Matt_Kemp_2009

Fantasy Baseball Outfielders 2014: Tiers, Not Fears


Matt Shemp has made his recent fantasy owners look like stooges
Photo Credit: Ron Reiring

 

The OF position is deep… this we all know. What people tend to overlook is the fact that there are a ton of red-flags around the position once you get past the the top 20 or so. Owners in shallow leagues don’t have to worry so much about their outfield, but big shots who play in deeper leagues have to be willing to spend a little. If you are in a league that will wind up rostering 80 or more OFs, you need to be smart about how you build your fantasy outfield. Loading up on cheap options is a sure-fire way to screw up your season. Of course, blowing your wad on your outfield will prevent you from spending money on the more premium positions in fantasy. 

 

Lucky for you, your boy Dudley Do Work has compiled the ultimate OF rankings/tiers to help you sort through the madness of the position. In fact, after reading this article, not only will you know everything about the outfield position, but your penis will grow five inches! Even if you’re a female! 

 

More after the jump:

The “Trout-It Trout-It” No Limit Soldier

1. Mike Trout

Yeah, Mike Trout gets his own damn tier. It’s what happens when you go 27/33 last year, just your second season in the league. Yeah, he hits for average too (over .320 BA each of his first two seasons). Do I really need to keep selling you on why he’s the best? Even at his highest asking price in drafts/auctions, you really can’t call Trout an overpay.

 

The “Ceiling Coin-Costing” Crooks

2. Andrew McCutchen

3. Adam Jones

4. Carlos Gonzalez

5. Jacoby Ellsbury

There’s nothing wrong with any of the players in this tier (other than the fact that CarGo and Ellsbury have missed time in recent years with injury). The problem is, you are paying for ceiling production. The margin for error is thin. While these options are all among the best coming into this season, the odds are pretty good that most of these guys will end up being Lyle Overpays… More of a 20/20 than 30/30 guy, McCutchen still earns the second spot on my list. He hits for average (career .296 BA; .317 last year) as well as providing great counting stats… I’m not the biggest Adam Jones fan, but I can’t ignore his 30 HR and double-digit base stealing production over the last couple of years. The swings and misses have gone up over the last couple of years as evident by his 13.7 Swinging Strike Percentage (SwStr%) in 2012 and 14.7 mark last year. Still, he seems capable of generating another 5×5 stat-stuffing performance… He’s played in 135 games or less over the last three years, but Carlos Gonzalez kills it when he’s on the field. With 20 steals each of the last four years and a career .300 BA and .230 Isolated Power (ISO), CarGo is a true do-it-all player. If he stays healthy, he could actually earn you a profit at his rich price tag… The donning of Yankee pinstripes tends to make some players swell in value, and Jacoby Ellsbury will be a hot commodity on draft day. Maybe Yankee Stadium will help him, maybe it won’t. Frankly, I don’t see how a player who couldn’t hit a ton of HRs (minus one insane year) in Fenway Park can suddenly come to Yankee Stadium and become a 20 bomb guy. The 40 steals and double-digit HR potential make him worthy of a spot in this tier, but he’ll probably go for way too much in some leagues. 

 

The “Will They or Won’t They?” Warriors

6. Bryce Harper

7. Carlos Gomez

8. Giancarlo Stanton

9. Jose Bautista

The potential for greatness is there with all of these picks. Naturally, there is a sceptre of disappointment also hanging over the heads of each of these players… Harper’s balls to the walls approach has left him banged up during his time in the big leagues. He’s shown obvious promise by throwing up a .212 ISO and recording double-digit steals in his first two seasons. Harper has the ability to be one of the best players in baseball. Yet he’s only 21 years old and could very well be a year or two away from truly fulfilling his potential… Who knows, maybe after this year, Carlos Gomez will be the real CarGo. Matter of fact, the argument can be made that he’s already the real CarGo. Gomez’s 24 HRs and 40 steals made him one of the best fantasy OFs last year. Despite the stat-stacking campaign, the the current draft day price indicates that fantasy owners aren’t sold on Gomez. True his .344 BABIP and high strikeout totals suggest a return to a BA closer to the .250-.260 range may be in order. The power might also be a hard sell to owners. After all, he never showed this kind of pop before. If I had to guess, I’d say Gomez will be worth the price in most leagues, even if he only comes up with 10-13 HRs… For Stanton, the concern is the Marlins offense and whether they can not suck enough to keep his counting stats from becoming major drags. The 40-plus HR potential is there, but if teams pitch around him, there’s only so much he can do… Joey Bats continues to flash plus-plus power (.239 ISO and 28 HRs in just 118 games last year), but he’s had trouble staying on the field the last couple of years. I fully expect him to be a very productive player when he’s healthy, but his violent swing always puts him at risk of missing time.

 

The High-Floor Hooligans

10. Mark Trumbo

11. Jay Bruce

12. Yasiel Puig

13. Alex Rios

14. Starling Marte

15. Shin-Soo Choo

The baseline expectations for all of these players equate to very productive fantasy campaigns, so even if they fail to live up to your draft day expectations, you can comfortably rely on them being quality options (barring an unforeseen injury)… It makes more sense to start Trumbo at first base in fantasy since the OF position is deep, but his numbers really play anywhere. Sure the strikeouts and BA are concerns (he hit .234 last year), but he’s a 30 HR/100 RBI bat and those guys aren’t exactly growing on trees these days… Bruce doesn’t have Trumbo’s first base eligibility, but he is essentially the same kind of player for fantasy purposes and should cruise to another power-filled campaign… If Puig ends up hitting leadoff, the steals could look mighty fine. Yet wherever he bats, you are still looking at a 25/15 player (with the upside for more) who can hit for average. The only concern is the fact that he seems to get banged up all the time (dealt with shoulder issues last year), and with LA carrying four OFs, he could spend more time on the bench than he deserves… Despite being an inconsistent fantasy option throughout his big league career, Rios seems like a safe bet for 15/30 and could even surpass that with a big year in Globe Life Park. Of course, the 33-year-old could always slow it down on the basepaths, but I would still be surprised to see anything less than 40 HRs/SBs combined… Bargain alert! For whatever reason, people aren’t buying in on Marte the way they should. Here’s a guy who has double-digit HR power (.161 ISO last year) and can tear it up on the base paths (41 swipes last year). The high number of grounders, .363 BABIP last year, and too many swings and misses likely means his .280 BA from last year is a reach for 2014. Still, any time a player possesses 15/40 ability, you don’t let them sit on the draft board for too long… Hitting leadoff in Globe Life Park means another 20/20 season should be in the mix for Choo. The career .288 hitter would rank higher, but I’m a touch leery of the fact that he’s 32 and hits a lot grounders; if his speed dips, it could impact his SB totals and his BA. Still, Choo seems like a relatively safe pick thanks to his elite plate patience and choice landing spot.

 

The “Risk/Reward” Renegades

16. Ryan Braun

17. Billy Hamilton

18. Justin Upton

19. Hunter Pence

20. Allen Craig

21. George Springer

The players in this tier carry some risk, but you can’t rank them any lower because they all have the ability to finish top 10 at their position… Can an obvious PED user who used to rock insane statistics still get it done without the help of his sweet, sweet drugs? In the case of Ryan Braun, we gon’ have to see. I’m ranking him a lot lower than most, and a big reason for that is my belief that his best SB days are behind him (four swipes in nine tries last year). You are basically banking on his power coming back, but if his .200 ISO from last year is any indication, Braun may be more of a mid-20s HR hitter than a 30-plus guy. I also don’t like the fact that his strikeouts and grounders spiked last year… Billy Hamilton will either be the difference maker in steals, or will wash out as an overrated draft day buy. My money is Willy Ham rocking 50 or more steals and posting a solid BA and worthy run totals as the leadoff guy in Cincy. Just keep in mind that he’s a true three-cat player… I’m tired of hearing about Justin Upton’s upside. Granted, he had a fine season in 2013 (27 HRs and 94 runs), but the idea of him posting numbers that will rank among the best in the league is increasingly becoming a fanciful dream. The dip in steals and increase in swings-and-misses last year don’t portend a blow-the-doors-off 2014 campaign. Don’t get it twisted, I think Upton will post market-value numbers, even if he doesn’t take a major step forward. Just don’t go pegging him for a monster season and straining your ulnar collateral ligament with a reach (the way many owners did last season)… The odds of Pence going 20/20 again seem long, but fantasy owners have had no problem ponying up for the Giants OF this draft season. Pence didn’t even record double-digit steals in 2011 or 2012, so you can’t expect him to swipe 20 bags again. Granted, he has merit as an all-around fantasy contributor (albeit one who doesn’t dominate in any one particular category). Still, the unorthodox and sometimes clumsy way he plays the game makes me feel like there’s little chance he’ll match his numbers from last year, and that’s unfortunately what you are paying for… Craig’s 1B eligibility helps his value, but there’s legit concerns about what his production may be this season. He gets hurt often and the fact that he’ll now be roaming right field may not be the best thing for his health. Craig also doesn’t possess the kind of power you want from a fantasy first baseman (13 HRs and .142 ISO last year). What he does do very well is hit for average (.315 BA last year) and drive in runs (97 RBIs last year and 92 the previous season despite missing a lot of time). I do like Craig, but only at the right price… Yeah, I’m as high on George Springer as Philip Seymour Hoffman was on the white china. It’s a deadly addiction in the eyes of some, as taking Springer as a top 25 OF may have people thinking that there is little room for profit. Not the case. This is a dude who can make a Trout-like immediate impact. Last year, he came three HRs shy of being the first minor league player to have a 40/40 season (he went 37/45 instead). That kind of speed and power also comes with the ability to hit for average, meaning Springer has the goods to be a true 5×5 fantasy beast. How valuable he will be in 2014 depends more on when he’ll play at the big league level rather than how he’ll perform. Considering how pathetic the Astros outfield looks (and the fact that the GM has already said that Springer will start in their OF at some point this year), I expect him to be donning a Houston jersey sooner rather than later. Don’t be afraid to pay. He fully has the ability to play as a top three fantasy OF once he hits the bigs.

 

The Mixed Bag Bandits

22. Alex Gordon

23. Alfonso Soriano

24. Desmond Jennings

25. Christian Yelich

26. Wil Myers

27. Josh Hamilton

This tier features a variety of interesting options. All of these players have the potential to turn in very productive fantasy seasons, but each of them can also end up underperforming in 2014… I actually think Gordon’s floor and ceiling are pretty close to one another. The former top prospect won’t ever hit 30 HRs, but a 20/10 to 25/15 season is what one can expect. That type of all-around production comes in handy in fantasy, but I’m sure fantasy owners will cough up unnecessary coin to grab him in case he “takes another step forward” (which ain’t happening, this is as good as he is, which is fine)… It’s funny. Soriano was barely considered a top 50 OF entering last season despite coming off a 30 HR year. Now that he is with the Yankees, dude has gone from being a cheap source of power to commanding a close-to-market-value price. I do think 25-plus HRs should come easy, and the fact that he swiped 18 bags gives hope that maybe he can reach double-digit steals again in 2014 (long odds, but still). Yeah he’s 38 years old and will hit around .250, but Soriano is also entering a walk year and I wouldn’t put a strong season past him… The talent for a 15/30 season is there for Desmond Jennings, but inconsistency and injury are standing in his way. Jennings is a bit of a boom/bust guy from the perspective that he will either greatly outproduce his draft day stock, or will perform firmly below expectations. I really don’t see a middle ground with him… Yelich Wolf has the goods to be a 20/30 guy, but the 22-year-old might still be a year or two away from truly breaking out. Still, I think a 10/20 season is a safe expectation for the advanced hitter and there is obviously plenty of room for profit if he really is ready to do serious work… A perennial 30 HR/100 RBI bat is what the Rays have in Wil Myers, but is the 23-year-old set to reach his upside? He posted a solid, yet unspectacular .185 ISO last year, so a 20-plus HR season seems feasible in 2014. Still, it would have to be quite the jump for him to suddenly become one of the best power hitters in the majors. It’s obviously possible for the once prized prospect, but like Yelich, Myers may be a year or two away from truly reaching his potential… The struggles of Josh Hamilton last year are well documented. His plate patience eroded, his power and BA nose-dived, and now the injury-prone player is entering his age 33 season. Yet I can’t help but feel like Hamilton will at least show some life this season. He put on 20 pounds (his pre-Angels weight) to try to get back to his pre-2013 production and I wouldn’t bet against Hamilton pulling off yet another comeback campaign in MLB. Remember, prior to last year, he possessed one of the deadlier bats in baseball. If he rediscovers even some of that form in 2014, he’ll definitely be worth starting in fantasy.

 

The “Proceed With Caution” Contingency

28. Matt Holliday

29. Coco Crisp

30. Matt Kemp

31. Yoenis Cespedes

32. Domonic Brown

There is a good amount of upside sitting in this tier, but the potentially low floor of production means you might wind up overpaying… Clearly at the tail end of his best fantasy days, Matt Holliday can still hit for average and accumulate strong starting stats in the middle of the St. Louis lineup, but his drop in power is a big concern (he’s more of a high-teens/low-20s HR guy now). I think he obviously has value as a veteran bat who still has something left in the tank, but he’s no longer a lock as a 34-year-old slugger who has been banged up over the last couple of years… A lot of people are hating on Coco Crisp because they think his power totals from last year were a fluke, and they are right (he owns a career .130 ISO). That said, he can still rap double-digit HRs, and that should pair just fine with 20-plus steals (with 30-plus upside). Yes he’s been injury-prone his entire career and is 34 years old, but he’s also had 40 HRs and steals combined in each of the last four seasons… I know, I’m hating on Matt Kemp. He’s going as a top 20 OF for most folks, but I can’t see why. To say Matt Kemp has fallen off lately is like saying Jesus Montero reported to training camp with just a couple extra LBs on him. Injuries have ravaged his career, but when he’s been on the field over the last two years, it’s been meek. He’s stolen under 10 bases each of the last two years. His ISO fell to .125 last season while his K% jumped to 26.2 percent. His .270 BA last year only looks halfway decent because his .353 BABIP was more bloated than Jesus Montero after he participated in one of the many hot dog eating competitions he won this offseason. If Kemp can stay on the field after coming off ankle and shoulder surgeries, that alone would be a victory. Whether he can regain anything close to his All-Star form and maybe go 25/15 in a healthy and productive 2014 season… well, let’s just say I ain’t finding out any earlier than OF pick number 30… Cespedes and Brown are very similar players. They both have 25-30 potential and can steal about 10-ish bases. Though Cespedes struggled mightily with breaking pitches last year and is more of the BA risk, he gets the slight nod above Brown because his floor is higher. Brown has just as much upside as Cespedes and could prove to be the better fantasy option if only because he can hit for a better average. Brown’s power spike last year (.222 ISO and 19.3 HR/FB) is attributed to a preseason adjustment to his swing, but can he sustain the production? His power throughout the minor leagues was inconsistent at best, so he may be more of a 20-25 HR bat than a 25-30 guy. 

 

The “Start ‘Em If You Got ‘Em” Syndicate

33. Carlos Beltran

34. Curtis Granderson

35. Leonys Martin

36. Jayson Werth

The pick/auction dollars it will cost to roster any of these players means you better be ready to pencil them in for a starter-worthy fantasy season as an OF3. That’s certainly possible for all of these players, but let’s also not forget that these guys are ranked here for a reason… You figure Yankee Stadium and pit-stops at DH would spell good things for Beltran in 2014. A career .283 hitter who has actually stayed healthy the last couple of years, Beltran has 25-30 HR potential. There is also, unfortunately, good reason to be skeptical. His age (37), past injury history, and last year’s decline in walks and Contact% are enough to keep him out of the top 30… Granderson is more of a 20-25 HR hitter now in Citi Field, but perhaps he’ll steal more bases with the Mets (who tend to let their guys run). The major headache with Granderson is his BA, and that doesn’t figure to get any better in 2014. Dude has hit below .240 each of the last two years and made contact at a career-worst rate last season… Leonys Martin isn’t a great hitter. He has shitty plate patience, hits too many grounders, and (most likely) will hit ninth in the lineup. There is certainly upside in his bat, but he’s still a bit of a raw product at the major league level. Yet because of his glove (and the money they have committed to him), he will play every day. He may end up being mostly a one-stat pony (40 steals are possible), but if he improves his plate patience, he could be a nice overall offensive contributor… Werth went 25/10 last season with a .318 BA, marking his best season in Washington. Although the injury-prone outfielder turns 35 in May and carries some risk, he’s always had the skill set to put up across the board fantasy numbers, so it’s possible he can replicate his 2013 numbers this season.

 

The “High Hopes” Hangmen

37. Dexter Fowler

38. Jason Heyward

39. Brett Gardner

40. Oscar Taveras

41. Josh Reddick

42. Chris Carter

43. Ben Revere

44. Shane Victorino

45. Nick Swisher

46. Austin Jackson

47. Norichika Aoki

48. Colby Rasmus

49. Denard Span

50. Khris Davis

51. Michael Brantley

52. Torii Hunter

53. Nelson Cruz

54. Michael Cuddyer

55. Corey Dickerson

56. Eric Young

57. Michael Bourn

58. Adam Eaton

59. B.J. Upton

Each of these picks brings a sense of optimism since all of these players have the talent to turn in profit-earning seasons. That said, they also have the potential to leave your ass high and dry with a disappointing campaign… An injury-marred 2013 season has many fantasy owners sleeping on Oscar Taveras (especially on the heels of news that his ankle injury from last year is still limiting him this spring), but this is still a prolific power-hitting prospect who can also hit for average (career .320 BA in minors). That said, I do think the Cardinals are fine with letting the 21-year-old develop in AAA. The team already has Matt Holliday, Allen Craig, Peter Bourjos, and Jon Jay in their outfield, so someone will have to get hurt or really shit the bed in order to make room for Taveras (which is always possible over the course of a 162-game season)… Dexter Fowler, Shane Victorino, Austin Jackson, Michael Brantley, Corey Dickerson, and B.J. Upton are the type of players who can contribute across the board. Dickerson has the most upside of the bunch since he could post sick power numbers (career .280 ISO in minors), but he will have a lot of competition for playing time in the Colorado outfield. Upton and A-Jax got a lot to prove after disappointing 2013 campaigns, but they’ve been top 25 OFs before. Brantley, Fowler, and Victorino are relatively “safe” picks for fantasy owners content with getting a little bit of everything without any true statistical oomph in any one category… Jason Heyward, Colby Rasmus, and Adam Eaton are former top prospects who have battled injuries. Heyward has arguably the most talent of the trio, but endured a disappointing season in 2013 (.254 BA and 14 HRs). Rasmus showed impressive pop last year (.225 ISO), but his struggles with strikeouts always put his BA at risk of sucking. Eaton has a minor-league portfolio that portends a .300 hitter with 10/20 ability, but he spent half of 2013 on the DL and the other half being overmatched at the big league level… I ain’t no Walter White, but if I was slinging speed, Brett Gardner, Ben Revere, Norichika Aoki, Denard Span, Eric Young, and Michael Bourn would be what I’d be pushing. Revere, Young, and Gardner have 40 steal potential, while the rest of these guys are looking at 30-swipe upside. Aoki, Span, Bourn, and Revere are leadoff hitters, so their contributions in runs scored could also be mighty useful… Josh Reddick, Nick Swisher, Chris Carter, Khris Davis, and Nelson Cruz are relatively inexpensive power options for fantasy owners. Carter has the most pop of the bunch, with a .227 ISO last year and a HR/FB over 20 percent each of the last two seasons. Of course, he also strikes out at an unbelievable rate (36.2 K% last year) and could hit dangerously close to .200. The rest of the sluggers in this group are more of the 22-25 HR variety, but they should at least hit above .250. Khris Davis is a name that is making some fantasy owners wet, but don’t go spending unnecessary ducats on a 56-game power streak. His long swing will leave him prone to swings and misses and his power numbers in the minors are nowhere near as good as what he showed last year. Plus, Davis has been injury-prone in his pro career… Torii Hunter and Michael Cuddyer are the greasy veterans who may not have great power or any speed to offer, but they will hit in a prime spot in their respective lineups and could offer quality counting stats while hitting for a decent average.

 

The “Well, I Guess” Goons

60. Jackie Bradley

61. Michael Saunders

62. Matt Joyce

63. Rajai Davis

64. Daniel Nava

65. Marlon Byrd

66. Carlos Quentin

67. Angel Pagan

68. Carl Crawford

69. Oswaldo Arcia

At this stage of the rankings, you start coming across names you weren’t exactly pinning your title hopes on. Regardless, there’s some interesting players chilling on this tier that could make an impact in 2014… Low-end all-around fantasy contributors like Jackie Bradley, Michael Saunders, Angel Pagan and Carl Crawford have the potential to be affordable roster buoys. Bradley has an intriguing skill set, but was overmatched last year in the bigs, so while he should get the opportunity to play everyday (barring a Grady Sizemore comeback), he might just end up being 10/15 kind of player. Saunders certainly has 15/15 skill, but hit just .236 last year and struggles with his counting stats in Seattle. Pagan and Crawford both are both injury-prone, but because they could be hitting leadoff for their respective clubs, they cannot be overlooked… Cheap power resides in the bats of Matt Joyce, Marlon Byrd, Carlos Quentin, and Oswaldo Arcia. Joyce is a post-hyper who hit 14 HRs through mid-June last year, but wore down and fell off the rest of the season. He added 20 pounds this offseason in hopes of staying strong all year, and with a home as Tampa Bay’s regular DH, Joyce could slug 25-plus bombs in 2014. The 36-year-old Byrd changed his approach at the plate last year and swung for the fences. The result? A .220 ISO and 27 HRs despite splitting his time between the Mets and Pirates (both of whom have home parks that suppress power). It’s hard to see him post such good numbers again, but I don’t think a major power plummet is inevitable. Quentin can hit for good power, even in Petco Park (.217 ISO last year). What he can’t seem to do, is stay healthy (under 90 games played each of the last two years). When he plays, Quentin puts up starter-worthy numbers. Arcia has the potential to hit 25-plus HRs and should get regular playing time in the Twins’ outfield this season. His main obstacles? Too many strikeouts, struggles against left-handed pitching, and the presence of Byron Buxton looming in the minors… Rajai Davis has always had killer wheels (45 swipes last year), and although he has no starting job at the moment in Detroit, I like his chances. Andy Dirks is the only thing standing in Davis’ way to regular playing time, and hitting in this productive lineup could make Davis a steal on draft day… Nava has middling power (12 HRs last year), no speed, and will probably cede ABs to Jonny Gomes, but he might hit leadoff for the productive Red Sox lineup and can hit for average (.303 BA last year).

 

The “So You’re Telling Me There’s A Chance” Corporation

70. Peter Bourjos

71. Andrew Lambo

72. Chris Young

73. Josh Willingham

74. Michael Morse

75. Marcell Ozuna

76. Cameron Maybin

77. Will Venable

78. Junior Lake

79. Kole Calhoun

80. Logan Morrison

81. Dayan Viciedo

82. Dustin Ackley

83. Avisail Garcia

84. Nate Schierholtz

85. Byron Buxton

It’s not out of the realm of possibility for some of the players in this tier to make a significant contribution in fantasy. Of course, there’s a reason these dudes are sitting relatively low on the rankings… Interesting prospects Andrew Lambo and Byron Buxton have the most upside on this list. Lambo has shown prolific power in the minors (.317 ISO between AA and AAA) and Buxton is the top offensive prospect in baseball. Lambo is closer to the bigs thanks to Pittsburgh’s holes in the outfield and at first base, but Buxton should be the better fantasy option once he arrives in the bigs (which may not be until we are well into the summer, unfortunately)… There’s some modest 5×5 upside with players like Peter Bourjos, Chris Young, Will Venable, and Junior Lake, but injuries (Bourjos and Young), playing time concerns (Venable), and worries over shaky plate patience (Lake) means these guys are better left as OF depth for your fantasy squad… Deep power sleepers Josh Willingham, Michael Morse, Logan Morrison, Dayan Viciedo, and Nate Schierholtz are targets to consider if your squad is lacking pop. That said, all of them expect Schierholtz are coming off poor seasons and injuries and/or age are standing in their way. As for Schierholtz, he may be sitting in a platoon in Chicago thanks to his ineptness against southpaws, so he’s no sure thing either despite entering a walk year…  Young players Marcell Ozuna, Dustin Ackley, and Avisail Garcia don’t have as much upside as other popular emerging sleepers, but they have some quiet upside. Ozuna’s HR stroke didn’t really show last year, but scouts have raved about his power potential in the past, so he’s someone who could surprise. Ackley was once a top-prospect in Seattle’s farm system, but has struggled for the most part in the bigs. Only 25, it’s possible Ackley could become a 10/15 player who can hit for average. Garcia is a toolsy prospect with plenty of raw power, but he didn’t put up impressive numbers upon reaching AAA and may not reach his full potential in 2014… Injuries and inconsistency at the major league level have prevented Cameron Maybin from being a reliable fantasy option. He still has 35 steal speed, however, and is not a terrible gamble late in the draft/auction… Talk of Kole Calhoun hitting leadoff is the only thing that snuck him on to this tier. He doesn’t have great power (maybe he hits 20 HRs in a perfect season), but has shown good plate patience, can hit for a decent average, and would wind up with quality counting stats if he hits sits atop LA’s lineup all season.

 

The Long Shot Lunatics

86. Gerardo Parra

87. Nick Markakis

88. Raul Ibanez

89. Alejandro De Aza

90. Lorenzo Cain

91. Ryan Ludwick

92. Melky Cabrera

93. A.J. Pollock

94. David Lough

95. Justin Ruggiano

96. Nate McLouth

97. Craig Gentry

98. Jarrod Dyson

99. Jason Kubel

100. Gregory Polanco

101. Jose Tabata

102. Garrett Jones

103. Darin Ruf

104. Aaron Hicks

105. Lucas Duda

Let’s be real, the chances of these dudes warranting consistent ownership over the course of the season are slim. Yet we can’t fully rule any of these guys out… With names like De Aza, Cain, Pollock, Lough, Ruggiano, McLouth, Gentry, Dyson, and Hicks available late, there is plenty of cheap speed for owners to consider. Granted, most of those names aren’t starting at the moment, but they at least warrant being on your radar for the season… Low-end fantasy options who can chip in across all 5×5 categories include Parra, Cabrera, and a couple of names from the speed grouping (like Ruggiano, Pollock, De Aza, McLouth, and Hicks)… Sometimes, starting everyday and hitting in a good lineup spot is enough to warrant fantasy consideration. That is the case with Markakis, Ibanez, Ludwick, Kubel, Tabata, and Jones… Gregory Polanco is an intriguing deep sleeper with 15/30 potential, but has yet to play at AAA. Still, the Pirates outfield could use his offense, so I expect him up at some point in 2014… Darin Ruf and Lucas Duda don’t have starting roles carved out at the moment, but both possess plus-power and deserve being monitored throughout the season in case playing time comes their way.

 

The “Ya Gotta End Somewhere” Society

106. Grady Sizemore

107. Nolan Reimold

108. Alex Presley

109. L.J. Hoes

110. Kyle Blanks

111. Andre Ethier

112. Juan Lagares

113. Charlie Blackmon

114. Tyler Moore

115. Anthony Gose

116. Joey Terdoslavich

117. Steven Souza

118. Ender Inciarte

119. Jake Marisnick

120. Gary Brown

121. Eury Perez

122. Jesus Guzman

123. Kevin Pillar

124. Rico Noel

125. Delino Deshields Jr.

126. Jeff Kobernus

127. Kyle Jensen

128. Domingo Santana

129. David DeJesus

This tier has no shortage of raw, yet extremely talented prospects and veterans who might have enough in the tank to turn in at least a radar-keeping season. You should keep all these players in mind even if they go undrafted, as opportunity could come a-knocking.

 

*Last updated 2/28/14.

Starbonell

About Starbonell

Starbonell is the co-founder of Sons of Roto and one of the most insightful and colorful fantasy analysts in the game. Mixing intelligent and well-researched advice with an entertaining style of writing that is easy to digest, Starbonell is the king of info-tainment.

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