. There is no reason for fantasy managers to pass on Brantley after posting a batting average of .311 in 2021.

Brantley has the highest batting average and lowest strikeout rate among all qualified outfielders since 2017. His current ADP is so late that some will completely forget about Brantley. Draft him and feel good about getting one of the best values in the draft.

Jarred Kelenic, Seattle Mariners

Kelenic made his much-awaited debut in 2021 and it wasn't great. He slashed .181/.265/.350 in two different stints with the Seattle Mariners. Fantasy Baseball managers are picking Kelenic too early for the amount of risk he has. His ADP is 131.3 but some players are a safer bet being drafted after Kelenic. For this reason, Kelenic is overrated heading into the 2022 season.

Tommy Edman, St. Louis Cardinals

Fantasy Baseball Managers are loving Tommy Edman in the 2022 draft cycle, but only for his work on the base paths. He finished the 2021 season with 30 steals placing him in a tie for the fourth-most stolen bases. While he is a good player, his price is way too high making him overrated this season.

Edman is going before Christian Yelich, Cody Bellinger, and Jesse Winker. I would rather have any of those on my team at this price. If a Fantasy Baseball Manager wants steals, they can wait and look further down the board and grab Myles Straw or Akil Baddoo.

Drafting Christian Yelich and Cody Bellinger

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Yelich and Bellinger are both star players that had an awful 2021 season. Due to this poor showing Fantasy Managers have been selecting these players much later than they might be worth. Bellinger and Yelich offer a chance to draft a top-tier talent at a discounted price around the 100 ADP mark. This could be the best value pick in 2022 Fantasy Baseball drafts.

Players On the Rise

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Akil Baddoo, Detroit Tigers

I will admit that when I first saw Baddoo's ADP (160.7) I thought Fantasy Baseball Managers were overrating him, then I dove into his stats from 2021. His 18 stolen bases are the first thing that pops out, and his .436 slugging percentage isn't bad either. Now it's clear that Baddoo is a player that can easily reach 20 homers and 20 stolen bases.

At just 23 years old he does have some growing to do. His strikeout rate is too high, and he struggled against lefties. However, I am on board the Baddoo train and think he will continue to grow as a player and provide good value in Fantasy Baseball.

Jesus Sanchez, Miami Marlins

Sanchez is another young player coming off an impressive rookie season. He hit 14 home runs in 251 plate appearances and made a case for Fantasy Managers to roster him in 12-team leagues. For outfielders with at least 250 plate appearances, Sanchez finished 24th in slugging percentage.

Fantasy Managers are drafting Sanchez at an ADP of 254.7 making him essentially free in most drafts, limiting his risk. If given a full season of playing time we could see Sanchez put up similar numbers to Franmil Reyes or Josh Bell

Late Round Sleepers

Brandon Nimmo, New York Mets

Brandon Nimmo is in a similar boat as Brantley. Fantasy Managers are overlooking these guys because they don't offer much power or speed, however, they are excellent on-base percentage players. Fantasy Managers are drafting Nimmo at an ADP of 304.7 offering tons of value for a lead-off hitter with a career .393 on-base percentage.

Seth Brown, Oakland Athletics

Seth Brown had a sneaky good season in 2021 but isn't getting much love this offseason. Brown hit 20 homers in 307 plate appearances and could reach 30-35 home runs if allowed to play more in 2022.  Baseball Savant ranks the outfielder's speed in the 76th percentile after posting four stolen bases. He's way more power than speed but it is completely possible that Brown can hit 30 homers and steal 10 bases similar to the Adolis Garcia breakout last season.

His biggest issue is striking out too much. He is going undrafted in some Fantasy Baseball drafts and his power/speed combo can provide plenty of value in 2022.

Be sure to check out all the 2022 Fantasy Baseball content as the season gets closer.

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1 comment

Jerome Thomure February 10, 2022 - 12:46 pm

Great article.


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