2017 Rankings (OBP): Top 30 Outfielders: Harper Rises To #2 & More

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

There is a trend for leagues to move away from the traditional AVG category, and instead utilizing OBP or OPS.  How does that type of change impact our rankings?  In many cases it may not be a dramatic change, but there definitely are those who rise and those who fall.

Unlike many other positions, the outfield rankings see significant movement throughout thanks to the change to OBP.  Not only is there a shakeup at the top, there are a few players who rise 10+ spots on the rankings (sneaking them into the Top 30).  Who are the players making the biggest move?  Let’s take a look:

1. Mike Trout – Los Angeles Angels (1)
2. Bryce Harper – Washington Nationals (4)
3. Kris Bryant – Chicago Cubs (3)
4. Mookie Betts – Boston Red Sox (2)
5. Charlie Blackmon – Colorado Rockies (5)
6. Trea Turner – Washington Nationals (6)
7. George Springer – Houston Astros (10)
8. Giancarlo Stanton – Miami Marlins (11)
9. Jose Bautista – Toronto Blue Jays (16)
10. J.D. Martinez – Detroit Tigers (7)
11. Nelson Cruz – Seattle Mariners (9)
12. Yoenis Cespedes – New York Mets (8)
13. A.J. Pollock – Arizona Diamondbacks (12)
14. Gregory Polanco – Pittsburgh Pirates (13)
15. Ryan Braun – Milwaukee Brewers (14)
16. Carlos Gonzalez – Colorado Rockies (15)
17. Mark Trumbo – Baltimore Orioles (16)
18. Andrew McCutchen – Pittsburgh Pirates (22)
19. Christian Yelich – Miami Marlins (19)
20. Justin Upton – Detroit Tigers (18)
21. Starling Marte – Pittsburgh Pirates (20)
22. Billy Hamilton – Cincinnati Reds (21)
23. Khris Davis – Oakland A’s (24)
24. Joc Pederson – Los Angeles Dodgers (26)
25. Kyle Schwarber – Chicago Cubs (25)
26. Lorenzo Cain – Kansas City Royals (27)
27. Shin-Soo Choo – Texas Rangers (37)
28. Dexter Fowler – St. Louis Cardinals (43)
29. Adam Eaton – Washington Nationals (28)
30. Ian Desmond – Colorado Rockies (32)

 

Thoughts:

  • While you could argue that Bryce Harper is coming off a “down” season, he went 20/20 (24 HR and 21 SB) and put up one of the elite walk rates in the league (17.2%, after a 19.0% mark in ’15).  Given his power/speed combination there’s little doubt that he’s going to improve upon his .243 average (which was suppressed by a .264 BABIP).  Couple the improved average with the walk rate and other factors and you got one of the monster players in the league.  He’s not going to match his .460 OBP from ’15, but he’s going to be elite.
  • George Springer brings power and speed, and he also has shown an ability to consistently draw a walk (11.5% for his career).  That has helped him to a .356 OBP, a far better mark than his strikeout suppressed AVG (.261 in ’16).  Of course his strikeout rate has been trending in the right direction and any further improvement there is going to help him fully breakout in ’17.
  • We all know that Jose Bautista is going to post a poor average, but he certainly knows how to draw a walk (16.8% in ’16).  With Edwin Encarnacion now in Cleveland there’s the potential that opposing pitchers further avoid giving Bautista something to hit, making an even better OBP possible.  With his power he is one of the biggest benefactors of the change in scoring.
  • Speaking of players’ whose value rises, Shin-Soo Choo and Dexter Fowler may be the biggest benefactors of all.  Last season Fowler posted the tenth best walk rate in baseball (14.3%), helping him to a .393 OBP (and that certainly helps to offset any concerns).  Choo has been injury prone in recent seasons, but he owns a career 12.0% walk rate and .381 OBP, so there is little doubt that he’s a highly valuable commodity.

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Make sure to check out our other 2017 Rankings:

Position
Standard League
OBP League
Catcher03/20/1702/28/17
First Base01/16/1703/07/17
Second Base03/22/1703/09/17
Third Base02/06/1703/12/17
Shortstop02/13/1703/15/17
Outfield#1-20 |03/16/17

#21-40 |03/16/17
03/19/17
Starting Pitcher#1-20 |02/27/17

#21-40 |03/02/17
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Relief Pitcher01/02/17--

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