by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)
Outfield feels like a deep position, at least given the number of eligible candidates around the league. That said there’s a clear top tier, with a fairly significant drop off after the first 6-8 names come off the board. That doesn’t mean that those next players are “bad” (because they obviously aren’t) or lack upside, but they have flaws and potential downside. Which outfielders offer the most value on draft day? Let’s kick off our rankings with #1-10:
1) Mike Trout – Los Angeles Angels
2) Mookie Betts – Boston Red Sox
3) Kris Bryant – Chicago Cubs
4) Bryce Harper – Washington Nationals
5) Charlie Blackmon – Colorado Rockies
6) Trea Turner – Washington Nationals
7) George Springer – Houston Astros
8) A.J. Pollock – Arizona Diamondbacks
9) Nelson Cruz – Seattle Mariners
10) Yoenis Cespedes – New York Mets
Just Missed – Ryan Braun, Giancarlo Stanton, Gregory Polanco
- One of the most surprising names to be this highly ranked is probably Trea Turner, who burst onto the scene in ’16 by hitting .342 with 13 HR and 33 SB in 324 PA. Obviously he’s not quite that good (.388 BABIP, for instance), but he does bring immense speed (58 total SB between Triple-A and the Majors) and the ability to reach double-digit HR. Throw in scoring a lot of runs, hitting atop the order and the lack of speed around the game, it’s easy to push Turner a little bit higher than you’d expect.
- George Springer finally got a full season in the Majors and delivered by hitting 29 HR to go along with 82 RBI and 116 R. He spent a lot of time hitting atop the order (467 AB), something that should continue, and there’s the potential for him to add SB as well (45 SB in the minors in ’13). If he could improve the strikeout rate another step he’d be even better, but as it is there’s a lot to like.
- It’s easy to overlook A.J. Pollock, after he missed the bulk of ’16 due to injury. Don’t forget how great he was in ’15 (.315 with 20 HR and 39 RBI) and even in his 12 games last season he showed similar upside (2 HR and 4 SB).
- It was a miserable season for Bryce Harper, at least by his standards, but does that mean we send him spiraling down the rankings? Don’t be so quick, as we discussed in our 2017 projection (click here to view).
Sources – Fangraphs, Brooks Baseball
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Make sure to check out our other Early 2017 Rankings: