Grab your friends and grab your laptops, fantasy baseball drafts are starting soon. Everyone knows Mike Trout and Andrew McCutchen are going to be studs, but who else can fill up your outfield? Drafting a few underrated players is the only way you can win a championship. So who are the most underrated outfielders in this upcoming draft? Below I provide some fantasy baseball rankings analysis for 2014, and identify some outfielders that are ranked too low for my liking.
2014 Rankings Analysis - Outfielders (OF)
Curtis Granderson - OF, New York Mets
ESPN's 2014 Outfielders Ranking had Curtis Granderson ranked 38th. Granderson only played in 61 games last season and his numbers suffered. He batted .229 and only had 7 Homeruns, but it was his first season since 2004 in which he played less than 136 games. In 2012 he only missed 2 games the entire season, and hit 43 homeruns. In 2011 he played 156 games and had 41 home runs. Curtis Granderson has no history of being injury-prone, and if he stays healthy he could easily hit 35+ homeruns in 2014. The only two questions about Granderson are his batting average, and can he avoid any bad luck that follows most Mets players. Remember Jason Bay?
Alfonso Soriano - OF / DH, New York Yankees
Another underrated player is Alfonso Soriano, who ranks 51st on ESPN's list. In 2012 Soriano hit 32 home runs and collected 108 RBI's. And in 2013 he hit 34 homeruns, and collected 101 RBI's. Soriano will be 38 years old, but he will also play in a hitters-friendly ballpark, and will be batting in the middle of a stacked lineup. In only 58 games with the Yankees, he hit 17 homeruns. And with Jacoby Elsbury, Carlos Beltran, and Brent Gardner in the outfield, Soriano will only have to focus on being a DH. If healthy, he can easily hit 25 or more homeruns. And with the hitters around him, Soriano might even pull of another 100 RBI season.
Josh Hamilton - OF, Los Angeles Angels
Quite possibly the most underrated outfielder going into 2014 is Josh Hamilton, ranked at 42nd. You must think I'm crazy. In 2013 Hamilton had one of the worst seasons of his career. He batted .250 and only had 21 home runs, but in 2012 he hit .285 and had 43 homeruns. Hamilton is the definition of a streaky hitter, but would you really rather have Carl Crawford who is ranked 35th? Crawford hasn't had a double digit home run season since 2010, and even then he only had 13 dingers in 154 games. I'm not saying Hamilton is a top 10 outfielder, but is he really worse than a Billy Hamilton who's only played in 13 games in his career? Will Josh Hamilton ever be a 30 home runs, 100 RBI's, MVP caliber player ever again? I doubt it. But he will easily hit 20 or more homeruns next season, and that alone is enough to put him over the likes of a Carl Crawford.