by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)
Outfield certainly isn’t a shallow position, but that doesn’t mean that it also isn’t littered with question marks as well. Who are the best options as we head into 2014? Who comes in a little lower than expected? Let’s take a look as we kick off our outfield rankings:
- Mike Trout – Los Angeles Angels
- Andrew McCutchen – Pittsburgh Pirates
- Ryan Braun – Milwaukee Brewers
- Carlos Gonzalez – Colorado Rockies
- Jay Bruce – Cincinnati Reds
- Bryce Harper – Washington Nationals
- Adam Jones – Baltimore Orioles
- Matt Holliday – St. Louis Cardinals
- Giancarlo Stanton – Miami Marlins
- Carlos Gomez – Milwaukee Brewers
- Justin Upton – Atlanta Braves
- Jacoby Ellsbury – New York Yankees
- Yasiel Puig – Los Angeles Dodgers
- Hunter Pence – San Francisco Giants
- Alex Rios – Texas Rangers
- The most controversial name on this list may be Ryan Braun, who certainly brings with him significant unknown. We’ll talk about him in great detail in the near future, but even with the doubt I still believe that he’s a viable first round option. As long as he can still hit around 27 HR, there’s going to be more than enough production to justify the pick given his potential across the board.
- Jay Bruce as a Top 5 option? Power is becoming hard to find, and Bruce has proven that he can produce in that regard (30+ HR for three straight seasons). He also should improve on last season’s strikeout rate (26.5% vs. 24.0% for his career) and has line drive rates above 20% in three of the past four seasons. In other words, while he has struggled with his average in the past (.252 in ’12), a lot of that is courtesy of a poor BABIP (.283). The makeup is there to hit at least .270, which with his power would place him among the elite in the game.
- On Monday I discussed why I didn’t expect to own Yasiel Puig in any of my leagues this season. To find out why, click here.
- Do you believe that Carlos Gomez can maintain his production from 2013 (.284, 24 HR, 40 SB)? I certainly do and view him as one of the best options in the league in the outfield. To find out why I’m buying into him, click here.
- Matt Holliday may not be a sexy name on draft day, but there is something to be said about consistency. He always hits at least 22 HR (and generally is in the 25-28 range). He almost always picks up 90+ RBI (with 100 realistic). He’s scored at least 94 runs in seven of the past eight seasons. He’s a career .311 hitter. Don’t overlook him.
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Make sure to check out all of our 2014 rankings: