American League Outfield Tiered Rankings Update

There is still over 80% of the 2013 baseball season yet to be played. With that friendly reminder in hand, this is the 2013 AL OF rankings update. We’ll be ranking the outfielders in descending order in tiers, and to have some fun with it, we’ll be using Windows operating systems to separate the different tiers.

Windows XP
Mike Trout
Yoenis Cespedes

The boost in value from Yoenis Cespedes is driven by the rest of the Oakland Athletics offense. As a team, the A’s have the fourth highest on-base percentage and are tied for the second best wRC+. Their .294 team BABIP isn’t considerably out of line and they have the highest walk rate. After leading the league in strikeouts and strikeout rate, the A’s have struck out fewer than 20 teams thus far. With Cespedes hitting cleanup, there should be a very real boost in his RBI chances, which of course ideally leads to more RBIs. Mike Trout is Mike Trout. I’m not concerned.

Windows 7
Jose Bautista
Adam Jones
Alex Gordon
Jacoby Ellsbury
Austin Jackson

Jacoby Ellsbury leads the league in stolen bases and is in the top 10 in the AL in runs scored. He has 10 extra-base hits and most importantly, he is healthy. His OBP is only mediocre for a leadoff hitter, but when he gets on he runs and tends to score. As long as he stays on the field, he is a great player. I under estimated him coming back from injury. Also seeing a boost in his value is Austin Jackson. The leadoff hitter for the Detroit Tigers has been running more — five steals already — and hasn’t been caught stealing yet. He currently leads all of baseball in runs scored and has a chance to do so all year.

Windows 8
Chris Davis
Alex Rios
Josh Hamilton
Melky Cabrera
Michael Bourn
Nelson Cruz
Nick Swisher
Curtis Granderson
Desmond Jennings

Why jump Curtis Granderson over Desmond Jennings when Granderson hasn’t even played this season yet? I harbor concerns regarding Jennings every posting a decent batting average at the major league level. The steals will be there and so will the runs scored, but his batting average holds him back. Granderson is no .300 hitter himself, his power — assuming the injury doesn’t hurt his power, something I am also concerned about — makes all the difference here. Steals tied to a crummy batting average can be found on the waiver wire. Home runs and RBIs can’t.

Windows 98
Shane Victorino
Torii Hunter
Josh Reddick
Mark Trumbo
Josh Willingham
Brett Gardner
Coco Crisp
Michael Morse
Peter Bourjos

I over-estimated the effect of moving to Safeco on Micheal Morse’s power, at least in the early going. With eight home runs already, his initial ranking in the sixth tier looks just plain silly at this point. Gardner jumps above Crisp based on Gardner being healthy, having a similar skill set to Crisp, and being four years younger. With a hamstring issue already hampering Crisp, and given that Crisp has never played in 150 games in a season and Gardner has done it twice, I feel more comfortably going forward with Gardner.

Windows 95
Chris Carter
Chris Young
Ichiro Suzuki
Lorenzo Cain
Alejandro De Aza
Nick Markakis
Emilio Bonifacio
Adam Dunn
David Murphy
Vernon Wells

I’m a believer in Chris Carter. but his lineup and his own batting average aren’t doing him any favors. That being said, a 30 home run season (which I think we’ll see from Carter this year) is too hard to pass up. He gets a nice 10 point bump, almost to the top 25. Once Chris Young’s BABIP figures itself out, he’ll make a very good deep league outfielder. With four home runs and five steals already, Young should contribute regularly in four categories, the missing category being batting average. Get on board the Lorenzo Cain train before it hurts itself trying to leave the station. As for Adam Dunn, he continues to struggle and look lost, then he’ll smack a dinger in his next plate appearance. Analysis!

Windows 2000
Jonny Gomes
Seth Smith
Ryan Doumit
Drew Stubbs
Michael Saunders
Matt Joyce
Oswaldo Arcia
Dayan Viciedo

Here we have platoon players, people who should be platoon players, part timers and rookies. They all bring something to the table, but take off just as much as they bring. Stubbs will get you steals but at the cost of RBIs and average. Gomes, Smith, and Joyce are platoon players who are solid, but not spectacular at anything and their part-time status hurts their offensive ceiling. I actually do like Saunders and now that he is back in action, a 15-15 season is decent enough in deep leagues.

Windows ME
Trevor Plouffe
Justin Maxwell
Aaron Hicks
Colby Rasmus
Daniel Nava
Leonys Martin
Nolan Reimold
Wil Myers

If any of these guys are in your s tarting lineup, I would humbly suggest making some trades to upgrade your outfield. There are some players who have some upside, but if you’re trotting these guys out on a regular basis, make some moves to improve your team.

Windows Vista
No one. Because Vista was the worst.

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You forgot Nate McLouth, who should at least be in the WIndows 95 tier, even with an inflated BABIP, His numbers are not a mirage, as he is a different hitter/fantasy player this year. Some of this was detailed in Eno’s great article yesterday, but here are some cogent points:
1. His LD-rate is up, lending to the idea that his BABIP is not completely crazy
2. His BB-rate is way up
3. His K-rate is way down (he has a 15/9 BB/K ratio, which is crazy)
4. He’s attempting steals at a much higher rate, and has been very successful (as he has been throughout his career)
5. They’re sitting him against Lefties, against whom he’s always struggled. To some extent, this realistically inflates his overall numbers