Just like a couple good fights liven up any hockey game, dissension among the ranks of outfielders in fantasy baseball make my composite list somewhat interesting.
Looking at rankings from ESPN, Sports Illustrated, Yahoo!, CBS Sportsline, and FOX Sports, there were only two unanimous picks (the first two outfielders on the board below) and then a whole lot of craziness.
Compiling all these rankings into one quick reference—much like I did at catcher, first base, shortstop, second base, designated hitter, and closer—took quite some time and number-crunching. Here are the results...the top 50 outfielders per composite ranking:
1. Ryan Braun, Milwaukee (5 composite points)
Unanimous top outfielder in all of baseball per our five sources. An easy top-three to -five pick in fantasy drafts.
2. Matt Kemp, LA Dodgers (10)
Unanimous No. 2 outfielder across the board. Kemp's historic season with the Dodgers (only player in team history to finish a season with 25 or more home runs, 25 or more stolen bases, and 100 or more RBI) has catapulted him to the top of a crowded field.
3. Carl Crawford, Tampa Bay (18)
Amazing what one can do when healthy a full season...60 steals with 15 homers. If injuries weren't a concern for Crawford, he'd likely find himself a notch higher on this list.
4. Matt Holliday, St. Louis (22)
Proved last season that he can whack a baseball with authority away from Coors Field. Then why, however, am I not feeling this high of a ranking for Holliday?
T5. Jacoby Ellsbury, Boston (30)
Hits atop a solid Boston lineup and, with some more home runs in 2010, could become Carl Crawford-esque?
T5. Grady Sizemore, Cleveland (30)
Has elite fantasy tools but coming off a massively disappointing 2009 riddled with injuries. If he can bounce back, he can be one of the better value picks in your respective drafts.
7. Justin Upton, Arizona (31)
Young and incredibly talented, Upton is a player many fantasy managers covet on draft day. His 137 strikeouts in 526 plate appearances makes me a little nervous this high, although his discipline is fixable.
8. Jason Bay, NY Mets (54)
You're not in Kansas anymore, Dorothy. The Mets are a far cry from the professionally organized Red Sox organization, and while Bay is plenty talented, it is hard to expect numbers like he posted last year in Boston.
9. Jayson Werth, Philadelphia (56)
Coming out of left field, it seemed, Werth followed up his impressive 24-homer 2008 campaign with a 36-dinger, 99-RBI, 20-steal season in 2010. Where were these numbers in previous seasons for Werth? It helps that he bats in the loaded Philly lineup.
10. Ichiro Suzuki, Seattle (61)
The first player on this list that I'm confident will never see one of my fantasy rosters this season, Suzuki has produced well in the past in stolen bases and batting average, paving the way for a new breed of fantasy outfielder.
The problem is that you're picking name value. Suzuki is 36 and produced just 26 steals and 11 home runs after dealing with some injuries in 2009. Sure his .352 batting average was nice, but it doesn't justify him as a top-10 fantasy outfielder anymore in my books.
T11. Curtis Granderson, NY Yankees (66)
A potential 30/30 player who has struggled as of late with batting average, Granderson should see more juicy offerings surrounded by the Yankees loaded lineup.
T11. Adam Lind, Toronto (66)
After a breakout campaign in 2009, Lind has been soaring up the rankings based on his 36 homers and .300-plus batting average. Just don't expect any production in stolen bases.
13. B.J. Upton, Tampa Bay (71)
A younger Ichiro Suzuki with more power potential but much less plate discipline.
14. Nick Markakis, Baltimore (82)
A top sleeper for last season, Markakis delivered less-than-stellar numbers, although they weren't horrific. It isn't like he has a lot of lineup protection.
15. Nelson Cruz, Texas (76)
One of the wildest guys to follow while compiling these composite rankings, Cruz may surprise many at No. 15 on this list, especially after he ran out of gas in the second half of 2009. Check back soon for more on Cruz in a coming player profile and discussion.
To check out rankings 16-50 of our composite outfielder rankings, click here.
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