Today we have the latest batch of American League outfield rankings. There are some prospects climbing in the ranks rapidly as well as some injured veterans plummeting in value.
No change here, and no real surprise either. An argument could be made that Davis deserves the number one spot, but the steals tip the scale in Trout’s favor. At this point, no one would whine about having either of these guys on their fantasy team.
We’re letting the cream rise to the top a bit here by trimming down Tier Two. Jacoby Ellsbury leads baseball with 33 steals — which is more than seven teams have tallied. His ZiPS rest-of-season is .289/.344/.430 and is great in standard 5×5 formats and is nothing to scoff at in on-base percentage leagues. Health remains the ultimate question, but if he can stay on the field, no doubt Ellsbury cam be a top five AL outfielder.
Ideally Yoenis Cespedes will rein in the strikeouts to last year’s sub 20% rate. There isn’t an appreciable difference between last year’s and this year’s SwStr%, Contact%, or Zone%. We’ve even seen a decrease in his O-Swing%. Cespedes is also swinging more at pitches in the zone, the issue is just making contact within the zone at a lower rate. He is projected to hit 12 dingers with over 40 runs and RBIs the rest of the way as well as a getting his strikeout rate below 20% again. He should be a buy candidate for anyone looking to make a run.
Alex Rios could go to any number of places as the trade deadline approaches, though where he lands will have a strong effect on his fantasy value. Few places will be so home run friendly as U.S. Cellular, though the brilliant work of guys at MLBTR have Rios being scouted by the Texas Rangers and the Arizona Diamondbacks, both of which he can block a trade to. Both of those clubs offer great home parks for any hitter as well as a solid lineup for Rios to slot into. If Rios stays in Chicago, he doesn’t have the lineup around him to obtain as many counting stats.
On the other end of tier four we have a bit of a surprise in Leonys Martin, who if Rios accepts a trade to the Rangers may be losing some playing time (though David Murphy seems most likely to lose his job). Martin has posted back-to-back months of 120 wRC+ and for the year he is almost hitting .300 with a near .350 OBP. He had a perfect nine steals and zero times caught stealing in June and is up to 17 bags on the year versus being caught just twice. His ownership has skyrocketed (up 66% in ESPN leagues over the past week) and for good reason.
Nate McLouth’s rate stats may have fallen — back-to-back months of sub 90 wRC+ will do that — but he has kept running. He posted eight steals in April, nine in May, and seven in June. Penciling him in for eight steals per month gives us another 24 bags from now until the season is over. If he can maintain that pace while not crushing your rate stats, he’ll prove to be a very valuable player.
Colby Rasmus is having a nice bounce-back season, as long as no one looks at his strikeout rate or swing rates. His counting stats are hard to argue with but he and Chris Carter having nearly identical seasons. Power, RBI’s, and poor rate stats outside of Carter’s walk rate. Ramsus’ power plays nicely in his home park and he projects for almost 40 runs and RBIs for the rest of the season. Counting numbers are valuable, but if they begin to torpedo your rate stats, are they worst? Call it the Adam Dunn Dilema.
Jarrod Dyson would make for a nice deep league add if he could get some playing time. He’s been getting time in center field but is still second on the depth chart behind Lorenzo Cain. Seth Smith continues to to be a worthy option in deep leagues as he is now hitting .278/.351/.427 overall. Curtis Granderson is playing catch, but still can’t grip a bat, let alone is he ready for a rehab assignment. Is it crazy that Raul Ibanez could end the season with 30 home runs?
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