Outfield is not quite as deep of a position as it once was. That’s not to say that there aren’t some players who could emerge among the elite (like Alex Gordon or Desmond Jennings), but there is a definite drop-off in talent. Let’s kick off our look at the top outfielders in the league by looking at the Top 20 options on draft day (we’ll be continuing these rankings later in the week):
- Jose Bautista—Toronto Blue Jays
- Matt Kemp—Los Angeles Dodgers
- Justin Upton—Arizona Diamondbacks
- Carlos Gonzalez—Colorado Rockies
- Jacoby Ellsbury—Boston Red Sox
- Andrew McCutchen—Pittsburgh Pirates
- Matt Holliday—St. Louis Cardinals
- Josh Hamilton—Texas Rangers
- Mike Stanton—Miami Marlins
- Curtis Granderson—New York Yankees
- Hunter Pence—Philadelphia Phillies
- Carl Crawford—Boston Red Sox
- Jay Bruce—Cincinnati Reds
- Ryan Braun—Milwaukee Brewers
- Ben Zobrist—Tampa Bay Rays
- Michael Bourn—Atlanta Braves
- Alex Gordon—Kansas City Royals
- Adam Jones—Baltimore Orioles
- Shin-Soo Choo—Cleveland Indians
- Desmond Jennings—Tampa Bay Rays
- We all know the type of injury risk that comes with Carlos Gonzalez. The 127 games he played in last season were the second most in his Major League career. However, we also know the type of numbers that he can produce when healthy. If you didn’t believe in his 34 HR, 26 SB, 117 RBI, 111 R performance in 2010, he was nearly as good in 2011 (26 HR, 20 SB, 92 RBI and 92 R) despite over 100 fewer AB (481 AB in ’11). There is way too much talent there to ignore.
- Ryan Braun is an extremely difficult player to rank for the upcoming season, considering he will likely miss the first 50 games. However, if he wasn’t going to miss that time he likely would be in the discussion for the top pick overall. It’s hard to drop him too far because he will likely outperform many OFers in just 100 games.
- Does anyone really believe that Curtis Granderson is going to repeat his unbelievable success from 2011? It’s just hard to imagine him reaching 41 HR, 136 R or 119 RBI once again. Coming close to all three in one season? Nearly impossible. I have already discussed why taking him early in the second round is a huge risk (click here to view), so check that out for more details.
- We all thought that the Rays had the perfect replacement for Carl Crawford in-house in Desmond Jennings, but it just took them a little while to give him an opportunity. When he finally got the chance he delivered, with 10 HR and 20 SB over 247 AB. The power is a bit misleading (he posted a 15.6% HR/FB, which is not his game), but he’s going to be given the opportunity to run, will score plenty of runs and should improve on his .259 average (he posted a 20.6% strikeout rate and has the speed to improve on his .303 BABIP). He’s well worth selecting as an OF2 in all formats.
- Speaking of Crawford, does anyone not expect him to come back strong in 2012? He has proven to be way too good for way too long to simply write him off.
What are your thoughts on the rankings? Who’s too high? Who’s too low?
Make sure to check out all of our 2012 rankings: