2016 Fantasy BaseballAndrew MillerFantasy Baseball

2016 Fantasy Baseball: Tiered Outfield Rankings – June Update

Just because I have a player listed above another player in the same tier doesn’t mean I rank that player higher than the player below him. The reason for using tiers is because the wide variety of leagues (roto, categories, points) and sizes. The tiers give you a better idea how to evaluate players in a vacuum, while too much league-specific information would be needed for “Player A is better than Player B” analysis.

Major League Baseball players ranked according to their breakfast cereal equivalent in 3, 2, 1…

Tier 1: Fruity Pebbles

  • Bryce Harper
  • Mike Trout
  • Mookie Betts

All that can be written about Betts has probably already been written, but his 10 homers in the last 30 days ties him for second among all hitters, and he struck out only 13 times compared to 11 walks then, too. Despite hitting only .188 in the last 30 days, Harper had 29 walks, which is six more than any other outfielder in that time. His power numbers suffered (only three homers), but he’s still first or second among outfielders.

Tier 2: Cap’n Crunch

  • Jose Bautista
  • Kris Bryant
  • Giancarlo Stanton
  • J.D. Martinez
  • George Springer
  • Chris Davis
  • Starling Marte
  • Yoenis Cespedes
  • Nelson Cruz
  • Ryan Braun

I bumped Stanton down a tier, because in the last 30 days he hit only five extra-base hits and had 37 strikeouts. Overall, his power numbers are down, and he is striking out quite a bit more than usual (34 percent). He easily could go on a tear in June and get bumped back up, but right now I think it’s clear he’s behind Betts. Braun is having one of his better seasons – he’s first in average (.337) and sixth in OBP (.406) – but I originally had him down a tier because I don’t think his counting stats will match up with the other hitters in tier 2. But he’s earned the benefit of the doubt and should continue to hit at a high level.

Tier 3: Fruit Loops

  • Charlie Blackmon
  • Dexter Fowler
  • Carlos Gonzalez
  • Andrew McCutchen
  • Gregory Polanco

McCutchen has career-worst walk and strikeout rates, and his .185 isolated power is the second-worst mark of his career. He’s hitting the most fly balls of his career as well as the fewest ground balls. But with that he has a similar home run to fly ball rate thanks to a really bad infield fly ball rate. Along with that, he’s making less hard contact and considerably more soft contact. He’s also only stolen one base. I don’t think he’s totally done as he’s still 29, but as we’ve seen with some perennial studs like Upton and Kemp this year the end can come quickly. Right now, I would try to sell him on his name value.

Tier 4: Honey Comb

  • Christian Yelich
  • Stephen Piscotty
  • Ben Zobrist
  • Ian Desmond
  • Mark Trumbo
  • Miguel Sano
  • Jackie Bradley Jr.
  • Marcell Ozuna
  • Lorenzo Cain

After a really slow start to the season Cain hit six home runs and stole three bases in the past 30 days. In that time he’s hitting .355, and his .413 wOBA ranks seventh among all outfielders. JBJ‘s .319 isolated power in the last 30 days ranked seventh to go with a ton of RBI and a ton of walks. The power won’t stay that high, but he’ll be able to work out of any future slumps due to his overall hitting ability and plate discipline.

Tier 5: Apple Jacks

  • Odubel Herrera
  • Josh Harrison
  • Michael Conforto
  • Joc Pederson
  • Nomar Mazara
  • Adam Jones
  • Michael Saunders
  • Danny Valencia

Valencia came back from a hamstring injury May 7, and since then he’s hit nine home runs with a 1.125 OPS. In 2015 and ’16 in 143 games/529 plate appearances Valencia has 27 home runs with a .305/.356/.538 line. He is 31, but he’s shown over the past year and a half that he can hit, so if he’s available in your league go ahead and pick him up.

Tier 6: Honey Nut Cheerios

  • Adam Eaton
  • David Peralta
  • Jacoby Ellsbury
  • Randal Grichuk
  • Wil Myers
  • Curtis Granderson
  • Jay Bruce
  • Matt Holliday
  • Justin Upton
  • Carlos Beltran
  • Brett Gardner
  • Khris Davis
  • Matt Kemp
  • Kole Calhoun
  • Trayce Thompson

I’ve always like Calhoun, and even though his power is down this year he’s found another way to contribute: He’s got career-bests in average, OBP, walk and strikeout rates, which culminates in a career-best wRC+ so far. He’s still got a normal fly ball rate, but his home run rate is a career-low. That should rebound and add some to his power total while he’s still able to keep a high average. I’d try to buy right now.

Tier 7: Raisin Bran

  • Corey Dickerson
  • Steven Souza
  • Colby Rasmus
  • Michael Taylor
  • Jason Heyward
  • Billy Burns
  • Adam Duvall
  • Jose Ramirez
  • Gerardo Parra
  • Hanley Ramirez

Duvall is a curious case, as his performance demands him be ranked higher than this. His .408 Isolated power in the last 30 days ranks first among outfielders by a mile. But in that same time he has a 1.8 percent walk rate with a 27 percent strikeout rate. I’m riding his hot streak in one league, but it wouldn’t hurt to shop him for someone listed above him here.

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