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February 20, 2014

Dynasty League Positional Rankings

Top 120 Outfielders

by Bret Sayre

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To read the previous articles in this series, click below:

The Primer:
Because dynasty league rankings are relatively league-dependent, I set up parameters for ranking the players below (and the ones who will follow at other positions). The list here presupposes a 16-team standard dynasty format, where there are no contracts/salaries, players can be kept forever and owners have minor league farm systems in which to hoard prospects. So feel free to adjust this as necessary for your individual league, whether it’s moving non-elite prospects without 2014 ETA’s down if you don’t have separate farm teams or moving lower-risk, lower-reward players up in deeper mixed or -only formats.

Outfield is a monster of a position to rank. Unfortunately, it’s no longer a monster position as far as depth at the major-league level. You have the superstars at the top, but as you may be noticing as you do mock and real drafts this pre-season, if you wait too long to fill those last two outfield spots, you’re going to be at more of a disadvantage than five years ago. And the reason why makes sense—with major league teams focusing more on defense, fewer first basemen are parading around the grass aimlessly. The minor leagues, however, could see a good wave of talent coming up at the position over the next two seasons—led by two of the top three fantasy prospects in the minors. The next wave is less impressive, but only by comparison. And the influx of young talent at the major league level, even in the form of players who haven’t quite lived up to expectations yet, is heartening to say the least. And as a disclaimer, you won’t see players who are outfield eligible and have been ranked at other positions on this list. This is purely fresh blood. Dig in.

And now, your top 120 outfielders in dynasty formats:

YOU’RE THE BEST! AROUND! NOTHING’S GONNA EVER KEEP YOU DOWN. YOU’RE THE BEST! AROUND! NOTHING’S GONNA EVER KEEP YOU DOWN.

If you own one of these guys, you’re happy. But if you own Harper, you’re double happy. Stanton may have had some injuries recently, but he’s still not turning 25 until after the 2014 season is over and he’s going to hit 50 homers one of these years. Braun may not steal as many bases from here on out, but he’s still an elite hitter even with reduced impact there.

These are all guys you could call your best outfielder, even though they’re not as elite as the first grouping. Jones should really be in a tier by himself, but this isn’t “Being John Malkovich.” Ellsbury is a better value in redraft leagues because his steals are going to decline in the near future—even though he’s still pretty elite now. Heyward over Puig may surprise some, but it’s more of a vote of confidence in Heyward, who I still believe in as a top-shelf fantasy outfielder long-term.

The young guns are here. If Taveras was going to start the season in the majors, he’d be first in this group of three. He is going to hit and hit a lot. We all know the upside that Buxton has, but Myers’ has the least ceiling in this group. He gets this spot because he’s done it already at the major-league level.

You could rank Kemp anywhere on this list and it would look wrong. I really hope he moves past these injuries because he’s one of my favorite players to watch.

This tier is so superfluous that you could make an argument for these players in nearly any order. You can’t beat the consistency of Holliday and Pence, but the Reds’ speedster splits them up with his potential league-changing speed. The most important take away from this tier is not to forget how good Christian Yelich can be. He has the potential to be a .300 hitter with good pop and speed. I’ll still gamble on Bautista for another year or two in redraft formats, but he’s 33 years old, and I’m thinking he won’t get less injury prone.

This group is sprinkled with power/speed guys that have disappointed recently (Jennings and Jackson), prospects with big upside (Springer, Polanco, Frazier) and some former high-impact players (Hamilton, Beltran, Granderson). The guys who could be had at somewhat of a discount here based on their initial non-stardom are Arcia and Eaton—both of whom could be top-25 outfielders in relatively short order.

If you’re looking for a ton of prospects, you’re probably going to be disappointed here. And the big reason for that is the relative shallowness of the position at the major-league level. Crawford would be ranked higher if he weren’t so brittle at this point—when he’s on the field, he’s been the type of hitter he was in Tampa, just with a lot less speed. B.J. Upton and Josh Reddick are looking to bounce back from tough years in 2013, and to an extent I think both can do it. I also do not think Ethier will be a fourth outfielder forever.

And here are some of the riskier players. I still am a fan of both Goodwin and Cain, but they’ll have to show more in 2014 to get back to previous heights in dynasty leagues. Also, beware of post-hype guys like Choice, Hicks, and Marisnick—they all have real upside that shouldn’t be discounted because they haven’t set the world on fire yet.

I don’t understand the intensity of some of the Kole Calhoun love. He’s a decent player, but a near 20/20 candidate he is not. Ozuna gets overlooked in Miami, but he showed a stronger than expected contact level in the majors and will get the first half of the 2014 season to show he belongs in their outfield long-term. Bell and Renfroe are players who could make nice jumps in 2014 and both have significant fantasy upside.

Yes, I actually went 120 players deep. Gose is another name not to forget about—if he could figure out how to get on base, the speed could be fun to own. Dickerson, Parker, Stubbs, and Blackmon all benefit from the potential playing time in Colorado, but unfortunately only one of them will likely get it (barring an injury). I’m not a believer in Urrutia’s power, as I think he’ll be severely lacking in the category. I’m as amazed as you are that I ranked a 93-year-old Raul Ibanez on this list, but it’s the right thing to do. I don’t need a discrimination suit on my hands here.

Bret Sayre is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
Click here to see Bret's other articles. You can contact Bret by clicking here

Related Content:  Outfield,  Fantasy,  Dynasty Leagues,  Keeper Leagues

20 comments have been left for this article. (Click to hide comments)

BP Comment Quick Links

JamesP469

Dexter Fowler?

Feb 20, 2014 04:30 AM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Bret Sayre
BP staff

I knew I was going to miss someone in the transfer. Fowler should be at #48, ahead of B.J. Upton. Thanks for the catch!

Feb 20, 2014 04:35 AM
 
hwbliz

How about Nick Markakis?

Mar 18, 2014 07:39 AM
rating: 0
 
ChrisHurst

Rajai Davis is in Detroit

Feb 20, 2014 06:41 AM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Daniel Rathman
BP staff

Fixed, thanks

Feb 20, 2014 07:48 AM
 
Myrick

Mason Williams way too high.

Feb 20, 2014 06:56 AM
rating: 0
 
EROICA

Where is Trumbo??

Feb 20, 2014 07:44 AM
rating: -1
 
Nojsztat

The 1B list.

Feb 20, 2014 08:07 AM
rating: 2
 
Nojsztat

In my dynasty, I snapped up Corey Dickerson in 2012 while he was slugging over .500 in the Texas League, and in the year and a half since, he's done nothing but continue to hit, get on base, and slug. I wonder what the Colorado organization thinks of him, since as an armchair GM I was riding the roller coaster of excitement (they traded Fowler!) and disappointment (Morneau? Stubbs?) all offseason.

Feb 20, 2014 07:48 AM
rating: 0
 
Nojsztat

Oh, and a lol for making me think of Mike Trout as Daniel-san.

Feb 20, 2014 07:50 AM
rating: 1
 
tonytouch

So in a 12 team 4 year keeper league should I be upset that Puig is going to be my #1 OF? Basically saying I should draft one of the top 12. Heyward burned me last year but I agree he was unlucky early on, derailed by the appendectomy, and then mashed down the stretch. I'll target him in my draft but wont keep him.

Feb 20, 2014 07:50 AM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Bret Sayre
BP staff

No, it shouldn't make you upset. He's still a high-end fantasy outfielder.

Feb 20, 2014 09:52 AM
 
patsmack

Domingo Santanaaaaa!!!!!!

Feb 20, 2014 08:36 AM
rating: 0
 
NJTomatoes

OK, I've checked several times,and will offer my wobbly proofreading skills disclaimer, but....Markakis?

Feb 20, 2014 09:51 AM
rating: 1
 
TeamPineTar

Nice job, Bret! OF must have been laborious.

Not a criticism, because I don't know how I would approach ranking Heyward. You go to the ballpark and watch him play on a lucky day for you, and he has all the tools and potential of Trout, even a great OBP eye at the plate. Physically...just awesome. The horrid beaning aside, Heyward looks for excuses NOT to be in the lineup rather than play. It sure is cozy on that couch while the paycheck is coming. Chipper called Heyward out on the slacking in Heyward's first year. Yes, I know he played 158 in 2012, and the production was superb. Maybe it goes back for me having him as a $2 keeper in 2011 and having to trade him to a non-contender just so I could fill the roster spot with somebody who actually played. I have a feeling that he'll be one of those players (Longoria, anybody?) who never earns his auction salary. I just cringe seeing Heyward at #12. DTM.

Again, I appreciate the good, hard work. You're more game than some RFs, Bret.

Feb 20, 2014 10:50 AM
rating: -3
 
SC

Not sure how you consider appendicitis or a fractured jaw "excuses not to be in the lineup." Because those were responsible for 49 of the 58 games he missed, last year and are not exactly injuries you can tough out -- both required surgery. So all we're left to support your absurd claim is some three year old quotes that a 20 year old rookie not have met the same standards for professionalism that a HOFer had.

Feb 20, 2014 12:51 PM
rating: 2
 
Ballparkjack22

What are your thoughts on Raimel Tapia? Do you think he is going to shoot up boards this year? Thanks!

Feb 20, 2014 19:03 PM
rating: 0
 
Oldwell89

Phil Ervin-put that chip on your shoulder!

Feb 25, 2014 11:32 AM
rating: 0
 
ChicagoOriole

I know this is late, but no Cashner?

Mar 23, 2014 07:26 AM
rating: 0
 
ChicagoOriole

Oops, was in wrong article.

Mar 23, 2014 07:27 AM
rating: 0
 
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