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Trout, Harper lead outstanding outfield options

Young group offers star power across all fantasy categories
MLB.com @FredZinkieMLB

While other positions certainly offer valuable contributions to fantasy lineups, no group provides more offensive production than the deep pool of outfielders. The decision of when, how and with whom to stock the outfield will have a massive impact on the ultimate fate of many fantasy squads in the coming campaign.

Tier One: Bryce Harper, Mike Trout

While other positions certainly offer valuable contributions to fantasy lineups, no group provides more offensive production than the deep pool of outfielders. The decision of when, how and with whom to stock the outfield will have a massive impact on the ultimate fate of many fantasy squads in the coming campaign.

Tier One: Bryce Harper, Mike Trout

Harper and Trout will not only battle for positional supremacy, but they will also compete to be the top overall pick in most 2016 drafts.

2016 Position Rankings

In his fourth season, Harper delivered on the massive expectations that were placed upon him before he reached the Majors. By making sizable gains to his plate discipline and fly-ball rate, the Nevada native ranked among the top three on the Major League leaderboards for homers (42), runs scored (118) and batting average (.330).

Complete fantasy rankings

While Harper was taking the fantasy world by storm, Trout was quietly putting together a fourth consecutive season of production worthy of a first-round selection. Although his skill set has shifted over the years from speedster to slugger, the New Jersey native continues to produce eye-popping statistics.

Video: Top 100 Right Now: Trout vs. Harper

Tier Two: Giancarlo Stanton, A.J. Pollock, Andrew McCutchen, Mookie Betts, Jose Bautista

Those with a late first-round pick will be wise to select an outfielder from this tier with one of their initial two selections. Stanton is by far the most powerful player in this group, but he is also an injury risk. The slugger has played fewer than 146 games in each of the past four seasons and is still in search of his first career 40-homer campaign as a result. Of course, the native Californian showed his immense potential before his 2015 season ended in June due to a wrist injury, belting 27 long balls in 74 games. Those who miss out on Stanton may opt for Bautista as an early-round masher. The Blue Jays' three-hole hitter has reached the 35-homer mark in four of the past six seasons.

With outstanding five-category production that made him one of fantasy's top hitters in 2015, Pollock will be an attractive first-round option. Even if the Notre Dame alum were to experience slight dips across the board, he would still rank among fantasy's best outfielders. Like Pollock, Betts oozes potential. The youngster has already emerged as one of the most versatile leadoff hitters in baseball, and at age 23, he is likely on an upward trajectory. Those who wish to eschew upside in favor of stability will be happy to draft McCutchen. The center fielder is coming off a bit of a down year, but few players can match his consistency. The Pirates star has exceeded 145 games played, 20 homers, 80 RBIs and 85 runs scored in each of the past five seasons while posting a composite .302 average in that span.

Video: Outlook: Betts enters 2016 with very high ceiling

Tier Three: George Springer, Starling Marte, Charlie Blackmon, Ryan Braun, J.D. Martinez, Lorenzo Cain, Nelson Cruz, Justin Upton

Loaded with upside, Springer headlines our third tier. After compiling 16 homers and 16 steals across 102 games last season, the Connecticut native could post difference-making totals as part of a rapidly improving Astros lineup in 2016. Springer is just one of the five-category producers in this tier, along with Marte, Blackmon, Braun, Cain and Upton. Each of those six players topped both the 15-homer and 15-steals mark in '15.

Video: Outlook: Springer may be on verge of breakout year

Cruz and Martinez stick out among this group for their prodigious power. The only player to swat 40 homers in each of the past two seasons, Cruz proved in 2015 that Safeco Field cannot contain him. And by following up a breakout '14 season with a 38-homer campaign last year, Martinez has joined Cruz on the short list of players who can compete for the Junior Circuit homer crown.

Tier Four: Carlos Gomez, Adam Jones, Hunter Pence, Yoenis Cespedes

The fourth tier is dominated by players with their sights set on bouncing back from frustrating 2015 seasons. Gomez was a first-round pick in most leagues a year ago, but a dramatic decline in all categories during an injury-riddled campaign has dropped his standing significantly. Jones was also selected in the initial round of some '15 drafts, but a late-season fade and a lack of steals have diminished his status for the coming campaign. Pence performed well when healthy last season, but he managed to play in fewer than half of his team's games.

Cespedes stands alone in this group as a player who is coming off his best year. Back with the Mets after sparking their postseason push, the Cuban slugger should supply at least 25 homers, 90 RBIs and 80 runs.

Tier Five: Matt Kemp, Ben Revere, Jason Heyward, Shin-Soo Choo, Carlos Gonzalez, Christian Yelich, Adam Eaton, Yasiel Puig, Gregory Polanco, Jay Bruce, Jacoby Ellsbury

A deep and diverse fifth tier of outfielders will give owners the flexibility to address specific needs that emerge from the initial rounds of their drafts. Those in search of power can target Gonzalez, who was one of nine players to smack at least 40 homers in 2015. Owners who are scared off by Gonzalez's lengthy injury history could opt for Bruce, who has been a more durable power source.

Video: Outlook: Ellsbury should bounce back in 2016

Speed is plentiful in this tier, too, with Revere, Heyward, Polanco, Yelich, Ellsbury and Eaton each swiping more than 15 bases last season. Of this group, Revere, Ellsbury and Polanco offer the most potential to deliver a difference-making stolen-base total, but Heyward may be the most exciting. With three 20-steal seasons to his credit, Heyward could climb multiple tiers if he can improve his power numbers as a key member of a suddenly scary Cubs lineup.

Although not an option for the risk-averse, Puig possesses notable bounceback potential. He struggled during an injury-affected 2015 season, but he displayed flashes of a high performance ceiling during his first two big league campaigns.

Fred Zinkie is the lead fantasy baseball writer for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @FredZinkieMLB.