2012 NL Outfield Tiers

We’ve got your consensus outfielder ranks, but it helps to put guys in tiers, especially for your NL-only players out there. So, just to make sure we have you covered, here are your National League Outfielder tiers.

Tier 1
Matt Kemp
Carlos Gonzalez
Ryan Braun
Justin Upton

All is well here. Shortstops get one guy in the top tier and outfielders in the National League alone get four. How do you like your 30/30 outfielder served?

Tier 2
Mike Stanton
Andrew McCutchen
Matt Holliday
Hunter Pence
Michael Bourn
Jay Bruce

Love Stanton all you want, but he has a flaw when compared to the first tier. There’s almost a five-dollar drop between the top four guys and Stanton, and it’s all in the batting average — and lack of steals. And if you didn’t believe that Stanton and Bruce were as close together as I did, consider that they do occupy the same tier. And it’s usually better to get the last guy in a tier than the first, since it meant that you paid a lot less for your asset. There are hints of issues in this tier, but each player usually has a strength that overrides the problems.

Tier 3
Corey Hart
Shane Victorino
Michael Morse
Lance Berkman
Michael Cuddyer
Jason Heyward
Logan Morrison
Andre Ethier
Melky Cabrera
Lucas Duda
Cameron Maybin
Carlos Beltran

Start with .280, 20 home runs, five stolen bases, and decent runs and RBI totals. That’s your baseline for this tier. Then, all you have to do is add a little here, take a little away there, trim, fluff, primp, and you have your basic $5 hairdo. Or $10 outfielder, as the case may be. Now the question marks — like Hart and Beltran’s health, the advancing age of half the tier, Heyward’s ability to bounce back, Duda and Maybin’s ability to consolidate gains — are getting louder. And the upside a little less exciting. Pay double digits for these guys, pick them in the middle rounds, but don’t invest like any of them is a real star.

Tier 4
Martin Prado
Emilio Bonifacio
Jayson Werth
Drew Stubbs
Chris Young
Angel Pagan
Carlos Lee
Jose Tabata
Dexter Fowler
J.D. Martinez
Juan Pierre
Jason Kubel
Nyjer Morgan
Marlon Byrd
Carlos Quentin
Alex Presley
Jon Jay
Jason Bay
Alfonso Soriano
Allen Craig
Brandon Belt
Yonder Alonso

These guys are stuck in between. The exciting ones lack the upside to join the stars, and the veterans lack the stability to really count on them for anything. But they don’t quite belong with the problem children below. Call it the “Meh” tier, or use one of these many other words for it. .280, 20 and 5 might be an accomplishment for these guys, in other words.

Tier 5
Will Venable
Roger Bernadina
Garrett Jones
Nate Schierholtz
David DeJesus
Tony Campana
Chris Heisey
John Mayberry
Andres Torres
Ryan Ludwick
Jerry Sands
Bryce Harper
Jordan Schafer
Domonic Brown
Gerardo Parra
Fernando Martinez
Norichika Aoki
Laynce Nix
Kyle Blanks

Pick ’em! I like Venable’s athleticism, but that park is a terrible fit, and it doesn’t seem like the team likes him that much as a center fielder. That leaves him a man without a position, much like the better guys in this tier. The worse guys are just fourth outfielders by trade, or defense-first center fielders, or maybe even in the Minor Leagues as we speak. One of these guys will rise above — but what if it’s not a toolsy prospect, and is instead one of the lower-ceiling veterans at the top of the tier?

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With a phone full of pictures of pitchers' fingers, strange beers, and his two toddler sons, Eno Sarris can be found at the ballpark or a brewery most days. Read him here, writing about the A's or Giants at The Athletic, or about beer at October. Follow him on Twitter @enosarris if you can handle the sandwiches and inanity.

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Hamilton needs to be deleted.


So does choo