NL Outfield Tiered Rankings: September

At 1 pm EDT, we will begin to chronicle September call-ups and their potential contributions in a running post organized by David Wiers. Stay tuned.

NL OF Tiers: August
NL OF Tiers: July
NL OF Tiers: June
NL OF Tiers: May
NL OF Tiers: Preseason

What’s most interesting about September, from a purely statistical standpoint, is small-sample volatility. Just like the unpredictability of April, anyone can go off — or fall flat — in the home stretch. If I’m contending, I’m trying to maximize playing time, although I will stream or start certain specialized players if I’m chasing a particular category.

I’m in a head-to-head standard roto league with two weeks of regular-season play left before two one-week rounds of playoffs. In the last four weeks, my team has roared back from a miserable 9th place to a legitimately-contending 6th, and I’m already off to a strong start this week. In other words: a lot can happen in a month, so certainly half of a lot can happen in two weeks. Hang in there.

I drafted one of my fantasy football teams this weekend. My tiers shall assume the names of my six most expensive players.

Matt Forte
Bryce Harper
A.J. Pollock
Ryan Braun
Justin Upton
Yoenis Cespedes
Charlie Blackmon
Giancarlo Stanton (DL: Friday)
Andrew McCutchen
Starling Marte

Blackmon recorded a .319 on-base percentage (OBP) in August and scored 10 runs. Marte notched a .296 OBP and scored 22. Baseball works in funny ways.

Typically, names are fluid within tiers, but Bryce Harper, despite an August swoon, still definitively stands above the rest. Marte brings up the rear; his power never seemed wholly legitimate to me, slowing considerably the past three months. He doesn’t look much different than a slew of the power-speed combinations in the tier to follow,. save for a few extra steals.

Stanton’s ranking may ruffle a few feathers. Hand injuries are bad news for power hitters, and he’s as prone to a late-season slump as any other top-tier hitter. But he’s also our most likely candidate to hit double digit home runs in a single month.

Andrew Luck
Carlos Gonzalez
Curtis Granderson
Jason Heyward
Matt Kemp
Yasiel Puig
Gregory Polanco
Kyle Schwarber
David Peralta
Hunter Pence (DL: Friday)

The same power-speed combos as prior months litter the second tier. Michael Taylor continues to climb despite a woeful OBP. I think CarGo is a bit high, but if he can keep up his power stroke, he can continue to be plenty valuable.

Schwarber, like clockwork, came down to Earth a bit, hitting a meager .220 despite also hitting a boatload of home runs. I mentioned his trajectory looks a lot like Joc Pederson’s — a batting average spike, a bunch of home runs, and then a batting average free-fall — although his future may be brighter in the grand scheme of things.

Emmanuel Sanders
Michael Taylor
Dexter Fowler
Derek Dietrich
Khris Davis
Marlon Byrd
Michael Conforto
Jay Bruce
Cameron Maybin
Chris Coghlan
Austin Jackson
Jayson Werth

Dietrich is a new addition inclusion to the list. I’ve always been a fan, and his batted ball profile looks sensational for a guy who’s eligible at second base. I may be over-ranking him, but with fly ball, pull and hard-hit rates all clocking in at 40 percent or greater, his power display right now is legit.

Speaking of power: Krush is back. His batted ball profile doesn’t look quite as good, and I don’t think he’ll finish the season with the same extrapolated stats — that is, fewer than his current 31 home runs per 600 plate appearances — but he can still be your token cheap source of power.

The Cubs just acquired Austin Jackson. We’ll see how they use him; I know the Cubs called up Tommy La Stella, which would push Coghlan back to right field while Schwarber and Fowler, the latter of whom has recorded the 6th-most wins above replacement (WAR) for all National League outfielders, continue to man left and center.

Justin Forsett
Ender Inciarte
Nori Aoki
Christian Yelich
Odubel Herrera
Stephen Piscotty
Nick Markakis
Michael Bourn
Michael Cuddyer

No, Piscotty’s not too low. Dude has a .408 batting average on balls in play (BABIP) with a 5.7-percent walk rate (BB%) — he’s got nowhere to go but down. I do love triples, though, and he’s already got three of ’em.

Latavius Murray
Joc Pederson
Enrique Hernandez
Marcell Ozuna
Yasmany Tomas
Will Venable
Brandon Moss
Andre Ethier
Kelly Johnson
Jeff Francoeur
Melvin Upton
Wil Myers (DL: early September)
Matt Holliday (DL: mid-September)
Randal Grichuk (DL: mid-September)
Corey Dickerson (DL: mid-September?)

All part-timers.

I had overlooked Pederson’s slump for a while. It’s well past the time to consider dropping him or at least benching him in deep leagues. He could still catch fire in September, but, again, so could anyone else.

I don’t know when Dickerson will be back. Could be late in the month, which would make him borderline useless. If you’ve got room to stash him, sure, go for it. He’s probably better off resting up through the offseason.

Julian Edelman
Nick Swisher
Cody Asche
Kyle Parker
Domonic Brown
Cole Gillespie
Jason Bourgeois
Thomas Pham
Juan Lagares
Billy Hamilton (DL: possibly done)
Jorge Soler (DL: possibly done)
Denard Span (DL: toast)

Even more part-timey part-timers. Span will undergo season-ending surgery. Soler may not return. Hamilton could return, but it would be unwise to rely on him.

You know the drill: let’s argue in the comments. Otherwise, good luck!

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Currently investigating the relationship between pitcher effectiveness and beard density. Biased toward a nicely rolled baseball pant. Reigning FSWA Baseball Writer of the Year and 5-time award finalist. Featured in Lindy's Sports' Fantasy Baseball magazine (2018, 2019). Now a Tout Wars competitor.

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Did I miss Lorenzo Cain…?