Hey Razzers, I’m back in the saddle this week after some time off. Life has a way of giving us a fresh perspective from time to time, no? This baseball season has been wild, to say the least. No more wild than many of your trusted pitching starters crashing and burning and a laundry list of no-name faceless outfielders ascending to greater heights previously unknown. So far this season home runs, steals, and runs are up league-wide. Through May 15, 2022 there was 989 home runs, and as of yesterday, there have been 1388 this season. There’s been a bit more games played but the increase is still very real. To say the environment has become more offense-friendly would be an understatement.
As such, the waiver wire has become your friend and ally, and your OF4-OF5, possibly even OF3, is now a revolving door of hot hands more than ever. Welcome to the wartorn medieval outfield (I guess depending on perspective) where your non-star draft picks are cannon fodder. Stars and Scrubs outfielders are looking like the path forward. Let’s catch up with the storylines of our Faceless Men and royalty jockeying for the throne. *cue Game of Thrones theme music*
Ronald Acuna Jr. – 5-Cat King life. He’s doing the work of 2 players, truly incredible stuff. 9 HR, 17 SB, and batting .346 on the season. He’s well on his way to a 60-steal season. Glowing adjectives.
Randy Arozarena – Rice Bowl is like a Pokemon, I swear. 10 HR, 3 SB, batting .320 on the year. He’s evolved into different forms each season and we may be seeing his final form. He started out flashing big power in his 17 HR playoff bombing run. Then he became a steady 20-20 guy for a couple of seasons. Then he became a 20-30 guy. Now it seems he’s evolved into a 35-15 dragon. Wawa-wee-wa. He’s here and he’s fantastic.
Hunter Renfroe – Took him a minute to get his timing right but now he is a menace in the middle of the Angels lineup. Should have been more in on him than the 1 league, he’s the same wherever he is and is underappreciated for it. Since April 15, he has 7 HR (tied for 1st) and 17 RBI.
Adolis Garcia – Endless production *Elmo on fire meme*. Since April 15, he has 7 HR and 29 RBI. Yes, you read that correctly.
Christian Yelich – Is he “back”? I’m not so sure he’s a full 5-tool guy again. His GB% is still around 50 percent, his average launch angle has improved some but is still below 10 degrees, and his maxEV has actually ticked down. That said, his hard contact is up so maybe he’s better than 2022 Yelich. 2019 is never coming back, though a 20-20 season might be in reach but his average might not get above .265 ever again.
Josh Lowe – Another Rays hitter smashing the cover off the ball. Before the season began I wanted nearly all the Rays pitchers (RIP), but it seems that I should have wanted all the Rays hitters too. Unlike some other faceless men, he has shown no sign of slowing down. He’s looking like he might be the 20-20 OF2 steal of the year with his only weakness so far looking like high and inside.
Jake Fraley – The latest hot bat in Cincinnati rising from the ashes of TJ Friedl. Fraley started slow due to lingering knee/toe injuries but looks like he’s finally healthy(ish) and swinging the bat well. I don’t need to tell you that any Reds hitter remotely healthy and hitting is worth a look in this environment. Giddy up.
Dominic Fletcher – The fantasy gods giveth, and taketh. Was Jose Altuve reincarnated as an outfielder when I wasn’t looking? That’s the only explanation I can think of. Dom is generously listed at 5’5″ and is somehow able to generate decent power. One thing about being short is a smaller strike zone, so technically it could benefit him. He looks like a 15 HR bat with decent contact skills and is the latest hot bat in the desert. Snakes seem to be giving anyone who can hit the runway right now; so smoke ’em, if you got ’em.
Alex Kirilloff – Grey has told you plenty about his wrist and hope for health. He’s hitting over .400 in his first 8 games and all signs point to him being healthy right now, and that’s all you need to know. All his contact has been loud thus far and that’s enough to get me excited.
Trevor Larnach – The Larnach monster rises again. B2B homers, you know what to do.
Robbie Grossman – We are entering the summer months in Arlington and global warming in the midwest is spectacular (trust me). [Formerly-]Sexy Rexy has continued to get regular playing time and has started to come alive in May. After a 3-game set with ATL the Rangers will then face the Rockies, Pirates, Orioles, and Tigers. Opportunity reveals itself.
Christopher Morel – After crushing 11 HR in the minors earned a callup with Nico injured. He now has 4 HR in like 4 games, at least it feels like it. He doesn’t have a big frame and profiles very streaky like the next guy but might have enough speed to offset some of it (unlike the next guy). While he’s hot, ride the lightning but I wouldn’t be surprised if he has a 0-20 stretch coming which could also coincide with Nico returning to the lineup. But for your OF4-5, live for today, YOLO, and set your heart ablaze.
Brent Rooker – He has slugged his way to 11 HR to begin the season on a gutted A’s team. Is he for real? Meh, let’s not get too hasty. Right now his HR/FB% is near 30, which is unlikely to continue. He also swings and misses quite a bit (bottom 7%). My guess is as the season goes on, pitchers will continue to give him fewer things to hit hoping he gets himself out. He’s run into some breaking balls early, but at the same time, owns a 40% whiff rate vs such. Enjoy it while it lasts.
Brandon Marsh – Last season after joining the Phillies, they had him make a swing adjustment. And it looks to have mostly stuck around this season. He was on my list for possible sleeper posts but decided against giving too many Angels products headlines, haha. Anyway, what change did he make? He adjusted his approach from being Johnny Damon to more Curtis Granderson. And in so doing, it has allowed him to hit the fastball much better. He’s not the April superstar as he first appeared, but since cooling off he’s due for some positive regression to being a decent regular. Not sure if he’s got 20 HR power but maybe he can run into 15 if he gets going.
Jack Suwinski – Started out looking like the next 20-20 star out of nowhere for the season, but then the bat went cold. He’s got a lot of swing and miss, so he could be a streaky hitter all season. I’m keeping my eye on him. If he randomly has a multi-hit game it could be the start of another run.
James Outman – Made some mechanic adjustments in the minors and holy moly, it’s paid off. I thought he was the In-man early on, but wow. He’s cooled off quite a bit in May, but looks like he could still be a decent contributor going forward. Maybe of the OF3 variety.
Jarred Kelenic – Another April wonder that has since cooled off significantly. In the last 15 games, he’s hitting .246 with only 1 HR. As was discussed in our Razzball writer chat, seems the league remembered not to throw him fastballs. Now is where the rubber meets the road and we see if he has indeed learned something new and can adjust to hit balls that bend.
Josh Naylor – Had a major weekend against the Angels with 3 HR. Not off to the best start for the season, but warming up. HOWEVER, having watched those games, each of the home runs was a bad pitch left in his wheelhouse. So take it with somewhat of a grain of salt. He might be getting his timing on track now, but all 3 of the shots this weekend were bad pitches.
As always, the individual ranks (and to a degree the dollars) don’t really matter, what’s important are the tiers, and more important than that—your roster construction. Any outfielder not listed, consider them tier 5.
If you want more Coolwhip to top off your baseball experience, fantasy or otherwise, you can follow me on Twitter: @CoolwhipRB.