I have made some changes to my outfield rankings, moving Rockies outfielder Carlos Gonzalez down in my rankings, and slotting Red Sox outfielder Carl Crawford in the top spot. I have a feeling Crawford could have a monster season in Boston this year. A couple guys who are on the cusp of the top 5 are Pirates outfielder Andrew McCutchen and Braves outfielder Jason Heyward.
Here are my updated Outfielder Rankings for 2011:
1. Carl Crawford, BOS (LF)- Crawford is moving to the best lineup in baseball, and will most likely hit 3rd, in front of newly acquired Adrian Gonzalez, so he could hit 20 HRs, steal 50 bases and score 125 runs this year.
2. Ryan Braun, MIL (LF)-the injury this spring is a worry, especially for a guy fantasy owners are looking to improve upon his 2 year slide in power. Under new manager Ron Roenicke, Braun could approach 20 SBs this season. Fantasy owners are hoping Braun can breach the 30 HR level this year as well.
3. Matt Kemp, LAD (CF)- are you really surprised he moved up in the rankings? I think under new manager Don Mattingley and first base coach Davey Lopes, Kemp is poised for a big bounce back season. I think he approaches the 30-30 club this year. But, I think you have read that here before. He is set to bat cleanup this year, but his career .239-.292-.448 line in that spot is concerning.
More outfield rankings after the jump:
4. 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, but I am not sure he can duplicate his 2010 season. 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. I don't see him duplicating his .384 BABIP this year, which would result in a lower BA and reduced SB opportunities.
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)- I am curious what Hamilton could do if he played a full season and in good health, but am afraid we may never see that. If Hamilton could stay healthy, he would probably be ranked higher, but he has been injury prone for the last few years. I don't see him repeating his 2010 triple slash line of .359-.411-.633, but can see him hitting 30+ HRs with 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. I see him approaching 25 HRs, 90 RBIs, 15 SBs and a BA around .300. His injury history has continued this spring, so he will have to stay healthy to reach my projections.
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. Grey over at Razzball says he IS Crawford, and I tend to agree. Manager Clint Hurdle wants the Pirates to run more this season, and McCutchen could steal 40 bases this year. One of these years, he will put up a 20-40 season. In 2011, I see him approaching .300 with 16-20 HRs, 70 RBIs, and 40+ SBs.
9. Justin Upton, ARI (RF)-I wrote about Upton here awhile back, and think he can bounce back after his disappointing 2010 season. New manager Kirk Gibson has stated he wants the Diamondbacks to be more aggressive on the basepaths this season, but Upton has been quoted saying he will not run much. I will temper my SB projection based on the quote and project a 25-95-15-.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)-some see a drop in performance for Werth with his move to Washington, 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 very consistent fantasy performer over the past few seasons. Over the past 3 years, he has averaged 25 HRs, 82 RBIs, 14 SBs, and a .278 BA, and I can see him approaching 30 HRs this season with 15 SBs.
Here are the rest of my updated 2011 position rankings: