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2013 Position Rankings: Outfielders

That's right, it's finally here: RotoAuthority's 2013 Position Rankings! Yeah, we're excited. So excited that we're kicking it off with the outfield, just to be that awesome. After a team discussion, featuring Tim Dierkes and the entire RotoAuthority staff, we've prepared tiered rankings that go 60 players deep. The players are divided into groups of similar value, and tiered by where they deserve to be drafted in a standard league. If you're bidding in an auction, consider players in the same tier to be of similar price. If a player has other positions in parentheses, that means you can draft and start him there. That's enough discussion--I mean, you probably skipped this paragraph and went right for the rankings anyway.

Early 1st Round

1. Mike Trout, LAA
2. Ryan Braun, MIL

These guys should be pretty obvious. What might be less obvious is how far they are from anyone else.

Mid-Late 1st Round

3. Andrew McCutchen, PIT
4. Giancarlo Stanton, MIA

I know Stanton's a bit against the grain here, but he's got so much power I don't care. In a better lineup, he'd be up with Trout and Braun.

2nd Round

5. Jose Bautista, TOR
6. Carlos Gonzalez, COL
7. Matt Kemp, LAD
8. Jason Heyward, ATL
9. Bryce Harper, WAS
10. Adam Jones, BAL
11. Justin Upton, ATL

Bautista's great...but in only three categories, while CarGo's perpetual small injuries really hurt his overall stats. Kemp lost speed last year and I'm not 100% confident that he'll get it back right away; combined with October shoulder surgery, that keeps him out of my first round. Heyward and Harper could take huge steps forward. So could Upton, but he's proved capable of taking big steps back too. No matter who you take, a lot of OF's are going in this round.

3rd Round

12. Matt Holliday, STL
13. Curtis Granderson, NYY
14. Josh Hamilton, LAA
15. B.J. Upton, ATL
16. Jay Bruce, CIN
16.5 Adrian Gonzalez, LAD (1B--18 games in OF)

Holliday is pretty underrated--sometimes consistency can keep your price down, I guess. If Granderson's lousy batting average was a BABIP lull, this will be a bargain. If it was a portent of decline, this could be way too high. I think his power is worth the risk. Hamilton is set for a decline, but his 2013 forecast looks better than his keeper future.

4th-5th Rounds

17. Yoenis Cespedes, OAK
18. Mark Trumbo, LAA
19. Shin-Soo Choo, CIN
20. Jacoby Ellsbury, BOS
21. Allen Craig, STL (1B)

Cespedes did a bit of everything last year, and it wouldn't surprise anyone if he improved on that performance. Especially with a little more health. Trumbo could rack up some huge RBI totals hitting in the lower half of the Angels' lineup, while Choo should score a ton or runs leading off for Cinncinnati. Ellsbury's 2011 power surge seems like forever ago, but the real risk for him is health. Healthy, and he's an elite OF even without the power. Craig carries health risks too, and it took until his late 20's for him to break out. I'm not screaming "fluke," but I do think there's plenty of downside to go with the potential.

6th-7th Rounds

22. Carlos Beltran, STL
23. Alex Gordon, KCR
24. Nick Swisher, CLE (1B)
25. Austin Jackson, DET
26. Josh Willingham, MIN
27. Ben Zobrist, TBR (2B/SS)
28. Michael Bourn, CLE

Beltran is totally underrated, but he isn't healthy or young, so I can understand some caution. What he is, though, is very, very good, so draft him anyway. If Gordon puts a few more of those 50 doubles over the wall, this could be well under his value. If it doesn't you'll wish you waited a couple rounds on him. Swisher is Matt Holliday lite--he does the same thing every year, therefore impressing no one and keeping his price down. Jackson's always-high BABIP keeps him useful; his wheels and his place atop the Tigers lineup make him very valuable. 

8th-9th Rounds

29. Desmond Jennings, TBR
30. Chris Davis, BAL (1B)
31. Alex Rios, CHW
32. Melky Cabrera, TOR 

Jennings is a good bet for steals and a decent bet for some improvement. Rios's up-and-down history keeps me scared away--which means he could be a great value for anyone braver than I am. What will a post-juice Cabrera do? Probably rack up runs and RBI's playing for Toronto.

10th-11th Rounds

33. Hunter Pence, SFG
34. Nelson Cruz, TEX
35. Angel Pagan, SFG
36. Shane Victorino, BOS
37. Alfonso Soriano, CHC
38. Norichika Aoki, MIL
39. Torii Hunter, DET

 A lot of people think Pence is on the way down, and AT&T park isn't helping. There's upside in going against the grain, but don't reach. Cruz didn't switch ballparks, but he has that PED clinic thing hanging over his head. Don't look now, but Soriano had a very productive year at the plate. Maybe it's time to stop punishing him for taking all those big checks from the Cubbies. I'm not overly optimistic about Hunter, but I think he'll see plenty of RBI opportunities.

12th-13th Rounds

40. Josh Reddick, OAK
41. Martin Prado, ARI (3B)
42. Andre Ethier, LAD
43. Nick Markakis, BAL
44. Ryan Ludwick, CIN
45. Coco Crisp, OAK
46. Ben Revere, PHI
47. Alejandro De Aza, CHW

Ludwick has a lot of power, and, if healthy, he could be one of the outfield's best bargains. Crisp and Revere make great late round speed grabs. A little good luck, and they could give you nearly all the value of higher-priced speedsters at a fraction of the cost.

14th-16th Rounds

48. Mike Morse, SEA
49. Carlos Gomez, MIL
50. Ichiro Suzuki, NYY
51. Jayson Werth, WAS
52. Adam Eaton, ARI
53. Carlos Quentin, SDP
54. Wil Myers, TBR
55. Carl Crawford, LAD
56. Cameron Maybin, SDP
57. Starling Marte, PIT

You know who I never thought would impress me? Carlos Gomez. But check it out, speed and power. Ichiro isn't who he used to be, but don't be shocked if he helps out in runs and steals without hurting in average. Werth's power disappeared last year, so this is purely an upside play. Eaton and Myers have impact-level talent--the only question is when they come up to the Show. Should Myers win the job out of camp, move him up this list. When will Crawford get back? What will he be like when does? I don't know, so I'm not going to count on him for anything.

17th-18th Rounds 

58. Jason Kubel, ARI
59. Dexter Fowler, COL
60. Michael Cuddyer, COL
61. Denard Span, WAS

Yeah, you get a free bonus player--I just couldn't kick Span off the list. Kubel and Cuddyer could do a lot for your power, but they have a lot of health questions. Fowler does everything--except rack up big totals in homers or steals.

Bench OF's to Target (19th Round and Beyond):

Depending on how deep your league goes, you might need to reach a little further into the pool. Instead of taking whichever random guy is next on your draft website's list, grab a bench player to suit your real needs.

Power: Dayan ViciedoGarrett JonesRyan Doumit (C), Jeff Francoeur,  Chris YoungMatthew Joyce

Speed: Brett Gardner, Juan PierreDarin MastroianniPeter BourjosDrew Stubbs

Youth/Upside: Justin RuggianoBrandon Moss (1B), Lorenzo Cain,  Oscar Taveras, Leonys Martin

Balance: Michael SaundersCorey Hart (1B), Cody RossLogan Morrison, Colby RasmusDavid Murphy

As always, the outfield is deep. Your best strategy will depend on how many  OF's your league requires you to start each day. If you start five, then you should start grabbing them early. If you only play three, you can afford to get premium players at other positions and fill in your outfield a little later. In either case, I always like to get some extra steals towards the end of the draft and the outfield is a great place to find them.



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