I am in the middle of my review of our 2014 consensus position rankings, having completed analysis of the following position rankings:
Back in the preseason, there was plenty of time spent determining where to rank a couple of National League Central division outfielders, Billy Hamilton and Ryan Braun. I was high on Braun and he was a bit of a disappointment as he endured his worst season of his eight year career. Hamilton had the fantasy community abuzz in projecting whether or not he could hit enough, or get on base enough, to be a valuable fantasy contributor on the base paths. He was second in the majors in stolen bases, but got on base at an under .300 clip, but led the majors with 23 caught stealing attempts.
Our #9 ranked outfielder, Jay Bruce, experienced his worst season as a big leaguer as well, hitting less than 20 home runs for the first time in his seven year career, after three consecutive 30 home run seasons.
Below you will see how we ranked our top 75 outfielders in the preseason, along with several players we ranked correctly and several who we were wrong on.
Now let's take a look at our outfielders ranked 1 - 25:
Here is a look at outfielders we ranked from 26 - 50:
Here is a look at outfielders we ranked from 51 - 75:
|57||Alejandro De Aza||CHW||173||56||54||52||39||72||61||39|
What we got right
Mike Trout, Angels
Trout has been one of the most consistent fantasy hitters in the game over the last three seasons, and he is an easy choice as the #1 pick in 2015 fantasy drafts. I am not sure what else I need to say about him that you already don't know, but there are signs of concern. Most notably is the drop in stolen bases and the uptick in his strikeout rate. He changed his approach at the plate, focusing on hitting for more power, while attempting just 18 stolen bases, down from 40 in 2013 and 54 in 2012. As long as he is hitting for 30+ home run power, we can live with the lower stolen base totals going forward.
Adam Jones, Orioles
I was surprised at some in the fantasy community telling readers to stay away from Adam Jones back in March. We ranked Jones as our 5th ranked outfielder in our consensus rankings, and he did not disappoint, hitting .281-.311-.469 with 29 home runs, 88 runs scored, 96 RBI and 7 stolen bases. Like Trout, he is one of the more consistent hitters in the game and should be valued according in 2015.
What we got wrong
Ryan Braun, Brewers
As mentioned previously, Braun put up his second worst season as a big leaguer in 2014, hitting just .266-.324-.453 with 19 home runs, 68 runs scored, 81 RBI and 11 stolen bases in 16 attempts. Coming into the season, many projected his power to drop after serving his PED suspension in 2013, and they were right But, some of the drop can be attributed to his injured thumb that hampered him all season, and required offseason surgery. He could provide a nice profit in 2015 assuming he drops in fantasy drafts, which I expect he will.
Shin-Soo Choo, Rangers
We ranked Rangers outfielder Shin-Soo Choo as our #9 ranked outfielder in the preseason, and all he did was disappoint his owners this season. He hit just .242-.340-.374 with 13 home runs, 58 runs scored, 40 RBI and just 3 stolen bases. His season was cut short due to an ankle injury that required surgery in September, and I wonder if 2014 was the beginning of the decline phase for the 32 year old outfielder.
Bryce Harper, Nationals
We ranked Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper as our 6th ranked outfielder, and while he had a solid second half, and excellent NLDS, Harper disappointed owners in 2014, playing in just 100 games due to a thumb injury. Harper hit .273-.344-.423 with 13 home runs, 41 runs scored, 31 RBI and just 2 stolen bases this season, but if you want to draft him in 2015, you will once again have to draft him in the late second-early third round, especially after his strong second half. With power down in the game, the 22 year old outfielder possesses the power to lead the National League in home runs in 2015.
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