Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Top 10 Fantasy Baseball Outfielders

Article by Jeremy McCabe
SportsWiseGuy Writer

Giancarlo Stanton

    One of my favorite positions on the diamond is outfield. To roam a big league outfield, players either need speed, or a bat that won’t be forgotten. On this list of outfielders, some rare players with rare features called five-tools will be mentioned. To be a five-tool player, a player almost must do everything exceptionally. These players must have phenomenal hit for power, hit for average, fielding ability, throwing ability and speed. This list promises to include some of these players.

10-Matt Holliday
    Remember when this All-Star outfielder was an Athlete? Yeah, neither do I. This 33-year old is entering his tenth season in the bigs and is a career .313 hitter. Since coming to St. Louis three and a half years ago, he hasn’t hit under 22 homeruns and has hit .314. In his career, he has had seven season of over 20 homeruns and five seasons of 100+ RBIs. Having an outfielder on your fantasy team who can hit at an elite level is what you are looking for. Matt also stays on the field, having played at least 120 games in each of his major league seasons. Holliday will get plenty of chances to drive in runs in a great Cardinal lineup. Matt Holliday is consistent, and if you choose him for your fantasy team, you will not be disappointed.

9-Adam Jones
    This two-time Gold Glove winner had his best season as a pro last season. Jones helped Baltimore reach their first playoff berth since 1997. Jones set careers highs in homeruns (32), average (.287), runs (103), hits (186), doubles (39), OBP (.334), and OPS (.839). I know that was a lot, but this player is worth it. Entering his sixth season as an Oriole, Jones is looking to have an even better season this year. Jones posted his second straight 25+ homerun, 82+ RBI season. The 27-year old seems to have been around forever, but he is just coming into his prime, and it will be a beautiful thing to watch. Jones also set a career high in steals with 16 last season and should look to steal more this year. Adam Jones will look great on anybody’s team this year, get him while he’s hot.

8- Josh Hamilton
    I would like to introduce the 2010 MVP and the newest addition to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, Josh Hamilton. There is a reason Texas who two straight American League pennants, Josh Hamilton only failed once to drive in more than 94 RBIs and that was in his injury plagued 2009 season when he only played in 89 games. Hamilton this year will join with another former MVP Albert Pujols and will look to be the scariest 3-4 duo in the league. Last season, he set career highs in homeruns with 43 and runs with 103. His 128 RBIs last season was his second highest mark in his career, only his 2008 season with 130 RBIs were more. With the Rangers, Josh hit 30 or more doubles in every season except one. I am expecting a huge season from Josh Hamilton this season, maybe not as crazy as 43 homeruns, but this .304 career hitter will hit 30 homeruns and drive in many Angels in this upcoming season. When you celebrate your fantasy championship with Josh, remember the apple cider.

7-Jose Bautista
    Jose hits bombs, and a lot of them. The slugger ended last year’s season injured, and only played in 92 games, but he still hit 27 homeruns. That season doesn’t compare to his 2010 and 2011 years, when he hit 54 and 43 homeruns respectively. This three-time All-Star is heading into his fifth season with the Jays and is prepared for his biggest yet, even bigger than when he hit 54 bombs and drove in 124 runs. The Jays loaded up this offseason, and that only helps the cases for all of the Jays hoping to make fantasy teams. Well, Bautista is one of those guys who will benefit from having fellow All-Stars hitting in front and behind him. In his full seasons of 2010 and 2011, he in each season 100+ runs scored, 100+ RBIs, 100+ walks, and an OPS over .995.  I can almost guarantee that Jose Bautista will drive in fellow Jose, Jose Reyes, a bunch of times in 2013. Jose hit .302 in 2011, which is his career high, which I am not expecting. Jose Bautista will hit at least 45 homeruns this season, it doesn’t matter what his average it, he will hit bombs, and help you win.

6-Giancarlo Stanton
    Formerly known as Mike Stanton, Giancarlo has one of the prettiest and powerful swings in the majors. If it weren’t for the Marlins being one of the majors worst teams this season, he may have been a little higher. That being said, Gian still has the potential to hit 50 homeruns. This 23-year old already has 93 career homeruns, and in his three pro seasons, he has never hit under 22. He has improved every season since his rookie year, when he was a Florida Marlin. In his 2011 and 2012 campaigns, he hit 34 then a career high 37 homeruns, and drove in 87 and 86 RBIs. Last season, he also set career highs in average, OBP, Slugging, and OPS. Stanton has rare power when he steps up to the plate. He plays in one of the biggest and ugliest stadiums in the league and that only hurts Stanton, but he still hit absolute bombs last year, like when he broke the scoreboard in left field. He also set a career high with a 12.1 AB/HR which is very impressive. If you have the chance to have Giancarlo on your team you should take it, and know you won’t be lacking power.

5-Carlos Gonzalez
    Cargo is one of those players with all five-tools that you look for in a player. This two-time Gold Glove winner continues to produce each season, and the 3-4 duo of Cargo and Tulowitzki is a very dangerous duo. Cargo recorded his third straight 20+ stolen base season which is very impactful in any fantasy league. The 27-year old hasn’t played in 150 games yet in his short career, which is a red flag, but when he is on the field, he produces. In his last three years, he has averaged 97 runs, 27 homeruns and 98 RBIs while hitting .311. And that is with not playing 150 games in any of those seasons. Cargo is the complete package and he is an elite talent. Of course playing at Coors Field will help Cargo along with any of his fantasy owners. He hit an outrageous .368 last year at Coors. Carlos Gonzalez is a player who will make your fantasy outfield standout. He can do everything at an elite level, and that is why he has the title of a five-tool player.

4- Andrew McCutchen
    Andrew McCutchen had a career year is 2012, not only represented by a Gold Glove and Silver Slugger award, but many broken personal records. Unlike Cargo, Andrew has played in at least 154 in each of the last three seasons. Andrew has also stolen at least 20 bags in each of his four big-league seasons. The center-fielder is a career .290 hitter, hit a career high .327 last season with a .400 OBP. He showed last season that he is a five-tool player, racking up a career high 31 homeruns. He also set career highs in runs (107), hits (194), and RBIs (96). The two-time All-Star does play on a mediocre Pirates team, but he will still put up all of his numbers. McCutchen has a huge ceiling, even though I can never see him hitting more than 35 homeruns, he can easily hit .320-.330 for years to come. He is entering his fifth season and probably is soon entering his peak. Andrew is going to go in the first round in most fantasy drafts this season and will patrol a number one outfield spot. Will you be smart and swipe up this potential MVP?

3-Matt Kemp
    Speaking of five-tool players, Matt Kemp is one of the best. Last season, Kemp only played in 106 games because of injury, but still hit 23 homeruns. Two-years removed from being runner-up in the MVP race, Kemp was one homerun away from his first 40-40 season. His actually stats from his amazing 2011 season were .324 average, 39 homeruns, 126 RBIs, with 195 hits and 115 runs. The dude is a stud. Before being injured in 2012, Matt played in at least 155 games in four-straight seasons, which is great for fantasy owners, knowing he could be in there every day. Looking forward to the 2013 season, Kemp will be hitting in a stacked lineup including many ex-Red Sox. If Matt Kemp can stay on the field this year, which I am fully anticipating, he has the chance to pursue the rare 40-40 season. He is currently on a streak on four consecutive seasons with at least 23 homeruns, and he hit that 23 in his injury season last year. Kemp will be off the board very fast in upcoming drafts, and he will look great on anybody’s team. Fully healthy, an MVP candidate every season he plays.

2- Mike Trout
    2012 Rookie of the Year, Mike Trout, is one of the best talents in baseball at the young age of 21. Going into his second full season, Trout had one of the best rookie years in MLB history. If Miguel Cabrera didn’t have a Triple Crown year, then the award probably would’ve gone to Trout. Nobody knows the ceiling for Trout. Not only is he only of the best players in the game, but he is the most dynamic leadoff hitters in the game. Here is his stat line from last season, 129 runs scored, 182 hits, 30 homeruns, 83 RBIs, .326 average with a .399 OBP, oh and he had 49 steals only being caught five times. He is a stud and is in contention for the number one overall fantasy pick this season. Being in a lineup where you are the table-setter for the likes of Albert Pujols (former MVP), Josh Hamilton (former MVP) and Mark Trumbo is a beautiful thing for not only the hitters in that lineup, not only for the fans of the Angels, but for Mike Trout fantasy owners. I had the privilege of having Trout on my team last season and boy, would I love to have him on my team this season. Mike Trout has the ability to carry your fantasy team for weeks, and I have experienced that. Trout is in the mix as one of the best five-tool players we have in the game, and last season was his rookie year, that’s scary. 

1-Ryan Braun
    This former Rookie of the Year, MVP and five-time consecutive Silver Slugger award winner Ryan Braun is one of the best players in baseball. He is the face of the Brewers for the present, and the very long future. Braun has played in at least 150 games in each of the past five seasons, and has driven in at least 103 runs in those seasons with at least 35 doubles. He has had at least 187 hits in each of the last four seasons and has scored at least 101 runs in those seasons. In his six big-league seasons he has only hit under 30 homeruns once, and it was 25 in 2010. He has only hit under .300 once and that was in 2008 when he hit .285. The most underrated part of Braun’s game is his stolen base ability. He’s had two straight years of at least 30, and is looking to extend that streak this season. His career lows for runs scored is 91 and RBIs is 97. That is unheard of. And both of those were in his rookie season, which was 2007. His career low OPS (On-base plus Slugging) is .866. The man can flat out hit. He is one of the most likable guys in the league on and off the field and he is what you are looking for to build your team around. If you have the fourth overall pick this season, you may be too late for Braun, which is unfortunate. With Ryan Braun on your team, your team is already in a pretty good place.   

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