2012 Rankings: Top 40 Outfielders (#1-20)

Outfield is not quite as deep of a position as it once was.  That’s not to say that there isn’t some players who could emerge among the elite (like Alex Gordon or Desmond Jennings), but there is a definite drop-off in talent.  Let’s kick off our look at the top outfielders in the league by looking at the Top 20 options on draft day (we’ll be continuing these rankings later in the week):

  1. Jose Bautista – Toronto Blue Jays
  2. Matt Kemp – Los Angeles Dodgers
  3. Justin Upton – Arizona Diamondbacks
  4. Carlos Gonzalez – Colorado Rockies
  5. Jacoby Ellsbury – Boston Red Sox
  6. Andrew McCutchen – Pittsburgh Pirates
  7. Matt Holliday – St. Louis Cardinals
  8. Josh Hamilton – Texas Rangers
  9. Mike Stanton – Miami Marlins
  10. Curtis Granderson – New York Yankees
  11. Hunter Pence – Philadelphia Phillies
  12. Carl Crawford – Boston Red Sox
  13. Jay Bruce – Cincinnati Reds
  14. Ryan Braun – Milwaukee Brewers
  15. Ben Zobrist – Tampa Bay Rays
  16. Michael Bourn – Atlanta Braves
  17. Alex Gordon – Kansas City Chiefs
  18. Adam Jones – Baltimore Orioles
  19. Shin-Soo Choo – Cleveland Indians
  20. Desmond Jennings – Tampa Bay Rays


  • We all know the type of injury risk that comes with Carlos Gonzalez.  The 127 games he played in last season is the second most in his Major League career.  However, we also know the type of numbers that he can produce when healthy.  If you didn’t believe in his 34 HR, 26 SB, 117 RBI, 111 R performance in 2010, he was nearly as good in 2011 (26 HR, 20 SB, 92 RBI and 92 R) despite over 100 fewer AB (481 AB in ’11).  There is way too much talent there to ignore.
  • Ryan Braun is an extremely difficult player to rank for the upcoming season, considering he will likely miss the first 50 games.  However, if he wasn’t going to miss that time he likely would be in the discussion for the top pick overall.  It’s hard to drop him too far because he will likely outperform many OFers in just 100 games.
  • Does anyone really believe that Curtis Granderson is going to repeat his unbelievable success from 2011?  It’s just hard to imagine him reaching 41 HR, 136 R or 119 RBI once again.  Coming close to all three in one season?  Nearly impossible.  I have already discussed why taking him early in the second round is a huge risk (click here to view), so check that out for more details.
  • We all thought that the Rays had the perfect replacement for Carl Crawford in house in Desmond Jennings, it just took them a little while to give him an opportunity.  When he had the chance he delivered with 10 HR and 20 SB over 247 AB.  The power is a bit misleading (he posted a 15.6% HR/FB, which is not his game), but he’s going to be given the opportunity to run, will score plenty of runs and should improve on his .259 average (he posted a 20.6% strikeout rate and has the speed to improve on his .303 BABIP).  He’s well worth selecting as an OF2 in all formats.
  • Speaking of Crawford, does anyone not expect him to come back strong in 2012?  He has proven to be way too good for way too long to simply write him off.

What are your thoughts of the rankings?  Who’s too high?  Who’s too low?

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Make sure to check out all of our 2012 rankings:


  1. Kent says:

    Where is Morse? I might put him ahead of Pence

    • Rotoprofessor says:

      Morse needs to do it for another season for me to rank him that highly. He had never hit for power in the minor leagues (69 HR in 2,746 AB). He also will likely struggle to score runs and an elevated strikeout rate could lead him to a poor average. He’s just outside of the Top 20 for me.

  2. Alex says:

    I agree that Crawford should have a bounce back year, but do you think the combination of the wrist issue as well as the “may not” factor truly gives him the spot above Bruce? Maybe Bourn, even though Bourn won’t have any injury issues, will run rampant, and may be similar in power numbers (thanks to the wrist). Well … it’s a risk.

    • jmax says:

      So Alex discusses Crawford’s possibility of bottoming out and grabbing someone that’ll give you the same production if not more at a discounted price.
      I’m wondering where he could find himself ranking-wise if he realizes his potential in Boston. 100 runs/18-20 hr/80 RBI/45 SBs/.300 BA. Is it fair to say this would be his ceiling? And would it make him a top 5 OF??

      • Rotoprofessor says:

        I think that would be an absolutely dream season and is about 1,000-to-1 odds. Is Boston a better lineup than he was playing in in TB? Sure, but it’s impossible to think he’s going to reach those numbers.

        He’s reached 18 HR twice in his career. He’s been at 15 two others. Potential is probably 13-16 HR.

        The 100 R/80 RBI is realistic, depending on where he hits in the lineup, but his potential is probably closer to 95/70. The SB also may be a bit high, though we know he could do it. Again, he’s not likely to hit leadoff, so that could limit his upside.

        If everything clicks it’s possible that he is a Top 5 OFer, but I think Top 10 is a more realistic upside. Regardless, the value is there that he’s worth the gamble.

        • big o says:

          crawford didn’t belong on this list last year and certainly didn’t do anything to be included here this year .
          in that line-up , he’ll be fortunate to approach 30 stolen bases in 2012 .
          could be one of those head-case turns basket-case by june , if he gets off to a slow start .
          might be relegated to pinch-running for ortiz , late in games .
          listen for the boos emanating from fenway .

          • Jay says:

            That’s just crazy talk. 110 runs, 19hr, 90rbi, 47 SB and a .307 BA in 2011 and his stats in 2010 were very similar.Why the hate?? Did he refuse to sign an autograph for u or something?

  3. big o says:

    @ Jay :

    i anticipate a repeat of the numbers that he put up in 2008 .
    a)the wrist will bother him , especially with the springtime weather in new england .
    b) before ellsbury (2008) the sawx were a station to station club .
    c) legs get old .
    d) crawford might have more steal attempts (and run scoring opportunities) batting 9th in the order , but he’ll probably hit 7th in that line-up .
    e) sawx fans are of the opinion that their team quit on them last season . as a result , they will be merciless to anyone who gets off to a slow start , and the pressure won’t let up all season long . even ortiz is on “thin ice” .
    whether crawford can handle the press and playing in front of sold-out crowds remains to be seen .
    fenway ain’t tampa … attendance exceeds 8,000 fans , an no one is paying $10 for a ticket .

  4. Frank says:

    Where is Drew Stubbs???

    • Rotoprofessor says:

      Stubb is jor risk thanks to the batting average. Even if he goes 15/30, if he hits sub-.250 and at the bottom of the order, his value is going to be significantly capped. There’s way too much risk to consider him a Top 20 option.

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