by Ryan Lester of Lester’s Legends
Here’s a look at Outfielders who should bounce back from subpar 2008 seasons.
Carl Crawford – Despite Tampa Bay’s success last year, Crawford didn’t perform at his typical level. Crawford was limited to 109 games, which can explain the 69 Runs, 121 Hits, 12 Doubles, 8 HRs, 57 RBI, and 25 SBs. His .273 average was off his .293 career mark, but that can be expected from someone dealing with injuries. I fully expect him to return to form and hit in the low .300s with 90+ Runs, 180+ Hits, 28+ Doubles, 15+ HRs, 75+ RBI, and 40+ SBs. One interesting note is despite his struggles, he did still hit 10 Triples last year. I expect that number to jump to 15+ in ‘09.
Vernon Wells – Wells had a solid season batting .300 with 20 HRs and 78 RBI. He was actually better in 108 games in 2008 than he was in 149 games in 2007. He worked with a trainer to get in better shape. Unfortunately he hurt his hamstring. As long as it doesn’t bother him all year, he should be solid. I’m putting him on a .280, 85 R, 160 H, 32 2Bs, 25HRs, 90 RBI, and 12 SBs season.
Hideki Matsui - Matsui will mostly fill the DH role for the Yankees because of his knees. He was limited to 93 games last year and had just 43 Runs, 9 HRs, and 45 RBI. He’s alternating between injury-riddled years and solid years, and fortunately it’s an odd year if the trend continues. I see him getting around 450-500 at bats and hitting .295 with 75 R, 140 H, 20 HRs, and 80 RBI.
Gary Sheffield – While he doesn’t play much OF anymore, he’s still eligible in most formats. Sheff, like most Tigers, had a down year. He hit .225 with 52 Runs, 94 Hits, 16 Doubles, 19 HRs, and 57 RBI. Those aren’t Gary Sheffield numbers. He could struggle out of the gate as he pursues HR #500. Once that’s out of the way look for him to settle in around .260, 70-75 Runs, 130 Hits, 25 Doubles, 22 HRs, and 70 RBI.
Jeff Francoeur - Francoeur hit .239 with 70 Runs, 143 Hits, 11 HRs, and 71 RBI. In his previous two years he averaged .276 with 83.5 Runs, 178.5 Hits, 24 HRs, and 104 RBI. After his struggles last year, I’m going to be conservative in my expectations of him in ‘09. I’m guessing he’ll hit .260 with 75 Runs, 160 Hits, 20 HRs, and 85 RBI.
Eric Byrnes - I don’t expect a major bounceback for him as he’s likely going to be fighting for at bats as the fourth Outfielder, but he’s going to improve on his .209 average and 28 Runs, 43 Hits, 23 RBI, and 4 SBs. If nothing else, he should be a decent source of SBs.
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