Sunday, February 10, 2013

Fantasy Focus: Outfielder Rankings

Outfield is a deep position this year with value to be had up and down the rankings with elite players who are worth a high bid or top 3 overall pick as well has huge value in the early and mid single digit rounds as well as the 2'nd and 3'rd tier of bids on auction drafts.  Let's break it down:

1.  Ryan Braun, Brewers.  108 R, 41 HR, 112 RBI, .319 BA, 30 SB in 598 AB.  I have Braun as the #1 overall fantasy draft pick due to elite contributions in 5 categories and track record of success.  Small risk of further suspension due to involvement with drug lab in Miami, but it sounds like he has an unassailable alibi unless further evidence is uncovered.

2.  Mike Trout, Angels.  129 R, 30 HR, 83 RBI, .326 BA, 49 SB in 559 AB.  Trout would probably be number on if he had a longer track record of success.  One of the Elite 3 with Braun and Miguel Cabrera.  A lot of drafts will have him #1 overall and the highest auction bid.

3.  Giancarlo Stanton, Marlins.  75 R, 37 HR, 86 RBI, .290 BA, 6 SB in 449 AB.  Legitimate threat to hit 50 HR's.  Will he see any strikes in a stripped down Marlins offense?

4.  Matt Kemp, Dodgers.  74 R, 23 HR, 69 RBI, .303 BA, 9 SB in 403 AB.  Kemp was injured for much of last year.  Would be ranked ahead of Stanton and possibly Trout if it was certain he will be healthy to start the season.

5.  Andrew McCutchen, Pirates.  107 R, 31 HR, 96 RBI, .327 BA, 20 SB in 593 AB.  Some people worry that 'Cutch could be in for a regression due to an insanely high BABIP and a late season fade.  He will likely cost more than the $30 I paid for him in last year's auction draft.  If he does, I'll pass.

6.  Josh Hamilton, Angels.  103 R, 43 HR, 128 RBI, .285 BA, 7 SB in 562 AB.  Hamilton might be the most productive player in baseball when he is healthy and in the lineup.  He's had trouble staying in that state for a full season.  A partial season from Hamilton is worth more than most player's full seasons.  Probably no greater differential between risk and reward in all of baseball.

7.  Carlos Gonzalez, Rockies.  89 R, 22 HR, 85 RBI, .303 BA, 20 SB in 518 AB.  Another guy capable of putting up elite numbers who hasn't always done it, but even a subpar year for him is pretty good by most standards.

8.  Matt Holliday, Cardinals.  95 R, 27 HR, 102 RBI, .295 BA, 4 SB in 599 AB.  A lot of people suspect Holliday is starting on the downside of his career.  He's been a consistent performer, though.

9.  Jose Bautista, Blue Jays.  64 R, 27 HR, 65 RBI, .241 BA, 5 SB in 332 AB.  Bautista missed almost half of last season with a wrist injury.  Reports are that it is fully healed.  Bautista has the potential to hit 50 HR's if fully healthy.  BA will be a negative though.

10.  Bryce Harper, Nationals.  98 R, 22 HR, 59 RBI, .270 BA, 18 SB in 533 SB.  NL ROY.  His numbers were dwarfed by Trout's in the AL, but were still really good and many analysts believe this is just scratching the surface of his potential.

11.  Yoenis Cespedes, A's.  70 R, 23 HR, 82 RBI, .292 BA, 16 SB in 487 AB's.  Speaking of scratching the surface, 2012 was Cespedes first MLB season coming directly from Cuban ball.  He also had a few bumps and bruises that limited his playing time.

12.  Jason Heyward, Braves.  93 R, 27 HR, 82 RBI, .269 BA, 21 SB in 587 AB.  5 tool OF who may be just coming into his peak years.

13.  Adam Jones, Orioles.  103 R, 32 HR, 82 RBI, .286 BA, 16 SB in 648 AB.  Jones' numbers have been steadily improving year-by-year and he won't turn 28 yo until August. You could make a case for ranking him ahead of Harper, Cespedes and Heyward.

14.  Melky Cabrera, Blue Jays.  84 R, 11 HR, 60 RBI, .346 BA, 13 SB in 459 AB.  Melky was on his way to an epically good season before his 50 game PED suspension.  He likely was due for a regression anyway, but some analysts are putting him back to his Yankee and Braves numbers.  At this point, I believe his 2011 numbers with KC are his floor and Toronto is a much more friendly hitting environment than KC or SF. Don't overpay, but if he drops in your draft, grab him!

15.  Jacoby Ellsbury, Red Sox.  43 R, 4 HR, 26 RBI, .271 BA, 14 SB in 303 AB.  Ellsbury's season was no great shakes even without the missed time, but he's in a contract year and should start the season healthy.  Capable of 5 category goodness.

16.  Curtis Granderson, Yankees.  102 R, 43 HR, 106 RBI, .232 BA, 10 SB in 596 AB.  The BA will kill you if you are trying to compete in that category, but many owners won't care.

17.  BJ Upton, Braves.  79 R, 28 HR, 78 RBI, .246 BA, 31 SB in 573 AB.  Upton's numbers have been improving slowly but steadily over the past several seasons.  Came the closest to 30/30 of any player not named Braun or Trout last year.

18.  Justin Upton, Braves.  107 R, 17 HR, 67 RBI, .280 BA, 18 SB in 554 AB.  The younger Upton had a poor season by his standards, partly due to nagging injury, and fell out of favor with the D'Backs for reasons that remain somewhat mysterious.  Decent bet for a bounceback season with good health and a new team as well as playing with his bro.

19.  Alex Rios, White Sox.  93 R, 25 HR, 91 RBI, .304 BA, 23 SB in 605 AB.  Solid 5 category production.  Tends to alternate good and bad seasons, so buyer beware!

20.  Jay Bruce, Reds.  89 R, 34 HR, 99 RBI, .252 BA, 9 SB in 560 AB.  Bruce is still probably on the upswing of his career trajectory.

21.  Austin Jackson, Tigers.  103 R, 16 HR, 66 RBI, .300 BA, 12 SB in 543 AB.  Gives you 5 categories but you might want a bit more pop and/or a few more SB's.

22.  Shin-Soo Choo, Reds.  88 R, 16 HR, 67 RBI, .283 BA, 21 SB in 598 AB.  HR could increase with move to Great American Ballpark.

23.  Jason Kubel, D'Backs.  75 R, 30 HR, 90 RBI, .253 BA, 1 SB in 506 AB.  Kubel will lose AB to late inning defensive replacements, but with power in such short supply, gotta love the 30 dingers he put up last year.

24.  Carlos Beltran, Cards.  83 R, 32 HR, 97 RBI, .269 BA, 13 SB in 547 AB.  Still a great producer when healthy, but you gotta hold your breath every time he slides or goes after a ball in the OF.

25.  Michael Bourn, Unsigned.  96 R, 9 HR, 57 RBI, .274 BA, 42 SB in 624 AB.  Bourn is a reliable source of SB's without ruining your BA.  A lot of owners will pay a lot for that.

26.  Ben Revere, Phillies.  70 R, 0 HR, 32 RBI, .294 BA, 40 SB in 511 AB.  Will get a chance to lead off every day for the Phillies.  Could give you everything Michael Bourn gives you and you probably won't have to pay as much.

27.  Alex Gordon, Royals.  93 R, 14 HR, 72 RBI, .294 BA, 10 SB in 642 AB.  Gordon had a bit of a down year and was still pretty good.

28.  Alfonso Soriano, Cubs.  68 RBI, 32 HR, 108 RBI, .262 BA, 6 SB in 561 AB.  The 30/30 days are long gone but there is still lightning in the bat.

29.  Carlos Gomez, Brewers.  72 R, 19 HR, 51 RBI, .260 BA, 37 SB in 415 AB.  Came within 1 HR of a 20/20 season.  Appears to have the CF job to himself in Beer Town.

30.  Mark Trumbo, Angels.  66 R, 32 HR, 95 RBI, .268 BA, 4 SB in 544 AB.  Defensively challenged, but with a ton of power in his bat.  He should get more AB this year in Angel Town, but tailed off a bit in the second half last year.

31.  Jayson Werth, Nationals.  42 R, 5 HR, 31 RBI, .300 AB, 8 SB in 300 AB.  Werth has become a forgotten man after losing half a season to injury.  The broken arm should be fully healed.

32.  Angel Pagan, Giants.  95 R, 8 HR, 56 RBI, .288 BA, 29 SB in 605 AB.  A bit inconsistent, but over the course of a season should give you solid BA, R, SB's.

33.  Desmond Jennings, Rays.  85 R, 13 HR, 47 RBI, .246 BA, 31 SB in 505 AB.  The BA was a bit disappointing but is just starting what should be an excellent career.  Lots of room for these numbers to go up.

34.  Norichika Aoki, Brewers.  81 R, 10 HR, 50 RBI, .288 BA, 30 SB in 520 AB.  Pleasant surprise for the Brewers and for fantasy owners last year.

35.  Starling Marte, Pirates.  18 R, 5 HR, 17 RBI, .257 BA, 12 SB in 167 AB.  Don't sleep on this guy!  True 5 tool stud in the making.

36.  Dayan Viciedo, White Sox.  64 R, 25 HR, 78 RBI, .255 BA, 0 SB in 505 AB.  Runs hot and cold.  Will hit 7-8 HR's in a week then go cold for a month, but will give you nice power numbers over a full season with room for more.

37.  Hunter Pence, Giants.  87 R, 24 HR, 104 RBI, .253 BA, 5 SB in 585 AB.  Has been remarkably consistent over the course of his career, but the days of double digit SB's are probably over.  He hopefully will give similar power numbers but with a better BA in 2013.

38.  Josh Reddick, A's.  85 R, 32 HR, 85 RBI, .242 BA, 11 SB in 611 AB.  Came out of nowhere last year, but tailed off badly at the end of the season.

39.  Shane Victorino, Red Sox.  72 R, 11 HR, 55 RBI, .255 BA, 39 SB in 595 AB.  A bit of a down year in 2012, but there are not that many players who will give you close to 40 SB with double digit dingers.

40.  Ichiro Suzuki, Yankees.  77 R, 9 HR, 55 RBI, .283 BA, 29 SB in 629 AB.  Probably nearing the end of his career, but 29 SB's with a .283 BA is not nothing.

41.  Josh Willingham, Twins.  85 R, 35 HR, 110 RBI, .260 BA, 3 SB in 519 AB.  Some people are questioning whether he can repeat these numbers, but Willingham has always been able to hit as long as a team is willing to put up with his bad D.  I think I should have ranked him higher here, but too much work to change it now.

42. Adam Eaton, D'Backs.  19 R, 2 HR, 5 RBI, .259 BA, 2 SB in 85 AB.  D'Backs traded away Chris Young to make room for this guy.  He has more speed than it looks like from these numbers and tremendous on-base skills.  Will be the everyday CF and leadoff batter in Arizona.

43.  Torii Hunter, Tigers.  81 R, 16 HR, 92 RBI, .313 BA, 9 SB in 534 AB.  Hunter is still sneakily productive and is motivated to show the Angels they made a mistake in letting him go.

44.  Dexter Fowler, Rockies.  72 R, 13 HR, 53 RBI, .300 BA, 12 SB in 454 AB.  Fowler has the talent to have a breakout 5 category season, but has never seemed to be able to maintain traction.

45.  Justin Ruggiano, Marlins.  38 R, 13 HR, 36 RBI, .313 BA, 14 SB in 288 AB.  Ruggiano will get  chance at 600 AB this year in Miami.  Question is if these numbers can be sustained for a whole season.  Nice flyer at the end of the draft.

46.  Andre Ethier, Dodgers.  79 R, 20 HR, 89 RBI, .283 BA, 2 SB in 556 AB.  Always seems to get off to fast starts to seasons but tails off in the second halves.  Decent overall numbers though.  The Dodger fans in my league always overpay for him.

47.  Cody Ross, D'Backs.  70 R, 22 HR, 81 RBI, .267 BA, 2 SB in 476 AB.  Lands a starting gig in Arizona in the wake of the Justin Upton trade.  The ballpark there is hitter friendly, but it doesn't have a Green Monster to hit pop flies over.

48.  Nelson Cruz, Rangers.  86 R, 24 HR, 90 RBI, .260 BA, 8 SB in 585 AB.  Named in the Miami drug lab scandal.  Otherwise solid producer.

49.  John Jay, Cardinals.  70 R, 4 HR, 40 RBI, .305 BA, 19 SB in 443 AB.  Seems to have soidified starting CF gig in St. Louis.

50.  Alejandro De Aza, White Sox.  81 R, 9 HR, 50 RBI, .281 BA, 26 SB in 524 AB.  Sneaky source of SB's.

Rookie Watch:  Oscar Tavares, Wil Myers and Billy Hamilton.

If you miss out on the heavyweights, Braun and Trout, I would skip over the second tier and try to land at least 2 out of Harper, Cespedes, Heyward and Adam Jones.  Don't be afraid to pay for them either.  You can then easily fill in the rest of your OF and Utility slots at the end of the draft in bargain basement time.

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