2012 Rankings: Updated Top 40 Outfielders (#1-20): Braun Wins Appeal, Avoids Suspension

The news broke today that, much to the chagrin of Major League Baseball, Ryan Braun has won his appeal and will avoid a 50 game suspension.  Now suddenly available for the full year, we all know that he is a first round lock.  Where does he now fall on our Top 40 Outfielder list?  Let’s take a look:

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


  • You could argue the order of Bautista, Kemp and Braun, but no matter how you slice it they are the clear top options at the position.  Regardless of your preference, they are all virtual locks to go within the first six picks on draft day.
  • If Prince Fielder were still in Milwaukee I would be a little more apt to put Braun in the first two slots.  However, Aramis Ramirez just isn’t going to put the same scare into opposing pitchers and isn’t likely to drive in as many runs as Fielder did.  Could Braun be intentionally walked more often?  Could his runs scored drop slightly?  Those questions keep him third on the list for me.
  • One of the results of Braun’s rise in the rankings is Curtis Granderson now falling outside the Top 10.  I spoke about Granderson a few weeks ago (click here to view), explaining why I felt he was too big of a risk to be taken in the early part of the second round.  There is just too much chance of a significant regression from his 2011 production.  Does anyone really expect him to come close to replicating his 119 RBI and 136 R performance?
  • Generally I am not a big proponent of taking someone who is all stolen bases and minimal (if any) power.  However, I definitely would make an exception with Michael Bourn since he has the potential to virtually win the category for you.  Over the past three years his low in SB is 52, including two years of over 60.  Throw in the fact that he could reach 100 R for the first time in his career, playing the full year in Atlanta, and there is an awful lot to like.
  • Will this be the year that Jay Bruce finally puts it all together?  What he needs to do is add consistency.  Of his 32 HR in 2011, 12 of them came in May and 7 in August.  In rotisserie style leagues it doesn’t matter much, but in head-to-head leagues it’s a potential killer.

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Make sure to check out all of our 2012 rankings:


  1. Jmax says:

    The even scarier thing about having Aramis instead of Prince is the fact that Aramis is always an injury risk. Scratch Aramis out of the lineup and how much more value does Braun loose?

  2. TY says:

    i for one am not worried about aramis, not that he’ll be healthy or not, but the fact still is ryan braun has to hit the ball when he’s up at the plate, not prince, not aramis… I coach baseball and I’m a firm believer in protecting a hitter, etc but in the end the guy at the plates gotta hit the ball. Now will the pitchers pitch to him? or around him, thats kind of tough to call, they can’t pitch around him all the time though… Braun will get his.

  3. Chuck says:

    Here’s a question I have about Braun. If the guy was doing PED’s (and baseball feels like he was), will there be a negative effect on his performance of NOT doing PED’s (as he will be under significantly more scrutiny)?

    As I understand these PED’s are often used to help players heal, but also have the effect of adding strength. Could this incident effect Braun’s power performance?

    • Rotoprofessor says:

      It’s certainly not out of the question, but we really have to wait and find out.

      I don’t believe this would’ve been the first time he was tested in his career (he’s been around long enough), so was this just the first time he’s been caught? Or was he not doing it earlier in his career? He’s always been a 30+ HR hitter, so that’s not really my biggest concern. It’s worth watching, for sure, but I wouldn’t expect him to suddenly only hit 20ish.

  4. Dina says:

    Do you have Holliday ranked ahead of Hamilton purely because of Hamilton’s injury/ sobriety risks? I see the two as projecting very similar numbers in all the categories, except Hamilton (if healthy) will throw in a few stolen bases. They are so even in the other categories but the steals potential tips the scales in Hamiltons favor. However, because Hamilton always seems to get hurt and one more relapse could jeapordize his playing time, I am leaning toward picking Holliday if I have the choice between the two.

    • Rotoprofessor says:

      Dina, the injury risk is exactly what tips the scales just slightly in Holliday’s favor. Hamilton is always going to miss some time, and my projections have Holliday at 575 AB vs. 525 AB for Hamilton.

      At the same time, I wouldn’t really give Hamilton an advantage in the speed department. Hamilton has never stolen more than 9 bases in a year. Holliday has stolen as many as 28 and could easily match the 7-9 that Hamilton will give you.

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