Sunday, February 19, 2012

Outfield Rankings - 2012 (continued)

Given the 1-10 in the latest installment of my 2012 fantasy rankings, where does everyone else land? Let’s face it, after you get out of the top ten, things get pretty jumbled up. The rankings can vary greatly from person to person, depending on your penchant for aging players, budding stars, promoted prospects, base-swipers, swinging sluggers and the like. Here are my rankings on the next fifteen, but realize much of this is interchangeable to fit your personal team’s needs.

11. Hunter Pence – Phillies
12. Alex Gordon- Royals
13. Mike Stanton – Marlins
14. Adam Jones – Orioles
15. Desmond Jennings – Rays

This is a good group of five, but none of them are great. They are all complimentary players who can boost a team but they probably lack top-ten star power. Hunter Pence is usually a solid players and will hope to have a slightly better 2012 in his first full year with the Phillies. Gordon finally blossomed in 2012, but was it for real or just a tease from the former top prospect? Stanton has power to spare, but those strikeouts can be brutal! Jones has slowly shown signs of improvement but the Orioles are, well, the Orioles. Desmond Jennings had a solid rookie campaign in for the Rays, but how much he improves in year two makes him a boom or bust-type player. There’s much to like here, however, these guys aren’t total studs.

16. Corey Hart – Brewers
17. Shane Victorino – Phillies
18. Nick Swisher – Yankees
19. Jay Bruce – Reds
20. BJ Upton – Rays

Another rung down the ladder, these fellas are borderline 2nd outfield starters and maybe even 3rd starters on a deep team. There’s a blend of speed and power with Upton and Victorino, but low averages and, in Upton’s case strikeouts, tinge that somewhat. Hart, Bruce and Swisher are power guys who all do their share or swinging and missing and lack stellar RBI numbers, but can put the ball over the fence regularly, too. Choose as you wish to fit your needs.

21. Andre Eithier – Dodgers
22. Chris Young – Diamondbacks
23. Shin-Soo Choo - Indians
24. Michael Cuddyer – Rockies
25. Coco Crisp – Athletics

As mostly 3rd outfield starters, you’re not expecting the world from these guys. Eithier offers some upside given his track record, but the rest are what they are: fringe contributors on any fantasy team. Young has a combination of power and speed, but strikeouts and low average keep him from appearing higher. Choo has underachieved recently and could be a nice addition at this point. Cuddyer’s best attribute may be his roster flexibility and the fact that he’s moving to a hitter-friendly park. Crisp can swipe bases with the best of them while not killing you with strikeouts. In case you’re not picking up on it, these aren’t ringing endorsements.

The final ten (who get no personal mention):

26. Josh Willingham – Twins
27. Drew Stubbs – Reds
28. Melky Cabrera – Giants
29. Michael Bourn – Braves
30. Torii Hunter – Angels
31. Jayson Werth – Nationals
32. Nick Markakis – Orioles
33. Jason Heyward – Braves
34. Cameron Maybin – Padres
35. Brett Gardner – Yankees

Yoenis Cespedes firmly falls in this category. The Cuban defector turned Oakland Athletic should get plenty of opportunities this spring to show he belongs in The Show. He can be a 20-20 player if the starts align for him. Another player to watch is Brice Harper. If he should somehow (unlikely) make the team out of spring training, he will be a great grab. More likely he will be called up sometime in early summer. The same goes for Mike Trout of the Angels, another high-upside youngster. If you’re in a keeper league, these guys become even more valuable.

Stay Away
I’m not touching a couple also-rans in Grady Sizemore and Alex Rios. Just because you recognize their names does not mean you should draft them! “Wow, Rios is available in the 23rd round, what a steal!” I can see this happening, especially to casual players who think they’re getting the player of yesteryear. Trust me, if Kenny Williams could give him to you, he would. Same goes for Sizemore, who can’t stay on the field long enough to show if he’s worthy of a pick.

Note: a glaring omission exists with one Ryan Braun. Since he’s expected to miss the first 50 games from an allegedly failed PED test, the reigning NL MVP’s value is nearly impossible to assess. It’s really up to each individual owner to decide it you can spend a pick on a guy guaranteed to miss the first 1/3 of the fantasy season.

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