2021 TDG Top 125 Outfielders: Outfielders To Avoid
This is a companion piece to our annual Top 125 Dynasty League Outfielders posts. The opinions below are my own and do not reflect the TDG consensus.
Teoscar Hernandez, Blue Jays (Age: 28, Rank: 26)
Teoscar Hernandez broke out in a small sample in 2020, and that’s the main reason for the avoid here: the amount of time we’ve seen him be good. In 2020 he slashed .289/.340/.579 with 16 homers and added 6 steals. The power is sure to remain because when Hernandez gets a hold of a ball he smashes it. The issue tends to be the getting a hold of it part. Prior to 2020 Hernandez had a slash of .238/.304/.482 over 285 games and four seasons and even with the much stronger slash, Hernandez struggled to get on base, posting a 6.8% walk rate, the second-worst of his career and struck out over 30% of the time. He’s a prime candidate for regression and a player I’m passing on in the OF ranks.
Whit Merrifield, Royals (Age: 32, Rank: 37)
The age is finally starting to catch up to Whit Merrifield, in each of the last two seasons his average has dropped and he hasn’t been as close to the top of the leader board in steals as he once was. Given the landscape of steals, he’s still a decent option for the category but paired with a weakening slash line he certainly becomes much less appealing. Even in OBP leagues, where Merrifield was a decent source of walks, he’s taken a hit as he posted the lowest walk rate of his career in 2020. With just about everything declining at some rate, Merrifield is losing his shine.
Riley Greene, Tigers (Age: 20, Rank: 48)
Still at only 20 years old, so this take may age poorly, Riley Greene struggled mightly in his promotion to full-season A-ball at the end of 2019. It’s difficult to judge what he could have done in 2020 giving the lack of a minors season, but the harsh transition is worth noting. This probably has more to do with his place on the rankings as a top 50 outfielder and one of the top outfield prospects but the names behind him are just much more appealing to me. Zac Veen, JJ Bleday, Alek Thomas (and I’ll even toss in George Valera) all have some pretty loud tools and feel like are safer bets than Greene. If I can pass on Greene, and nab one of those other names at the same or a lesser investment, sign me up immediately.