August outfield rankings

Most fantasy rankings are forged on “gut calls” and the whimsical notions of whoever is compiling the list. Some experts don’t pay for saves, some don’t pay for steals, some wait on pitching, some value upside, some value reliability, and so on. While it might be nice to see plenty of different opinions, it probably doesn’t truly help unless you understand the biases of each individual ranker. This is why some of the writers here at The Hardball Times have created their own, objective valuation methods, outlined here and here (reading, or at least skimming, these introductory articles will give you a much better understanding of the rankings that follow and should help to answer most potential questions).

In accompaniment with Oliver’s ZiPS’ rest-of-season forecasts, we will use these objective formulas to create objective rankings. You may not agree with a particular rank, but you will know how the ranking was calculated and you won’t have to guess what the ranker was thinking. This should make adding your own personal adjustments and biases much easier. And perhaps this type of ranking will introduce some potential buys and sells that you may have otherwise overlooked.

These rankings will assume a 12-team league in adjusting for league average. The ordering of players, however, is unaffected; players will rank in identical order for leagues of all sizes.

Previous installments:
{exp:list_maker}Catchers
First Basemen
Second Basemen
Third Base
Shortstop{/exp:list_maker}

NumNameABRHRRBISBAVGrPAA (ROS)EYES (ROS)Full Season*
1Ryan Braun20334123780.31.872.8115.19
2Carlos Gonzalez20235103680.3071.762.7614.86
3Andrew McCutchen1993682890.3021.332.1513.53
4Mike Trout18938622140.2911.282.0313.39
5Matt Kemp1623092980.2961.011.5012.56
6Curtis Granderson19436123150.2530.881.2712.16
7Justin Upton1893382770.280.721.1511.67
8Josh Hamilton17827103530.2870.691.0411.60
9Matt Holliday1823083130.3020.641.1411.43
10Michael Bourn21433218170.2760.640.9711.41
11Adam Jones2043092840.2840.520.8611.07
12Jose Bautista*15729123020.2610.420.5510.76
13Alex Rios1972872670.2790.370.5610.62
14Giancarlo Stanton16526112920.2730.280.3510.34
15Melky Cabrera1962952350.3060.250.6210.25
16Hunter Pence2042873140.2750.250.4310.24
17Jay Bruce18328103130.2570.250.2910.23
18Corey Hart1882892630.2710.120.189.83
19Nelson Cruz1752493040.2630.110.049.82
20Ichiro Suzuki21830316110.2840.110.289.82
21Mark Trumbo18924103120.2650.090.029.74
22B.J. Upton18726623120.2410.08-0.149.73
23Alex Gordon1973062440.2840.080.289.71
24Drew Stubbs18430619120.2390.07-0.089.70
25Michael Cuddyer*1822772830.280.060.179.66
26Jacoby Ellsbury15723417110.287-0.04-0.149.35
27Desmond Jennings18430417120.25-0.07-0.199.26
28Ben Zobrist1752862560.257-0.09-0.169.18
29Shane Victorino1912652090.267-0.09-0.209.18
30Austin Jackson1933041970.275-0.15-0.109.01
31Yoenis Cespedes1782472630.275-0.19-0.288.89
32Jason Heyward1722672250.262-0.22-0.388.79
33Jason Kubel16222830 0.278-0.26-0.388.68
34Carlos Beltran1502272530.28-0.26-0.428.66
35Josh Willingham1532492810.255-0.29-0.518.59
36Colby Rasmus1802882620.25-0.30-0.468.56
37Alejandro De Aza1782831780.275-0.32-0.388.50
38Shin-Soo Choo*1682552150.274-0.37-0.528.35
39Torii Hunter1652362530.273-0.39-0.578.29
40Ben Revere17723 12130.288-0.42-0.608.20
41Andre Ethier1702462710.276-0.42-0.548.20
42Angel Pagan1702231890.276-0.42-0.688.18
43Martin Prado1902642130.289-0.43-0.448.17
44Michael Brantley1932621970.28-0.45-0.548.11
45Dexter Fowler1772931860.271-0.46-0.548.06
46Carl Crawford1352041780.281-0.50-0.837.96
47Nick Swisher16924828 0.254-0.50-0.787.94
48Nick Markakis1882552220.282-0.50-0.617.94
49Juan Pierre16622 13120.289-0.51-0.747.93
50Alfonso Soriano1692082720.254-0.52-0.947.87
51Dayan Viciedo1902372510.268-0.53-0.787.86
52Delmon Young1862262610.274-0.56-0.797.78
53Rajai Davis12919213130.264-0.58-1.077.71
54Ryan Ludwick15320829 0.255-0.60-1.007.65
55Garrett Jones1632272420.258-0.61-0.987.62
56Jeff Francoeur1992362330.261-0.61-0.957.60
57Allen Craig1352162410.281-0.61-0.897.60
58Norichika Aoki1912721840.288-0.62-0.677.59
59Carlos Lee1751952810.28-0.63-0.927.54
60Chris Young1612372150.236-0.63-1.137.54
61Matt Joyce1462262230.26-0.66-1.037.46
62Cameron Maybin1692631690.243-0.68-1.107.39
63Alex Presley1712441760.263-0.69-1.037.38
64J.D. Martinez1842252710.266-0.71-1.017.32
65Raul Ibanez1592072710.252-0.72-1.187.28
66Bryan LaHair1662082110.265-0.72-1.177.26
67Brennan Boesch1712262220.263-0.74-1.127.23
68Bryce Harper*1642151870.244-0.77-1.347.12
69Josh Reddick*1822372030.247-0.77-1.267.11
70Tyler Colvin1522162320.257-0.78-1.237.09
71Cody Ross1482262410.257-0.79-1.197.07
72Michael Morse*14219623 0.282-0.81-1.197.00
73Denard Span1782511560.281-0.82-1.056.97
74Gerardo Parra1572031750.28-0.86-1.266.85
75David Murphy1391741940.281-0.89-1.396.75
76Coco Crisp13418213100.261-0.91-1.536.69
77Anthony Gose14518411120.228-0.92-1.746.67
78Peter Bourjos1512231470.258-0.92-1.436.66
79Jon Jay1482131440.284-0.99-1.406.46
80Jose Tabata1592421170.264-1.00-1.466.41

*Full season = the raw (non-adjusted) full season pace roto score using the roto points-above-replacement method. This is, essentially, the amount of expected roto points each player would score above an empty spot in a lineup over a full season.

Analysis

Sometimes ZiPS has trouble projecting playing time for players who are currently on the disabled list. Since there are a lot of outfielders to get to, I will provide detailed analysis where I see fit, but if the issue is playing time, the analysis will be brief.

Playing time alterations:

Jose Bautista – Bautista’s wrist is still bothering him and there is no timetable for his return. ZiPS projects Bautista to play in 45 of the Blue Jays’ final 54 games. I’d exercise caution and arbitrarily project closer to 33 games. Using the same per-game production that ZiPS had projected, the lower playing time projection makes Bautista the 45th ranked outfielder going forward.

Michael Cuddyer – Cuddyer was placed on the disabled list on Saturday – retroactive to August 1 – with a strained oblique muscle, so he will be out until the middle of the month at the earliest. This means that Cuddyer will certainly fall shy of the 49 game projection that ZiPS has created for him. Reworking Cuddyer’s playing time projection to 40 games would slide him down to the number 50 slot among outfielders.

Bryce Harper – Harper has played in nearly every game since his call-up. I see no reason why we should expect that to change. Hence, an adjustment from 44 to 50 games played. This moves Harper up to number 40 at outfield.

Michael Morse – Since returning from the disabled list on June 2, Morse hasn’t shown any signs that warrants distrust in his health. I am confident enough in his ability to stay on the field to project 50 games played, an adjustment that boosts his ranking to 38th at outfield.

Shin-Soo Choo – Almost everything about Choo’s 2012 production is in symbiosis with his career averages. He is on pace to finish with roughly 20 home runs, 20 steals and an average around .290, which is basically what he did in both 2009 and 2010. In 2011, however, Choo struggled through injuries, playing just 85 games. If you believe that Choo’s performance at the plate last year was partly due to his injuries, then it shouldn’t be hard to fathom that he could be back to his pre-2011 form. I am a believer, but ZiPS doesn’t project on assumptions, just numbers.

ZiPS projects Choo to appear in just 44 games down the stretch, to go along with a .333 BABIP (career .353). I don’t see why Choo’s production needs to drop at all – his .355 BABIP and 21.9 percent strikeout rate are, again, in congruence with his career marks – so I would put far more weight on his 2009, 2010, and 2012 production than his injury riddled 2011, which appears to be an outlier of a season.

Arbitrary Adjustment: In 191 at bats and a fantasy line of 28/6/25/6/.290 makes Choo the 16th ranked outfielder.

Josh Reddick – Reddick has come out of relative obscurity this year to post very good fantasy and real life numbers. Perhaps ZiPS has been caught off guard. Reddick’s huge HR/FB spike from 7.4 percent to 16.4 percent is probably unsustainable, but with a fly ball rate just shy of 50 percent, he will give himself plenty of opportunities to deposit baseballs over outfield fences. ZiPS projects seven more home runs. That may be a bit stingy, but not egregious, so I won’t spend anymore time undressing Reddick’s power peripherals. The real issue I have with the projection is the low run and RBI totals.

Reddick is currently scoring 0.135 runs and driving in 0.124 runners per plate appearances. ZiPS projects 0.115 runs/PA and 0.100 RBI/PA going foreward. Over the course of a full season those rates would translate to about 12 runs and 14 RBI less than what Reddick is currently doing. Oakland’s lineup is currently producing a wRC+ of 90, so Reddick isn’t in a great situation to rack up counting stats, but he should still do better than what ZiPS is projecting.

Arbitrary Adjustment: I would project a fantasy line of 26/8/25/3/.247. This would move Reddick up to 39th at outfield.

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Comments

  1. Hollywood Charles said...

    Great rankings! So helpful… you seem down on Craig? With Berkman on the DL and added AB’s would he slide a few spots?

  2. Jesse Sakstrup said...

    Yeah, I think we can expect a few more at bats from Craig going forward. ZiPS has him at 135 right now. I made a few adjustments, keeping the same per-game pace.

    150 at bats = 37th ranked outfielder
    165 at bats = 28th ranked outfielder
    180 at bats = 18th ranked outfielder
    195 at bats = 12th ranked outfielder

    On a per-AB pace, Craig is awesome, but he has a history of injury troubles and his defensive inflexibility will probably cost him playing time when Berkman returns. My best projection would be around 165 at bats considering all factors.

  3. Jesse Sakstrup said...

    @LVHawk:
    Sorry, I should have mentioned Jayson Werth in my explanation section.

    ZiPS projects him for 130 at bats. Here is how he would rank with various at bat projections.

    150 at bats = 68th ranked outfielder
    165 at bats = 51st ranked outfielder
    180 at bats = 37th ranked outfielder
    195 at bats = 28th ranked outfielder

    Considering Werth’s pre-2012 track record of good health, I would project about 180 at bats, so Werth would rank just inside the top-40.

  4. Jesse Sakstrup said...

    @ark:
    Health is probably an issue right now with Cain, and Wil Myers could be lurking as well, but right now he is playing well.

    When healthy I would say he is about a top-60 outfielder. He has upside for better than that, too, so he is playable when in the lineup.

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