keyboard_arrow_uptop

These are the American League outfielder rankings for 2012. Check out our previous closer, AL starting pitchers, NL starting pitchers, catcher, first base, second base, third base, shortstop, and NL outfielder installments.

As a reminder, five-star players are generally going to be your star-level producers that will be selected within the first couple of rounds, usually worth upward of $30. Four-star players are the next step down, worth more than $20. Three stars are worth more than $10, two stars will be in the single digits, and one star will be roster-filler and late-round fliers. Of course, this is just a general guideline. While the rankings will generally follow PECOTA, I will deviate when I feel strongly that a player will over or underperform his PECOTA projection.

I’ve also decided to give my choice for a value pick in each tier—a guy who I think will be worth more than your leaguemates do, or a guy who I believe stands a good chance of beating his PECOTA projection.

For reference, the dollar values were created by our PFM using a league format of 12 teams, 5×5 scoring, and 23-player rosters—broken down as C (2) 1B (1) 2B (1) 3B (1) SS (1) CI (1) MI (1) OF (5) UT (1) P (9)—and $180 of the $260 budget allocated for hitters and $1 minimum salaries. A minimum of 20 games needed to be played at a position in the previous season to qualify. We’ll be providing values for both mixed leagues and AL-only/NL-only leagues. While this is the industry standard format, your own league structure may differ, in which case you can customize the PFM to your own needs.

Also, please note that for players who are eligible at multiple positions, the dollar values listed are representative of their most valuable position. So for a guy like Howie Kendrick who qualifies at second base, his dollar values aren’t directly comparable to A-Jax if you’re drafting him as an outfielder. His ranking, however, is indicative of where he would fall as an outfielder.

Five Stars

Player

POS

Team

Mixed $

AL/NL $

PA

AVG

HR

SB

RBI

R

Jose Bautista

3B,RF

TOR

$20.33

$22.05

652

0.257

31

7

90

90

Jacoby Ellsbury

CF

BOS

$43.71

$42.58

744

0.299

16

52

89

94

Curtis Granderson

CF

NYA

$28.55

$27.98

689

0.261

29

20

97

90

We’ve had the Bautista discussion before. In summary, I really like him. PECOTA doesn’t. I also really like Granderson and am a big believer in his 2011 power. I thought he was unlucky in terms of home runs in 2010, and his 2011 season seems to confirm that. I talked about him in depth after the season over at CardRunners (now DraftDay).

For the most part, I do not buy into Ellsbury’s power last year, but he’s still plenty valuable even if he only hits 10 homers.

Five-Star Value Pick: Granderson.

Four Stars

Player

POS

Team

Mixed $

AL/NL $

PA

AVG

HR

SB

RBI

R

B.J. Upton

CF

TBA

$19.27

$27.40

647

0.245

17

41

69

76

Josh Hamilton

LF,CF

TEX

$18.09

$22.97

554

0.295

26

8

85

77

Alex Gordon

LF

KCA

$17.84

$21.65

717

0.262

20

12

84

90

Nelson Cruz

RF

TEX

$17.50

$23.50

522

0.275

29

15

82

71

Carl Crawford

LF

BOS

$15.98

$26.30

553

0.289

11

34

67

68

Desmond Jennings

LF

TBA

$16.34

$25.73

645

0.257

13

37

66

75

Shin-Soo Choo

RF

CLE

$15.11

$22.50

612

0.277

18

18

73

80

Adam Jones

CF

BAL

$15.09

$21.06

644

0.273

21

10

82

78

Brett Gardner

LF

NYA

$14.12

$27.06

600

0.265

6

48

53

70

Coco Crisp

CF

OAK

$14.29

$26.33

616

0.258

8

45

59

68

Nick Markakis

RF

BAL

$17.01

$20.97

691

0.285

16

9

81

88

It’s a big Four-Star group, and they’re all pretty much known quantities.

I was really hoping Shin-Soo Choo was going to be a bargain this year, but people are drafting him as if his 2011 never happened. As I suggested in an early off-season chat, and as mentioned in Baseball Prospectus 2012, Choo hit a ton of balls to center field last year. Prior to that, his bread and butter power was to the pull field, so it stands to reason that his power will drop when he’s hitting so many balls to center. He went on the DL in the second half with an oblique injury (twice, actually), and if he was having difficulty with the oblique prior to the DL, it’s possible that a limited range of motion caused this spray pattern. A healthy Choo may be a good bet to rebound this year.

I discussed Alex Gordon in the same DraftDay article as Granderson.

Four-Star Value Pick: Nick Markakis never lived up to the high expectations many had for him, and now that he’s nearing 30, it seems unlikely that he ever will. He’s morphed from a high-upside youngster to a boring player who doesn’t do anything exceptionally. He contributes a bit in each category, though, and that makes him a valuable target.

Three Stars

Player

POS

Team

Mixed $

AL/NL $

PA

AVG

HR

SB

RBI

R

Ichiro Suzuki

RF

SEA

$13.95

$25.85

648

0.297

4

33

58

73

Howard Kendrick

2B,LF

ANA

$14.71

$21.25

651

0.283

12

15

76

77

Austin Jackson

CF

DET

$11.97

$21.30

692

0.269

8

23

69

78

Torii Hunter

RF

ANA

$11.55

$19.22

631

0.263

20

11

76

76

Ben Zobrist

2B,RF

TBA

$11.53

$19.03

634

0.249

17

18

70

77

Brennan Boesch

LF,RF

DET

$5.19

$15.62

562

0.263

18

7

70

67

Alex Rios

CF

CHA

$12.50

$21.91

602

0.265

16

23

71

70

Yoenis Cespedes

CF

OAK

$14.04

$20.32

579

0.267

27

8

83

72

Matt Joyce

RF

TBA

$9.08

$17.15

590

0.25

22

9

75

75

Mitch Moreland

1B,RF

TEX

$1.80

$13.32

522

0.268

18

2

65

65

Peter Bourjos

CF

ANA

$8.32

$19.82

583

0.257

12

25

66

65

Josh Willingham

LF,DH

MIN

$7.89

$16.27

599

0.253

22

6

73

76

Alejandro De Aza

RF

CHA

$10.64

$21.34

603

0.272

10

25

66

71

Michael Brantley

LF,CF

CLE

$5.07

$18.46

613

0.265

7

24

56

67

Dayan Viciedo

RF

CHA

$0.49

$12.54

529

0.265

18

1

64

61

Nick Swisher

RF

NYY

$3.48

$13.20

561

0.251

22

2

69

73

Colby Rasmus

CF

TOR

$4.63

$14.95

547

0.252

20

7

70

67

Denard Span

CF

MIN

$7.49

$19.76

615

0.283

6

22

58

73

I’m pretty down on Alex Rios this year, even if he’s solidly in the Three-Star tier. I know he had some injury issues last year that could have affected him, but his power performance makes me really worry. After showing power to all fields prior to 2011, his power was strictly pull in 2011, and they were hit much shallower than he used to hit them. With Alejandro de Aza and Kosuke Fukudome around to cut into his playing time, I’d be wary about drafting Rios.

I talked about why I like Mitch Moreland in the first base rankings article. He’s even nicer as an outfielder.

I expressed how I was a Brennan Boesch believer back in July, and my point still stands. He’ll post a solid average, solid power, and have a great spot in a very good lineup (or at least a very good top half of a lineup, assuming he bats second).

Three-Star Value Pick: I can’t believe there’s not more sleeper love for Dayan Viciedo. Super hyped when he came over from Cuba, he’s spent most of his career in the States working on his game in the minors. He made big strides there in 2011, improving his patience and cutting down on his strikeouts (and upping his walks), and if that carries over to the big leagues, he’s in terrific shape. He’s always had outstanding raw power, and if he can be selective about what he swings at, he stands a good chance of having a breakout season.

Two Stars

Player

POS

Team

Mixed $

AL/NL $

PA

AVG

HR

SB

RBI

R

Mike Carp

1B,LF

SEA

$0.25

$12.01

517

0.25

20

2

64

62

Delmon Young

LF

DET

$4.56

$15.73

560

0.284

14

5

68

66

Ben Revere

CF

MIN

($1.09)

$16.58

498

0.273

1

30

39

52

Ryan Raburn

2B,LF

DET

$6.21

$15.20

538

0.266

19

5

71

66

David Murphy

LF,RF

TEX

($1.80)

$12.68

432

0.276

13

9

53

53

Lorenzo Cain

RF,OF

KCA

$0.28

$14.35

559

0.268

6

15

55

62

Seth Smith

LF,RF

OAK

$0.43

$12.89

525

0.256

15

7

61

63

Josh Reddick

LF,RF

OAK

$0.16

$12.00

548

0.246

16

5

65

62

Mike Carp was the Two-Star Value Pick for first basemen, so I won’t repeat myself too much here, but I want to point out again that I really do like his power. Cheap power late is always appealing to me.

By the same token, cheap speed late is appealing as well. Ben Revere should have a long leash this year, especially with how many guys figure to be injured in Minnesota, and he’s got wheels. He also has a good slap bat (not to be confused with a slap bet) that should allow him to meet or exceed his PECOTA-projected batting average.

People really seem to like Lorenzo Cain as a speed sleeper, but he seems a little risky for me. His stolen-base numbers in the minors were never great, and as much as the Royals like to run, 15 projected steals is nothing to push old women and children out of the way for as you dash down the aisle looking for a late-round speedster. The Royals have alternatives if his bat doesn’t play, which is a possibility.

Two-Star Value Pick: In an AL-only league, I love David Murphy as a single-digit buy. He’s kind of boring and is technically a fourth outfielder, but he’s the best fourth outfielder in baseball on a team with Nelson Cruz and Josh Hamilton. Over/under on 75 DL days between them? I may take the over. Plus, Texas’ third starting outfielder isn’t settled right now, and Murphy could well take a starting spot.

One Star

Player

POS

Team

Mixed $

AL/NL $

PA

AVG

HR

SB

RBI

R

Nolan Reimold

LF

BAL

($5.54)

$9.98

416

0.253

14

7

48

51

Luke Scott

LF

TBA

($3.76)

$9.44

466

0.238

18

2

57

56

Eric Thames

LF,RF

TOR

($7.48)

$8.30

400

0.256

12

3

51

48

Jeff Francoeur

RF

KCA

($0.27)

$13.21

508

0.269

11

9

58

59

Vernon Wells

LF

ANA

($7.32)

$9.11

413

0.251

12

7

48

46

Raul Ibanez

LF

NYA

($8.56)

$8.00

375

0.261

13

2

48

46

Cody Ross

LF,CF,RF

BOS

($0.67)

$12.36

449

0.268

16

5

60

56

Brent Lillibridge

RF

CHA

($9.94)

$9.64

368

0.229

9

19

36

39

Grady Sizemore

CF

CLE

($11.96)

$7.72

307

0.252

11

9

37

39

Endy Chavez

CF

BAL

($11.14)

$8.80

388

0.27

3

13

36

41

Franklin Gutierrez

CF

SEA

($11.39)

$8.10

373

0.25

8

11

38

40

Travis Snider

LF

TOR

($-18.87)

$4.94

258

0.253

9

5

32

31

Rajai Davis

CF

TOR

($11.83)

$10.68

266

0.271

3

25

28

30

I believe in Thames’ ability to exceed his PECOTA projection, particularly the average, but there are a lot of guys vying for playing time in Toronto, perhaps only exceeded by the situations in Anaheim and Oakland.

Like Thames, Reimold could be a big value if he plays full-time. The additions of Endy Chavez and Wilson Betemit cut against his ability to do so, but there’s enough risk in Baltimore where there are a number of situations that could find him playing every day.

I love Luke Scott’s power, but the move from Camden Yards to Tropicana Field will hurt a bit. He’s also coming off pretty serious surgery, but for what he’s likely to cost, I’ll gladly take the risk.

One-Star Value Pick: Raul Ibanez has had a rough couple seasons, but if there’s ever a place for him to bounce back, it’s Yankee Stadium. His pull power will play very well to New York’s shallow right field. And with DH at-bats pretty wide open, good early play should cement Ibanez a lot of playing time.

***

With over 1,600 player comments in Baseball Prospectus 2012, you might find it difficult to read through them all before draft day arrives. To help you out, I’ll point you toward some of the most insightful comments for this position. These are the guys that I’d highly recommend flipping to in your copy of the book and reading before you sit down at the draft table.

Be sure to read the BP2012 comments for these AL outfielders: Brennan Boesch, Shin-Soo Choo, Carl Crawford, Jacoby Ellsbury, Alex Gordon, Desmond Jennings, Nolan Reimold, Alex Rios, Luke Scott, Travis Snider, Eric Thames, and Dayan Viciedo.

You need to be logged in to comment. Login or Subscribe
kdierman
3/22
To me this is easily the most "conversational" list to date .... so many guys can slide up or down. Coco Crisp is an injury risk and likely trade piece for Oakland signed to one year 5million. Howie Kendrick, a natural hitter of the .300 variety, now gets to hit in front of Albert. I love the Wrestling match between Pecota and the world on Joey Bats....I will specualte a smaller than usual proportion of subscribers rosters him this year. Taking Bautista's curious projectio into consideration, and looking at the 4 star lists and the potential uncertainties coupled with each player, and add Ellsbury's injury history - to me Curtis Granderson is a stickout "must get" to cornerstone your AL only outfield in an auction league.
Behemoth
3/22
Given that Adrian Beltre is no longer there to destroy Ellsbury's ribs, and outside of 2010, he's never missed more than about 5 games at a time, I think the injury thing might be overblown.
kdierman
3/22
Couple of other comments - the perennially under 27 years old Delmon Young has done nothing but Rake since he tried on a Detroit Tigers uniform....Leyland may just have the keys to that car. Boesch is getting better every year - the Tigers may give you a run here and there with their defense but they plan to extract it back thricefold at the plate. An Angel Fanatic may conspire to tamper with a Vernon Wells piss test in order to get Trout in the lineup. I watched LoCain for most of the summer in Omaha last year - to me he is a young right handed hitting david deJesus for what thats worth. Dont get to excited.
HonusCobb
3/22
By breakout season for Viciedo...do you mean his PECOTA projection? Or could he do even better?
derekcarty
3/22
It wouldn't surprise me in the least if he beat PECOTA, especially the power. You obviously don't want to pay for 25 HR, but I'd be a little disappointed if I draft him and he doesn't get there.
mneibart
3/22
Thanks, very helpful. Keep up the fine work, it's excellent reading.
mneibart
3/22
Question on how Pecota goes about assigning value to a guy like Carl Crawford: Here's a player who has a wrist injury that we can assume will hurt his power. Does Pecota take that into account when projecting his value, or does it assume Crawford will be 100% healthy for his 553 projected plate appearances and forecast his numbers based completely on his historical profile. If the latter is the case, does it not stand to reason that Pecota will over-value Crawford, assuming his projected number of plate appearances is accurate? Speaking of which, how is the number of plate appearances determined? Is it pure guesswork or is there a more scientific method? Along those lines, I suppose one can manipulate Pecota to give Crawford a more accurate projection by lowering the number of projected plate appearances. Is that right?
derekcarty
3/22
PECOTA, for the time being, does not make adjustments for injury. There's been talk of attempting to incorporate this in future versions (which would be amazing, since it would be the first system to do so), but for now the only way it's accounting for a Crawford injury is by considering his 2011 stats, which injury may have attributed to. So yes, it seems reasonable to say that PECOTA's performance projection may be optimistic if you believe that the wrist injury will cause him to perform worse than a healthy Crawford would. As far as the PA go, they are computed using the Red Sox lineup in our depth chart, which are put together manually (completely automated PT projections are a horrible idea). It's possible he doesn't get to the 553 PA we have him for, although he is in the same company as other perennial injury risks like Josh Hamilton and Nelson Cruz, so I don't think that number will be too far off.
tonytouch
3/22
keeper league where we keep two 1. no doubt is Granderson in the 8th round 2. struggling with Alex Gordon in the 21st or Kimbrell in the 17th. seems like a toss up, curious what you think. We start 3 OF, 2 RP, 3 generic P slots.
derekcarty
3/22
I'd go Gordon there unless your league sees a lot of closers getting kept. Should have better overall value and comes cheaper.
tonytouch
3/23
Thanks...there wont be a lot kept but people reach early and I usually pickup closers at the end of the draft (hence having Kimbrell in the 17th and Hanrahan in the 18th last year). Usually Pap/Mo go in the 6th, but 20 players are missing from the draft so it is really like the 7th or 8th. I kept Neftali Feliz in the last round last year and Kimbrell's rookie season was eerily similar to that and Feliz didn't have a great follow up. Concerns with Gordon are mainly I don't see upside, best to hope for is the same or slightly worse year, and he is leading off which will hurt RBI but probably bump steals and runs.
keithpt
3/22
Just want to applaud the HIMYM reference.
exitonly
3/22
surely Nyjer Morgan is better than some of those 1 star guys? Seems like he should fit into 2-star group.
pobothecat
3/27
(just checked. brewers still in NL)
pobothecat
3/27
Am I the only person in America digging Endy Chavez?
kdierman
3/29
Endy is a professional ...but he is brittle
tthomas
3/30
where is Tory Hunter ?
derekcarty
3/30
He's in the Three Star category.