Outfield is one of the toughest positions to rank. At the top things are not as deep as we would like, but we are flooded with youngsters who have the potential to join the group of elite options. Can someone like Hunter Pence or Jay Bruce take that next step forward? Can Mike Stanton or Jason Heyward live up to the hype? Will Jason Bay, Nick Markakis and Ben Zobrist rebound from disappointing 2010 campaigns?
Let’s take a look at how these questions and all the rest factor into our updated rankings:
- Ryan Braun – Milwaukee Brewers
- Carlos Gonzalez – Colorado Rockies
- Carl Crawford – Boston Red Sox
- Matt Holliday – St. Louis Cardinals
- Matt Kemp – Los Angeles Dodgers
- Josh Hamilton – Texas Rangers
- Alex Rios – Chicago White Sox
- Andre Ethier – Los Angeles Dodgers
- Andrew McCutchen – Pittsburgh Pirates
- Hunter Pence – Houston Astros
- Jay Bruce – Cincinnati Reds
- Shin-Soo Choo – Cleveland Indians
- Jason Heyward – Atlanta Braves
- Nelson Cruz – Texas Rangers
- Justin Upton – Arizona Diamondbacks
- Mike Stanton – Florida Marlins
- Colby Rasmus – St. Louis Cardinals
- Jose Bautista – Toronto Blue Jays
- Jayson Werth – Washington Nationals
- Jacoby Ellsbury – Boston Red Sox
- Ichiro Suzuki – Seattle Mariners
- Curtis Granderson – New York Yankees
- Chris Young – Arizona Diamondbacks
- Shane Victorino – Philadelphia Phillies
- B.J. Upton – Tampa Bay Rays
- Jason Bay – New York Mets
- Nick Markakis – Baltimore Orioles
- Ben Zobrist – Tampa Bay Rays
- Delmon Young – Minnesota Twins
- Carlos Quentin – Chicago White Sox
- Andrew McCutchen is a player who has the potential to be one of the elite outfielders in the game. I know there is a stigma against him, playing for the Pirates and all, but do not let it skew your impression. There’s a good chance that he moves to the third hole giving him the opportunity to drive in more runs than he did in ’10 (56 RBI). As I’ve said before, he has the potential to be a .300/20/85/85/30 player in 2011. Is that something you are going to complain about? For more on McCutchen, make sure to check my previous article on him by clicking here.
- While Carlos Gonzalez may not be able to replicate a .384 BABIP, he still brings 30/100/100/30 potential. What exactly is there not to like about that? He’s a Top 10 overall option and a great pick in all formats.
- I know there are people who think extremely highly of Josh Hamilton, but I don’t see him as a Top 5 outfielder. The risk of injury is always going to hang over him, and he also benefited from an unrealistic .390 BABIP. He’s an extremely good option, but I would keep your expectations in check. For more on Hamilton and why I don’t see him as a first round option, click here.
- With Jayson Werth’s move to Washington his value has to take a bit of a hit. Of his 87 home runs over the past three years, 50 of them have come at Citizens Bank Ballpark. You also have to consider the fact that the supporting cast around him is just not going to be what it was in Philadelphia. You also can’t expect him to replicate a .296 average (.352 BABIP), as he is a career .272 hitter. All in all he’s a nice player, but someone that should be viewed as an OF2.
- There certainly is a risk hovering over Jason Bay given his injuries and inabilities in 2010, but I wouldn’t shy away from him. He has as much upside as anyone to outperform their draft position and, assuming he can fully comeback from his 2010 concussions, he should reemerge as a solid option. I’ve already stated that he has the potential to produce similar numbers to Hunter Pence, yet at least seven rounds later. For more on this comparison, click here.
- Not a believer in Mike Stanton as a Top 20 outfielder? He has already proven that he has Major League power by hitting 22 HR in 396 AB in ’10. I know the strikeouts are concerning, but he clearly has the makings of being Adam Dunn v2.0. Is there anyone who would complain about that? He’s certainly worth grabbing, especially considering how many players actually have the potential to hit 40 HR at this point.
- Does anyone really expect Jose Bautista to replicate his 2010 performance? Just keep that in mind.
What are your thoughts on the rankings? Whose too high? Whose too low?
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Make sure to check out our 2011 rankings: