Just read a Starbonell post
Photo Credit: MissChatter
Let me preface this piece by saying that the outfield position is not as deep as people make it out to be.
That sounds like lunacy to those who think the position is loaded with options, but it’s the truth. Sure the OF ranks are top-heavy, but once you get past the first 25 options the red flags begin to fly up all over the place. Owners in shallow leagues don’t have to worry too much about their outfield. Big shots who play in deeper leagues have to be willing to spend a little.
Of course, those of us in 14-team or deeper leagues need to be aware of all their options. After all, unless you are willing to blow your wad on your outfield, you need to have a deep well of OFs to choose from (especially for the latter part of the draft/auction).
Fortunately for you, I’ve ranked and tiered 105 outfielders. After reading this article, not only will you know everything about the outfield position, but your penis will grow five inches! Even if you’re a female!
More after the jump:
The Multi-Category Monarchs
These guys rule the OF land because of their ability to put up elite numbers across the board.
1. Mike Trout
Don’t throw rocks at Mike Trout’s throne. He deserves this spot and there’s really no debate over who the best OF in fantasy is. Admittedly, I never thought Trout would have anywhere near the type of season he did in 2012. His minor league numbers to that point, while solid, were not indicative of a player who would hit the ground sprinting his rookie season. Yet the world-class talent owned major-league pitching last year while rocking 30 HRs and stealing 49 bases. Sure some haters may want to bring up his .383 BABIP, but you can’t deny the fact that he’ll be hitting leadoff for the most potent offense in baseball and is a lock for a 25/45 season (with the upside of 30/50).
2. Ryan Braun
I don’t think I’m going out on much of a limb when I say that Ryan Braun has used PEDs. You don’t test for insanely high testosterone levels last year and wind up linked to a PED clinic this offseason through sheer coincidence. Granted, Braun hasn’t been suspended and MLB’s investigation into the Biogenesis clinic is ongoing, but when there’s smoke, there’s fire, and Braun is looking like a Method Man and Redman tour bus right about now. I still think he’s an elite major leaguer with 30/30 skills, but you do have to wonder if all this shit around him will affect his 2013 performance (be it via a suspension, or the fact that he might stop taking whatever it is that’s been aiding his performance).
3. Andrew McCutchen
I really wanted to put Judge Dread ahead of Braun, but ultimately, I think Braun is the superior player (with or without PEDs). You’d like to see the McCutchen improve on his baserunning in 2013 (caught stealing 12 times in 32 attempts) and he has even said that this is an area that he wants to make strides in. Even if McCutchen doesn’t do much better than his 20 steals from 2012, he’ll still be one of the best all-around fantasy options in the game.
4. Matt Kemp
While listing him fourth among OFs seems like a bit of a swipe to a player who was widely drafted first overall last year, it really isn’t. Our own Don Brown put him on his “Do-Not-Trust List” due to injury concerns, and I have to side with our resident sports physical therapist. Kemp was on the DL twice for hamstring issues last year, and his stolen base totals faltered in 2012 (just nine steals). I think he’s best player in the game when he’s right, but there’s no reason to spend top dollar on him now as he tries to move past the shoulder and hamstring woes that plagued him last season.
The Second Banana Ballers
While the OFs here didn’t quite make the first-tier cut, these dudes clearly are elite talents at their position who could find their way past a couple of the guys sitting above them.
5. Jose Bautista
You know you are an elite slugger when a “down” year includes a .286 ISO and 27 HRs in just 92 games. The big concern with Joey Bats is the wrist, but I think he belongs among the top five OFs due to his awesome power. The HR numbers in baseball have been down, so 50 bomb potential is as valuable as ever.
6. Giancarlo Stanton
Though Joey Bats is at the top of the Bautista/Stanton power duo, Stanton is no bottom (unless he’s a power-bottom of course). I give Bautista the (slight) nod because his lineup and home park are superior, and Stanton’s strikeout rate is dangerously high (28.5 K% in 2012). That said, Stanton and his .318 ISO from last year show that his power ceiling is higher than Bautista’s.
7. Justin Upton
Upton is talented enough to finish the season as the best player in fantasy. Of course, all that ability hasn’t translated to consistent major league success. He’s had ISOs under .175 in two of the last three years. He also has a pair of .230-plus ISO seasons in the bigs. Considering he’s leaving one of the better home parks for hitters, I’m not optimistic that Upton will post the best power numbers of his career in 2013. Still, the fact that there is so much untapped potential with Upton makes it impossible to rank him any lower.
8. Carlos Gonzalez
CarGo’s value takes a hit because he’s played under 140 games the last two years and dealt with hamstring issues in 2012. Yet because he’s a true 5x5 player, he remains a top 10 OF.
9. Bryce Harper
Already a 25/25 threat at just age 20, Harper is just scratching the surface. The problem is, he will be a costly commodity on draft/auction day. So much so, that I’m not banking on landing him in any of my leagues. I think he’s a top ten OF for sure, but I’m not willing to reach to the point where I’m straining my trapezius.
10. Jason Heyward
Heyward is only 23 years old and is coming off a career-best season that saw him go 27/21. Injuries have been an issue his first couple of seasons in the majors, and his struggles with whiffs last year could mean a sub-.250 BA. Yet like most of the dudes in this tier, he makes it into the top 10 thanks to his all-world talent.
The “Could Be Elite, But” Brigade
You are familiar with the names in this tier. There’s a lot of proven ability sitting here, but each of these players carries some risk.
11. Jacoby Ellsbury
Like Jim “Good Ole’ JR” Ross, fantasy owners who went all in on the Red Sox outfielder caught a nasty case of ‘Ells Palsy. It shouldn’t have come as that much of a surprise. Twice in the last three years Ellsbury has played in less than 100 games. When he was on the field in 2012, Ellsbury did jack shit for his fantasy owners. His power disappeared (.099 ISO) and he managed just 14 steals in 323 PAs. Ellsbury is just a year removed from an elite season, but you are obviously assuming some risk here.
12. Josh Hamilton
The Angels offense looks diesel and his power production is elite, but Hamilton has a couple of eyebrow raisers on his resume. For one, last year was only the second time in his career that he’s played 140 games. Second, his plate patience in 2012 was alarmingly whiff-rific. Dude rocked a 20.0 Swinging-Strike Percentage (SwStr%)! Hamilton will give you overall quality production when healthy, but you should be concerned about his health and a possible dive in batting average.
13. Jay Bruce
Bruce turns 26 in April and has already proven to be one of the better sluggers in baseball (.263 ISO last year). There’s a chance he has some untapped potential left in that bat. Of course, he’ll have to get cut down on the strikeouts (24.5 K% and .252 BA in 2012) and get over the hump against lefties (career .231 BA).
The “Hold It Down” Hooligans
There’s a lot to like about the players in this group. Sure you may not get eye-popping stats in any one particular category from these guys, but the contributions you get will certainly help your fantasy squad.
14. Ben Zobrist
The Zorilla lands at this spot thanks to his eligibility at SS. But seeing as he’s a 20/15 threat, you could always plug him in at OF if you absolutely need to.
15. Shin-Soo Choo
The subject of many a terrible team name (I swear if I see the words “Choo Choo Train” again I’m gonna merck a sucka), Choo’s 2013 prospects are looking promising. He now will be playing his home games in a HR-happy park and is joining the best lineup of his career. He always seems to get nicked up, but a 20/20 season is absolutely in play.
16. Allen Craig
Your boy Big Poppa Pockets was high on Craig coming into last season. Now? I still like him, but the price is a bit too costly for my taste. Craig will drive in plenty of runs this year hitting in the middle of the Cardinals lineup, but health is a concern as he has been mighty injury-prone over the last two years. The power is good (.215 ISO last year), but not spectacular, so I’m not as keen on him as most.
17. Adam Jones
Admittedly, I kept waiting for the other cleat to drop on Jones’ 2012 season. He didn’t keep up the torrid pace he set early in the year, but he didn’t go through any major slumps either, so he earns points for that. I don’t consider Jones a true five-tool fantasy star because I think he’ll wind up with just 9-12 steals, but he should still compile quality all-around numbers in 2013.
18. Josh Reddick
Josh “Native-American”-dick put up great power numbers in his first year with Oakland, and what’s really encouraging is that his power was actually better at home (.237 ISO). I do think he played a bit over his head in 2012, but because he made consistently hard contact (21.2 LD%) and was proficient on the base paths (11 SBs in 12 tries), Reddick should once again be a valuable fantasy OF.
19. Mark Trumbo
The lure of the Angels offense will probably blind a lot of future Trumbo owners enough to coax an overpay. He can really only be counted on for two categories (HRs and RBI). The first base eligibility helps his value.
The “Across-The-Board” Acolytes
5x5 gamers may get a little rambunctious over the values of these players, but while some of these options are overrated, there is no denying that the members of this tier are capable of giving you all-around production.
20. B.J. Upton
Coming off a 28/31 season, B.J. Upton will probably be overvalued in most leagues. Some of you may be saying, “B-B-B-But Starbonell! He’s gonna be playing with his brother Justin in Atlanta. Won’t that motivate him to play his b-b-best?” No. Upton only has two .200-plus ISO seasons on his resume, so expect him to be more of a high-teens/low-20s HR hitter in 2013. Also, we saw Carl Crawford’s speed disappear after years of chasing fly balls on Tampa’s turf. Upton’s 31 steals last year marked his lowest total in five season, so that may be a sign that his SB numbers are on the decline. He’s not someone worth reaching for.
21. Alex Rios
This idea that Rios will suck this year because “he sucks every other year” is tomfoolery. Aside from 2011, Rios has posted a combined HR/SB tally of at least 41 over the last six years. Health is sometimes an issue with Rios, but he’s one of the more reliable power/speed outfielders out there.
22. Desmond Jennings
If Jennings could just stay on the damn field, he’d actually be a profitable draft day investment. He went 13/31 despite playing in just 132 games, so the upside is certainly there. He’s also a lot better than his .246 BA from last year (.294 in minors).
23. Austin Jackson
Austin 3:16 says “I’m actually a pretty underrated player.” After a 12 swipe season in 2012, the Tigers want him to be more aggressive on the base paths. That just adds to his already solid value. Jackson is the leadoff hitter for a strong Detroit offense and took a step forward with his power last year (.179 ISO and 16 HRs). If he continues to improve his power, we could be looking at a 20 HR campaign. Oh, and for those people whining and moaning about his BABIP being unlucky: quit being a bitch. Dude has done an excellent job of making consistently hard contact (23.8 LD% in 2012) and Jackson owns a career .370 BABIP mark in the bigs. In other words, don’t expect a dramatic drop in his BA since he’s proven he can maintain a high BABIP.
24. Yoenis Cespedes
Cespedes battled injuries last year and put up a dangerous 12.4 SwStr%, but he was productive when on the field (23/16 and a .214 ISO at home). If he stays healthy in 2013, 25 HRs and 20 steals are possible.
25. Alex Gordon
While the ridiculous hype Gordon got when he was coming up was utterly comical, he does hold solid value. He won’t destroy it in any one category, but he’ll steal about 10 bases, slug close to 20 HRs, hit at least .280, and score over 90 runs as KC’s leadoff hitter.
The Risk-Carrying Rebels
The options in this group are a bit risky considering the price tags. Sure there’s some great value that could be mined if they reach their full potential, but you also stand the chance of getting a relative bust.
26. Curtis Granderson
A fractured forearm will keep Granderson out until around mid-May. When he returns, he’ll have around four-and-a-half months of play to try to earn a major payday as a free agent in the fall. You can knock Curtis Granderson’s BA woes all you want (under .250 three of the last four years). At the end of the day, you are looking at a player who can still slug 25 or more HRs this year. Yes the shitty BA is... well, shitty. And sure the fact that he only stole 10 bases last year means the days of double-digit swipes are over. Still, power is a coveted asset in fantasy and it makes Granderson a player worth stashing.
27. Michael Bourn
You can find steals all over the outfield position. Granted, Bourn is the best three-cat speed guy on the OF board, and the fact that he’s lacing line drives (LD% over 21 percent last two years) and getting on base (10.1 BB% in 2012) means he’s not in danger of completely falling off the map. That said, it’s disconcerting that he only stole 42 bases last year after averaging 58 the previous three seasons. He also gives you no power, so if his SB numbers take another dip, it will really bring his value down.
28. Shane Victorino
There’s no denying that Victorino has been a reliable speed/power source for the last few years, but I’m admittedly skittish of taking a chance on a 32-year-old baller who showed less power last year (.128 ISO) and could be slowing down speed-wise at age 32. The upside is a 15/30 season, but the downside is... well, the fate of every other Red Sox free agent signing over the last couple of years.
29. Matt Holliday
25-plus HRs, an average close to .300, and over 90 runs and RBIs shouldn’t be a problem for Holliday if he stays healthy. Problem is, health is a huge concern for 2013. Back issues plagued his 2012 campaign, and at 33 years old, he is already showing signs of a decline. Last year, his power dipped, his strikeouts went up, and he began hitting fewer line drives and more grounders. He might have another really good season left in him, but have fun finding out.
30. Carlos Beltran
Beltran’s overall numbers last year looked great, but he actually fell apart in the second half (.236 BA). Considering that he’s turning 36 in April and has been injury-prone throughout his career, it’s hard to be optimistic about the prospects of Beltran turning in a season as good as his 2012 campaign.
The “Solid Enough” Soldiers
Nothing against the dudes in this tier, but there’s a little bit of “settling” that will be going down for most owners who wind up with any of these players. Perhaps they desperately needed a skill-set one of these players can bring. Or maybe they waited too long to grab an OF and are “panic buying” to net themselves a top 40 OF. In any case, the players in this tier are solid options, but not ones who will make you wet.
31. Josh Willingham
Though he’s 34 years old, Willingham has posted ISOs of at least .230 in each of the last three seasons. He wasn’t shook by Target Field last year, so as long as he stays healthy, he should be a quality power contributor.
32. Carl Crawford
Crawford is expected to begin the 2013 season with a relatively clean bill of health (he's dealing with forearm tightness at the moment), but fantasy owners drafting the Dodgers OF should expect a clean “bill of goods.” We all know what kind of numbers Crawford put up with Tampa Bay, but that was three years ago. The astroturf at Tropicana Field softened up his legs and slowed him down by the time he arrived in Boston. The days of 50 steals are well behind him. You hope that he hits enough HRs and reels in 30 bags to make this a worthwhile gamble. However, just know that the Crawford of old is never coming back.
33. Martin Prado
He can hit .300 and put up double-digit marks in HR and steals, but he only makes it this high on the list because of his eligibility at SS (in Yahoo! leagues).
34. Starling Marte
There’s a considerable amount of upside with Marte since he can feasibly throw up a 15/25 season in the leadoff spot and owns a career .303 BA in the minors. However, he needs to reel in the whiffs (27.5 K% in 2012) and learn how to get on base (4.4 BB% last year) in order to reach his full potential.
35. Norichika Aoki
As a leadoff hitter coming off a 10/30 season, Aoki’s floor is pretty high. Unfortunately, his upside is capped as he isn’t likely to improve upon his 2012 numbers. Still, he’s a pretty solid player overall.
36. Ichiro Suzuki
Ichiro killed it after landing in New York (227 ABs, .322 BA, five HRs, 14 SBs) and may find himself hitting in the two-hole ahead of players like Robinson Cano and Mark Teixeira. Yet as a 39-year-old, his speed may drop precipitously. He may post some of the better power numbers of his career, however, as he gets a full season with the short right field at Yankee Stadium.
37. Brett Gardner
The elbow injury that knocked Gardner out for most of 2012 shouldn’t be an issue in 2013. While he may hit ninth and does nothing for you in the HR/RBI categories, Gardner is only a year removed from a 49 steal season and possesses elite plate patience.
38. Emilio Bonifacio
As of right now, Bonifacio is a bench player in Toronto. The organization views him as a super-utility guy they can plug in around the field. That’s a shame, because if his playing time wasn’t a question, he would rank a lot higher. He has 40-plus SB ability and is eligible at second base in Yahoo! leagues.
The “Relatively Cheap Power” Posse
The power you find in this tier won’t cost you an arm and a leg. Of course, there’s a reason for that...
39. Chris Davis
Davis launched 33 HRs and posted a .231 ISO last year, but his insane strikeout rate (30.1 K% in 2012) means he’s always at risk of falling off.
40. Nick Swisher
While the move away from Yankee Stadium isn’t ideal, Swisher’s power shouldn’t deflate that much (24 HRs and .201 ISO in 2012). The bigger concern is the rising strikeout rate and the fact that he swung at a lot more pitches outside the strike zone in 2012.
41. Nelson Cruz
Despite being linked to PEDs, I’m more worried about Cruz missing games due to injury than a suspension (has played over 130 games once). He’s turning 33 in July and his power took a step back last year (13.1 HR/FB the lowest in five years). So yeah, I probably won’t be owning any shares of Cruz.
42. Jason Kubel
Kubel is still capable of putting a hurting on the ball (23.0 LD% and .253 ISO in 2012), but he’s injury-prone, will probably cede some PAs in a crowded Arizona outfield, and experienced some scary developments with his strikeout numbers last year (career-worst 26.4 K% and 11.0 SwStr%).
The “Relatively Cheap Speed” Society
SBs should come pretty easy for the dudes here, but there’s a reason the price tag is at such a discount...
43. Juan Pierre
A complete and utter three-cat player, Pierre has a starting job at hand in Miami. However, at 35 years old, you have to wonder if the speed will drop precipitously.
44. Angel Pagan
San Francisco’s leadoff hitter tallied 29 stolen bases last season and should hit between .280 and .290.
45. Carlos Gomez
19 HRs and 37 SBs might give you stars in your eyes, but the power came out of nowhere (career .133 ISO) and it could go back from whence it came. Plus, he’s a total BA liability (career .237) and will hit at the bottom of the lineup.
46. Drew Stubbs
Though Stubb’s power has pretty much disappeared (ISO under .125 the last two years), his speed remains intact (30 swipes in 2012). Now if he could only stop striking out so damn much (30.5 K% and .213 BA last year).
The “Good Pick” Goonies
You know when people think you made a shrewd choice on draft day and they litter the chat room with “good pick” comments... only the pick really isn’t that great? That’s these dudes. Sure the price may drop to the point where it looks like a steal, but don’t get it twisted. Every single one of these dudes could end up being a lousy pick (even on the cheap).
47. Alfonso Soriano
With ISOs over .225 in each of the last three years, Soriano has been a consistent power threat... when he’s been on the field. Last year was the first time in six seasons that he played over 150 games. You can’t be too confident that he’ll reach that mark again as a 37-year-old.
48. Michael Morse
Morse battled injuries in 2012 and is now moving to SafeCo Field (though they are moving the fences in). He really only has one quality season under his belt, but Morse has shown plus power before while also being able to hit for average (career .295 BA).
49. Carlos Quentin
Petco Park couldn’t hold him back last year (.243 ISO), but injuries, once again, did. Quentin has never played 135 games in a season and has played under 120 contests in the last two years. He’ll mash when he’s healthy, but he’s obviously a risky pick.
50. Dayan Viciedo
Only 24 (in Cuban years, which means he might actually be 31), Viciedo may be turning into a serious slugger. He hit 25 HRs in 2012 and White Sox hitting coach Jeff Manto thinks that with a couple of adjustments, Viciedo could become a “big-time impact player.” Unfortunately, his plate patience leaves a lot to be desired and it compromises his BA as a result (.255 mark last year).
51. Lorenzo Cain
Leg injuries limited him to just 61 games last year, but Cain is capable of hitting 15 HRs and stealing 20-plus bases. He needs to work on his plate discipline (23.0 K% and 11.1 SwStr% in 2012).
52. Peter Bourjos
There was a time when Bourjos looked like a 15/35 type of player, so the fact that he’s finally starting does make him an interesting sleeper. Of course, he’s been pretty underwhelming in his major league career and will hit near the bottom of the lineup in 2013.
53. Melky Cabrera
Toronto looked past Cabrera’s PED use, but that doesn’t mean you have to. Cabrera is being drafted way too early in a lot of drafts. I don’t get it. His upside is that of a 15/15 player with a BA over .300. The floor? A barely roster-able fantasy option in 12-team leagues.
54. Andre Ethier
Ethier finally has a great offense around him, so there’s no more excuses. I don’t see how an improved lineup will help Ethier hit left-handers better (career .238 BA vs. LHP), but hey what do I know (other than everything)?
55. Corey Hart
His manager is expecting him back in late May. Hart thinks he’ll be on the field by the end of April. Whatever his return date ends up being, just know that this is the second season that he is coming off of knee surgery. Last year he performed well (30 HRs and .237 ISO), but this offseason procedure was more invasive. He’s not a bad draft-and-stash candidate, but just know that it may take him awhile to really get going.
The “Holding Out Hope” Haberdashers
These dudes have all shown flashes of brilliance before, and the hope is that the 2013 versions of these players will be plenty productive.
56. Michael Saunders
People pretty much forgot about Saunders being an interesting prospect years ago, but he put himself on the fantasy map with a quality 19/21 season in 2012. Saunders finally began making consistently hard contac (20.2 LD%; first time over 17 percent) and at age 26, he could continue to improve. He just really needs to cut down on the strikeouts as they helped keep him to a .247 BA last year.
57. Justin Ruggiano
The previously ignored Ruggiano has entered the sleeper discussion after slugging 13 HRs (.222 ISO) and stealing 14 bases in just 320 PAs late last year. Playing time shouldn’t be a problem thanks to the dearth of talent on Miami’s roster. However, just keep in mind that the “upside” we are talking about is an 18/18 season. Solid numbers for sure, but just note that Ruggiano’s “floor depth” is taller than his upside.
58. Coco Crisp
33, injury-prone, and part of a crowded outfield in Oakland, Crisp is mostly a one-category asset for fantasy owners. Still, he steals bases at a high clip when he’s healthy (39 in 120 games last year).
59. Alejandro De Aza
De Aza has battled injuries for most of his pro career, and he was limited to just 131 games last season. Yet because he can contribute a little bit everywhere (with 20-plus steals), De Aza has value.
60. Ryan Ludwick
Obviously, I don’t have a lot of faith in Ryan Ludwick building on his 2012 season (.256 ISO). I don’t want to go throwing around PED accusations without proof... but I’m going on record and accusing Ryan Ludwick of using PEDs. Even if he somehow managed to put up last year’s numbers with “natural” strength, a 34-year-old, injury-prone, OF who wasn’t even a starter two years ago is not someone I’m trying to roll with in fantasy. This is as high as I’ll go with Ludwick.
61. Hunter Pence
Pence’s annoying “I’m an intense, fiery guy who is the emotional leader of this team” schtick may serve the Giants well, but he is incredibly overrated for fantasy purposes. Yes he has socked over 20 HRs in the last five years, but his others numbers leave much to be desired. His strikeouts went up last year (21.1 K% and 12.9 SwStr%) while his BA went south (.253). The days of double-digit SB totals are also behind him. Pence-l him in for a season in which he plays below draft-day value.
62. Michael Cuddyer
The move to Coors Field helped his power numbers last year (.229 ISO), but injuries limited Cuddyer to just 101 games. He’ll be 34 on Opening Day, so... yeah, there’s the fact that he’s kinda old.
63. Cameron Maybin
Maybin’s a year removed from a 40 steal season, but he’s mostly a one-cat option. He hits way too many grounders (career 54.8 GB%) and too few line drives (career 15.8 LD%), which helps explain his career .251 BA. To make matters worse, Maybin was moved towards the bottom of the order in the second half thanks to his poor play.
64. Ben Revere
Like Maybin, Revere’s biggest fantasy asset is his speed. Unlike Maybin, he literally contributes nothing else. At least Cameron Maybin can come up with six-to-eight HRs. Revere had exactly ZERO HRs in 553 PAs last year. He also doesn’t walk much (career 5.4 BB%) and his ground ball rate is dangerously high (66.9 GB% in 2012).
65. Adam Eaton
There are a lot of people who have Eaton on their sleeper list. Aside from 30-steal ability, what is he really bringing to the table? Yes his plate patience is superb (career 11.4 BB% and 13.5 K% in minors) and he could conceivably hit .280-.290 BA, but you probably won’t get double-digit HRs from him. Don’t get it twisted, Eaton is a legit sleeper, but just don’t go crazy reaching for him because his ceiling, while solid, isn’t that high.
66. Dexter Fowler
For years fantasy owners have been drafting Fowler with the hope that he will finally “put it all together.” He has the physical tools to be a 20/20 player, but despite that upside, it’s more likely that he’ll be just above the double-digit mark for HRs and SBs.
The “Fortune Smiling” Syndicate
The players in this tier have all fallen into favorable scenarios for the upcoming season, so it’s now up to them to turn their opportunity into quality campaigns.
67. Cody Ross
Ross is moving from one hitter’s park to another, so his power should remain intact (.214 ISO in 2012). He’s a 25 HR hitter when healthy.
68. David Murphy
With a starting role now at hand, fantasy owners will finally get to see if the glimpses of usefulness Murphy has shown in the past were legit. The lefty smashed fellow southpaws last year (.347 BA in 84 PAs) and has the skill-set to throw up a 15/10 season.
69. Torii Hunter
Old as shit (37 years old), it seemed when the offseason began that Hunter might end up being irrelevant in fantasy. However, he’s now with the Tigers and will be hitting second in front of Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder. You couldn’t ask for a better scenario, so I’m expecting Hunter to come through with a productive campaign.
70. Denard Span
Injuries have wreaked havoc on his career, but the high contact hitter still has what it takes to hit for average and steal 20-plus bases. The fact that he’s now on a much better team should help him get back on track (so long as he can stay healthy).
71. Wil Myers
The Royals kept Myers down in the minors last year even though it looked like he was ready to contribute in the majors. The Rays won’t take such an approach. Expect Myers to spend the first month in AAA so that Tampa Bay can save themselves money in the long run, but once May comes, he’ll be a mainstay in the starting lineup. That said, I’m not too crazy about his 2013 fantasy value. It should be noted that his power numbers in AA (Kansas City’s affiliate has a ridiculous hitter-happy park) and AAA (HR-heavy PCL league) should be taken with a CC Sabathia-sized grain of salt. Not saying that he won’t show any power, but keep in mind that Eric Hosmer and Billy Butler (pre-2012) als displayed great slugging numbers at those levels in the minors but began their major league careers with mediocre power.
72. Brandon Moss
Early in the offseason, it looked as though Moss would be entrenched in a first base platoon with Chris Carter. Yet after the A’s dealt Carter to Arizona, the playing time should be ample for Moss. That’s good news, because if Moss’ power comes anywhere close to what he was doing in 2012 (insane .306 ISO) then we could be talking about one of the best deep sleeper power options in fantasy.
The “Upside-Laden” Lunatics
There is untapped potential with this crew, but they’ll need to fire on all cylinders (and probably have some luck in their corner) in order to really make a fantasy impact.
73. Colby Rasmus
Officially a “post-hype” sleeper, Rasmus failed to make serious strides in his game last year even though some of his surface numbers look solid (23 HRs, 75 RBIs, and 75 Rs). Strikeouts continue to plague his game and he’s hit below .250 the last two years. His stolen base “upside” has also come crashing down (nine swipes in last two years combined). The incredible talent is still there, but I’m not willing to reach for it.
74. Leonys Martin
The favorite for the starting CF gig, the Rangers finally seem ready to let Martin play regularly in the majors. Talent-wise, he can do it all. Martin owns a .323 BA in his minor league career, can steal 20-plus bags, and slug double-digit HRs. However, because Craig Gentry and Julio Borbon are able to steal PAs in center if Martin struggles, there’s some pressure on the young Cuban to hit the ground running in 2013.
75. Jon Jay
Jay’s overall skill set is nothing to get worked up about, but the overachiever is making the most of his big league opportunities. As the leadoff hitter of a productive St. Louis offense, the high contact hitter has honed his base-stealing ability and could poach 20 bags this year while hitting close to .300.
76. Chris Young
With Oakland’s OF being so crowded, Young will have to really bounce back to get the playing time needed to make a serious impact in fantasy. His propensity to strike out a lot while being able to drive the ball fits well with the M.O. of this Oakland team, but just know that even if he plays better in 2013, he’ll probably still be a BA liability (career .239).
77. Tyler Moore
I thought Moore was a strong deep sleeper last year, and his .250 ISO in 2012 proves that his power is legit. Because Denard Span and Jayson Werth are injury/suck-prone, there’s a chance Moore could see regular playing time at some point this season. He’ll need to improve on the strikeouts (26.9 K% and 14.0 SwStr%) but there is some serious profit to be made on his draft day value.
The “Well, At Least They’re Starting” Squadron
You won’t be pissing your pants with excitement over any of these guys, but at least they’ve got starting jobs and some credibility on their side.
78. Garrett Jones
Yes, Jones’ .242 ISO and 27 HRs are plenty useful in fantasy, but I have a hard time believing that he will again be a worthy, everyday fantasy option. Maybe it’s the career .259 BA or 11.7 SwStr% from last year (or the fact that he’s posted ISOs under .190 the previous two years).
79. Nick Markakis
He’s been overvalued by the fantasy community forever, despite the fact that he’s hit under 20 HRs each of the last four years. Coming off a season in which he had surgeries performed on three different parts of his body (thumb, abdomen, hamate), I have no faith in him suddenly becoming an OF3.
80. Logan Morrison
The injury-prone Morrison will miss at least the first month of the season after undergoing his second knee surgery in two years. As a player who has eligibility at first base and has shown plus power in the past (.221 ISO in 2011), he could have some value if his health holds up. Then again, he mustered just a .169 ISO last year and owns a .174 mark in the minors, so it’s possible that his 2011 power was merely an outlier.
81. Nate McLouth
The likely leadoff hitter for the Orioles, McLouth has the ability to go 15/15 if everything breaks right. Unfortunately, he’s injury-prone and has to worry about Nolan Reimold (also injury-prone) stealing PAs. McLouth is also the “proud” owner of a career .248 BA.
The “Wait And See” Contingency
There’s some intriguing fantasy potential in this tier, but you won’t want to start these guys from the jump in most leagues.
82. Darin Mastroianni
In the mix for the starting CF gig, Mastroianni has 30-plus steal wheels and owns an impressive 11.6 BB% in his minor league career. He won’t offer you any power, but he could be as valuable as Arizona’s Adam Eaton (and at a much cheaper price).
83. Fernando Martinez
The former top prospect is still only 24 and performed well last year in AAA (.194 ISO) and in the bigs for 130 PAs (.229 ISO). Injuries, no guarantees over regular playing time, and a propensity for whiffing are all major hurdles for Martinez to overcome, but the pedigree is there.
84. Oscar Taveras
The highly regarded OF prospect needs an injury to crack the starting lineup in St. Louis, and although he’s never played in AAA and is only 20 years old, he’s shown impressive power already (.252 ISO in AA last year) while also being able to hit for average.
85. Matt Joyce
Struggles against left-handed pitching have made Joyce a potential platoon player (.209 BA vs. LHP in 2012). However, he knows how to get on base (career 11.4 BB%) and has shown that he can hit for power (career .212 ISO).
86. Jonny Gomes
Gomes will see regular playing time in Boston and his power should play nicely there (.229 ISO last year). Yet while the Red Sox organization has faith in him being an MLB regular, fantasy owners should not be filled with such confidence. Gomes has been owned by righties (.209 BA vs. RHP in 2012) and strikes out way too often (31.2 K% in 2012).
87. Gary Brown
The Giants are starting this season with Gregor Blanco and Andres Torres as their third and fourth OFs, respectively, but Brown is a superior everyday alternative. A high-contact hitter who can steal 30-plus bases, he should have an opportunity at some point this season to seize ample playing time.
88. Brett Jackson
The Cubs have re-worked Jackson’s swing in an effort to curb his insane strikeout numbers, but it reeks of a desperate move by a club trying to get something out of a once promising prospect. Jackson can hit for power (.224 ISO in AAA last year) and swipe 25-plus bags, but unless he reins in the whiffs, he’ll fail to achieve much success in fantasy.
89. George Springer
Already flashing impressive power in the minors (career .223 ISO) and showing 20-30 SB potential, it’s possible Springer will be starting in Houston at some point this season despite not having any AAA experience. Houston’s outfield options aren’t too impressive, and Springer’s skill set could give the Astros offense some much needed... well, offense.
90. Eury Perez
Washington’s outfield is full and Tyler Moore is next in line for starts if an injury goes down, so Perez needs a perfect storm of circumstances to occur in order to see regular playing time. If he gets some burn, watch out. His stolen base ability is insane (20 swipes in 40 AAA games last year) and Perez is a high-contact hitter who could hit for a decent average.
91. Eric Young Jr.
It’s possible Young never becomes anything more than a utility player, but he still has pretty sweet stolen base upside (40-50 swipe speed). He’s been injury-prone in his big league career and offers no power, but he can get on base and would be an intriguing fantasy option if he ever becomes a starter.
92. Rajai Davis
An injury to Toronto’s outfield is the only way Davis will see regular playing time. Of course, he was able to see 487 PAs last year thanks to injuries and aside from 46 steals, he wasn’t able to do jack shit for fantasy owners.
The “If The Heavens Align Perfectly” Platoon
It will take a lot for the players in this tier to turn in quality fantasy seasons, but they just snuck onto this list because I have a shred of faith in them.
93. Lucas Duda
A disappointment last season, Duda had wrist surgery in the offseason following a freak furniture moving accident. Duda has shown impressive power before (.263 ISO in AAA career), but wrist injuries are known to sap power. Since Duda is managing just a .172 ISO in his major league career, you can’t be too excited about his slugging prospects.
94. Jayson Werth
Werth isn’t technically in danger of sitting on the DL, but the left wrist surgery he underwent in April 2012 was said to require 18 months to reach full recovery. In other words, expect a shadow of Werth’s former self.
95. Jarrod Dyson
Dyson’s goal is to steal 50 bases this year, but it’s hard to see that happening. It’s not because he isn’t fast enough, but the playing time just won’t be there unless Lorenzo Cain misses significant time again.
96. Cody Decker
With a career .268 ISO in the minors, Decker clearly has some power-hitting promise. San Diego’s OF options after Cameron Maybin and Carlos Quentin are mediocre at best, so Decker has a chance to play regularly at some point for a Padres team in need of some power.
97. Darin Ruf
At age 26, Ruf is too old to be considered a true prospect. Still, he posted an insane .303 ISO at AA last year and only has to beat out the unimpressive Domonic Brown and John Mayberry to make an impact in 2013.
98. Gregor Blanco
It’s hard to see Blanco holding down a starting job for the entire 2013 season, but he’s in line for the lion’s share of the playing time in left field. With the ability to steal 30 bases, he claws onto these rankings.
The “Barrel Scraping” Bottom-Feeders
These dudes have a modicum of fantasy value, but not enough for me to waste precious words on.
99. Will Venable
100. Tyler Colvin
101. Justin Maxwell
102. Michael Brantley
103. Andy Dirks
104. John Mayberry
105. Delmon Young
*Last updated 2/28/13.