Tagged: Brett Gardner

2014 Rankings: Outfielders

Rankings based on 10-team standard 5×5 rotisserie format.

Name – R / RBI / HR / SB / BA

  1. Mike Trout – 119 / 91 / 31 / 39 / .320
  2. Ryan Braun – 98 / 103 / 30 / 28 / .308
  3. Andrew McCutchen – 102 / 90 / 23 / 27 / .298
  4. Adam Jones – 97 / 91 / 32 / 15 / .283
  5. Jose Bautista – 101 / 96 / 37 / 6 / .276
  6. Carlos Gonzalez – 92 / 86 / 24 / 20 / .299
  7. Matt Holliday – 95 / 97 / 24 / 5 / .300
  8. Carlos Gomez – 95 / 69 / 24 / 39 / .268
  9. Alex Rios – 91 / 82 / 21 / 28 / .284
  10. Hunter Pence – 88 / 99 / 23 / 14 / .275
  11. Jay Bruce – 86 / 101 / 33 / 8 / .253
  12. Jacoby Ellsbury – 84 / 56 / 13 / 45 / .286
  13. Justin Upton – 95 / 77 / 24 / 15 / .270
  14. Josh Hamilton – 79 / 92 / 28 / 8 / .272
  15. Austin Jackson – 105 / 53 / 16 / 13 / .292
  16. Alex Gordon – 90 / 76 / 19 / 12 /.281
  17. Shane Victorino – 91 / 62 / 16 / 26 / .278
  18. Yoenis Cespedes – 78 / 87 / 26 / 12 / .265
  19. Michael Cuddyer – 86 / 84 / 21 / 10 / .271
  20. Giancarlo Stanton – 75 / 85 / 31 / 5 / .259
  21. Bryce Harper – 88 / 60 / 21 / 15 / .273
  22. Yasiel Puig – 91 / 73 / 19 / 16 / .256
  23. Carlos Beltran – 75 / 80 / 22 / 3 / .286
  24. Torii Hunter – 79 / 83 / 17 / 6 / .283
  25. Curtis Granderson – 81 / 63 / 32 / 15 / .250
  26. Jayson Werth – 68 / 62 / 23 / 13 / .298
  27. Starling Marte – 89 / 51 / 14 / 43 / .249
  28. Adam Eaton – 98 / 45 / 10 / 29 / .274
  29. Norichika Aoki – 87 / 47 / 11 / 25 / .289
  30. Matt Kemp – 70 / 68 / 20 / 13 / .294
  31. Jason Heyward – 82 / 65 / 25 / 11 / .263
  32. Melky Cabrera – 77 / 66 / 14 / 11 / .297
  33. Michael Bourn – 94 / 52 / 7 / 31 / .269
  34. Alfonso Soriano – 72 / 99 / 27 / 7 / .241
  35. Carl Crawford – 81 / 62 / 12 / 20 / .284
  36. Shin-Soo Choo – 77 / 66 / 17 / 19 / .272
  37. Nelson Cruz – 66 / 81 / 25 / 10 / .267
  38. Coco Crisp – 84 / 59 / 11 / 29 / .264
  39. Wil Myers – 82 / 86 / 17 / 8 / .258
  40. Nick Markakis – 83 / 75 / 13 / 1 / .281
  41. Khris Davis – 74 / 74 / 23 / 8 / .254
  42. Desmond Jennings – 87 / 51 / 14 / 26 / .255
  43. Rajai Davis – 68 / 44 / 8 / 47 / .267
  44. Billy Hamilton – 77 / 39 / 2 / 68 / .241
  45. Brett Gardner – 92 / 48 / 7 / 27 / .263
  46. Justin Ruggiano – 63 / 63 / 22 / 18 / .253
  47. Angel Pagan – 70 / 51 / 8 / 22 / .285
  48. Domonic Brown – 68 / 79 / 19 / 6 / .251
  49. Michael Brantley – 66 / 59 / 8 / 17 / .285
  50. B.J. Upton – 72 / 60 / 15 / 27 / .224
  51. Christian Yelich – 80 / 53 / 11 / 21 / .246
  52. Josh Reddick – 71 / 66 / 19 / 8 / .240
  53. Will Venable – 61 / 51 / 12 / 24 / .265
  54. Josh Willingham – 67 / 77 / 21 / 3 / .237
  55. Andre Ethier – 60 / 64 / 15 / 3 / .281
  56. Dayan Viciedo – 61 / 68 / 21 / 0 / .264
  57. Colby Rasmus – 75 / 63 / 19 / 4 / .244
  58. Corey Hart – 64 / 61 / 16 / 3 / .272
  59. Kole Calhoun – 61 / 65 / 16 / 5 / .269
  60. Gerardo Parra – 66 / 51 / 10 / 10 / .281

Thoughts, lots of ’em:

  • Full disclosure: I have NO IDEA what to do for Billy Hamilton. I did a brief bit of research to see how a player’s stolen base trend changed throughout the minorsand  into the majors, and for the most part, a player still attempts to steal at about the same frequency in the majors as he did in Triple-A. As for Hamilton’s on-base percentage, that’s the million-dollar question. He’s a game-changer, but I don’t know if he’s worth taking in the first five or six rounds, as I’ve clearly shown above.
  • Ryan Braun, folks. He’s being drafted 17th on average in ESPN mock drafts right now, but I don’t see how he won’t be a top-10 or possibly top-5 fantasy player by year’s end. On their Fantasy Focus podcast, Eric Karabell and Tristan Cockcroft argued about how many bases Braun will steal. My projection is lofty; Karabell is pretty negative about it, thinking closer to 15 swipes. Still, give him a mere 10 stolen bases and he’s still the game’s second-best outfielder. He’s a rich man’s Andrew McCutchen formerly on PEDs. So… not quite McCutchen, but you know.
  • Speaking of PEDs, it’s weird to see Melky Cabrera’s name on that list, yeah? A look at his peripherals last year shows he may have suffered some bad luck beyond any PED regression (if such a thing exists), including a horrid AB/RBI rate that’s all but out of Melky’s hands. I’ll give it another season before writing him off completely; we tend to have too short of memories when it comes to players in fantasy. He was solid for two years, and I’ll take a two-year trend over one. Considering he’s being drafted 52nd overall, I guess this officially makes him a sleeper.
  • CarGo is ranked uncharacteristically low, but my projection took the under on his games player. I maintain if he can play a full year, he’s actually a smidge better than Braun. If you’re cool with risk and can build a roster around the possibility that CarGo will be sidelined at any given moment, he’s worth the massive upside of staying healthy just once. Please, CarGo. For us.
  • Speaking of guys with built-in injury risks: Ellsbury, Stanton, Harper, Granderson, Werth. If you want to construct a risky, huge-upside team, make these guys your five outfielders. Don’t forget the Grandy Man hit more than 40 home runs in 2012 and 2013, and Stanton can hit 40 home runs with his eyes closed. He’s, what, 24 years old? That’s insane.
  • Touching on Harper again, I know he’s pretty low here. If he can play a full 162 or a close to it, he’s a 30/20 guy who will crack the top 10. I think the MVP talk can be put to rest before the season starts, though.
  • Wait, guys — WHAT? Jose Bautista? Yeah, dude. He’s a monster and, like Granderson, he still has huge power. It never left, and he was on pace for big things last year before it got derailed. Take a leap of faith. One of these guys has to stay healthy this year, right?
  • Puig will naturally be a topic of discussion all year. I paid careful attention to Puig’s projection; let me be very clear that I think this is his absolute floor. This is looking at huge regression in BAbip (batting average on balls in play) and HR/FB (home runs per fly ball). Honestly, he’s probably better than a .300-BAbip batter, and if the power and speed is real, this is a huge undervalue. I’m well aware that every other projection has him snugly in the top 30 or so players, so this is likely falling on deaf ears.
  • I wrote about Cruz’s immense power potential that is perpetually muted by his inability to stay on the field. You know what’s super interesting? He’ll likely be used in some weird rotation with Nolan Reimold and Henry Urrutia all at left field and the designated hitter, with him seeing the lion’s share of at-bats at DH — all but removing his injury risk. Give him another 150 at-bats and he’ll gladly reward you with eight to 10 bombs. Now, to remove that PED risk, too.
  • Khris “Krush” Davis is interesting because it’s hard to tell if his power is super-for-real or just regular for-real. Like Puig, I think this is more of a floor projection — and that’s saying a lot. The strikeouts might be a problem, but if you’re drafting him for his batting average, you’re not doing it right.
  • Yelich at No. 51 was really interesting to me. He’s a sneaky speed guy with something like a 15-homer, 25-steal upside and a solid batting average, making him a must-draft outfielder. If only there were Marlins on base for him to knock in…
  • Honorable mentions for cheap power Raul Ibanez and Mike Morse
    Honorable mentions for cheap speed: Leonys Martin and Ben Revere. I actually like Martin a lot more than his lack of projection here indicates. He’s got pop, and a full season in the Texas Rangers’ outfield makes him 100-percent draftworthy.
  • P.S. I don’t have much faith in Marlon Byrd. But take a chance on him if you want.
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Three new* Red Sox, three new* Yankees. Who fared better?

*Each team re-signed one player, so they’re technically not all “new.” Moving on.

Maybe I missed something, but have any AL East teams other than the Red Sox and Yankees made moves this offseason? Boston and New York has made three signings a piece. That sets up a pretty easy comparison for the question to which everyone wants an answer: Which team “wins” this postseason so far?

(I get really self-conscious when using questions in my writing.  My high school English teachers drilled into my brain that using rhetorical questions is a crutch in persuasive writing, as is asking yourself a question to simply answer it later. But really, am I trying to impress Advanced Placement test graders anymore? No. No I’m not.

If you are an AP test grader, I apologize.)

BOS signs C A.J. Pierzynski
AJP bounced back from down years in 2010 and 2011, and his 2013 was pretty much in line with how he has typically produced throughout his career. He’s 36 — that kind of tread on a catcher’s tires is always a red flag — but he’ll be hitting in the friendly confines of Fenway Park, so maybe another 15+-HR season and .275 average is not out of the question. Pierzynski is probably an upgrade over Jarrod Saltalamacchia behind the dish, despite Salty’s productive 2013.

Winner: Both parties
Pierzynski’s preseason rank: No. 2 catcher in deep leagues

NYY signs OF Carlos Beltran
Man, I love Beltran. Who doesn’t? (Answer: Mets fans.) (Shit, I used a rhetorical question again…) But where does he fit in the Yankees’ plans? That team is just flat-out old now. Their outfield is already bursting at the seams with Jacoby Ellsbury (spoiler alert), Ichiro Suzuki, Alfonso Soriano, Vernon Wells (negligible) and Brett Gardner. Meanwhile, the average age of their potential starting outfielders is 35, and that’s before Ellsbury joined the crew. I’m guessing Wells will be relegated to bench duty. But I have also heard Gardner figures to play into the Yankees’ everyday plans. Sounds like Ichiro is on the market, and I’ve read that the Giants are possible suitors. Anyway, Beltran is good, but he’s not a solution to the Yankees’ problems, which is zero preparedness for beyond 2015 when every single one of their players falls apart.

Winner: Beltran
Preseason rank: Probably a top-3o OF — full rankings pending

BOS signs RP Edward Mujica
Mujica made a name for himself as Jason Motte‘s replacement at the back end of the St. Louis Cardinals’ bullpen, and there’s no reason he can’t do it again. Some people argue he broke down at the end of the year, but manager Mike Matheny wore him down with consecutive (two, if not three) multi-inning outings in August, and even Mujica said it wore him out. It’s fair to worried about durability, but if you’re going to write off a solid closer for a good team because he might wear down in September, you have bigger things to worry about. HOWEVER… Koji Uehara is still there. And so is Junichi Tazawa. And given Uehara’s incredible success last year, Mujica would only see chances for saves on Uehara’s rest days at best. Unfortunately, I must politely ask everyone who rode the Mujica train last year, myself included, to disembark.

Winner: Red Sox
Preseason rank: Unranked/not draftworthy

NYY re-sign SP Hiroki Kuroda
Not much to see here — he’s old, but it’s a one-year deal and he has proven he’s still plenty effective. It still doesn’t solve the Yankees’ age problem, though.

Winner: Kuroda
Preseason rank: 40th

BOS re-signs 1B Mike Napoli
Feels weird to call Napoli a first baseman and only a first baseman. Again, nothing to see here, but Napoli’s lack of eligibility at catcher is kind of a deal breaker.

Winner: Both
Preseason rank: Low-tier 1B

And finally…

NYY signs OF Jacoby Ellsbury
Yes, I couldn’t help but spoil the surprise earlier (even though it’s not really a surprise). Ellsbury has joined the archenemy, and of course all Red Sox fans are really flustered. Meanwhile, the Yankees overpaid… Way overpaid. Something like $20 million a year for seven years. Look, guys who rely on their wheels for productivity have been known to break down at about his age (see: Michael Bourn). Give it another couple of years and 50 stolen bases will only be 20, or maybe even 10. His power will likely decline, too, as will his defensive range. It’s just not a good situation. Seven years was way too long to begin with, and the price makes it worse — and I have yet to touch upon his abundant injury risk. Don’t fret too much, Red Sox nation. You’ll be grinning about this one in 2017 as the Yankees dynasty completes its collapse.

Winner: Ellsbury
Preseason rank: Top-1o OF, with downside