keyboard_arrow_uptop

On Tuesday, I unveiled the top-30 fantasy outfielders via our famed tiered-ranking system. That project continues today, as we move to no. 31-75. The outfield position is notoriously difficult to grasp at the lower levels. Too many players exist to construct such a deep ranking with pristine accuracy. There are always players one would like to include—such as Max Kepler and Aaron Altherr—but it’s imprudent to simply stuff the top 75 with upside plays. It needs uninspiring guys, too.

Five-star players are the studs at their position. In general, they are the players who will be nabbed in the first couple of rounds of the draft, and they will fetch mixed-league auction bids in excess of $30. Four-star players are a cut below the studs at the position. They will also be early-round selections, and they are projected to be worth more than $20 in most cases. Three-star players are the last tier in which players are projected to provide double-digit dollar value in auctions, and two-star players are projected to earn single digits in dollar value in auctions. One-star players are late-round sleepers and roster placeholders. The positional tiers aren't simply a regurgitation of last year’s values but rather try to offer some insights into what we expect will happen in 2016.

We retained last year's roster requirements for the positional tier series. Dollar values come from last year’s PFM using a 12-team, standard 5×5 scoring format, with 23-man rosters and the following positions: C (2) 1B (1) 2B (1) 3B (1) SS (1) CI (1) MI (1) OF (5) UT (1) P (9). The minimum bid for players is $1, and, as we did last year, we'll allocate $180 of a $260 budget to hitters. Players needed to play in 20 games at a position to qualify there. The PFM is customizable, so if your league uses a different format you can adjust it to match your league settings and see how it impacts players’ dollar values.

THREE STAR

Player

Team

Mixed $

AL/NL $

PA

R

HR

RBI

SB

AVG

Hunter Pence

SF

$-8.10

$5.58

223

30

9

40

4

.275

Michael Brantley

CLE

$17.91

$27.04

596

68

15

84

15

.310

Brett Gardner

NYY

$19.42

$27.84

656

94

16

66

20

.259

David Peralta

AZ

$11.93

$21.39

517

61

17

78

9

.312

Kole Calhoun

LAA

$13.44

$20.82

686

78

26

83

4

.256

Ben Revere

WAS

$20.19

$32.02

634

84

2

45

31

.306

Shin-Soo Choo

TEX

$16.63

$22.27

653

94

22

82

4

.276

Billy Burns

OAK

$12.81

$25.83

555

70

5

42

26

.294

Jorge Soler

CHC

$-4.79

$7.67

404

39

10

47

3

.262

Byron Buxton

MIN

$-21.93

$-2.21

138

16

2

6

2

.209

Khris Davis

OAK

$5.26

$16.45

440

54

27

66

6

.247

Alex Gordon

KC

$-3.69

$7.86

422

40

13

48

2

.271

Joc Pederson

LAD

$2.59

$13.38

585

67

26

54

4

.210

Stephen Piscotty

STL

$-8.72

$5.09

256

29

7

39

2

.305

Michael Conforto

NYM

$-12.71

$2.37

194

30

9

26

0

.270

Curtis Granderson

NYM

$19.44

$25.35

682

98

26

70

11

.259

Kevin Pillar

TOR

$17.43

$28.76

628

76

12

56

25

.278

If only Michael Brantley were healthy. The 28-year-old has blossomed into one of the premier hitters in Major League Baseball. He boasted an impressive 1.18 walk-to-strikeout ratio, clubbing 15 home runs and stealing 15 bases, all while hitting over .300 for the second-consecutive seasons. Dr. Smooth has one of the prettier swings in the league and finally convinced fantasy owners of his mixed-league value. Unfortunately, it’s anyone’s guess as to how he’ll perform after he comes back from injury—and we truthfully only have a hazy timeline for his return from the disabled list.

I still believe in Jorge Soler. The 30 percent strikeout rate limited his effectiveness in 2015 and kept him from accessing his significant raw power in game situations; however, he has a strong history of quality plate discipline in the minors and still posted a top-30 average batted-ball velocity in all of baseball. If you want legit 30-plus power potential in the mid-to-late portions of the draft, Soler is one of the few options available. And to those wondering which player on this secondary list has the chance to be a top-10 fantasy producer, I think it’s clearly Soler or Byron Buxton.

Khris Davis owns a career .230/.285/.451 slash line away from Miller Park. He now moves to O.co Coliseum, which had a home-run park factor of 89 for right-handed batters. Seems like a great mix.

Three-Star Value Pick: Kevin Pillar, OF, Toronto Blue Jays
Outside the top-30, I think we often lose track of guys who are just solid across the board. Pillar can flat-out hit the baseball, and the fact that he can swipe a few bags makes him all the more fantasy relevant. The Blue Jays’ outfielder hit .305/.339/.438 with 10 homers and 18 stolen bases from June 2, 2015, through the end of the season. He benefits from a monstrous lineup and a great ballpark. It ain’t sexy, and some fellow Fantasy Team members expressed the desire to drop him even lower in the rankings, but I believe in the core skills that Pillar brings to the table. His particular situation in Toronto is icing on the cake.

TWO STAR

Player

Team

Mixed $

AL/NL $

PA

R

HR

RBI

SB

AVG

Randal Grichuk

STL

$-0.64

$11.06

350

49

17

47

4

.276

Denard Span

SF

$-5.53

$7.71

275

38

5

22

11

.301

Wil Myers

SD

$-8.14

$5.15

253

40

8

29

5

.253

Delino DeShields

TEX

$9.52

$21.84

492

83

2

37

25

.261

Ender Inciarte

ATL

$12.43

$22.14

561

73

6

45

21

.303

Jay Bruce

CIN

$12.18

$21.05

649

72

26

87

9

.226

Mark Trumbo

BAL

$3.83

$13.39

545

62

22

64

0

.262

Matt Holliday

STL

$-12.30

$2.94

277

24

4

35

2

.280

Dexter Fowler

FA

$17.59

$24.44

690

102

17

46

20

.250

Gerardo Parra

COL

$13.55

$23.18

589

83

14

51

14

.291

Josh Reddick

OAK

$12.10

$21.52

582

67

20

77

10

.272

Marcell Ozuna

MIA

$-3.72

$8.16

494

47

10

44

2

.259

Steven Souza

TB

$1.00

$13.27

426

59

16

40

12

.225

Yasmany Tomas

AZ

$-2.91

$9.35

426

40

9

48

5

.273

Cameron Maybin

DET

$11.92

$22.29

555

65

10

59

23

.267

Rusney Castillo

BOS

$-10.31

$3.68

289

35

5

29

4

.253

Eddie Rosario

MIN

$4.04

$15.85

474

60

13

50

11

.267

We’ve got a few post-hype breakout candidates in Rusney Castillo, Wil Myers, and Steven Souza. Although Castillo made Red Sox fans dream with an exhilarating call-up in 2014, he underwhelmed last year. He posted a groundball rate above 60 percent, which prevented him from hitting for much power. The worst part is that he only managed a .103 ISO in Triple-A. The 28-year-old is a solid depth piece in fantasy leagues, but it’s probably pointless to dream.

Ranking guys like Josh Reddick and Cameron Maybin this low, despite quality years, reflects an overall lack of confidence in their ability to repeat. Reddick is best deployed as a platoon option. He hit .222/.291/.363 against southpaws. What’s worse is that his early-season breakout came crashing to earth in the second half, as he hit .251/.318/.439—which is eerily similar to his career .251/.311/.435 slash line. It’s disingenuous to argue that he’s likely to carry over his first-half performance from 2015 into the upcoming campaign. There’s too much track record here.

Matt Holliday has traditionally been one of the safest fantasy selections. That has changed, given his injury troubles in 2015 and the fact that he’s now 36 years old. He stopped pulling the baseball last year, which doesn’t bode well for his power numbers to bounce back to 20-plus homers. Still, he should benefit from whatever #CardinalsDevilMagic has Jhonny Peralta improving as a hitter after his 30th birthday.

Two-Star Value Pick: Gerardo Parra, OF, Colorado Rockies
It’s Coors Field and the Colorado Rockies are very willing to run on the basepaths. I see very little reason why Parra can’t hit another 14 homers with 15-plus stolen bases. And given the Rockies’ potent offense, his run/RBI totals should improve, too. He out-produced almost every player in the two-star tier. It may happen again.

ONE STAR

Player

Team

Mixed $

AL/NL $

PA

R

HR

RBI

SB

AVG

Odubel Herrera

PHI

$7.12

$18.13

537

64

8

41

16

.297

Melky Cabrera

CHW

$7.61

$16.63

683

70

12

77

3

.273

Aaron Hicks

NYY

$-0.87

$12.23

390

48

11

33

13

.256

Domingo Santana

MIL

$-13.99

$2.31

187

20

8

26

4

.238

Kevin Kiermaier

TB

$5.67

$18.76

535

62

10

40

18

.263

Jayson Werth

WAS

$-6.44

$5.48

378

51

12

42

0

.221

Jackie Bradley Jr.

BOS

$-6.16

$5.68

255

43

10

43

3

.249

Leonys Martin

TEX

$-9.03

$6.66

310

26

5

25

14

.219

Rajai Davis

CLE

$0.99

$14.80

370

55

8

30

18

.258

Desmond Jennings

TB

$-20.93

$-0.85

108

9

1

7

5

.268

Joey Gallo

TEX

$-18.79

$-2.00

123

16

6

14

3

.204

Grab some cheap speed or some cheap power. Herrera, Hicks, Kiermaier, Martin, and Davis should all have a chance to steal 15-plus bases. Santana, Werth, and Gallo could all club 20-plus homers. Yeah, each one of those players has his warts, but they wouldn’t be stuck in the one-star tier if they didn’t have serious drawbacks.

Repeat after me: Fantasy players aren’t penalized for strikeouts. After Khris Davis’ trade to Oakland, Domingo Santana should now receive everyday at-bats in Miller Park. That has a great chance to result in 20-plus homers, as the Brewers have ample opportunity to wait out his growing pains. The batting average won’t be pretty, but he could steal double-digit bases and the RBI totals should be solid enough. He’s a sneaky play in the later rounds. Just be sure the roster can handle the batting-average anchor dragging it down.

One could easily replace Gallo with Nomar Mazara. Both are potential fantasy studs. Both can hit the ball 450 feet with regularity. I happen to like watching that happen. So I happen to like them.

One-Star Value Pick: Aaron Hicks, OF, New York Yankees
Hicks is an attractive power/speed guy with some potential to hit for average. In daily leagues, he’s perhaps best utilized as a left-handed platoon guy, but weekly-league owners shouldn’t be afraid to use him on a weekly basis. He’s could be a cheap source of double-digit homers and 20 stolen bases, if he gets enough playing time in New York, and the batting average won’t be awful. That’s high praise for a one-star player.