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Five Worst Fantasy Outfields

One of the hottest topics making its way through the 2008 fantasy baseball draft preparation circles is the idea that the OF is a shallow position. I am doubtful, but I could ignore it no longer once ESPN's latest mounted head, Jason Grey, specifically espoused it from the biggest soapbox in fantasy sports.

In order to examine the proposition that OF is now "shallow" as a position, I did a back-of-the-envelope listing of all the starting OFs in major league baseball (a sort of scatter graph that precedes regression analysis) and assigned ranks to the five I considered to be the worst. Without previous seasons' data, I can't conclude this year is worse than previous ones, but the five I choose are fairly bad. Only one contains what I'd considered a Top 100 pick/$20+ player and all contain at least one who may spend all of 2008 in the free agent pool of typical mixed leagues.

My five worst from least worst to absolute worst are 5. Atlanta Braves 4. Texas Rangers 3. St. Louis Cardinals 2. San Diego Padres and worst of all, the Oakland A's. While the Braves' Jeff Francouer is a Top 100 pick, any team willing to play Mark Kotsay full-time in CF has no better options.

Given the subjective criteria, I wanted to see more objective output. To do so, I used Mock Draft Central's ADP from Friday evening. Using the collective wisdom contained in those 216 drafts, I took the average of the ADPs for each of the three starting outfielders for all teams and sorted the results.

My rough calculation hit on four of the five worst fantasy OFs with only my inclusion of the Braves being off more than one spot. What was more surprising was which one I missed.

The Washington Nationals were considered the third worst OF in the average ADP rankings! I am shocked because any of those three starters (Wily Mo Pena, Lastings Milledge, Austin Kearns) could breakout on the upside with a move from the unfriendly hitting environs of RFK.

Am I crazy?

5 TEX Milton Bradley 295 Josh Hamilton 177 Marlon Byrd 380 284
4 STL Rick Ankiel 249 Chris Duncan 265 Brian Barton 380 298
3 WAS Wily Mo Pena 296 Lastings Milledge 300 Austin Kearns 339 311.7
2 OAK Travis Buck 356 Jack Cust 287 Ryan Sweeney 380 341
1 SD Jim Edmonds 380 Scott Hairston 380 Brian Giles 380 380