OF Fantasy Rankings (1 – 40)
Following the format of fantasy guru Nikolai Ballevski, who posted his C and 3B rankings last week, these rankings are for 7×7 leagues, including Chris Carruthers’ CC rankings for each player. Stay tuned for numbers 41-80 at some point in the (hopefully) not-too-distant future.
All players have OF eligibility according to Yahoo, with additional eligibility indicated in brackets. CC Projection format: AVG/OBP/SLG/HR/R/RBI/SB
1. Mike Trout (CF)
CC Projection: 302/397/519/26/108/87/32
Not much to say here. Trout is easily the most valuable OF in the game, and is neck-and-neck with Miguel Cabrera as potential first overall selections in your draft. He shouldn’t drop lower than 2nd in any format.
2. Andrew McCutchen (CF)
CC Projection: 287/366/484/22/92/81/23
The 2013 NL MVP should go top-5 in most drafts. He’s a 7-category contributor who has been both elite and healthy for three consecutive seasons now.
3. Ryan Braun
CC Projection: 302/365/540/28/86/90/16
I’m more bullish than CC’s projection system on Braun. With a hand injury and PED scandal behind him, I have hope that he can return to the levels of production we saw from him in 2011 and 2012, when he was a consensus top-3 player in the game. If he slips out of the top-10 there’s huge value to be had here. The upside is the 320/390/590/30/100/100/30 monster he was just 253 plate appearances ago.
4. Carlos Gonzalez
CC Projection: 299/358/544/28/91/90/14
Yet another 7-category contributor, Gonzalez is neck-and-neck with Braun for me. The downside with Gonzalez, and why I have him ranked 4th and not 3rd, is that you can only really pencil him in for 120-130 games. He hasn’t played more than 135 games since 2010, and that hurts his value. That said, Colorado is apparently considering him as a CF option this year with Dexter Fowler traded to Houston, which is great news for fantasy owners.
5. Bryce Harper (CF)
CC Projection: 262/340/448/20/72/67/12
Just 21 this season, Harper offers the potential for huge reward: a 7-category contributor with 30+ homerun pop from the CF spot. I wouldn’t draft him over any of the more established players ranked above him, but in the 10-15 area of the draft he’s a homerun swing with a pretty high floor.
6. Giancaro Stanton
CC Projection: 243/329/474/28/69/81/3
CC projections don’t like him to reach his career slash line of 265/354/535, but I love him in a 7×7 format. Only 24, Stanton is a decent bet to lead the majors in homeruns if he can stay healthy this year. Combine the huge power with a great OBP, and you have a huge offensive contributor even though he hits in a bad lineup for counting stats. As an added bonus, he should be underrated on draft day because most rankings are for 5×5 leagues, in which Stanton doesn’t hold the value he does in a 7×7 format.
7. Shin-Soo Choo (CF)
CC Projection: 277/369/441/18/83/75/17
Choo should once again be an elite contributor this season. His elite OBP skills at the top of a deep and dangerous Texas lineup make him a candidate to lead the majors in runs this year, and he’ll contribute 15+ stolen bases and homeruns too.
8. Jose Bautista
CC Projection: 256/369/519/34/84/92/7
Bautista has missed 114 games over the last two years, but when healthy is still one of the best power hitters in the game – 30+ homeruns, a 350+ OBP, and solid counting stats should be expected from a healthy Bautista. The gamble here is his health. If he misses 40+ games again there will be better bargains in the 30-40 range where he’s being drafted. If he’s healthy you’ve bought low on a legitimate 1st-round talent.
9. Yasiel Puig (CF)
CC Projection: 252/313/418/23/70/81/12
Puig exploded last year as 7-category contributor, and if you think his results are repeatable, he’s not just a great 2nd-round pick – he’s a comfortable top-5 asset. That said, Puig has all of 694 professional plate appearances under his belt, and there is a ton of risk in drafting him expecting his 2013 numbers to repeat themselves in 2014. Other systems do like him a fair bit more than CC projections do, pegging him as a 285/355/490 talent with 25/90/90/15 upside.
10. Matt Holliday
CC Projection: 292/370/489/23/84/84/5
Holliday just continues to fill the stat sheet. He won’t steal many bags, but he’ll contribute consistently in every other category. A reliable source of production that I wouldn’t hesitate to draft in any format.
11. Adam Jones (CF)
CC Projection: 274/305/462/26/79/87/12
Jones is probably the worst overall hitter on the list so far, but he should continue to pile up the counting stats (and outs) again this year. You’ll have to absorb a hit to your OBP if you draft him early, but he should contribute healthily in the other six categories.
12. Jacoby Ellsbury (CF)
CC Projection: 281/332/420/15/95/72/46
The move to Yankee stadium should help Ellsbury’s homerun totals and increase his fantasy value. 15-20 homeruns isn’t out of the question with the short porch. He’ll also provide a healthy average and tons of runs and stolen bases. He’ll probably be overdrafted in 7 x 7 leagues, but if he falls down to the 30-40 range he becomes a worthwhile investment.
13. Jay Bruce
CC projection: 250/323/465/26/69/77/6
You know exactly what you’re getting with Bruce: 30 homeruns, a low average, decent OBP, good R and RBI production, and a handful of steals. It should be more of the same in 2014, as Bruce has missed just 28 games over the last four seasons.
14. Carlos Gomez (CF)
CC Projection 252/295/443/22/83/72/40
It’s probably prudent to just avoid Gomez completely on draft day and save someone else the trouble of deciding what exactly he’s going to provide in 2014. The 20-HR power seems legit, but I have my doubts about the OBP. Last year’s 0.338 mark was the first year of his career over 0.305, and at first glance a 0.344 BABIP is likely responsible. There is value in his stolen bases, runs, and homeruns, but you’re likely giving some of that back in average and OBP.
15. Justin Upton
CC Projection: 258/338/437/19/72/66/10
Another player that the CC system is bearish on compared to other systems. A 270/350/450 line with 25 homeruns is more in line with both his recent performance and other projection systems.
16. Allen Craig (1B)
CC Projection: 288/338/451/19/70/80/2
Craig has had problems staying healthy, but he’s a big-time contributor when in the lineup. His slash line will help in all three categories, and his spot in the middle of a very dangerous Cardinal lineup is a boost to his counting stats. He also has the added benefit of 1B eligibility which gives you flexibility in the middle rounds of the draft. If his sudden ISO drop (to 0.142 from 0.215+ in 2011 and 2012) regresses, he could be a steal in the 50-60 area of the draft.
17. Jason Heyward (CF)
CC Projection: 245/325/414/18/68/64/7
Heyward has battled injury in two of the last three seasons, so it’s difficult to get a read on what kind of player he is. The bat is comfortably above-average, and he should be good for 10-20 stolen bases if healthy. He’ll also hit leadoff for Atlanta this year, so he’s a good bet for 90+ runs.
18. Wil Myers (CF)
CC Projection: 238/302/344/18/68/69/5
Probably best to disregard the bearish CC projection here. Myers put up a 293/354/478 line last year and, while he probably had some BABIP luck, most projections have him as a well above-average hitter again in 2014. Expect a small hit to his slash line, with 20/75/75/10 counting stats, and upside for far more from the top prospect.
19. Jayson Werth
CC Projection: 267/353/451/18/63/62/9
Werth very quietly tore the cover off the ball last year, posting a 318/398/532 line to go with 25/84/82/10. And he did it while missing 33 games. He’ll be 35 this season, but should once again be a huge contributor, especially in OBP leagues. He’s had injury issues, which hurts his ADP, so you could end up with great value here outside the first few rounds.
20. Carlos Beltran
CC Projection: 280/347/507/30/82/92/5
Beltran seems to have retained the reputation as a significant injury risk despite not having played fewer than 142 games in any of the last three seasons. He’s been a 6-category contributor over the last three seasons, and that should continue next year, especially now that he’ll be assisted by the short porch in Yankee Stadium. The only risk factor here is his age (37), which is reflected in his low ADP relative to his recent production. There’s a decent chance Beltran outperforms many of the names ahead of him on this list though.
21. Starling Marte (CF)
CC Projection : 246/282/389/11/66/48/34
If you like Marte at his CC projection, he’s probably not even rosterable, but I’m a fair bit more bullish on him than that. He’s a 275/332/440 hitter though 748 major league plate appearances, and most systems like him to continue doing more of the same. He should once again be a great source of runs and stolen bases without really hurting you in any category.
22. Matt Kemp (CF)
CC Projection: 277/340/463/22/72/76/13
The biggest risk/reward pick on the list so far, Kemp is a huge question going into 2014. Not only is his health up in the air (he isn’t expected to be ready to start the season) but his performance last year when in the lineup was abysmal. That said, Kemp has potential to be a top-20 fantasy asset. Not for the faint of heart.
23. Mark Trumbo (1B)
CC Projection: 256/308/484/30/70/85/4
Trumbo isn’t the sexiest of options in an OBP league, but he’ll take huge raw power to the middle of a good lineup in a hitter-friendly ballpark, and the result could be a huge season for fantasy owners. Trumbo has hit 64 homeruns over the last two years with a home park that stifles right-handed power, and should push 40 in Chase Field, with the gaudy RBI totals that would come with cleaning up the bases so often.
24. Yoenis Cespedes (CF)
CC Projection: 248/300/446/24/68/73/9
Who’s the real Yoesnis Cespedes? If it’s the 2012 version you have a prime fantasy contributor. If it’s the 2013 version you might as well just draft Josh Reddick 150 picks later. Walks and stolen bases were down last year while strikeouts were way up. I’m pretty hesitant to roll the dice here.
25. Alex Gordon
CC Projection: 268/332/436/18/85/72/10
Gordon’s BABIP took a dive from 0.357 over 2011 and 2012 to 0.310 last year, and it took his slash line with it. It’s difficult to know where his true talent BABIP lies, but most systems have him rebounding a bit from his down 2013, and if he does he’ll once again be a solid contributor across the board.
26. Hunter Pence
CC Projection: 273/329/449/22/84/79/14
Fresh off a career year and rich new contract, Pence figures to be a huge contributor again next season, though you should be careful not to expect a repeat of his 2013 numbers. Pence plays in one of the most stifling parks in the game, which could impact his output going forward.
27. Michael Cuddyer (1B)
CC Projection: 292/349/492/22/80/80/10
Cuddyer rebounded nicely last year after a down 2012, and should continue to produce while playing half of his games in Coors Field, though he won’t match last season’s 0.382 BABIP.
28. Josh Hamilton
CC Projection: 271/329/475/25/81/82/5
Hamilton’s production fell off a cliff last year, his first in Los Angeles, with his ISO dropping over 100 points from where it was in 2013. How you feel about him as a draft target depends largely on the extent to which you think he’s going to rebound this year. CC likes him to rebound, projecting a healthy 0.475 SLG, but most other systems are skeptical. At 33 years old, and playing in a park that stifles offense, I think Hamilton is a big risk in drafts this year.
29. Alex Rios
CC Projection: 281/319/447/17/79/71/23
I’m not a big believer in Alex Rios. His bat has been pretty much exactly league-average in his career, and he’s been decidedly below-average in two of the last five years. That said, he should spend all of 2014 in a hitter-friendly environment in Texas, and should contribute to all four counting stats. I’m very apprehensive though. At 33 years old and with a very spotty track record, the is big bust potential here.
30. Coco Crisp (CF)
CC Projection: 266/333/424/17/82/65/28
Crisp exploded for a career season last year at the age of 33, setting career highs with 22 homeruns and a 0.182 ISO. While he likely won’t hit for that kind of power again this year, he should still be a great source of steals and runs from CF while not hurting you in other categories.
31. Billy Hamilton (CF)
CC Projection: N/A
Hamilton is a dynamic player, and his 100-SB potential makes him a monster in a 5×5 format, but this is a guy who put up a 256/308/343 line over 547 AAA plate appearances last year. If he struggles to maintain that production this year he’ll not only tank your slash line, HR, and RBI totals, but he could play his way out of a starting job in Cincinnati. This is a risk worth taking in a 5×5, but I stay far away in a 7×7, at least given his ADP.
32. Desmond Jennings (CF)
CC Projection: 241/316/394/15/80/59/23
Jennings gets ranked here not for his mean projections, but for his upside entering his age-27 season. Jennings owns a career 250/330/409 line, and yet he’s been largely a disappointment because the tools are there for a massive season. If he fully realizes his potential, 20 homeruns, 30 steals, and 100 runs are not out of reach.
33. Austin Jackson (CF)
CC Projection: 270/334/417/12/82/59/11
With the arrival of Ian Kinsler to Detroit, Austin Jackson will likely lose his leadoff position, moving to the bottom half of the order behind Miguel Cabrera rather than ahead of him. This will hurt his run totals, which have been a big part of Jackson’s value recently given his pedestrian contributions in every other category.
34. Nick Swisher (1B)
CC Projection: 248/344/430/22/77/75/1
Swisher had a down year last year, his first in Cleveland, but remains a valuable contributor in 7×7 leagues, boosting totals in all categories with the exception of batting average and stolen bases. A repeat of his 2013 makes Swisher an easy top-200 player in this format, and there is potential for a rebound in his ISO that would bring him back towards the numbers he put up before signing in Cleveland.
35. Brandon Moss
CC Projection: 250/319/493/30/67/83/3
Moss is a difficult player to project because he has two significant obstacles in his way; a terrible home park for power hitters, and an organization that loves platoons. Moss has absolutely crushed the ball since arriving in Oakland, but playing time has nonetheless been hard to come by for the lefty, as he has seen only 801 plate appearances in two seasons. If he’s turned loose this year he should once again approach 30 homeruns, and despite a near-30% K-rate he won’t kill your OBP. Of course increased playing time vs. LHP could hurt his slash line, so he could require some micromanaging.
36. Domonic Brown
CC Projection: 269/329/466/24/75/77/7
Brown finally broke out last year with 27 homeruns and a 272/324/494 line. An inconsistent major league track record and lengthy unimpressive stints in AAA in 2011 and 2012 are cause for some concern, but projection systems seem to be buying 2013 as the real Brown going forward. I’d like to see a repeat before buying in. His ISO and HR/FB were well beyond his pre-2013 levels.
37. Alfonso Soriano
CC Projection: 259/306/496/33/74/95/8
The projection for Soriano is almost identical to that of Mark Trumbo, who ranks 13 spots higher on this list. That’s because Soriano, entering his age-38 season, is at increased risk of seeing his production decline sharply at any time. Still, if he holds the clock off for one more year he represents fantastic value at his ADP, especially given his new home in Yankee Stadium. Soriano just might be the cheapest 30/100 guy in the draft. If the first third of your draft involved minimal risk, Soriano represents a great investment.
38. Shane Victorino
CC Projection: 272/323/421/12/68/56/20
Victorino was fantastic in his first season in Boston, posting a 294/351/451 line and contributing across all 7 categories, though his BB% rate dropped several percent from previous seasons and his numbers were bolstered by a 0.321 BABIP, which is about 20 points higher than his career mean. Even so, Victorino should once again be a productive fantasy player, hitting at the top of a very dangerous lineup and playing in a great hitter’s park.
39. Curtis Granderson
CC Projection: 240/324/456/27/76/77/10
After consecutive 40+ homerun campaigns in 2011 and 2012, Granderson’s stock took a hit last season. He lost all but 61 games to injury last year, and when he did play he was a below-average offensive contributor. CC projections like a rebound of sorts for Granderson, but Citi Field is a more stifling environment than Yankee Stadium for left-handed hitters, and it’s difficult to see him hitting much more than 20 homeruns. Combine that with a low average and OBP, and Granderson, while useful, isn’t the force he used to be.
40. Chris Carter
CC Projection: 216/312/430/23/55/64/1
Chris Carter is an extremely flawed player who does two things very well: he walks and hits homeruns. If you can stomach the atrocious batting average, Carter will likely reward you with 30 homers, 75+ RBI, and a 0.450 SLG. That’s a useful player, just one to be deployed judiciously.