Breaking Down the Outfield

Recently I covered the top 74 outfielders for 2014, but upon its completion the list seemed to be lacking something.  Then it occurred to me, I listed the players but I did not specify what spot in the outfield each player occupied.  For most of us this does not matter, as long as your player is listed as OF you could care less.  But there are leagues that divide the outfielders up into their rightful positions so I’ve prepared a special list just for you.

Some players qualify for multiple positions so these players are listed multiple times and are highlighted in red.  I’ve also listed several first basemen here who qualify for the outfield and they are denoted with an Asterix *.  Finally in order to cover all leagues qualifying rules I’ve set the standard at 20 games played at each position.  For an in-depth look at each player, check out the top 74 for 2014 rankings for outfield.

We’ll start things off with a look at Center Field

01 Mike Trout 17 Ben Revere
02 Andrew McCutchen 18 Adam Eaton
03 Adam Jones 19 Dexter Fowler
04 Jacoby Ellsbury 20 Brett Gardner
05 Matt Kemp 21 Will Venable
06 Carlos Gomez 22 Coco Crisp
07 Shin-Soo Choo 23 Angel Pagan
08 B.J. Upton 24 George Springer
09 Curtis Granderson 25 Colby Rasmus
10 Billy Hamilton 26 Andre Ethier
11 Desmond Jennings 27 Denard Span
12 Austin Jackson 28 Drew Stubbs
13 Michael Bourn 29 Justin Ruggiano
14 Leonys Martin 30 Chris Young
15 Alejandro De Aza 31 Michael Saunders
16 A.J. Pollock 32 Dustin Ackley

Now as you can see, center field is plentiful, but it is also top-heavy in elite talent.  There are a few players outside the top 8 that can give you good numbers, but it’s the top 8 players that you want.  Trout will be one of the first players taken, but the fact that he qualifies for left field increases the value of his already hefty resume.  There are 8 other players not including Trout that will qualify for multiple outfield positions next year.  These players can be extremely useful when trying to cover for an injured player and give you some flexibility.

Of the 32 players listed, only Billy Hamilton’s position lies in question.  He only played 7 games in center field last year so depending on your league rules; he may not even qualify for a position at the beginning of the season.  Along with Hamilton you have other young players like Pollock, Eaton and Springer who have upside, but their inexperience makes them a risk.  You may not end up with a stud in center field, but with the names above you should at least be content with your choice.

Now let’s move along to Left Field

01 Mike Trout 15 Carl Crawford
02 Carlos Gonzalez 16 Adam Eaton
03 Ryan Braun 17 Michael Brantley
04 Bryce Harper 18 Darin Ruf
05 Justin Upton 19 Eric Young
06 Matt Holliday 20 Jason Kubel
07 Yoenis Cespedes 21 Khris Davis
08 Starling Marte 22 Carlos Quentin
09 * Allen Craig 23 Daniel Nava
10 Domonic Brown 24 Oswaldo Arcia
11 Alex Gordon 25 Dayan Viciedo
12 Christian Yelich 26 Rajai Davis
13 Alfonso Soriano 27 Chris Young
14 Alejandro De Aza 28

Just like center field, left field is top-heavy in elite talent but the talent pool is a little thinner.  If you’re the guy who’s lucky enough to land Mike Trout, his value lies more in left than it does in center.  There are 8 duplicate players here so you have a few decent flex players to anchor your bench with.  Allen Craig is listed here as well, and while he makes a good option for first he could have even more value to you as a left fielder.  There are also a few young players like Yelich, Arcia and Eaton that could outperform their rankings.  You shouldn’t have to reach here, but you might not want to wait to long either if you want a dependable player.

Last but not least we have right field.

01 Jay Bruce 20 * Brandon Moss
02 Jose Bautista 21 Nick Swisher
03 Giancarlo Stanton 22 Darin Ruf
04 Justin Upton 23 Eric Young
05 Yasiel Puig 24 Will Venable
06 Alex Rios 25 Norichika Aoki
07 Hunter Pence 26 Nick Markakis
08 Shin-Soo Choo 27 Josh Riddick
09 * Allen Craig 28 Oscar Tavares
10 Jason Heyward 29 Andre Ethiere
11 Wil Myers 30 Daniel Nava
12 * Mark Trumbo 31 Oswaldo Arcia
13 Jayson Werth 32 Cole Calhoun
14 Carlos Beltran 33 Rajai Davis
15 Josh Hamilton 34 Drew Stubbs
16 Shane Victorino 35 Chris Young
17 * Michael Cuddyer 36 Michael Saunders
18 Nelson Cruz 37 Delmon Young
19 Torii Hunter 38

You’ll find a lot of stability here, but you won’t find much star power.  Upton gives you flexibility as does Choo once he qualifies for right field again.  There are some lower ranked guys like Ruf, Young and Venable that would make good bench players for the same reason.  Unlike the other positions, the talent level is deeper in right.  You can rank them in any order but I’m sure most of us would be happy with most of the players ranked 1 – 18 so there is no need to jump on the position early.

So looking at all three fields, left field seems to be the thinnest as far as the player pool is concerned.  There are some good option there but you don’t want to be the last person drafting at this position.  There are some decent players to gamble on, but none of them come with a guarantee on what they will bring to the table.

Center field not only has more player choices but has more elite choices.  Just like left field things get a little thin after the top 10 are off the board so you monitor the players closely.  The same warning applies here from left field, there may be a few more names to choose from but there is no guarantee on what kind of numbers you’ll get from them.

Right field is the meat and potatoes spot so don’t jump and waste a high pick on one of the top guys.  Guys like Puig, Bautista can give you power but so can Trumbo or Myers.  Rios and Choo will give you a power speed combo but so could Victorino and to a lesser extent so could Werth.  You may get a decreased batting average from some of the lower ranked players, but they could match (or come close) to the power of the guys near the top.

Now things could open up and change depending on your league rules for eligibility.  Granderson is listed under centerfield, but he did play 13 game in left field and 14 games in right.  Victorino primarily played right field but he did play 15 in center.  Yahoo leagues only require 5 games started or 10 games played at a position to qualify and in those instances, the final choices for left and center field could improve but the overall message stays the same.  Don’t wait too long for left and center field and leave right field as long as you can (unless the value is too good to pass up at your draft position).  For a more indepth look at where to draft your outfielder, check out this piece from Kevins Jebens Draft Timing: When do you fill your OF slots?

Be sure to check out the entire Top 24 for 2014 Series.

CatcherFirst BaseSecond BaseThird BaseShortstop

OutfieldStarting PitchersClosers – Top 204

Jim Finch

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The self proclaimed Grand High Exhausted Mystic Ruler of Fantasy Baseball. While I am not related to Jennie or Sidd Finch, I will attempt to uphold the integrity of the Finch family name as it relates to baseball.

2 thoughts on “Breaking Down the Outfield”

  1. Definitely enjoy all the posts, do you see Springer winning the Astros OF job out of Spring Training and making a significant fantasy impact in 14? Also, do you think Cespedes can post a better 14 season compared to his rookie year? Thanks!

  2. The Astros have made it clear that they are in no rush with Springer. Granted he could pull a Puig this Spring and change the owners minds but more than likely he’ll start the year in AAA.
    As for Cespedes, I don’t see him improving on his rookie season. RBIs, runs and home runs will be the same as the past 2 years. The stolen base total will be lucky to hit 10 given his success rate. As for the average, he has shown flashes here and there but with his K’s and low walks I don’t see it being much above .250. If everything falls right he could match his rookie season (minus the SB), but that’s about it.

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