The first two months of the 2013 fantasy baseball season are in the books, and we’ve gotten a good look at which players are off to hot starts and which guys are struggling in the early going. RotoBaller has been updating our positional rankings over the past few days, and today we’re revisiting the outfield rankings we initially published in April and updated in May. All the ranks below are compared to the FantasyPros ECR (Expert Consensus Rank), which will show you where RotoBaller differs from 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: No real surprises here. Braun's PED risk drops him to the bottom of the tier, while a healthy CarGo proves there are few better. Chris Davis's hot start has turned into a hot 55 games and he's showing he belongs with the elite OF options. Adam Jones's consistently elite five-category production moves him up to the top tier as well. Two Orioles in the elite OF group - wow.
Tier 2: Justin Upton has faded since his hot 3 week start. Jose Bautisa's 2 HR Monday night helped move him to the top of tier 2. Bryce Harper and Giancarlo Stanton are two injured players who are close to coming back and should provide elite production almost immediately. Carlos Gomez is by far the biggest mover here. He's jumped 20+ spots on the back of a fantastic .316-11-31-36-12 line. He is shaping up to be the superstar the Mets thought they saw five years ago. If a schleprock in your league is willing to trade you Gomez at #3/4 OF prices, then jump all over that because he could easily finish the year in the top-10 OF. Hunter Pence also makes a 20+ spot jump and, like Gomez, he's putting up five-category production with a great line of .287-10-31-37-12. Pence is showing his BA from last year was a fluke and you can count on him to put up top-15 OF numbers from here through the end of the year. We can't fail to mention Domonic Brown who has been slaughtering the baseball over the past three weeks and has 10+ HR and 25+ RBI in that span. Brown is definitely overachieving but unless you can get someone to pay nosebleed prices, best to sit tight and ride him out.
Tier 3: Matt Kemp and Josh Hamilton are the big decliners here. Both have underachieved massively this year and they're only in tier 3 because of their name values and their still-high ceilings. If you can find anyone to buy either of these disappointments at even 50 cents on the dollar, you should strongly consider taking that deal. Mark Trumbo has proven all naysayers wrong as he continues to mash-- he's a legit #2 OF option. The biggest surprise here has been Dexter Fowler, whose .304-10-26-45-11 line on the year sees him jump over 20 spots since May. Fowler has returned great value for his owners. Don't sell high here-- ride him out as he continues to produce.
Tier 4: This is where a lot of guys start getting bunched together. You have a mix of high-performing but injured or injury-prone players (Austin Jackson, Coco Crisp, Carl Crawford), underachievers with #2 OF upside (B.J. Upton, Josh Willingham, Desmond Jennings), vets who are going to fade (Carlos Beltran, Nelson Cruz, Michael Cuddyer) and a variety of others. Matt Carpenter maintained his #3 OF value, while Daniel Nava has climbed nearly 50 spots with a surprisingly consistent campaign (.299-8-40). The most exciting player here is definitely Yasiel Puig, though, who came storming out of the gates last week and shows as much upside as any rookie OF we've seen in recent year (that is, except Mike Trout and Bryce Harper). Desmond Jennings is one guy I really like to move up tiers in the coming months - his 20 HR / 40 SB upside is hard to match.
Tier 5: A boatload of interchangeable players here. Some notable players soon returning from injury include Corey Hart who I like to make a big impact in the second half, and Jayson Werth but to a lesser degree. Josh Reddick was saddled by a wrist injury in the first couple of months, but he's looked good since coming off the DL and you won't find many other 30+ HR upside guys in this tier. Gerardo Parra has been a big surprise, providing elite BA and runs production while keeping pace in the other categories as well (5 HR, 5 SB, 20 RBI)-- Parra was likely a May waiver snag for many of you and if he was pat yourself on the back. There are a handful of vets here putting up solid numbers (Nick Markakis, Mike Morse, Torii Hunter) who are fine #4 OFs, and an even larger handful of underachieving vets who you should stay far, far away from: Andre Ethier, Michael Bourn, Jason Kubel, Shane Victorino, Juan Pierre, Alfonso Soriano, Nick Swisher. Don't invest in any of these guys going forward in standard formats. Keep an eye on Lorenzo Cain, Kyle Blanks and Adam Eaton as all three are high-upside youngins with potential to shine in the coming months.
Tier 6: Instead of dividing up the remaining 15 OF into a couple of tiers, we've just thrown all the garbage into the heap that is tier 6. Some of these players have nice upside: Garrett Jones hit 25+ HR last year and can go on a serious run; Ichiro Suzuki can start hitting like he did last year with the Yanks; Vernon Wells could go on a month-long tear like he did to start the year; Leonys Martin could continue improving, score 20 runs and steal 10 bags in a given month; Dayan Viciedo, Brandon Moss and Chris Carter could all pop 10 HR in a 40-game stretch. So you get the point: each of these guys has some upside, but the chances he's going to achieve it are pretty slim. Each of these guys should be on the waiver wire in 4-OF leagues and some 5-OF leagues. Don't rush to add any of them, but keep an eye on all of them. Wil Myers stands out as different from the rest for obvious reasons: if/when he gets the call from the Rays, add him immediately in all leagues-- he will likely only hit .250 this year, but with his big-time power, he could hit 20 HR in the second half.