I couldn’t get to all the position players where my rank was significantly different than the consensus, and mostly because there are so many dang outfielders. So Tonto, let’s jump on it.
Alex Gordon (ES: 27, RG: 22)
Starling Marte (ES: 28, RG: 23)
Melky Cabrera (ES: 19, RG: 29)
Norichika Aoki (ES: 52, RG: 42)
Matt Kemp (ES: 53, RG: 43)
Marcell Ozuna (ES: 44, RG: 52)
Oswaldo Arcia (ES: 69, RG: 60)
Alfonso Soriano (ES: 99, RG: 73)
David Murphy (ES: 65, RG: 77)
Carlos Quentin (ES: 95, RG: 81)
Corey Dickerson (ES: 72, RG: 93)
Cameron Maybin (ES: 73, RG: 94)
Robbie Grossman (ES: 96, RG: 105)
Alex Gordon is obviously still a useful starting outfielder in most leagues. But for me, he’s more a third outfielder than second. That has something to do with his batted ball mix. He’s hitting more fly balls these days, more in line with his non-2012 compaign, and so I’m not comfortable pushing the batting average on balls in play towards his career .321 number. I actually think he might lose some ground there. Since stolen bases don’t age well, and he’s not taking off at a great rate, I see him more as a .270/18/8 guy these days.
I had Starling Marte a notch below that, but I’ll take Marte’s upside over Gordon’s for sure. In the now, though, his plate discipline should turn off many of you. At 27.5%, he’s showing power-hitter whiffs right now, and that’s been his MO so far in his career. Call him a .260 hitter with this plate discipline and batted ball mix. He’ll make it work with 10+ homers and 30+ steals, but how much do you want to pay for it?
For Good Melky Cabrera, a .308 BABIP could be low. It certainly was from 2011 to 2012 at least. And this does look like the Good Melky (tongue in cheek): his isolated slugging percentage, strikeout rate, swinging strike rate, and stolen base pace all fit in the ranges provided by Melky’s excellent 2011-2012 year, when he averaged 15 homers, 16 stolen bases, a batting average over .305, and 167 runs plus rbi a year. With the Blue Jays’ offense doing well, I took the over on that last number and felt that this was an excellent starting outfielder… if you can stomach the risk.
Norichika Aoki is 32, stealing less often, getting caught more often, and striking out twice as often this year as last. He never had much power, and without the plus batting average, he’s a pretty empty player. Matt Kemp has much more talent when it comes to counting stats, but will his real-life problems keep him nailing down a regular role when everyone is healthy? I’m betting it will, though a nicer walk rate and some good results could change things for him. It’s that playing time question that has Marcell Ozuna ranked ahead of Kemp despite the disparity in track records. On talent, I’ll take the Dodger with a longer power track record. And though Ozuna and Oswaldo Arcia have some things in common — bad plate discipline and an iffy home park for their power profiles — Ozuna makes more contact, steals more bases, and plays center field. These things all matter.
He’s not playing regularly — six starts in June, and now Carlos Beltran is back — and he’s a righty. Alfonso Soriano’s work against right-handed pitchers has been worse than average for seven years now (save 2012), too. He only costs the Yankees about four million this year, but would anyone really want to trade for him? I’d rather have David Murphy, even if Murphy will lose at-bats against lefties. At least he’s on the right side of a platoon. Murphy can go .275/15/5 this year without being out of the norm.
Quentin could hit .250 with 25-homer power if he was healthy, but I doubt that health severely. He’s coming off of two half-seasons cut short by injury, and also off a fresh DL stint this year — and a career high in ground ball rate might also suggest that something’s awry. Corey Dickerson may not have a full-season lease on life, but he might do more in the next eight weeks than Quentin does all year. Even with a platoon issue that limits some of the young Rockie outfielder’s upside.
Most of Cameron Maybin‘s peripherals are right where they’ve been over his career, so he could likely .250/10+ when it comes to batting average and homers. The stolen bases are harder to project. He’s not taking off much, and he’s had some leg injuries recently. Robbie Grossman‘s walk and strikeout rates are finally where his minor league career suggested they might end up. Though he’s a better asset in leagues that use OBP, I’m betting the .219 BABIP won’t hold, especially when seen against his plus line drive rate (23%).
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