Here are some very preliminary 2014 outfielder rankings for your perusal. Try not to take the lists all too seriously; I haven't actually done projections for any of these players and many, many changes will be in store for the first official rankings in January.
These aren't true keeper rankings, since only the 2014 season is being taken into consideration here. But if you're looking to make trades in keeper leagues in the coming weeks, I hope this piece will help you along.
2014 Outfielder Rankings
- It's a different order, of course, but at the moment, I have the same top 13 for next year that I did for this season. Braun would have been back at No. 2 if not for the suspension possibility looming. Stanton could come in as high as No. 3 if he's traded this winter or drop back down to ninth or 10th if he stays put in Miami. Cespedes and Heyward could be overtaken by other outfielders if they don't close in strong fashion this year.
- Cruz also dropped some because of his own Biogenesis relationship, but his stock would have been down a bit regardless, since I don't think it's likely that he re-signs with the Rangers as a free agent.
- Besides Cruz, the top outfield free agents are Ellsbury, Choo, Granderson, Pence and Beltran. Ellsbury would come in fourth if he were certain to be back with the Red Sox. It's more likely that he departs as a free agent, and since that probably means he'll end up leading off for a worse offense in a lesser hitter's ballpark, he comes in 10th. Choo and Granderson likewise are a few spots lower than they'd be with their current teams. Pence, on the other hand, could find himself in a better offensive park if he leaves San Francisco.
- Billy Hamilton and Yelich haven't made their major league debuts just yet, but I couldn't resist putting them in the top 40. Maybe it was a bit aggressive. Hamilton, though, has definite top-20 potential if he can convince the Reds to make him their everyday center fielder and leadoff hitter. If he starts 140 games next year, he'll be a shoo-in for 70 steals and probably top 80. Of course, he's still far from a lock to get the job; he's hitting a very modest .243/.300/.331 in Triple-A this year. Yelich is the safer bet, I think. He doesn't have the same kind of upside for 2013, but he should be a quality regular right away.
- Taveras comes in at No. 65. He's missed some time in Triple-A, and while he's been perfectly solid when healthy (.306/.341/.462), he hasn't met the very lofty expectations he helped fuel this spring. It'll be interesting to see how the Cardinals play things this winter. Beltran is having a great year and he might be open to taking less money to stay in St. Louis, but he is expendable, not only because of Taveras but because Allen Craig can play right field to open up first base for Matt Adams. The Cardinals also have the option of re-signing Beltran and trading Jay.
- I can't end this section without commenting on Puig, right? He's essentially played one-quarter of a season in his major league career, and quadrupling his current totals would give him 32 homers, 112 runs scored, 76 RBI and 20 steals in 604 at-bats. To go along with his .391 average. That'd be the line of a top-five fantasy outfielder even with a much more modest average. Of course, he'd also have a 144/28 K/BB ratio, which isn't quite so promising. I think he's more likely to hit 30 homers than bat .300 next year. One big question, at least for fantasy purposes, is what kind of basestealer he's going to be. He's just as aggressive on the basepaths as in the field, and he seems to see himself as a 30-steal guy. But while he has the speed, his technique is lacking, and throwing in that additional injury likelihood that comes with every steal, the Dodgers may well be better off if he doesn't attempt 30-40 steals next year. Anyway, I'm ranking him 24th at the moment. I'll go higher if he manages to bat .300 or better in the second half.
|11||Jose Bautista||Blue Jays||7||8|
|23||Alex Rios||White Sox||18||17|
|34||Billy Hamilton||Reds||35 SS||36 SS|
|42||Alejandro De Aza||White Sox||48||44|
|53||Jackie Bradley Jr.||Red Sox||86||NR|
|55||Chris Carter||Astros||28 1B||24 1B|
|57||Shane Victorino||Red Sox||59||51|
|60||Melky Cabrera||Blue Jays||26||52|
|62||Colby Rasmus||Blue Jays||68||68|
|75||Dayan Viciedo||White Sox||51||67|
|79||Daniel Nava||Red Sox||123||55|
|90||Nick Castellanos||Tigers||56 3B||40 3B|
|91||Eric Young Jr.||Mets||96||57|
|94||Mike Carp||Red Sox||132||93|
|107||Anthony Gose||Blue Jays||126||NR|
|111||John Mayberry Jr.||Phillies||109||114|
|113||Jonny Gomes||Red Sox||81||110|
|115||Chris Parmelee||Twins||32 1B||32 1B|