The 2014 Fantasy Baseball Draft season is officially upon us. As a part of our draft packet for this season, we’re going to examine the elite options at each position. Let’s take a look at our top 5 fantasy outfielders for 2014, and compare our rankings to their current ADP (average draft position) in mock drafts. As always, if your thoughts differ from these, please comment below or make use of our Fantasy Baseball Forum to share.
1. Mike Trout
There really isn’t much to analyze when it comes to Trout. At age 22, he’s the pre-eminent talent in the game, and he’s still improving. He hits for average and power, gets on base a ton, and steals bases. He looks like he was born to play the game, and makes everything he does look easy. FST has him in a tier by himself, and it’s not really that close.
2. Andrew McCutchen
The debate begins at #2. We like Cutch here – he went 20/20 last year, hit .317, posted an OBP over .400, and tallied 80+ Runs / RBI. He’s 27 and in his prime, and hits in the middle of what should continue to be a formidable Pirates lineup. And, believe it or not, his 2013 was actually a ‘down’ year from his 2012, when he was even better. The sky is the limit.
3. Ryan Braun
Prior to Braun’s PED suspension in 2013, he was a fantasy monster for 6 straight seasons. It is unknown at this time how much of that was based on PED use, but here are his lowest stats, for the year, in each category during that time: 25 HR, 97 RBI, 91 Runs, 14 SB, .285 AVG. If that is his floor, and his upside is the MVP campaigns he put in during that time, he looks like a very strong first round pick. He’s going a bit later than usual due to uncertainty about his post-PED stats, but we believe he’s a massive value at the end of the first.
4. Carlos Gonzalez
If CarGo (the original) could ever stay healthy for an entire season of summer tilts at Coors Field, we can only imagine the insane stats he could amass. As it is, he’s tallied only a single season over 600 AB’s, and that line looked like this: 34 HR, 117 RBI, 111 Run, .334 AVG, 26 SB. Even in that monster season, he only played in 145 games, and he’s played even less since. CarGo is one of the most dynamic talents in the game, but if you’re drafting him, plan on 25+ games missed and draft an extra solid OF as a replacement. He’s not for the faint of heart and can be maddening to own, but his upside is enormous.
5. Adam Jones
Jones is about as boring as a first round pick gets. We love boring, elite players. He doesn’t hit 50 HR. He doesn’t steal 50 bases, or bat .390. All he does is play every game hard, do everything right, and help you win every week. He’s averaged more than 30 HR, 100 Runs, 90 RBI, and 15 SB the last two years, while batting a cool .280+ to boot. He’s in the middle of a powerful Baltimore lineup, is in his prime at age 28, and doesn’t sport an unsustainable BABIP. In short, if drafting in the early rounds is all about floor, Jones provides one of the highest floors in fantasy, making him a excellent pick anywhere you can grab him.
Bryce Harper, Jacoby Ellsbury, Yasiel Puig, Jay Bruce, and Justin Upton round out our top 10 at the position. A lot can change during spring training, so be sure to check out our most up-to-date outfield rankings.