Fantasy Baseball OF Preview: Kemp Comes Close to Triple Crown
Fantasy Baseball: Matt Kemp had a season for the ages, but the most historic thing that might have taken place among the top outfielders was that Ryan Braun got a PED suspension overturned for the first time in MLB history.
Please note that outfielders such as Jose Bautista and Michael Cuddyer who are more likely to be used at other positions where they are eligible are not included in this list.
Matt Kemp, Dodgers
Ryan Braun, Brewers
Carlos Gonzalez, Rockies
Justin Upton, Diamondbacks
Jacoby Ellsbury, Red Sox
Matt Kemp has at least 26 HR three straight seasons and at has at least 34 SB and a .290 BA three of the last four years. So even if 2011 was a career year, Kemp could be the best bet for power with lots of speed.
Ryan Braun’s OPS was over .930 in 2007, ’09 and ’11. Prince Fielder’s OPS was over .980 those three seasons. Neither player has had another season over .900. Now Braun is without his lineup mate and he has to deal with the fallout from his overturned PED suspension. It’s not that Braun’s 25-103-.304 with 14 steals in 2010 was such a failure, but he could take a step back from his MVP 2011.
Carlos Gonzalez’ 2010 was similar to Kemp’s 2011, and if Gonzalez hadn’t gotten hurt in September, he might have come close to repeating it. Gonzalez has a career 1.057 OPS at Coors Field.
Rising star Justin Upton, still only 24, had career highs in HR, RBI, runs, steals and saw his K rate drop to 18.7% from 26.6% in 2010.
Jacoby Ellsbury had 20 career HR before hitting 32 in 2011. So we need to see if the power is real. While 39 steals is still a great number, Ellsbury, who turns 29 in September, may be less likely to approach his 70 steals in 2009.
Curtis Granderson, Yankees
Giancarlo Stanton, Marlins
Josh Hamilton, Rangers
Andrew McCutchen, Pirates
Nelson Cruz, Rangers
Hunter Pence, Phillies
Matt Holliday, Cardinals
Jay Bruce, Reds
Granderson’s combination of power and speed (41 HR, 25 steals), along with his newfound ability to hit lefties, raising his BA to a more respectable .262, put him at the top of the tier.
Stanton also hit .262, along with 34 HR. Could pass Granderson in yearly HR as soon as this year.
Rising star McCutchen had 23-23 year but only hit .259. But he was hitting .274 late in August before a .171 September
Hamilton can’t stay healthy, but did go 25-94-.298 in 121 games. So you’re likely to get a top player for a good chunk of the year at least, and it could always be the year where he manages to stay healthy.
Cruz averaged only 120 games played last three years, but also averaged 28 HR/year. So like Hamilton, he should at least give you ¾ of a strong year. But while Hamilton’s lifetime BA is .308, Cruz’ is .270, and Cruz does not run as much as he used to.
Pence did great upon arriving in Philly, though he did stop running and only hit two HR last year at Citizens Bank Park. No Ryan Howard in lineup for first part of year.
Holliday remains good for BA and some power, but hasn’t topped 30 HR since 2007 in Colorado. He used to be good for double digits in steals but just two last year. No more Albert Pujols in lineup.
Bruce was very streaky – his OPS month by month from April to July: .681 1.140 .649 .805. Hit 32 HR after three seasons in 20s. Not a product of Great American – half his HR were on the road. Turns 25 in April.
Shane Victorino, Phillies
Michael Bourn, Braves
Shin-Soo Choo, Indians
Desmond Jennings, Rays
Corey Hart, Brewers
B.J. Upton, Rays
Chris Young, Diamondbacks
Adam Jones, Orioles
Alex Gordon, Royals
Ichiro Suzuki, Mariners
Bourn’s OPS dropped 92 points in Atlanta from Houston. Hart just had knee surgery, but said to be recovering fast. It’s B.J. Upton’s contract year, so will this be the season he finally breaks out? Gordon’s BABIP jumped 104 points last year. Ichiro’s high BA was always that much valuable with his big AB totals, which makes his 2011 .272 that much less valuable.
Nick Swisher, Yankees
Jason Heyward, Braves
Logan Morrison, Marlins
Brett Gardner, Yankees
Drew Stubbs, Reds
Melky Cabrera, Giants
Swisher have averaged 27 HR, 85 RBI and a .267 BA in three years with the Yankees. A year ago, Heyward was the next big thing, but he hit just .098 in May and .192 vs. lefties. Morrison also struggled with hype, hitting .220 in the second half and being briefly demoted. He’s not 100% recovered from December knee surgery. Stubbs looks like a tempting power-steals option, but he had 205 K and an OPS of just .686.
Carlos Beltran, Cardinals
Carl Crawford, Red Sox
Jayson Werth, Nationals
Nick Markakis, Orioles
Andre Ethier, Dodgers
Torii Hunter, Angels
These players all run the risk of being overdrafted based on name recognition. But if some of them drop far enough, they could turn out to be value picks.
Photo by Bridget Samuels.
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