Outfield is one of the toughest positions in baseball to determine the rankings for thanks to “extreme” players. Where does Adam Dunn and his immense power fall? What about Ichiro, who has developed into an average machine but is no longer the stolen base source he once was? Throw in some injury returnees (Carlos Beltran & Grady Sizemore) and some players on the cusp of super stardom (Justin Upton) and it’s an interesting mix.
Keep in mind that these rankings are still preliminary as I continue to fine-tune my projections to finalize things. With that said, let’s take a look at how things currently stand:
- Ryan Braun – Milwaukee Brewers
- Matt Kemp – Los Angeles Dodgers
- Carl Crawford – Tampa Bay Rays
- Jacoby Ellsbury – Boston Red Sox
- Carlos Beltran – New York Mets
- Grady Sizemore – Cleveland Indians
- Justin Upton – Arizona Diamondbacks
- Jason Bay – Free Agent
- Adam Lind – Toronto Blue Jays
- Matt Holliday – Free Agent
- Nick Markakis – Baltimore Orioles
- Andre Ethier – Los Angeles Dodgers
- Carlos Lee – Houston Astros
- Ben Zobrist – Tampa Bay Rays
- Josh Hamilton – Texas Rangers
- Ichiro Suzuki – Seattle Mariners
- Adam Dunn – Washington Nationals
- Manny Ramirez – Los Angeles Dodgers
- Curtis Granderson – New York Yankees
- Bobby Abreu – Los Angeles Angels
- Shin-Soo Choo – Cleveland Indians
- Jayson Werth – Philadelphia Phillies
- Carlos Quentin – Chicago White Sox
- Nelson Cruz – Texas Rangers
- Shane Victorino – Philadelphia Phillies
- B.J. Upton – Tampa Bay Rays
- Hunter Pence – Houston Astros
- Raul Ibanez – Philadelphia Phillies
- Adam Jones – Baltimore Orioles
- Torii Hunter – Los Angeles Angels
- Andrew McCutchen – Pittsburgh Pirates
- Jay Bruce – Cincinnati Reds
- Nate McLouth – Atlanta Braves
- Denard Span – Minnesota Twins
- Jason Kubel – Minnesota Twins
- It’s easy to simply write-off Beltran, claiming that he’s a huge injury risk after losing a significant portion of the 2009 season. He had over 500 AB every season from 2001-2008, only twice having less than 554 (not to mention 663 AB back in 1999). I wouldn’t completely downgrade him because of one year where he was lost due to injury, especially when he was able to return in September (and hit .305 in 17 games).
- Manny Ramirez is one of the best hitters in the game, though he hit just .255 in the second half and will turn 38-years old during the season. There’s a lot of risk there, especially with the 50-game suspension looming over him and the fact that you have to make sure you have a viable replacement on the bench.
- Don’t suddenly push Curtis Granderson well up your draft board simply because he is on the Yankees, though with Johnny Damon (who is outside the rankings for now until he signs since leaving Yankees Stadium will hurt his production) out of the picture he could slot into the #2 spot in the order. That means increased runs, to go along with power and a better average (as I discussed at the time of the trade, which you can read by clicking here). He is surely a #2 outfielder, but don’t reach too high for him.
- Matt Holliday & Jason Bay continue to be difficult to pinpoint their potential value as they remain unsigned. Once they find a team, things will become a little bit easier and will change a bit.
- Is Jason Kubel a viable outfielder in all formats? If he ever learned how to hit lefties, he’d easily be a #2 option. Against righties he hit .322 with 26 HR in just 366 AB. While I’d expect a bit of a regression there, he still makes you consider him as a third option, especially in the middle of an order joining Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau.
- Where should Adam Dunn fit in the rankings? He’s a pure power hitter, but the chances of him producing a usable average is unlikely. I know he hit .267 last season, but it came with a BABIP of .326 (his career mark is .294). Look for a regression there, but when you can count on 38+ home runs, how can you not like him?
- It’s easy to point to the ballpark to help explain Ibanez’ 34 HR explosion, but he actually just hit 13 HR at home. Don’t look for him to be able to repeat that type of production in 2010.
- Ben Zobrist does get a little bump in value thanks to his flexibility, so keep that in mind when considering his ranking.
Previous Early Rankings:
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