No need to waste words on an intro. I did that yesterday, along with my ranking of the top 40 outfielders. Let’s ramble our way to the century mark.
As I alluded to in the last segment of yesterday’s list, I think establishing small tiers of similar players is a smart strategy when you get to this point of the rankings. There’s not much separation in this group of speed-first players. Pillar is the most well rounded, DeShields owns the highest stolen-base upside, and Inciarte and Burns are leadoff hitters who are likely to swipe more than 25 apiece. DeShields was the only one who didn’t crack the top 30 at the position last season, and he didn’t play regularly until May.
I love Piscotty’s floor and I’m optimistic he’ll settle into more power than most thought possible early in his professional career. Fowler, Parra, Myers, and Kiermaier offer probably double digits totals in both power and speed. I’m not sure why Kiermaier doesn’t get more love. He’s not a special offensive player, but his defense assures him of full time duty and he won’t turn 26 until after Opening Day. It’s still reasonable to project growth at the plate. Myers and Ramirez come with a substantial amount of injury risk, as well as the likelihood of losing outfield eligibility after this season. They’d both be higher without those concerns.
Can I interest you in some home runs? To an extent, the ordering of this group reflects the accompanying batting average risk each guy presents. Feel free to bump up the heavier thumpers if you’re willing to trade average for power.
I don’t think there’s much potential in this group for anyone to suddenly rise 20 spots in next year’s rankings, but I think each has a chance to be a solid contributor for all three years that these rankings consider. Exciting, huh?
This is the point where I’m willing to forego some immediate production to chase a potential 2017-18 star. It’s not out of the question that the either of these guys see substantial time in 2016, either. Josh Hamilton isn’t exactly a bastion of health.
The players in this early-30s collection all come with the standard aged-related production and injury concerns. The latter is especially true for Span, who would rank higher if I had any confidence at all that he could get to 500 at-bats. There’s a distinct possibility Dyson earns enough in 2016 alone to make this ranking way too low. He’s managed no fewer than 26 stolen bases in each of the past four seasons, despite never eclipsing 330 plate appearances. If he starts in right field often enough to get to 400, a 40-steal season is in play.
Playing time is an open question for all of these guys, so whether or not they can return this kind of value is largely a function of opportunity. If any of them gets a regular job—and it will be harder for the Houston pair because of the organizational depth—a significant jump up the list is conceivable.
I’m not quite ready to cut bait on Avisail and Oswaldo, despite a brutal 2015 for each. Liriano, and to a lesser extent, Pompey are enigmas who have playing time questions but considerable upside. The three prospects at the bottom of this cluster need another half-season on the farm, but could see a fair share of major league time in 2016 depending on the health and performance of incumbents on their respective big league clubs.
85. Austin Jackson
86. Andre Ethier
87. Matt Holliday
88. Mark Canha
89. Melvin Upton
90. Hyon-soo Kim
91. Carlos Beltran
92. Jayson Werth
93. Rajai Davis
94. Nori Aoki
95. Chris Colabello
96. Leonys Martin
97. Marlon Byrd
That right there is a list of baseball players whose position is outfield. Some of them are employed, even.
Carsley listed Benintendi as an outfielder to know for 2017 and beyond, and I should probably defer to his expertise on Red Sox-related matters. However, I’m very bullish and don’t see why he can’t follow the same timetable as Conforto did in 2015, which would put him in Boston this September. The Sox appear to have adequate outfield depth, but Castillo and Bradley aren’t exactly sure things.
Thank you for reading
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