Now that we have completed our consensus position rankings for 2014, it is time to address rankings for those of you in AL only and NL only leagues. Ray has already begun posting his NL only positional rankings and you can find them here:
In case you missed the consensus mixed league position rankings and projections that we have published to date, you can find the links to each post below:
I started posting my AL only rankings last week and you can find them here:
Today, we'll take a look at outfielders.
|24||Alejandro De Aza||CWS|
Mike Trout is the best player in baseball so he gets the number one spot here. I think Jacoby Ellsbury is actually underrated this season. I don't really understand the arguments against him. I think he will hit double digit home runs but even for those who disagree, he's going to hit close to .300 and probably lead the AL in stolen bases again. The injuries he sustained in 2010 and 2012 were freak occurrences and I don't know what else can really be said against him. Adam Jones is one of 10 players with 30 or more home runs each of the last two years and the only one to steal double digit bases as well. He gets not for not walking much but he makes a lot of contact and has hit better than .280 each of the last four years. A pair of Rangers round out the top 5. Shin-Soo Choo is a 20/20 threat who will score a ton of runs and Rios is very similar but with a little more speed. Choo is a little more consistent and will be batting leadoff in Texas so he edged out his teammate for me.
Jose Bautista could finish as high as second on this list at the end of the season but back to back injured seasons have limited his production a little. Even though he missed a combined 120 games over the last two years, he's hit 55 home runs. This will have been the third time I mention Ben Zobrist in one of these pieces (multi-position eligibility is a big part of his value) and I went with Alex Gordon ahead of him because they offer similar stat lines but I think Gordon is still on his way up whereas I believe we've seen Zobrist's best. Speaking of on his way up; reigning AL Rookie of the Year, Wil Myers, comes in at number 10. He slashed .293/.354/.478 with 13 home runs more than 50 RBIs and runs scored and 5 stolen bases in just over half a season.
Three Yankee outfielders fall between 10 and 20 with Beltran leading the group at 11. He turns 37 this season and he stole only 2 bases last year but Beltran should hit 25 homers in Yankee Stadium and he's a strong performer in batting average as well. Soriano is on the wrong side of 35 also but it looks like he will be the DH most nights and he's shown that he still has plenty of power. I don't love Brett Garnder but he has some of the best speed in the league. He didn't run as much last year and his strikeout rate increased significantly, but he has 50 stolen base upside. Josh Hamilton had a decent spring but I'm just not a fan of his. He strikes out WAY too much and I don't think the home run totals will reach Rangers levels again. Feelings seem to be mixed about Nelson Cruz this year as a lot of people were down on him but liked the signing with Baltimore. I think its business as usual for Cruz in 2014.
Ranks 21-30 have a few guys that are personal favorites for me this year. Norichika Aoki, Alejandro De Aza, Colby Rasmus and Dexter Fowler are all guys that I seem to like a little more than others. Aoki is a solid contributor across the board though unspectacular in the homer department. I think he will run more this year and score a lot of runs in an improving Kansas City lineup. Alejandro De Aza offers a power/speed combo that you won't find much lower on the draft board. He's better than average in batting average and is looking to bat second in the White Sox lineup that expects to produce more runs with Jose Abreu in the 3 hole. Colby Rasmus has one of his best pro seasons last year and while his batting average spike seemed to be BABIP induced, he has 25 homer potential and could be very Josh Hamilton-like but available much lower. No one likes it when a guy moves out of Coors field but Houston is still fairly favorable to right handed hitters. Dexter Fowler is somewhat uninspiring but I keep waiting for him to break out and a 15/20 season is not out of the realm of possibility. I also like teammate Chris Carter to potentially hit 30 bombs this year.
A couple of Nicks and a couple of Michaels make up 40% of the 31-40 group. Nick Markakis is in a contract year and if he wants to come even close the $14 million he'll make in 2014, he'll need to improve on last season. He was 4th in the AL in singles last year but had only 34 extra base hits. He's a good bet to hit for a high average and he should score a ton of runs in the O's lineup but the stolen bases are gone and, for all we know, the power is too. Michael Brantley signed a new deal this year and offers double digit homers and power with a strong average. He's turning 27 but I don't think there's much projection left for him. I think what we've seen is what we'll get and there's value in that. Michael Saunders is about the exact opposite of Brantley as he's teased fantasy owners with 20/20 potential but whether or not he'll hit enough to actualize his power is a question that no one seems to have an answer for. Nick Castellanos will play third base for the Tigers this season but he will start the year with outfield eligibility and he's one of the top prospects in the game. He's a strong hitter with good power and he'll be learning from some of the best hitters in the game. I don't like Castellanos as much as some people do but he's going to get playing time and he's worth the pick at this point.
Rounding out the top 50 is a mixed bag of player types and situations. I like Lorenzo Cain but I like Jarrod Dyson and Justin Maxwell also and I think that the same situation that the Royals are in. I'm worried they will cycle outfields through to keep everyone fresh and utilize different skill sets. Rajai Davis could steal 50 bases as an everyday player in Detroit but the team doesn't seem satisfied with him as their guy. Even so, he had back-to-back 40 steal seasons in a part time role in Toronto. That kind of speed isn't available anywhere else in this group or lower. George Springer is an electrifying player but I think he will struggle a little bit in his first trip to the big leagues and we're not exactly sure when he'll get the call. If Michael Choice and carve out some playing time in Texas, I think he is a name to watch.
You can follow Zack on Twitter at @FantasyNinja8.