Happy Labor Day! Regularly Scheduled Articles Will Resume on Tuesday, September 2.
March 3, 2010
Right Fielder Rankings
Right field isn't as deep as its corner counterpart, but it's still one of the more balanced positions out there, with lots of homers, steals and the like to go around. It is lacking in elite options-the one five-star player ranked does not have a long history of that level of success, but his ceiling is too high to ignore following last year's performance-but there is still plenty to choose from in the four- and three-star tiers.
Just a note, before anyone brings it up in the comments: you will be receiving a unified list of outfielder rankings once I have completed this set of three splitting them up by position. I am not ignoring your needs, it's just easier to build it this way than in the other direction, and then everyone gets what they want. As for the previous rankings in the series, check out first basemen, second basemen, third basemen, shortstops, catchers, and left fielders. Now, here are the changes to this year's ranking system:
Upton's weighted mean is tasty enough on its own, but his 70th and 90th percentiles should make owners salivate: .298/.385/.546 with 16 steals and 27 homers and .307/.394/.569 with 30 homers and 20 thefts (note: the line may be more important than the HR/SB totals there, as he's projected for fewer plate appearances) in his 70th and 90th forecasts than he is on the depth chart-the depth chart is his weighted mean but with expected PA). He still has room to grow as a player given his skills and young age, so it would not be surprising to see him reach or exceed those upper-level forecasts. Even if he does not, though, it's hard to argue with his weighted mean.
Four Stars Player PA AVG/ OBP/ SLG R HR RBI SB Nick Markakis 684 .305/.378/.492 92 23 92 9 Hunter Pence 633 .301/.362/.513 78 25 83 12 Nelson Cruz 548 .272/.356/.525 72 29 81 14 Jay Bruce 598 .276/.347/.520 81 29 82 7 Ben Zobrist 578 .269/.380/.484 78 23 67 14 Shin-Soo Choo 646 .279/.388/.452 83 16 78 14 Andre Ethier 646 .283/.366/.487 77 24 85 4 Denard Span 678 .295/.378/.421 92 9 64 24 Bobby Abreu 623 .279/.377/.446 82 17 76 16 Jayson Werth 614 .269/.377/.487 84 28 84 15 Ichiro Suzuki 662 .319/.364/.415 78 8 48 21 Adam Dunn 630 .246/.384/.487 75 31 90 2 Josh Hamilton 408 .294/.366/.532 77 27 91 7 Carlos Quentin 570 .273/.378/.519 84 30 90 4
The four-star tier opens with three excellent options: Markakis is a four-category player who can also give you a hand with steals, and Pence is the same way, though with a little bit more power. Cruz has more power than the two of them and also adds steals, but may not be as much help from a R or batting average perspective. You can't go wrong with any of these three, though, so don't fret if you miss one of them. Bruce's forecast is far from any performance he has put up thus far, but remember that last year he had to deal with a combination of inexperience and injury-with good health and some more major-league at-bats under his belt, it wouldn't come as a surprise to see him match that optimistic forecast.
Zobrist is a second baseman who hits like an outfielder-think Choo, the guy directly next to him, as a good point of comparison. Ethier is very well-rounded, but lacks the speed or power to move out of the four-star tier and into elite status. Still, if you end up with Ethier as your right fielder, you won't be disappointed. Span is here, just like in left, as somewhat of a ceiling ranking-he has some wiggle room for growth in both power and steals, and is already plenty valuable without additions to either. Abreu may not have the home run power he used to, but there's a lot to be said for a guy who is on base all the time and can still swipe a bag or 16. Werth is one of the more balanced hitters available, though he doesn't excel in any one category, leaving him as "just" a four-star guy.
PECOTA has a tough time with Ichiro normally, but I like this forecast, which is probably a first. He'll have more runs for sure, but we've been over how under-forecasted the R and RBI are many times in the past. Taking a cue from some feedback on left fielders, Dunn is a four-star right fielder. His projected homer total is probably a little too low, so giving him extra credit for that bumps him here. I also put Hamilton and Quentin here with the caveat that they are worthy if they are healthy and able to stay in the lineup.
Three Stars Player PA AVG/ OBP/ SLG R HR RBI SB F.Gutierrez 582 .276/.338/.457 82 21 70 14 Corey Hart 563 .274/.339/.476 68 20 71 16 Alex Rios 650 .275/.333/.456 80 20 69 18 Brad Hawpe 614 .274/.378/.491 77 24 87 1 J.D. Drew 457 .258/.380/.451 65 15 52 2 Jason Kubel 603 .282/.357/.488 72 23 88 2 Nick Swisher 571 .252/.381/.462 76 23 70 2 Michael Cuddyer 565 .274/.349/.467 74 20 71 5 Jack Cust 556 .238/.379/.469 70 27 71 2 David DeJesus 662 .282/.356/.423 82 12 68 7 Ryan Ludwick 578 .270/.346/.479 72 24 92 3 Cody Ross 573 .277/.344/.502 68 25 82 5 Josh Willingham 542 .256/.369/.460 65 20 68 4 Kyle Blanks 542 .258/.346/.443 69 21 79 2 Seth Smith 438 .278/.370/.469 55 13 56 6 Milton Bradley 438 .275/.395/.454 56 15 52 3
Gutierrez came out of nowhere last year to start hitting, despite moving to a park that favors pitchers. He's capable of moving into the lower part of the four-star category, but this forecast seems more likely. The same goes for Hart as his projection seems like a trap being for me to proclaim him near-elite, but I won't take the bait this time. You stay in the third tier Mr. Hart, and you like it. I'm a little pessimistic regarding Rios' homer total, but the rest seems fine. Maybe a few more steals but fewer homers, which would still put him around the same value. Hawpe is probably a better option in roto than head-to-head, though he hits much better than most Rockies on the road-I'm more worried about him against left-handers than playing away from Coors Field. I don't like this forecast one bit for Drew-missing some time during the year and his lack of RBI (which has more to do with his skill set than a lack of talent or value, Boston media) keeps him from four-star status, despite his real-world utility. Kubel, Swisher, and Cuddyer have a few things in common-namely, all are pretty good in a few categories, but dominate zero. Kubel is available in both left and right, while Cuddyer and Swisher are 1B/RF. Cuddyer is also the subject of a fantasy baseball team name my friend wants to use, "A Streetcar Named Cuddyer."
Cust's value is the same as always-homers! DeJesus doesn't excel anywhere, but he won't hurt you, and should play every day. Ludwick and Ross are a toss-up-both play in parks that favor pitchers, both are capable of surprising with a high-powered offensive year, and both have a lot of their value tied up in R and RBI. Willingham is along the same lines, though I would be surprised by a big power outburst. Blanks is basically a walking power outburst, but I have to see him play some more in the majors before I move him up any higher. Bradley is more valuable if he plays all of the time, though with Seattle's mish-mash of a cast, that may be a problem. Smith would benefit from additional playing time as well, but he has value despite the lack of a full season's worth of plate appearances.
Two Stars Player PA AVG/ OBP/ SLG R HR RBI SB Rick Ankiel 519 .255/.314/.456 68 22 69 4 Jeff Francoeur 598 .280/.326/.435 68 15 78 4 Elijah Dukes 563 .249/.362/.435 63 17 67 12 Matt Joyce 366 .244/.331/.447 43 14 44 5 Magglio Ordonez 608 .303/.376/.476 70 19 84 2 Ryan Church 507 .271/.349/.414 55 12 61 5 Melky Cabrera 480 .273/.341/.404 50 10 53 9 Jason Heyward 366 .271/.345/.447 47 10 38 5 Garrett Jones 564 .252/.320/.439 64 21 71 8 Ryan Sweeney 530 .286/.354/.424 63 11 55 7 Nate Schierholtz 411 .287/.330/.473 48 11 46 6 Will Venable 548 .243/.312/.385 54 13 54 6 Allen Craig 373 .264/.323/.440 44 13 44 1 Chris Dickerson 433 .251/.355/.420 48 11 38 12 Matt Diaz 433 .288/.352/.424 43 9 47 8 Jeremy Hermida 373 .271/.356/.456 46 13 41 4 David Murphy 394 .278/.353/.461 47 12 48 5 Xavier Nady 334 .285/.348/.480 39 13 43 1 Kosuke Fukudome 539 .260/.383/.394 69 9 47 6 Ty Wigginton 354 .281/.338/.487 39 16 39 2
I still think Ankiel has a better season hiding in him than people think. This may be one of the few moves Dayton Moore has made that I actively like instead of make fun of every chance I get, even in non-Royals related writings. Francoeur brought his stock back up a little after being traded to the Mets last season, but I still have some issues with the performance, and I'm not convinced he's going to be much more than an annual tease. I have higher hopes for Dukes, but he's shown even less so far than Francoeur.
Joyce may not help you out with batting average, but he's the kind of guy I expect to improve as the year goes on. He might be a better 2011 pick than 2010. Ordonez's forecast is far too optimistic for my liking after his power outage last season. I'm not sure he'll hit those RBI or HR numbers, which will limit his value despite his batting average. Church may not be the source of offense we all hoped he would be, but he's not a bad option in deep leagues since the Pirates could let him play if Jeff Clement is a bust at first base and Jones is moved back to the infield. Cabrera doesn't appeal to me very much, just like in left field. Not a terrible option given he'll play, though. If Heyward was guaranteed playing time, he would be further up this list, but for now you'll have to do your best to snag this sleeper-one that's becoming less of a sleeper by the day. Jones is likely to be overrated by someone in your league, which is a shame, because he's a good late pick for the position.
Sweeney, like many A's, isn't that much fun offensively, but as a starter he deserves a look in deep leagues. Schierholtz isn't a great option, but he's better than most of the Giants, which is good for his HR and line, but bad for his R and RBI. Venable has a center fielder's bat and plays half of his games in Petco Park, though I like him more than this forecast. Craig didn't play in the majors last year, but did hit .322/.374/.547 with 26 homers at Triple-A as a 25-year-old, and we're projecting him for quite a few plate appearances.
The rest of this tier is full of guys who would benefit from additional playing time, but won't get it unless a starter goes down with injury. It's a shame too, because with the exception of Fukudome, you have some pretty solid bats to choose from here.
One Star Player PA AVG/ OBP/ SLG R HR RBI SB Jose Bautista 598 .250/.352/.435 72 20 63 5 Felix Pie 333 .270/.326/.445 46 10 42 5 Erik Hinske 464 .239/.344/.419 54 14 50 7 Mark Teahen 548 .266/.332/.408 62 12 49 6 Gerardo Parra 338 .281/.337/.413 37 5 35 6 Ryan Spilborghs 292 .273/.359/.430 41 6 34 5 Wladimir Balentien 300 .256/.335/.467 35 13 38 3 Emilio Bonifacio 395 .262/.320/.345 48 2 25 14 Michah Hoffpauir 282 .272/.321/.452 32 10 42 2
It's only been a day since the left-field rankings, so I still don't like Bautista's forecast. Most of these players are part-timers who won't be able to help you much unless you're in a ridiculously deep league, but then you have Teahen, who probably shouldn't get as many plate appearances as he will. Bonifacio may be one of the more interesting names here solely because of his positional flexibility and penchant for stealing. He's not great by any means, but as a super-utility player in a deep league, you could do worse.