Monday, January 16, 2017


The outfielders are up next as we continue to check in on the early look at the 2017 fantasy baseball rankings.

1.  Mike Trout:  The most obvious pick of any position anywhere.  Trout ran at will again last season after a two-year break to go with his tremendous contributions in the other four categories.  Should be the top pick in all leagues.
2.  Mookie Betts:  Blew the doors off of any projection anyone had for Betts last season as he exploded to 31 home runs and 113 RBI.  Throw in 26 steals, 122 runs scored, and a .318 average and you can call Betts a close second to Mike Trout in all league drafts.
3.  Bryce Harper:  Dealt with nagging injuries which help explain the sizable drop in Harper's numbers last season.  This is still the same guy who had a video game-like 2015 campaign and also keep in mind Harper ran like he was a rookie again last season with 21 steals.  Look for Harper going right back to the 40-home run plateau with good health.
4.  Charlie Blackmon:  Blackmon seeingly gets better each and every season but he is now trading steals for home runs which we will take.  There is a big home/road split as expected (.900 OPS at home/.727 on road) but the end numbers are still terrific.
5.  Trea Turner:  While he will be the Nats' every day shortstop this season, Turner still retains outfielder and second base eligibility for 2017 which is icing on the cake.  While we are a bit skeptical of the vast rise in HR rate as a rookie last season, Turner should challenge for the stolen base title while hitting .300 or better.  Along with Gary Sanchez, no one player will be fought over more in drafts.
6.  Ryan Braun:  The guy is a jerk personally but I can't argue with the very good back-to-back seasons Braun had in 2015 and 2016.  While he is running a bit less as he ages (down to 16 steals a year ago), Braun is still mashing (30 homers) and plays through injuries.
7.  Giancarlo Stanton:  I think Stanton is now firmly in the "overrated" bin as his monstrous home runs and Home Run Derby displays push up his draft slot beyond where it should be.  Given that Stanton still has never hit 40 home runs and has averaged just 115 games played per year in hsi career, some prudence should be in order here when it comes to where you select Stanton.  Also Stanton has stopped running and his average is ugly considering how much he strikes out.  Resist the temptation to reach for the name brand.
8.  Starling Marte:  Marte still strikes out a lot but his live drive rate is very good and he ran so much more in 2016 (career-best 47 steals) which helped overcome a dip in power (9 homers).  Look for Marte to bring those two numbers close together this season which will keep a firm outfielder 1.
9.  A.J,. Pollock:  No this is not too high a ranking as Pollock was a top ten fantasy baseball outfielder going into 2016 before his injury disaster of a year.  Consider last season a throw out year and start over for 2017.  Keep in mind Pollock hit 20 home runs, stole 39 bases, scored 111 runs. collected 76 RBI, and batted .315 just two years ago.  Still just 29, Pollock is the real deal.
10. Nelson Cruz:  Despite moving from Baltimore to spacious Safeco Field in Seattle, Nelson Cruz is now working on three straight 40-home run seasons.  Always underrated, Cruz is aging a bit at 37 but shows no signs of slipping.  Try him out as your main outfield power source for one more season at least.
11. Yoenis Cespedes:  Cespedes leaves some people wanting more but it is time to appreciate the fact the Cuban has upped his average to a helpful range the last two seasons while still pounding out home runs at a 30-plus clip.
12. Ian Desmond:  Yes is stunk that Desmond left Texas but he went to arguably an even better home park in Coors Field after inking a deal in free agency with the Rockies.  Desmond got himself back to 20/20 territory with the Rangers last season and he should be right around that ratio again with a .280 or so average.  Just keep in mind shortstop eligibility is a thing of the past.
13. Gregory Polanco:  While Polanco is still not a finished product due to his shaky average, Polanco is on the cusp of being the next Starling Marte in terms of being a 20-home run and 30-stolen base outfielder.  Get on board now as Polanco is ready to push himself into outfielder 1 status.
14. George Springer:  I personally am a bit cool to Springer as he seems like he is settling into a .260 hitter whose speed declined to just 9 steals last season.  The 29 home runs were nice on the surface but Springer did that in a massive 744 at-bats which takes some shine off.  We can accept the shaky average if Springer is running but that doesn't look like it is part of the equation anymore.
15. Mark Trumbo:  Massive power and I personally made a huge profit on Trumbo last season as I recommended you all buy very low after he signed with Baltimore.  He is still without a home as of this writing but Trumbo is a 40-home run masher who will supply 100-RBI as well.  Just keep in mind the ugly average that goes along the ride.
16. Andrew McCutchen:  This could be too low to rank McCutchen but he showed some very disturbing signs last season ins swiping just 6 bases and batting an ugly .256.  Injuries could have played a role but that is what 2017 will determine.
17. Carlos Gonzalez:  CarGo has evened up his home/road splits the last two years and he has found some more durability as well which is always a big plus for the previously health-averse outfielder.  The steals are long gone but 25-30 home runs is a certainty.
18. J.D. Martinez:  The Detroit outfielder has settled into being a 30-home run guy with a .280 average but nothing in the way of speed.  That works nicely as a top-end outfielder 2.
19. Christian Yelich:  Yelich is a future batting champ who comes off a strange 2016 where the steals anticipated never materialized but the power was better than anyone thought.  This stock is still moving upwards but Yelich remains a bit of a puzzle.
20. Adam Jones:  You can write in ink 25-30 home runs and 90 RBI for Jones each and every season but the steals are gone for good.  Dependable as heck but Jones is no longer as flashy as he once was a few seasons ago.

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