“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.
- Ryan Braun: Remember last season when people were concerned about his off
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
- Giancarlo Stanton: 40+ HR power is rare and Stanton is one of the few guys who 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.
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Jason Heyward: He “finally” had a season that lived up to the hype and we haven’t seen the best of him yet.
- 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.
- Matt Holliday: Often undervalued, but consistently a good source of HRs, RBIs, and Runs with an AVG around .300.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Ben Zobrist
- Allen Craig
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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: Remarkably consistent, and always undervalued in leagues that reward OBP.
- Alex Gordon
- Josh Willingham
- Mark Trumbo
- 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.
- Nelson Cruz
- Andre Ethier
- 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.
- Angel Pagan
- Shane Victorino
- Hunter Pence: His batting average should be closer to his usual .280 range, but he no longer steals bases which makes him mediocre.
- 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.
- Brett Gardner: He walks more than most people realize, and with playing a full season he should be able to hit .270 with 40 SBs.
- 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.
- Jason Kubel
- 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.
- Torii Hunter
- 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.
- 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.
- Dayan Viciedo: Based on his BABIP he looks to have gotten a bit unlucky in 2012, so he may improve his AVG.
- Ben Revere: He doesn’t have the same track record as Bourn, but he can be the same player for your fantasy team.
- Alejandro De Aza
- Josh Reddick
- 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.
- Dexter Fowler
- Cameron Maybin
- Coco Crisp: He’s another good option for SBs, but he’s only played in more than 140 games twice in his career.
- Norichika Aoki
- Jayson Werth: He had a few big years in Philly, but hasn’t delivered that same production since 2010.
- Lorenzo Cain: Over a full season I could see him hitting .270 with 15-20 HRs, and 25 SBs.
- Nick Markakis
- Garret Jones
- Michael Cuddyer
- Brandon Moss: He strikes out too much to hit for a high average, but he’s a good late round option for power.
- 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.
- 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.
- Emilio Bonifacio
- Ryan Ludwick
- Adam Eaton: His presence helped enable the Diamondbacks to deal Upton. He should hit for average, and steal bases in his first season.
- Denard Span
- 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.
- Delmon Young
- 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.
- 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.
- Drew Stubbs: Consider him a poor man’s version of BJ Upton until he proves he can do more.
- 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.
- Colby Rasmus: He had a great year in 2010, and is definitely young enough to rediscover his success.
- Logan Morrison
- Tyler Colvin
- Cody Ross
- Michael Brantley
- 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.
- David Murphy: More helpful as a platoon player in daily leagues.
- Aaron Hicks: He put up good numbers in Double A, and there isn’t much competition for the starting CF job.
- Jon Jay
- Ryan Doumit
- JD Martinez: Someone may drive in Runs for the Astros.
- Chris Young: With regular playing time he should go 20/20 again, but that will also come with a .240 AVG.
- 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.
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