2012 Tiered Positional Rankings: Left Field

Continuing the style I've used for years now, I'll be splitting outfielders up into left, center, and right field. Because of the tier system, you can compare the positions and see the total outfield picture easily, and this will allow me to rank even more players for deeper leagues without having as many get lost in the shuffle.

If you missed a position, or the explanation for the tiered ranking system, you can check out the first base, second base, third base, shortstop, and catcher rankings.

Five-Star ($30+)

PLAYER POS TEAM
Gonzalez, Carlos LF,CF,RF COL

Injuries kept Gonzalez from being all he could be last year, but he's still the only left fielder I trust to be worth at least $30 in 2012. He might be Coors Field-aided, but unless your league accounts for park effects, what do you care? He's less valuable in head-to-head leagues, but if you can draft a decent backup for road trips, you could have one of the most valuable "players" in your league.

Four-Star ($20-29)

PLAYER POS TEAM
Holliday, Matt LF SLN
Hamilton, Josh LF,CF TEX
Crawford, Carl LF BOS
Braun, Ryan LF MIL
Jennings, Desmond LF TBA

Matt Holliday had a little bit of everything happen to him last year and cause him to miss time -- even a moth flew in his ear -- but he's as likely to surpass the $20 mark as anyone in seasons where he isn't struck by lightning. Josh Hamilton's never-ending injuries hurt his value, but even with that in mind, the $20 range is a very real thing for him. I have faith in Carl Crawford bouncing back, enough to rank him here. Feeling less optimistic? Drop him on your personal list.

Ryan Braun was worth over $40 last year in standard mixed. If he misses 25-50 games, he can still crack $20 if he continues to be Ryan Braun. Don't sleep on him for too long. This is probably an optimistic Desmond Jennings ranking, but even if his bat doesn't fully come along in his first full season, his steals should make him approach this rank, if not surpass it.

Three-Star ($10-19)

PLAYER POS TEAM
Morse, Michael 1B,LF WAS
Gordon, Alex LF KCA
Kendrick, Howard 2B,LF ANA
Gardner, Brett LF NYA

I can see Morse sneaking out of this tier, but three-star seems right for him. Alex Gordon is another, but since 2011 is the only season on record in which he wasn't completely frustrating and disappointing, let's give it some time before we crown this Royal. Howie Kendrick is in Alex Gordon's position -- I have a lot of faith in him being better than in the past, but let's see him do that again before we automatically give him that kind of standing. Brett Gardner will quietly do Brett Gardner things again this year, stealing lots of bases and being driven in by a powerful lineup.

Two-Star ($9 & under)

PLAYER POS TEAM
Willingham, Josh LF,DH MIN
Morrison, Logan LF FLO
Lee, Carlos 1B,LF HOU
Bonifacio, Emilio 3B,SS,LF FLO
Raburn, Ryan 2B,LF DET
Prado, Martin 3B,LF ATL
Boesch, Brennan LF,RF DET
Young, Delmon LF DET
Tabata, Jose LF PIT
Bay, Jason LF NYN
Heisey, Chris LF CIN
Reddick, Josh LF,RF OAK
Murphy, David LF,RF TEX
Alonso, Yonder LF,OF SDN
Smith, Seth LF,RF OAK
Wells, Vernon LF ANA
Carp, Mike 1B,LF SEA
Scott, Luke LF TBA
Soriano, Alfonso LF CHN

I wouldn't be surprised if either Josh Willingham or Logan Morrison put up seasons of over $10, but I'm not going to pay them in that way to find out how right or wrong I am. Carlos Lee has fallen far from his past value, but he's still a useful option as a fourth or fifth outfielder since he'll be in the middle of a lineup and playing all of the time. Emilio Bonifacio's value depends a lot on his playing time, but he's worth a spot thanks to steals. Brennan Boesch is intriguing, but has mixed failure and success enough that I'm not willing to go higher than two stars with him. Same goes for Jose Tabata, who I like much more than this, but his 2011 season was concerning.

This is probably Jason Bay's last chance -- if he doesn't rebound in 2012, we can probably blame his concussion for this drop in ability. If Chris Heisey was definitely playing a full season, I would bump him into three-star easy. The Reds haven't used him that way, though, and his splits against lefties -- despite being right-handed -- make you wonder if they ever really will.

I like Josh Reddick quite a bit. If Oakland gives him the playing time, he'll surprise some people. David Murphy tends to end up with more playing time than he should as a fourth outfielder, thanks to the injuries of Nelson Cruz and Josh Hamilton. He's generally a good buy because of that. Yonder Alonso's not guaranteed a gig, but as a guy with power who hits to all fields, Petco might effect his numbers less than many others. Seth Smith in Oakland is not something I am looking forward to, but if he starts as expected, he'll do well. A note, though: only one of Reddick or Smith is likely going to be worth this rating, thanks to the Cespedes signing.

Vernon Wells is worth a flier as usual, especially since he seems to be productive every other year. Just don't pay for his past. Mike Carp, if he's playing, is a neat option for an outfield slot. Luke Scott is in a tougher park for hitters, but if his shoulder is attached, he'll be better than in 2011. Alfonso Soriano isn't going to win you any leagues anymore, but you could do worse...

One-Star (AL/NL-only)

PLAYER POS TEAM
Martinez, J.D. LF HOU
Mayberry, John LF,CF PHI
Brantley, Michael LF,CF CLE
Ross, Cody LF,CF,RF BOS
Hairston, Jerry 2B,3B,LF LAN
Presley, Alex LF PIT
Parra, Gerardo LF ARI
Craig, Allen LF SLN
Belt, Brandon 1B,LF SFN
Thames, Eric LF,RF TOR
Ludwick, Ryan LF CIN
Reimold, Nolan LF BAL
Wigginton, Ty 1B,3B,LF PHI
Bourgeois, Jason LF,CF HOU
Jones, Andruw LF NYA
Bernadina, Roger LF,CF WAS
McLouth, Nate LF,CF PIT
Gwynn, Tony LF LAN
Gomes, Jonny LF OAK
Dirks, Andy LF DET
Sweeney, Ryan LF,CF,RF BOS
Nix, Laynce LF PHI
Sands, Jerry LF,RF LAN
Snider, Travis LF TOR
Rivera, Juan 1B,LF LAN
Benson, Joe LF,OF MIN
Sappelt, Dave LF CHN
Robinson, Trayvon LF SEA
Bloomquist, Willie SS,LF ARI
Duncan, Shelley LF,DH CLE
Hinske, Eric LF ATL
Young, Eric LF COL
Pierre, Juan LF PHI
Blackmon, Charlie LF COL
Spilborghs, Ryan LF,RF CLE
Wells, Casper LF,RF SEA
Fuld, Sam LF TBA
Tosoni, Rene LF MIN
Thomas, Clete LF DET

...see?

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