Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Outfield Fantasy Rundown

TOP 50

1. Mike Trout
2. Matt Kemp
3. Ryan Braun
4. Bryce Harper

For many, Trout has nowhere to go but down. I disagree. Two things are working in Trout's favor for his sophomore season that were missing in his rookie campaign-- the knowledge acquired from his rookie season, and the addition of Josh Hamilton. The Angels lineup is stacked more so than in 2012, and as a result I'm expecting Trout to build on his historic rookie season. Expect him to finish among the top in stolen bases and lead the league in runs scored.

Harper is an exciting player to watch and one of those players you love to root for. As I mentioned in a previous article (Harper vs. Trout), I would take Harper if I were starting a team today (fantasy or reality). His power potential is unparalleled, outside of possibly Giancarlo Stanton. I see Harper challenging for the NL MVP and finishing among the top five overall players in fantasy by season's end.

5. Andrew McCutchen
6. Carlos Gonzalez
7. Justin Upton

McCutchen is an intriguing player for the 2013 season and beyond. I see his power numbers continuing to grow, as they have every season. I wouldn't be surprised to see McCutchen put up a 35 HR - 35 SB season at all. He is a true superstar in the making, and is a large part of why I believe the Pirates will make the playoffs this season. He's a player I'd love to have on my team (fantasy or reality).

Upton has been on a tear to start the season with a .340 avg and 8 HR through the first 13 games of the season. It seems Upton is taking full advantage of his fresh start in Atlanta, as he has the team off to a  league best 12-1 start. Clearly he has to slow down in terms of the power numbers, but with the lineup around him, expect him to have his best season yet in the pros.

8. Jacoby Ellsbury
9. Josh Hamilton
10. Giancarlo Stanton
12. Yoenis Cespedes
13. Jason Heyward
14. Adam Jones
15. Jose Bautista

We've seen what Ellsbury is capable of doing when healthy over a full season (2011). The guy finished second in the MVP balloting for the season in 2011, hitting for a .321 avg, with 32 HR, 105 RBI, 119 Runs and 39 SB. This being a contract year, I see Ellsbury putting up a similar line. I'd say to expect less HR (around 25), but he will make up for it by swiping 50+ bases. I'm predicting Ellsbury to finish second in the MVP race for a second time in his career.

Hamilton is a hard player to rank for me. He is a great hitter in a great lineup, but I'm not sure how he will take to playing in L.A. I don't know if he has the mentality to be able to succeed, especially with the added pressure of such high expectations. A big contract comes with big expectations, and I'm not sure he can live up to those expectations. With that being said, I still see him putting up 30 HR and 100 RBI. Just don't expect him to go on the tear he had in the first half of last season.

Stanton can thank his team (the Marlins) for his low rank. His #9 rank may not seem low to some people, but this guy has top 3 potential in any other lineup (except maybe the Astros). Stanton has the potential to compete for the MVP award consistently year-in-and-year-out if he can is surrounded by the necessary talent. Myself being a Stanton owner, I'm praying for a trade out of Miami. I think despite his team, he will still put up 35 HR and 90 RBI.

Adam Jones had been a good player in his career up until last year. Last year, he finally took the leap into stardom territory. Jones hasn't disappointed to start off the 2012 season. He has a hit in every game except one and is sporting a .400 avg, 11 RBI and 13 Runs scored through the first 13 games. I'd expect him to build off of his strong 2012 season, and surpass nearly every category.

16. Jay Bruce
17. Adrian Gonzalez
18. Alex Rios
19. Matt Holliday
20. B.J. Upton

Bruce is a power hitter. Plain and simple, he will get you 35 HR and close to 100 RBI every season. The issue with Bruce is he is a .256 career hitter, who I believe has about reached his ceiling. I wouldn't expect to see any big changes in terms of his overall hitting line from what he put up in 2012.

Rios doesn't get the credit he deserves in fantasy circles. I'll be the first to admit that I overlooked him again in fantasy drafts this season, letting him slip too far. After having arguably the best season of his career in 2012, he has started of 2013 in the same fashion. Rios is hitting for a .352 avg, with 4 HR and 3 SB's through the first 14 games of the season. I see him finishing the season with a .300 avg and 25 HR - 25 SB. If you can trade for him, I would.

21. Carl Crawford
22. Allen Craig
23. Starling Marte
24. Desmond Jennings
25. Alex Gordon
26. Ben Zobrist

I listed Crawford on my off-season top value picks list, and so far he hasn't disappointed. Through 14 games, Crawford is hitting .392, with 1 HR, 12 runs scored and 2 SB's. In the current Dodgers lineup, Crawford will finish among the league leaders in runs scored and will offer good stolen base production.

Starling Marte is another name I preached about all off-season. I think Marte with McCutchen will be huge parts of why the Pirates will make the playoffs this season. Marte has started off hot to his 2013 campaign, and I'd expect him to finish with a .300 avg, 20 HR and 30+ SB's.

27. Austin Jackson
28. Michael Bourn
29. Shin-Soo Choo
30. Carlos Gomez
31. Carlos Beltran

My bold statement for Jackson is that he will lead the league in runs scored. How could be not in a lineup featuring Miguel Cabrera, Prince Fielder, Torii Hunter and Victor Martinez? Jackson saw a decrease in his stolen bases last season, but I'd say that is more of an outlier than a trend. Expect a .300 avg, with 15 HR, 130 Runs, and 25 SB.

32. Chris Davis
33. Mark Trumbo
34. Nelson Cruz
35. Josh Willingham
36. Shane Victorino
37. Hunter Pence

Chris Davis started off the season by hitting a HR in his first four games. His power numbers have cooled off a bit, but he is still hitting for a .349 avg., and has 19 RBI through his first 13 games. I'm a fan of the hot start, but I'd expect Davis to cool off a bit. I expect Davis to finish the season with a .275 avg, 35 HR and 90 RBI.

38. Curtis Granderson*
39. Andre Ethier
40. Nick Markakis
41. Norichika Aoki

Curtis Granderson can be a very frustrating player to own. He will put up huge numbers as evidenced by 2011 & 2012, but he has the potential to kill your team's average on a weekly basis as he showed last season (.232 avg). If you're drafting Granderson, you need to be patient while he returns from injury and learn to take the good with the bad.

42. Ichiro Suzuki
43. Torii Hunter
44. Angel Pagan
45. Melky Cabrera
46. Jayson Werth
47. Wil Myers
48. Ben Revere
49. Dexter Fowler
50. Michael Morse

I keep expecting Torii Hunter to slow down, and he keeps proving me wrong. Surrounded by a star studded lineup, I think Hunter can produce a similar line to what he put up last season.

Wil Myers is my number one prospect to watch out for in 2013 and beyond. The Rays always seem to be ahead of the curb in terms of acquiring prospects, and running their farm system. Myers could have close to a Bryce Harper type impact upon his call-up, except I wouldn't expect the pure power numbers right out of the gate.

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