Welcome back to another year of ranking the American league outfielders! Prepare yourselves for awkwardly shoehorned pop culture references from years past and hopefully a bit of baseball analysis. To kick off the year in style, rather than “tier one, tier two” and boring things like that, I’ll present the tiers in order of my favorite fictional TV/film Presidents of the United States. If it weren’t for that fictional part, Daniel Day Lewis would run away with it for his performance in “Lincoln.”
President Josiah “Jed” Bartlet – “The West Wing“
You were expecting maybe, uhh, the Addams family? I don’t think I can add much on top of what has already been said, re-hashed, repeated and summarized already. Just know Trout is pretty okay at that baseball thing.
President Dwayne Elizondo Mountain Dew Herbert Camacho – “Idiocracy“
Upside, Ellsbury is probably the second best option, however I’m still wary of his ability to stay healthy. Bautista is no stranger to the trainers room himself but I’m not worried about a bone bruise carrying over into this season. Rios is above Ellsbury because I love him in that park and in lineup. Hitting fifth in the Rangers lineup should give Rios plenty of RBIs and will hopefully continue to run. Last season in just 47 games with Texas, Rios hit everywhere from third to sixth and still gathered 16 steals.
President James Marshall – “Air Force One“
Hopefully — and not just because I’m an A’s fan — this is the year Cespedes puts it all together and brings his power and rate stats together. I’m not dreaming about a 30-30 campaign anymore, but 30 dingers and 12-15 steals with a .270 average sounds about right. Clearly I think Choo will have a big year — and not just because I’m South Korean — but for the same reasons I like Rios so much. I’m a believer in Myers (and yes, I know, I’m late) and not so much Hamilton.
President Thomas J. Whitmore – “Independence Day“
Here in the fourth tier we’re already seeing guys who aren’t five category studs, but good support players. None of these guys should be a cornerstone, but you wouldn’t complain about any of them. Be it Jennings’ or Crisp’s steals or 30 home runs from Soriano or maybe even Cruz, these guys can all contribute. Martin is a personal favorite pick of mine — yes, I love the Rangers outfield this much — as I think he’ll nab 40+ bases and hit for a solid average.
President Tom Beck – “Deep Impact“
As my bold prediction piece stated, I love Springer. I have Springer fever. I’ve Springer’d a bo-you know what? We’ll stop right there. As soon as he is finally called up, expect him to climb these rankings. Another player I’m loving this year is Calhoun. I’m not the only one to pick him as my sleeper in our staff picks as a sleeper. Calhoun is a leadoff hitter in a lineup that is solid. He has a little pop and some speed; I’m still amazed he’s available in almost 75% of ESPN leagues.
President of Earth: Richard Nixon’s Head – “Futurama“
Okay, so I’m cheating a bit, but given Futurama is set nearly 1,000 years in the future, I think this counts as a fictional President. That aside, the players listed in this tier are the ones that begin to have visible warts. It could be health questions in Sizemore and Cain, platoon issues with Davis and Joyce, or maybe strikeouts is the issue like Carter and Rasmus.
President Raymond Becker – “The Day After Tomorrow“
There is some upside to players here, but you really have to look for it. I think Dyson could potentially make some noise with his legs and Fowler has potential to move up the list by just stringing together a few months of good health.
President Bennett – “Clear and Present Danger“
These are the guys that should be available via waives/free agency/FAAB in all but the deepest of leagues. If you’re starting one of these guys, I hope the rest of your roster is amazingly strong.
As always, if you feel I left someone out, let me know. That goes for both the Presidents and the outfielders.