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?
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).
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.
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!