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Right off the top, you know this is Part 1, since I put it in the title and all.  There’s too many outfielders I want to say something about, and this post shouldn’t feel like homework, though if fantasy baseball articles are homework, I would’ve cared a lot more in school.  But I don’t want that much math (like geometry, calculus, trigonometry, hard math).  As an accountant people always say, “I bet you’re good at math.”  No, I can use a calculator.  But you’re going to need a calculator to add up the OPS Outfielder rankings coming up right now! (not worst segue ever, but honorable mention for sure).

Outfielders, and how they are ranked, depends on how many you can start.  If you can only start three, get at least two top twenty guys, then look to add a couple later fliers and figure one of them will be startable and do well at least in the early going.  Starting four or five outfielders changes things.  I’d still look for two of the top twenty and then your third, fourth, and fifth outfielders spread the love around those lower tiers.

So maybe your number three is your steals guy (there’s a lot – there always is), and your number four is the older guy you take a flier because he’s cheap because no one trusts him then your last outfielder/bench guy is an upside rookie or a guy coming off a down/injured year or both.  Depending on how many you start also should advise you on how many to have on the bench.  Because if there is one position where it’s easy to get down games (besides Catcher), it’s outfield.  For a long time I thought, “I drafted five outfields (in a three OF league); there’s no way I’ll get down games…cut to the end of the season, and I finished 20 games under.  Guys get hurt, they don’t play every day anymore, adding infielders and dropping outfielders, the reasons are the season.

Thus my rule is draft at least two more outfielders than you have starters.  So you’re starting three outfielders?  Draft five.  Starting five?  Draft seven (or live dangerously and go eight).  Remember this: Get ahead on games; you’ll need that cushion by the time September rolls around and it seems like every other day is an off day.  So act like you know when drafting outfielders.  Because now you do, and knowing is half the battle.  Let’s rank some dudes!

Mike Trout is alone at the top of the mountain of fantasy outfielders.  Class by himself.  He’s tier Trout.  I wish one year he’d make the commitment to going 40/40.  Just say you’re going to do it, then do it, ok?  That’s not too much to ask.

You know that Jose Canseco and Barry Bonds have done it, but what about Alex Rodriguez and Alfonso Soriano?  Soriano definitely had one of the more underrated careers, and how he got there? Going to Japan first, then a Yankee, then traded for ARod, later signed by the Cubs for a ridiculous contract until finally returning to the Yankees to finish out his career, hitting 412 homers and stealing 289 bases with a .270 batting average and .812 OPS along the way.  He was a 30/30 member four times.  So Mike Trout, do us all a favor and start putting up 30/30 seasons like Soriano, ok?

For the rest of the league, here’s Tier 1:  Kris Bryant, Mookie Betts, Bryce Harper, Nelson Cruz, Charlie Blackmon, George Springer

I could really put Bryant and Betts in their own tier, but then it’s like two guys a tier,  and we’ll have 30 tiers, and I’ll get confused, and subsequently you’ll get confused, and let’s keep it simple for all our sake.  Love Bryant, mentioned him in the third base OPS rankings.  Betts, Blackmon, Harper and Springer all should go 20/20, and possible 30/30.  Betts adds the best counting stats, making him the best of the bunch.  Though Harper is no slouch, and it’s tough not predicting a bounce back for next season (at least he knows why his game was off last season even though he’s not telling).

Cruz, same as the other old guard guys (Cano, Beltre, etc) so far in fantasy this year, I’m not betting against.  Call it the David Ortiz effect.  I bet against Ortiz since he was “old” for years, and all he did was keep hitting.  So the “old” guys are in again.  Not advising you to overbid for them, but don’t write them off completely if they’re a good deal (and they usually are).

Tier 2: JD Martinez, Ryan Braun, Yoenis Cespedes, Mark Trumbo, Giancarlo Stanton, Ian Desmond, Carlos Gonzalez

These are guys that are still fine number one outfielders (if you’re going with one of these guys as your number one make sure third base, shortstop and first base are where you went for studs).  Apply what I said a few paragraphs up about the “old” guys to Braun, Cespedes, and Trumbo.  All of these guys have major power, but have lost a bit of shine for a myriad of reasons; make that your advantage and draft them all (for the right price of course).

JD is only 29 and should be the right price for betting on a bounce back (which I am, obviously).   There are going to be many who don’t buy into Trumbo, but what he does is hit home runs and not much has changed in Baltimore (besides them finally parting ways with Matt Wieters; I was at his MLB debut versus Justin Verlander; the ovation he got was just a bit premature, but the hope of top prospects is one of the joys of baseball fandom, isn’t it?  Too bad Wieters never lived up to it).  No reason Trumbo doesn’t get close to last season’s numbers.  I’m getting the feeling that I’m going to have a couple guys from this tier on a lot of teams, except for Stanton.

The hype train is still going strong for Stanton, though I am exiting at the next stop, 2017.  Steamer has him hitting 34 homers, which I have no doubt he can do as he’s done it twice before; I’m just not going to pay for it.  When no one was hitting homers the last few years I understood drafting Stanton.  Now that everyone is hitting thirty Stanton doesn’t look so enticing.  I’d even wager everyone else in this tier has a better season; not a lot as I’m not a rich man; let’s just call it a gentleman’s bet, shall we?

Drafting Desmond is [the coming of age story of a ball boy named Desmond who drafted Ian Desmond while also becoming friends with the real Ian Desmond and the climax of the movie is when Ian tosses the game winning ball and says to the ball boy, “You’re the man now, Des!”] or ,what I will do as I’m fully on board with him crushing it at Coors.

Tier 3: Khris Davis, Kyle Schwarber, Starling Marte, Chris Davis, Gregory Polanco, Jose Bautista

Both Davis’ are always better in OPS leagues than average ones, though Chris with a C hit 38 homers last season with a .792 OPS, which takes effort to put so few balls in play.  The other Khris should be cheaper, have a better OPS, and that’s the way I’ll go.  Marte is simply worse in OPS leagues, so let his high-ranking-based-on-average-leagues force others to overpay for him.  Not that I’m poo-pooing him completely; there is something positive to be said about a guy who can steal 40 and have an OPS over .800, so if he drops, get in on him.

Schwarber is an OPS Monster, but if you’re not in a daily league I’d pass due to Papa Maddon’s playing time shenanigans (and he should be started at Catcher).  Big fan of Polanco; when he hits his peak he could go 30/30; I’m thinking we’re still a year away.  I have him going 20/30 this season, which is great value for tier three.  He’s the one you want out of the Pirates outfielders in 2017.

Joey Bats is especially undervalued thus far from what I’ve read in 2017; he has a bad reputation, and it isn’t just talk, talk, talk.  Would we really be surprised to see him hit 36 homers again?  Nope, no one would.  Everyone would just say he had a bigger chip installed on top of the other chip he already has on his shoulder and took it out on pitchers.  Even in a down 2017 he had an .817 OPS; he’ll most likely get back to 30 homers, have decent counting stats and an OPS of around .845 in 2017.

So that’s the top three tiers.  A lot of good players so far, I just want to have them all on my teams!  Nah, I’m not that greedy, I’ll share.  The rest of the outfielders are coming next week.  I’ve opened up the OPS RAZZMONSTERS league to all, so click on the link and join if you want to play some OPS Roto ball this year; the league info is on the homepage.  You can check out the positions I’ve already ranked here.  Let’s get ready for the weekend, hope you got something good planned as I’m going to see this haunting indie folk singer.  Peace Out!

 
    • Phil B.

      Phil B. says:
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      @thomas housel: absolutely not a top 3 tier Ops guy

  1. Dan says:
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    Phil, I followed the link for the league page but there doesn’t seem to be an option to join. I’m definitely interested and will be present for the draft and will stay active.

  2. Blackjack says:
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    Thanks for the OPS ranks! Sometimes I feel like the round peg in a square OBP world.

    Looking at a tier 2 guy with my second round pick (really messed up keeper draft). Trumbo and Dong will be gone. You’re a Meghan Trainor “no” on Giancarlo. If I can’t get Desmond, what’s my next best option?

    • Phil B.

      Phil B. says:
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      @Blackjack: me too. I really don’t understand how OBP hasn’t replaced average by this point as standard.

      Anyhoo, you can go Stanton, as personally I still like watching the dude hit Homers, but what other choices are you thinking about? If Braun is there, I’d go him. marte is better OBP too.

      • Blackjack says:
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        @Phil B.: Really looking at Desmond, hoping he’s still there. From there I have some hesitations about Braun, Stanton, and Marte, but I see those three as coin flips. I’m not really considering CarGo at all. Is that a mistake?

        • Phil B.

          Phil B. says:
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          @Blackjack: nope. If cargo is a value maybe, but not over those other three. I’m hoping u get Desmond too.

  3. Rich says:
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    OPS league 11 team. I have the 10 pick in the draft. Guessing it will come to Rizzo or T. Turner. Leaning toward Rizzo with the lack of 1b depth. Thoughts ?

    • Blackjack says:
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      @Rich: Rizzo with Turner on the wrap around?

      • Rich says:
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        @Blackjack: Would love that to happen but I am guessing team #11 will go Turner & Sherzer leaving me with Correa or C. Segar

        • Phil B.

          Phil B. says:
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          @Rich: love Rizzo, if he’s there go him first. I love Correa with the second pick. I’d rather have Rizzo than any of the other guys you mentioned for OPS.

        • Blackjack says:
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          @Rich: Gotcha. I love Turner, but if I were picking, I’m doubling up with Phil (wait, piggybacking? Nope, not better.)

          I’d be looking Rizzo and Correa.

  4. Fister Furbush says:
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    Hey man, if you had to answer this, in a h2h categories league, why would you prefer Sv+H over having both Sv and H in separate categories. I see that you have Sv+H set up in the OPS league and I’m now debating whether to switch to that or not.

    Thanks

    • Phil B.

      Phil B. says:
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      @Fister Furbush: I actually have a long standing keeper h2h with saves plus holds.

      I like saves plus holds because then there is a larger pool of guys to choose from, but still the better relievers are going to stand apart. If they are separate, then you have to account for spending money on top holds guys, and if a guy loses a closer job, then he provides holds maybe, but then u need to get a closer, and it gets convoluted.
      Combined, it doesn’t matter as much, and then crappy closers aren’t even worth owning.

  5. Jurickson BROfar says:
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    So in an OPS league in which I drafted Goldy, Odor, Story, Lamb and my #1 OF is Desmond…. I am going to be ok?

    The rest of the squad is S. Perez, Buxton, Mazara, Kepler, Bird and Moncada.

      • Phil B.

        Phil B. says:
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        @Jurickson BROfar: whoa dang, in a 12 team ops league with those hitters? Very nice

        Tho Buxton and Mazara I dont love ops wise, but Kepler could be sneaky helpful. And there will be the hot OF to add when the season starts, so you’re team is looking good.

        • Jurickson BROfar says:
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          @Phil B.: Right on!

          What tier is Kang in now that it is likely he won’t miss much of the season? Or, if he starts opening day, what tier is he?

          • Phil B.

            Phil B. says:
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            @<@Jurickson BROfar: I’d put him low end of tier 3 cause he has the power, just not sure his counting stats. He’ll be moved up in my top 200(or 300)

  6. Gobiggreen says:
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    No love for Yelich? His OPS isn’t far of khris’ actually with more steals. Clearly hurting in the rbis, but I’d think he’s a tier 3 guy. Great work, appreciate the ops league help

    • Phil B.

      Phil B. says:
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      @Gobiggreen: lukewarm love. He’s in 4,and i debated him in 3,its just the power that makes me not like him, as I think last year was probably as good as he’s going to get homer wise. But I see where he could be in 3, maybe next year

  7. mike says:
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    Do yoi think signing schwarber and corey seager to five year deals in fantasy baseball is ok? A 5 keeper league 14 teams. The price would be $30 each but id have them even when they hit there prime 27. I figure the first year the price is steep but if they become first round picks its worth it. I never draft first rounders because example trout goes for 85$ and the guy who paid that placed 5th. He didnt have any real good keepers neither because hes new to the league. So paying up pays off but still I wont pay up so I need guys signed before they become superstar. I may settle for 4years $25 each.

    • mike says:
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      @mike: take in to consideration corey seagers rookie year he didnt steal but that doesnt mean he wont be a 40/20 30/20 . I mean he looks pretty agile and not so much as a streambean as I thought. If he bulked up a little more he maybe trouts equal one day. Yeah and schwarbers babe ruth. Who am I kidding somebody please calm me down on these guys before I ruin my fantasy team for years to come.

      • Phil B.

        Phil B. says:
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        @mike: By what you’ve said I’d def go the five on Seager. The steals might not come this year, due to the back issue, but with roberts as manager they will at some point. His upside is major. Schwarber I like going the 4 years at $25. Trout at $85, while probably being about right in terms of the # of teams, means that guy had to hit everywhere else and by finishing 5th he didn’t.

        How much money do you get? $260?

  8. Mantis Toboggan MD says:
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    harper thinks it’s not well known that he was hurt nearly all last year, seriously?

    • Phil B.

      Phil B. says:
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      @Mantis Toboggan MD: I wonder if it wasn’t something else…like Joe Maddon getting in his head?

  9. Milkshakes says:
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    i get that SB becomes less valuable as 1 in 6 categories instead of 1 in 5, but what part of the standings are you aiming for in a 6×6 for SB? Whereas you might aim for #3 in a 5×5, do you aim for below average in 6×6 to really load up on HR/OPS?

  10. Phil B.

    Phil B. says:
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    personally I would. I would aim for 5th, meaning with the pack for most of the season, and if you have to get an extra helping of SAGNOF (or trade) toward the end that’s doable.
    And if you do that, and a guy like Billy H or Dee Gordon(less so) are perfect if they’re reasonable to acquire, as the high HR/OPS guys help cancel that part out.

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