American League Tiered Outfield Rankings — May 2014

This month’s updated rankings will be tiered alongside my favorite pizza styles. Now I’m probably opening myself up to a ton of criticism — even more than usual — because my tiers will be severely bias in favor of midwestern pizza. Sorry New York/Brooklyn style, I just don’t love your pizza like my Chicago deep dish. As always, this is a ranking based on my rest-of-season thoughts.

Chicago style deep dish

Mike Trout

New month, new set of rankings, and still no surprise here at the top. As noted by the tall, handsome and brilliant Jeff Sullivan, Trout is striking out a bit more this season than what we’ve seen form him before. I’m not concerned with the uptick in strikeouts yet. He isn’t flailing at offerings outside of the zone as his 25.8% O-Swing% is in line with his career 24.6% mark. For a specific restaurant, Giordano’s is the place to go.

Thin crust, cut in squares (it has to be cut in squares, otherwise it just doesn’t taste right)

Jacoby Ellsbury
Jose Bautista
Adam Jones
Shin-Soo Choo

My original fears regarding Ellsbury’s health remain, however he has only missed one game thus far. I’m disappointed to see his power hasn’t translated to the short porch in Yankee Stadium 2.0 as well as I had hoped, but given the cool weather we’ve had, perhaps the home run total will rise with the temperature. Choo jumps a tier due his 18.3% walk rate and 17.5% strikeout rate both being career bests. His .443 BABIP won’t stick forever, but drawing more walks than strikeouts while still hitting a handful of dingers and nabbing three bags already is a good sign of things to come.

Traditional hand-tossed

Josh Hamilton
Alex Rios
Nelson Cruz
Yoenis Cespedes
Alex Gordon
Desmond Jennings
Wil Myers

Despite his status on the disabled list, I’m pretty high on Hamilton. It isn’t that I believe in his ridiculous .556 BABIP, but I do really like his 18.2% walk rate. The early indicators showed that his 21.2% strikeout — which is a step back from his 25% average the past two years — could stick. Hamilton’s 11.3% SwStr% is the lowest of his career as is his 28.2% O-swing%. If both of those numbers prove to be his norm going forward then Hamilton should continue to enjoy a big season upon his return. Gordon should rebound from his early season struggles and a .279 BABIP that is 40 points below his career average and 30 points below his 2013 BABIP. I do worry about his walk rate, as his 7.3% walk rate since the beginning of last year is quite poor. His average should bounce back; let us hope the walks do as well. Jennings is showing more power and is still running. A .333 is high, but given his speed it isn’t something that is totally unsustainable, even when looking at his career .300 mark.

Brooklyn style (Okay, to be fair, I’ve only had it once and it was mediocre pizza at best. The idea of folding a slice while eating it is just so foreign to me. Maybe I’ll make an east coast baseball trip and you can all tell me where to get a good piece of pizza)

Leonys Martin
Austin Jackson
Brandon Moss
Coco Crisp
Torii Hunter
Carlos Beltran
Melky Cabrera
Michael Bourn
Alfonso Soriano

Martin gets a boost up to the fourth tier as I love his speed on the bases. The fact that his 51.4% ground ball rate helps take advantage of his speed is even better. I’ve brought Hunter up a tier because he just keeps hitting. I was skeptical of his higher BABIP in 2012 and even last year, though at this point he’s proven to me his BABIP over the past 1,300+ PA’s is no fluke. Soriano finishes out the bottom tier as of right now because as nice as the long ball is, it’s only part of the game. His rate stats are tough to swallow, particularly in on-base percentage leagues.

Generic deep dish

Adam Eaton
Nick Markakis
Brett Gardner
Kole Calhoun
Shane Victorino
Nick Swisher
Matt Joyce
Jarrod Dyson
George Springer

I’m still rooting for Dyson to breakout and nab 45 bags, but to do so he’ll have to do a better job of reaching base in the first place. I haven’t lost faith in Springer as a big leaguer yet, but man, he has certainly failed the eye test. His 9.6% walk rate is great, but unfortunately it is currently tied to a 32.1% strikeout rate. His minor league power hasn’t translated to the big leagues yet and he has but one steal in three attempts. I’d stash him on the bench in keeper leagues but in standard 12-team redraft mixed leagues, he is quickly losing relevancy.

Roman crust

Colby Rasmus
Michael Brantley
Josh Willingham
Rajai Davis
Alejandro De Aza
Grady Sizemore
Norichika Aoki
Lorenzo Cain
Josh Reddick
Dayan Viciedo
Chris Carter

Just like the type of pizza it is associated with, these players leave you unfulfilled and empty. Both Rasmus and Carter have power that can’t be argued, but contact skills will always keep them down, particularly for Carter. Aoki just isn’t the 30 steal guy he was in his first season in the majors and while I like his average, it is mostly empty.

Gluten free

Oswaldo Arcia
Jackie Bradley Jr.
Anthony Gose

Michael Saunders
Jason Kubel
Dustin Ackley
Dexter Fowler
Ichiro Suzuki
Kelly Johnson
Nick Castellanos

I never got caught up in the gluten free trend, but I did try gluten free pizza a few times. Can’t say I’m a fan of it. It could be a mental thing, or the fact that each time I had it the only toppings were veggies. I just need my dead animals on my pizza. In deep enough leagues there is value to be had in this tier, just like if I was hungry enough I’d order a gluten free pizza. Despite his fast start, I still don’t see what Kubel brings to the table in the long run unless his power comes back in a big way in the coming weeks.

Whatever my elementary school called pizza

Mike Carp
David DeJesus

David Murphy
Jonny Gomes
Ryan Raburn
Daniel Nava
L.J. Hoes

The school pizza was not particularly appetizing, nor are any of the players here. They all get some playing time, but not are standouts even in just one category. I’d presume you’re in an AL-only league if you’re rostering these guys.

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Your lack of taste in pizza is disturbing.


Seriously. Deep Dish isn’t pizza; it’s soup on a crust.

How can the idea of folding a slice of pizze be alien to you? It’s how you keep it from flopping over!

Bunch of savages in this town.


How is deep dish ‘soup’ and folding pizza so it doesn’t flop isn’t? If your pizza is that floppy it’s like drinking it out of a paper cup! Eck! Not that I think deep dish should be top tier either.


‘Bunch of savages in this town.’

I love the ‘Clerks’ reference!

Ruki Motomiya
Ruki Motomiya

Never been a fan of folding a slice of pizza even if it isn’t alien.


It’s not pizza soup…. it’s pizza casserole


obviously midwesterner… chicago style…st louis style coming in 1 & 2…. you need to spend some time in NY eating some real pizza.