Top 20 Fantasy Outfielders 2012: Part 2

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Fantasy Baseball Outfielders 2012 Hey everyone. I’m back today with my #15-11 outfielders. Normally this blog is where I would mention my sleepers or assassins. I’m going to do something a little different with outfielders though. Today I’m going to […]

Fantasy Baseball Outfielders 2012

Hey everyone. I’m back today with my #15-11 outfielders. Normally this blog is where I would mention my sleepers or assassins. I’m going to do something a little different with outfielders though. Today I’m going to write about two players that are currently outside of my top 20 on the rise and tomorrow I’m going to mention two more who just missed my top 20 and are on the decline. All four players should/will be drafted but there is some risk/reward to each of them.

Let’s start with the risers:

Desmond Jennings (Tampa Bay Rays) Much like Brett Lawrie, Jennings is a young player that I watched closely because he’s in the same division as my beloved Red Sox. I can’t rank him because of his inexperience but I’m definitely watching him.

There is some risk in Jennings because he’s played only 80 career regular-season games in parts of 2010 and 2011 but the improvement he showed between those seasons was incredible.

Jennings hit 10 HRs, batted in 25 RBIs and hit .259 in only 63 games last season. He also stole 20 bases on 26 attempts. I don’t expect much change in the batting average but I do think that he can flirt with doubling his HR, steals and RBI totals.

Jason Heyward (Atlanta Braves) I’m a little bitter about putting Heyward in my “rising stars” list because of what he did to my fantasy teams last season but I can’t deny that this is where he belongs.

The fall from his ROY runner-up season in 2010 to his sophomore slump in 2011 can only be described as epic. Shoulder problems were a major part of his poor production at the plate but fantasy owners don’t want to hear it. They know he was bad and that’s enough.

This year I believe he’ll be much closer to the 2010 Jason Heyward that we know and love. I see 20 HRs, double-digit steals and a batting average well above .250 this season. Approach with caution though. He didn’t have shoulder surgery but that is still a concern.

Let’s get into the top 15:

15. Michael Bourn – Atlanta Braves

I really like Michael Bourn but I think many people expect too much from him.

Bourn has always been an elite base stealer and matched his previous season-high in swiped bags with 61 in 2011. He also set career highs in hits, batting average and RBIs.

My problem with Bourn is that I don’t trust him as more than just an elite base stealer yet. He needs to prove he can maintain his 2011 numbers before I bump him into my top 10.

14. Jay Bruce – Cincinnati Reds

Bruce is another guy that has an elite skill but a few question marks around him. Actually, that will be a consistent theme today.

The Reds right fielder has increased his home run total each year since he entered the league in 2008. His walks and RBIs have followed the same trend. That is a great sign for the upcoming season but his batting average is a huge question mark.

While his home runs and RBIs have increased steadily, his average has been a roller coaster. Based on the current trend his average should be higher than last year but I don’t believe that he magically hits better in even numbered years. If that is true, though, he is a threat to crack the top 10 outfielders this year.

13./12 Josh Hamilton and Nelson Cruz – Texas Rangers

These two outfielders are probably the most high risk/high reward players in the entire league.

Both guys are absolutely amazing when healthy. Hamilton is a former MVP and Cruz is one of the best power hitters in the majors. Both are RBI machines and both have, wait for it…….. Question Marks.

Both have had injury issues and Josh Hamilton had an unfortunate relapse into alcohol abuse. It seems to be a one-time occurrence but it is still a concern.

They both have tremendous upside but be careful. If you plan to make either of these guys your top outfielder be sure to draft another one very soon.

11. Hunter Pence – Philadelphia Phillies

Pence has gone unnoticed by fantasy owners for too long. He is a career .292 hitter and is coming off his best season of .314. He also hit 20+ HRs for the fourth time in his career and fell just shy of 100 RBIs.

I think a full season in Philadelphia will be a huge benefit to his stats. I also think his numbers will increase whenever Ryan Howard returns to the lineup.

Part 1, Part 3, Part 4