This category is one of the most highly contested due to large pool of players in which you have to pick from. So, there is always an argument or twenty along the way. There are more five-category players here than there are at any other position, keeping in mind that there are also plenty more single-category stat stuffers to go around as well.
This brings about draft strategy. Please have one. There are many different ways to attack your draft, none of which are necessarily wrong. The one thing that you can control is what you know going into the draft. So do your homework and let us help you along the way.
If you solely focus on drafting studs for all three (3) of the outfield positions, you will more than likely lose out on opportunities at other positions. But, keep in mind that you will be able to provide help in more categories from this position than from any other single position in baseball. The 2013 Fantasy Baseball Rankings: Outfielders should help you decide who to build your team around. Remember value is the key to winning.
Changes you’ll want to keep an eye on:
- Josh Hamilton will remain in the AL West, but leaves the hitter-friendly Ballpark in Arlington in favor of the sunny beaches of Anaheim to form arguably one of the best hitting trios in Major League Baseball history (Trout, Hamilton & Pujols). He is a bit of an injury risk at age 31, but if you want first-round potential with a second-round pick, he is your man.
- Justin Upton, the suspense is over, and after months of speculation, the Diamondbacks finally unloaded their star outfielder to the Atlanta Braves as part of 7-man swap. Look for him to rebound nicely in this lineup and produce well enough to land him around the Top 20 outfielders with the high probability of becoming a 20-20 guy again.
- Michael Morse will open next season as a Seattle Mariner and join Kendrys Morales, Kyle Seager, Justin Smoak, Rual Ibanez and Jesus Montero to form a nice collection of power bats in a lineup that left a lot to be desired last season. Injuries limited Morse to just 102 games last season, however he still hit .291 with 18 home runs and 62 games. Morse should have an everyday job with the Mariners, and should be worth a mid-to-late round pick in most fantasy formats on draft day.
- Giancarlo Stanton is a bona fide superstar without anyone to play alongside him. The Miami Marlins have completely blown up their roster……please see their depth chart and try not to laugh. While Stanton’s fantasy fortunes would likely improve if he were traded to a team with a better offense, he can still be considered among the top 10 outfielders in any fantasy format.
- Jose Bautista suddenly has a stacked lineup all around him, with table-setters like Jose Reyes and Melky Cabrera in front of him. Bautista, 32, still has a ton of power in his bat, but there should be some worry that he might be a little tentative with the big swings in 2013, considering his wrist injury came on a swing, not by getting hit by a pitch or diving for a ball in the field. Still all that aside, due to his production the past few seasons, he should be a first-round pick in most drafts this spring.
- Corey Hart underwent knee surgery in mid-January, so he is going to likely miss the first four (4) to six (6) weeks of the season. If he is available in the later rounds of your draft, take a gamble. At the very least, pay close attention to the waiver wire if he goes undrafted.
- Nick Swisher will be singing “Cleveland Rocks” after signing a 4-year deal worth at least $56 million dollars with the Indians. Cha-ching. He is also going to probably hit cleanup on this team with three relatively speedy hitters ahead of him. Swisher has never struggled in the power category, averaging 25 homers over the past three seasons.
- Shane Victorino, The Flyin’ Hawaiian, was brought in by the Boston Red Sox to most likely bat second behind lead-off man Jacoby Ellsbury, and ahead of Dustin Pedroia, making it one of the better spots to hit in baseball.
- Alfonso Soriano and Vernon Wells are among several outfielders who could possibly be dealt before spring training. The Cubs are on record stating they are willing to eat some of Soriano’s remaining contract (2-years, $36MM) and the Angels realize that with Trout, Bourjos, Hamilton and Trumbo, there is no spot for Wells.
- Michael Bourn is still looking for a place to sign, with the Orioles seeming to have the most interest. Some other teams mentioned were the Rangers, Giants and Reds. All contending teams. Any of those possible landing scenarios would be good for Bourn’s fantasy owners. B.J. Upton will replace Bourn in center field in Atlanta.
Here are the Top 100 outfielders:
Please see the original Fantasy Baseball article which helps explain the rankings system.