As you are getting ready for your upcoming fantasy baseball draft or auction, there are a few different ways that can help you determine where there is value or a drop off in talent at each position. One way is by grouping each position into tiers to separate different levels of projected performance. By setting up tiers, it will give you a good idea how many outfielders are at each level and what the chances are that someone in said level make it back to you for your next pick if you do not draft that position in the current round
Here is a look at the 2012 fantasy baseball tiers for outfielders.
Matt Kemp, Ryan Braun, Carlos Gonzalez, Jacoby Ellsbury
I am comfortable with the first three guys in the list in any order even. I think CarGo is a nice consolation prize as the third outfielder in the group as his average draft position at Mock Draft Central currently has him 14th overall. Ellsbury I am not quite as sold on given his power outburst last season as he went from 8 to 32 home runs (see Joe Mauer’s 2008-2009 season and then check his home run total in 2010).
Curtis Granderson, Justin Upton, Josh Hamilton, Giancarlo (Mike) Stanton, Matt Holliday, Andrew McCutchen
Granderson has been launching more home runs since coming to New York two years ago and added 25 stolen bases last season. Upton went 30-20 for the first of what figures to be a few more seasons of those type of numbers. Hamilton to me presents the biggest risk in this group given his past injury history and he is also playing for a new contract. Stanton is a good bet to hit 35-40 home runs the next few seasons while Holliday is somewhat undervalued because his numbers are too consistent and tends to taken for granted.
Hunter Pence, Jay Bruce, Shin-Soo Choo, Nelson Cruz, Desmond Jennings, B.J. Upton, Michael Bourn
I like Upton a little more if he ends up hitting second in the order as the Rays have talked about doing. Granted it is a small sample size, but he hit .356 in 87 at bats in that spot last year with five home runs, 15 RBI and nine steals. Cruz would be ranked higher if we knew he was going to get more than 475 at bats in a season which he has yet to do in his major league career. Choo has been getting knocked down in some drafts since he was injured last season, but 20-20 outfielder that hit .290+ are hard to find.
Shane Victorino, Carl Crawford, Alex Gordon, Brett Gardner, Chris Young, Drew Stubbs, Adam Jones, Jayson Werth, Ichiro Suzuki, Cameron Maybin, Corey Hart, Nick Markakis, Jayson Heyward
Crawford’s value is at risk depending on how much time he is going to miss at the start of the season due to his injured wrist. Hart falls into this group since he could miss the first week or two for Milwaukee as he recovers from knee surgery. Ichiro gets a little bump up in value with his move to hird in batting order which will give him more RBI which will outweigh his drop in runs scored.
Andre Ethier, Michael Cuddyer, Nick Swisher, Angel Pagan, Carlos Beltran, Coco Crisp, Melky Cabrera, Peter Bourjos, Yoenis Cespedes, John Mayberry, Jeff Francouer, Torii Hunter, Alex Rios, Delmon Young, Logan Morrison, Josh Willingham, Ben Revere, Jose Tabata
Lots of people are high on Bourjos and rightfully so, but until he stops hitting ninth in the batting order, his runs scored and RBI numbers are going to be suppressed. Mayberry to me is an intriguing play with Howard out of action and Ibanez gone from the outfield. If the Phillies would give him 500+ at bats, he could put up big numbers. Cespedes is the wild card in the group, but with the depth at outfield, I would not want to go a round or two higher than his current ADP to grab him.
Carlos Quentin, Jason Kubel, Brennan Boesch, Vernon Wells, Alfonso Soriano, Jason Bay, Austin Jackson, Matt Joyce, Colby Rasmus, Luke Scott, J.D. Martinez, Yonder Alonso, Dexter Fowler, Brandon Belt, Bryce Harper
Belt and Harper will both be higher or lower than this tier most likely depending on how much playing time each gets. Right now I have each of them with 450 at bats, which Harper could have trouble reaching if he does not start the season in the major leagues. Martinez should be good for RBI in Houston if he hits third in the lineup assuming someone is able to get on base in front of him.
Alex Presley, Eric Thames, Will Venable, Michael Brantley, Denard Span, Nolan Reimold, Bryan LaHair, Dayan Viciedo, David Murphy, Lorenzo Cain
With this group outside of Brantley and Span, it is going to come down to at bat totals. I see Reimold with upside and I think LaHair could provide a nice dose of power relative to where he is going in mixed-league formats.