2015 Early Rankings : Outfield

Outfield is an important position to fill depending on how many active OF slots your league uses. Unlike other positions where you only use one (not counting 2 catcher leagues and those that use CI & MI players), with outfielders you are playing a minimum of 3. Most leagues have upgraded to using 4 while some use 5 or possibly six active outfielders.  For those that use only 3, you don’t have to venture much past the top 40 players and odds are you can find a number of tasty nuggets on waivers once the season starts.  Those that use 4 outfielder should find that these rankings should suffice nicely.  There should be enough players to get you through your draft, and this is just the top 60 (plus a few extra) so there are still a number of players not even listed that could turn out to be fantasy relevant.

Those unranked players are the fun ones, the guys everybody overlooks that come out of nowhere and become a fantasy star.  Steve Pearce was the poster child for this last year, as were Josh Harrison and J.D. Martinez.  None of these guys were on anybody’s radar going into the 2014 season (ok, there is that one guy who ranked them, good for you buddy).  The point is, while there is plenty of talent available, don’t make it a necessity to fill in your outfield early. 

Unless, that is, you are in one of these leagues that use 5 or more outfielders.  If that is the case, you better know the names of the ML ready guys in the minors who have the potential to make an impact this season.  Unlike leagues that only use 4 outfielders, there is little chance of grabbing one of these guys off waivers; if they are on waivers, odds are they won’t be for long.  And those players like Harrison and Pearce, yea, you better know those too.  Before we get to the rankings, some introductions are in order (for those of you who have not been following along).

Joining me as always for these early rankings (along with where you can find them) are:

Seth Klein (@SethDaSportsMan) from Fantasy Pros and contributor at RazzBall
Doug Anderson (@rotodaddy) from Fantasy Sports Network
Timothy King (@TKing978) from The Sports Script and host of Fantasy Forecaster on Blog Talk Radio.
Chris Meyers (@FantsyChillpony) from David Gonos and contributor for Fake Teams.

Each week we will be bringing you our top (and bottom) players at each position for those baseball junkies who crave fantasy baseball all year round.  Before we get to the rankings, lets take a look at this year’s free agent class.  Nori Aoki, Melky Cabrera, Endy Chavez , Tyler Colvin, Nelson Cruz, Michael Cuddyer, Chris Denorfia, Jonny Gomes, Tony Gwynn Jr., Scott Hairston, Torii Hunter, Reed Johnson, Jason Kubel, Ryan Ludwick, Nick Markakis, Nyjer Morgan. Mike Morse, Colby Rasmus, Alex Rios, Nate Schierholtz, Ichiro Suzuki, Yasmani Tomas, Josh Willingham, Chris B. Young and Delmon Young.

There are a few big names in there like Cruz, Rios, Melky, Cuddyer and potential Cuban import Yasmani Tomas.  Then there are the steady old reliable names such as Hunter, Ludwick, Kubel, Markakis, Morse, Aoki, Hunter, and Rasmus.  Beyond that, the names don’t really matter in fantasy in standard leagues.  Deeper leagues may value the Tyler Colvins of the world, but not the rest of us.  While this free agent class is not overly impressive compared to past years, there are some steady bats available.  While you may not want most of them on your fantasy team, where they land could still affect you.  Nori Aoki may not be the best outfield option, but if he lands on a team with a promising rookie in the minors, that player may get Joc Pedersoned out of a job and you will have to wait until 2016 for your prospect.  Keep an eye on where all these players go regardless of your feelings towards them, they could change the value of a prospect between now and March.

The rankings below represent the top 75 Outfielders for the 2015 season.  We used a 20 game minimum for games played to qualify so several players who may be eligible in your league might not have made the cut.  If you see someone missing or feel someone has been overlooked, feel free to inquire in the comment section below.  On with the rankings.

Rank Player Jim Seth Doug Tim Chris
1 Mike Trout 1 1 1 1 1
2 Andrew McCutchen 2 2 2 3 3
3 Giancarlo Stanton 3 3 3 2 2
4 Carlos Gomez 4 5 5 4 5
5 Adam Jones 5 6 4 6 4
6 Jose Bautista 6 4 6 5 8
7 Michael Brantley 7 8 7 12 12
8 Justin Upton 9 13 9 8 9
9 Jacoby Ellsbury 8 7 8 7 22
10 Hunter Pence 11 10 10 14 13
11 Matt Kemp 10 14 14 16 6
12 Ryan Braun 12 16 12 13 15

These players represent the top 12.  There is not much disagreement on the top 6 other than the order you would place them in.  Players 6-12 could be moved around as well with the last few players possibly falling into the next tier depending on how you view them.  Overall this is the cream of the crop and where you should be looking first.

Rank Player Jim Seth Doug Tim Chris
13 Carlos Gonzalez 13 22 16 11 7
14 Yasiel Puig 15 20 13 10 14
15 Bryce Harper 14 15 32 9 10
16 Starling Marte 16 11 15 25 18
17 Nelson Cruz 23 17 18 15 20
18 George Springer 17 26 21 20 11
19 Alex Gordon 21 9 20 27 19
20 Yoenis Cespedes 19 12 29 21 23
21 Corey Dickerson 18 28 31 23 21
21 Jay Bruce 22 30 27 17 25
23 Billy Hamilton 20 44 22 19 24
24 Jason Heyward 26 38 23 18 28
24 Charlie Blackmon 24 21 11 45 32

This is where the dissension starts.  While the consolidated rankings place each of these players where they are, some of us don’t exactly agree with A) where they should be ranked and B) that they even belong in the top 24.  Most of the players are young and full of upside and potential, but it is that inexperience that makes them a risk.  The veterans of this group each have a respectable resume that suggest they should put up solid numbers, but each comes with his own box of skeletons which could sway things the other direction.  The one thing they all have in common is, each one has the potential to be a top 12 player or finish just outside that group.

Rank Player Jim Seth Doug Tim Chris
26 Christian Yelich 27 18 24 24 42
27 Matt Holliday 32 43 28 26 17
28 Jayson Werth 33 31 26 32 26
29 Shin-Soo Choo 25 24 45 28 30
30 Brett Gardner 28 27 35 35 29
31 Kole Calhoun 30 19 46 22 38
32 Wil Myers 36 34 41 33 16
33 Marcell Ozuna 38 23 38 36 36
34 Mark Trumbo 31 46 34 30 33
35 Ben Revere 35 29 19 51 46
36 Ryan Zimmerman 34 47 33 34 34

We tend to agree more on this tier than we did the last.  By this I mean that most of the players here (short of a few rogue rankings) we ranked in the third tier.  Unlike the group above, this one is more veteran based with a sprinkling of youth.  Most of the veterans have age or injury related concerns, but that does not mean you should ignore them.  The younger guys don’t have much of a ML resume, but they each have the upside to finish right along side their veteran counterparts.  Taken in the right round, any one of these players could provide value to your team.

Rank Player Jim Seth Doug Tim Chris
37 Josh Harrison 41 25 40 38 43
38 J.D. Martinez 44 35 17 48 45
39 Mookie Betts 40 39 47 37 31
40 Adam Eaton 46 33 25 43 57
41 Michael Cuddyer 59 48 37 40 27
42 Gregory Polanco 39 42 N/R 31 40
43 Denard Span 42 32 36 N/R 47
44 Jorge Soler 48 52 30 44 52
45 Lorenzo Cain 43 37 51 55 41
45 Alex Rios 37 57 39 29 N/R
47 Melky Cabrera 53 41 49 53 37
48 A.J. Pollock 29 36 N/R N/R 50

Now the fun starts as we start to see players that were not ranked in the top 60.  There is little to no guarantee with any of these players.  Over half of them have little to no track record and are ranked based upon the hopes that they can take that next step in the right direction.  The stand out name here is Alex Rios.  He was a staple in the second and sometimes third tier, but for 2015 his value is up in the air.  If he falls this low (or even lower), he makes a very good risk/reward player and could easily outperform his ADP.

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Jim Finch

Written by 

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.

10 thoughts on “2015 Early Rankings : Outfield”

  1. Hey guys. Great stuff lobe the early rankings!
    Speaking of OFers..would you trade Trout (3yrs) and Scherzer (1 yr) for TWalker (5 yrs), Speedy Billy (2 yrs), Latos (2yrs) and Springer (4 yrs)? I agree with what was said above about Springer’s K rate.

    1. As tempting as that sounds, I would have to say no. I love both Hamilton & Springer, but you don’t know how either of these players will improve and how long it will take before they reach their proverbial ceiling. Taking a sneak peak at our dynasty rankings that come out Monday, Springer comes in at #12 but he is ranked between 5 and 32. Hamilton comes in at #14 but is ranked between 8 and 25. Trout is ranked #1 across the board if you didn’t know already. If Springer & Hamilton both meet the high side of their rankings it’s a good deal for you, but is that risk enough for me to give up Trout? Enough to sway me, but I might want a little more.

      You are potentially getting a little more with Latos & Walker for Scherzer, but just like the two hitters above, there is no guarantee that Walker will step up and be close to Scherzer. I like Latos and think he is a fine steady fantasy pitcher, but I’d rather have Scherzer and play the next big thing card off the waiver wire when guys are promoted from the minors.

      Now if you can take Walker out of the equation and substitute a larger ML ready bat in his place to compensate for the potential growing pains of Springer and or Hamilton, I would consider this, but as it stands I would probably say no.

      1. Surprised on Walker…thought he could be pretty good. I will take this into consideration. Just tough to trade Trout. I liked getting Springer with power and Billy with speed. If Springer continued his pace he was on pace for 40/100. That’s a bit optimistic but could he be Trout without the average?
        I ended up trading Scherzer for C.Tillman (4yrs) & C.Seager (6 yrs). Thought Tillman was a good fill-in and I love Seager.

        1. Don’t get me wrong, I like Walker. It’s just that there are so many good young pitchers that are equally as talented, it is hard to gauge which ones will actually stick and become that top guy.

          You got Tillman in your trade, and he could produce similar numbers to what you might have gotten from Walker or better. He was a highly touted prospect, and yet it wasn’t until his fourth year that he actually started to produce. Those are the pitfalls of prospects.

          This is why I said no to that deal. I love Springer (and own him myself) and love the potential of Hamilton’s speed, but there is no guaranteed on how long it will take either to put it all together. How many times have we seen guys have that great first rookie season and then do nothing the next two years as they struggle to adjust. Hamilton has walk and contact issues and Springer has strikeout issues. If it takes them a few years to adjust and become the players you and I hope they could be, let them do it on someone else’s team.

          Hamilton will be a f/a in 2 years so target him then. If both look like they could take that step this year, you can always offer Trout at that time, I’m sure the trade window will not close since it is Mike Trout. And if you can’t get the trade later, you’ve still got a 23 year old Trout.

    1. Sorry Kevin, Dynasty OF rankings will be out Monday. Since OF and SP week will be 2 weeks long, we split up the weeks each of those rankings will be appearing.

  2. 7 player dynasty keeper league. Defs are freeman, carlos gomez, mooki betts, alex wood, yordano ventura. Pick two of kris bryant rusney castillo gregory polanco carlos carrasco.

    1. Without knowing the format I’m keeping Bryant, he has the potential to be a top 3 at third and possibly a top 12 future player.

      The second player would count on several factors. If you play 4 outfielders I’m might side with Polanco or Castillo. If it’s a points league (like a standard CBS league) that favors pitching I could be swayed to keep Carrasco. Also pitching is more important in weekly lineups as opposed to those that have daily roster moves which is another consideration.

      I like Rusney better than Polanco short term, but long term Polanco could have the better value. Since you only keep 7, odds are there will be a lot of talented young outfielders available. Given this knowledge I might go for the guy who will get me the points now so Castillo would be my choice if picking between the two.

      While losing two of those three players may sting slightly, you should be able to make up for their loss in the draft if this is a 12 team league.

  3. Points league. You get one point per base, one for run, one for RBI, one for steal, one for a walk, etc., so having power seems to be key. Would you trade Rusney straight up for Calhoun? It’s hard to know what to make of Rusney. Is he Victorino in his prime? Is he Juan Pierre? I really like what Calhoun has to offer. He doesn’t have much higher to go than last year it seems, but he won’t go much lower either. Seems like a high floor, very safe top 25 or so OF. The hype on Rusney right now is non-existent so am I selling low if I move him for Calhoun?

    1. This one pulls at my heart strings because I have to choose one as my final keeper in one league. I think Rusney will be closer to Victorino so you’re looking at a nice power/speed combo.
      Power wise Calhoun has an edge but Rusney has more speed. Calhoun will score more runs but Rusney because of his spot in the lineup should generate more RBIs. They may not be next to each other in the rankings, but their overall value should be come September.

      Calhoun is the safe bet as he has some ML games under his belt so the potential for growing pains is virtually non existent. I am leaning that way, but it’s hard to ignore the upside and potential of Rusney. Hope that indecision helped some.

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