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Outfield Breakout Candidates

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Usually a deep position, OF is less fruitful than years past. With 90 starting jobs available there are plenty of players who could join the top players at the position. Here are some of the better bets to increase their value in 2011.

Travis Snider -  It seems like a Blue Jays breaks out each year and this season it looks like it's Snider's turn. A wrist injury slowed Snider in 2010 or this breakout might have already occurred. He has big HR upside and hits the ball hard enough to offset the AVG hit taken by his large volume of Ks. If he continues hitting as many line drives as he has been he could be a real fantasy star. He enters the season with a secure starting role for the first time in his career and could work his way into the heart of a potent Jays lineup. There will be some growing pains but he has a nice looking future.

Jose Tabata - Tabata hits so many balls into the dirt that worms around NL ballparks are going on strike due to health and safety concerns. His high GB% mixed with strong contact skills and flashy speed make a .300 AVG within reach. Will need to increase his walks before we can count on him for 40 SB but 30 is a reachable number.

Mike Stanton - I can't get over how strong he is. I grabbed him in a trade last year so I watched a lot of his games and his power amazed me not just for a 20 year old rookie but for a power hitter in general. He has the strength to hit opposite field home runs 350 feet off the end of his bat. I saw it. He's one of a handful of players I would say has 50 HR power. He won't do it this year but I think he could approach 40. I love this kid.

Jay Bruce - Bruce turned a corner in the second half and looked fully recovered from the wrist injury he suffered in 2009. He will have to make more contact to repeat a .280 AVG but if he hits 35 HR which I think he could his AVG will be just fine. Still only 24 he could be in for another growth season or two before his true breakout but it's hard to think it will never come.

Seth Smith - His first half showed his upside but he crashed hard in the second half. Last year he couldn't hit lefties if he was Mel Gibson and they were holding his baby so that may limit his playing time. If the Rockies will finally show enough faith in him to play him everyday he could hit 25 HR with an AVG sneaking toward .300

Jason Heyward - After I saw Heyward bat for the first time I'm pretty sure I was drooling for a half hour. The smoothness and power of his swing reminded me of Griffey Jr. It's a lofty comparison but one I'm sure few would argue. 30 HR and a .300 AVG with a dozen steals is waiting this phenom as soon as this year and he could be a 40 HR guy in his peak.

Colby Rasmus - Many are using the BABIP and strikeout argument to project a drop in AVG for Rasmus. Yes they are concerns but I believe his contact rate will revert closer to his career norms which will counteract any BABIP normalization. The .276 AVG he put up last year is probably best case scenario but he has 30-20 upside and few players in the game can match that sort of power/speed upside.

Peter Bourjos - The darkhorse on the list, Bourjos has the tools to be a solid fantasy option. He needs to fix his BB/K to get on base more often and utilize his speed. The thing that separates him from the other speedsters is his HR potential which could reach double digits. 2011 may not be the year but it looks like a solid year is on the horizon.

Tyler Colvin - A strong rookie season in 2010, Colvin has a chance to build on a fine year. He has 25-30 HR power and he could improve his SB numbers if he were more aggressive. He swung and missed a lot more than he did in the minors so an improvement there could mean a decent AVG too. He has improved with age and could be a solid player as he approaches his peak years. He has yet to develop the skill of dodging bat shards but I'm not too worried about it.

Logan Morrison - It takes all of about 8 seconds on Fake Teams to see that Ray loves LoMo and it's not hard to see why. With elite discipline Morrison has the potential to be dominant in OBP leagues. He hits too many groundballs to become a source of HRs but that is easily corrected. High double and triple totals show he can put a sting into the ball but unless he gets the ball up more he could fall into the Billy Butler category of big men who don't put it over the wall enough to become a fantasy star. Still 23 for most of 2011 he still has time to find his power stroke.