MLB State of the Position 2020: Every Team's 5-Year Plan in the Outfield
Between Mike Trout, Christian Yelich, Mookie Betts, Cody Bellinger, Ronald Acuna Jr., Aaron Judge, Juan Soto and Bryce Harper, many of baseball's brightest stars call the outfield home.
Meanwhile, rising prospects such as Luis Robert, Jo Adell, Jarred Kelenic, Dylan Carlson and Cristian Pache represent the next wave of superstar outfield talent.
With that said, some clubs are better set up for success at those positions than others.
Ahead, we've broken down each team's present and future across the outfield, highlighting their starters and top three prospects to help paint a picture of the organizational outlook.
Think of it as the team's five-year plan in the outfield.
- LF David Peralta (Age: 32, controlled through 2022)
- CF Starling Marte (Age: 31, controlled through 2022)
- RF Kole Calhoun (Age: 32, controlled through 2021)
The Diamondbacks revamped their outfield during the offseason by signing Kole Calhoun to a two-year, $16 million deal that includes a 2022 club option and trading for Pittsburgh Pirates standout Starling Marte.
They joined David Peralta to form an experienced, productive starting outfield that posted a combined 7.2 WAR in 2019, with Ketel Marte moving onto the dirt after spending a good portion of last season in center field.
- Kristian Robinson (Tier 1, ETA: 2023)
- Alek Thomas (Tier 1, ETA: 2023)
- Corbin Carroll (Tier 2, ETA: 2024)
With a 6'3" frame and 60-grade power, Kristian Robinson has a chance to be a superstar in the middle of the lineup. Alek Thomas also has the tools to make a significant impact as a center fielder and speedy table-setter.
Many viewed Corbin Carroll as the best pure hitter in the 2019 prep class, and he could wind up being a steal as the No. 16 overall pick. He hit .299/.409/.487 with 18 extra-base hits and 18 steals in 42 games after signing last year.
- LF Marcell Ozuna (Age: 29, controlled through 2020)
- CF Ender Inciarte (Age: 29, controlled through 2022)
- RF Ronald Acuna Jr. (Age: 22, controlled through 2028)
Veteran Nick Markakis' decision to opt out of the 2020 season means defensive whiz Ender Inciarte will return to an everyday role in the Atlanta outfield. That pushed budding superstar Ronald Acuna Jr. to right field, which could be his home over the course of his eight-year, $100 million contract.
After Josh Donaldson walked in free agency, Marcell Ozuna signed a one-year, $18 million contract to provide some thump in the middle of the lineup. If he sees time at designated hitter, the Braves could use Adam Duvall in left field.
- Cristian Pache (Tier 1, ETA: 2021)
- Drew Waters (Tier 1, ETA: 2021)
- Michael Harris (Tier 3, ETA: 2023)
Cristian Pache and Drew Waters are two of the best outfield prospects in all of baseball.
Pache is widely regarded as the best defensive outfielder in the minors and took his offensive game to another level last year when he hit .277/.340/.462 with 57 extra-base hits in 130 games between Double-A and Triple-A.
The Waters-Pache-Acuna trio could be the best outfield in baseball for a long time.
- LF Anthony Santander (Age: 25, controlled through 2023)
- CF Austin Hays (Age: 25, controlled through 2025)
- RF DJ Stewart (Age: 26, controlled through 2025)
There are still a lot of moving parts for the Orioles as they continue to rebuild, but it looks like Austin Hays might be a long-term piece in center field.
The 2016 third-round pick has shown flashes of greatness in the minors and hit .309/.373/.574 with 10 extra-base hits in 75 plate appearances following a September call-up last year.
- Heston Kjerstad (Tier 1, ETA: 2023)
- Yusniel Diaz (Tier 2, ETA: 2021)
- Ryan McKenna (Tier 3, ETA: 2021)
While he has some swing-and-miss to his game, Heston Kjerstad should still move quickly through the minors after he was picked No. 2 overall in the 2020 draft. His power potential and strong arm give him a prototypical right fielder profile.
Can Yusniel Diaz develop into the dynamic player the O's thought they were getting when they acquired him as the centerpiece in the Manny Machado blockbuster?
Boston Red Sox
- LF Andrew Benintendi (Age: 26, controlled through 2022)
- CF Jackie Bradley Jr. (Age: 30, controlled through 2020)
- RF Alex Verdugo (Age: 24, controlled through 2024)
The Red Sox aggressively shopped Jackie Bradley Jr., and there's a good chance they'll be content moving on when he reaches free agency for the first time this offseason.
Alex Verdugo looks like a cornerstone of their retooling efforts. Meanwhile, Andrew Benintendi is a wild card in terms of his long-term place on the team. After posting a 123 OPS+ and 4.5 WAR in 2018, he took a step back last year with a 100 OPS+ and 1.8 WAR, and he'll need to prove himself to earn a long-term deal.
- Jarren Duran (Tier 2, ETA: 2022)
- Gilberto Jimenez (Tier 3, ETA: 2024)
- Nick Decker (Tier 3, ETA: 2024)
Jarren Duran might not be ready to take over the starting center field job in 2021, but he'll be close, meaning the team can sign a stopgap or shift Benintendi over for a year. The 23-year-old hit .303/.367/.408 with 37 extra-base hits and 46 steals in 132 games between High-A and Double-A in 2019.
Gilberto Jimenez is a long way off, but his speed, defense and hit tool give him a chance to be an impact player.
- LF Ian Happ (Age: 25, controlled through 2023)
- CF Albert Almora Jr. (Age: 26, controlled through 2022)
- RF Jason Heyward (Age: 30, controlled through 2023)
With Kyle Schwarber the leading candidate to handle DH duties, Ian Happ appears to have an everyday spot in left field. The X-factor in the is Steven Souza, who signed a one-year, $1 million contract during the offseason. He's just two years removed from a 30-homer season.
This is a light-hitting group with Albert Almora Jr. and Jason Heyward as defensive-oriented players and Happ still unproven. They could opt to play Kris Bryant at a corner spot and David Bote at third base if Nico Hoerner or Jason Kipnis stakes claim to the everyday second base job.
- Brennen Davis (Tier 2, ETA: 2023)
- Cole Roederer (Tier 3, ETA: 2023)
- Nelson Velazquez (Tier 3, ETA: 2023)
Once Nico Hoerner moves on to the majors, Brennen Davis will have a strong case for being the best position player in the farm system, alongside catcher Miguel Amaya.
The 20-year-old has five-tool potential and hit .305/.381/.525 with 20 extra-base hits in 50 games at Single-A last year. Cole Roederer also has tremendous upside, though the gap between his floor and ceiling is quite a bit larger.
Chicago White Sox
- LF Eloy Jimenez (Age: 23, controlled through 2026)
- CF Luis Robert (Age: 22, controlled through 2027)
- RF Nomar Mazara (Age: 25, controlled through 2021)
The White Sox locked up Eloy Jimenez (six years, $43 million) before he made his MLB debut last year and then did the same with Luis Robert (six years, $50 million) this offseason. Each contract contains a club option that could tack two more years on the back end.
Will a change of scenery help Nomar Mazara reach his full potential? It was a low-risk move to trade for him with his free agency fast approaching after the 2021 season.
- Micker Adolfo (Tier 3, ETA: 2022)
- Luis Gonzalez (Tier 3, ETA: 2021)
- Blake Rutherford (Tier 3, ETA: 2021)
The White Sox really only need one of Micker Adolfo, Luis Gonzalez, Blake Rutherford or Luis Alexander Basabe to develop into a viable everyday option to have a terrific young outfield in place for the foreseeable future.
Adolfo has had a tough time staying healthy, playing just 115 games over the past two seasons, but he has the highest ceiling of the group.
- LF Jesse Winker (Age: 26, controlled through 2023)
- CF Shogo Akiyama (Age: 32, controlled through 2022)
- RF Nick Castellanos (Age: 28, controlled through 2024)
The Reds added Nick Castellanos (four years, $64 million) and Shogo Akiyama (three years, $21 million) to the outfield during the offseason, and they'll join up-and-comer Jesse Winker in the starting lineup.
Sluggers Aristides Aquino and Scott Schebler provide further depth, while Nick Senzel saw the bulk of his action in center field last year as a rookie. The No. 2 overall pick in the 2016 draft is controllable through the 2025 season, and his long-term defensive home is still up in the air.
- Austin Hendrick (Tier 2, ETA: 2024)
- Michael Siani (Tier 3, ETA: 2023)
- Stuart Fairchild (Tier 3, ETA: 2021)
With some of the best raw power in the 2020 draft class and more than enough hit tool to consistently tap into it, Austin Hendrick has one of the highest ceilings from this year's wave of newcomers. He has some work to do to refine his approach, but he has star potential.
Stuart Fairchild hit .275/.380/.444 with 17 extra-base hits in 179 plate appearances at Double-A last year following a midseason call-up. He might wind up being a fourth outfielder, but he's close to MLB-ready.
- LF Domingo Santana (Age: 27, controlled through 2021)
- CF Oscar Mercado (Age: 25, controlled through 2025)
- RF Jordan Luplow (Age: 26, controlled through 2024)
Even with the offseason addition of slugger Domingo Santana on a one-year, $1.5 million contract with a 2021 club option, the outfield situation remains blurry at best in Cleveland.
Oscar Mercado has locked up center field after a 15-homer, 15-steal debut in which he post 2.5 WAR and finished eighth in American League Rookie of the Year voting. Some combination of Jordan Luplow, Delino DeShields, Greg Allen, Tyler Naquin and Bradley Zimmer will be entrusted with handling the other corner spot.
- George Valera (Tier 2, ETA: 2023)
- Daniel Johnson (Tier 3, ETA: 2020)
- Will Benson (Tier 3, ETA: 2022)
With a 60-grade hit tool and 55-grade power, George Valera has one of the highest ceilings of any teenage prospect. He's far from a finished product, but the loud tools provide plenty of reason for excitement.
Daniel Johnson hit .290/.361/.507 with 34 doubles, 19 home runs and 77 RBI in 123 games between Double-A and Triple-A last year. The 24-year-old could play his way into that crowded corner outfield picture before 2020 is over.
- LF Sam Hilliard (Age: 26, controlled through 2025)
- CF David Dahl (Age: 26, controlled through 2023)
- RF Charlie Blackmon (Age: 34, controlled through 2023)
The Rockies still owe Charlie Blackmon $42.5 million in 2021 and 2022, and he has a $10 million player option for 2023 that could wind up being attractive depending on how the free-agent market shakes out in the next few years.
David Dahl was an All-Star in 2019, but his production was largely Coors Field-driven—he finished the year as a 0.4-WAR player. Former top prospect Raimel Tapia and Triple-A standout Sam Hilliard will compete for time in left field after Ian Desmond opted out of the 2020 season.
- Zac Veen (Tier 1, ETA: 2024)
- Brenton Doyle (Tier 3, ETA: 2023)
- Yonathan Daza (Tier 3, ETA: 2020)
The top prep bat in the 2020 draft class, Zac Veen was given a $5 million bonus after being picked No. 9 overall. He has the hit tool and power potential to be the next star outfielder in Colorado, and his polished game should allow him to move faster than most high school picks.
Brenton Doyle hit .383/.477/.611 with 22 extra-base hits in 51 games after he was selected in the fourth round of the 2019 draft. The 22-year-old is one to watch in the years to come.
- LF Christin Stewart (Age: 26, controlled through 2024)
- CF JaCoby Jones (Age: 28, controlled through 2023)
- RF Cameron Maybin (Age: 33, controlled through 2020)
After racking up an impressive 23 defensive runs saved in the outfield in 2018, JaCoby Jones' defensive metrics went hard in the other direction with minus-13 DRS last season. With a 78 OPS+ during that two-year stretch, his value going forward will be defense-driven, so those metrics will need to improve.
Christin Stewart still has a chance to be a long-term piece, while Cameron Maybin returns to the team that drafted him 10th overall in 2005 after signing a one-year, $1.5 million contract during the offseason. Victor Reyes and Travis Demeritte provide further MLB-ready depth.
- Riley Greene (Tier 1, ETA: 2023)
- Daz Cameron (Tier 3, ETA: 2021)
- Parker Meadows (Tier 3, ETA: 2023)
Riley Greene was picked fifth overall in the 2019 draft and is one of the most polished high school hitters to come along in years. He played 29 games at Single-A in his pro debut and should move quickly through the minors.
Daz Cameron still has the tools to be a star, but after he hit .214 with a 28.8 percent strikeout rate at Triple-A last year, it's clear further development is needed.
- LF Michael Brantley (Age: 33, controlled through 2020)
- CF George Springer (Age: 30, controlled through 2020)
- RF Kyle Tucker (Age: 23, controlled through 2025)
With George Springer, Michael Brantley and Josh Reddick headed for free agency this offseason, the Houston Astros outfield could look significantly different in 2021.
Kyle Tucker posted a .909 OPS with 34 home runs and 30 steals at Triple-A last year and then played his way on to the postseason roster in September. He looks like the long-term answer in right field, while the team could also consider moving Yordan Alvarez back to the outfield after using him at DH as a rookie.
- Jordan Brewer (Tier 3, ETA: 2023)
- Colin Barber (Tier 3, ETA: 2024)
- Ronnie Dawson (Tier 3, ETA: 2021)
The Astros selected Jordan Brewer (third round) and Colin Barber (fourth round) in the 2019 draft, adding some outfield depth to the farm system.
The two players have similar profiles as plus athletes with good speed and intriguing power potential. The development of their respective hit tools will determine if they reach their ceilings as everyday outfielders.
Kansas City Royals
- LF Alex Gordon (Age: 36, controlled through 2020)
- CF Whit Merrifield (Age: 31, controlled through 2023)
- RF Hunter Dozier (Age: 28, controlled through 2023)
Whit Merrifield (second base) and Hunter Dozier (third base) both spent significant time on the infield dirt last year. They are now penciled in to spots in the outfield alongside longtime left fielder Alex Gordon, who was brought back on a one-year, $4 million deal after a 1.5-WAR season in 2019.
Brett Phillips and Bubba Starling will also see playing time in the outfield while the team continues to assess whether they can be long-term pieces. Slugger Jorge Soler can also man a corner spot when he's not DHing.
- Erick Pena (Tier 2, ETA: 2025)
- Kyle Isbel (Tier 3, ETA: 2022)
- Khalil Lee (Tier 3, ETA: 2021)
The Royals gave Erick Pena a $3.9 million signing bonus as one of the top prospects in the 2019 international free-agent class, and he's drawn comparisons to a young Carlos Beltran.
Khalil Lee and Seuly Matias have loud tools with a concerning amount of swing-and-miss, while Kyle Isbel offers a polished offensive profile with a high floor.
Los Angeles Angels
- LF Justin Upton (Age: 32, controlled through 2022)
- CF Mike Trout (Age: 28, controlled through 2030)
- RF Brian Goodwin (Age: 29, controlled through 2022)
The Angels locked up Mike Trout with a 12-year, $426.5 million contract prior to last season, which will keep him around through his age-38 campaign in 2030.
Injuries limited Justin Upton to 63 games last season, but he posted a 121 OPS+ with 30 home runs in 2018, and he's still just 32 years old. Brian Goodwin will serve as a stopgap in right field until top prospect Jo Adell arrives.
- Jo Adell (Tier 1, ETA: 2020)
- Brandon Marsh (Tier 1, ETA: 2021)
- Jordyn Adams (Tier 2, ETA: 2023)
Jo Adell has hit .298/.361/.518 in three minor league seasons since he was picked No. 10 overall in the 2017 draft, and he reached Triple-A last year before his 21st birthday. He's a five-tool talent and one of baseball's best all-around prospects. The decision to decline Kole Calhoun's option at the start of the offseason was directly tied to Adell's MLB readiness.
Brandon Marsh should arrive soon after Adell, giving the Angels a dynamic outfield that could form the offensive backbone of the team.
Los Angeles Dodgers
- LF A.J. Pollock (Age: 32, controlled through 2023)
- CF Cody Bellinger (Age: 24, controlled through 2023)
- RF Mookie Betts (Age: 27, controlled through 2020)
Reigning National League MVP Cody Bellinger and 2018 AL MVP Mookie Betts are now teammates in one of the most dynamic outfields in baseball. After parting with promising young outfielder Alex Verdugo and infield prospect Jeter Downs to acquire him, the Dodgers will no doubt make every effort to re-sign Betts as a free agent this winter.
A.J. Pollock played just 86 games in the first season of a four-year, $55 million contract. With Joc Pederson likely to see significant time in the DH role, Pollock profiles as the starting left fielder with Chris Taylor (free agent after 2021) and Enrique Hernandez (free agent after 2020) also in the mix.
- Andy Pages (Tier 3, ETA: 2024)
- Luis Rodriguez (Tier 3, ETA: 2025)
- DJ Peters (Tier 3, ETA: 2020)
Andy Pages hit .298/.398/.651 with 22 doubles, 19 home runs and 55 RBI in 63 games in rookie ball last year, sending him soaring up the organization's top prospect rankings. The 19-year-old signed for $300,000 in 2017.
At 6'6", slugger DJ Peters has hit 79 home runs over the past three seasons in the minors and is essentially a finished product. He's going to strike out a ton, but his power is legit.
- LF Corey Dickerson (Age: 31, controlled through 2021)
- CF Jonathan Villar (Age: 29, controlled through 2020)
- RF Lewis Brinson (Age: 26, controlled through 2024)
The Marlins added Jonathan Villar (waivers) and Corey Dickerson (two years, $17.5 million) during the offseason to help bridge the gap to some of their promising young outfield talent.
Former top prospect Lewis Brinson has struggled to a .183 average and 44 OPS+ with a 29.8 percent strikeout rate in 205 MLB games over the past three seasons. He's running out of opportunities to prove himself, and if he struggles again, the right field job could go to Harold Ramirez, who had a solid rookie season in 2019.
- JJ Bleday (Tier 1, ETA: 2022)
- Jesus Sanchez (Tier 1, ETA: 2021)
- Monte Harrison (Tier 2, ETA: 2020)
JJ Bleday hit .347/.465/.701 with 27 home runs and 72 RBI in 71 games during his junior season at Vanderbilt before he was picked No. 4 overall in the 2019 draft. He should move as quickly as anyone in his draft class.
Jesus Sanchez was acquired from the Tampa Bay Rays at the trade deadline and offers middle-of-the-order run-producer potential, while Monte Harrison has 30-30 upside if he can continue to trim his strikeout rate.
Jerar Encarnacion, Kameron Misner and 2018 first-round pick Connor Scott also rank among the team's top 30 prospects.
- LF Christian Yelich (Age: 28, controlled through 2029)
- CF Lorenzo Cain (Age: 34, controlled through 2022)
- RF Avisail Garcia (Age: 29, controlled through 2021)
The Brewers locked up Christian Yelich with a nine-year, $215 million contract during the offseason, replacing the final two years of his deal in the process. He's hit .327/.415/.631 for a 171 OPS+ over the past two seasons, averaging 40 home runs and 104 RBI while winning a pair of NL batting titles and 2018 NL MVP honors. He might be the closest thing Mike Trout has to a contender for the title of best player on the planet.
With Ryan Braun already expected to shift to first base this year before the inception of the universal DH, his days in the outfield appear to be over. Avisail Garcia signed a two-year, $20 million to replace him after a 20-homer, 72-RBI performance in 2019.
- Garrett Mitchell (Tier 2, ETA: 2023)
- Tristen Lutz (Tier 3, ETA: 2022)
- Hedbert Perez (Tier 3, ETA: 2025)
If Garrett Mitchell can turn his power potential into production, he has a chance to be as good as any player in the 2020 draft class. As it stands, his hit tool, speed and defense in center field give him an extremely high floor. He became the consensus top prospect in the Milwaukee farm system after he was picked 20th overall in June.
Slugger Tristen Lutz has a high ceiling thanks to his power potential, which comes with considerable swing-and-miss issues. Hedbert Perez inked a $700,000 bonus in 2019 and has the tools to be a breakout prospect once his pro career begins.
- LF Eddie Rosario (Age: 28, controlled through 2021)
- CF Byron Buxton (Age: 26, controlled through 2022)
- RF Max Kepler (Age: 27, controlled through 2024)
The Twins locked up Max Kepler with a five-year, $35 million extension that includes a $10 million club option prior to the 2019 season. He has since emerged as a star, so that stands as one of the most team-friendly contracts in baseball.
Will Eddie Rosario and Byron Buxton stick around beyond their arbitration eligibility? The farm system is loaded with outfield talent, and those two could price themselves out of a spot on the roster.
- Royce Lewis (Tier 1, ETA: 2021)
- Trevor Larnach (Tier 1, ETA: 2021)
- Gilberto Celestino (Tier 3, ETA: 2022)
With shortstop Jorge Polanco signed through the 2023 season and Luis Arraez settling in at second base, Royce Lewis might wind up shifting to center field in the majors. He has the speed and instincts to be a standout defender in the grass.
Trevor Larnach is one of the most polished offensive players in the minors with an extremely high floor. Alex Kirilloff has also played a lot of outfield in the minors, but he fits better at first base long-term.
New York Mets
- LF J.D. Davis (Age: 27, controlled through 2024)
- CF Brandon Nimmo (Age: 27, controlled through 2022)
- RF Michael Conforto (Age: 27, controlled through 2021)
The Mets will soon have a decision to make about the futures of Michael Conforto and Brandon Nimmo as they push toward free agency. Both have shown flashes of stardom but still have to prove themselves after missing time with injuries.
J.D. Davis looks like the favorite to start in left field after posting a 138 OPS+ with 22 home runs in 453 plate appearances last year, while a healthy Yoenis Cespedes could be the outfield X-factor with Dominic Smith likely to see the bulk of the DH work.
- Pete Crow-Armstrong (Tier 3, ETA: 2025)
- Alexander Ramirez (Tier 3, ETA: 2025)
- Adrian Hernandez (Tier 3, ETA: 2024)
Pete Crow-Armstrong was the best defensive outfielder in the 2020 draft class, and he has enough offensive talent to be a two-way standout. There are some questions about his power potential, but his hit tool should play.
The bulk of the Mets' top position-player prospect talent is in the lower levels of the minors, which means a lot of volatility and a lot of projectable upside.
New York Yankees
- LF Brett Gardner (Age: 36, controlled through 2021)
- CF Aaron Hicks (Age: 30, controlled through 2026)
- RF Aaron Judge (Age: 28, controlled through 2022)
Will Brett Gardner play beyond 2020? Will Aaron Hicks live up to the seven-year, $70 million extension he signed prior to last year? Will Aaron Judge stay healthy long enough to make another run at AL MVP honors?
The Yankees outfield is full of question marks, and that's without asking how Clint Frazier and 2019 breakout star Mike Tauchman fit into the equation. Both of those players are under team control through 2024, so that gives the roster some long-term depth.
- Jasson Dominguez (Tier 1, ETA: 2024)
- Estevan Florial (Tier 3, ETA: 2022)
- Kevin Alcantara (Tier 3, , ETA: 2024)
Is there a more hyped prospect than Jasson Dominguez?
"He already has earned comparisons to some of the best athletes in baseball history, such as Bo Jackson, Mickey Mantle and Mike Trout," according to MLB.com.
He headlines a deep and talented crop of teenage talent in the farm system that represents the future of the organization. Most of those players are still years from reaching the majors, but former top-tier prospect Estevan Florial could make an impact in the near future.
- LF Mark Canha (Age: 31, controlled through 2021)
- CF Ramon Laureano (Age: 25, controlled through 2024)
- RF Stephen Piscotty (Age: 29, controlled through 2023)
Mark Canha was one of the breakout stars of 2019, posting a 145 OPS+ with 26 home runs in a 4.3-WAR season. The Rule 5 pick will be a free agent after the 2021 season, and a similar performance could price him out of Oakland.
The rocket-armed Ramon Laureano has emerged as the long-term answer in center field, while Stephen Piscotty remains a steady producer in right field.
- Austin Beck (Tier 3, ETA: 2022)
- Brayan Buelvas (Tier 3,, ETA: 2024)
- Lazaro Armenteros (Tier 3, ETA: 2023)
Austin Beck (No. 6 overall pick in 2017) and Lazaro Armenteros ($3 million bonus in 2016) entered the farm system with significant hype, but they have yet to deliver on those expectations.
Signed for just $100,000 in 2018, Brayan Buelvas hit .282/.372/.450 with 26 extra-base hits and 16 steals in 67 games in his pro debut. He's one to watch in the years to come.
- LF Andrew McCutchen (Age: 33, controlled through 2022)
- CF Adam Haseley (Age: 24, controlled through 2025)
- RF Bryce Harper (Age: 27, controlled through 2031)
The Phillies signed Bryce Harper to a 13-year, $330 million contract prior to last season and despite the public perception that his debut was a disappointment, he still posted a 125 OPS+ with 35 home runs and 114 RBI in a 4.3-WAR season.
Andrew McCutchen is signed through 2021 with a $15 million club option for 2022 that comes with a $3 million buyout. Adam Haseley and Scott Kingery could wind up platooning in center field, with Kingery also seeing time at second and third base.
- Simon Muzziotti (Tier 3, ETA: 2023)
- Mickey Moniak (Tier 3, ETA: 2022)
- Johan Rojas (Tier 3, ETA: 2024)
Mickey Moniak may never live up to being the No. 1 overall pick in the 2016 draft, but he still has a chance to be a solid big leaguer. He hit .252/.303/.439 with 28 doubles, 13 triples and 11 home runs at Double-A last year, and he's still just 22 years old.
Simon Muzziotti has a high floor thanks to his impressive glove work in center field.
- LF Bryan Reynolds (Age: 25, controlled through 2025)
- CF Jarrod Dyson (Age: 35, controlled through 2020)
- RF Guillermo Heredia (Age: 29, controlled through 2022)
While Bryan Reynolds looks like a long-term piece in Pittsburgh after hitting .314/.377/.503 for a 131 OPS+ in 546 plate appearances as a rookie, speedy Jarrod Dyson and defensive-minded Guillermo Heredia are merely placeholders.
Gregory Polanco is controllable through the 2023 season, and he's been the primary right fielder in recent seasons, but the DH role makes the most sense for him in 2020 as he returns from surgery to his throwing shoulder.
- Oneil Cruz (Tier 1, ETA: 2022)
- Travis Swaggerty (Tier 3, ETA: 2022)
- Jared Oliva (Tier 3, ETA: 2020)
While a 6'7" frame has not forced Oneil Cruz to move from shortstop to this point, the presence of Kevin Newman at the position could eventually lead to a transition to the outfield. His strong arm and 60-grade power profile well in right field.
Jared Oliva hit .312/.413/.473 with 13 extra-base hits and 11 steals in 109 plate appearances in the Arizona Fall League, and he could push for playing time in 2020. Travis Swaggerty has not yet lived up to being the No. 10 overall pick in the 2018 draft, but he still possesses everyday potential.
San Diego Padres
- LF Tommy Pham (Age: 32, controlled through 2021)
- CF Trent Grisham (Age: 23, controlled through 2025)
- RF Franchy Cordero (Age: 25, controlled through 2023)
The Padres have a new-look outfield after trading for Tommy Pham (via TB) and Trent Grisham (via MIL) during the offseason, with Hunter Renfroe and Manny Margot now playing elsewhere.
Franchy Cordero is the favorite to join the two newcomers in the outfield after an injury-plagued 2019 campaign. Wil Myers will see time at a corner spot when he's not in the DH role, and Josh Naylor is also in the mix.
- Taylor Trammell (Tier 1, ETA: 2021)
- Robert Hassell lll (Tier 2, ETA: 2024)
- Hudson Head (Tier 3, ETA: 2024)
Taylor Trammell remains the presumptive center fielder of the future in San Diego despite a down year at the plate in 2019. The 22-year-old still managed to post a .340 on-base percentage thanks to a 13 percent walk rate.
Don't be surprised if 2019 first-round pick CJ Abrams winds up in the outfield with Fernando Tatis Jr. blocking his path at shortstop. Robert Hassell lll was the No. 8 overall pick in this year's draft, and it will be interesting to see how his career compares to fellow 2020 prep outfielder Zac Veen in the years to come.
San Francisco Giants
- LF Alex Dickerson (Age: 30, controlled through 2022)
- CF Billy Hamilton (Age: 29, controlled through 2020)
- RF Mike Yastrzemski (Age: 29, controlled through 2025)
Mike Yastrzemski is the closest thing to a long-term piece the rebuilding San Francisco Giants have on their current roster, and he's already 29 years old. He posted a 123 OPS+ with 22 doubles and 21 home runs in 107 games as a rookie after toiling in the Baltimore farm system.
Some combination of Alex Dickerson, Billy Hamilton, Austin Slater, Steven Duggar and Jaylin Davis will be tasked with handling the other two outfield spots after Kevin Pillar was non-tendered at the start of the offseason.
- Heliot Ramos (Tier 1, ETA: 2021)
- Hunter Bishop (Tier 2, ETA: 2023)
- Alexander Canario (Tier 2, ETA: 2024)
Heliot Ramos rebounded from a disappointing 2018 season to emerge as one of baseball's best young outfield prospects. After closing out last season at Double-A, it won't be long before he's patrolling the Oracle Park outfield.
With a 50-grade hit tool, 60-grade power and the athleticism to stick in center field, Hunter Bishop has star potential after going No. 10 overall in the 2019 draft. He was a bit of a late bloomer at Arizona State, so he could progress a little slower than most top college hitters.
- LF Jake Fraley (Age: 25, controlled through 2025)
- CF Mallex Smith (Age: 27, controlled through 2022)
- RF Kyle Lewis (Age: 24, controlled through 2025)
Mitch Haniger is controllable through the 2022 season once he returns to the field. After a 6.2-WAR season in 2018, a gruesome injury limited him to 63 games last year and he has yet to resume baseball activities. In his absence, it looks like rookies Kyle Lewis and Jake Fraley are the favorites to man the corner outfield spots.
- Jarred Kelenic (Tier 1, ETA: 2021)
- Julio Rodriguez (Tier 1, ETA: 2022)
- Braden Bishop (Tier 3, ETA: 2020)
There's not a better tandem of outfield prospects in baseball than Jarred Kelenic and Julio Rodriguez—and that includes Cristian Pache and Drew Waters in Atlanta.
Kelenic has a slightly higher ceiling thanks to his more well-rounded offensive game and the defensive value he provides in center field. Rodriguez has more power potential and could be an elite middle-of-the-order run producer at his peak. Those two are the centerpieces of the team's current rebuild.
St. Louis Cardinals
- LF Tyler O'Neill (Age: 25, controlled through 2024)
- CF Harrison Bader (Age: 26, controlled through 2023)
- RF Dexter Fowler (Age: 34, controlled through 2021)
With Jose Martinez and Randy Arozarena traded to Tampa Bay and Marcell Ozuna now in Atlanta, the outfield logjam in St. Louis is not quite as clogged up as it's been in recent years.
Tyler O'Neill has earned the first shot at the starting left field job after shuttling between Triple-A and the majors the past two years, but he might just be keeping the position warm for top prospect Dylan Carlson.
Despite a middling .236 average and 90 OPS+ the past three seasons, Harrison Bader is locked into the starting center field job thanks to an impressive 33 DRS during that same span. Dexter Fowler will be in the final season of his five-year, $82.5 million contract in 2021.
- Dylan Carlson (Tier 1, ETA: 2020)
- Jhon Torres (Tier 3, ETA: 2024)
- Trejyn Fletcher (Tier 3, ETA: 2024)
Dylan Carlson put up back-to-back seasons with a sub-.750 OPS before finally breaking out in 2019 when he hit .292/.372/.542 with 28 doubles, eight triples, 26 home runs and 20 steals in 126 games between Double-A and Triple-A. He's the organization's best position-player prospect in years.
Jhon Torres has a chance to even the scales on the trade that sent Oscar Mercado to the Indians thanks to above-average tools across the board.
Tampa Bay Rays
- LF Austin Meadows (Age: 25, controlled through 2024)
- CF Kevin Kiermaier (Age: 30, controlled through 2023)
- RF Hunter Renfroe (Age: 28, controlled through 2023)
The Rays flipped Tommy Pham for slugger Hunter Renfroe during the offseason in an effort to add some extra pop to the lineup and a better defender to the outfield.
Austin Meadows is a budding star in left field, and Kevin Kiermaier remains a Gold Glove defender when healthy in center field, so if Renfroe can shore up right field, the outfield is in great shape. Manny Margot and Jose Martinez were also added in offseason trades.
- Josh Lowe (Tier 3, ETA: 2022)
- Randy Arozarena (Tier 3, ETA: 2020)
- Moises Gomez (Tier 3, ETA: 2022)
Josh Lowe has been slow to develop since going No. 13 overall in the 2016 draft. After posting a .783 OPS with 23 doubles, 18 home runs and 30 steals at Double-A, his stock is on the rise. He performed well in the Arizona Fall League, and his plus defense in center field makes him a safe bet to be a big leaguer in some capacity.
The Rays liked Randy Arozarena enough to trade highly regarded pitching prospect Matthew Liberatore to acquire him from the Cardinals, so he's one to keep an eye on.
- LF Willie Calhoun (Age: 25, controlled through 2024)
- CF Danny Santana (Age: 29, controlled through 2021)
- RF Joey Gallo (Age: 26, controlled through 2022)
With Shin-Soo Choo in the final year of his contract in 2020, Willie Calhoun will soon be able to move into the DH role, but for now he's the starting left fielder. Nick Solak may wind up being the long-term answer in left field.
Joey Gallo is the closest thing the Rangers have to a face of the franchise, and he was in the midst of a breakout season in 2019 before he got hurt. The search for a center fielder continues with utility man Danny Santana expected to see the bulk of the action in 2020.
- Nick Solak (Tier 2, ETA: 2020)
- Leody Taveras (Tier 2, ETA: 2022)
- Heriberto Hernandez (Tier 3, ETA: 2024)
Leody Taveras could finally put a stop to what has been a revolving door in center field since Josh Hamilton was manning the position. The 21-year-old has had some ups and downs in the minors, but after a strong showing between High-A and Double-A, his arrow is pointing up once again.
Nick Solak can flat-out hit; it's just a matter of figuring out how he fits defensively.
Toronto Blue Jays
- LF Lourdes Gurriel Jr. (Age: 26, controlled through 2024)
- CF Randal Grichuk (Age: 28, controlled through 2023)
- RF Teoscar Hernandez (Age: 27, controlled through 2023)
Lost in the excitement of Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Bo Bichette and Cavan Biggio all arriving in the majors, Lourdes Gurriel Jr. put together a breakout 2019 season. He shifted from playing the middle infield spots to left field and posted a 127 OPS+ with 20 home runs in 343 plate appearances.
Randal Grichuk and Teoscar Hernandez both have 30-homer power and limited on-base skills, and some of the club's abundance of middle infield talent currently in the minors could end up in the outfield.
Derek Fisher, Anthony Alford and Billy McKinney are also in the picture for playing time in 2020.
- Austin Martin (Tier 1, ETA: 2022)
- Griffin Conine (Tier 3, ETA: 2022)
- Dasan Brown (Tier 3, ETA: 2024)
The Blue Jays drafted Austin Martin as a shortstop, but with Bo Bichette already penciled in at the position and guys like Jordan Groshans and Orelvis Martinez in the minors, center field could turn out to be his long-term home. As the best pure hitter in the 2020 class, he should rocket through the minors.
Griffin Conine hit .283/.371/.576 with 22 home runs at Single-A last year.
- LF Juan Soto (Age: 21, controlled through 2024)
- CF Victor Robles (Age: 23, controlled through 2024)
- RF Adam Eaton (Age: 31, controlled through 2021)
The departure of Bryce Harper has largely been offset by the emergence of Juan Soto as one of baseball's brightest young stars. He hit .282/.401/.548 with 34 home runs, 110 RBI and 108 walks last season, and he didn't turn 21 years old until October.
Victor Robles is a rising star in his own right after tallying 53 extra-base hits and 28 steals while playing Gold Glove-caliber defense during a 4.1-WAR rookie season.
- Jeremy De La Rosa (Tier 3, ETA: 2024)
- Roismar Quintana (Tier 3, ETA: 2025)
- Nick Banks (Tier 3, ETA: 2021)
The Nationals have one of the thinnest farm systems in baseball, and their top two outfield prospects are both years away from making an MLB impact with a lot of room between their floor and ceiling.
Nick Banks was one of the top college bats in the 2016 draft class before a mediocre junior season sent his stock tumbling. The 25-year-old showed some signs of life between High-A and Double-A last year, and he could be a late-blooming contributor.
All stats courtesy of Baseball Reference and FanGraphs unless otherwise noted. Contract information via Spotrac. Prospect tiers refer to each player's status in B/R's most recent farm system rankings.