31. Kole Calhoun, Los Angeles Angels
Kevin: His season was surprising to many, and don’t forget he missed time. I like him as a great dynasty investment.
Ron: The Angels need some youth infused into their daily lineup and Calhoun provides them that. His .325 OBP doesn’t really support believability in the 90 Runs he scored in just 537 PAs. To offset that and the fact he doesn’t run all that much for a top of the order bat, Calhoun saw 38% of his hits go for extra bases, frequently putting him in position to score. A more prototypical leadoff hitter such as Denard Span saw 28% of his hits go for extra bases. Calhoun should be a valuable commodity and possibly even a good value play heading into 2015.
32. Byron Buxton, Minnesota Twins
Kevin: He has the big tools to be valuable as soon as he hits the majors. In dynasty leagues, I’d rather have his upside than safe, older options.
Paul: I think we’re late 2016 before we see Buxton in the majors. The speed is awesome, but the rest is projection right now as he hasn’t had the chance to dominate yet in the minors. I’m sure he will, but patience is required.
32. A.J. Pollock, Arizona Diamondbacks
Jim: Remember last November when I said Pollock would be the man in Arizona and Adam Eaton would be an afterthought? Expect the average to settle in the .290 range with 15 home runs and 25 stolen bases annually. A Michael Brantley type breakout is not out of the question either.
Paul: While it seems like Pollock is a young prospect, he’s been around and is hitting his prime. The potential is there for a 15/30 season, but his poor BB/K rate limits his stolen base opportunities while his high GB rate limits his HRs. A good player if he can be healthy, but he’s more likely a 10/20 guy.
34. Charlie Blackmon, Colorado Rockies
Jim: A hot start followed by a down second half in 2014. As long as he plays for Colorado, expect the power to continue to complement his speed. He needs to walk more and show some consistency with his average to move up the rankings.
Paul: Blackmon will be 28 years old heading into the 2015 season. His 2014 breakout was completely home park driven and he fell apart in the second half. All that notwithstanding, he has at least 4 more years in Colorado and his speed plays as well.
35. J.D. Martinez, Detroit Tigers
Ron: J.D. Martinez had a 2014 with three months featuring a .345+ batting average and 5+ HR and another three months of relative mediocrity. It helps that he finished on a high note in September and somewhat justifies the June/July performance that put him on everyone’s 2014 radar. Do I expect his 2015 to resemble his 2014 performance? Not entirely, but I’m intrigued to see what he can do after his breakout year.
Tommy: Don’t expect Martinez to hit over .300 again, since he had a .385 BABIP this past season. Given his high line drive rate, he should still be able to hit between .270 and .280 . The intriguing development for Martinez is his power to all fields that was absent prior to 2014. With an average fly ball distance of .299 and the ability to drive the ball to all parts of the park, Martinez has the look of a 30 HR player.
36. Joc Pederson, Los Angeles Dodgers
Kevin: I like his potential , but until the Dodgers make a roster move and free up some OF playing time, he may not get a lot of chances in the next one or two years.
Tommy: Pederson gets better every year and he is on the verge of forcing the Dodgers’ hand. There is always a high degree of risk with players who strike out as much as Pederson does, but his 30/30 potential is well worth it.
37. Mark Trumbo, Arizona Diamondbacks
Paul: A whole lot of power, but the K rate, low batting average and LD rates limit his ceiling.
Tommy: I worry about Trumbo’s long term outlook because of terrible plate discipline. For the next few years, however, I expect a bounce back. Trumbo is widely known as a first half player and he missed most of the first half last season. If he can stay healthy, he will contribute 30+ HRs.
38. Shin-Soo Choo, Texas Rangers
Jim: Choo has had 2 bad season, and both were because he was injured and attempted to play through it. He is 33 so he’s in the decline danger zone, but you should be able to count on 35 combined home runs and stolen bases along with an average no lower than .280.
Ron: With injury concerns in his elbow and ankle there’s reason for caution when it comes to Choo. At 32 (33 in July, 2015) he’s a little older than I would have guessed when looking into him a little further. I’m guessing we get a bit of a bounce back from Choo in 2015 but it won’t be the 20/20 type of season we’ve come to expect from him in past seasons.
39. Rusney Castillo, Boston Red Sox
Paul: Already 27, Castillo will enter 2015 in his prime with his blend of power and speed.
Will: Rusney hit just fine out of the gate with the Sox, and Fenway should play right into his power. You might not get Jose Abreu numbers, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see Castillo to hit 20+ dingers right outta the gate.
40. Ben Revere, Philadelphia Phillies
Kevin: He’s undervalued when side by side with Billy Hamilton. But he nearly matched Hamilton’s SB and R and bested him in BA and walks. He’s a great roto value that won’t cost you as much as other elite speedsters like Ellsbury and Hamilton.
Ron: After three straight years of fairly consistent performance it’s safe to say that we know what Revere is going to give us. Expect more seasons of 40-ish SB totals with something near a .290-.300 batting average and an empty stat line otherwise. The proper way to use Revere in your fantasy lineup is to platoon him against RHPs, where he does most of his work on the base paths. 40 of his 49 2014 SBs came against RHPs. If you want to take a shot on some power at the expense of batting average in a player like Mark Trumbo, Revere’s sustainably high batting average can help offset the .235 average that might come along with a guy like Trumbo.
41. Oswaldo Arcia, Minnesota Twins
Kevin: Big power but awful contact means his value is capped for now. If he learns some plate discipline, he could hit the next level, but it may take a few years, if ever.
Tommy: A 31% K rate makes Arcia risky, but elite power coupled with a high line drive rate makes it possible that he does not completely torpedo your batting average. 35 HR upside is very real.
42. Leonys Martin, Texas Rangers
Ron: Martin was basically the same player in 2014 as he was in 2013. There were slight improvements to his K%, BB%, and ultimately his OBP but nothing significant. For a player entering his prime, Martin should continue to be a steady producer of around 7-10 HR and 30+ SB and there’s a lot of value in that. It would help if we knew the Rangers would entrust a top of the order spot in the lineup but we’ll have to wait and see on that.
Tommy: Martin has youth on his side, but nothing really sets him apart from the other speed guys available late in your draft. Martin’s poor plate discipline (.34 BB/K) make him a poor bet to stick at the top of the order for any length of time. He may get stuck batting 9th again in 2015.
43. Alex Rios, Texas Rangers (Free Agent)
Kevin: The power outage was unexpected, though I did figure it’d fall some. If this is his new level moving forward, then it’s best to pass for dynasty leagues.
Jim: He will be 34 for the 2015 season, but even with the decline years ahead Rios is still good for a 15/15 season with a .275 average. Dynasty owners should have a player or two in their minor league system that are only a year or two away just to cover themselves if things go south quickly.
44. Melky Cabrera, Toronto Blue Jays (Free Agent)
Ron: A reliable batting average and some contribution across the other four categories make Melky a stable bat to count on.
Tommy: Melky is only 30 and has been a top 20 fantasy OF in 3 of the last 4 seasons. He is not likely to duplicate his 2014 HR production, but he is a great contact hitter with high line drive rates capable of amassing counting stats as long as he lands in a strong lineup.
45. Matt Holliday, St. Louis Cardinals
Jim: He will turn 35 in 2015 so you’re not getting a long term add here. The average has started to decline, so has the power and he tiptoes around the OF to avoid injury. A trade to an AL team would prolong his career some as a DH. For now, expect 18-20 homers and 80 or some runs and RBIs (health permitted).
Will: Still productive, but the age will start to catch up with him a bit.
46. Khris Davis, Milwaukee Brewers
Kevin: He should continue with 20+ HR, and his BABIP was a bit below league average, so .270 and 25 HR isn’t out of reach, and his age makes him a nice investment.
Tommy: Davis is a solid power source, but his poor plate discipline and mediocre defense limit his long term appeal. Gerardo Parra, who is far superior defensively, could end up splitting ABs with Davis if Davis does not show substantial improvement in 2015. Unless you can get him super cheap, he is likely to frustrate his owners.
46. Lorenzo Cain, Kansas City Royals
Paul: Another guy who has been around for a few years, Cain had a really good season and an excellent post-season. There is a lot to like with Cain; high stolen base numbers, good AVG, but like Pollock he’s good for solid if unspectacular numbers when and if he can remain healthy.
Ron: I feel like a bit of a David Freese thing is going to happen with Cain. Remember when Freese was the NLCS and World Series MVP back in 2011 and then people went a little nutty for him in 2012 drafts? Cain’s going to be remembered for his heroics this postseason while people forget that other than his .301 avg and 28 SBs in 2014, the rest of his stat line was fairly empty.
48. Denard Span, Washington Nationals
Kevin: Finally reached 30 SB in a season, but it was the most he’s ever run, so who knows if he can repeat. Still, he’s a good BA/SB/R guy.
Tommy: The Nationals picked up Span’s team option, which is good news for his short term fantasy value. He has excellent plate discipline and will produce strong totals in 3 of 5 categories. He is below average in center field, so I worry about his long term outlook after this season. For now, expect him to get close to what he did in 2014 if he can stay healthy.
49. Avisail Garcia, Chicago White Sox
Jim: He showed good contact skills in the minors, has a little pop and enough speed to steal 20 bases. Unfortunately he has no interest in taking a walk which could push him down in the order and limit his counting stats. He has upside which is why I ranked him, but I’m not a full believer in this one.
Paul: Just 23, Garcia doubled his BB rate while increasing his ISO in his limited time last year. A ton of potential here with upside of 25 HR/ 10 SB.
50. Adam Eaton, Chicago White Sox
Paul: It may appear that Eaton lost his grit with his move to the Sox, but at 25 he showed some real leadoff skills with his high OBP and speed. He’s going to get better.
Ron: I think Eaton is a nice player and certainly one who holds a reasonable amount of value in deeper formats. It’s the SB success rate that’s going to be the difference between him having significant value in shallower formats or not. He’s going to need to push his 62.5% SB success rate to something closer to the 75% mark in order to take the next step. Eaton’s ceiling is probably a .290/90/7/50/25 year and I’ll take a flier on that if the ADP is right.
51. Jayson Werth, Washington Nationals
Tommy: Werth is generally an underappreciated fantasy baseball asset, but especially so in keeper leagues. He will deliver a strong average, about 20 HRs and good counting stats for the next three years or so. There is injury risk for sure, but his trade value is probably going to be lower than his actual productivity.
Will: What you got from Werth in 2014, is about what you should be able to expect from him in 2015, but if you own him in keeper leagues, you may want to start thinking about selling high, since Werth will be 35 once the 2015 season starts.
52. Brett Gardner, New York Yankees
Jim: Gardner had a career year in 2014, but the guy we saw in 2013 is the one you should expect going forward. Another Erick Aybar, contributing nothing special everywhere player that is ok to own, but you should want more.
Will: You may get fewer home runs than in ’14, but the average should go back up. Add that to the nice steals and runs totals you got yourself nice lil’ outfielder.
53. Desmond Jennings, Tampa Bay Devil Rays
Kevin: He can do 10-15 HR and 15-20 SB, but there’s no BA help. I’m ready to call him a bit of a bust after we all expected a Carl Crawford impression.
Ron: How disappointing is this guy? What happened to those 20/30 seasons we were supposed to get? Lesson learned. There’s really nothing special about Desmond Jennings. Until his ADP falls to a point where it matches the disappointing stat line he produces year in and year out we should let Jennings be someone else’s draft mistake.
54. Arismendy Alcantara, Chicago Cubs
Jim: I love the upside of Javier Baez, but I like Alcantara’s ability to make contact more. It may take a year or two for his minor league average to translate to the majors, but there is a solid average/speed guy here that could eventually be a fourth outfielder. Solid buy low candidate.
Will: We’re a few years away from him really showing us what he can do, but he was solid enough in 300 plate appearances in ’14. Once he puts it altogether he is at least a 20-20 guy for the next few years.
55. Austin Jackson, Seattle Mariners
Jim: We’ve waited for the potential to show through for years, but it’s time we accept Jackson for what he is. Jackson is the Erick Aybar of outfielders, he will give you a little something everywhere with an average that won’t kill you, but that’s about it.
Ron: At this point, Austin Jackson seems like a younger, healthier version of what we might expect from Coco Crisp. Playing in Seattle though and not having a flashy name might push him into a nice ADP spot for those looking for production in the back end of their outfield in deeper formats. It’s also encouraging that the Mariners seemed to like Jackson being a little more active on the base-paths. He had 13 SB attempts in 420 PAs with the Tigers in 2014 and a matching 13 SB attempts in just 236 PAs with the Mariners.
56. Yasmani Tomas, Free Agent
Jim: Cuban imports are becoming the new fad in fantasy, and Tomas will be the next flavor of the month once he signs. I would rank him higher if he had a place to call home, but for now all we can do is wait and hope he arrives soon. I’d rank his potential right up there with Cespedes & Puig, but just like with minor league rookies there is no guarantee.
Paul: Just 23, Tomas will have a huge deal in place by the time these rankings are done. He has huge power potential and this is pretty conservative as far as rankings.
57. Carl Crawford, Los Angeles Dodgers
Kevin: He was on his way to a revival before an ankle injury stopped a full season of AB. He showed he still has the skills, but playing time, health, and age mean there are better options in dynasty leagues.
Ron: 130, 116, 31, 105 are the games played totals for Crawford over the past four seasons. Let him be someone else’s problem.
58. Norichika Aoki, Kansas City Royals (Free Agent)
Kevin: He doesn’t reach high AB, but his BA/SB combo is good enough to keep him relevant for a few more years.
Tommy: Aoki is basically a replacement level player. He has little power and his value is dependant completely on his landing spot and usage. In the right location, he is capable of delivering a good BA along with 20-25 SBs.
59. Dexter Fowler, Houston Astros
Ron: Fowler seems to have trouble with some type of injury or two every season. While he doesn’t call Colorado home anymore he can contribute in spurts at times and should be owned when he’s hot.
Will: Fowler ain’t flashy, but I am a fan of his work and I think he is a potential OF4 in 12 team leagues.
60. Dayan Viciedo, Chicago White Sox
Jim: He can hit 20 or more home runs in a season, but his inconsistencies coupled with a career .240 average against righties make him a platoon player. Viciedo is a fallback option for deeper leagues.
Tommy: Viciedo has legitimate 25-30 HR power, but he is likely to be a batting average drain and he is no lock to continue as a full time regular due to his terrible outfield defense.
There is quite a bit of fantasy talent on this list! Mike Trout exists in a world all his own at the top of every fantasy baseball list you can imagine. Stanton and McCutchen make up the next tier. There is a substantial value difference between those two and fourth ranked Carlos Gomez (especially in keeper/dynasty formats). While there is a substantial drop off, most owners would be happy with any of the tier three options (Gomez through Brantley). While there is varying degrees of risk associated with these players, Brantley seems to be the last player that our panel would be comfortable with as an OF1. In new drafts, you will likely need to pounce by early round three to lock up any of these players.
The fourth tier is much larger and extends all the way through 26th ranked Mookie Betts. The players in this tier were all very tightly bunched. If you miss on one of the elite options, many of the players in this group have the upside to finish in the top ten. Expect most of these players to be gone by then end of round six. Personally, I would not want to start a season without at least one of these players, but I would not draft more than two.
Once you get beyond tier four, there is a pretty good mix of steady veterans like Alex Gordon, up and coming prospects like Byron Buxton and Joc Pederson, and late round speed values like Ben Revere and Adam Eaton. Overall, there is a plethora of useful fantasy options, so whether you like to stockpile outfield studs early and often or tend to focus premium draft picks and keeper slots on other positions, there are many ways to build a successful fantasy outfield.
Still need more rankings, head on over to Fantasy Rundown where Goose will be compiling rankings for the 2015 season as well as prospect rankings and the best baseball links available this off-season.