2015 Outfielder RankingsTuesday, July 15, 2014
As has become an All-Star break tradition, here’s a peek ahead at some very, very preliminary 2015 player rankings. I’m only concerned with next year here, so these aren’t true keeper rankings; if I were factoring in 2016 and beyond, some younger players would be listed quite a bit higher. As always, I’m going position by position (trying to account for next year’s position eligibility) and including a top 300 overall.
This winter’s free agents are listed without teams. Players facing option years are listed as “opt” in the team column.
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Click to see other preliminary 2015 rankings:
Top 300 | SP | RP | 1B | 2B | SS | 3B | C | DH
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2015 Outfielder Rankings
- This winter’s outfield crop is very short on all-around players. Cruz, Cuddyer, Morse and Willingham all belong at DH or maybe first base in the case of Cuddyer and Morse. The Orioles will decline Markakis’s $17.5 million option, but figure to seek to bring him back at a more modest price. I imagine that Rios’s $13.5 million option will be picked up, though it’s possible he’ll be traded before that happens. Rasmus would seem to be the only legitimate starting center fielder in the bunch, which would seem to make for an interesting trade market.
- There are two Cuban defectors here in Yasmani Tomas (No. 89) and Rusney Castillo (No. 102). Tomas has at least 25-homer power, though he might be more useful at first base than in the outfield. It’s uncertain when he’ll be cleared to sign. Castillo is free to ink a deal and probably will sometime in the next month or two. He doesn’t have Tomas’s bat, but he can play center and might be talented enough to make it as a regular.
- Teams with expendable outfielders this winter include the Cardinals, Rays and Dodgers. With Matt Adams now settled in at first base, trading Craig seems like an obvious move for St. Louis. They could also put Bourjos back on the market. With Ramsey and Grichuk in the minors, they really have any number of options. Maybe they’ll trade Jay and keep Bourjos if they think Ramsey, a left-handed hitter, is capable of taking over in center.
- Kiermaier’s emergence could lead to Jennings’s exit. Kiermaier has been playing right field alongside Jennings, but he’s probably the better center fielder of the two anyway, and despite Jennings’ disappointing lack of progress, he’d still be an attractive piece given the barren center field market.
- The Red Sox will have to decide whether they can count on Victorino to contribute next year or if it will make sense to go get a bopper to play left field. Bradley doesn’t look like a future star, but his offense is picking up and he’s proving himself to be one of the game’s best defensive center fielders. Betts could settle in an as a legitimate right fielder if the Red Sox want to go that route, but a Betts-Bradley-Victorino outfield, with Nava in reserve, would be awfully short of power. If the Red Sox want to get back into the race next year, finding a 25-homer guy to play left would seem to be an easy upgrade.
- The Rockies are talking about re-signing Cuddyer, but they already have Justin Morneau under control for next year and their 2015 outfield should be Dickerson-Blackmon-Gonzalez, at least against righties.