Fantasy Baseball Outfielders 2012
All five of today’s players are top 10-quality. If any fall into the second round of your draft I recommend you grab one fast. But before I get into them, lets talk about some guys that have fallen a little too far to make my list:
Carl Crawford (Boston Red Sox) & Corey Hart (Milwaukee Brewers)
Both of these players have top 20 potential and Crawford has been a top 5 pick in past seasons. The reason that both players dropped out of my top 20 is because of injuries.
Crawford had wrist surgery in January that will likely cause him to miss several weeks of the regular season and reduce his power for months after he returns.
Hart had knee surgery very recently that will also sideline him for a few weeks. The departure of Prince Fielder might also mean a new role for Hart to adjust too.
Despite the injuries, both players deserve to be drafted. They have incredible potential but I’m not a fan of drafting a player to put on my DL instantly.
Let’s get into the top 5:
5. Jacoby Ellsbury – Boston Red Sox
Ellsbury is a top candidate for regression. Much like Carlos Gonzales, I think fantasy owners are going to expect too much from him after his incredible 2011 season.
I believe his regression will still land him in the top 5 outfielders this season but I have serious doubts about him hitting 30+ HRs and 100+ RBIs again.
4. Justin Upton – Arizona Diamondbacks
Upton is another player that feels like he should regress in 2012 because of the expectations people have for him this season but I really think he can match his 2011 numbers.
Upton might be my early favorite for NL MVP (along with someone else on this list) and I think he will be a top 10 fantasy player for a very long time.
3. Jose Bautista – Toronto Blue Jays
Bautista is great but he may have been my #5 outfielder if he wasn’t also eligible to play third base. He definitely gets the benefit of position eligibility to be ranked this high. I already wrote about why he is so great. You can read it here.
2. Ryan Braun – Milwaukee Brewers
The reigning NL MVP narrowly avoided a 50 game suspension which caused a lot of anger with baseball purists and a lot of joy to fantasy owners.
Braun is extremely valuable in leagues with an OBP category and points leagues but I expect his average and HRs to drop slightly. Despite those stat drops I think he can greatly increase his runs, RBIs and steals to increase.
Without Prince Fielder in the lineup I think he will be intentionally walked and pitched around much more often.
Matt Kemp – Los Angeles Dodgers
Kemp was the most valuable fantasy player in nearly every fantasy format last season. He batted .324 and was a HR shy of a 40-40 season. He also had a .399 OBP.
If there was ever a player primed to disappoint owners by trying to match his previous season it would be Matt Kemp. However, he didnt shrink under the pressure at all. He actually set a goal of a 50-50 season for himself.
I strongly doubt that he will reach his goal but I do expect him to be the #1 fantasy outfielder this season.