Here is the seventh article in the series for our 2012 fantasy baseball rankings looking at outfielders ranked 21-40. There is quite a bit of speed in this grouping so if you miss out on stolen bases at another position, this is a spot where you can find them.
Here is a look at the fantasy baseball outfielders I have ranked 21-40 for 2012 with my comments. A longer list with 2012 fantasy baseball projections is available in the 2012 FBT Fantasy Baseball Draft Guide which is on sale now.
21. Ryan Braun – assuming the 50-game suspension for performance-enhancing drugs holds up, you are looking at a maximum of 112 games if he plays every day. Given it might take him a couple of weeks to get adjusted again to major league pitching once he is reinstated as well as dealing with the possible booing and other responses he receives at visiting ballparks, I am projecting him for 90 games worth of full stats right now.
22. Brett Gardner – value is tied to his stolen base total which could have been higher in 2011 had his walk rate and batting average both not decreased. Tailed off the second half of the season as he batting decreased month-over-month the last three months of the year. Closer to a .260 hitter than a .280 hitter unless a lot of luck is involved.
23. Chris Young – stats were pretty similar to 2010 with a few less home runs and stolen bases. Has hit over .250 only once in his career which was in 2010 so that is his maximum upside for batting average. Yes, 20-20 players are nice to own but you need several high average hitters on the rest of your team to cover for his low number.
24. Adam Jones – hit more ground balls in 2011 but the fly balls he did hit flew over the fence at a higher rate last season. Has hit .290+ against right-handed pitching the last three seasons but has struggled more against left-handed pitching. If he could correct that, he could see a slight improvement in batting average.
25. Drew Stubbs – RBI total was lower in 2011 as he hit first in the lineup for the majority of the season. Strikeout rate remained in the 33-34% range which severely limits his batting average. Much better hitter at home where he has hit .277 in his career compared to .226 on the road. His fly ball rate was much lower in 2011 which contributed to his decrease in home runs from the previous season despite having 90 more at bats.
26. Jayson Werth – another player that struggled in the first year of a large contract with a new team. Hit .215 the first half of the season in 326 at bats and also struggled on the road all season long with a .215 average. Failed to hit left-handed pitching as well with a .184 average in 114 at bats.
27. Nick Markakis – three consecutive seasons of a declining slugging percentage does not bode well for a return to 20 home runs. Too many people are still drafting him remembering his 2008 season, but the underlying stats show he is not that player anymore.
28. Cameron Maybin - ground ball rate and home games at PETCO Park limit his home run potential for now. Hit seven of his nine home runs on the road in 2011, where he also batted .294 compared to .231 at home. Improvement in his contact rate got him on base more and gave him more opportunities to steal.
29. Andre Ethier – had a 30-game hitting streak that ended early in May and after that had issues with elbow, back and knee, the latter of which he had surgery on in September, which helped to contribute to his highest groundball rate since 2007. No reason not to expect a return to previous season levels as long as his knee is okay.
30. Michael Cuddyer - he has two things going for him in 2012, one is the move to Coors Field and secondly in leagues where 10 games is the minimum for position eligibility, he also qualifies at second base. Solid third outfielder for your fantasy team.
31. Nick Swisher – three things you can count on in life, death, taxes and Swisher’s stats. Yes, there is not much upside like some of the younger players, but there is also a lot less volatility from year-to-year with owning him as well.
32. Ichiro Suzuki – ground ball rate was the highest of his career and with speed slowing down as he gets older, batting average follows. Infield hits fell from 64 in 2010 to 42 in 2011 which was his lowest total since 2006. With his value built around two categories, average and stolen bases, there is a lot of risk and no upside.
33. Angel Pagan – made small gains in walk rate and contact rate in 2011. With most of his value tied to his stolen bases, it is a question of how much new manager Bruce Bochy is going to let him run that will drive his value.
34. Carlos Beltran – skills have remained relatively stable in his mid-30s but the injury risk he carries affects his draft value more than anything. I have him down for 500 at bats and even that might be shooting too high.
35. Torii Hunter – age has slowly robbed him of his speed has he has went 14-for-33 on stolen bases the last two seasons. At risk for fewer at bats in 2012 due to the depth of the Angels offense and another year of wear-and-tear taking a toll on him from playing the outfield.
36. Coco Crisp – made it through 130+ games for the first time since 2007. It all depends how desperate you are for stolen bases whether you want to own him and deal with his injury issues. A declining walk rate and weak Oakland offense cuts his runs scored potential.
37. Jeff Francoeur – this was much like his 2007 season in Atlanta with a lot more stolen bases thrown in. With a higher hit rate, fly balls going over the fence more, it combined to give him a season beyond expectations. Add to the equation an aggressive manager on the bases and it made him one of the top outfielders in 2011. Don’t pay for a repeat in 2012.
38. Alex Rios – bad luck impacted batting average which in turn affected his stolen base total. Hit just .203 on the road in 295 at bats and really struggled in every month until September when he hit .307 with five home runs and 11 RBI. He is too inconsistent from year-to-year for me to ever roster him on my team.
39. Melky Cabrera – 2011 bust out season fueled by elevated hit rate and more playing time. Runs scored will drop with the move to the National League and stolen bases will likely as well with a less aggressive manager in San Francisco.
40. Jason Heyward - the one knock on Heyward in the minor leagues was that he was missed time due to injury and we have seen that in his first two major league seasons. His groundball rate still ran high in his second season at 54% so the chance for 20+ home runs is greatly diminished. Batting average last season was due to bad luck so we will discount that, but all other categories we can’t expect to be a lot better than 2010 yet.
Instead of spending money on outdated magazines written by fantasy owners with no experience of winning fantasy baseball leagues, order the 2012 FBT Fantasy Baseball Draft Guide today so you can start dominating the competition in your fantasy baseball league.