MLB Pro 2019 Top 20 Outfield Prospects
The outfield is a really loaded prospect list, as it combines any player who mainly plays in the outfield. This makes it difficult, as the defensive demands of a centerfielder are different than that or a rightfielder. Because of this, lots of guys could be in a different spot on the ranking, but they all fall within 2 spots of where they should be, based on talent.
Some outfield prospects that just missed our top 20 list are the Red Sox’s Bob Collins, the Rockies’ Bernard Blanchard, the Orioles’ John Feitelberg and the Rangers’ Dave Reilly.
Going from the back end of the list, we begin with #20.
#20 | Kevin Jones | Midland RockHounds (OAK, AA) | Age: 22 | Acquired via: Trade with PHI
Jones possesses great range in the outfield, which is to be expected with his blazing speed. He’s also seen by most scouts as having plus contact tools, and rarely strikes out, giving him a nice offensive profile. He needs to continue to prove himself at a higher level, but not many worries about him.
#19 | Dave Tatum | Mississippi Braves (ATL, AA) | Age: 24 | Acquired via: Trade with LAD
Tatum has one of the best bats of any outfield prospect, but is also the worst defender of the group by far, which is why he’s near the bottom of the list. He’s got big pop from the left side and also has shown good contact skills. His bat is all that will get him to the Majors, and he’s almost ready.
#18 | Elliott Jenkins | Jackson Generals (SEA, AA) | Age: 21 | Acquired via: Trade with NYY
Jenkins has amazing speed, which he uses to patrol the outfield successfully. He also has 65-grade contact and great gap power. He did dominate at high-A, but struggled mightily in AA in limited time, so he needs to prove himself again to continue to climb on this list, but has a lot of great potential to build off of.
#17 | Ronald Stanton | Pawtucket Red Sox (BOS, AAA) | Age: 23 | Acquired via: Draft (2016, Rd 2, Pk 38)
Stanton has plus tools across the board offensively, with good enough defense to stick in the corners. He’s never dominated, but that’s what to expect at the next level as well. He’s simply just going to be a quite good player, no better, no worse. He’ll likely spend most of the season at AAA, then be in the Majors in 2020.
#16 | Arturo Cruz | Cincinnati Reds | Age: 23 | Acquired via: Trade with LAD
Cruz is best known for his mile long home runs in BP, and that power is what lands him on this list. He has so much raw power, that the other tools kind of don’t matter. He’ll play solid defense in right, but his potential all lies in his power.
#15 | Travis Swaggerty | Tempe Angels (LAA, R) | Age: 21 | Acquired via: Draft (2018, Rd 4, Pk 131)
Swaggy T has loud tools, showcasing great range in the outfield, lots of contact, solid power and a good arm. He’s still got a ways to go, but his defense has a chance to be very solid, and make him an elite left fielder if he develops to his full potential.
#14 | Jaime Vega | Peoria Mariners (SEA, R) | Age: 19 | Acquired via: Trade with CLE
Vega struggled immensely in his time in Short Season ball but he had a strong showing in Rookie ball, and held his own during his time in the WDL. He’s a toolsy outfielder, who will likely stick in CF due to his great speed and reads. Offensively, he’s a contact first hitter, relying on power to the gaps rather than home runs. He’s shown a good understanding of the zone for a young age, but currently has some swing and miss issues. If he shows well in full season ball, he’ll be much higher on this list next season.
#13 | Hideaki Hayashi | Clinton LumberKings (SEA, A) | Age: 21 | Acquired via: Trade with NYY
The Japanese prospect has a great combination of power and patience, displaying great knowledge of the zone, which allows him to draw walks and avoid weak contact on chases. He still does have a tendency to try to go for the long ball, which results in some swing and misses on hit-able pitches. Either way, he was terrific in his first full season of pro ball, with 14 HR and a .277 average. One issue for him will be his defense, as he’ll be a liability even in the corners. That said, he was able to provide above league average defense in A-ball last season, but he’s also spent lots of time working at first base.
#12 | Chase Fieler | Greeneville Astros (HOU, R) | Age: 19 | Acquired via: Trade with KC
Fieler possess the highest ceiling of any player on this list, but also has one of the lowest floors. He’s only played in rookie ball last year, and posted a .229/.286/.269 slash line. That being said, he’s a freak of an athlete with incredible defensive abilities, including some of the best reads of any prospect. He’s also got great quick twitch abilities, leading to a short swing that many scouts see as having power potential. He’s seen as having above average or plus potential in every part of his game, and if he lives up to that, he’ll be a superstar. If he doesn’t, he’ll be a well rounded 4th outfielder with great defense.
#11 | Trevor Larnach | GCL Mets (NYM, R) | Age: 22 | Acquired via: Draft (2018, Rd 4, Pk 128)
Larnach has been impressive since he was drafted this last season, although he is 22 playing in Rookie ball. That said, scouts were still able to see the skills there that they may have missed the first time around. He’s got great gap to gap power, with solid home run potential. His zone knowledge and patience is lacking, but his contact and power potential from the left side of the plate makes up for it. On the other side of the ball, he is good enough to last in one of the corners, but he isn’t winning any Gold Gloves.
#10 | Ronald Acuna | Stockton Ports (OAK, A+) | Age: 21 | Acquired via: Trade with TOR
Acuna has already been traded 3 times in his career. To put that in comparison, he has 1 career HR and 3 trades. The 2nd overall pick from this last draft has solid skill, with plus contact and power and the makings of a very solid left fielder, or solid center fielder. He did well in Rookie ball, and played decently in the WDL, but will need to prove his potential in a full season.
#9 | Corey Ray | Oakland Athletics | Age: 24 | Acquired via: Trade with TOR
Ray has tons of raw talent, but at 24, he has yet to prove it in terms of his numbers in pro ball. He’s seen by most as having some of the best hitting potential of any prospect, with plus-plus contact skills, plus power and above average eye and patience, all from the left side. He also possesses elite speed, although that doesn’t translate to the other side of the ball, where he has poor reads and looks best as a right fielder. He’s a guy that I’d be on the lookout for, as he could easily become a star, especially as he’s looked confident at the plate this spring.
#8 | Will Anderson | Mississippi Braves (ATL, AA) | Age: 22 | Acquired via: Draft (2016, Rd 2, Pk 39)
Abderson has put up solid numbers in back to back seasons, his first two full seasons as a pro player. He’s an elite defender with the best arm in the minor leagues, and has shown a solid offensive profile to go with it. His biggest strength on the offensive side of things is his patience and knowledge of the zone, which is why he consistently has an OBP over .100 higher than his average. His contact isn’t tremendously consistent, and he doesn’t hit the ball the hardest, but he’ll do enough to stay in a starting lineup. Ultimately, it will be his ability to steal runs on the defensive side, and score runs after walking on the offensive side that get him to the big leagues.
#7 | Roberto Torres | Chicago White Sox | Age: 22 | Acquired via: Trade with SD
Torres is loved by the White Sox organization, and rightfully so. One day, he will be at the top of their lineup and most likely patrolling center field, if not, winning Gold Gloves in left. He’s got elite contact rates, with terrific speed. The power is lacking, but he has a solid eye, and good gap to gap power. He may get called up this year, but that may be a little premature. Watch for a big breakout his sophomore year, maybe even his third season.
#6 | Ed Harris | Chicago Cubs | Age: 26 | Acquired via: Trade with TBR
On the other side of Chicago, we have a player cut out of the same mold as Torres, only bigger, faster and stronger. Harris is a few years older, but has a slightly better offensive profile, mainly a better eye, and he’s a switch hitter. He’s also faster, expected to be one of the elite stolen base leaders once he makes his debut, and he plays elite defense in the corners, but is not anything great in center. He’ll get his chance to prove himself in the bigs this season, likely as an everyday starter.
#5 | Kane Barnes | Seattle Mariners | Age: 23 | Acquired via: Draft (2016, Rd 3, Pk 89)
Barnes has a plus tool everywhere in his game, except for his power. There he’s only above average. He’s got solid speed, and plays a fairly solid corner outfield, best suited in left. His approach at the plate leads to him being ahead in many counts, which limits his strikeouts and allows him to drive the ball into the gaps. He’s stuck behind a very good Seattle outfield, but will find his way into a starting lineup soon.
#4 | Nick Plummer | Los Angeles Dodgers | Age: 21 | Acquired via: Trade with HOU
Plummer makes it this far up the list because he’s got the best offensive upside of any outfield prospect. He makes tremendous amounts of hard contact, with good plate discipline and good power for his size. His defense used to be a huge concern, but he’s really worked to become passable in left field, which has made it easier for the Dodgers to progress him quickly.
#3 | Mickey Moniak | Houston Astros | Age: 20 | Acquired via: Trade with TBR
Moniak joins his organizational teammate, Chase Fieler, as one of the toolsiest players in the minors. He’s as fast as can be, which combined with great routes and reads, makes him the best defensive outfield prospect in the league. He had struggled offensively, but then lead the WDL in hits, as he posted .375 average versus some of the top pitching prospects in the league. He has a long swing, but great hand eye, leading to high contact rates. If he starts to hit for any power, then he can truly become a force in a Major League lineup, but if not he’ll be a terrific tablesetter.
#2 | Gregg Faustini | Beloit Snappers (OAK, A) | Age: 19 | Acquired via: Draft (2017, Rd 2, Pk 35)
Faustini somehow slipped to the 2nd round in 2017, but has some of the biggest potential in the minors. He has plus-plus offensive tools, with lots of hard contact and few chases. He also has elite speed, which he uses to make him one of the outfielders with the most range in the minors. He’s still very raw, only having proven himself at rookie ball, but he did have a monster season last year, and could start the season in full season ball.
#1 | Cole Brannen | Arizona Diamondbacks | Age: 20 | Acquired via: Draft (2017, Rd 2, Pk 31)
That 2nd round of the 2017 draft sure was special. Brannen is best known for his elite defense, which could win him Gold Gloves now, but he has also shown some ability with the bat. It’s yet to transfer over into his performance, but many scouts see a lot of potential if the D’Backs can develop him properly. We do have to be worried of him being rushed, seeing as he’s in Major League camp this spring, despite never playing above Rookie ball, and struggling there as well.