MLB State of the Position 2022: Every Team's 5-Year Plan in the Outfield
The outfield is home to some of the game's biggest superstars.
Aaron Judge, Ronald Acuna Jr., Juan Soto, Mookie Betts, Luis Robert and Bryce Harper are among the biggest names in the sport, and others like Riley Greene, Alek Thomas, Brennen Davis, Zac Veen, Robert Hassell III and George Valera represent the potential next generation of outfield stars.
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: 34; controllable through 2022)
- CF Alek Thomas (Age: 22; controllable through 2027)
- RF Pavin Smith (Age: 26; controllable through 2026)
- Corbin Carroll (Tier 1, ETA: 2023)
- Kristian Robinson (Tier 3, ETA: ???)
- Dominic Fletcher (Tier 3, ETA: 2023)
Top prospect Alek Thomas is hitting .316/.333/.553 with five extra-base hits in 39 plate appearances since making his MLB debut May 8, and there's a good chance he's up for good as the team's center fielder of the present and future. Expect to see Arizona's longest-tenured player, David Peralta, shopped at the deadline if the Diamondbacks are not in contention.
Corbin Carroll was No. 31 on our Top 100 prospect list to start the year, and with a 60-grade hit tool and 70-grade speed, he profiles as an impact table-setter. Former top-100 prospect Kristian Robinson remains a wild card as he deals with legal issues after he allegedly punched an officer for the Arizona Department of Public Safety in the face.
- LF Travis Demeritte (Age: 27; controllable through 2027)
- CF Adam Duvall (Age: 33; controllable through 2022)
- RF Ronald Acuna Jr. (Age: 24; controllable through 2028)
- Michael Harris II (Tier 1, ETA: 2023)
- Drew Waters (Tier 2, ETA: 2022)
- Jesse Franklin (Tier 3, ETA: 2023)
It looked for a while like the Atlanta Braves would roll with an outfield of Ronald Acuna Jr., Cristian Pache and Drew Waters for years to come. However, with Pache traded to the Oakland Athletics and Waters stalled in his development at Triple-A, the long-term outfield is more up in the air. Travis Demeritte has been a pleasant surprise in the early going, while Eddie Rosario has been a disaster after returning on a two-year, $18 million deal that includes a 2024 club option.
Michael Harris was No. 61 on our preseason Top 100 prospect list, and with a strong start to the year at Double-A, he's on track to challenge for a starting job as early as next season. Drew Waters still has intriguing upside, but his 32 percent strikeout rate in 619 plate appearances at Triple-A is alarming.
- LF Austin Hays (Age: 26; controllable through 2025)
- CF Cedric Mullins (Age: 27; controllable through 2025)
- RF Anthony Santander (Age: 27; controllable through 2024)
- Colton Cowser (Tier 1, ETA: 2023)
- Heston Kjerstad (Tier 2, ETA: 2023)
- Kyle Stowers (Tier 3, ETA: 2024)
The outfield has been an area of strength for the Baltimore Orioles during their recent stretch of rebuilding, with Cedric Mullins emerging as an All-Star last year, 2016 Rule 5 pick Anthony Santander flashing middle-of-the-order tools at times and Austin Hays playing at a high level since the second half of last season. Will any of those players be extended?
Heston Kjerstad (No. 2 in 2020) and Colton Cowser (No. 5 in 2021) both have first-round pedigrees, though the lingering effects of myocarditis has kept Kjerstad from making his pro debut. Kyle Stowers has 60-grade power and might be ready for his first taste of the big leagues later this year.
Boston Red Sox
- LF Alex Verdugo (Age: 26; controllable through 2024)
- CF Enrique Hernandez (Age: 30; controllable through 2022)
- RF Jackie Bradley Jr. (Age: 32; controllable through 2022)
- Jarren Duran (Exceeded prospect limits)
- Gilberto Jimenez (Tier 3, ETA: 2024)
- Miguel Bleis (Tier 3, ETA: 2025)
With versatile veteran Enrique Hernandez and light-hitting Jackie Bradley Jr. both headed for free agency this coming offseason, the Boston Red Sox outfield will have a different look in 2023. Alex Verdugo has shown flashes, but he still has work to do to live up to being the centerpiece of the Mookie Betts trade.
Jarren Duran exhausted his prospect status with time spent on the active roster last season, but he's back at minors for the time being so he can play every day. The 25-year-old is hitting .330/.402/.540 with 13 extra-base hits in 112 plate appearances at Triple-A, and it's only a matter of time before he's patrolling center field at Fenway Park.
- LF Ian Happ (Age: 27; controllable through 2023)
- CF Jason Heyward (Age: 32; controllable through 2023)
- RF Seiya Suzuki (Age: 27; controllable through 2026)
- Brennen Davis (Tier 1, ETA: 2023)
- Kevin Alcantara (Tier 2, ETA: 2024)
- Pete Crow-Armstrong (Tier 2, ETA: 2024)
It's strange to realize that Ian Happ is now one of the longest-tenured players on the Cubs roster, and he's now just a year removed from free agency. Seiya Suzuki inked a five-year deal with a full no-trade clause, so he figures to be a staple in right field. Jason Heyward will earn $22 million in base salary next year in the final season of his eight-year, $184 million contract. Last year's surprise standout Rafael Ortega is also still seeing regular time in the outfield.
Brennen Davis earned the No. 14 spot on our preseason Top 100 prospect list, and after homering twice in the Futures Game last year to take home MVP honors, he's one step away from the big leagues, playing for Triple-A Iowa. Kevin Alcantara (via NYY for Anthony Rizzo), Pete Crow-Armstrong (via NYM for Javier Baez) and Owen Caissie (via SD for Yu Darvish) also rank among the team's top 10 prospects.
Chicago White Sox
- LF AJ Pollock (Age: 34; controllable through 2022)
- CF Luis Robert (Age: 24; controllable through 2027)
- RF Andrew Vaughn (Age: 24; controllable through 2026)
- Yoelqui Cespedes (Tier 2, ETA: 2023)
- Oscar Colas (Tier 2, ETA: 2023)
- Luis Mieses (Tier 3, ETA: 2024)
The White Sox have a ton of MLB-caliber outfield talent right now, with Adam Haseley, Gavin Sheets and Adam Engel also vying for playing time alongside the three starters list above. That's to make no mention of Eloy Jimenez, who will likely serve as the team's primary DH in the years to come but has also occupied left field on a regular basis when healthy. Luis Robert and Jimenez still have a chance to be franchise cornerstones going forward.
The younger half-brother of Yoenis Cespedes, outfielder Yoelqui Cespedes, is a bit closer to being MLB-ready than fellow Cuban defector Oscar Colas, though it's Colas who may ultimately have the higher ceiling. Both players inked bonuses north of $2 million when they joined the organization, so expectations are high.
- LF Tommy Pham (Age: 34; controllable through 2022)
- CF Albert Almora Jr. (Age: 28; controllable through 2023)
- RF Tyler Naquin (Age: 31; controllable through 2022)
- Jay Allen II (Tier 3, ETA: 2025)
- Austin Hendrick (Tier 3, ETA: 2024)
- Allan Cerda (Tier 3, ETA: 2024)
The Reds' current starting outfield consists of two players plucked from the scrapheap on minor league deals and Tommy Pham, who inked a one-year, $7.5 million deal as one of the last free agents standing this past offseason. 2016 first-round pick Nick Senzel, trade pickup Jake Fraley and slap hitter TJ Friedl are also in the mix for playing time. This entire group could turn over in the next year.
A three-sport star in high school, Jay Allen II went No. 30 overall in the 2021 draft. The Reds had success developing a similar prospect in Taylor Trammell, and Allen possesses that same five-tool upside. Austin Hendrick has some of the best raw power in the minors, but he has also struck out 154 times in 96 games since going No. 12 overall in the 2020 draft.
- LF Steven Kwan (Age: 24; controllable through 2027)
- CF Myles Straw (Age: 27; controllable through 2028)
- RF Oscar Mercado (Age: 27; controllable through 2025)
- George Valera (Tier 1, ETA: 2023)
- Richie Palacios (Tier 3, ETA: NOW)
- Petey Halpin (Tier 3, ETA: 2024)
The Guardians saw enough out of Myles Straw in 60 games last season after they acquired him from the Houston Astros that they signed him to a five-year extension in early April. With 30-steal speed and elite outfield defense, he'll be a staple in center field and at the top of the lineup. Can Steven Kwan turn his strong contact skills and advanced approach into a surprise AL Rookie of the Year win?
George Valera has possessed elite offensive upside since he was signed for $1.3 million during the 2017 international free-agency window. After posting a .910 OPS with 19 home runs in 86 games between Single- A and High-A last year, he began the year at No. 53 on B/R's Top 100 prospect list. Richie Palacios has made a strong first impression in the big leagues, going 10-for-37 in his first 12 games.
- LF Kris Bryant (Age: 30; controllable through 2028)
- CF Randal Grichuk (Age: 30; controllable through 2023)
- RF Charlie Blackmon (Age: 35; controllable through 2022)
- Zac Veen (Tier 1, ETA: 2023)
- Benny Montgomery (Tier 2, ETA: 2025)
- Brenton Doyle (Tier 2, ETA: 2023)
How will the seven-year, $182 million deal given to Kris Bryant in free agency look a few years from now? The 2016 NL MVP has played just 15 games so far this season while battling a back injury. Offseason pickup Randal Grichuk will earn $10.3 million next year in the final season of his contract, while Charlie Blackmon has an $18.3 million player option he will likely exercise. Yonathan Daza deserves a mention as a potential long-term option in center field.
Zac Veen has hit .290/.390/.478 with 34 doubles, 18 home runs, 93 RBI, 103 runs scored and 46 steals in 137 games in the minors since going No. 9 overall in the 2020 draft. The 20-year-old checked in No. 34 on B/R's preseason Top 100 prospect list, and his smooth left-handed swing gives him star potential. Toolsy prospects Benny Montgomery and Brenton Doyle both earned spots in the "Next 50" list on our top prospect countdown, and Ryan Vilade also deserves a mention.
- LF Austin Meadows (Age: 27; controllable through 2024)
- CF Derek Hill (Age: 26; controllable through 2026)
- RF Robbie Grossman (Age: 32; controllable through 2022)
- Riley Greene (Tier 1, ETA: 2022)
- Roberto Campos (Tier 3, ETA: 2025)
- Parker Meadows (Tier 3, ETA: 2024)
The Detroit Tigers outfield is in flux as they continue to build toward the future, and with Robbie Grossman headed for free agency and Derek Hill struggling to hit enough to justify an everyday spot in the lineup, the team could have two new starters next year alongside Austin Meadows in left field. Despite his early struggles and demotion to the minors, Akil Baddoo still has the potential to be a long-term piece as well.
One of the new starters next year figures to be top prospect Riley Greene, though his debut will likely come long before Opening Day in 2023. He likely would have broken camp with a starting job this year had he not suffered a fractured right foot during spring training, but after hitting .301/.387/.534 with 24 home runs and 84 RBI between Double-A and Triple-A last year he has little left to prove in the minors. Roberto Campos signed a hefty $2.85 million bonus in 2019 and is playing full-season ball at the age of 18 this year.
- LF Michael Brantley (Age: 35; controllable through 2022)
- CF Chas McCormick (Age: 27; controllable through 2026)
- RF Kyle Tucker (Age: 25; controllable through 2025)
- Pedro Leon (Tier 2, ETA: 2023)
- Tyler Whitaker (Tier 3, ETA: 2025)
- Colin Barber (Tier 3, ETA: 2024)
The Houston Astros have a budding star in Kyle Tucker in right field, and they're getting better production than expected out of Chas McCormick and Jose Siri in center field. Left field is the question mark going forward, as free-agent-to-be Michael Brantley and designated hitter Yordan Alvarez are splitting time. Will Alvarez see regular time there next year, or will the team sign an outfielder so he can return to everyday DH duties?
When Pedro Leon signed for $4 million on Jan. 15, 2021, he was expected to make a quick impact in Houston, but he hit just .220/.339/.369 over three minor league levels last year. The 23-year-old is batting .260/.372/.542 with 21 extra-base hits and 10 steals in 34 games at Triple-A to start the year, and he could yet be the center fielder of the future.
Kansas City Royals
- LF Andrew Benintendi (Age: 27; controllable through 2022)
- CF Michael A. Taylor (Age: 31; controllable through 2023)
- RF Kyle Isbel (Age: 25; controllable through 2027)
- Tyler Gentry (Tier 3, ETA: 2023)
- Erick Pena (Tier 3, ETA: 2025)
- Darryl Collins (Tier 3, ETA: 2024)
Andrew Benintendi has been a solid pickup for the Kansas City Royals since coming over in a buy-low deal with the Red Sox, and given his age and solid production this year, he has to be viewed as a candidate for an extension. Gold Glove winner Michael A. Taylor is signed through next season, while young Kyle Isbel has filled the other starting spot in the outfield when Whit Merrifield is slotted at second base.
A third-round pick in 2020, Tyler Gentry is hitting .365/.442/.527 with seven extra-base hits in 20 games at High-A Quad Cities to begin the year, and he'll be one to watch when midseason organization rankings are released. Erick Pena has yet to show much in the way of production after signing for $3.9 million as one of the top prospects in the 2019 international class, but he's still only 19 years old.
Los Angeles Angels
- LF Brandon Marsh (Age: 24; controllable through 2027)
- CF Mike Trout (Age: 30; controllable through 2030)
- RF Taylor Ward (Age: 28; controllable through 2026)
- Jo Adell (Exceeded prospect limits)
- Jordyn Adams (Tier 2, ETA: 2023)
- Alexander Ramirez (Tier 3, ETA: 2024)
This might be the best outfield in baseball right now with a healthy Mike Trout flanked by two rising stars in Brandon Marsh and Taylor Ward, who is hitting an absurd .375/.488/.721 with nine home runs and 23 RBI to begin the year. The fact that this group could conceivably be together through at least the 2026 season is a huge boon to the club's long-term outlook.
Jo Adell has hit .282/.343/.550 in 519 plate appearances at Triple-A, but he's struggled to a .207/.249/.351 line with a 32.8 percent strikeout rate in 338 trips to the plate in the big leagues. The emergence of Taylor Ward has afforded him more time to develop in the minors, but at 23 years old, he'll need to take a step forward soon to live up to his vast potential. Toolsy Jordyn Adams could be used as a trade chip if the Angels stick around in the AL West race.
Los Angeles Dodgers
- LF Chris Taylor (Age: 31; controllable through 2026)
- CF Cody Bellinger (Age: 26; controllable through 2023)
- RF Mookie Betts (Age: 29; controllable through 2032)
- Andy Pages (Tier 1, ETA: 2023)
- Jose Ramos (Tier 3, ETA: 2024)
- James Outman (Tier 3, ETA: 2022)
Mookie Betts has 10 years and roughly $315 million left on his contract after this season, so he's not going anywhere, but the other two outfield spots could see some turnover. Chris Taylor is signed through 2025 with a club option for 2026, but he could always return to a super-utility role if the team adds someone else in left field. As for 2019 NL MVP Cody Bellinger, he'll be arbitration-eligible for the final time next offseason, and he'll be a non-tender candidate with a $17 million salary this year if he doesn't pick up his production.
Andy Pages jumped up to No. 81 on B/R's Top 100 prospect list this year after hitting .265/.394/.539 with 31 home runs in 120 games as a 20-year-old at the High-A level last season. Meanwhile, Jose Ramos is a prospect on the rise following a strong 2021 season and a hot start this year, and he signed for just $30,000 out of Panama in 2018.
- LF Jorge Soler (Age: 30; controllable through 2022, player options in '23 and '24)
- CF Jesus Sanchez (Age: 24; controllable through 2027)
- RF Avisail Garcia (Age: 30; controllable through 2026)
- JJ Bleday (Tier 2, ETA: 2022)
- Jerar Encarnacion (Tier 2, ETA: 2022)
- Peyton Burdick (Tier 3, ETA: 2022)
The Miami Marlins tried to bolster their lackluster offense during the offseason by signing Avisail Garcia to a four-year, $53 million deal that includes a 2026 club option and Jorge Soler to a three-year, $36 million deal with an opt-out after 2022 and 2023. That pushed young up-and-comer Jesus Sanchez into the center field role, though he's much better suited for a corner spot.
JJ Bleday had a strong Arizona Fall League last year after a disappointing regular season, while Peyton Burdick joins him as a high-ceiling prospect thanks to his power potential. That said, Jerar Encarnacion is the one to watch in the short-term, as he's hitting .371/.432/.636 with 10 home runs and 22 RBI in 34 games this year, and he was recently promoted from Double-A to Triple-A.
- LF Christian Yelich (Age: 30; controllable through 2028)
- CF Lorenzo Cain (Age: 36; controllable through 2022)
- RF Hunter Renfroe (Age: 30; controllable through 2023)
- Joey Wiemer (Tier 1, ETA: 2023)
- Sal Frelick (Tier 2, ETA: 2024)
- Jackson Chourio (Tier 2, ETA: 2025)
The Milwaukee Brewers will be finished with Lorenzo Cain's five-year, $80 million deal after this year, and the center field job will likely be passed along to Tyrone Taylor, who is already seeing semi-regular action as the team's fourth outfielder. Offseason pickup Hunter Renfroe has one remaining year of club control, while Christian Yelich still has six years and $156 million left on his deal after this year. Will he ever return to his MVP-level production?
With an athletic 6'5", 215-pound frame and loud raw tools, Joey Wiemer vaulted onto B/R's Top 100 prospect list this year at No. 98 overall after hitting .296/.403/.556 with 27 home runs and 30 steals between Single-A and High-A last year. Recent first-round picks Garrett Mitchell (No. 20 in 2020) and Sal Frelick (No. 15 in 2021) are also names to know, while 18-year-old Jackson Chourio is shooting up prospect lists early this year with a .340/.400/.547 line at Single-A.
- LF Trevor Larnach (Age: 25; controllable through 2027)
- CF Byron Buxton (Age: 28; controllable through 2028)
- RF Max Kepler (Age: 29; controllable through 2024)
- Austin Martin (Tier 1, ETA: 2023)
- Matt Wallner (Tier 3, ETA: 2023)
- Emmanuel Rodriguez (Tier 3, ETA: 2024)
The Minnesota Twins took a chance on Byron Buxton, giving the oft-injured but talented center fielder a seven-year, $100 million extension during the offseason. He'll line up alongside Max Kepler and Trevor Larnach for at least two more seasons, assuming no one is traded. Meanwhile, Gilberto Celestino has emerged as a useful fourth outfielder in the early going this year, and Nick Gordon is also seeing time in left field with Larnach on the injured list.
Austin Martin was the centerpiece of last year's Jose Berrios trade with the Minnesota Twins, and while he's seen some action at shortstop, his future is likely in the outfield. The 23-year-old has a 60-grade hit tool and good wheels, and he could see the big leagues early next year. Slugger Matt Wallner is one to watch at Double-A, while 19-year-old Emmanuel Rodriguez is making noise at Single-A and could push his way onto the organizational top 10 list before long.
New York Mets
- LF Mark Canha (Age: 33; controllable through 2024)
- CF Brandon Nimmo (Age: 29; controllable through 2022)
- RF Starling Marte (Age: 33; controllable through 2025)
- Alex Ramirez (Tier 2, ETA: 2024)
- Nick Plummer (Tier 3, ETA: 2022)
- Simon Juan (Tier 3, ETA: 2027)
The New York Mets waved goodbye to Michael Conforto in free agency, then signed Starling Marte (four years, $78 million) and Mark Canha (two years, $26.5 million) to multiyear deals in free agency to join Brandon Nimmo in the outfield. Nimmo will be one of the top free agents on the market next offseason, and his ability to man center field could make him more of a priority to be re-signed by the Mets. Tip of the cap to Travis Jankowski who has been a pleasant surprise this year as a fourth outfielder.
Signed for $2.05 million in 2019, Alex Ramirez is hitting .359/.395/.549 with 17 extra-base hits in 33 games at Single-A this season, and he has one of the highest ceilings in the Mets system. Nick Plummer was a first-round pick by the St. Louis Cardinals in 2015. But injuries slowed down his development, and after seemingly turning a corner last season, the 25-year-old signed with the Mets as a minor league free agent.
New York Yankees
- LF Joey Gallo (Age: 28; controllable through 2022)
- CF Aaron Hicks (Age: 32; controllable through 2026)
- RF Aaron Judge (Age: 30; controllable through 2022)
- Jasson Dominguez (Tier 1, ETA: 2024)
- Everson Pereira (Tier 3, ETA: 2023)
- Elijah Dunham (Tier 3, ETA: 2023)
The story of the upcoming offseason will be Aaron Judge's first foray into free agency and whether the New York Yankees can still lock him up after he rejected a seven-year, $213.5 million extension before Opening Day. Joey Gallo is a free agent at season's end, which could open the door for Giancarlo Stanton to play more left field or for the team to pursue another bat in free agency.
After a disappointing pro debut, Jasson Dominguez is struggling once again with a .236/.287/.386 line and a 34.6 percent strikeout rate at Single-A Tampa. He just turned 19 years old in February, and his raw tools are still loud. But it would be wise to temper expectations a bit. Keep an eye on Elijah Dunham, who won Breakout Player of the Year honors in the Arizona Fall League last season.
- LF Chad Pinder (Age: 30; controllable through 2022)
- CF Cristian Pache (Age: 23; controllable through 2027)
- RF Ramon Laureano (Age: 27; controllable through 2024)
- Denzel Clarke (Tier 3, ETA: 2024)
- Pedro Pineda (Tier 3, ETA: 2025)
- Brayan Buelvas (Tier 3, ETA: 2024)
Slick-fielding Cristian Pache gives Oakland an outfielder to build around, and even if he's never more than an average offensive player, his glovework makes him a viable everyday center fielder. Versatile veteran Chad Pinder could be a hot commodity at the trade deadline Aug. 2, while Ramon Laureano has returned from his PED suspension and could also be a trade candidate this summer. Expect the Athletics to opt for a $1 million buyout over a $15 million club option on Stephen Piscotty in 2023.
The Athletics have a lot of toolsy outfielders in their system, but many have struggled to turn their natural ability into on-field production. The exception this season has been Denzel Clarke, who is hitting .310/.412/.558 with 19 extra-base hits and 11 steals in 34 games at Single-A. The 22-year-old was a fourth-round pick in the 2021 draft.
- LF Kyle Schwarber (Age: 29; controllable through 2025)
- CF Odubel Herrera (Age: 30; controllable through 2022)
- RF Nick Castellanos (Age: 30; controllable through 2026)
- Johan Rojas (Tier 3, ETA: 2023)
- Jhailyn Ortiz (Tier 3, ETA: 2023)
- Ethan Wilson (Tier 3, ETA: 2024)
With Bryce Harper playing through an elbow injury and relegated to DH-only duties, the Philadelphia Phillies have been forced to use both Kyle Schwarber and Nick Castellanos in the outfield. Some combination of that trio figures to handle the two corner spots and DH role at least through the 2025 season. Meanwhile, center field remains a revolving door, with Odubel Herrera re-signed during the offseason for lack of a better option.
Jhailyn Ortiz has always has flashed intriguing power potential throughout his time in the Phillies minor league system, and he's hitting .256/.343/.504 with eight doubles, eight home runs and 21 RBI in 34 games at Double-A. Johan Rojas has the best collection of tools of any outfield prospect in their system, while Ethan Wilson was a second-round pick in last year's draft.
- LF Ben Gamel (Age: 30; controllable through 2022)
- CF Bryan Reynolds (Age: 27; controllable through 2025)
- RF Jack Suwinski (Age: 23; controllable through 2027)
- Lonnie White Jr. (Tier 3, ETA: 2025)
- Travis Swaggerty (Tier 3, ETA: 2022)
- Matt Fraizer (Tier 3, ETA: 2023)
Bryan Reynolds might be the closest thing the rebuilding Pittsburgh Pirates have to a face of the franchise right now after he hit .302/.390/.522 with 67 extra-base hits and 6.0 WAR last season. Will he be signed to a long-term extension, or will he be the next star to be flipped for prospects? Ben Gamel is quietly having a solid season, and he could be a useful trade chip come July.
Lonnie White Jr. was committed to play baseball and football at Penn State before the Pirates used some of the bonus-pool money they saved on Henry Davis at No. 1 overall to sign him to an above-slot deal as the No. 64 pick in the 2021 draft. 2018 first-round pick Travis Swaggerty has not lived up to his draft status, but he could still be a useful fourth outfielder. Don't be surprised if top prospect Oneil Cruz ultimately winds up in right field, though he's still playing shortstop for the time being.
San Diego Padres
- LF Jurickson Profar (Age: 29; controllable through 2022, '23 player option)
- CF Trent Grisham (Age: 25; controllable through 2025)
- RF Wil Myers (Age: 31; controllable through 2023)
- Robert Hassell III (Tier 1, ETA: 2023)
- James Wood (Tier 2, ETA: 2025)
- Joshua Mears (Tier 3, ETA: 2024)
With Trent Grisham struggling, Wil Myers likely to have his $20 million club option declined in favor of a $1 million buyout next season and Jurickson Profar best suited in a utility role, the Padres figure to have a good deal of turnover in their outfield in the coming years. There's a good chance one of Fernando Tatis Jr. or C.J. Abrams will wind up in the grass long-term, though Tatis would have to sign off on the switch given his massive contract and status as the face of the franchise.
Arguably the best pure hitter in the 2020 draft, Robert Hassell III has hit .306/.393/.473 in 674 plate appearances as a pro, and he'll likely be called up to Double-A before the 2022 season is over. On the flip side, James Wood and Joshua Mears both have huge raw power potential but will need to refine their approach and hit tool to fully tap into it.
San Francisco Giants
- LF Joc Pederson (Age: 30; controllable through 2022)
- CF Austin Slater (Age: 29; controllable through 2024)
- RF Mike Yastrzemski (Age: 31; controllable through 2025)
- Luis Matos (Tier 1, ETA: 2023)
- Heliot Ramos (Tier 1, ETA: 2022)
- Jairo Pomares (Tier 2, ETA: 2023)
The San Francisco Giants' entire outfield has been a carousel in recent seasons, and even established star Mike Yastrzemski has shuttled between right field and center field as needed. Aside from the three starters listed above, LaMonte Wade Jr., Darin Ruf and Steven Duggar are also established options, while rookie Luis Gonzalez impressed in 21 games before he was optioned back to Triple-A in a roster crunch.
Luis Matos (No. 38) and Heliot Ramos (No. 46) both cracked B/R's preseason Top 100 prospect list, while Jairo Pomares was included on the "Next 50" honorable mention list. Add to that trio 2019 first-round pick Hunter Bishop and early-season standout Grant McCray, and the Giants are loaded with young outfield talent, even after trading Alexander Canario to the Cubs in the Kris Bryant deal last summer.
- LF Jesse Winker (Age: 28; controllable through 2023)
- CF Julio Rodriguez (Age: 21; controllable through 2027)
- RF Mitch Haniger (Age: 31; controllable through 2022)
- Jarred Kelenic (Exceeded prospect limits)
- Gabriel Gonzalez (Tier 3, ETA: 2025)
- Lazaro Montes (Tier 3, ETA: 2026)
Slugger Mitch Haniger had a 39-homer, 100-RBI season last year, but he's played just nine games this season while nursing an ankle sprain. He's a free agent at season's end, and the Mariners could let him walk with a wealth of young outfield talent. Aside from the rise of Julio Rodriguez and offseason addition of Jesse Winker, the team also has 2020 AL Rookie of the Year Kyle Lewis on the mend from knee surgery and Taylor Trammell waiting in the wings in Triple-A.
Jarred Kelenic is back at Triple-A after hitting .140/.219/.291 with a 37.5 percent strikeout rate over his first 30 games, and he has work to do to live up to the lofty expectations that followed him to the majors. Top prospect Noelvi Marte could eventually wind up in center field if shortstop is not his long-term home in the majors.
St. Louis Cardinals
- LF Tyler O'Neill (Age: 26; controllable through 2024)
- CF Harrison Bader (Age: 27; controllable through 2023)
- RF Dylan Carlson (Age: 23; controllable through 2026)
- Alec Burleson (Tier 3, ETA: 2022)
- Joshua Baez (Tier 3, ETA: 2025)
- Won-Bin Cho (Tier 3, ETA: 2025)
The St. Louis Cardinals have one of the best young outfields in baseball, and the trio of Tyler O'Neill, Harrison Bader and Dylan Carlson combined for 13.5 WAR last season. They're off to a less impressive start this campaign, but for at least the next two seasons until Bader reaches free agency for the first time, expect that to be the group patrolling the grass.
A two-way standout at East Carolina, Alec Burleson has moved quickly through the minor league ranks since going in the second round of the 2020 draft and turning his full attention to hitting. He slugged 22 home runs over three minor league levels last year, and he's hitting .282/.336/.532 with eight home runs and 27 RBI in 32 games at Triple-A to start the year.
Tampa Bay Rays
- LF Randy Arozarena (Age: 27; controllable through 2026)
- CF Kevin Kiermaier (Age: 32; controllable through 2023)
- RF Manuel Margot (Age: 27; controllable through 2025)
- Vidal Brujan (Tier 1, NOW)
- Kameron Misner (Tier 3, ETA: 2023)
- Heriberto Hernandez (Tier 3, ETA: 2024)
The Tampa Bay Rays hold a $13 million club option on three-time Gold Glove winner Kevin Kiermaier for next season, and chances are they'll instead go with a $2.5 million buyout to free up some salary space in their yearly efforts to squeeze as much as they can out of one of the smallest payrolls in baseball. Aside from the three starters listed above, rookie Josh Lowe, Brett Phillips and Harold Ramirez have also seen time in the outfield.
Vidal Brujan is currently manning second base with Brandon Lowe on the injured list, but his future might be in center field with Lowe signed to a long-term deal. The 24-year-old has a 55-grade hit tool, 70-grade speed and the sort of versatility the Rays have always valued. Speaking of versatility, Heriberto Hernandez has seen time at catcher, first base and both corner outfield spots.
- LF Eli White (Age: 27; controllable through 2026)
- CF Adolis Garcia (Age: 29; controllable through 2026)
- RF Kole Calhoun (Age: 34; controllable through 2023)
- Evan Carter (Tier 2, ETA: 2024)
- Aaron Zavala (Tier 3, ETA: 2024)
- Yeison Morrobel (Tier 3, ETA: 2025)
Despite the fact that he's 29 years old, Adolis Garcia is controllable through the 2026 season after a 31-homer, 3.8-WAR rookie campaign last year. He looks like the only long-term piece in the Texas outfield, as Eli White fits best as a bench piece and Kole Calhoun is a short-term stopgap after signing a one-year, $5.2 million deal that includes a club option for 2023.
One of the youngest players in the 2020 draft class, Evan Carter looked like a bit of a reach by the Rangers at No. 50 overall based on predraft rankings. However, he flashed his five-tool potential at Single-A in his pro debut last year, and he's hitting .300/.375/.517 with 14 extra-base hits and seven steals in 29 games at High-A to begin 2022. Keep an eye on 2021 second-round pick Aaron Zavala, who has a 60-grade hit tool and everyday player upside.
Toronto Blue Jays
- LF Lourdes Gurriel Jr. (Age: 28; controllable through 2024)
- CF George Springer (Age: 32; controllable through 2026)
- RF Teoscar Hernandez (Age: 29; controllable through 2023)
- Samad Taylor (Tier 3, ETA: 2022)
- Yhoangel Aponte (Tier X, ETA: 2026)
- Dasan Brown (Tier 3, ETA: 2024)
The Toronto Blue Jays have a stacked outfield, and swapping Randal Grichuk for Raimel Tapia in a trade with the Colorado Rockies prior to the start of the year has given them a versatile fourth outfielder. Teoscar Hernandez is off to a slow start this year, but he boasts a 135 OPS+ with 48 home runs and 150 RBI in 193 games over the previous two seasons. The 29-year-old could be an extension candidate with free agency looming after the 2023 campaign.
The Blue Jays are loaded with infield talent right now, but there is no slam-dunk outfielder in the minor league ranks. Samad Taylor has played all over the diamond in recent seasons and might ultimately be a utility man going forward. The 23-year-old is hitting .266/.357/.436 with 17 steals in 36 games at Triple-A to begin the year, and a second-half debut is not out of the question.
- LF Lane Thomas (Age: 26; controllable through 2025)
- CF Victor Robles (Age: 25; controllable through 2024)
- RF Juan Soto (Age: 23; controllable through 2024)
- Cristhian Vaquero (Tier 2, ETA: 2026)
- Jeremy De La Rosa (Tier 3, ETA: 2024)
- Yasel Antuna (Tier 3, ETA: 2023)
The Washington Nationals are in the midst of a widescale rebuild, and the biggest question is whether Juan Soto is around for the long haul or if he'll walk in free agency following the 2024 season. Former top prospect Victor Robles might be in the midst of his last chance to prove he can be the everyday center fielder, while Lane Thomas and Yadiel Hernandez have split time in left field.
With a 55-hit, 60-power, 65-speed toolbox, Cristhian Vaquero was one of the headliners of the 2021 international class, and the Nationals handed him a $4,925,000 bonus. He could quickly climb to the top of their organizational rankings once he makes his pro debut, but for now, it's all about dreaming on his potential. Jeremy De La Rosa is hitting .321/.404/.533 with 16 extra-base hits and 11 steals in 33 games at Single-A.
All stats courtesy of Baseball Reference and accurate through Thursday's games.