With the trade deadline firmly in the rear view mirror, it’s time to quantify the fantasy fallout from all the dealing and wheeling, goings and comings, thither and hither. Strike that, reverse it. In other words: Rankings!
Looking for the previous AL OF rankings? Look no further.
Joey Bats has been Joey Blahs since the All-Star break (.222/.363/.381), but for what he did over the first three-plus months, Bautista gets to maintain a tier all to himself. Note: The top three guys in the next tier were closer than you think to joining him.
You really can’t complain if you’ve owned have any of the first five guys as your top outfielder in 2011, and they’re all in line to perform as elites from now until the end of the season. Granderson and Ellsbury have done everything all year long, while Hamilton and Cruz have been limited only by trips to the DL, something the previously injury-prone Quentin, who has been streaky but productive, has avoided this year. Luckily for AL-only owners, the White Sox didn’t ship him to Atlanta at the deadline after all. … Crawford is off to a roaring .406/.424/.688 start in August, proving there’s something in the tank — and just enough time to (partially) make up for what has been an otherwise forgettable first year in Boston.
Save for Upton, who’s dropped to the bottom of this batch, each of the above has been rock solid for the past two months. And even B.J., despite his .230-hitting ways, will continue to do his speed-power thing and score you a handful more homers and swipes before the year is out. Among the rest? You won’t find many weaknesses, as they’re all hitting for solid-to-great averages, smacking homers, knocking in runs and even contributing something on the bases (well, not Swisher). If you’ve got more than one of these fellas in your lineup, you’ve done — and will continue to do — fine.
If you haven’t been impressed by Jennings (.328/.419/.594 with 9 extra-base hits and 7 SBs), then you haven’t been paying attention during the dog days of fantasy baseball. Almost makes you think the Rays might’ve had a chance, if only they’d brought him up three months ago. Really, I was tempted to include him in Tier 3. … Rasmus is another newcomer, but one who joins us from the NL. His stats are disappointing across the board, except for his runs total (65), which will ufortunately join the rest of his digits in the lacking column if the Jays continue to bat him in the fifth or sixth (where he’s slotted in the past few games), rather than second (where he started out with them). … I’m calling Reddick a true win for Mining the Minors, as I alerted readers to him back in April. Although, to be honest, I didn’t think he’d hit .331.
Choo is already on a rehab assignment from his broken left thumb, and he could return in a week or so. If he’s just sitting on waivers, he’s probably worth an add-and-stash in most leagues, provided you’ve got the DL space. Yes, his season was going miserably, but that doesn’t mean he can’t contribute to your final push over the last six weeks. … All of a sudden, the Twins outfield is chock full, what with Kubel, Span and Young returning from injuries, and Revere still in the mix. I’d expect Kubel to get regular run because he’s having the best season, and Span is too important to the top of the order to sit him much, but Revere will get any starts in center when Span — who suffered a concussion that kept him out for two months — needs a day off. Of course, things will only get murkier when (if?) Justin Morneau makes it back and Cuddyer moves back to the outfield from first base.
Alejandro De Aza
Save for DeJesus and Gutierrez, no one in this tier is a full-time regular — and it’s for good reason. So if you’re deploying any of these guys more often than never, make sure you have a reason. Like using Carp for his home run potential, or Carrera to sneak a few steals, or Lillibridge because he can do a bit of both. And when in doubt, go with upside. Mulling the ridiculousness of picking up Murphy or Ordonez? Screw ’em both and go with the unknown in Trayvon instead. … Also worth pointing out: Snider was sent to Triple-A — I know, that never happens — but I have a feeling he’ll be back before the year is out. But this is just another lost year for the former Jays’ top prospect.
While Lind has slumped miserably (.206 BA, 3 HRs, 11 RBIs) since July 1, Trumbo has been one of the best power producers around (.267, 9, 28), and the rook has been getting better, so those two OF-eligible 1Bs switch spots. … Matsui looked cooked for the first three months, then he smoked the ball in July and August (.380 BA, 5 HRs, 26 RBIs). He’ll play as an OF4/5 in deep mixed. … I like what Moreland brings to the table, with his mix of pop (13 HRs) and a decent walk rate (8.6%), but the Rangers still like to sit him more than enough to prevent him from being as productive as he should be in that lineup and in that park. Guy only has 36 RBIs.
All of these guys were either A) traded out of the AL (Patterson), B) injured for the year (Scott), C) released by their employer (Cust), D) demoted to the minors (Buck, Borbon) or E) Felix Pie.
Martin (.311 BA, .844 OPS, 14 SBs since signing in May) is almost definitely getting a shot down the stretch. Look for him to hit centerfield in Texas before August is over, so the Rangers can have the option of putting him on the postseason roster. He could be a poor man’s Jennings. … The only thing keeping Viciedo (.299/.364/.485, 16 HRs) in the minors — he likely would’ve gotten the call instead of De Aza had he not been hurt at the time — is the White Sox’s continued reluctance to take away any real playing time from Pierre, Rios and Adam Dunn. … Still one of the game’s best prospects, the 20-year-old Trout, who came up from Double-A to fill in for Bourjos last month, was occasionally exciting, but more often than not (.161 BA in 14 games), the kid looked like, well, a fish out of water. (Ahem.)
Jason Catania is an MLB Lead Writer for Bleacher Report who also contributes to ESPN The Magazine, ESPN Insider and MLB Rumor Central, focusing on baseball and fantasy content. When he was first introduced to fantasy baseball, Derek Jeter had 195 career hits, Jamie Moyer had 72 wins and Matt Stairs was on team No. 3. You can follow him on Twitter: @JayCat11