Top 30 Outfielders For 2011

To wrap up my initial positional rankings, let’s take a look at my Top 30 outfielders for the upcoming season.  Outfield is not quite as deep at the top of the rankings, but the positioned is littered with young players on the precipice breaking out.  Players like Jason Heyward, Jay Bruce, Colby Rasmus and Mike Stanton could easily take the next step in 2011 and become some of the best options at the position.  Where do they stand entering the year?  Let’s take a look:

  1. Ryan Braun – Milwaukee Brewers
  2. Carlos Gonzalez – Colorado Rockies
  3. Carl Crawford – Boston Red Sox
  4. Matt Holliday – St. Louis Cardinals
  5. Matt Kemp – Los Angeles Dodgers
  6. Josh Hamilton – Texas Rangers
  7. Andrew McCutchen – Pittsburgh Pirates
  8. Alex Rios – Chicago White Sox
  9. Andre Ethier – Los Angeles Dodgers
  10. Hunter Pence – Houston Astros
  11. Jay Bruce – Cincinnati Reds
  12. Shin-Soo Choo – Cleveland Indians
  13. Jason Heyward – Atlanta Braves
  14. Nelson Cruz – Texas Rangers
  15. Colby Rasmus – St. Louis Cardinals
  16. Justin Upton – Arizona Diamondbacks
  17. Mike Stanton – Florida Marlins
  18. Jose Bautista – Toronto Blue Jays
  19. Curtis Granderson – New York Yankees
  20. Jayson Werth – Washington Nationals
  21. Jacoby Ellsbury – Boston Red Sox
  22. Ichiro Suzuki – Seattle Mariners
  23. Chris Young – Arizona Diamondbacks
  24. Shane Victorino – Philadelphia Phillies
  25. B.J. Upton – Tampa Bay Rays
  26. Corey Hart – Milwaukee Brewers
  27. Nick Markakis – Baltimore Orioles
  28. Ben Zobrist – Tampa Bay Rays
  29. Carlos Quentin – Chicago White Sox
  30. Adam Jones – Baltimore Orioles

Thoughts:

  • Many people want to take Hamilton’s 2010 performance (.359, 32 HR, 100 RBI) and turn him into a Top 5 outfielder and a first round pick.  The problem is he is constantly battling injuries and his 2010 numbers were buoyed by a .390 BABIP.  Honestly, it’s hard to imagine him coming close to replicating his success.  For more on why I do not believe he is a first round pick, click here.
  • Before you disregard Pence’s place as a Top 10 outfielder keep in mind that he should be the Astros’ full-time #3 hitter in 2011.  In 292 AB there in 2010 he hit .288 with 13 HR, 49 RBI, 43 R and 9 SB.  It is realistic to think that he will push 90/90 again (overall he hit .282 with 25 HR, 91 RBI, 93 R and 18 SB) and there is a shot that he reaches 100/100.
  • Will Choo continue to post big BABIP?  Over the past three seasons he has posted marks of .367, .370 and .347.  If he regresses there, his average could struggle, though I still view him as a great OF2 thanks to his consistent 20/20 production.  To view my projection of him for 2011 click here.
  • I may be pushing Stanton a little higher than most, but he possesses a skill that is becoming more and more rare in the game today; power.  He hit 22 HR in 396 AB in the majors (plus 21 in 240 AB at Double-A).  There’s a very realistic chance that he approaches 40 in his sophomore campaign.
  • Does anyone really believe that Jose Bautista is going to be able to replicate his 2010 success?
  • Ichiro Suzuki can hit, that’s not in debate.  He also showed that he can still run, stealing 42 bases in 2010.  The problem is that a lot of his value came from scoring runs, which he has struggled with the past two seasons.  Formerly a perennial 100+ run option, he has scored 162 runs total since 2009.  That’s what happens when you hit atop an anemic offense.

What are your thoughts on these rankings?  Whose too high?  Whose too low?

**** Make sure to pre-order your copy of the Rotoprofessor 2011 Fantasy Baseball Draft Guide, selling for just $5, by clicking here. ****

Make sure to check out our 2011 rankings:

34 comments

  1. tony says:

    Do you think Brett Gardner is a top 50 in a keeper leauge I traded Ellsbury for V Mart and picked up Gardner off waivers for steals and runs.

    Thanks,

    • Rotoprofessor says:

      tony, that’s a nice move. You got a Top 3 catcher for this year and were able to replace Ellsbury SB in one move. I think Gardner is a lock to be in the Top 50 and I actually have him just outside the Top 30. He’s a must own option in all formats, so that’s a big-time win for you.

  2. yummy says:

    I feel Grady Sizemore might be the ultimate sleeper this year. No one is giving him any chance to go 20/20 atop of the Indians line-up. I will be scooping him up in every draft.

  3. Kyle Johansen says:

    Yummy, that is a good call. Sizemore hasn’t all of a sudden forgotten how to play baseball, the skills are still there.

    I think there is no chance of me taking an OF in the first round and would like to wait out the position and fill it with bargains at the end of the draft while focusing on infield early on.

  4. Rotoprofessor says:

    yummy, I agree as well. Sizemore is a good risk/reward pick, but he is a very big risk (in the same mold as Carlos Beltran). I wouldn’t mind owning either one of them, but in shallower formats I see them more as a reserve pick, due to the risk. In deeper leagues, I have them ranked as OF4.

    • ClayHenry says:

      I can totally understand the Beltran concern due to his age, but Sizemore will only be 28 next season.

      Then again, perhaps Sizemore was “enhanced” in 2007 and prior?

      • Rotoprofessor says:

        A lot of the problems center around his speed and if he will be able to run. I never fully believed in him as a 30+ HR hitter and think he is more of the 20-25 variety with a .260ish average.

        What separated him from the pack was his ability to steal 30+ bases. Well, over the past two years he has 17 SB in 564 AB. Not so impressive. When you throw in the injuries and you have to wonder how fully he will be able to bounce back especially given the microfracture surgery? We really have no clue if he is going to be anywhere close to the player he was prior to the injury.

        He is a big-time high risk/high reward guy, which makes him a player I’d rather pick as a reserve

  5. Andrew says:

    Nice work.

    1) Do you view Werth’s move to Philly as a significant hit to his value? I was surprised to see him so low.
    2) For me, the most notable omission is Delmon Young. Not a believer?

  6. I think you got McCutchen too high. He is full of potential but he hits in an anemic offense himself.

  7. Rotoprofessor says:

    Andrew – I think the moves does play a pretty big role in a potential fall-off. He isn’t likely to hit for a sparkling average and you have to take into account that of the 87 HR he’s hit the past three years, 50 of them have come at Citizen’s Bank Ballpark. There’s going to be a big fall there.

    As for Young, he fell just short of the list (I have him at #32 right now).

    Michael – Your right about the poor offense, but he easily could hit third, which will mean a better chance for RBI and with Alvarez behind him, he should still score runs. Throw in 20/20 (with the potential to steal well over 30 bases) and you get a very valuable outfielder.

    • Scooby Dude says:

      @Rotoprofessor: Why so low on Delmon Young? He is a year old former #1 overall pick, who is only 25. He hits in the heart of a potent lineup and is finally showing his potential. I’m definitely targeting him over the likes of Ichiro, Victorino, and Hart. Plus he is already further along in his development than other youngsters like Bruce, Rasmus, & Stanton. It seems to me like anything outside the top 20 is too low. Others are projecting him at least in the top 25 and even higher in keeper formats. Why so low on D. Young?

      Thanks!

  8. Steve says:

    No love for Drew Stubbs? Do you think he won’t repeat 20/30 next year? He had a strong second half.

    Where do you have Desmond Jennings?

  9. MCF says:

    What about Coco Crisp? Definitely not a top 30, but w/a one year deal at the top of that improved lineup, is 35-40 sb, 90 r, 15 hr a realistic projection? Yes injury risk is there, but can’t the same be said about Ellsbury? Where does Coco crackle, snap, or pop?

  10. Rotoprofessor says:

    Steve – My biggest problem with Stubbs is the average, which could struggle significantly. I also don’t believe that he’s a 20 HR hitter, more like 15/30. I have him as an OF4 right now. We’ll get into him in a lot more detail in the near future.

    MCF – I’m not sure the power or the runs are reachable honestly. Matsui does improve things, but is it an extreme amount? Plus, in that ballpark, I don’t think he reaches double-digit HR. Couple it with the health, and he’s a low-end option in deep formats in my book. Again, another player that I’ll touch on in the near future.

  11. Under what rules is Adam Dunn still eligible at OF in 2011? He only played 1B in 2010. Of course, he could earn eligibility by playing OF in 2011, but it looks to me like he’ll mostly play DH.

    Thanks for the list.

  12. T-BZA says:

    Matt Kemp is an interesting pick. No later than the 3rd OF off the board last year, but now coming of a disappointing season.

    Where do you see him landing in most 12 team mixed leagues this year?

    Currently, I have him pegged as a potential round 2 or 3 keeper pick. Here’s to hoping that.249 is an aberration.

  13. Rotoprofessor says:

    Alpine – You are 100% right on Dunn, that was an oversight and I apologize. I’ve updated the rankings with Adam Jones taking the new #30 spot.

    T-BZA – it really is hard to say. He’s currently going, on average, at the end of the second round and that’s about where I’d put him. Anywhere from pick 20-30 seems about dead on. I do believe the average was an aberration and at that point in the draft, I think he’s a great value pick.

  14. Scooby Dude says:

    @Rotoprofessor: Did you miss my post about Delmon Young?

  15. Jeezus says:

    Can you explain why you have rasmus ranked 15th? It seems a lot higher than other early rankings. He sits pretty often against lefties and Larussa likes to give him frequent days off. I’d probably place him in the late 20′s. Just want to get some insight to what you are thinking here…

  16. Craig says:

    What about Drew Stubbs… His numbers are very similar to both BJ upton and Shane Victorino. He also had a great 2nd half to the season and is now clearly the starting CF

  17. Panthino says:

    The Stanton debate. Looking at a number of Ranking systems, Stanton has constantly been ranked below the likes of Heyward and Alvarez (although not an OF). Why are people hating? Looks like you are one of the few who truly believe in his potential.

  18. foolintherain says:

    What are your thoughts on Jason Bay? Heading into this season I was envisioning 20-25 HRs, 80-85 RBIs and a few SBs. How close is he to the top 30 and would you take him over Gardner in a keeper league using OBP?

    • Rotoprofessor says:

      Those are fair numbers, but at this point he is a huge risk given the concussion problems and the poor performance.

      I would expect a major rebound, however. We’ve seen it before from Bay. He’s borderline Top 30 and him vs. Gardner is an interesting debate to look at. Is it a keeper league? If it is, it may depend on who your other options are.

      In a yearly league, it would again come down to team needs, but I’d lean towards Bay.

      • foolintherain says:

        Thank you so much for the reply. To answer your question, we can keep 5-7 players per year. My immediate thoughts are below.

        Definite Keepers: Votto, Uggla, Longoria, Holliday, Kendry
        Keep 0-2 players from: Beltre, Gardner, Bay

        I’m leaning towards Gardner and Bay because of the OF depth issues because I simply just don’t trust Beltre to repeat his performance. Perhaps it bears waiting until we see for sure where Beltre signs.

        Thoughts?

      • Rotoprofessor says:

        I definitely would wait until Beltre signs, but do you even need him? You already have a 1B, 3B and CI kept. Beltre appears to be overkill.

        My first though is that I’d try to capitalize on Beltre and trade him for another player you’d rather keep.

        Otherwise, Bay & Gardner fit much better into your team since you have little speed.

        5 OFer league?

        • JEEZUS says:

          Bay over Beltre? That makes little sense. Beltre in a good offense is a 4 category player. Jason Bay on the other hand was absolute muff garbage with the mets and they aren’t getting any better. Wait until beltre signs then make a decision but you have to lean his way. 3b has a lot less depth than OF and he could be a valuable trade piece later on.

        • Rotoprofessor says:

          Jeezus, given the roster at hand it does make sense. Decisions can’t be made in a vacuum and he already has a better 1B (Votto), 3B (Longoria) and CI (Morales).

          Plus, Beltre has a history of playing for a contract and then regressing significantly. As far as Bay goes, writing him off after one down season would be a mistake. People wanted to write Bay of after 2007 and then he came back and proved them wrong in 2008 & 2009. Is he going to be as good as he was in Boston? No, but he will be dramatically better then his 2010 indicates.

          • foolintherain says:

            We play a corner infielder, middle infielder, a utility and four outfielders.

            I’m honestly leaning towards bay and Gardner because you can’t always count on trades. And you can’t count on beltre.

  19. Rotoprofessor says:

    Let’s take everyone’s comments one at a time here:

    Scooby – I’m going to go into a lot more depth on D. Young in the near future. Still, he overpreformed a bit with RISP (.355 with 87 RBI), which I don’t see as repeatable. I am actually a big believer in him, but I see an RBI regression, not huge power numbers and no SB potential.

    Jeezus – I see his average as sustainable (his BABIP was high, but he is going to significantly improve on his 31.9% strikeout rate). He finally did get regular playing time in September and delivered (.323, 4 HR, 12 RBI, 17 R). That just gives you a taste of the potential he has. He has some speed, good power, 90/90 potential and a solid average. There’s a lot to like.

    Craig – I’m not a believer in Stubbs’ power. He had 28 HR over 1,588 AB in his minor league career, so I’m looking for a regression there. Throw in a high strikeout rate, making a low average possible, and I’d much prefer him as a depth option (this is another player I am going to go much more in depth on, so make sure to keep checking back!)

    Panthino – I can’t speak for anyone else, but would it surprise anyone if he posted a 40 HR campaign?

  20. Matt says:

    Adam Jones at #30. He’s still so young, with a ton of upside. Any signs pointing toward this will be the year he actually breaks out and puts up those 5 cat numbers we were looking for? Will Bucky let him run at all?

  21. Milo says:

    Do you Justin Upton is at his peak or will he improve his numbers in 2111? I’m thinking he’s a better pick than Bruce, whom you must be expecting improvement in 2111.

  22. Rotoprofessor says:

    Matt – Unfortunately there’s nothing concrete, but I do think Showalter will let him run a little more. Is he going to steal 20? Probably not, but 10-15 is very realistic with the upside for more.

    He did have a significantly better OBP in the second half (.304 vs. .355), which could be a sign that he is moving in the right direction. Not it is just a matter of him putting it all together.

    Milo – The shoulder injury and the strikeouts (30.7%) really scare me with Upton. He has the potential to be a Top 5 outfielder, but there are questions that need to be answered at this point.

  23. Mark Robinson says:

    Let’s see, stanton could hit 40 homeruns his soph year, but ‘does anyone think bautista can replicate his 2010 numbers?’

    no. and no. bautista does belong well ahead of stanton on this list though.

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