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“Foster Your Roster” – 2013 Outfielder Rankings

In my opinion, outfield is the most difficult position to rank.  Not just because of the number of players available, but because they offer a wide variety of skill sets.  While other positions have players with similar skills, the outfield player pool consists of many players that provide speed or power, but not both.  As a result, the rankings are more difficult since after the first 30 or so outfielders you’ll need to choose between speed and power based on your roster, or take a chance on the combination with significant batting average risk.

Also, people tend to think OF is a deep position and that may be true for a 10 team league, but once you get beyond the top 50, which are guys that start in 12 – 16 team leagues, there are some tough decisions to make.

  1. Ryan Braun: Remember last season when people were concerned about his off
    Look, even Kemp thinks Braun is the top pick.

    Look, even Kemp thinks Braun is the top pick.

    season PED issues? Yes, I remember it too.  I also remember him having great season, along with every other season since 2007.  He can’t be suspended because of a newspaper article, unless there is a failed drug test to go with it.

  2. Mike Trout: I refuse to take the easy way out and say he or Braun could both be the first pick.  I’d take Trout second overall.  I think opposing scouting reports will be better and it will force him to make some adjustments in his second full season.
  3. Matt Kemp: He was 1 HR shy of 40/40 in 2011 and put up good numbers when healthy in 2012.  It was the first year he missed significant time for injury, so that’s not a major concern, though it is possible he is asked to run less being in a more potent lineup than he’s had around him previously.
  4. Andrew McCutchen: His AVG should come down a bit, but I think .290 is pretty like and 25/25 seems reasonable with a chance to push for 30/30
  5. Giancarlo Stanton: 40+ HR power is rare and Stanton is one of the few guys Stantonwho undoubtedly has it.  Even with a bad supporting cast, he’ll get over 100 RBIs as a result of the HRs.  Also, don’t buy into the lack of lineup protection argument, it’s often overrated.  Plus the players who left, Reyes and Ramirez, both hit in front of him.
  6. Justin Upton: He doesn’t have the numbers to back up this ranking yet, but if he’s going to make the leap into the MVP discussion as many people expect, then I think this will be the year. His numbers were definitely better in Arizona than on the road, but I think the atmosphere in Atlanta will offset the loss of a hitter friendly home park
  7. Josh Hamilton: When healthy he’s one of the best pure hitters in the game, and in the Angels lineup he may never hit with the bases empty.
  8. Carlos Gonzalez: His skill set and home ballpark are great. However, he’s never played more than 145 games in a single season.  On top of that, he’s a very risky player in a H2H league, since he’s a far better player at home than on the road.  At home he owns a career .338 AVG with 65 HRs, compared to a career .258 road AVG with 35 HRs in almost an even number of games.
  9. Jose Bautista: Won’t hit for as high an AVG as other elite guys, but 40 HRs with 100+ RBIs is always worth picking up.
  10. Adam Jones: He turned in his best season in just about every category.  I’m confident that most of it is repeatable, but even a slight regression leaves you with a good player.
  11. Jason Heyward: He “finally” had a season that lived up to the hype and we haven’t seen the best of him yet.
  12. Bryce Harper: There is certainly a chance for a sophomore slump, but given how special he could be if things go right, he’s worth the risk.
  13. Matt Holliday: Often undervalued, but consistently a good source of HRs, RBIs, and Runs with an AVG around .300.
  14. Jay Bruce: While is AVG is less than ideal he is a power hitting run producer that should break the 100 RBI mark this season.
  15. Jacoby Ellsbury: Anyone who says they know what to expect from Ellsbury is blatantly lying.  Health is definitely a concern, but putting that aside doesn’t provide any clarity. His last two full seasons 2011 and 2009 were very different.  In 2009 he hit only 8 HRs, but had 70 SBs.  In 2011 he had 32 Hrs and 39 SBs with over 100 Runs and RBIs.  I’d gladly draft him, as long as he’s not the first OF I’m taking.
  16. Yoenis Cespedes: He would have been Rookie of the Year in almost any other season.  His improved second half performance leads me to believe he’ll be able to make the necessary adjustments to stay successful.
  17. Alex Rios: After looking into his stats, Rios is not as up and down as I thought.  He had one bad year in 2011 that stands out.  In spite of that, he seems like a reliable target for 20/20 with a .280 AVG.
  18. BJ Upton: His AVG is tough to take early in the draft since it forces you to compensate later, but his other stats make it worth it.
  19. Austin Jackson: Even I could score runs leading off for the Tigers, but he needs to run more and improve on his 57% Stolen Base success rate to truly make the impact you are looking for.
  20. Ben Zobrist
  21. Allen Craig
  22. Shin-Soo Choo: The move to a good lineup and a hitter friendly park are good, but a couple of rumors are concerning.  He may wind up hitting lead off unless Billy Hamilton finds his way into the lineup, which will limit his RBI opportunities.  Also, he’ll likely play CF with Ludwick and Bruce in the corners, and he has admitted that he isn’t as comfortable there, so hopefully he doesn’t bring his defensive concerns to the batters box with him.
  23. Melky Cabrera: Ignoring any performance decline that may be related to PEDs, his BABIP was an unsustainable .379, which means his AVG will definitely regress.  Although, he will have tremendous opportunity for all counting stats in the Blue Jays lineup.
  24. Carlos Gomez: I expect him to regress to about 12 HRs, but the rest of his stats seem reasonable to expect again.  He was only caught stealing 6 times with 37 successful attempts. Most people don’t realize how good he was in 2012.
  25. Desmond Jennings: The former top prospect will hit lead off for TB and has the ability to hit for some power to go along with 30 SBs.  Based on his minor league stats I expect him to able to hit for a better AVG if he cuts down on the strikeouts a bit, .270 could be reachable.
  26. Martin Prado: Always hits for a good AVG, and contributes moderately in all other categories. He should get a bump from playing in Arizona.Nick Swisher
  27. Nick Swisher: Remarkably consistent, and always undervalued in leagues that reward OBP.
  28. Alex Gordon
  29. Josh Willingham
  30. Mark Trumbo
  31. Chris Davis: There is a significant risk of his average falling, but the power is legitimate. After years of strong minor league campaigns he may have put it all together at the major league level.
  32. Nelson Cruz
  33. Andre Ethier
  34. Carlos Beltran: He had a sharp decline in the second half of the season, and while he can still do some good things I’m afraid that’s more of the player he is now.
  35. Angel Pagan
  36. Shane Victorino
  37. Hunter Pence: His batting average should be closer to his usual .280 range, but he no longer steals bases which makes him mediocre.
  38. Michael Morse: His health is a much bigger concern than a move to Safeco, but if you’re looking for 30 HR power in the middle rounds he’s one of the best options.
  39. Brett Gardner: He walks more than most people realize, and with playing a full season heBrett Gardner should be able to hit .270 with 40 SBs.
  40. Michael Bourn: I don’t see any reason why he is being taken so much higher than other speedsters.  There are more than a handful of players with the ability to steal bases, and for a decent average.
  41. Jason Kubel
  42. Alfonso Soriano: In case you’ve been ignoring him, and I wouldn’t blame you if you were, he’s still hitting HRs.  In 2012 he hit 32 HRs, and had 108 RBIs.  I don’t expect those numbers again, but he’s a good source of late round power.
  43. Torii Hunter
  44. Corey Hart: He’ll take his usual place in the middle of the Brewers potent lineup once he’s healthy enough to return to action.
  45. Curtis Granderson: He should be able to hit for power when he returns from his injury.  Unfortunately not much else remains, he strikes out too much to hit for a high AVG, and he only attempted 13 steals in 2012. Don’t count on him reaching 20 SBs again.
  46. Dayan Viciedo: Based on his BABIP he looks to have gotten a bit unlucky in 2012, so he may improve his AVG.
  47. Ben Revere: He doesn’t have the same track record as Bourn, but he can be the same player for your fantasy team.
  48. Alejandro De Aza
  49. Josh Reddick
  50. Ichiro Suzuki: He hit .311 with 17 SBs in the second half.  Normally, I wouldn’t take a chance on a 39-year-old, but he has a track record that makes him a worth while risk.
  51. Dexter Fowler
  52. Cameron Maybin
  53. Coco Crisp: He’s another good option for SBs, but he’s only played in more than 140 games twice in his career.
  54. Norichika Aoki
  55. Jayson Werth: He had a few big years in Philly, but hasn’t delivered that same production since 2010.
  56. Lorenzo Cain: Over a full season I could see him hitting .270 with 15-20 HRs, and 25 SBs.
  57. Nick Markakis
  58. Garret Jones
  59. Michael Cuddyer
  60. Brandon Moss: He strikes out too much to hit for a high average, but he’s a good late round option for power.
  61. Starling Marte: He should have the starting job locked up, and be given a chance to display his power and speed.  Be aware though, his strikeout and walk rates will likely limit his batting average.
  62. Juan Pierre: Pierre has the ability to hit for a high average and steal a ton of bases, but the Marlins are rebuilding (or whatever it is they’re doing in Miami) and that can make playing time unpredictable.
  63. Emilio Bonifacio
  64. Ryan Ludwick
  65. Adam Eaton: His presence helped enable the Diamondbacks to deal Upton.  He should hit for average, and steal bases in his first season.
  66. Denard Span
  67. Lucas Duda: He struggled in the second half after a decent start, but he should be able to bounce back with 20 HRs and a .265 AVG.
  68. Delmon Young
  69. Wil Myers: One of the best hitters in the minors, and he’d be higher if he was going to start the year in the majors.  Make the extra effort to get him in keeper leagues, and enjoy his offense right away once he gets the call up.
  70. Michael Saunders: His playing time is a bit of a concern and his minor league numbers combined with his strikeout rate don’t provide any optimism for his average to get better.
  71. Drew Stubbs: Consider him a poor man’s version of BJ Upton until he proves he can do more.
  72. Leonys Martin: He doesn’t have much of a track record in the US, but should be able to reach double-digit SBs and HRs with a decent AVG.
  73. Colby Rasmus: He had a great year in 2010, and is definitely young enough to rediscover his success.
  74. Logan Morrison
  75. Tyler Colvin
  76. Cody Ross
  77. Michael Brantley
  78. Andy Dirks: Worth keeping an eye in case he’s named the starter.  He can provide double-digit HRs and SBs as well as a solid AVG.
  79. David Murphy: More helpful as a platoon player in daily leagues.
  80. Aaron Hicks: He put up good numbers in Double A, and there isn’t much competition for the starting CF job.
  81. Jon Jay
  82. Ryan Doumit
  83. JD Martinez: Someone may drive in Runs for the Astros.
  84. Chris Young: With regular playing time he should go 20/20 again, but that will also come with a .240 AVG.
  85. Matt Joyce

Oscar Taveras:  I’ll address Taveras since he’s been popular this spring.  If he were guaranteed a starting job I’d rank him in the mid 50s.  However, the Cardinals have a solid lineup, and no glaring need to call him up unless someone gets hurt.  With that being said, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Jay or Beltran spend time on the DL which would open the door for him. 



  1. andy peoplez singleton

    March 10, 2013 at 3:02 pm

    Saunders that low? Really??

    • Marc Foster

      March 10, 2013 at 3:23 pm

      Seattle is a bit crowded now with Morse, Gutierrez, Saunders and Casper Wells in the OF. Plus, Morales taking at bats at DH. So, his playing time is a bit of a concern and his minor league numbers combined with his strikeout rate don’t provide any optimism for his average to get better.

  2. Corey D Roberts

    March 10, 2013 at 3:13 pm

    Where do you have Saunders?

  3. collegefootballben

    March 10, 2013 at 3:59 pm

    Nice list, and I agree OF is hardest position to rank as there are so many. With that said these would be my top 5.
    1. Trout The complete package, 5 tool player who numbers are going to improve even more. 25 HR, 50+ SBs, .310 avg and 125+ runs easily within reach.
    2. Ryan Braun Could the media just leave the dude alone. All he does is disprove those who say he did PEDs. I doubt he has done them unlike some other players named on the PED list. Him and Trout are interchangeable, and can’t go wrong either way, but I’d take Trout 1st because I think Trout is the better complete package, minus a little power.
    3. Andrew McCutchen Emerging star in the MLB and the more the Pirates improve, the more Andrew’s numbers will also. Doesn’t have the power upside of Braun nor the speed upside of Trout, but a close 3rd for OF.
    4. Giancarlo Stanton Yes Loria completely dilapidated thew Marlins, and yes he will struggle to get RBIs on a weak Marlins team but the guy is still young and can rake. Could lead the league in HRs this season, although he likely won’t hit for the averages as the names above him.
    5. Justin Upton Up, Up, and A-Hey. Atlanta’s OF is stacked, and playing with his brother should only enable JUP to bounce back. 30 HR, 25 SBs and close to a .290 avg not out of the question. If you miss out on the top 3 OF I wouldn’t blame you if you took Upton before Stanton.
    6. Carlos Gonzalez Playing in Coors Field may pad his numbers some, but he is still an elite OF who has 5 tools. The main question here is can Tulo stay healthy above him in the lineup, and can the Rockies leadoff man get on base enough. If things improve in COL, then CarGo could go 30/100 with around 25 SBs and hit for over .300. If injuries hit the Rockies, then CarGo’s power numbers may suffer a tad bit but should still be a lock for 23-25 HRs and a .300 avg.
    7.Jason Heyward Having both Uptons hit in front of him can only mean one thing: more opportunities for HRs and RBIs. When J. Upton isn’t getting his older brother home, the best to get one or both home will be JHey. Top 5 upside if he can make another stride forth this season and improve the average. May consider nabbing him early in drafts as the payoff could be immense.
    8. Adam Jones Yes this high as he is a very similar player to many of the names above him: good power/RBI potential with pretty good speed. The difference here is Baltimore’s offense is not quite at the levels of Atlanta’s, and possibly Pitt’s, but as Baltimore improves, so will Jones’ numbers. He may not have 25 SB speed, but 20 SBs, and a 30/100 season could be in reach.
    9. Bryce Harper Honestly, I think he is still a bit immature and cocky, but he has one of the highest ceilings, if not the highest ceiling of anyone on this list. I don’t think he will ever be as good as Trout or Braun, but few OFs reach that level. Upside is a top 5-7 overall selection in fantasy leagues, but for this season if he slides to the early 3rd consider yourself lucky. His numbers could look like Jones’ this season, but is still very raw. The sky is the limit for this kid, but his mouth and attitude could be his undoing if he doesn’t watch it.
    10. Josh Hamilton Will he turn a new leaf with a new beginning in LA? Some may argue he needs to be higher, but here’s why I have him here and why he nearly didn’t make the top 10 OF list: health and deteriorating speed. Off field issues seem to hamper him, which is a shame because he’s an elite talent. Whether it be alcohol or other substances, he seems to find an excuse for his struggles. Also last season he was injured some, causing his numbers to decline. Does not have much speed, and days of .300 avg likely over, but still a lock for 130+ RBIs and possibly 40+ HRs, especially in a loaded Angels lineup.
    Just missing the cut: Jose Bautista, Cespedes, Bruce, BJ Upton, Melky Cabrera.

    • Marc Foster

      March 10, 2013 at 9:43 pm

      No Kemp in your top 10?

      Trout has done it for one season and he may become one of the best ever, but Braun has already proven it. Plus, he may not need to steal so many bases with Pujols and Hamilton hitting behind him.

      • Ben W

        March 11, 2013 at 1:07 am

        Nice catch there. I have him at 4 right after McCutchen. However, you could make a case that he could also slot in at 3 right before McCutchen. I feel he will likely put up better power numbers than McCutchen, but McCutchen will likely hit for a higher average, and have more SBs. More proven is Kemp by far, and expect nothing less than another than a solid mid first round pick production.

  4. Joe Iannone

    March 10, 2013 at 9:39 pm

    Great list Marc. I know I’ve said this before, but it may be your best yet. 🙂 I own Saunders in a contract league and have to decide this season to drop him or sign him from 1 to 5 years. I own him at the league minimum of $5, so a 5 year contract would be $5,6,7,8,9. I think it may be worth the risk, but if he fails I’m only out a few bucks and a roster spot. I’ve been super high on Pence and BJ UPton for years, often over paying at auction and reaching in snakes. I’m still holding out hope, if only because I don’t want BJ to bust out the year I finally don’t own him. But, you know what they say about insanity. Pence was a .320 hitter in the minors and before 2012 he had a MLB average over .290. His homers have been remarkably consistent the last 5 years and his RBI have increased every year for the last 4. I’m betting I get him cheap this season.

    Thanks for the insight and analysis.

    • Marc Foster

      March 10, 2013 at 11:07 pm

      Pence’s biggest problem is strikeouts, he strikes out way too much and hardly takes walks, I do think he’ll bounce back this year though. I’ve seen enough of BJ to feel like this is truly what he is, in his seasons with higher batting averages it looks like he got incredibly lucky based on BABIP.

      If $5 is the minimum you get players for then it’s probably worth it to keep Saunders. Over the next few years I’m sure Seattle will realize he’s one of their two best OFs (Morse is pretty good when healthy). I think his draft day value is going to be a bit inflated because he’s gained some notoriety from playing in the WBC.

  5. andy peoplez singleton

    March 11, 2013 at 7:41 pm

    Sorry for the delayed response. I mentioned Saunders because I too own him (inherited roster) and tried trading him a few times but got lowball offers, which I disagree with. He’s still young (26), showed vast improvement in ’12, is 20/20 capable, had an improved offense around him, competition to keep him at high performance, oh and he’s raking in the WBC. Lol, yea I guess I like him – BUY LOW!! Lol

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