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.
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.
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.
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)|
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...