American League Tiered Outfield Rankings — June 2014

Rather than get dragged into a pizza-themed battle again, this month’s tiered rankings will be named after my favorite “Futurama” background characters. In order to qualify as a background character, they must appear in at least three episodes and cannot be a main character like Fry, Leela, etc.

Zapp Brannigan

Mike Trout

Still in a tier by himself — despite the recent back pain — even if he does end up on the disabled list. Rather than being his usual incredible self, this year Trout has merely been really, really good. Hopefully his back issues can be resolved without a trip to the DL.


Shin-Soo Choo
Jacoby Ellsbury
Jose Bautista
Nelson Cruz
Adam Jones

Choo continues to climb the ranks despite his lack of steals this year (just three SB and 3 CS) because of his leadoff spot for a team that plays half of its games in one of the most hitter friendly parks in baseball. I can’t argue Cruz’s performance to date and on top of leading the league in home runs, he’s shown an increased walk rate while cutting down a bit on the strikeouts. Cruz’s SwStr% and other swing rates are in line with his career norms so I’m not sure how long the walk rate will remain in the double digits. Still, I was admittedly skeptical of how much he had left in the tank and it appears the answer is plenty. Jones gets lowered to the bottom of tier two based on his three-year drop in walk rate and is now down to 2% on the year.

Robot Devil

Josh Hamilton
Yoenis Cespedes
Alex Rios
Brandon Moss
Alex Gordon

Moss climbs in the rankings as I’m beginning to buy into his reduced strikeout rate. His 73.8% Contact% is his highest mark since 2010 and his 12.7% Swstr% (while still high) is also his best rate since 2010. Moss has a very good chance at 30 home runs for the second year in a row and while he has platoon issues, he crushes right-handed pitchers enough to be valuable in any format.

Hedonism Bot

Melky Cabrera
George Springer
Leonys Martin
Coco Crisp
Austin Jackson
Torii Hunter
Adam Eaton
Michael Bourn

The Melkman gets the top nod in tier four here as his average is up as is his ISO. He already has eight dingers this year and it is possible he could reach 20 for the first time in a single season if a few doubles catch the right gust of wind. My boy Springer climbs the rankings as well given his power potential. His massive 30% strikeout rate will keep him out of the very top tiers this year but his double digit walk rate does help offset the whiffs. I’d really like to see him run a bit more as he has just one steal against two CS. He has a chance at 30 home runs this year and if his power continues to shine, he may get moved into a more lucrative RBI lineup slot rather than continue hitting second.


Michael Brantley
Brett Gardner
Kole Calhoun
Rajai Davis
Carlos Beltran
Shane Victorino
Desmond Jennings
Wil Myers
Alfonso Soriano
Matt Joyce

Some drops and some risers here. I gave Brantley a boost after re-evaluating him. I’m skeptical of his 16.7% HR/FB% against his career 6.2%  rate, but I like seeing his 8:0 SB/CS rate. Myers drops to the fifth tier due to his injury and recovery timetable. Beltran is now in the midst of his minor league rehab and should be back in a week. He can climb the rankings once again if he can prove to be healthy. Fellow Yankees outfielder Soriano has looked lost at the plate at times this year. Currently hitting .226/253/.392, Soriano is also posting the highest strikeout rate of his career alongside the lowest walk rate. Not exactly a recipe for success there. He should still clear the 20 home run mark but we’ll see if his ratios are too poor to roster that middle-of-the-road power.


Josh Willingham
Colby Rasmus
Dayan Viciedo
Jarrod Dyson
Nick Markakis
Nick Swisher
Norichika Aoki
Alejandro De Aza
Lorenzo Cain
Aaron Hicks
Michael Saunders

A lot of AL Central outfielders here. Readers should now by know I am quite fond of Willinham’s power and on-base prowess. I still like Dyson’s speed but the Kansas City outfield is awfully crowded. Swisher has had a disastrous start to the season and now he’s on the DL.

Kif Kroker

David Murphy
David DeJesus
Kelly Johnson
Oswaldo Arcia
Nick Castellanos
Josh Reddick
Anthony Gose
Dexter Fowler

Reddick is on the shelf nursing an injury. Gose has speed to burn but I worry about his contact rates being able to keep up with big league pitching.


Craig Gentry
Michael Choice
Ichiro Suzuki
Grady Sizemore
Dustin Ackley
Chris Carter
James Jones
Jackie Bradley Jr.

The A’s use all sorts of platoons and lineup shuffles so Gentry could get some decent playing time, especially with Reddick on the DL and Crisp and Cespedes never too far way from a few days of rest. If nothing else he is a good pinch runner and could nab 20+ steals. Choice has a chance to move up if he can carve out some playing time. I like his power potential as well as his walk rate. Carter may be on his last legs with the addition of Jonathan Singleton to the roster.

Malfunctioning Eddie

Don Kelly
Mike Carp
Daniel Nava
Jonny Gomes
L.J. Hoes
Ryan Raburn
Robbie Grossman
Jason Kubel

I’ve held out hopes of Kubel’s power making a comeback but I really don’t know how much longer the Twins can send him out. Since the start of last season Kubel has been worth -2.6 WAR.

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You can catch David spouting off about baseball, soccer, esports and other things by following him on twitter, @davidwiers.

47 Responses to “American League Tiered Outfield Rankings — June 2014”

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  1. seriously... says:

    hypnotoad should be the top tier- not Branigan…. HYPNOTOAD RULES ALL!

    +5 Vote -1 Vote +1

  2. buzzo says:

    Scruffy needs to be way higher. Higher than Hedonism Bot or Kif. Rankings are void.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  3. The Humber Games says:

    I would like to be the first to post the obligatory ‘OMG you forgot *insert NL outfielder here* LOLZ’ comment

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  4. Kevin says:

    Eaton has been horrible. That’s a very generous ranking.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Sgt. Hulka says:

      Eaton and Brantley should definitely switch tiers at the very least. I have no shares in Brantley, and I wish I did.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

      • pudieron89 says:

        Yeah, IDK why Brantley is still getting shit on by FG authors. He contributes in many cats while being outstanding at none, but that has very nice value. At least enough for Tier 4, where I would bump down Bourn down to 5. He was on the waiver wire in my 12-teamer until yesterday.

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      • Adam says:

        I’m also not buying into Brantley’s power. The distance on his batted balls doesn’t support it.

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      • RT says:

        I agree completely.

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      • Luke says:

        Brantley being a tier below Bourn and Eaton is completely indefensible…unless you’re going by 2012 numbers (and in Eaton’s case, 2012 AAA numbers!). Even if Brantley’s 2014 breakout is a complete mirage and he returns to his 2013 form, that is still more valuable than what I would project from either Eaton or Bourn.

        As for Brantley’s HR/FB jump – he’s added 9 feet to his HR/FB distance (276 to 285). That’s significant enough to not be dismissed, at least. Hell, 285 is 2 feet better than Brandon Moss! No, Brantley won’t maintain that 16.7% rate that he has now, but he shouldn’t drop all the way to last year’s 6.8% either. I think his true talent self at this point is probably a 15-20 HR player. Combine that with 15-20 steals, a .280-.300 AVG, and solid Rs and RBIs, and you easily have a top 15 AL outfielder.

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  5. The Humber Games says:

    OMG no Puig??? ;)

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  6. Matt says:

    I can’t stand Cespedes. OBP or average, he will sink your team. I basically dropped Cespedes (traded him for Alex Wood for some late-season starter insurance) recently.

    I’m also a fan of Willingham. Snatched him off the waiver wire in my OBP league.

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  7. Johnny says:

    Brantley being in that tier is laughable

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    • pudieron89 says:

      Who wants a 145 wRC+ with 17 HR+SB anyways, amirite?

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      • Jason B says:

        Yeah, lotsa leagues use wRC+?

        (Your point stands, but that’s more an indicator of his value to the Indians than to Bob’s Bangerz; better indicator of real world value than fantasy value.)

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    • David Wiers says:

      As stated, I don’t buy into his HR rate yet. I don’t hate his game or him personally, just giving my thoughts here. He’s the 21st ranked outfielder and an argument can be made for higher, but I do like him decently enough.

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  8. Walt says:

    Where’s Geronimo Berroa?

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  9. pags140 says:

    Rankings, how droll.

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  10. Nixon says:

    How dare you forget about me! Get’em Agnew!

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  11. Jeff (not the one who posted above) says:

    Oswaldo Arcia will climb…pretty good since he got back and big power potential.
    I have shares in Gordon and would trade him for anyone in that tier. Though the recent power may mean a bounce-back.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  12. Andrew says:

    Second the Brantley comment. If somebody offered me their Brantley for my Josh Hamilton, I’d accept in a heartbeat.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Feeding the Abscess says:

      If Hamilton continues his newfound plate discipline, the Hamilton owner will win that trade by the end of the season.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

  13. Zoidberg says:

    Your rankings are bad and you should feel bad!

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  14. DeQuarium Lumpkin says:

    Looking at Cespedes, his swing rate hasn’t changed, but it looks like he’s traded last year’s strikeouts for weak fly balls:

    2014 vs. 2013
    K%: 23.9 – 19.4
    O-Contact%: 61.7 – 72.0
    FB% 45.6 – 52.1
    Fly Ball Dist.: 290 – 277

    He’s making career-best contact in the zone (80.4 – 73.4), so there’s room for improvement. But weak fly balls are going to limit has BABIP ceiling. If current trends hold, it looks like his ZIPS/Steamer projections will be spot on.

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  15. Dong Quixote says:

    Aaron Hicks one full tier ahead of Dexter Fowler seems indefensible.

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  16. that says:

    i agree entirely with this li- ALL GLORY TO THE HYPNOTOAD

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  17. Kevin Pillar says:

    Where am I?

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  18. Walkswith4balls says:

    Your fourth tier is a complete joke. The only two that belong are Cabrera and Springer. Bourne? Eaton? Brantley is better than 80% of that tier. He’s also top-15 in my yahoo league right now. How high were you when you constructed this list? All name recognition at this point. When the heck are you going to do NL OF ranks?

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  19. Mark says:

    We’re still overrating Choo?

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  20. Sean says:

    With Brandon Moss, the platoon issues were there in years past, but he is actually hitting lefties this year. He’s improved with playing time and I think he’s close to being a lock for 30 homers.

    Vote -1 Vote +1