by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)
We all know who the top outfielder is, but after that we could argue that there’s significant questions. Even starting at #2 there’s a divide, but it only gets worse from there. Where does Ryan Braun fit in? How about youngsters like Bryce Harper, George Springer and Yaisel Puig? How much faith do we have in the newly acquired Padres’ trio?
And that’s just the tip of the iceberg! Let’s start our look at our outfielder rankings with #1-20:
1. Mike Trout – Los Angeles Angels
2. Andrew McCutchen – Pittsburgh Pirates
3. Giancarlo Stanton – Miami Marlins
4. Jose Bautista – Toronto Blue Jays
5. Adam Jones – Baltimore Orioles
6. Carlos Gomez – Milwaukee Brewers
7. Jacoby Ellsbury – New York Yankees
8. Ryan Braun – Milwaukee Brewers
9. George Springer – Houston Astros
10. Justin Upton – San Diego Padres
11. Yasiel Puig – Los Angeles Dodgers
12. Michael Brantley – Cleveland Indians
13. Billy Hamilton – Cincinnati Reds
14. Bryce Harper – Washington Nationals
15. Matt Holliday – St. Louis Cardinals
16. Hunter Pence – San Francisco Giants
17. Corey Dickerson – Colorado Rockies
18. Nelson Cruz – Seattle Mariners
19. Carlos Gonzalez – Colorado Rockies
20. Kole Calhoun – Los Angeles Angels
- No one is going to question the upside of Bryce Harper, who could quickly develop into one of the best players in the game (and would be ranked significantly higher in dynasty formats). Part of the problem is the risk of injury, given how he plays the game, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing but does limit his upside. He brings 20/10 potential, though he needs to cut his strikeout rates back down (26.3% in ’14).
- Speaking of strikeouts, could you imagine how good George Springer could be if he cut them down at all? He’s a rare 40/40 upside player, but with a 33.0% strikeout rate in the Majors it’s going to limit his average potential. Even if he gets that down to 25-27%, with his other numbers he’s going to be one of the best in the game. For more on Springer, click here.
- Michael Brantley was arguably the breakout performer of 2015, but can he replicate that success (.327, 20 HR, 97 RBI, 94 R, 23 SB)? It’s hard to imagine, especially the power given his 28.3% fly ball rate and 261.964 average distance on non-groundballs. That’s not to say that he’s going to be a poor option, because he’s still a borderline OF1, but expect a small step backward instead of another significant step forward.
- It’s easy to overlook Matt Holliday, but he also is one of the most consistent players in baseball. Sure it was a “down” year, he still hit .272 with 20 HR (plus 37 doubles), 90 RBI and 83 R. You can pretty much write down 20/90/80 right now with the potential for more, and while he doesn’t bring the “flash” the production should still be there.
- Corey Dickerson was another breakout player in 2015, hitting .312 with 24 HR over 436 AB. There was a “normal” Coors Field split, hitting .252 with 9 HR on the road. Of course there’s more upside, given his 25.4% line drive rate on the road (.313 BABIP). Don’t simply assume there’s going to be a significant regression as he’s shown power in the minors.
Make sure to check out all of our early 2015 rankings:
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