A list of the top outfielders to draft for 2014 fantasy baseball.
1. Mike Trout Los Angeles Angels
At the end of last season, many wondered whether Trout could repeat his fabulous 2012 campaign. As it turns out, the phenom outfielder actually improved upon his numbers in 2013, increasing his walk rate from 10.5% to an outstanding 15.4%, and finishing the season with a final batting line of .323/.432/.557, good for an almost other-worldly 179 OPS+. The main concern from Trout's 2012 breakout seemed to center on his seemingly unsustainable .383 BABIP, but he was able to defy logic once again, posting a .376 BABIP in 2013. While this number, too, seems like it should decline, it may be that his baseline is such that the number proves to be one of skill thanks to his combination of elite power and speed, rather than good fortune. Trout was once again denied the AL MVP award in 2013, but the 22-year-old looks like he's going to be the one of the best players in the game for many years to come, regardless of how much hardware he has to show for it. He will no doubt be among the first players taken in nearly all 2014 fantasy drafts.
2. Andrew McCutchen Pittsburgh Pirates
McCutchen enters his age 27 season with a shiny new NL MVP Award under his belt. His league-leading 8.2 WAR in 2013 included 21 homers, 27 steals, 97 runs scored and a .911 OPS. He saw action in 157 games, making it four straight years McCutchen's played in at least 154 contests. Cutch wrecked left-handed pitching to the tune of a .388 batting average and 1.130 OPS, which was actually worse than his 2012 numbers (.392 BA and 1.141 OPS). After tailing off the past couple seasons, the Pittsburgh center fielder avoided a late-season collapse at the plate. McCutchen is in the prime of his career and could easily contend for a second straight MVP in 2014.
3. Carlos Gonzalez Colorado Rockies
Gonzalez was enjoying his best statistical season since his breakout 2010 campaign until a sprained finger cost him a large chunk of time toward the end of the season, marring his final counting numbers. Although Gonzalez’s strikeout rate spiked nearly eight points to 27.1 percent, the more aggressive overall approach helped him successfully reverse the declining power trend he had shown the previous two seasons. It remains to be seen if those power-hitting skills can be maintained after Gonzalez chose to forego surgery on the injured digit in the offseason, but the outfielder’s batting average and steals numbers have otherwise held steady as he’s dealt with an assortment of injuries the last few seasons. Now 28 years old, Gonzalez remains in the prime of his career and could very well submit an MVP-caliber campaign, but injury issues may forever loom as a potential stumbling block. In fact, his injury risk could increase in 2014 with an impending move to center field, likely exposing him to more diving and running defensively. Still, his five-category potential over a full season of health is too enticing to ignore. Gonzalez may be slowed early in spring training after having an appendectomy in mid-January, but he should have enough time to recover and be ready for Opening Day.
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2014 Fantasy Rankings
Who are the top players you should be considering in your fantasy baseball drafts this year? Find out by browsing our overall rankings for 2013.
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