Actually, in OB my science vessel placed 1st and my brother's cruiser 2nd in MANY fleet actions. Just because Escorts use cannons doesn't mean they are all powerful. Science vessels can drop enemy shields and then UNLOAD all their weapon cooldowns. Cruisers can go into the fight 1st and survive (Trust me, escorts cannot) long enough to do plenty of damage.
The real trick to placing top on a FA is knowing how to specialize your ship. Sure you may not place 1st place every time but you MIGHT be surprised when you do.
You should be more than happy that you are getting loot and are able to sell it. If you don't have a use for it, be like me, find someone that can use it and give/trade it to them. I know I keep things I can't use, but others could.
I'm more concerned about the way the loot is distributed. 1st gets a Rare, 2nd gets a common, then 3rd gets a battery, uh sounds like 2nd and 3rd are the 1st 2 losers in the fleet actions. It would make more sense that the top 3 players get a rare and then it scales down. Say 4th and 5th get an uncommon, 6th to 10th get a common, then everyone else gets batteries. Just throwing ideas out there.
especially when this translates to escorts get loot, everyone else get's nothing.
Cryptic really needs to change the way they calculate the leaders in an FA. Crystaline entity had a level 21 escort get buffed by all his friends to farm the FA over and over and pull in the loot. Being able to farm gear that easily is lame.
I liked the WAR way of doing things. You get a roll modifier based on your position in the leaderboard. This way you didn't have to be first to win nice loot, just made it more likely.
The Exploration missions seem to be a good way to get better loot. Especially since you can choose your reward. They even have Dual Beam Banks! Anyhow, I did 2 Exploration missions (explored 6 total systems) and got 2 Rank II ground rifles and a Rank II ship weapon all around level 5-6. Seems like a good way to get some decent gear, at least when you first get into a new ship.
It's slow, but it allows you to pick the rewards you want.
Also, if you have so much cash, you should probably check the Exchange.