Fantasy Rankings in Review – Outfielders

Back in February, I took my first shot at attempting to rank players for fantasy purposes. After a full season, I thought it wise to take a look back at how they went, and compare them to how it actually turned out and see if there is anything to be gained from it. Next up is the review of my OF rankings. I ranked 45 outfielders originally, and you can find them here.

Yahoo’s Top 25 Outfielders

  1. Carlos Gonzalez
  2. Carl Crawford
  3. Josh Hamilton
  4. Jose Bautista
  5. Ryan Braun
  6. Matt Holliday
  7. Jayson Werth
  8. Vladimir Guerrero
  9. Alex Rios
  10. Corey Hart
  11. Shin-Soo Choo
  12. Hunter Pence
  13. Chris Young
  14. Aubrey Huff
  15. Delmon Young
  16. Juan Pierre
  17. Nick Swisher
  18. Adam Dunn
  19. Andrew McCutchen
  20. Drew Stubbs
  21. Angel Pagan
  22. Ichiro Suzuki
  23. Vernon Wells
  24. Nelson Cruz
  25. Brett Gardner

Notable Outfielders Outside the Top 25: Matt Kemp (26), Torii Hunter (27), Shane Victorino (28), Bobby Abreu (29), Andre Ethier (34), Jay Bruce (35), Justin Upton (41), Nick Markakis (46), Curtis Granderson (49), Alfonso Soriano

What We Saw

  • Matt Kemp was a huge disappointment to his owners, and I would imagine he was to the Dodgers as well. He ended up finishing as the 26th best outfielder, which is not terrible, but there was some expectation that he would hit higher than .249. He should be a nice sleeper type candidate, as he could produce 1st round value down in the 4th or later.
  • Justin Upton fared even worse, finishing at #41 among outfielders. His numbers weren’t horrendous (17 home runs, 18 stolen bases), but for a player who was drafted in the second round in most leagues, this was clearly a disappointing season.
  • Bad call of the year: Torii Hunter at #6. Don’t ask me what made me think that an outfielder on the wrong side of his peak age would repeat the career season he had in 2009. Chalk that one up to poor research, or just a bad decision either way. What I wrote back then:

This is probably where you ask how on earth I can have Hunter this high. He missed over 30 games last season, and still put up an excellent season. While I don’t think that necessarily will hit quite as well as he did last year, I can see a 90 run, 27 HR, 100+ RBI, 20 SB season with a .290 average. I’m a sucker for players that contribute well to all 5 categories. Although that could be all fantasy players. The Angels will look to him to really lead this team, as Chone Figgins and Vlad Guerrero are both gone. This is Hunter’s team, and I think he’ll thrive in the role.

  • Injuries had a major impact as usual, with Jacoby Ellsbury, Grady Sizemore, and Carlos Beltran missing the majority of the season, and others definitely missing substantial portions of the season as well.
  • We also saw a few players who posted amazing seasons where I thought the talent was there, but was more concerned about health. Here’s what I wrote about Josh Hamilton:

Hamilton is probably one of the higher-upside high risk players you could draft. If he’s back to 100% healthy (both mentally and physically), he could be an elite outfielder again. But this remains a player who has missed significant time in 2 of the last 3 seasons. And while I do have to remind myself that he is still developing, I’m averse to the risk in this case. I’ll let someone else take the chance on him. If he does perform to his potential, he could post an 85 run, 25 HR, 100 RBI, 15 steal season with a .280 average. But the odds of that seem really low to me.

  • I know I wasn’t the only one who liked him back in the preseason, but I thought my call on Carlos Gonzalez was in the ballpark:

Gonzalez appears to finally be showing the promise that made him the highlight of both the Dan Haren and Matt Holliday trades. Despite only playing in 89 games last year, he still posted excellent numbers. And he comes into Spring Training with what appears to be a very good chance to be an everyday player. In a full season, I think he can post 100 runs, 20 HR, 75 RBI, and 25 SB with a good average. The only real concern I have for Gonzalez is that the Rockies seem to have too many solid outfielders (Hawpe, Spilborghs, Fowler, Smith), and as a result could see a loss of some playing time potentially for Gonzalez. Something to monitor in Spring Training if you get him. But I love the upside, and think he’s going to be extremely popular this season.

  • There were so many players who came out of nowhere and performed once given jobs. The ones that really stand out to me were Angel Pagan, Andres Torres, and Drew Stubbs.
  • I think that Andrew McCutchen is poised to breakout even further than he already has, and could even finish 2011 in the top 10 for outfielders.

Overall, I thought that my rankings did alright for outfield. Clearly, there were some players who simply didn’t live up to the hype that I believed them to have (Hunter, Granderson, Beltran, among others). But I thought that a lot of the players who ended up in the top 25 which I didn’t rank were practically out of left field (figuratively speaking anyway)

Preliminary 2011 Rankings (Very Raw)

  1. Carlos Gonzalez
  2. Ryan Braun
  3. Carl Crawford
  4. Matt Holliday
  5. Josh Hamilton
  6. Jayson Werth
  7. Alex Rios
  8. Shin-Soo Choo
  9. Jose Bautista
  10. Hunter Pence

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