The Dynasty Guru’s Top 125 Dynasty League Outfielders, Nos. 41-75
From the 21st of January to the 20th of February, the writers at TDG will be taking you through our rankings position-by-position. As I mentioned in the primer, this year we’re doing things a little differently. Instead of having my personal rankings up on this site, like last year, these rankings for 2014 are of the consensus variety and being brought to you by all of the TDG staff. Everyone put a lot of work into this project, so we hope you enjoy the end result. And if you are looking for my personal dynasty league rankings, you can find them this off-season at Baseball Prospectus.
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And now installment number two of the Top 125 Dynasty League Outfielders, led off by a former first-round pick who is trying to remake himself in Hollywood:
41) Carl Crawford, Los Angeles Dodgers (Age: 32, Previous Rank: 36)
Crawford is an empty husk of a shell of the player he used to be, and needs to be tended to as such. He’s fragile, but useful – which should tell you the type of player he used to be.
42) Shane Victorino, Boston Red Sox (Age: 33, Previous Rank: 51)
The 2013 season was Victorino plunging his hand through the just laid to rest dirt after being buried by the fantasy community in 2012. This year should tell us whether that was a crumbling body’s final exertion or if he truly is a fantasy zombie.
43) Michael Cuddyer, Colorado Rockies (Age: 34, Previous Rank: 50)
A freak BABIP is to blame for Cuddyer’s first batting title, and while he’s still a useful player, counting on that type of luck to recur is a fool’s errand. As they say, everything in moderation – this applies both to Cuddyer’s luck and our expectations of his production.
44) Leonys Martin, Texas Rangers (Age: 26, Previous Rank: 110)
A 36 stolen base breakout was offset, at least slightly by Martin’s lack of power. His sub-.400 slugging percentage will hurt in OPS leagues, but his age and home park mean more power could be on the way. Even if not, his speed should suffice for value.
45) Norichika Aoki, Milwaukee Brewers (Age: 32, Previous Rank: 62)
Moving from Miller to Kaufmann isn’t generally a boon to one’s fantasy value, but going from the Brewers’ lineup to the Royals’ lineup is. Add in that Aoki isn’t a power hitter, and this offseason was a positive for him. The downside here is age, but the next few years should be good to owners who like a high average/low power/low speed option.
46) Oswaldo Arcia, Minnesota Twins (Age: 22, Previous Rank: 58)
Finally all those “where’s Oswaldo” jokes can end. If you like youth, power and value, Arcia is your man. His lack of a superstar ceiling underrates his true worth, as he can be a consistent 25 home run corner outfielder in his prime.
47) Dexter Fowler, Houston Astros (Age: 27, Previous Rank: 57)
The move from Coors Field to Minute Maid Park won’t turn Fowler’s potency from beer to juice, but it will take some of the bite out of his production. He wasn’t a massive beneficiary of the advantages Coors imbues, but hitting atop the Houston lineup won’t do him any favors.
48) David Dahl, Colorado Rockies (Age: 19, Previous Rank: 65)
Do you think the Rockies have just been playing Sliding Doors on repeat this offseason? If Dahl hadn’t missed that plane, causing them to punish him, maybe he doesn’t tear his hamstring in extended spring training. Despite the lost year, Dahl still has all those tools at his disposal – he could fly up prospect and outfield rankings alike this year.
49) Joc Pederson, Los Angeles Dodgers (Age: 21, Previous Rank: 118)
All that talent and nowhere to play it… If Joc had a direct path to playing time or a normal first name, he’d most certainly be ranked a bit higher. As is, he’s waiting on a trade and an injury to one of the Dodgers’ non-Puig outfielders. Or two injuries – y’know what? He’ll be up by May.
50) Brett Gardner, New York Yankees (Age: 30, Previous Rank: 92)
Gardner won’t have the godawful 2013 Yankees lineup hitting behind him this season. That’s good! He won’t have the good 2014 Yankees lineup behind him either, as he’ll most likely hit at the bottom of it. That’s bad! He’ll steal lots of bases. That’s good! He’s part of a now crowded outfield. That’s bad! He should still see regular playing time. That’s good!
51) Colby Rasmus, Toronto Blue Jays (Age: 27, Previous Rank: 63)
We’re all waiting for Rasmus to end up in New York just so John Sterling can make a beautiful, horrible Colby Jack reference. In the meantime, despite putting together the season we’ve been waiting for since 2010, there’s not a lot of trust in Rasmus. 1,500 terrible PAs will do that to a person. Another year of 20+ home runs and a solid OPS will change a lot of minds though.
52) Nelson Cruz, Free Agent (Age: 33, Previous Rank: 38)
While Cruz is yet to be signed, we know he can be counted on for power production. The low ranking is likely due to fear of how he’s going to age – now that he’s presumably off the juice. His body type doesn’t lend itself to a slow decline, and with power as his only consistent output, there’s a lot to be wary of.
53) Will Venable, San Diego Padres (Age: 31, Previous Rank: 96)
Older than you might think, Venable is still on the upswing thanks to a dynamic power/speed combination and
54) Albert Almora, Chicago Cubs (Age: 19, Previous Rank: 88)
It’s going to come down to power with Almora. If he can break that 20 home run plateau, he’s a possible 20/20 candidate who should hit for a .280+ average with his fantasy dominance determined by the lineup he’s in thanks to contextual stats. Without that power separator, the difference between him and Jackie Bradley, Jr. will have been widely exaggerated.
55) Michael Bourn, Cleveland Indians (Age: 31, Previous Rank: 26)
When your main asset is speed, seeing your stolen bases drop from 42 to 23 doesn’t bode well for your fantasy value. Perhaps it was the switch from Atlanta to Cleveland, but for now, it’s hard to decipher Bourn’s identity.
56) B.J. Upton, Atlanta Braves (Age: 29, Previous Rank: 19)
He’s obviously not as bad as he was last year but what can we expect in 2014? Is 20/20 possible? I’ll take the over on both of those, BJ is only 29 and skills don’t just disappear.
57) Josh Reddick, Oakland Athletics (Age: 27, Previous Rank: 37)
Reddick also isn’t as bad as he was in 2013 and a return to 20 HRs is a likely scenario for this year. Don’t expect a repeat of 2012 but there is a possibility for a rebound here and it’ll come cheaply.
58) Nick Markakis, Baltimore Orioles (Age: 29, Previous Rank: 44)
Consistently boring. Nick Markakis since 2006. He no longer is any real threat on the bases but he’ll bring decent counting stats and a solid AVG/OBP.
59) Andre Ethier, Los Angeles Dodgers (Age: 31, Previous Rank: 52)
His inability to hit lefties really hurts his stock in fantasy and the dodgers OF mess should continue to muck the waters on his playing time. That being said, the AVG/OBP should be decent and if you can manage him in daily leagues, or an injury pops up (cough, Kemp, cough), he can provide good value.
60) Torii Hunter, Detroit Tigers (Age: 38, Previous Rank: 55)
Hunter has really remade himself since joining the Tigers and has put up two incredible seasons. Age will catch up to him sooner or later but I’m betting he can squeeze in two more good years before he totally falls apart.
61) Alejandro De Aza, Chicago White Sox (Age: 29, Previous Rank: 84)
It’s kind of amazing that De Aza will be 30 at the start of the 2014 season as he really only burst onto the scene over the last two years. He definitely has the potential to put up a 15/20 season and that is nothing to sneeze at in any league.
62) Jackie Bradley Jr, Boston Red Sox (Age: 23, Previous Rank: 80)
Bradley got pwned, as the kids say, in his 1st brief taste of the majors but he was able to go down to AAA and regain his composure. Bradley is probably a better real life player than fantasy one but as a 24 year old he could put together a very Markakis-like career going forward.
63) Alfonso Soriano, New York Yankees (Age: 38, Previous Rank: 69)
The move to Yankee Stadium and the spike in SBs have pushed Soriano back up the rankings list but I wouldn’t bank too hard on the SBs sticking around. Still, 30+ HRs is very doable especially in that ballpark.
64) Gerardo Parra, Arizona Diamondbacks (Age: 26, Previous Rank: 119)
Parra won a gold glove in 2013 and also was a halfway decent fantasy outfielder. However, his inability to hit lefties and glut of options in the Arizon OF should reduce his playing time. I’d expect more of the same from Parra in 2014 and he’ll be sneaky valuable in deep leagues if he get 600+ ABs.
65) Michael Brantley, Cleveland Indians (Age: 26, Previous Rank: 89)
It feels like Brantley has been putting up mediocre stats in the OF for a thousand years but in reality he’ll only turn 27 this year. 2013 was probably his peak but similar numbers can be expected from him until he is past his prime.
66) Avisail Garcia, Chicago White Sox (Age: 22, Previous Rank: 103)
I’m very worried about the terrible BB rate and bad K rate that Garcia has put up throughout the majors and minors but if he can hack in the show he could be a 15/20 threat. A lot of things need to go right but he’s always had decent tools.
67) Ben Revere, Philadelphia Phillies (Age: 25, Previous Rank: 78)
40+ SBs along with a .300 Avg should be expected as long as Rever can get 600+ PAs. Basically he’ll do his best Juan Pierre circa 2002 imitation.
68) Rymer Liriano, San Diego Padres (Age: 22, Previous Rank: 40)
After missing all of 2013 with TJ surgery Liriano is looking to rebound in a big way. Prior to his surgery he was a consensus top 100 prospect who put up 12 HRs and 48 SBs across 3 minor leagues stops topping out at AA. He still has lots of potential to meet his lofty projections.
69) Khris Davis, Milwaukee Brewers (Age: 26, Previous Rank: NR)
In 2013 ‘Khrush’ Davis posted the 2nd highest ISO in the majors (minimum 150 PAs), coming in just behind his nemesis Chris Davis. The power has always been there but the swing can get long, if he can keep the Ks in check and the BBs up we could see a full breakout.
70) Michael Choice, Texas Rangers (Age: 24, Previous Rank: 99)
Once a top prospect, Choice was traded to the Rangers this offseason after a couple disappointing, but not terrible, stints at AA and AAA. Sadly the trade does almost nothing for his projected playing time as he’ll be regaled to a 4th OF spot. Choice will patiently wait for an injury to get his shot.
71) Josh Willingham, Minnesota Twins (Age: 35, Previous Rank: 47)
With limited long term appeal a rebound to close to 2012 levels seems likely for Willingham making him not a bad investment for anyone contending for a fantasy title. Give him a bit of a bump in OBP leagues but be mindful he could end up being totally worthless if he’s hit the end of the road.
72) Cameron Maybin, San Diego Padres (Age: 26, Previous Rank: 54)
So many tool and so little stats. Still, he’ll only be 26 to start 2014 and crazier things have happened.
73) Kole Calhoun, Los Angeles Angels (Age: 26, Previous Rank: NR)
A potential OBP gold mine, Calhoun is slated for full time ABs with the Angels in 2014. He may be a late bloomer but he’s played well at every stop in his MiLB career. A 15/10 line with decent counting stats could be in the cards, just don’t expect crazy upside.
74) Austin Meadows, Pittsburgh Pirates (Age: 18, Previous Rank: NR)
The reports so far on Meadows have been nothing but outstanding after he absolutely demolished Rk and A- ball over 200 PAs. With a great 2014 Meadows could jump all the way up into Clint Frazier territory, make sure you keep an eye out for him even though he’s only 18.
75) Jake Marisnick, Miami Marlins (Age: 23, Previous Rank: 73)
Injuries have taken some of the shine off of Marisnick but he’s still a potential 5-tool talent. He’s another big upside play and one that’s pretty close to the show.
Commentary by Craig Goldstein and Luke Chatelain.