by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)
Outfield is hardly a shallow position, especially with numerous young players either breaking out (Mookie Betts) or having the potential to emerge (Gregory Polanco). Throw in some players who will likely play at other positions, yet have eligibility (like Kris Bryant, Trea Turner and Ian Desmond), and there is ample options to pick from. Who are the best? Let’s take a look:
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) J.D. Martinez – Detroit Tigers
8) Yoenis Cespedes – New York Mets
9) Nelson Cruz – Seattle Mariners
10) George Springer – Houston Astros
11) Giancarlo Stanton – Miami Marlins
12) A.J. Pollock – Arizona Diamondbacks
13) Ian Desmond – Colorado Rockies
14) Gregory Polanco – Pittsburgh Pirates
15) Ryan Braun – Milwaukee Brewers
16) Carlos Gonzalez – Colorado Rockies
17) Jose Bautista – Toronto Blue Jays
18) Mark Trumbo – Baltimore Orioles
19) Justin Upton – Detroit Tigers
20) Christian Yelich – Miami Marlins
- Remember when the debate was between Mike Trout and Bryce Harper for the top spot? While Harper’s stock has fallen slightly, that doesn’t mean that he should be completely ignored. While his numbers were down last season (notably his .243 average), he still provided a 20/20 season (24 HR/21 SB) and showed improved plate discipline (8.6% SwStr%, 27.0% O-Swing%). Don’t be surprised to find him back in the conversation for one of the top two spots entering 2018/
- After missing most of ’16 due to injury it’s easy to forget about A.J. Pollock. At this time last year he was viewed as a Top 10 outfielder, after hitting .315 with 20 HR and 39 SB in 2015. At the end of the day he could prove to be a bargain, belonging in the same tier as Trea Turner and Charlie Blackmon.
- Speaking of outfielders with significant upside, the same can be said for Gregory Polanco. He showed off power (22 HR) and speed (17 SB) last season, though he struggled to a .258 average. Given his speed and line drive rate (24.0%) he should improve his BABIP (.291), and his strikeout rate isn’t crippling (20.3%). With the potential to hit .270+ with the other numbers, he has the makings of a Top 10 outfielder.
- After sitting as free agents for some time, both Jose Bautista and Mark Trumbo ended up resigning with their original teams. In both cases it probably was for the best, as they both should continue to thrive in their current situations.
- Justin Upton is among the streakiest players in the game. That’s hardly a revelation, though 2016 saw it to extreme levels. Still he ultimately hit 31 HR with 87 RBI and 81 R, so the production was there (for the most part). Just be prepared for the peaks and valleys.
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Make sure to check out our other Early 2017 Rankings:
|Starting Pitcher||#1-20 |02/27/17|