Fantasy baseball outfielder rankings

Fantasy baseball outfielder rankings

By David Ferris
CSNChicago.com

1. Mike Trout, Angels
NOTE: A Top-5 draft pick next year, easy.
2. Ryan Braun, Brewers
3. Andrew McCutchen, Pirates
NOTE: Front-runner in MVP discussion.
4. Matt Kemp, Dodgers
5. Carlos Gonzalez, Rockies
6. Adam Jones, Orioles
7. Josh Hamilton, Rangers
NOTE: How many teams can logically afford and fit him?
8. Mark Trumbo, Angels
9. Matt Holliday, Cardinals
10. Alex Rios, White Sox
NOTE: Nifty comeback with little fanfare.
11. Allen Craig, Cardinals
12. Curtis Granderson, Yankees
13. Josh Willingham, Twins
NOTE: Target Field isn't so bad for righty power.
14. Michael Bourn, Braves
15. Jacoby Ellsbury, Red Sox
16. Adrian Gonzalez, Red Sox
17. Shin-Soo Choo, Indians
18. Austin Jackson, Tigers
19. Giancarlo Stanton, Marlins
NOTE: Pop returned in first week back.
20. Carlos Beltran, Cardinals
21. Desmond Jennings, Rays
NOTE: Head clearer, swing back to normal.
22. Nelson Cruz, Rangers
23. Carl Crawford, Red Sox
NOTE: Beware, not 100 percent healthy.
24. Jason Kubel, Diamondbacks
25. Jay Bruce, Reds
NOTE: Plateau years are frustrating.
26. Ben Zobrist, Rays
NOTE: Should have shortstop eligibility soon in many leagues.
27. Shane Victorino, Dodgers
28. Ben Revere, Twins
29. Yoenis Cespedes, Athletics
NOTE: Debut better than many expected.
30. Jason Heyward, Braves
31. Michael Morse, Nationals
32. Andre Ethier, Dodgers
33. Martin Prado, Braves
NOTE: Not a sexy pick, but quietly contributes.
34. Nick Markakis, Orioles
35. Hunter Pence, Giants
36. Michael Cuddyer, Rockies
37. Rajai Davis, Blue Jays
NOTE: Much better in roto than in real life.
38. Garrett Jones, Pirates
NOTE: Mashes righties, struggles otherwise.
39. Alfonso Soriano, Cubs
40. Jose Bautista, Blue Jays
41. Carlos Gomez, Brewers
42. Alex Gordon, Royals
43. Justin Upton, Diamondbacks
NOTE: Hasn't looked healthy all year.
44. Josh Reddick, Athletics
45. Corey Hart, Brewers
46. Trevor Plouffe, Twins
NOTE: How quickly will thumb recover?
47. Torii Hunter, Angels
48. Alejandro De Aza, White Sox
49. Colby Rasmus, Blue Jays
50. Drew Stubbs, Reds
51. Michael Brantley, Indians
52. Nick Swisher, Yankees
53. B.J. Upton, Rays
NOTE: Desperately needs a change of scenery.
54. Dexter Fowler, Rockies
NOTE: Always seems capable of more.
55. Ryan Ludwick, Reds
56. Jon Jay, Cardinals
NOTE: Handy glove really helps, too.
57. Starling Marte, Pirates
58. Carlos Lee, Marlins
NOTE: Could be moved in waiver deal.
59. Ichiro Suzuki, Yankees
60. Juan Pierre, Phillies
61. Cody Ross, Red Sox
NOTE: Speciality player, but park fits.
62. Coco Crisp, Athletics
63. Cameron Maybin, Padres
64. Travis Snider, Pirates
65. Emilio Bonifacio, Marlins
NOTE: One-trick pony but it's a neat trick.
66. Lorenzo Cain, Royals
67. Raul Ibanez, Yankees
68. Angel Pagan, Giants
69. Carlos Quentin, Padres
70. Bryce Harper, Nationals
NOTE: Numbers have collapsed in second half.
71. Chris Young, Diamondbacks
72. Domonic Brown, Phillies
73. Howie Kendrick, Angels
74. Justin Maxwell, Astros
NOTE: Small-market bat makes good.
75. Matt Joyce, Rays
76. Norichika Aoki, Brewers
77. Dayan Viciedo, White Sox
78. Jayson Werth, Nationals
NOTE: Stay grounded off a major injury.
79. Justin Ruggiano, Marlins
80. Eric Young, Rockies
NOTE: Electric run, but will Jim Tracy stay the course?
81. Denard Span, Twins
82. David Murphy, Rangers
83. Will Venable, Padres
84. Chris Davis, Orioles
85. Jordany Valdespin, Mets
NOTE: Tremendous athlete, deserves bigger 2013 role.
86. Delmon Young, Tigers
87. Brandon Belt, Giants
88. Tyler Colvin, Rockies
89. Andy Dirks, Tigers
NOTE: Sweet swing but not a big power source.
90. Yonder Alonso, Padres
NOTE: Line drive bat, but how much power develops?
91. Brennan Boesch, Tigers
92. Mitch Moreland, Rangers
93. John Mayberry, Phillies
94. David DeJesus, Cubs
95. Scott Hairston, Mets
96. Steve Lombardozzi, Nationals
NOTE: Where does he play when everyone is healthy?
97. Seth Smith, Athletics
98. Lance Berkman, Cardinals
NOTE: Nothing guaranteed here.
99. Michael Saunders, Mariners
100. Andres Torres, Mets
101. Jarrod Dyson, Royals
102. Anthony Gose, Blue Jays
103. Gerardo Parra, Diamondbacks
104. Nyjer Morgan, Brewers
105. Quintin Berry, Tigers
106. Brett Jackson, Cubs
NOTE: Holes in his swing, a project.
107. Steve Pearce, Astros
108. Alexi Amarista, Padres
109. Gregor Blanco, Giants
110. Jeff Francoeur, Royals
NOTE: Obviously the contract was a mistake.
111. Moises Sierra, Blue Jays
112. Andruw Jones, Yankees
113. Chris Denorfia, Padres
114. Jonny Gomes, Athletics
115. Vernon Wells, Angels
116. Brian Bogusevic, Astros

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Bears DL Akiem Hicks making the most of a chance the Saints never gave him

Bears DL Akiem Hicks making the most of a chance the Saints never gave him

Living well is indeed the best revenge, and sometimes nothing feels sweeter than proving doubters wrong. Akiem Hicks is savoring that exact feeling.

When the New Orleans Saints made Hicks their third-round pick in the 2013 draft, they typecast their big (6-5, 318 pounds) young defensive lineman as a one-trick pony.

“There were people in New Orleans that said, ‘You can’t rush the passer,’” Hicks recalled after the Bears’ win Sunday over the San Francisco 49ers. “They told me from my rookie year, ‘You’re going to be a run-stopper.’”

This despite Hicks collecting 6.5 sacks and 3 pass breakups as a senior at Regina in Canada. The Saints forced Hicks into the slot they’d decided he fit – nose tackle – then eventually grew disenchanted with him and traded him to New England last year – where he collect 3 sacks in spot duty.

Interestingly, Bears GM Ryan Pace was part of the Saints’ personnel operation. Whether Pace agreed with coaches’ handling of Hicks then isn’t known, but when Pace had the chance to bring Hicks to Chicago for a role different than the one the Saints forced Hicks into, Pace made it happen.

Pace likely saw those New England sacks as a foreshadowing or a sign that the New Orleans staff had miscast Hicks. The Bears defensive end now is under consideration for NFC defensive player of the week after his 10-tackle performance against San Francisco. Signing with the Bears last March 13 as a free agent was the career break Hicks has craved. For him it was a career lifeline.

“They have given me the ability to go rush the passer,” Hicks said. “So I love this organization – [GM] Ryan Pace, coach Fox, Vic [Fangio, defensive coordinator] – for just giving a guy the capability to put it out there and do what you feel like you can do.”

[MORE BEARS: Back from scary concussion, Leonard Floyd playing like franchise pass rusher Bears craved]

Hicks has been showing what he can do, to quarterbacks. For him the best part of win over the 49ers was the two third-quarter sacks of 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick.

Those sacks gave the massive lineman, who the Saints said couldn’t rush the passer, 6 sacks for the season – more than any member of the Saints defense this season. It has been a classic instance of putting a player in position to maximize his skills, not jam someone into a bad fit.

“Akiem has been in a couple of different types of packages before with New Orleans and New England,” said coach John Fox. The Patriots switched from a long-time 3-4 scheme to a 4-3 but “we’re more of a New England-type style. But we’re playing him more at end; he played mostly a nose tackle [in New Orleans]. He’s fit really well for us as far as his physical stature.

"But he does have pass rush ability. It shows a little about his athleticism. So he’s got a combination of both.”

That “combination” has been allowed to flourish at a new level, and the Bears’ plan for Hicks was the foundation of why he wanted to sign in Chicago as a free agent. The Bears do not play their defensive linemen in a clear one-gap, get-upfield-fast scheme tailored to speed players. Nor do they play a classic two-gap, linemen-control-blockers scheme typically built on three massive space-eaters on the defensive line.

They play what one player has called a “gap and a half” system, which requires being stout as well as nimble.

One Hicks rush on Kaepernick featured a deft spin move out of a block, not the norm for 336-pound linemen. He got one sack with a quick slide out of a double-team.

“I’m not freelancing,” Hicks said. “But I’m rushing ‘fast.’ There’s a portion of the defense where you have the [run] responsibility and don’t have the freedom or liberty [to rush]. It’s a great system for me and I love what they’ve let me do.”