You’ve probably gotten a handle on how things are going here. We RotoGraph writers got together around Carson’s virtual, incredibly round table, and ranked the players. Then we smashed them together and today I’ll add the tiers. These rankings assume regular settings (but plan on seeing some articles about players that step forward in alternate settings). Once the season starts, I’ll be your NL OF correspondent, continually updating the rankings and discussing player news at the position.
RotoGraphs will also provide a list of mixed-league OF ranks. Because of the way things are set up here, we won’t be able to offer strong coverage at the position without splitting them into leagues. But we can give you a draft-prep sheet for mixed-league outfielders and will as soon as we can. And one last thing – click on the tags in the bottom right navbar and you can easily skip to the position you’d like to read about.
Though this tier is not without questions, the questions are a lot more muted than the rest of the position. Braun’s power will hopefully regress to career levels, and even if Gonzalez is unhappy about his regression in batted-ball luck, he should be a valuable player. Holliday is the metronome, but the lineup around him is worse than you might expect, and he owns less power than you might think. Don’t sell them short, though, they’re tremendous slouches/outfielders.
If you gotta call someone, you might as well call these guys. Every member of this tier will give you something in all five categories – and yet they may give a little something back somewhere else. Kemp’s Ks mean a lower batting average, McCutchen’s power is an open question, Werth is leaving a nice home park and has always struck out a lot, Heyward needs to stay healthy and show the power we know is coming, and Pence has to avoid the bad streak that comes almost every year.
This tier is mostly in transit. Some are on their way up, some on their way down, and all feature questions more prominently than the last group. For the most part, you won’t get a nice batting average here, and if you start falling behind in that category, you may find yourself skipping the group. That would be too bad, because someone here will dial it to eleven this year.
Same as the last verse, just a little bit worse. All the veterans here are closer to extinction, and all the young guys have lower ceilings. These guys are flawed, but if they fall far enough, they’ll provide your team with value. And even limited upside is still upside – just don’t put them on a pedestal.
This is not the time for a Will Ferrell referendum, but even his biggest fans would admit that he has better movies. Still, the movie was good for some great lines, and most of these guys will be able to hit offer some good lines for a stretch or two. Over the course of the year, you will start to see their flaws, but a few high notes is enough at their prices.
A fundamentally flawed movie and tier, you’ll still get a chuckle or two. One or two of these guys may even rise above his peers and make great movies, I mean become a fantasy regular at his position. But the odds are not in their favor this year.