American League Outfield Rankings: March 2015

Time for another round of rankings for the American League outfield. As usual, the tiers and rankings reflect 5×5 redraft values for what the I believe the players will accomplish, not necessarily their present (or soon to be) numbers. For example, if someone starts slow, don’t expect them to drop too far. Without further delay, here are the tiers, represented by my favorite Nintendo 64 games.

Mike Trout

A player in a tier by himself, a nostalgic game in a tier by itself. Instead of droning on and on about Trout —something I could easily do — instead here is a video of the first level accomplished via speedrun.

Super Mario 64
Jose Bautista
Hanley Ramirez
Michael Brantley
Jacoby Ellsbury
Adam Jones

I’m finally on board the Brantley hype train, but I’ve de-boarded the Jones train. His walk rate continues to drop and Jones has posted a swinging-strike rate above 14% for two consecutive years. Compare that to the 9.2% and 9.3% from non-pitchers in 2013-14 for context. Jones’ steals have dipped for three consecutive years as well and if his batting average ever drops, expect his value to drop even further.

The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time
George Springer
Evan Gattis
Yoenis Cespedes
Kole Calhoun
Nelson Cruz

My love of Springer and Calhoun shine through here. I tabbed Springer to go 20-20 last year in my bold predictions, but perhaps I was a year early. With more plate appearances to pad his counting stats, expect a very strong season from Springer, but beware his rate stats. His high strikeout rate hurts his batting average and while the double-digit walk rate is great for on-base percentage leagues, a .240ish average is tough to stomach. The aggressive of ranking of Calhoun is a reflection of buying into his 20-home run power and his position as a leadoff hitter for a strong offense. I’m skeptical of Cruz given his age and new home park in Seattle.

Mario Kart 64
Mookie Betts
Alex Gordon
Ben Zobrist
Melky Cabrera
Brandon Moss
Steven Souza
Oswaldo Arcia
J.D. Martinez
Chris Carter

All Betts are off! The Betts around! I’m obviously buying Betts on many fronts, due to his home park, surrounding lineup and of course, his talent. Carter sneaks into the fourth tier due to his power (duh) and RBI potential, but he probably won’t hit above .230. If you pair him with a high average player in a favorable hitting park, say Melky, then you can somewhat mitigate Carter’s biggest flaw. It should be noted that I am much higher on Souza than the average person, and while he is ranked quite highly here, you should be able to draft him later than the likes of Zobrist and Gordon.

Star Wars: Shadows of the Empire
Danny Santana
Brett Gardner
Anthony Gose
Leonys Martin
Alex Rios
Adam Eaton
Rusney Castillo
Avisail Garcia
Kevin Kiermaier
Steve Pearce

Speedy guys dominate the top of this tier, though Rios has flashed power in the past. Castillo was very difficult to rank, as the playing time situation in Boston is murky at best. I doubt Santana posts another .404 BABIP season — and you should be slotting him into your SS spot anyways — but I do like him to hit .280 and nab at least 25 bags.

Super Smash Bros.
Dalton Pompey
Michael Bourn
Shin-Soo Choo
Lorenzo Cain
Desmond Jennings
Alejandro De Aza
Torii Hunter
Jarrod Dyson

Hunter is playing his age-40 season, however he is still got his batting average and the occasional home run to offer fantasy owners. He’s hit above .285 for three consecutive seasons and as well as socking at least 16 dingers. If one thing can be taken from the last two tiers it’s that speed can be found later in the draft.

Perfect Dark
Carlos Beltran
Rajai Davis
Austin Jackson
Coco Crisp
Matt Joyce
Jake Marisnick
Allen Craig
Michael Saunders
Josh Hamilton
Shane Victorino

Here is mostly a mix of injured veterans or platoon type roles. Yet another tier where cheap speed can found in Davis and Crisp. If Boston ever ships out one (or two) of their outfield types, the playing time for Craig, Castillo etc. would all go up, as would their rankings.

Cruis’n USA
Colby Rasmus
Brock Holt
Travis Snider
Josh Reddick
Dustin Ackley
Stephen Vogt
Emilio Bonifacio
Craig Gentry
Sam Fuld

With apologies to fellow A’s fans, the outfield in Oakland isn’t looking too great. Still, Vogt also being catcher eligible means you probably won’t be slating him in the OF. As always, I’m more than happy to address questions and comments, unless you like Majora’s Mask more than Ocarina. Get out.

You can catch David spouting off about baseball, soccer, esports and other things by following him on twitter, @davidwiers.

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stuck in a slump
8 years ago

No Conker’s Bad Fur Day? That game was brilliant. There’s nothing like watching a squirrel hack a part an animated teddy bear with a katana, or gassing them.

Replacement Level Chemist
8 years ago
Reply to  David Wiers

I’m pretty sure I am a Turok level outfielder.