The 2013 Fantasy Baseball OF Rankings offer a little bit of everything to everyone, including those looking for 2013 Fantasy Baseball Head to Head Rankings. This Fantasy position is pretty unique for several reasons, which we’ll get into. The outfield rankings and starting pitcher rankings are the two positions Fantasy Baseball players debate the most. Obviously, needing to draft a larger number of them is one of the reasons, but also because the outfield position can affect Fantasy teams in so many different ways.
But is the outfield position that much different than the infield positions?
Fantasy owners in Rotisserie leagues need to draft five outfielders (and could still add a sixth as a designated hitter). Most Roto teams also need just 1.5 of each of the infield positions (splitting the corner/middle infield position between their subcategories).
Fantasy owners in Head-to-Head leagues need to draft just three outfielders in most standard formats, and just one player at each infield position.
Follow me on this simple breakdown, without thinking about platoons or multi-position eligible players. With MLB teams starting three outfielders apiece, that’s a pool of 90 outfielders to choose 60 from (in 12-team mixed Roto leagues). It’s also a pool of 90 outfielders to choose 36 from (in 12-team H2H leagues).
By comparison, MLB teams have just one starting first baseman, second baseman, shortstop and third baseman, so 12 Rotisserie Fantasy owners are choosing 18 players at each of those positions from pools of 30 each. Head-to-Head owners are choosing 12 players at each infield position from pools of 30 each.
So – deep breath – in Rotisserie leagues, the outfielders and infielders are relatively equal in terms of supply and demand. Owners will draft 60 percent of the starting pool at each position (18 of 30 infield position players, 60 of 90 outfielders). And in Head-to-Head leagues, teams are drafting 36 of 90 outfielders (40 percent of available pool), and 12 infield players among 30 starters (40 percent).
Both leagues formats are set up the same. Position scarcity is the same in either format, whether it’s the infield or outfield.
Since there are so many outfielders available in each league, they tend to cover all five hitting categories fairly well. There are many more five-category guys here than there are at other positions, and there are plenty more single-category mercenaries available among outfielders. You can attack your draft in different ways,
I thought it would be interesting to look at the stats to understand how outfielders can help you the most, and which categories this position is the deepest at.
Home runs: Of the six major leaguers that hit 40 or more home runs in 2012, three of them were outfielders (Josh Hamilton, Curtis Granderson and Ryan Braun). There were 27 players that hit at least 30 home runs last year, with 14 outfielders among that group. Outfielders might end up hitting half of your home runs, as well.Runs Batted In (RBI): Just 18 players knocked in 100 or more runs in 2012, compared to 17 in 2011 and 22 in 2010. But there are only seven outfielders with 100 or more RBI.
Runs scored: There were 12 players to score 100 or more runs last season, led by Mike Trout’s 129 (second-best was Miguel Cabrera with 109!) Eight of the 12 players that scored 100 runs came from the outfield position!
Batting average: There were 25 players that hit .300 or above in 2012, which is about the average amount of hitters to do so over the past three years. Of those 25, just 10 of them were outfielders.
Stolen bases: And finally, there were six major leaguers with 40 or more steals, led by Trout again with 49. And there were 23 players with at least 30 steals. Of those 23 players, 16 of them were outfielders.
Changes you’ll want to track:
- Miami Marlins’ management have suddenly made Giancarlo Stanton a stud without anyone to play with. Craig Misch of Sirius/XM Radio’s Fantasy Sports Channel made a good point, though. While many will be fearful of drafting Stanton because he won’t see many good pitches to hit, understand that the Marlins are going to be out of most games by the fifth inning, and pitchers won’t worry about pitching to Stanton like they would in 2-1 ballgames.
- Hamilton brings his big bat to Anaheim to help form one of the best hitting trios in Major League Baseball history (can you think of a better troika ever than Hamilton, Trout and Albert Pujols?)
- Jose Bautista suddenly has a stacked lineup all around him, with table-setters like Jose Reyes and Melky Cabrera in front of him.
- Several outfielders are still close to being traded, including Alfonso Soriano, Justin Upton and Vernon Wells.
- The Nationals traded Michael Morse to Seattle, where he’ll join Kendrys Morales, Kyle Seager and Jesus Montero as the main power threats in the northwest.
- Also, Michael Bourn is still looking for a place to sign, with the Rangers being the best possible landing scenario for Bourn’s Fantasy owners. B.J. Upton will replace Bourn in center field in Atlanta.
- Corey Hart underwent knee surgery in mid-January, so he’s going to likely miss the first six weeks of the season. Mat Gamel could see starts in his place at first base.
- Switch-hitting Nick Swisher leaves the Bronx for Cleveland, where he should become one of the most popular players on the team. He’s also going to probably hit cleanup on this team with three relatively speedy hitters ahead of him. He averaged 25 homers over the past three seasons.
- The Red Sox brought in speedy veteran center fielder Shane Victorino, where he’ll probably bat second behind leadoff man Jacoby Ellsbury and ahead of Dustin Pedroia. There aren’t many sweeter spots in baseball.
Before I get into my rankings, let me first preface them with the announcement that I’d rather have three other outfielders before Trout. I understand that I’m completely in the minority on this, but I’m a firm believer in the difficulty of the sophomore offseason. Trout went from being a great prospect that all Fantasy owners knew about to being the best rookie hitter since Shoeless Joe Jackson in 1911 (who was three years older in his rookie season). For Fantasy purposes, Trout had the best rookie hitting season since Ichiro Suzuki in 2001. Ichiro also took a step back in his sophomore season, and he was six years older than Trout is this season.
My main non-measurable point is – you can’t gauge how a player will react after a full offseason of:
- Everyone in the world saying how awesome they are.
- Tons of endorsements, commercials and other things taking their mind away from preparing for the coming season.
- 14 other teams in the league figuring out ways to beat him.
I’d rather go with stud veterans like Braun, Andrew McCutchen and Matt Kemp. If you are a firm believer in Trout, then move him up two spots in these rankings, which is where most other writers have him ranked.
2013 Fantasy Baseball OF Rankings
If you concentrate on getting some studs from the outfield position, you might lose out on opportunities at other positions. But you’ll be able to help more categories from this position than from any other single position. The 2013 Fantasy Baseball OF Rankings should help you decide who to build your team around. And it’s also a good measure for those looking for 2013 Fantasy Baseball Head to Head Rankings.
David Gonos spent 5 years as a CBSSports.com Senior Fantasy Writer and three more years writing with SI.com. Over the past 17 years, his work has been published on NFL.com, MLB.com, FanDuel, FoxSports.com and USA Today. Since 2001, he has been tracking down the Top 50-plus Free Fantasy Football Draft Tools online. You can contact David Gonos here.