I think we’ve been ranking outfielders incorrectly as an industry. A straight 1-to-whatever list loses some value after the top 50 or so. Once you’ve got your first 2-3 OFs, the last few are often strategically picked to attack categories instead of just going with best available.
Say you need a speed asset for that 4th OF, but the best one is the 12th ranked guy on your remaining board, do you just take him knowing it fills the need or do you internally justify taking someone higher because he’s more talented even though he doesn’t really help the team construction? I’m sure some of you have no issue just taking the needed player, but plenty of us waffle on those decisions and it can cost us in the end.
I’ve ranked my top 50 in order of how I’m drafting them for the most part. I do have some clusters of speedsters and I’d only take one from a cluster even if the others were available the next time I was looking at outfield. I have Dee Gordon and Mallex Smith at 40 and 41, but I’m not going to roster both. Beyond that, it’s a straight draft list. After 50, I broke 106 OFs down by standout skill. Within each skill tier, the guys are slotted in my preferred order. The tiers are most self-explanatory, but just to cover my bases, here they are:
AVG – Player offers a strong batting average (usually .280+… maybe .270+ for some later ones). He may bring other assets to the table but strengthening your AVG is the goal with these picks.
PWR – I told you they were self-explanatory. These guys are capable of or have already shown the ability to club 25+ HRs (30+ at the top end).
PWR/SPD – These guys can bring a double/double (10+ HR & SB) to the table with enough playing time.
SPD – These guys have 20+ SB upside.
TIME/UTIL– Most of this group doesn’t have a standout skill and even if they do, it’s on the fringes of the qualifications for the groups above so their real asset is playing time. I grouped these two together as there were only four utility guys (players with at least 3 eligible positions) and their ability to bounce around helps them get playing time.
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