You would think outfield would be a deep position, given the sheer number of players who are eligible. It makes sense, but even the top options face significant questions as we head into 2013. Let’s take a look at how our rankings currently stand as we sort through the questions and concerns:
- Ryan Braun – Milwaukee Brewers
- Mike Trout – Los Angeles Angels
- Matt Kemp – Los Angeles Dodgers
- Carlos Gonzalez – Colorado Rockies
- Andrew McCutchen – Pittsburgh Pirates
- Giancarlo Stanton – Miami Marlins
- Jose Bautista – Toronto Blue Jays
- Josh Hamilton – Los Angeles Angels
- Matt Holliday – St. Louis Cardinals
- Jason Heyward – Atlanta Braves
- Yoenis Cespedes – Oakland A’s
- Justin Upton – Atlanta Braves
- Bryce Harper – Washington Nationals
- Jay Bruce – Cincinnati Reds
- Curtis Granderson – New York Yankees
- Jacoby Ellsbury – Boston Red Sox
- Ben Zobrist – Tampa Bay Rays
- Adam Jones – Baltimore Orioles
- Shin-Soo Choo – Cincinnati Reds
- Allen Craig – St. Louis Cardinals
- The debate between Ryan Braun and Mike Trout is definitely an interesting one. While Trout had an unbelievable 2012, can we really expect him to repeat it? Braun, meanwhile, answered all of his critics by slugging 42 HR (the fifth time in six seasons he has hit at least 32 HR). He is also a career .313 hitter who steals bases while going 100/100. It’s easy to like both players, but for me Braun is by far the safer and better pick atop the draft. For more on this debate, click here.
- There is definitely going to be concerns about both Jose Bautista (health) and Josh Hamilton (personal issues). That said, when right they are two of the best outfielders in the game. You obviously are going to need depth if you select them, but it is definitely hard to pass them up.
- Just how much will the move to Atlanta impact Justin Upton? Time will tell, but keep in mind that he was always a much better player at home (.307, 67 HR in 1,297 AB) then on the road (.250, 41 HR in 1,366 AB). He obviously is going to remain a borderline OF1 but there is a lot more risk now, especially coming off his disastrous 2012 season (.280 with 17 HR). He’s worth investing in given his potential, but not reaching for.
- Jay Bruce has proven that he has become one of the biggest home run threats in the league, putting up 32 and 34 HR the past two seasons. If he could do that while hitting for a solid average (.255 for his career), then he would be an easy Top 10 option. With a career BABIP of .290 (.283 last season) and coming off a season with a line drive rate of 20.2%, this could be the year. He is an excellent buy for 2013.
- Can Andrew McCutchen replicate his 2012 performance? There’s probably a regression coming, but that doesn’t make him a bad option. To see Rotoprofessor’s 2013 projection, click here.
- Allen Craig’s name may be the most surprising, but after posting a .307, 22 HR and 92 RBI season in just 469 AB there is an awful lot to like. His power could be capped (33.3% fly ball rate), but he should hit over .300 and produce a lot of runs hitting in the middle of the Cardinals order. There is just an awful lot to like.
- We all know that Jacoby Ellsbury isn’t likely going to match his 2011 performance (.321, 32 HR, 105 RBI, 119 R, 39 SB), but he doesn’t need to in order to be an OF2. As long as he can stay on the field he should produce 10+ HR and 30+ SB while scoring runs and hitting close to .300.
- The future of the top of the outfield rankings is very obvious, with Trout, Bryce Harper and Yoenis Cespedes. It wouldn’t be surprising to see all three as Top 10, and potentially Top 5 options by year’s end.
What are your thoughts of these rankings? Who is ranked too high? Who is too low?
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Make sure to check out our 2013 rankings (all of which will be updated in the next few weeks):