Here is the sixth in my preseason review series, and today I review Part 2 of my 2011 Preseason Outfielder Rankings and have to say I got a few right and a few wrong, namely Alex Rios, Andre Ethier, Juan Pierre and Colby Rasmus. Oh, you can throw Jose Bautista in that group as well, as I definitely ranked him too low. This exercise goes to show that you cannot always rank players based on how the performed in the prior season. And some players, like Jose Bautista, proved that his monster 2010 season was no fluke.
Onto Part 2 of my 2011 preseason outfielder rankings:
13. Alex Rios, CHW- Rios did not follow up on his excellent 2010 season, as he hit just .227-.265-.348 with 13 HRs, 44 RBI, 64 runs scored and 11 SBs after his 21 HR-34 stolen base season in 2010. Rios doesn't walk much, so his BA/OBP is buoyed by his BABIP, and at .237, it was at a career low in 2011. He hit more line drives and fly balls this season, so he could have just been unlucky. He turns 31 in February, so he could have a bounce back season in 2012, but the White Sox could start to rebuild under new manager Robin Ventura, so he could be wearing a different uniform in 2012.
14. Nelson Cruz, TEX- I recently wrote about Cruz's performance in the playoffs and he has been absolutely dominant at the plate in the ALDS and ALCS. In my preseason rankings, I projected him to go 25-85-15 and he went out and hit .263-.312-.509 with 29 HRs, 87 RBI, 64 runs scored and 9 stolen bases. The problem with Cruz is he is injury prone and his 475 at bats this season was a career high for him. Should you draft him, expect him to miss 20-30 games in 2012.
15, Chris Young, ARI- Young followed up his 27-91-94-28 season in 2010 by hitting .236-.331-.420 with 20 HRs, 71 RBI, 89 runs scored and 22 stolen bases this season. I am not sure Young will ever hit more than .240-.250, but he has a reduced his K rate in the last two seasons, from 26.5% in 2009 to 21.8% in 2010 to 21.1% this season. Young also increased his BB rate from 11.1% in 2010 to 12.1% in 2011, so he is doing things right at the plate. If he can ever have a year where his BABIP surges over .300, he could have a monster year.
More outfielder rankings after the jump:
16. Mike Stanton, FLA-Stanton is one of my favorite players in baseball, and yes, I do own him in one of my NL-only keeper leagues. I am not sure what it would take for me to deal him, if I were to deal him. Stanton showed everyone the impressive power he possesses as he hit .262-.356-.537 with 34 HRs, 87 RBI, 79 runs and 5 stolen bases in his first full season in the big leagues. He quieted his critics who thought his strikeout rate would be an issue this season, as he reduced his K rate from 31.1% to 27.6% this season, and improved his BB rate from 8.6% to 11.6%. He showed growth across the board and is turns 22 years old in early November. He should be a top 10 outfielder in 2012.
17. Jay Bruce, CIN-Bruce finally answered fantasy owners wishes by hitting 30+ home runs this season. Bruce finished the season hitting .256-.341-.474 with 32 HRs, 97 RBI, 84 runs scored and stole 8 bases. His power increase can be attributed to an increase in his fly ball rate, at the expense of his line drive rate, and his HR/FB% increasing slightly from 15.3% to 16.0%. I think Bruce can hit 30+ home runs on an annual basis, especially hitting in Great American Ball Park on a regular basis, but am not sure he can be a high BA guy. His BABIP over the past year has been all over the place, from .221 in 2009 to .334 in 2010 to .297 this season.
18. Drew Stubbs, CIN- Stubbs somehow turned a .343 BABIP into a .243-.321-.364 triple slash line in 2011. He hit 15 HRs, drove in just 44 runs, scored 92 runs and stole 40 bases as well. His speed is his best skill, along with his defense in center field, but he strikes out too much-30.1% and 205 times in total-so he will never provide fantasy owners with a solid batting average.
19. Shane Victorino, PHI- Victorino was probably the Phillies most valuable player this season, as he hit .279-.355-.491 with 17 HRs, 61 RBI, 95 runs scored, 19 stolen bases and an excellent 63-55 K/BB rate. Victorino has shown improvement in his plate discipline and power over the last few seasons:
2007- 12.2 K%/ 7.3 BB%/ .143 ISO
2008- 11.0 K%/ 7.2 BB%/ .154 ISO
2009- 10.2 K%/ 8.6 BB%/ .153 ISO
2010- 12.2 K%/ 8.2 BB%/ .170 ISO
2011- 10.8 K%/ 9.4 BB%/ .212 ISO
20. B.J. Upton, TB- Upton did what Upton does in 2011. He hit .243-.331-.429 with 23 HRs, 81 RBI, 82 runs and 36 stolen bases in 2011. His home run total increased by 5 HRs, but his stole base total dropped by 6, and 2011 was Upton's second season with 20+ home runs, and first season in the last four where he did not steal 40+ bases. Upton is a candidate to be traded this season, and Washington could be his landing spot.
21. Corey Hart, MIL-Hart followed up his breakout 2010 season with a solid 2011 season where he hit .285-.356-.510 with 26 HRs, 63 RBI, 80 runs scored and just 7 stolen bases. Hart accomplished this even after missing almost all of the month of April, and hit 18 of his 26 home runs in the second half where he had monthly BAs of .282 in July, .321 in August and .284 in September. I see another 30 HR season from Hart in 2012.
22. Andre Ethier, LAD- I am not a fan of Ethier and hope he gets traded this offseason. OK,, I got that off my chest. Ethier battled a knee injury this season which may or may not have impacted his power production, but he did hit .292-.368-.421 with just 11 HRs, 62 RBI and 67 runs scored this season. Before drafting Ethier in 2012, here is something to consider:
2009- ,237 ISO/ .508 SLG
2010- .201 ISO/ .493 SLG
2011- .129 ISO/ .421 SLG
23. Jose Bautista, TOR- i wrote about Bautista in my review of my preseason third base rankings here.
24. Juan Pierre, CHW-Pierre had a typical Pierre season, hitting .279-.329-.327 with 2 HRs, 50 RBI, 80 runs scored, but just 27 stolen bases. 27 stolen bases!!! 2011 was the first time in his career that he has had over 700 plate appearances and not stolen at least 45 bases. Pierre has made the most of his limited skills in the big leagues, and we may have seen the last of Pierre as a full time player.
25. Colby Rasmus, TOR-Rasmus underperformed this season, for fantasy owners, as well as the Cardinals, which lead to his trade to Toronto, in what many feel was a steal favoring Alex Anthopolous. On the season, Rasmus hit just .225-.298-.391 with 14 HRs, 53 RBI, 75 runs and just 5 stolen bases. What ails Rasmus was that he was unlucky at the plate this season, as his BABIP dropped from .354 to .267, he struck out in 22.1% of his at bats, and had an extremely high 15.5% infield fly rate. I thought 15.5% was high, but Gordon Beckham laughs at 15.5%, as he lead baseball with a 21% rate.