The first three months of the 2013 fantasy baseball season are in the books, and now we’re really starting to get a feel for the fantasy baseball landscape. RotoBaller will be updating our positional rankings over the next week. Today, we’re revisiting the outfield rankings we initially published in April and have updated in May and June. All the ranks below are compared to the FantasyPros ECR (Expert Consensus Rank), which will show you where RotoBaller differs with the expert community and by how much. Check out our tier-by-tier analysis below the rankings, and let us know where you agree or disagree with us!
Tier 1: Trout continues to put up a great year while almost doing it under the radar. It makes you wonder if he gets hot for a couple months just what his numbers could look like. Davis is firmly entrenched in the upper echelon of fantasy outfielders at this point. The only notable change in tier 1 is that Braun has dropped out of the first tier for the first time in his career. It's a sad day for the fantasy OF community as the Hebrew Hammer's fall from grace has been pock marked with a nasty PED stain.
Tier 2: Carlos Gomez nearly cracked tier 1, instead we find him at the top of tier 2. Either way, he's put up close to elite numbers and is a bonafide #1 fantasy OF on any team (unless of course you own one of the guys in tier 1). By far the biggest mover in tier 2 is the Cuban sensation Yasiel Puig who has an otherworldly .392-8-19-27-5 in just 148 AB. Puig strikes out way too much for him to continue such lofty success (we actually recommend him as a sell high candidate), but there's no denying he's been great and belongs in the top 10 OF. He will most assuredly go in the 1st or 2nd round next year and either be the next Vlad Guerrero for years to come or a big bust. Starling Marte continues to sparkle with a .297-3-8-17-8 line over the past month and has vaulted up almost 20 spots from June's rankings. I'm hoping he cools off a lot in August and September so by the time 2014 draft day rolls around he's a 5th round sleeper. He will be good for a long time and is a huge reason for the Pirates' success this year. Josh Hamilton is also a big mover and vaults up 2 tiers in July after coming off an 8 day stretch hitting 4 HRs and 10 RBIs. Hamilton has incredible upside if you can still buy low on him.
Tier 3: Carlos Beltran continues to defy age by hitting .310-19-53-49-2 on the year and his production has stayed steady every month. As long as Beltran remains healthy, he will continue to play like and finish the year as a top 15 OF. Michael Cuddyer takes a huge jump this month as he's fresh off a 27 game hit streak en route to a .327 BA this year. He's a good sell high candidate as he's never seen this type of production before and won't continue to hit at this level even in Colorado. Yoenis Cespedes still remains one of my favorite OFs and I will splurge on him again in 2014 drafts, but after hitting just .175 over the past 30 days, his BA sits at .216 on the year. He doesn't look good right now and it couldn't hurt to explore trade options if you're in contention and need production. Desmond Jennings moves up close to 10 spots and jumps to tier 3 after finishing a scorching 30 day stretch with a .305-2-9-21-7 line. He is finally hitting for some decent average, and has the upside to finish the year with a .265-20-65-110-30 line which is top 15 OF numbers. Kemp brings up the rear of tier 3, and I thought about bumping him down even further but I couldn't bring myself to put him below Adam Dunn, which brings us to...
Tier 4: Dunn's 24 HRs and 60 RBIs make him a viable #3 OF in 12 team leagues and pushes him ahead of higher ceiling disappointments like Jason Heyward and Alex Gordon. You can only roster Dunn if you're all set in BA, but Dunn has returned the 37th best stat line for an OF this year and that speaks for itself. Speaking of Alex Gordon, he's been bad over the past 30 games batting just .229 with 3 HRs and 3 SBs. If Gordon isn't hitting for a .300 BA, it will be hard for him to be the #2 OF that many of us hoped he'd become this year. Leonys Martin rockets up into tier 4 after posting a great .345-2-6-16-10 line over the past 30 days. He is hitting and running like a repeat offender and he will most certainly be a sleeper next year. If Martin is on your waiver wire and you need speed, then you need to pick him up now, immediately, if not sooner! A lot of boring options here in Gardner, Markakis, Ichiro, Ibanez, Soriano, Revere, Nava and Hunter, but all have produced well enough to be #4 OFs in a 4-5 OF league. In 3 OF leagues these guys should be in utility slots or on the bench as matchup plays.
Tier 5: We are getting into the dregs of the OF here. Those of you in 3 OF leagues will have picked up many of these guys off the waiver wire for a few weeks at a time and sent them back into the waiver abyss just as fast, and those of you in 4-5 OF leagues are probably more well acquainted than you'd like to be with these guys. Marlon Byrd, Colby Rasmus and Michael Brantley have been big overachievers this year (we can put Eric Young in that group as well after his great .298-0-10-15-7 line over his past 98 ABs). While Aoki, Reddick, Victorino and Parra have all fallen short of expectations. Myers has struggled to hit for consistent power, but I think this will make him a very attractive and very cheap option for 2014 as long as he doesn't get too hot down the stretch. Brandon Moss is great if utilized properly as he will mash RHP but needs to be benched against LHP. If your bench is deep enough he is a high-quality fantasy platoon.
Tier 6: If you thought tier 5 looked bad, then you're in for a bad surprise here. Tier 6 is where past fantasy stars and high-ceiling players have gone to die a slow painful death. Without fail, all of these guys have put up big time years over the past 3-4 years, but they're all either past their prime, injury riddled, or were just one-year wonders. Just check out this list of names: Ethier, Joyce, B.J. Upton, Prado, Bourn, Willingham, Morse, Crawford, Granderson, Melky, Cain, Swisher, Kubel, Ross, etc. You could pick 5 guys from that list and have had the best fantasy OF in 2012. The lesson to be learned is a) don't draft injury riddled vets, b) don't bank on guys taking PEDs, c) don't assume players who had a breakout at 30 will continue their success, d) get the picture? The one thing nearly all these guys had in common coming into the year was that they were all overhyped and had less upside than younger players like Marte, De Aza, Martin, Fowler, Carpenter, etc. Bottom line, when you're drafting for your #3-5 OF spots, look for upside. You will likely miss, but if you do there's plenty of waiver wire fodder to go around. And if you hit (aka drafting Starling Marte) it will be the type of move that helps you win a league.