Fantasy Baseball Player Rankings – Outfield

Here are the detailed player rankings for outfield. Outfielders always strike me as the most volatile hitting position in the game. Heck, by the time I finish typing out all of these rankings, the rankings themselves should probably be redone. So draft this position carefully, and remember there are always bargains to be had in the middle heap.

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1) Ryan Braun- Has been a consistent fantasy stud ever since his call up in 2007. And when I am evaluating such a volatile position, consistency is something I want to see before I hand out a number one ranking. Some might be concerned with Braun’s apparent power decline, but after closer examination of his peripherals, his drop off in HR’s in 2010 was caused by a simple aberration in HR/FB ratio. Look for power to return to normal levels in 2011.

2) Carlos Gonzalez- Some say his breakout was lucky, and in a sense they are right. He hit at an unsustainable BABIP, and saw a bit of a HR/FB ration spike. However the spike could be caused by a natural power growth, and we could be looking at a new normal level. On top of that, even if he drops 20 points off his batting average from last year, we are still looking at a .300 hitter. Bottom line is: the power and average might take a small step back, but when you tack on the 20+ stolen bases, you still have a ridiculous fantasy stat line.

3) Josh Hamilton- Speaking of unsustainable BABIP, Hamilton’s .359 batting average is certainly not sustainable, but the power here mixed in with a potent offense is certainly legit. This guy can hit. The biggest risk here is injury concern, and word is the Rangers are moving him to left field to help stave off injuries. If he stays healthy for a full season, watch out.

4) Carl Crawford- When you look at his numbers over the past six years, this guy is about as consistent as they come. He’s going to hit for a .300 average, and pop 15+ homeruns. It’s his speed that makes him so valuable. There is some slight concern that the Red Sox won’t let him run as much as he did in Tampa Bay. But seriously, it’s Carl Crawford we’re talking about here. He should have the green light every time he’s on the base paths.

5) Nelson Cruz- Struggled with injuries the entire season, but if he stays healthy you’re looking at a 30-30 hitter no problem. That upside is too high to pass on. Even through last year’s injury plagued fiasco he still drilled 22 homers and stole 17 bases in a mere 399 at bats. If he stays healthy the entire year, you might be looking at the number one fantasy outfielder.

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6) Matt Holliday- As stable skill set as you’ll find, the only thing that will eventually slow him down will be age. He hasn’t shown anything to warrant a return to the glorious stat lines he put up with the Rockies, but you should expect the same level of production that he’s put up the past two seasons.

7) Jayson Werth- Of course he is now playing for the Nationals without Adam Dunn, but there’s still Ryan Zimmerman, and some decent speed hitting in front of him. Expect a drop off in stats but not enough to drop him from fantasy’s top tier of outfielders.

8 – Matt Kemp- A fantasy owner’s worst nightmare in 2010, can partially be blamed on manager Joe Torre, who just never gave Kemp consistent action last year, with Kemp in his doghouse. Was also absolutely miserable on the base paths getting caught stealing almost 50% of the time. I also honestly think his drop on BABIP was due to his severe lack of hustle. However, this season with Torre out, the only person blocking Kemp’s path back to fantasy stardom is Kemp himself. I say rebound year.

9) Shin-Soo Choo- Consistent power, speed and average. Has all the assets to be a fantasy stud, but is hampered by the (lack of) Cleveland offense. Expect the same level of production again in 2011.

10) Justin Upton- Reports of his demise have been greatly exaggerated. Sure his stat line regressed in 2010, but the eight less HR’s can be attributed to a dip in HR/FB% and nagging injuries. Speed remained there, so a slight uptick in HR’s when his power returns this year will kick the RBI’s and runs back up to previous levels. Plus he’s got plenty of upside, and potential growth. Don’t let him fall.

11) Andrew McCutchen- A closer examination of his stat line makes me think of him as “the middle class Carl Crawford” . He won’t produce the eye popping Crawford stats, but his stat line will be remarkably proportional. He’s young, and has speed and upside. Just don’t forget he is still stuck on the Pirates.

12) Shane Victorino- Speaking of middle class Carl Crawfords here we are again. It’s amazing how similar projections are for Victorino and McCutchen. They are virtually the same player stat wise. Victorino might be aging slightly when compared to McCutchen, but he also plays on the Phillies as compared to the Pirates.

13) Andre Either- Was slugging away most of the season until he fell victim to injury. Peripherals are there, and his power is legit. Just don’t forget that you will not be getting any speed with him at a position where many people pick up their SBs from.

14) Jason Heyward- The big 6’5, 245 pound man-child catches my eye. Was streaky last season, but produced a very viable stat line. Expect growth as he matures, and don’t forget the big fella can still toss you double digit stolen bases.

15) Alex Rios- After two years off, turned himself back into a fantasy stud. Be wary here as the 20+ HR power is not to stay. The speed is, however, and that’s what you should be drafting with him.

Check out the rest of the outfield rankings at MSF Fantasy Sports.

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Statistics provided by FanGraphs



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