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2012 RotoRob MLB Draft Kit: Outfield Rankings

March 1, 2012 | By RotoRob | comment on this post
Michael Bourn will burn up the basepaths for the Atlanta Braves.
Need speed from your outfielder? Michael Bourn’s your man.

By RotoRob and Tim McLeod

And the 2012 RotoRob MLB Draft Kit is back with yet another cheat sheet! So while you marvel at the latest chapter in the Red Sox-Yankees rivalry, let’s take a look at the top 145 outfielders in Fantasy baseball for 2012. Yes, we said 145!

The outfield position is one in which you can find depth and myriad options in 2012. The first round leads off with some of the best five-category bats in the game in the likes of Matt Kemp, Ryan Braun, Jacoby Ellsbury, Justin Upton and Carlos Gonzalez. Let’s also not forget about the enormous power potential of two of the best young bats in the game in Mike Stanton and Jay Bruce. Michael Bourn, Brett Gardner, Cameron Maybin and Coco Crisp all bring 40+ stolen base potential to the table. 

The young guns are led by the likes of Desmond Jennings, Peter Bourjos, Ben Revere and, quite possibly, that Bryce Harper dude in Washington. The list of sleeper candidates is long with some of my personal favourites being Nolan Reimold, J.D. Martinez, Denard Span, and John Mayberry, Jr.
For those of you playing the position scarcity game, the outfield will be your last course to steer. And for those of you missing out on the elite shortstop and third base options, the outfield will be your salvation.

Last year’s rankings are in parentheses.

1. Matt Kemp, Los Angeles Dodgers (6): Kemp may have been robbed of the NL MVP after his historic season last year, but he would not be denied the honour of being named the 2011 RotoRob Fantasy Baseball Stud of the Year. The Dodgers rewarded of the game’s best with a whopping eight-year, $160-million extension and now he’s got to figure out a way to top one of the greatest seasons in recent memory. Where do you start with Kemp’s 2011? How about a career-high 115 runs despite having to hit in a lacklustre lineup? How about a career-best 195 hits as part of a near Triple- Crown season? Oh, and then there’s the fact that he fell one dinger shy of joining the ultra-rare 40-40 club. Kemp will probably strike out a few more times this season, but another 30-30 season at the very least seems like a slam dunk assuming he stays healthy. Kemp’s performance last year far outstripped the investment you had to make; considering what you’ll have to pay this year, he’ll be hard-pressed to do so again.

2. Ryan Braun, Milwaukee Brewers (1): Braun somehow avoided the 50-game drug suspension, winning his appeal, and that news obviously greatly affected his place on this list (we had him at No. 11 before he dodged the bullet). Last year, despite missing a few more games than usual, Braun exploded with an MVP season, joining the 30-30 club and experiencing a big bounce back in extra-base sock. We expect him to crank around 35 homers with 115 RBI and 25 steals; he’s smack dab in the middle of his power prime years, so the fact that he won’t have to lose a third of this season is huge. And for owners lucky enough to have snagged Braun at a discount before he won his appeal – we congratulate you.

3. Jacoby Ellsbury, Boston Red Sox (19): Ellsbury was in contention as our Fantasy Stud of the Year in 2011, after being one of just five players last year to hit at least .300 with at least 45 doubles and at least 20 dingers. Finally fully healthy last year, Ellsbury set a career high in at-bats – and in almost every counting stat. Most impressively, his power spiked and he drove in 105 runs as a leadoff man while morphing into a 30-30 player. He continued to swipe plenty of bases, but wasn’t as successful at it as usual. Still, it’s reasonable to wonder if he was perhaps the most valuable Fantasy asset among all AL players last year after putting up a whopping .230 isolated power mark. Ellsbury was especially a monster in the second half, hitting almost .330, slugging .625 and spanking 21 dingers. That makes us wonder if he may actually build on the power breakout of 2011.

4. Carlos Gonzalez, Colorado Rockies (2): Gonzalez failed to build on his huge 2010 last year, yet we still projected him as a top 10 pick back in October. Of course, a wrist issue which cost him several weeks was a big reason why CarGo’s numbers slipped, but the news wasn’t all bad. He cut his strikeout rate, reached 20 steals for the second straight year, and while his BA wasn’t anywhere near as good as it was in 2010, it was still pretty sweet. Even only partially healthy, Gonzalez pretty much carried the Rox offense and we’re expecting his BA to head back over .300 this season. One thing that would help is a better performance away from Coors. Last year, Gonzalez’ OPS was almost 250 points lower on the road. That will need to change if he’s going to return to true elite status.

5. Jose Bautista, Toronto Blue Jays (18): For Bautista’s profile, see our Third Base Rankings.

6. Justin Upton, Arizona Diamondbacks (14): Upton took home his first Silver Slugger last year after not only staying healthy for once, but enjoying a major breakthrough. He set career highs in almost every cat, scoring a whopping 105 runs and exhibiting his finest extra-base pop yet. Upton is just 24, yet is already a two-time All-Star and should settle in as a perennial 30-homer man going forward, with greater upside potential as he nears his power prime in a few seasons.

7. Mike Stanton, Miami Marlins (22): As discussed in our Marlins’ 2011 Team Review, Stanton is on the cusp of superstardom. In his first full season in the bigs, the youngster took a big step forward offensively, and even at the age of 22, he’s already an elite power hitter. We love the fact that his walk rate rose, and while he regressed on the basepaths, Stanton is all about the long ball and it wouldn’t completely surprise us if he took home an MVP award very soon – perhaps as soon as this season. Expect a slightly better BA and a run at 40 dingers, with plenty more to come in a few seasons when he gets closer to his power prime.

8. Josh Hamilton, Texas Rangers (4): The biggest story of Hamilton’s offseason was his alcohol relapse, an issue we covered in a recent Podcast. Texas again plans to play him in left field to avoid the physical demands of playing centre for its fragile star. With Hamilton missing over 40 games with injuries last year, his counting numbers regressed from his 2010 MVP campaign. Unfortunately, he wasn’t nearly as effective overall as his extra-base pop slipped and his slash line was down significantly. Owners have to pray that the drinking doesn’t flare up again, or an already risky player will become a nightmare for Fantasy purposes. Still, we’re projecting another productive season – especially considering Hamilton’s a pending free agent after 2012, so he should be highly motivated.

9. Curtis Granderson, New York Yankees (27): Granderson broke through last season to earn his first Silver Slugger nod and he is once again expected to occupy the two-hole for the Bronx Bombers. Last season, his isolated power went through the roof and he also drew walks at a higher rate than ever. As an added bonus, after a down year in 2010, Granderson’s speed bounced back and he reached 25 steals for the second time in his career. Unfortunately, his strikeout rate was up, but that was offset by the boost in walks and pop.

10. Andrew McCutchen, Pittsburgh Pirates (8): The centrepiece of a solid young outfield in Pittsburgh, McCutchen took a nice step forward, power-wise, in 2011, although his work on the basepaths regressed for the second straight season. Overall, it was a season of modest growth and one of these days, McCutchen is going to put it all together and explode into a Fantasy stud. Expect more steals and a better average from the budding star this season, and who knows? The little dude may continue to increase his power numbers and make a run at 25-25 or even 30-30, especially if his SB success rate improves.

11. Jay Bruce, Cincinnati Reds (11): Bruce is heading into his fifth big league season and he’s not even 25 yet, which means he is still a couple years away from his power prime – a scary thought for NL pitchers. Last year, he had more at-bats than ever, responding with career highs in almost every category, although his slash line was down quite a bit from 2010. If he can stay in the lineup as much as last year, and equal or surpass his 2010 percentages, Bruce will enjoy a monster year in 2012. His batting eye rebounded slightly last year, but real growth in this area will be necessary for him to bring his BA up. Bruce has arrived in camp this spring 15 pounds lighter, so that should help him stay healthy. If he can play at least 150 games again, we’re expecting him to set a few more career highs this season.

12. Matt Holliday, St. Louis Cardinals (5): Right from the very beginning of the season, Holliday dealt with his share of injuries last year. Still, when he was active, he was pretty effective, although he wound up with his lowest RBI total since his rookie season. Holliday will need to be far more productive this year as the Cards are counting on him doing his share to help replace the departed Albert Pujols. If he’s going to do so, he’ll need to cut down on a strikeout rate that soared last year. Holliday’s track record speaks for itself, and while he’s clearly in decline, as long as he remains healthier, he should be in line for another solid season this year.

13. Hunter Pence, Philadelphia Phillies (12): Pence was moved to Philly at the deadline last year, a trade which we analyzed in a Podcast in early August. The intense outfielder was having a big season for the Astros, even upping his walk rate, but he took it to a new level after arriving in Philadelphia, scoring and driving in a whopping 35 runs in just 54 games. All told, last year was Pence’s finest yet, as he set a new career high with 190 hits, upped his extra-base pop and did a superb job of getting on base. He’s immediately become a leader on the Phils, and we’re expecting his home run total to go up in a full season at Citizen’s Bank Park. One caveat: don’t expect him to enjoy a .361 BABIP again, meaning Pence will be hard pressed to put up another BA of .314 like he did last year. Expect about 20 points lower, and consider anything more a bonus.

14. Nelson Cruz, Texas Rangers (10): When Cruz gets hot, like he did in the ALCS, the dude is an absolute monster. Unfortunately, his incessant hamstring issues have kept him sidelined regularly as he is still seeking his first career 130-game season. Cruz actually managed to stay healthy enough to set a career high in at-bats last year, but his overall work at the plate wasn’t nearly as solid as it had been in 2010. The hammies are also hurting his ability to be a solid basestealer, as he’s gone from 20-for-24 three seasons ago, to 17-for-21 two years ago and just 9-for-14 last year, a worrisome trend in terms of his frequency and success rate on the basepaths. If he sees the time, Cruz is a great bet to top 30 dingers and the fact that he did a lot of work this offseason to increase his leg strength is promising. But you know the drill here: Cruz is a major injury risk who can molest the ball when he’s feeling it.

15. Shane Victorino, Philadelphia Phillies (24): A year ago, we put Victorino just inside the top 25, saying his slash line kept dropping as his power rose. Well, last year the All-Star flyhawk reversed that trend, taking his extra-base power to a new level, while also improving his BA and OBP. The end result is a top 15 outfielder this season after Victorino scored a whopping 95 runs despite missing 30 games and he enjoyed his finest season yet at the plate, thanks in large part to his best walk rate ever. Most encouraging was that his BA bounced back despite a somewhat low BABIP, suggesting there’s even more room for growth this season. We could be looking at a .285 hitter with close to 20 homers and upwards of 25 steals. Not too shabby, huh?

16. Lance Berkman, St. Louis Cardinals (26 at 1B): For Berkman’s profile, see our First Base Rankings.

17. Shin-Soo Choo, Cleveland Indians (7): Choo had been remarkably consistently until injuries and ineffectiveness derailed his 2011. He missed almost 60 games with a strained side muscle that sent him to the DL twice, his power dried up and he struggled on the basepaths. A slugging percentage of just .390? Really? The dude was rock solid in the two previous seasons, and we’re banking on a recovery, so don’t be afraid to jump on the Choo (Choo) train. He should be productive while helping your team’s power and speed numbers. But can he bounce back to .300? That may be a tougher battle.

18. Carl Crawford, Boston Red Sox (3): Crawford’s horrendous debut in Boston has been well-documented and to make matters worse, wrist surgery could keep him out until May this year. However, that might make him a decent buy-low opportunity, as we discussed in a recent Podcast. Where do we start with his crappy 2011? A hand injury cost him nearly a month, severely cutting into counting cats that were already down. He hit a career low .255 and his extra-base pop plummeted after a career best showing in 2010. Hell, Crawford didn’t even reach 20 steals. This dude was a first round fixture and you’ll never get him cheaper. You have to know the pop, speed and average will all bounce back, so don’t be afraid to roll the dice on Crawford this spring.

19. Michael Morse, Washington Nationals (96): For Morse’s profile, see our First Base Rankings.

20. B.J. Upton, Tampa Bay Rays (21): Despite the trade rumours, Upton remains a life-long Ray even after getting beat by them in arbitration in 2010. Last year, he stayed healthy enough to match his career high in at-bats and he continued to dig his way back in the wake of his awful 2009 season. That .300 season in 2007 was the clear outlier, but when it comes to power and speed, Upton delivers. Considering he’s entering his prime power season, this could be the year Upton makes a run at 30-30, but even if he never tops 25 dingers, you’ve got to love the speed as he’s averaged 41 swipes per season over the past four years. There are some that believe Upton won’t be as productive this season, but we think he’ll be more productive than ever.

21. Alex Gordon, Kansas City Royals (93): Suddenly one of the leaders on a young and improving Royals’ squad, Gordon finally broke out last year – in a big way. He made great overall strides as a hitter and flashed more extra-base pop than ever. Shockingly, no Royal has ever hit more than the 36 dingers Steve Balboni swatted in 1985. Gordon is right in his power prime years, so if he can build on that and some of his whopping 45 doubles can leave the yard, he could make a run at that record. That may be asking a lot, though. If Gordon can reach 30 homers, that would have to considered a big bonus. The downside is that he won’t be eligible at 3B anymore even in those formats that rewarded him last year for the 10 games he played there in 2010.

22. Desmond Jennings, Tampa Bay Rays (82): One of the top waiver wire pickups in the AL last season, Jennings is part of what should be a stellar sophomore class this season. He flashed more power than we expected, was quite productive and – as expected – was a superb source of steals. Clearly, a full season worth of Jennings is going to make a big difference to the Rays’ offense, and he’s going to provide more RBI than you’d expect out of a leadoff man, so don’t be afraid to reach for him a little earlier to ensure he winds up on your team.

23. Michael Bourn, Atlanta Braves (41): Bourn enjoyed a strong enough season that we thought he might have even deserved a Silver Slugger. In points-based leagues, Bourn is especially valuable because of all the steals he accumulates. Last year, he took a nice step forward as a hitter with Houston, and while he continued to pile up the runs and steals with Atlanta, he wasn’t as effective as a Brave. Overall, Bourn flashed a bit more extra-base pop last year and he certainly enjoyed his most productive campaign, but for him, it’s all about the swipes and a career-high tying 61 thefts made his owners very happy. He’s entering his walk year, and with no contract extension talks scheduled, Bourn will be gunning for a new deal with his play this year. Expect another 50+ steals from him this season, but his BA is likely to regress closer to his normal career level. A full season hitting atop the Braves’ order should do wonders for his run total, though.

24. Adam Jones, Baltimore Orioles (36): As we discussed recently, the Orioles’ decision to keep Jones could turn out to be very prudent. This dude is still very much on the upward trajectory of his career, and is on the verge of becoming a serious stud. His power reached new heights last year, and while his BA slipped slightly, it was still an overall season of growth. Jones helps owners across the board, and his pedestrian run total from last year should improve as the Orioles’ lineup matures. We’re expecting him to enjoy his most productive season this year and if the Orioles are wise, they will lock up this talented youngster to a long-term extension.

25. Jayson Werth, Washington Nationals (9): While Werth was better in the second half, last year was still a major, major disappointment for him, his Fantasy owners and especially the Nats who shelled out a crapload of cash for him last winter. Worse yet, they gave him a no-trade clause. Oops. The right-handed hitter really scuffled against lefties, putting up just a 675 OPS against southpaws, and that will have to be fixed if he’s going to bounce back anywhere near where he was in 2010. Werth’s 2.5 WAR was his lowest since 2005, his final season before coming to Philly and developing into a masher. Will be return to his 2010 form? Probably not. But no way can Werth again be as bad as he was last year. Right?

26. Ichiro Suzuki, Seattle Mariners (20): We are kind of hoping the addition of fellow Japanese player Munenori Kawasaki will help reinvigorate Ichiro this season after he really struggled in 2011. The bigger shock is that he’s finally acquiesced and allowed the Mariners to shift him out of the leadoff spot – to the three-hole. This is going to translate into more RBI than were accustomed to seeing from Ichiro, but he really doesn’t have the power profile you associate with this spot in the order. Of course, the flipside is that his run total – and probably his steals as well – will drop with this move. After 11 seasons as one of the major’s top leadoff men, seeing how Suzuki adapts to hitting third is going to be one of the more interesting stories to watch this season. Can he suddenly start hitting for more power? Judging by his more open batting stance this spring, that’s one of his goals. We’ll see how it plays out.

27. Ben Zobrist, Tampa Bay Rays (48): For Zobrist’s profile, see our Second Base Rankings.

28. Michael Cuddyer, Colorado Rockies (63): For Cuddyer’s profile, see our First Base Rankings.

29. Carlos Beltran, St. Louis Cardinals (51): Beltran’s chances of success are something we covered in a recent Podcast after his move to St. Louis. He must be in a good mood after his big comeback effort, because Beltran has agreed to cough up 10 Gs to pay for former teammate Jonathan Niese’s nose job. Last year, Beltran rediscovered his extra-base stroke with the Mets and then was even better after arriving in San Francisco as a rental in a deadline deal. Overall, he put up his most at-bats since 2008 and returned to .300 after struggling to a .255 mark in an injury-plagued 2010. The former Royal great is a lock to hit 20 or more homers and it’s reasonable to expect his speed to come back somewhat this season.

30. Andre Ethier, Los Angeles Dodgers (16): Ethier suffered through a third straight season of decline and had his campaign cut short by a knee injury. His extra-base pop really fell off the table and he didn’t even contribute his usual sprinkling of steals. Blick. Ethier’s walk rate bounced back, giving him extra value in OBP-leagues, but if he doesn’t reverse this power slide, he’s in danger of becoming an empty batting average type of player. On the plus side, he’s heading into his contract season, so there’s plenty of incentive for him to get his shit together, so we’re expecting his slugging to return – at least somewhat. Keeper league owners that were on the fence about keeping him should consider these factors heading into 2012.

31. Corey Hart, Milwaukee Brewers (26): As we discussed in our Milwaukee Brewers 2011 season review, Hart was a beast against lefties and wound up third on the Brewers with 26 dingers. With Prince Fielder gone, Hart will be expected to continue to provide big power numbers and for that to happen, he’ll need to stay healthier than he was last year. Injuries reduced most of his counting stats, but overall he enjoyed a fine season. The fact that Braun’s suspension was overturned is good news for Hart as he’ll have more protection in the lineup. We think he’s a cinch for another 25-dinger campaign, and if he can stick in the lineup for 150 games, 30 is definitely within reach.

32. Coco Crisp, Oakland Athletics (50): Crisp had interest from the Orioles among other teams, but finally opted to return to the A’s as a free agent this winter, part of a busy offseason in Oakland. While he stayed healthier last year, overall (from a slash line standpoint) it was his worst season since 2003, which was his first full year in the majors. His extra-base sock declined dramatically, although he did make better contact and enjoyed a career year on the basepaths. Perhaps being reunited with former teammate Manny Ramirez will spark Crisp to a comeback this season, because if he can up his walk rate and do a better job of getting on base, he’ll steal a crapload of bases. The Oakland outfield – so wanting a few months ago – sure looks like a crowded place now with Crisp back and the additions of Yoenis Cespedes, Collin Cowgill, Josh Reddick, Jonny Gomes and Seth Smith this winter.

33. Jason Heyward, Atlanta Braves (15): Shoulder issues really limited Heyward’s ability to hit with power last year and as a result he suffered through a serious sophomore slump. But this kid is just 22 and has come to camp this spring with fire in his eyes as he looks to bounce back from that debacle. With time missed due to injury, Heyward’s counting numbers were down significantly and he suffered a regression in his batting eye after an impressive showing in that department as a rookie. Whether he can emerge as the superstar we all expected will be a key to Atlanta getting back to the playoffs, and that remains to be seen, but we’re expecting him to put up his first 20-homer season this year with plenty of room for growth down the road as he matures physically.

34. Brett Gardner, New York Yankees (42): The AL’s co-leader in steals last year, Gardner is apparently a pretty big video gamer, but the question is: does he read RotoRob for the latest on video games? Last year, he saw more action than ever, but his walk rate dropped significantly, bringing down his percentages. Imagine how many bases Gardner would have swiped had he gotten at base at the same clip as he had in 2010. We’re expecting a bounce back from him in that department this year, and that will likely translate into his first 50-steal campaign.

35. Chris Young, Arizona Diamondbacks (25): Young is brimming with tools, although he’s been besieged by inconsistency throughout his career. Last year, plenty of his homers turned into doubles, but he jacked his walk rate up to new career heights. We’re expecting a bit more productivity out of the centre fielder this season, and his home run total should rebound after a down year in 2011.

36. Logan Morrison, Miami Marlins (54): Morrison took home some hardware this winter as our Twit of the Year, underscoring his fractured relationship with the Marlins. But that’s apparently a thing of the past; Miami has even unretired No. 5 so Morrison can wear the number this season in honour of his late father. Last year, he improved his extra-base pop, but struggled to get on base after posting such promising on-base numbers as a rookie. Still a social media maven, Morrison’s overall 2011 season was a disappointment, and while his power numbers may regress, his slash line should bounce back big time this year. It’s highly doubtful he’ll hit under .250 again in 2012.

37. Peter Bourjos, Los Angeles Angels (84): Last year, Bourjos emerged as one of the top waiver wire picks among AL outfielders. He took a big step forward offensively, and that second half slugging percentage of almost .500 really intrigues us. Bourjos will need to improve his contact rates to take his game to the next level, but we’re expecting him to build on the gains he made in his walk rate last year, which will help offset things if his strikeout rate isn’t held in check. He’s rumoured to be on the trade block as the Angels try to wedge all their 1B/DH/OF types into one lineup, so that’s something to keep an eye on this spring.

38. Drew Stubbs, Cincinnati Reds (23): As we discussed in our Cincinnati Reds 2011 team review, it was a good news, bad news year for Stubbs. Clearly, he has tools galore, but the combination of a step back in power and a rise in strikeouts is never a good sign. The swipes are sweet, though, and Stubbs remains among the most intriguing power-speed dudes in the game. On a deeper Reds team, Stubbs may not see as much action this year, and that could hurt his counting cats, especially since his awful contact rate got him jettisoned out of the leadoff spot last year, which obviously affected the number of plate appearances he received.

39. Cameron Maybin, San Diego Padres (87): Long considered a bit of a bust, Maybin finally showed some nice development when given the opportunity in San Diego last season. He was more productive and made better contact. Best of all for his Fantasy owners, Maybin flashed tremendous wheels, swiping a whopping 40 bases after totalling just 19 in his first four seasons (all partial campaigns). His batting eye remains a work in progress, but at least it’s heading in the right direction. Maybin is still just 24 and there’s power upside here as well, so don’t be shy about reaching for him a little earlier if you’re a believer. We’re expecting him to be even more productive this season, and while he may never hit for a high average, his speed and burgeoning power are very attractive qualities.

40. Howard Kendrick, Los Angeles Angels (NR): For Kendrick’s profile, see our Second Base Rankings.

41. Dexter Fowler, Colorado Rockies (56): In July, we suggested you pluck Fowler off the waiver wire, and we hope you took our advice as he enjoyed a big second half (879 OPS). Fowler, who turns 26 next month, needs to take a big step forward this season if he’s going to be a star. Limited to 125 games last season thanks to an abdominal injury and subsequent stint in Triple-A, Fowler did take a step forward from an extra-base and productivity perspective, but the whopping strikeout rate is unacceptable for a dude that’s never threatened double digits in home runs. He could still be a fine leadoff man if he can make better contact – which will especially be necessary because we doubt he’s going to walk more than he did last year.

42. Carlos Lee, Houston Astros (44): For Lee’s profile, see our First Base Rankings.

43. Nick Markakis, Baltimore Orioles (46): When we ranked Markakis 46th heading into the 2011 season, we bemoaned his major drop off in power. Well, his home run total rebounded slightly in 2011, but his overall power dipped for a third straight season. What’s the dealio here? After showing power potential early in his career, Markakis’s pop has been waning as he headed into his power prime. Uh… okay. He’s durable, we’ll give him that, but it’s clear the poised-for-stardom level he set in 2006-07 was an outlier. The other big worry is that Markakis’ patience has slipped along with his power – and no doubt there’s a real connection there. It was nice to see him cut his strikeout rate last year, and we’re expecting Markakis’ walk rate to bounce back this year, something which should translate into a few more homers and a slightly better BA.

44. Emilio Bonifacio, Miami Marlins (NR): For Bonifacio’s profile, see our Shortstop Rankings. He is also listed in our Third Base Rankings.

45. Nick Swisher, New York Yankees (33): Several teams sniffed around regarding Swisher’s availability this winter, but the Yanks opted to keep him. He’s entering his contract year and has reported to camp not only lighter, but also bulked up, muscle wise as he looks to bounce back after a down season in 2011. Last year, he played exactly 150 games for the fourth time in five seasons, but his extra-base pop dipped for the second straight season and he wasn’t quite as productive as he’d been in 2010. On the plus side, Swisher’s batting eye was much better, and while that didn’t manifest itself a better BA, it was a positive sign. Unless Swisher has a monster year, the Yanks will probably let him walk as they try to get under the luxury tax by 2014. We’re expecting Swisher’s BA to continue to regress this year, so he better put up some big power numbers if he wants a major payday.

46. Carlos Quentin, San Diego Padres (38): The Padres acquired Quentin this winter in a deal we’re still scratching our heads over, as discussed in a recent Podcast. For the White Sox, it was a great move – not only get rid of a big salary, but open a spot for promising youngster Dayan Viciedo. Last year, Quentin’s walk rate regressed, but his extra-base pop continued to rebound – when he was active, that is. The injury-prone veteran now moves from a great hitter’s park to one of the worst in the game, so we don’t need to tell you how that affects his Fantasy value. As a righty, however, he won’t as burned by Petco as much as left-handed hitters have been, so that’s good news. Still, Quentin’s homer output could drop to 20 even if he stays healthier, and that drops him into a low-end fourth outfielder in standard leagues. While San Diego may have been better served giving Kyle Blanks a legitimate shot, it is now saddled with an injury-prone veteran. Nice rebuilding effort there, guys.

47. Torii Hunter, Los Angeles Angels (28): When we last checked in on Hunter in early-June, things weren’t going so well for him. Well, he really scuffled his way through the rest of that month, and wasn’t much better in July. However, Hunter really turned things on in August and continued to hit well in September to somewhat salvage his season. He stayed healthy enough to see his most at-bats since coming to LA, and he actually scored a decent amount of runs considering how lame the Halo attack was last year. On the downside, Hunter had his highest strikeout rate since 2002, lowest OPS since 2003 and a WAR of just 2.5. At the age of 36, he’s clearly in decline, and while he had the highest walk rate of his career in 2011, we’re expecting some regression in that department this season. You’ll be able to grab Hunter around the 18th round this spring, and it’s reasonable to assume he’ll be good for another 20-homer season or two before his power begins to fade as well.

48. Alex Rios, Chicago White Sox (13): Rios’ horrific 2011 season earned him consideration as the 2011 RotoRob Fantasy Baseball Dud of the Year. The good news is you’ll be able to get him dirt cheap this spring, and he’s a talented enough player to gamble on that he’ll enjoy a nice bounce back. Overall ineptitude earned Rios a few more days on the bench last year and his batting eye slipped slightly. But a season removed from 20+ homers, nearly 35 steals and a .284 BA, Rios failed to reach 15-15 and his BA plummeted to career depths. This is a dude that was dynamite in his final three seasons in Toronto before being claimed by the Pale Hose. But given his inconsistent performance in Chicago, you begin to understand why the Jays were willing to put him on waivers. Still, we’re expecting much better results in his counting cats this year and there’s no way in hell his slash line doesn’t make a major recovery.

49. Denard Span, Minnesota Twins (37): Span dealt with concussion issues last year, something the Twins know all too much about given the woes of Justin Morneau. Limited to less than half a season of action, Span didn’t hit poorly, and his extra-base pop – limited that it is – bounced back a bit. Unfortunately, his usually strong batting eye slipped to career worst levels. Now that he’s healthy, you can expect a big recovery in his counting stats this season.

50. Vernon Wells, Los Angeles Angels (30): Wells’ first season in LA didn’t go well, something we chronicled in depth very early in the season. He was better in May (although he missed most of the month and part of the next with a groin injury) and did pretty well in June, but then slumped for another two months before finishing decently in September. The injury helped restrict Wells’ counting numbers to career worst levels and his extra-base pop was poopy. His walk rate fell off the table as well, and while he’s slated to be the starting LF for the Halos, the leash won’t as long this year – even if he does make a ridiculous amount of cash. The Angels just have too many options to remain as patient as they did in his awful 2011 campaign. We can see Wells’ extra-base power slipping even further this season, but it’s hard to imagine him struggling through another .214 BABIP this season, so his BA, at the very least, should recover.

Others to Consider

51. Alfonso Soriano, Chicago Cubs (57)
52. Jason Kubel, Arizona Diamondbacks (45)
53. J.D. Martinez, Houston Astros (NR)
54. Bryce Harper, Washington Nationals (NR)
55. Josh Willingham, Minnesota Twins (81)
56. Matt Joyce, Tampa Bay Rays (69)
57. Melky Cabrera, San Francisco Giants (NR)
58. Ben Revere, Minnesota Twins (NR)
59. Delmon Young, Detroit Tigers (17)
60. Austin Jackson, Detroit Tigers (43)
61. Jason Bay, New York Mets (40)
62. Angel Pagan, San Francisco Giants (47)
63. Lucas Duda, New York Mets (NR): For Duda’s profile, see our First Base Rankings.
64. Jose Tabata, Pittsburgh Pirates (55)
65. Alejandro De Aza, Chicago White Sox (NR)
66. Dayan Viciedo, Chicago White Sox (42 at 3B)
67. Jeff Francoeur, Kansas City Royals (107)
68. John Mayberry, Jr., Philadelphia Phillies (NR)
69. Allen Craig, St. Louis Cardinals (NR)
70. Aubrey Huff, San Francisco Giants (32): Huff is also listed in our First Base Rankings.
71. Martin Prado, Atlanta Braves (NR): For Prado’s profile, see our Third Base Rankings.
72. Colby Rasmus, Toronto Blue Jays (29)
73. Seth Smith, Oakland Athletics (74)
74. Nolan Reimold, Baltimore Orioles (NR)
75. Brandon Belt, San Francisco Giants (NR): Belt is also listed in our First Base Rankings.
76. Yoenis Cespedes, Oakland A’s (NR)
77. Brennan Boesch, Detroit Tigers (76)
78. Lorenzo Cain, Kansas City Royals (78): Cain didn’t play enough games to qualify anywhere in the bigs, but he played exclusively in the outfield in the minors and has previously qualified at this position.
79. Eric Thames, Toronto Blue Jays (NR)
80. Grady Sizemore, Cleveland Indians (34)
81. Alex Presley, Pittsburgh Pirates (NR)
82. Bobby Abreu, Los Angeles Angels (31)
83. Luke Scott, Tampa Bay Rays (5 at DH)
84. Jason Bourgeois, Houston Astros (NR)
85. Raul Ibanez, New York Yankees (67)
86. Juan Rivera, Los Angeles Dodgers (90): Rivera is also listed in our First Base Rankings.
87. Michael Brantley, Cleveland Indians (86)
88. Mitch Moreland, Texas Rangers: Moreland is also listed in our First Base Rankings.
89. Mike Trout, Los Angeles Angels (NR)
90. Will Venable, San Diego Padres (58)
91. Franklin Gutierrez, Seattle Mariners (60)
92. Jordan Schafer, Houston Astros (NR)
93. Chris Heisey, Cincinnati Reds (NR)
94. Hideki Matsui, Free agent (4 at DH)
95. David Murphy, Texas Rangers (97)
96. Cody Ross, Boston Red Sox (71)
97. Endy Chavez, Baltimore Orioles (NR)
98. Rajai Davis, Toronto Blue Jays (35)
99. Marlon Byrd, Chicago Cubs (75)
100. Mike Carp, Seattle Mariners (NR): Carp is also listed in our First Base Rankings.
101. David DeJesus, Chicago Cubs (88)
102. Josh Reddick, Oakland Athletics (NR)
103. Garrett Jones, Pittsburgh Pirates (64): Jones is also listed in our First Base Rankings.
104. Juan Pierre, Philadelphia Phillies (39)
105. Ryan Raburn, Detroit Tigers (52): For Raburn’s profile, see our Second Base Rankings.
106. Nyjer Morgan, Milwaukee Brewers (89)
107. Andres Torres, New York Mets (49)
108. Ryan Ludwick, Cincinnati Reds (61)
109. Jon Jay, St. Louis Cardinals (103)
110. Carlos Gomez, Milwaukee Brewers (85)
111. Julio Borbon, Texas Rangers (92)
112. Ryan Sweeney, Boston Red Sox (101)
113. Norichika Aoki, Milwaukee Brewers (NR)
114. Ty Wigginton, Philadelphia Phillies (NR): Wigginton is also listed in our First Base and Third Base Rankings.
115. Brian Bogusevic, Houston Astros (NR)
116. Roger Bernadina, Washington Nationals (102)
117. Gerardo Parra, Arizona Diamondbacks (98)
118. Willie Bloomquist, Arizona Diamondbacks (NR): Bllomquist is also listed in our Shortstop Rankings.
119. Andruw Jones, New York Yankees (NR)
120. Nate Schierholtz, San Francisco Giants (NR)
121. Trayvon Robinson, Seattle Mariners (NR)
122. Eric Young, Jr., Colorado Rockies (40 at 2B)
123. Tony Campana, Chicago Cubs (NR)
124. Craig Gentry, Texas Rangers (NR)
125. Travis Snider, Toronto Blue Jays (72)
126. Magglio Ordonez, Free agent (59)
127. Tony Gwynn, Jr., Los Angeles Dodgers (NR)
128. Sam Fuld, Tampa Bay Rays (NR)
129. Collin Cowgill, Oakland Athletics (NR)
130. Laynce Nix, Philadelphia Phillies (NR)
131. Rick Ankiel, Washington Nationals (NR)
132. Tyler Colvin, Colorado Rockies (70)
133. Jerry Hairston, Jr., Los Angeles Dodgers (NR): Hairston is also listed in our Second Base and Third Base Rankings.
134. Brent Lillibridge, Chicago White Sox (NR): Lillibridge is also listed in our First Base Rankings.
135. Charlie Blackmon, Colorado Rockies (NR)
136. Chris Denorfia, San Diego Padres (NR)
137. Nate McLouth, Pittsburgh Pirates (77)
138. Kyle Blanks, San Diego Padres (NR)
139. Jerry Sands, Los Angeles Dodgers (NR)
140. Eric Hinske, Atlanta Braves (108)
141. Don Kelly, Detroit Tigers (NR): Kelly is also listed in our Third Base Rankings.
142. Ben Francisco, Toronto Blue Jays (73)
143. Jose Constanza, Atlanta Braves (NR)
144. Jarrod Dyson, Kansas City Royals (80)
145. Andy Dirks, Detroit Tigers (NR)

Cheat Sheet Archives

2012 Preseason

First Base
Second Base
Third Base

2011 Preseason

First Base
Second Base
Third Base
Designated Hitters
Starting Pitcher
Relief Pitcher


Starting Pitchers
Relief Pitchers

2010 Preseason

First Base
Second Base
Third Base
Designated Hitter


Third Base
Designated Hitter
Relief Pitchers
Starting Pitchers

2009 Preseason

First Base
Second Base



2008 Preseason

Starting Pitchers
Relief Pitchers


Third Base
Second Base
First Base

2007 Preseason


RotoRob’s Fantasy Baseball Weekly Podcast

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