2013 Rankings: An Extremely Early Look: Top 25 Outfielders

I am going to start with some extremely early 2013 positional rankings, just so we can all get an idea of where people currently sit.  Keep in mind these rankings are preliminary and before I have done any of my projections.  That means that there is going to be a lot of room for fluctuation between now and draft day.

  1. Ryan Braun – Milwaukee Brewers
  2. Mike Trout – Los Angeles Angels
  3. Matt Kemp – Los Angeles Dodgers
  4. Carlos Gonzalez – Colorado Rockies
  5. Andrew McCutchen – Pittsburgh Pirates
  6. Giancarlo Stanton – Miami Marlins
  7. Justin Upton – Arizona Diamondbacks
  8. Josh Hamilton – Texas Rangers
  9. Jose Bautista – Toronto Blue Jays
  10. Jason Heyward – Atlanta Braves
  11. Matt Holliday – St. Louis Cardinals
  12. Adam Jones – Baltimore Orioles
  13. Allen Craig – St. Louis Cardinals
  14. Jay Bruce – Cincinnati Reds
  15. Jacoby Ellsbury – Boston Red Sox
  16. Curtis Granderson – New York Yankees
  17. Bryce Harper – Washington Nationals
  18. Yoenis Cespedes – Oakland Athletics
  19. Desmond Jennings – Tampa Bay Rays
  20. Michael Bourn – Atlanta Braves
  21. Alex Gordon – Kansas City Royals
  22. Shin-Soo Choo – Cleveland Indians
  23. Mark Trumbo – Los Angeles Angels
  24. Alex Rios – Chicago White Sox
  25. B.J. Upton – Tampa Bay Rays

Thoughts:

  • I don’t think there is a debate as to who the Top 3 options are on these rankings, though the order is probably going to vary.  To be precise, it’s Ryan Braun or Mike Trout?  That’s a debate we are going to dissect in detail as the offseason progresses.
  • It was a stellar season for Andrew McCutchen, but does anyone believe he can replicate his .375 BABIP (and maybe even his 19.4% HR/FB)?  He is going to remain a 20/20/100/100 threat, but don’t overpay based on a little bit of luck.
  • If Jose Bautista had not suffered a season ending wrist injury he likely would come in a spot or two higher.  However, any time a power hitter hurts his wrist there is a little bit extra risk.  Let’s not just assume that he is going to struggle to generate power, but just be realistic in your approach heading into the season.
  • Yoenis Cespedes had a tremendous MLB debut, hitting .292 with 23 HR, 82 RBI, 70 R and 16 SB over 487 AB.  His ability to make contact was the biggest question, but an 18.9% strikeout rate is promising (as did his big second half, hitting .311 with 14 HR over 289 AB).  Does he offer more immediate upside to Bryce Harper, though?  It’s an interesting debate…
  • Jason Heyward’s biggest improvement came in hitting fewer groundballs in 2012 (44.0%).  With that number and his speed, there’s no reason that he can’t continue to mature and improve.  He was 20/20 last season and should just get better and better.  He’s a borderline Top 10 option, but could easily take another step forward in 2013.
  • It was a fantastic season for Adam Jones, despite slowing down a little bit in the second half (12 HR in 309 AB vs. 20 HR in the first half).  That said, there is nothing unrealistic in his numbers, with a .313 BABIP and 18.8% HR/FB (he’s been between 16-19% in three of the previous four seasons).  He should continue to have potential OF1 value moving forward.
  • Jacoby Ellsbury has been a disappointment, but we all know the potential.  It will be interesting to see if he gets a change of scenery, but with the potential to hit 20 HR with 40 SB, it’s hard not to like him in the Top 15-20.
  • Alex Gordon struggled to hit for much power in 2012, but he did have 51 doubles (he now has 96 over the past two years), while again showing the ability to hit .290+.  He showed his power potential late in the year (9 HR over the final two months), however, and should get back to 20+ HR this season.

Make sure to check out the rest of our extremely early 2013 rankings:

9 comments

  1. Marky Mark says:

    In my main league, we keep 10 players, we have no restrictions on how long we can keep players, and we use LF/CF/RF positions instead of the common OF.

    Trout qualified at all 3 outfield positions last season, and although he’ll lose RF-eligibility next year, I think the LF & CF eligibility…and obviously his age…makes him the top guy as far as my league is concerned. I’m certainly going to be trying to pry him loose from his owner in the offseason.

    That said, I’ve got Braun, Kemp, and J.Upton across my outfield…so if I can’t manage to get Trout, I’m certainly not unhappy with what I’ve got.

    And just to throw it out there…just before the deadline I traded Bautista for David Wright. Good or bad?

    I was trying to defend my title and Bautista’s busted wrist wasn’t going to help me do that. Also, Bautista’s upcoming loss of 3B-eligibility next year was a significant factor in that decision. (I fell a bit short of repeating as champ this year, but I’m trying not to judge the trade as a bad one based solely on that.)

  2. Carlito says:

    Allen Craig is WAY too high. No way he’s better then Bruce or Granderson. I’m not sure he’s above Rios in all honesty!

    • Clifford says:

      Granderson was terrible this year. Yeah, he hit a lot of HR and scored a lot of runs…but overall, his regression and just overall downturn from last season was massive…Craig was so much better its not even funny.

  3. yummy says:

    Give me some Josh Willingham too

  4. jmax says:

    I can’t imagine taking Trout over Braun in a redraft. It was unheard of for a guy his age to do what he did this year, what are the chances he does it next yr as well. If I get a chance to pick either of them I’ll go with the safer pick.
    Stanton’s .290 average was not expected by anyone. Based on this ranking it tells me you expect him to be near this number once again. After all his babip took a significant jump to .344

  5. jmax says:

    Having J Upton in my keeper league I have no idea what to expect out of him in 2013. Does he cement himself as a top option or does he just remain a solid OF2??
    First time in a while Hunter Pence misses out on this list. I’m sure it wasn’t by much but I’d gamble on Pence over BJ Upton. Pence’s babip and his K% w the Giants was far far below his career averages. He could be a nice buy low/rebound candidate. Upton’s sb’s are on the decline and I can’t see him improving on his homerun total from this yr.
    Where do we draft Melky Cabrera?? Same spot as Lance Armstrong??
    OMG I WISH IT WAS MARCH!!!

  6. Rotoprofessor says:

    Mary Mark – Short-term you obviously did the right thing (no pun intended). Long-term? Bautista am offer a bit more upside, but it all depends on his wrist and if he loses any power.

    Carlito – Craig is proving to be a .300+ hitter with 30 HR potential (22 in 46 AB) and an RBI machine. Be difference between him and e other Gus is tha he brings average to the table, whic they are all risky. It obviously is subject to change, but if Craig can stay healthy (there’s the big if), he could have a monster 2013.

    Y,my – he was right on the cusp. Figure him for the 26-30 range.

    J,ax – yea, Pence was right Tere for the final spot and I would expect a nice bounce back from Upton. As for Cabrera, I didn’t like him before the suspension, so unless he falls significantly I wouldn’t touc him.

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