AL Tiered Outfielder Ranks: April 2016

Here we go again! It is time for the monthly update to the AL Outfield tiers. These tiers reflect my rest of season rankings. Just a warning: I am not extremely reactionary in the first month of the season. So, if you think I should have Colby Rasmus in the first or second tier, don’t be offended if I don’t respond to your comment with much more than a “come on bro!” Of course you can see my preseason tiers here:

AL Tiered Outfielder Rankings: Preseason

I have named my tiers based on the best characters on the greatest TV show of all time: The West Wing. Neither the rank of the characters or the greatness of The West Wing is up for debate. I am currently watching it for the 35th time and it still holds up. Plus, my grandfather is mentioned multiple times which adds to the lore. *Bonus points to the person who can figure out who my grandfather is.

Tier 1: Josh Lyman

Mike Trout

He is still the best player in the AL.

Tier 2: Charlie Young

George Springer

Mookie Betts

Jose Bautista

Chris Davis

J.D. Martinez

Lorenzo Cain

This tier doesn’t change very much except that J.D. Martinez jumps up. Even with the Tigers starting slow, Martinez is still hitting .294/.364/.426. I have notoriously been a J.D. detractor, but obviously I cannot be any longer.

I was tempted to move Mookie and Springer into their own small tier, but I will keep them with the rest due to their individual injury histories. Betts has looked fantastic since starting the year 3-for-23.

Tier 3: Toby Ziegler

Justin Upton

Nelson Cruz

Miguel Sano

Adam Jones

Corey Dickerson

Is it time to start freaking out about Justin Upton? Nah. He is walking just under 4% of the time and striking out almost 40% of the time. There is no way that any of that will sustain itself. I am banking that this is most likely an adjustment period to a new team/league and I am trying to buy low.

Miguel Sano makes his first appearance on the outfielder ranks now that he officially qualifies. There is so much to like, yet so much that is extremely frightening. He is walking almost 17% of the time, but striking out over twice that. The power is coming and when it does, all will feel right, but if he can’t make enough contact, then he will struggle to take the next step into the elite tiers.

I am tempted to move Dickerson up even higher, but am being a bit cautious. He is showing that there won’t be much of a power drop off leaving Coors and the .238 average will come up in short order. Hate to say I told you so, but I did.

Tier 4: Sam Seaborn

Carlos Gomez

Hanley Ramirez

Jacoby Ellsbury

Adam Eaton

Michael Brantley

Ian Desmond

Kole Calhoun

You can make the argument that Carlos Gomez should drop into the tier below this one or even father, but I am not going to panic quite yet. The average won’t be good, but the power/speed combination upside is still there…. I hope.

Michael Brantley is back finally. It is hard to place him in these tiers because I do worry about his ability to stay healthy. The Indians took their time working him back, so I am less worried about a reoccurrence of this injury and more worried that he appears to be made of glass. Still, the upside is immense and I may be way too low on him still.

Ian Desmond started off slow, but he has hit three home runs and stole three bases over the last six games. In that time, he is hitting .444/.565/.1000 while walking 21.7% and only striking out 13% of the time. It is a small sample of a small sample, but it is also encouraging that he is starting to pick it up.

Tier 5: President Josiah Bartlett

Brett Gardner

Mark Trumbo

Colby Rasmus

Khris Davis

Shin-Soo Choo

Delino DeShields

Alex Gordon

Billy Burns

Melky Cabrera

Khris Davis has struggled since coming to Oakland, but we are starting to see him get more comfortable and it has translated that into a .333/.379/.566 with two home runs and six RBIs over the course of the last week. There are going to be streaky moments with Davis, but the power is undeniable and he seems to be getting his feet under him.

Mark Trumbo and Colby Rasmus have looked like world beaters to start the year. Neither will keep it up over the course of the full season.

Shin-Soo Choo is progressing towards the early side of the 4-6 week timetable. He is another guy that is hard to rank, but his return will force the Rangers into making a roster decision with Mazara. Either way, it shouldn’t affect Choo’s playing time or role.

Melky Cabrera is looking as rejuvenated as the rest of the White Sox roster. If he starts to steal bases again, he could easily jump two tiers. He is a guy to watch and might be worth an add in shallower formats.

Tier 6: Leo McGarry

Steven Souza

Michael Saunders

Leonys Martin

Chris Coghlan

Evan Gattis

Kevin Kiermaier

Kevin Pillar

Josh Reddick

Nomar Mazara

Steven Souza is hitting .295/.358/.574 with five home runs to start the season. Those numbers are obviously going to come down, but the power speed combination that Souza that led him to being everyone’s favorite “sleeper” last season is still there and so far the 30+% strikeout rate hasn’t yet caused his rates to drop. If you can get a top 25 outfielder in the AL for him, I would definitely consider it, but as long as he hits, he should see plenty of time in a Tampa lineup that needs the spark he provides.

Michael Saunders has replaced Kevin Pillar as the Blue Jays leadoff man. There is no reason to think that Saunders won’t be successful there as long as he is healthy. He is going to bat in front of Josh Donaldson, Jose Bautista, Edwin Encarnacion and Troy Tulowitzki. We could see him take the largest jump up in the ranks by the time the May edition of this list comes out. Pillar loses a ton of value moving to the eighth spot. His defense should keep him in the lineup, but batting so low limits the amount of plate appearances he will get and runs he’ll score. We have also yet to see the power that emerged last season and he has walked only once this season.

What will happened to Nomar Mazara when Choo comes back?–That is the question:

Whether ‘tis nobler in the mind to suffer

The bats and balls of the Major Leagues

Or to take arms against the service clock.

Tier 7: CJ Gregg

Jarrod Dyson

Jackie Bradley Jr.

Carlos Beltran

Oswaldo Arcia

Eddie Rosario

Nori Aoki

Jarrod Dyson has stolen two bases since returning from the DL, not to mention stealing four in Triple-A Omaha during his rehab assignment. He should get the lion share of the at bats in right field. In spite of the fact he is hitting ninth, he could easily swipe 40 bags with his speed and the way the Royals push it on the base paths. #Yosted

Tier 8: Danny Concannon

Byron Buxton

Avisail Garcia

Seth Smith

Preston Tucker

Brock Holt

Joey Rickard

Rajai Davis

Byron Buxton got sent down to the minors, which is the reason he has dropped so far. I would think he would return pretty quickly, but I don’t think the Twins have any clue what they are doing. At least Jose Berrios is up.

Not only is Joey Rickard holding his own at the Major League level, but he is extremely popular within the organization and with the fan base. As sad as it is for me to say, I don’t really know if there is any format in which Hyun-soo Kim is worth rostering. It would be nice to see Rickard steal a few more bases, but the Orioles don’t push it on the base paths very often.

Tier 9: Mrs. Landingham

Desmond Jennings

Aaron Hicks

Brad Miller

Austin Jackson

Anthony Gose

Cameron Maybin

Coco Crisp

Rusney Castillo

Brandon Guyer

Hyun-Soo Kim

Joey Gallo

Max Kepler

Marlon Byrd

Mark Canha

Rusney Castillo is in the minors learning how to hit a breaking ball. There is no reason to think at this point that he will ever be what many of us thought he would be after what appeared to be his mini breakout at the end in 2014.

Max Kepler is joining Buxton in the Minors because the Twins have no idea what they are doing. Kepler does have some things to work on, but I would expect him to be back somewhat quickly.

I have a feeling that Joey Gallo will not be up with the Rangers this season, or ever again. They are playing him at third in the minors in an apparent attempt to market him as a third baseman to prospective trade partners. He has looked good in Triple-A so far though.

Tier 10: Ainsley Hayes

Lewis Brinson

Bradley Zimmer

Tyler Naquin

Dalton Pompey

Lonnie Chisenhall

Steve Pearce

Bradley Zimmer and Lewis Brinson are still worth stashing in deeper formats, but I moved Brinson above of Zimmer because I could see him handling center in Texas if DeShields’ defense and struggles vs righties continue.

Why do the Blue Jays hate Dalton Pompey? Chris Colabello joins the Jenrry Mejia foundation for lost big leaguers and Pompey still can’t get a call up. He might just need a change of scenery.





Justin is the co-host on The Sleeper and The Bust Podcast and writes for Rotographs covering the Roto Riteup as well as random topics that float into his juvenile brain. In addition to his work at Rotographs, Justin is the lead fantasy writer/analyst and co-owner for FriendswithFantasyBenefits.com, owner of The Great Fantasy Baseball Invitational, and a fantasy football and baseball writer for Fantasy Alarm. He is also a certified addiction treatment counselor. Follow Justin on Twitter @JustinMasonFWFB.

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Would Jason Heyward would fall into the low tier two OR high tier three?