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Fantasy Baseball: 2011 Outfielder Rankings

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I'm moving on to my Outfield Rankings for 2011. There were only 5 outfielders who hit 30 or more HRs in 2010, and 15 who hit 25 or more HRs, 10 of which had a BA higher than .280. We also had 6 outfielders go 20-20 in 2010, lead by Carlos Gonzalez's 34-26 breakout season.

Here are my Outfielder Rankings for 2011:

1. Carlos Gonzalez, COL (LF)- CarGo had a breakout season on 2010 hitting .336-.376-.598 with 34 HRs, 117 RBIs, 111 runs scored and 26 SBs. He strikes out alot, and needs to walk more, but what was impressive about his 2010 breakout was that he hit .320 against lefties, .289 on the road and .380 at home. I am not sure he can duplicate his 2010 season, but he should still be good for 25+ HRs, 100 RBIs and 20+ SBs and hit close to .300 again. One stat that worries me is that he hit 26 of his 34 HRs at home, and I wonder if he will continue to have the large power splits in 2011.

2. Carl Crawford, BOS (LF)-Crawford was recently dealt to one of the better lineups in baseball this offseason, and i can see his stats improve across the board similar to Adrian Beltre in 2010. Crawford hit .307-.356-.495 with 19 HRs, 90 RBIs, 110 runs scored and 47 SBs in 2010. I could see Crawford breach the 20 HR mark and 120 runs scored level in 2011. With Adrian Gonzalez, Kevin Youkilis and company hitting behind him, Crawford should be able to score more runs, and continue to steal 45+ bases, possibly breaching the 50 SB level again.

3. Ryan Braun, MIL (LF)-Braun had a somewhat disappointing season in 2010, hitting .304-.365-.501 with 25 HRs, 103 RBIs, 101 runs scored and 14 SBs. What is concerning is that his HR production has dropped in each of the last two seasons from 37 in 2008 to 32 in 2009, and to "just" 25 HRs in 2010. His ISO has also dropped from .310 in 2007 to .197 in 2010, but at the same time, his K% has dropped from 25% to 17% and his BB% has increased from 6% to 8% over the same time period. Braun is capable of hitting 30+ HRs again, and stealing 20+ bases, especially with new manager Ron Roenicke at the helm in Milwaukee. I may change my mind and move him ahead of Crawford and possibly Gonzalez come draft day 2011.

4. Matt Kemp, LA (CF)-even though Kemp had a disappointing season in 2010, he still hit a career high 28 HRs, drove in 89 runs, and stole 19 bases. He disappointed in the BA category as he hit just .249-.310-.450, but he increased his BB% to almost 8% and his ISO to a career high .201. His BA and OBP were directly impacted by his career low BABIP of .295, down from .345 in 2009, and his career high K rate of 28%. With new manager Don Mattingley taking over for Joe Torre, I can see Kemp flourishing again, especially with first base coach Davey Lopes back in the fold in LA.

5. Matt Holliday, STL (LF)-Holliday is a picture of consistency for fantasy owners as you can count on him to hit .300+, with 25 HRs, 90+ runs scored, 100+ RBIs and double digit SBs. In his career, he has averaged 25 HRs, 99 RBIs and 12 SBs in his 7 big league seasons. I can see Holliday hitting those numbers in 2011, with a shot at 30 HRs again.

6. Josh Hamilton, TEX (LF)-if Hamilton could stay healthy, he would probably be ranked higher, but he has been injury prone for the last few years. He hit .359-.411-.633 with 32 HRs, 100 RBIs, 95 runs scored and 8 SBs in 2010. His BABIP of .390 was 70 points higher than his 2009 BABIP, so his BA and OBP should regress some in 2011. He did lower his K rate from 24% to 18% and his BB rate from 6.6.% to 7.5%. Bill James projects him to go 26-91-80-7-.324-.386-.561, but I see him performing better. I see him going 30+ HRs and 100+ RBIs with a BA slightly above .300.

7. Jason Heyward, ATL (RF)-my ranking of Heyward may be a little strong, but he has the talent to hit for more power in his sophomore year in the bigs. Heyward hit .277-.393-.456 with 18 HRs, 72 RBIs, 83 runs, and 11 SBs in his rookie season. As he fills out and gains experience, he should hit for more power and drive in more runs. I see him approaching 25 HRs, 90 RBIs, 15 SBs and a BA around .300. I am a little concerned with the K rate around 25% in 2010, and would hope he can reduce it in 2011.

8. Andrew McCutchen, PIT (CF)-McCutch is one of my favorite hitters in baseball, probably because I own him in two keeper leagues. McCutchen enters his 3rd season in the bigs and I see him as a mini Carl Crawford. One of these years, he will put up a 20-40 season. When hitting 3rd in the lineup in 2010, McCutch hit .302-.390-.434 in 189 at bats. In 2011, I see him approaching .300 with 16-20 HRs, 70 RBIs, and 35+ SBs.

9. Justin Upton, ARI (RF)-I discussed Upton here a few days ago, and think he can bounce back after his disappointing 2010 season. I see a 25-95-20-.285 season for Upton in 2011, with possible upside in the power categories.

10. Shin-Soo Choo, CLE (RF)-Choo is getting to be a consistent 20-20-.300 hitter and could move up these rankings with a bit more of each. Not much to not like here, as he hit .300-.401-.484 with 22 HRs, 90 RBIs, 81 runs, and 22 SBs on a bad Indians team. I wonder what he could hit in a better lineup. I see another 20-20-90-.300 season from Choo, with a chance to see 25-25-100 in 2011.

11. Jayson Werth, WAS (RF)-Werth was dealt to the Nationals this offseason, and some see a drop in performance for Werth, but I can see him being productive in the middle of the Nationals lineup next year. Werth hit .296-.388-.532 with 27 HRs, 85 RBIs, 106 runs, and 13 SBs in 2010, and I can see him putting up similar numbers with a drop in runs scored.

12. Hunter Pence, HOU (RF)-Pence, like Choo, has quietly been a solid fantasy performers over the past few seasons. In 2010, he hit .282-.325-.461 with 25 HRs, 91 RBIs, 93 runs and 18 SBs. Actually, over the past 3 years, he has averaged 25 HRs, 82 RBIs, 14 SBs, and a .278 BA. With Carlos Lee on the downside of his career, I wonder if Pence will continue to see more RBI chances in the middle of the Astros lineup.

Here are the rest of my 2011 position rankings:

Catcher Rankings

First Base Rankings

Second Base Rankings

Shortstop Rankings

Third Base Rankings