Ray Butler’s 2020 Prospect Obsessions: Outfielders

Written by: Ray Butler

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Part Two of my 2020 prospect obsession list is here!

After taking a look at 28 infield prospects worthy of your full attention throughout the 2020 season, I’m shifting the lens to 20 outfielders with incredibly intriguing skillsets or outlooks leading up to the new season.

The composite of my 2020 top-200 prospect list was recently released, but the link at the end of each write-up below will take you to the original post for said prospect on my 2020 list. As you know, most of the write-ups you’ll read below are child’s play compared to the write-ups on my prospect list, so make sure you supplement the information below with additional data recently published on the site.

No, this is not a breakout prospect list consisting of players who are set to explode throughout the upcoming season (I already published that article earlier this offseason). Instead, the players within my prospect obsession list are simply interesting. Perhaps I believe there’s a current market inefficiency that’s suppressing the value of a prospect in dynasty leagues. Perhaps I have a reason(s)—birthed from a previous live look or an organizational contact—to believe we’re bound to witness a statistical evolution within a prospect’s profile in the near future, and I’ll be monitoring these prospects more closely than others this season due to that information.

Oh, and while this certainly isn’t a breakout list, I’d be lying if I said I don’t expect several of the names mentioned below to drastically improve their stock this season. Last season, the position player portion of this list included Dylan Carlson, Kristian Robinson, Marco Luciano, Drew Waters, George Valera, Geraldo Perdomo, Mauricio Dubon and Heriberto Hernandez amongst others. Take that for what it’s worth.

Let’s dive in!

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Jordyn Adams, OF, LAA. Age: 20

Last season, it was the impressive strikeout and walk rates that caught our attention—especially since Adams was universally regarded as an ultra-raw prospect when he was drafted in 2018. This season, it’ll be the impressive counting stats from the California League that will leave the 20-year-old flirting with the top-50 a year from now. For now, the outfielder is one of the more sneaky inclusions in my top-100. With the jaw-dropping upside, it’s only a matter of time before he makes his presence felt even in general prospect circles. #P365Top200Rank: 62

Brayan Buelvas, OF, OAK. Age: 17

If you’re a long-time reader, you know I’m a sucker for prospects who are promoted from the Dominican Summer League to the Arizona or Gulf Coast League in the middle of the summer. Buelvas enjoyed that promotion last summer, then proceeded to post a 140 wRC+ in 44 AZL games as a 17-year-old. The frame is slight, but the outfielder has sneaky pop, a feel to hit and above average speed. He snuck-in to the VIP portion of my prospect list, but he could debut in the top-200 by the end of the 2020 season. #P365Top200Rank: VIP

Peyton Burdick, OF, MIA. Age: 23

I heard it for the first time around Christmas: “When you look at Peyton Burdick, it’s easy to mistake him for Mike Trout.” Stocky but built, if you will. And while I’m not sure I’ll ever compare any prospect other than Ronald Acuña Jr. to Mike Trout, Burdick certainly has the raw power, speed and defensive prowess to make him the biggest steal—both from an organizational and dynasty league standpoint—of the 2019 MLB Draft. The 23-year-old laid waste to the Midwest League late last season, though his performance in the Florida State League this season will better illustrates what our expectations should be moving forward. The ceiling here is high enough for Burdick to be a top-150 overall prospect by midseason. #P365Top200Rank: Not Ranked

Alex Canario, OF, SF. Age: 19

I’ll never refer to a prospect’s Age 20 season as a ‘put up or shut up’ campaign, but I am interested to see just how prevalent Canario’s contact issues will be versus full season pitching. The 19-year-old posted an average fly ball distance amongst the most powerful prospects in the sport last season, but I still ranked him conservatively this preseason due to genuine concerns about the 32.4 K% in 219 plate appearances in the Northwest League last summer. Pair the hit tool questions with the fact Canario already won’t be a five category contributor in dynasty leagues (he’s a below average runner), and it becomes fair to wonder if the 70-grade raw power will ever truly shine through within this profile. That question will begin to be answered this season. #P365Top200Rank: 130

Corbin Carroll, OF, ARI. Age: 19

The argument could be made that no 2019 draftee improved their stock more post-draft than Carroll, thanks largely to fantastic performances in the Arizona League and Northwest League. Now it’s all about sustainability and development of power, which would help the outfielder’s stock reach another level before he debuts at the big league level. Several analysts throughout the industry suspect a swing change will serve as the catalyst for the 19-year-old reaching his power potential, so don’t sweat if—once it’s reported he’s altered his swing plane or load—it takes a while for the statistical output to catch-up with the immense skillset. #P365Top200Rank: 59

Gilberto Celestino, OF, MIN. Age: 21

On a real-life list, Celestino would easily rank ahead of fellow Twins farmhand Misael Urbina thanks to center field defense and a seemingly high offensive floor. On a fantasy list, the 21-year-old currently ranks behind the teenager due to the perception of a limited power ceiling and an inefficient speed output last season (14 SB, 64% success rate). Celestino simply needs to repeat his performance from the Midwest League in the Florida State League this season to put the fantasy world on notice. #P365Top200Rank: 179

Brennen Davis, OF, CHC. Age: 20

Davis is my guy. The 20-year-old drastically changed his physique last offseason, and it led to one of the bigger breakouts in the minor leagues last season despite the fact he remained at the complex until early summer. Another leap—even of a much smaller magnitude—would make Davis one of the very best prospects in baseball. Our track record with the outfielder (here and here, amongst others) is one of my proudest since launching the site, and he’s just getting started. #P365Top200Rank: 31

Jeremy De La Rosa, OF, WAS. Age: 18

A couple of things really working in De La Rosa’s favor: it completely flew under the radar, but the Nationals thought enough of the outfielder to allow him to debut stateside as a 17-year-old in lieu or beginning his professional career in the Dominican Summer League. This is notable. De La Rosa also possesses a 5-foot-11 frame that should allow him to add a noticeable amount of muscle as he finalizes his physical development. The swing has natural loft, and there’s above average power potential here. For a prospect largely off the radar throughout the industry, De La Rosa is a teenager worth taking note of this season. #P365Top200Rank: Not Ranked

Jasson Dominguez, OF, NYY. Age: 17

Dominguez probably doesn’t belong on a list like this, but he’s here because we’re finally going to receive our first, tangible sample from The Martian this summer. I’m extremely stingy about throwing out the phrase ‘potential to someday be the top overall prospect’, but Dominguez fits this description in spades. Plus or better raw power. Plus or better speed. The makeup of a prospect who ‘gets it’ and sees the big picture extremely well for a player so young. I’m hoping we’ll have boots on the ground this summer when the 17-year-old makes his stateside debut in the Gulf Coast League. Looking at you, Ian! #P365Top200Rank: 16

Heriberto Hernandez, OF, TEX. Age: 20

Lack of a defensive skillset or position has hindered Hernandez’s advancement thru the Rangers’ system to this point, but let’s make one thing known: the dude can straight up rake. After posting some of the best exit velocities of any hitter playing in a non-full season league (in the AZL), I can only assume we’ll see him at full season Hickory this season; there, the 20-year-old can begin forging his path to becoming one of the most prolific hitters throughout the minor leagues. Hernandez also made this list last season. #P365Top200Rank: VIP

Josh Lowe, OF, TB. Age: 22

Lowe really popped during the Arizona Fall League in front of a ton of scouts and evaluators, but this was only after a breakout in the Southern League during the regular season. Now he finds himself inside the top-100 on a number of prospects list—mine included. There’s some ‘flash in the pan’ fears that can be put to bed with a strong performance in the International League in 2020. While your league mates are contemplating how the 22-year-old will ever potentially breakthrough on a crowded Rays big league roster, we’ll be busy grabbing shares of one of the most physically-gifted prospects in the sport while leaning on the old maxim that the cream of the crop will always rise to the top. #P365Top200Rank: 94

Brandon Marsh, OF, LAA. Age: 22

Matthew Boyd was a 3.3 win pitcher last season according to fWAR. The Angels have refused to include Marsh in their trade negotiations with the Tigers for the left-hander. The 22-year-old was 37% above league average last season in the Southern League, and I think a power output uptick is on its way. Los Angeles will have an interesting decision to make regarding Justin Upton’s future relatively soon, but Marsh should be ready to be an everyday big league outfielder by the end of the 2020 season. That is, if an elbow strain suffered in Spring Training doesn’t eat into too much of the outfielder’s upcoming campaign. #P365Top200Rank: 51

Luis Matos, OF, SF. Age: 18

From the files of ‘this is what they look like’, Matos abused pitching in the Dominican Summer League last season before receiving a late-season bump to the Arizona League. We need to see the approach and contact skills versus Arizona League pitching before pushing the entirety of our chips to the middle of the table, but the foundational tools of plus raw power and speed are quite droolworthy from a fantasy standpoint. It’s likely he’ll be a top-100 prospect—if not better—by the end of the 2020 season. #P365Top200Rank: 127

Andy Pages, OF, LAD. Age: 19

Scroll up and reread the blurb on Heriberto Hernandez. Got it? Pages is Hernandez with better defense. There’s some swing-and-miss in this profile, and don’t read much into the stolen bases in the Pioneer League; but Pages seems to barrel everything he gets his bat on. The 19-year-old was reportedly part of the package being traded alongside Joc Pederson and Ross Stripling from the Dodgers to the Angels this offseason, but the deal fell apart and Pages (pronounced Pah-hez) remains in one of the best developmental systems in the sport. There are some underlying aspects within this profile worth monitoring moving forward, but no one can deny the fantasy potential here. Angels fans: Don’t watch the imbedded video below. #P365Top200Rank: 147

Erick Pena, OF, KC. Age: 17

Woo, for a prospect who has yet to earn a player profile page on FanGraphs, Pena gained some serious steam this offseason in FYPDs and prospect lists in general. The main argument for ranking the outfielder over fellow J2 signee Robert Puason was the former’s ‘polish’ compared to the rawness and long limbs of the latter, but Pena still has a ways to go from a refinement standpoint as well (I actually ranked Puason higher on my 2020 top-200 list). #P365Top200Rank: 84

Hedbert Perez, OF, MIL. Age: 17

So there was a complete market inefficiency regarding Perez this winter, until Baseball America brought his immense skillset and talent to light. Pokemon’ing J2 signees is nearly impossible to accomplish without boots on the ground throughout the Dominican Republic and other countries, so the industry as a whole owes BA a gigantic ‘thank you’ for profiling Perez prior to spring instructs. The 17-year-old has potential to be a 5-tool standout in the outfield, yet he’ll be largely discarded in dynasty leagues that have First Year Player Drafts this offseason or preseason. That presents a unique opportunity that you should take advantage of. There’s surprising pop for a relatively small frame; the swing generates natural loft but I also don’t see huge holes that will lead to painful swing and miss issues. Because of the frame, it’s likely Perez should be able to maintain his speed throughout most of his professional career. The outfielder should be a big riser in 2020.


Editor’s note: Perez was added to this list retroactively on Saturday, March 14th. 

Alexfri Planez, OF, CLE. Age: 18

Simply put, Planez has some pretty substantial breakout qualities heading into the 2020 season (more on that here). Had he not broken his hamate bone while playing in the Arizona League early last summer, the 18-year-old would be universally known throughout the prospect world. The sharper (and deeper) prospect lists will include the outfielder this preseason, but you should be able to gobble-up floor-level shares of Planez before he debuts in the NYPL this summer. There’s some swing-and-miss in this profile, but the body (6-foot-2, 180 pounds) and counting stat tools are qualities we desperately look to acquire in dynasty leagues. Buy, buy, buy. #P365Top200Rank: 157

Carlos Rodriguez, OF, MIL. Age: 19

In a farm system starving for position player viability, Rodriguez is an intriguing talent that we’ll really get to see for the first time this season. The fantasy-relevant profile has leaned heavily on inefficient speed throughout his non-full season career, but—with assumed, additional refinement—this an interesting skillset moving forward. Eventually, the development of passable power from a speed-first prospect in 5-foot-10, 150 lb. frame might be the difference in the outfielder attaining viability in anything outside of deep dynasty leagues. #P365Top200Rank: Not Ranked

Luis Rodriguez, OF, LAD. Age: 17

If for no other reason, L-Rod makes this list because we’ll actually get to see him this summer at some point! Video, eyewitness reports…. just about anything will be better than the information that has been published about the outfielder to this point. The 17-year-old is widely thought to have a well-rounded skillset that also has a chance to be quite loud. Luckily, we should have the opportunity to confirm the reports from the Dominican Republic in 2020. #P365Top200Rank: 194

Johan Rojas, OF, PHI. Age: 19

There will be so many full seasons debuts worth monitoring this season. Rojas definitely fits that mold, leaning on 70-grade speed and above average defense in centerfield as his carrying skills as we speak. But the power within this profile is beginning to creep around the clouds, and Rojas could fully pop by the end of the 2020 season. In a farm system that will likely lose its best position player to the big leagues this season, Rojas possesses the upside to assume that role in the near future. The cold weather in Lakewood to begin the season will be a nice test for the 19-year-old. #P365Top200Rank: 193

Taylor Trammell, OF, SD. Age: 22

I suppose I’m one of the few people left on Taylor Trammell Island, and that’s fine by me. I’m buying the late-season tweaks the outfielder made after he was dealt to the Padres in the Trevor Bauer/Franmil Reyes/Yasiel Puig trade, and the dominant performance in the Texas League playoffs laid the foundation for what should be a very exciting 2020 campaign. Four extra base hits and a .391/.440/.609 slash in 25 Spring Training plate appearances is certainly a good start. Watch the video below and tell me Major League Baseball wouldn’t be better if Trammell reaches his potential. #P365Top200Rank: 28

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Follow us on Twitter! @Prospects365

Featured image courtesy of photographer John Moore and the Amarillo Sod Poodles


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