Way Too Early Rankings: Outfield

This is the sixth edition of a continuing series. If you missed the previous rounds, catchersfirst basemensecond basemen, third basemen, and shortstops can be found via the links. Yesterday, we evaluated what outfielders did in 2016. Today, we’ll take a first stab at ranking them for 2017.

As a reminder, these rankings represent my first reactions rather than a truly rigorous approach. I’ve used an absolutely objective technique called mental math to compile the lists. I’m assuming a standard 5×5 format.

The purpose of this exercise is two-fold: to get an early start on 2017 rankings and to crowdsource missing or misranked players. That’s where you come in. Let your thoughts and feelings be known in the comments. As we’ve done in previous editions, we’ll break this into digestible chunks.

Outfield is a very large position. I’ll be focusing written analysis on the players who most interest me. There’s a very high likelihood some players have slipped through the cracks – either because I only ranked them at another position or missed them entirely.

Since there are so many outfielders to cover, let’s try to focus on the guys who probably stand out. After being Turner’s number one doubter when he was a prospect, I’m now the guy who’s very aggressive about him next season. See, I can admit when I’m wrong (and possibly overcorrect). Turner’s utility has much to do with his placement here. He’s certainly less reliable than several of the names below him. The stolen bases plus modest power will be very valuable.

I’m probably a little higher on JDM than most of my colleagues, but I think we’d all generally agree that the Braun through Cespedes band is comparable. Pollock is risky, but he performed well the last time he recovered from this injury.

I’m sure my high ranking of Dahl will raise a few eyebrows. In taking a closer look, it’s possible I’m assuming too high of a floor. He should be a five category monster as part of a Coors lineup I expect to massacre the league in run scoring.

Herrera has more power in his bat, but he’s taken an opposite field approach in his early career. There are obvious adjustments he can make to improve again. I’m obviously expecting him to make them – he’s proven more than willing to tinker before and during a season. If you’re less bullish, then you’d have him ranked somewhere in the early 40s.

Peraza is kind of a very poor man’s Turner. I expect big stolen base totals with just enough in other categories to be useful. The lack of home runs may present a challenge if you don’t also roster at least one leader in that category. In fact, combining Davis and Peraza on the same roster would be fantastic.

Zobrist, Bradley, and Benintendi probably wouldn’t rank this high without their excellent supporting casts. They’ll earn more plate appearances and run scoring opportunities as a result of their team.

My ranking of Maybin may look very aggressive. I’m excited about his new home with the Angels. If he can stay healthy, he’ll probably bat ahead of Trout. I also like Reddick’s new role at a homer friendly park.

It may seem overly pessimistic to rank Brantley 46. I’m still a big fan of his, but I worry about his inability to return this season. The injury-free projection is probably comparable to or slightly better than number 18 ranked Ramirez.

As we get farther into these rankings, I lose certainty/conviction with the picks. More analysis is needed. A lot of these are veterans on the wrong side of their career. Some of them will have renaissance seasons similar to Mike Napoli. Most will continue to decline.

There are a few exciting names in here too. Puig is still a fantasy heartthrob even though I haven’t understood the allure for years. Buxton, Mazara, Conforto, and Renfroe could soon be powerhouses at the position. I’m uncertain if Contreras will play enough outfield to continue qualifying. I suppose we’ll see. The Cubs once again project to have a very crowded roster.

Many of the down-ballot outfielders are boring roster filler. There are also plenty of high ceiling, low floor lottery tickets. Speed is available in the form of Perez, Smith, Jankowski, Quinn, Broxton, Dyson, Margot, and possibly Revere.

Of all the rankings in this tier, Bruce is probably the most questionable. He’s coming off a $13 season in which he was terrible for large swathes. His mega-slumps would be tolerable in the real world if he could play defense. Since he can’t, Bruce is very likely to lose playing time throughout the season, especially if he slumps and Conforto doesn’t.

Now brace yourself, there are a lot of leftovers.

The Leftovers
Matt Joyce
Chris Young
Brandon Guyer
Andrew Toles
Franklin Gutierrez
Nick Franklin
Trayce Thompson
Nori Aoki
Jefry Marte
Adam Frazier
Jon Jay
Jarrett Parker
Steve Selsky
Jose Martinez
Tommy Pham
Justin Ruggiano
Marlon Byrd
Rickie Weeks Jr.
Jordan Patterson
Ichiro Suzuki
Ryan Kalish
Ryan Rua
Steven Moya
Hernan Iribarren
Guillermo Heredia
Jeremy Hazelbaker
Brandon Snyder
Chris Heisey
Brandon Nimmo
Mason Williams
Drew Stubbs
Gorkys Hernandez
Brian Goodwin
Julio Borbon
Logan Schafer
Patrick Kivlehan
Ty Kelly
Reymond Fuentes
Kyle Jensen
Albert Almora
Matt den Dekker
Robert Andino
Junior Lake
Jason Coats
Darin Mastroianni
Destin Hood
Rob Segedin
Hunter Dozier
JaCoby Jones
Eddie Rosario
Stefen Romero
Matt Olson
Leury Garcia
Daniel Robertson
Mac Williamson
Bryce Brentz
Cole Gillespie
Brock Holt
Andy Wilkins
Kyle Waldrop
Hector Olivera
Paulo Orlando
Teoscar Hernandez
Collin Cowgill
Jabari Blash
David Lough
Tyler Collins
Michael Reed
Ben Gamel
Juan Lagares
Arismendy Alcantara
Mitch Haniger
Todd Cunningham
Jared Hoying
Will Venable
Craig Gentry
Darrell Ceciliani
Emilio Bonifacio
Joey Rickard
Matt Szczur
Stephen Cardullo
Anthony Gose
Daniel Nava
Austin Jackson
Mark Canha
Jake Elmore
Taylor Motter
Ezequiel Carrera
Nick Buss
Tony Kemp
Kirk Nieuwenhuis
Scott Van Slyke
Michael Taylor
Peter O’Brien
Dustin Ackley
Coco Crisp
Jaff Decker
Max Muncy
Desmond Jennings
Michael Martinez
Jimmy Paredes
Tony Renda
Tyler Holt
Ji-Man Choi
Cody Asche
Rob Refsnyder
Socrates Brito
Avisail Garcia
Peter Bourjos
Ryan Raburn
Alex Presley
Michael Bourn
Shawn O’Malley
Shane Robinson
Oswaldo Arcia
Carl Crawford
Delino DeShields
Nolan Reimold
Preston Tucker
Brett Eibner
Kiké Hernandez
Rafael Ortega
Gregor Blanco
Alejandro De Aza
Jake Smolinski
Danny Santana
Mike Aviles
Tyler Goeddel
Jake Marisnick
Billy Burns
J.B. Shuck
Aaron Hicks
Mikie Mahtook
Ramon Flores

Here we have platoon options, waiver wire patches, and even a few upside plays like Dozier. I’ll have my eye on Burns, Hicks, Gamel, and Frazier.

We hoped you liked reading Way Too Early Rankings: Outfield by Brad Johnson!

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Wil Myers has OF eligibility in my format (he played 10 games, started 6). Where would he fit on this list?