AL Outfield Tiered Rankings Update

It may be a day late, but I assure it isn’t a dollar short. Today marks the updated tiers for American League outfield eligible players.

Tier One:
Josh Hamilton
Curtis Granderson
Jose Bautista
Adrian Gonzalez

Joey Bats was able to re-enter the upper echelon. Over the past 30 days he’s hit .348 with nine home runs and 23 RBI’s. Combine this past month with what he should project to do the rest of the season and you have yourself a top shelf player. Hamilton and Granderson continue to mash about as well as anyone could expect, so they’ve managed to hang onto the top spots as of right now. Now OF eligible in Yahoo! formats, A-Gon has seen himself debut in the tiered rankings where I think he will be come the end of the season. I think we would all be shocked if he didn’t end up as a top tier player.

Tier Two:
Adam Jones
Mike Trout
Austin Jackson

The biggest jump here is Trout becoming more or less an instant super star level player. This type of offensive production from someone so young truly ranks among the best names in the history of the game. Trout has so far been a solid source for average, OBP, power, steals and he has even chipped in 20 RBI’s already. I assumed he would be a very good player later down the road. I didn’t expect him to be great from the word go. Even while being on the 15-day disabled list, I am optimistic about Jackson for the rest of the season. This may change as soon next week, as he is going take live batting practice for the first time today and be evaluated afterwards.

Tier Three:
Josh Willingham
Matt Joyce
Mark Trumbo
Brett Gardner
Josh Reddick
Alejandro De Aza
Ben Zobrist
Desmond Jennings

This tier is beginning to represent the biggest surprise group around. I don’t know if anyone suspected Reddick or De Aza to hit and run at this level. Their respective counting stats for home runs and steals are very impressive. Joyce is crushing right-handed pitchers per usual, but this year his triple slash against lefties is an astonishing .265/.368/.408, good for a 124 wRC+. Of course we’re still well within the small sample size territory here, but having looked absolutely hopeless against left-handed pitchers in previous years, this is hopefully a sign of adjustment and comfort for Joyce. In his past 20 games, Joyce has only hit below the 5-hole twice: both times in a pinch hitter role. He’s hit third 16 times in those same 20 games. Joyce is producing at a fantastic level for now. Let’s hope he keeps it up. Gardner just played five innings in extended spring training. He appears on track to begin his minor league rehabbing momentarily. It remains to be seen exactly when he will return to the majors, but it could be as early as this weekend.

Tier Four:
B.J. Upton
Nelson Cruz
Nick Swisher
Shin-Soo Choo
Denard Span
David Murphy
Dayan Viciedo

Here we have a collection of players who’s values have fluctuated wildly for me this season. I had all but given up on Cruz before and been sky high on Swisher. Hopefully sticking them here doesn’t make it seem like I intentionally temporized on where to put them. Choo still isn’t hitting for very much power but his OBP skills make him a valuable commodity yet. Choo is running like himself of yesteryear as well. Last year he had 12 stolen bases all year; he is at eight bags already this year. If he can once again top the 20 SB mark then his fantasy value gets a significant boost.

Tier Five:
Ichiro Suzuki
Kendrys Morales
Howie Kendrick
Alex Gordon
Daniel Nava
Alex Rios
Yoenis Cespedes
Nick Markakis

This is the point where we start to see the edge of the state of diminishing returns. Every player from here on out has fairly serious question marks about sustainability or injury concern. Morales has the best chance to hit his way up to a higher ranking and Rios has shown to be the type of guy to fall off the map. Nava has exploded on to the radar of fantasy players everywhere, coming up from the minors to post a .303/.444/.513 line for the Red Sox in not quite 100 plate appearances. Given Boston’s outfield situation (currently 3 on the DL), Nava has time to play himself in or out of a starting role with the club. The downside here is that Nava is already 29. Age aside, he is walking more than he is striking out and is showing great numbers across the board; he even has two steals. Even with Markakis due to miss around four weeks with his broken wrist, he simply hits at too high of a level to leave off of the rankings.

Tier Six:
Ben Revere
Rajai Davis
Raul Ibanez
Torii Hunter
Andy Dirks
Cody Ross
Ryan Sweeney

Here we begin the descent about whether or not to pick up or drop players. You see a collection of injuries at the bottom, with two all speed no power guys at the top. Ibanez is placed here because I don’t know where to stick a DH vs right-handed pitching who’s OBP is .300 but who’s slugging is over .500. Dirks was well on his way to a much higher ranking until a bout with Achilles tendinitis looks like it will derail his season for some time. Sweeney is back and healthy, but his upside is handicapped by his poor power.

Tier Seven:
Coco Crisp
Michael Saunders
Jacoby Ellsbury
Michael Brantley
Nolan Reimold
Seth Smith
Jarrod Dyson
Jeff Francoeur
Carl Crawford

Getting close to the bottom of the barrel here. Reimold looks like he could be back some time in the near future, as he is apparently pain free now. With the return of Cespedes and Crisp, Smith finds himself without a full time job now. That being said, Smith has enough ability against right handers that he should be starting several times a week. I’d take a part time Smith over a full time Francouer. Dyson is basically a less proven version of Crisp. There isn’t a whole lot to prove when talking about matching Crisp’s offensive capabilities at this point, so Dyson could move up the rankings with a few good weeks.

Tier Eight:
Colby Rasmus
Delmon Young
Marlon Byrd
Vernon Wells
Brennan Boesch
Johnny Damon
Mike Carp
Ryan Raburn

These guys are all droppable in all but the deepest of leagues. The best quality one can say about guys in the bottom tier here is that they get playing time sometimes they hit. If your league title hinges on these players, that door to the championship is going to get slammed in your face.




Print This Post

You can catch David spouting off about baseball, the Oakland A's, StarCraft II, and other nerdy things by following him on twitter.

43 Responses to “AL Outfield Tiered Rankings Update”

You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.
  1. eoin says:

    I feel that you are much too high on Austin Jackson, especially with injury status unclear.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    • David Wiers says:

      That’s the big thing that I worried about. As of that writing, I hadn’t heard anything decidedly too negative, so I took the optimistic approach. This could look very silly in a couple weeks, but that could be said for almost all of these rankings.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

  2. Mark R says:

    Mitch Moreland?

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    • David Wiers says:

      Ahh. I used a FG sortable leader board and set a 30 PA minimum. He slipped through the crack, but yes, good point, he is OF eligible in Yahoo!.

      I’d slip him in the bottom of tier four or the upper end of tier five.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

  3. Ogre39666 says:

    Am I missing something or are Justin Upton and Lucas Duda absent?

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  4. Skob says:

    Where would you slot Lorenzo Cain if he can come back this month?

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    • David Wiers says:

      Pretty low. ZiPS doesn’t like him much and I’m not crazy about him. He doesn’t offer plus speed or power and the best (realistic) case scenario for his AVG is what, .285?

      Vote -1 Vote +1

      • Ervin Santana says:

        This seems equally true of De Aza – ZiPS projects him downtrending to just low 700 OPS because of his hugely inflated BABIP. Why so high?

        Vote -1 Vote +1

      • tfboyle says:

        De Aza has always had a high BABIP at every level usually in the mid .300′s, so his current .370 BABIP isn’t terribly atypical. I would expect a drop, but nothing dramatic.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

  5. strategy ace says:

    Seth Smith offers very little fantasy wise as an OF. He’s not in the same league as most others in that tier.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    • David Wiers says:

      When he plays he hits fairly well, especially if you happen to be in an OBP league. His RBI/Runs won’t be fantastic because of his teammates, but Smith is still ownable.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

  6. saskatunes says:

    I don’t know if I’d say Peter Bourjos (NR) is worse than Ryan Raburn… unless he just got traded to the NL? Please tell me he did.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    • David Wiers says:

      I know I have a couple part-timeish guys listed (Smith, Davis) but I just don’t see the plate apperances for Bourjos. Trout obviously has locked down CF. Trumbo is hitting way too well to be benched and Morales has the DH spot nailed down. That leaves RF for Hunter/Wells/Bourjos.

      If Bourjos could get even 4 games a week, he’d be in tier 6 for his steals alone.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

      • AA says:

        Actually, if Trout and Bourjos are playing at the same time, Bourjos plays CF and Trout a corner.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

  7. johnnycuff` says:

    what else would it take to move adam jones into tier 1?

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  8. Big Jgke says:

    Isn’t your statement on Brett Gardner a little premature?

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  9. Tyler Groves says:

    Guys, thoughts on this: would you do Prince & Verlander for Sale, Broxton, Brantley and Trumbo in AL-only? Will only have JJ for saves after..

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  10. David Wiers says:

    Sorry for just now making it to the comments. Commute + work = not much time in the day left over. Here we go.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  11. Reverend Jim says:

    Andy Dirks? I know he’s on the DL but so are reimold & Ellsbury. Yes he came out of nowhere but he put up good enough numbers to be considered…

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  12. Sean says:

    Does Trout move up into Tier One if he has another month or two like May?

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    • David Wiers says:

      Absolutely. His numbers are crazy high.

      I kind of expect him to come back down to Earth as not even he is capable of a .394 BABIP. But if his true talent BABIP is maybe .340, his end of the season stats will still be impressive.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

  13. JeremyR says:

    It’s funny how you dropped Colby Rasmus into Tier 8 just as he’s apparently heating up.

    The guy is streaky.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  14. FlawlessTomLawless says:

    I don’t know how Gardner and David Murphy are that high, while Upton, Nelson Cruz and Cespedes are that low…otherwise I think the rankings are fairly accurate.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  15. AL Expert says:

    I think your vastly underrating what Michael Brantley is doing right now. He’s contributing in four categories at above average levels, and will outproduce his Zips ROS RBI projections if he continues to hit in the 5 spot of the lineup.

    I am still scratching my head with Murphy’s placement in tier 4. He is nowhere close to the same class as Upton, Cruz, Choo, etc.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  16. Eric says:

    How is Zobrist a Tier Three OF? He’s having a horrible year

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  17. Luke says:

    Why isn’t Luke Scott on here? He has OF eligibility in ESPN leagues. Given that, where would you rank him?

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  18. radicalhenri says:

    I don’t understand why cruz is this low.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  19. radicalhenri says:

    wait, wait, wait. This is for the rest of the season right? because if you think jacoby ellsbury will produce worse numbers ROS than daniel nava, you are insane. He’s coming back within a few weeks, and was one of the best players in the game last year. These rankings would make much more sense if they were for what people have produced so far this year. Is that what i’m missing?

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    • David Wiers says:

      It’s an amalgamation of both what they’ve done so far and they figure to do the rest of the way.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

  20. Jorge says:

    Colby Rasmus is probably just as good if not better than Viciedo and yet you have him ranked four tiers lower.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

Current day month ye@r *