This post is the sixth in a series of position rankings catered specifically to fantasy baseball head-to-head points leagues and the second of three focused on outfielders.
Previous outfield rankings:
All hitters in this post and previous/future points league rankings are based on these scoring values:
(1B x 1) + (2B x 2) + (3B x 3) + (HR x 4) + (R x 1) + (RBI x 1) + (BB x 1) + (SB x 2) + (SO x -1) = Total
For my thoughts on draft strategies and stats to track in H2H points leagues, consult the top of the catcher's rankings post here.
Rankings after the jump:
2012 Fantasy Baseball Head-to-Head Points League Outfielders Rankings: 26-50
26) Chris Young, ARZ
2011 Points Scored: 383
There’s 30/30 talent deep down in Chris Young, unfortunately it’s suffocated by a meager .240 career average and ugly 22.8 SO%. His ability to steal bases, launch home runs and, surprisingly, earn walks (12.1% in 2011) offer a lot of potential for points and his ISO and HR/FB could return to his career average in 2012, but until he cuts down on the 139 strikeouts, he’ll have a hard time cracking the Top 20 or 25.
27) BJ Upton, TB
2011 Points Scored: 385
See Chris Young above.
28) Nick Swisher, NYY
2011 Points Scored: 376
Overall, Nick Swisher is a very solid/consistent fantasy bat to have in your lineup every night. He’s had 80+ RBI and runs scored in each of his three seasons in New York along with 23 HR or more. Unfortunately, his AVG typically sits in .250 range and his SO% is always at or near 20%. At 30 years old, it would be hard to project much improvement other than maybe a slight increase in his HR total as both his HR/FB and ISO were down in 2011.
29) Jason Heyward, ATL
2011 Points Scored: 222
The Say Hey Kid said “see ya later” to all the hype he earned in 2010 with a very forgettable sophomore season. Almost no one is talking about him entering 2012 drafts, despite being only 22 years old and one year away from a 370 point season. I’m not sure why? A lot of Heyward’s ’11 can be summed up by his nagging shoulder injury and, assuming he is healthy (I haven’t heard otherwise), there’s every reason to believe he can return to his rookie production if not improve with another season’s experience under his belt. To me, Heyward is currently a #3 OF with significant #2 upside.
30) Brett Gardner, NYY
2011 Points Scored: 376
With more plate appearances come more stolen bases for Brett Gardner over the past four seasons, and, if he is able to avoid his awful .194 AVG March/April in 2012, he should see plenty more PA at the top and bottom of the order. There’s a very good chance he reaches 50+ SB in ’12 to go along with a much better AVG if he can improve his .303 BABIP (low for someone with his speed). If not, his impressive 10.9 BB% should still get him on first base enough for those attempts to keep on a comin’.
31) Mike Morse, WAS
2011 Points Scored: 369
Read my Mike Morse profile here. Depending on your league, Morse should qualify at 1B/OF in 2012.
32) Michael Cuddyer, COL
2011 Points Scored: 356
Read my Michael Cuddyer profile here. Depending on your league, Cuddyer should qualify for 1B/2B/OF in 2012.
33) Corey Hart, MIL
2011 Points Scored: 345
At times his swing makes it look like he wears sunglasses at night, but overall, Corey Hart had another productive season for fantasy owners in 2011. His .866 OPS was nearly identical to 2010 (.865), as was his AVG and OBP. Most of Hart’s counting stats took a dip thanks to only 551 PA, and his RBI dropped when put into the leadoff spot for most of August and September. If healthy, and depending on his lineup spot, Hart’s RBI and runs scored should both increase while 25 HR are likely to be the norm for the Brew Crew’s right fielder.
34 Jayson Werth, WAS
2011 Points Scored: 297
I think it’s fair to say the Nationals didn’t get their “money’s Werth” when they offered Jayson $126 million prior to the season. Just about all of his 2011 stats were his worst since becoming a full-time player in 2009, while his .232 AVG was over 60 points less than 2010. There’s almost every reason to believe Werth’s ’12 will be better than his ’11 as he should improve on his .286 BABIP and .389 SLG, although, it doesn’t seem as though his 24.7 SO% is going anywhere anytime soon. Expect a bounce back; just don’t hold your breath for a return of his bearded days in Philly.
35) Vernon Wells, ANA
2011 Points Scored: 286
Not much went, well … well for Wells in his first season with the Angels in 2011. Most noticeable was his .218 AVG (56 points less than career average) thanks to a miserable .214 BABIP. Pretty much everything else fell apart as a result with his 61 runs and 66 RBI both his lowest since 2001. His 25 HR were certainly the highlight of his season and showed he might not be washed up just yet. You have to assume an increase in AVG, RBI and runs for Wells and if his HR total remains in the 25-30 range, then you’ve got a steal on your hands as literally no one is excited about him.
36) Nelson Cruz, TEX
2011 Points Scored: 328
There are two factors that cause Nelson Cruz to fall so far in head-to-head points leagues: 1) Injuries 2) Strikeouts. Unfortunately his SO% has stabilized at 22% while his BB% has now regressed every season since 2008. Meanwhile, he has never played in 130 games in his career due to both serious and nagging injuries. If he could eliminate one of the two he would fly up the rankings thanks to his balanced skill set (84 HR and 46 SB over the last three seasons), home ballpark and surrounding lineup. But, until then, he’s more of an afterthought in points leagues than the superstar he is in real life.
37) Andre Ethier, LAD
2011 Points Scored: 287
Andre Ethier started the season with a 30-game hit streak and a first half that had him on pace for 416 points. Things were going well for the Dodgers right fielder until a second-half knee injury halted his production and eventually shut him down in September. Unfortunately, I don’t expect as hot a start in 2012 and a knee injury is scary. He finished ’11 with a .348 BABIP (25+ career average) which doesn’t seem sustainable nor is his power likely to return as his SLG has now declined three straight years. Add an increase in SO% over the last five seasons and literally nothing (besides BB%) is headed in the right direction for Ethier. If any signs of his ’09 power return, there are points to be had hitting in front of Matt Kemp, but I wouldn’t pay for the slim chance of it.
38) Torii Hunter, ANA
2011 Points Scored: 358
Torii Hunter has settled into a nice groove on the West Coast with all four of his seasons with the Angels looking very similar. He should be a solid bet for 20-25 HR, 90 RBI and 80 runs scored with an average somewhere between .270-.280. Look elsewhere for upside, but when it comes to a solid #3 or #4 outfielder, you could do much worse than Hunter.
39) Carlos Beltran, STL
2011 Points Scored: 426
Carlos Beltran enjoyed a somewhat full season (142 games) in 2011 playing for both the New York Mets and San Francisco Giants and showed what he can still do when healthy. Beltran finished the season with a .300/.385/.525 (.910 OPS) slash line, 22 HR, 84 RBI and 78 runs scored. His BABIP could regress, but he still won’t hurt you with strikeouts and can help with BB. Now with the Cardinals, there should be plenty of opportunities for runs and RBI … if he stays healthy. Last season was the first Beltran had played in over 81 games since 2008 and it still wasn’t injury-free. Now 34 years old, he isn’t likely to get healthier going forward.
40) Coco Crisp, OAK
2011 Points Scored: 398
In 2011, Coco Crisp showed what he could do with a relatively full season (136 games), at least by his standards, when he set a career high 49 SB atop the A’s lineup. Problem is, he isn’t getting younger and those injuries aren’t likely to suddenly disappear. And, were something to occur with a foot, ankle, calf, knee or thigh, his value would plummet. It’s wise to expect less games and counting stats for Crisp across the board, while his AVG could improve with a BABIP better than .284.
41) Howie Kendrick, ANA
2011 Points Scored: 340
Read my Howie Kendrick profile here. Depending on your league, Kendrick should qualify for 1B/2B/OF in 2012.
42) Angel Pagan, SF
2011 Points Scored: 348
For most hitters a trade to San Francisco and AT&T Park would be a bad thing, but for Angel Pagan coming from the Mets and Citi-Field, it should be a non-issue. Pagan should be able to put up a similar season in ’12 with his new team and offer 30 SB, 60 RBI, 70 R and maybe 5-10 HR and his .285 BABIP offers room for improvement considering his speed.
43) Melky Cabrera, SF
2011 Points Scored: 479
“The Milk Man Cometh” just doesn’t have the same ring to it, but Melky Cabrera sure did arrive in 2011 with his best season by far. Cabrera finished with a .305/.339/.470 (.809 OPS) slash line, 18 HR, 87 RBI, 20 SB and 102 runs scored for the Royals before being traded to San Francisco in the offseason, which likely didn’t make his fantasy owners happy. Cut 20 runs and RBI off the top immediately, subtract 5-6 HR and factor in an AVG closer to .275-.280, and AT&T Park, Petco and Dodgers stadium and you should have somewhere around 70% of his production from ’11.
44) Martin Prado, ATL
2011 Points Scored: 325
Read my Martin Prado profile here. Depending on your league, Prado should qualify at 3B/OF in 2012.
45) Cameron Maybin, SD
2011 Points Scored: 316
After spot starts, platoons, injuries and more in Florida, Cameron Maybin finally found himself a full-time gig in San Diego and showed the kind of potential everyone had been waiting for. His 40 SB were the second most in the National League, and while his .264 AVG hardly qualifies as exciting; it was the best of his career. Maybin will need to cut down on the strikeouts (125) and the Padres don’t provide a ton of RBI or scoring opportunities, but at this point in the draft, you could do worse than a 24 year old with 15/40 upside.
46) Peter Bourjos, ANA
2011 Points Scored: 287
See Cameron Maybin above. Peter Bourjos has 20/40 upside like Maybin, although his playing time carries a bigger question mark. Hunter, Wells, Abreu, Kendrick, Trout and Trumbo all need at bats in 2012, meaning Bourjos will need to improve his .327 OBP along with his 124 strikeouts to keep his spot in the Halo’s lineup and relevancy in head-to-head points leagues.
47) Jeff Francoeur, KC
2011 Points Scored: 408
Kansas City cooking did Frenchy well as he had his best big league season by far in 2011. Francoeur posted a .285/.329/.476 (.805 OPS) slash line, 20 HR, 87 RBI and 77 runs scored. Perhaps most surprising of his stats were his 22 SB that came out of nowhere. Although it seems like he has been in the MLB forever, he is still only 27 years old and in his prime so he could continue his ’11 production, but one great season does not a great player make and his six bad/average seasons prior can’t be forgotten so soon. I’m not sold yet and I’ll need to see another season from Jeff Francoeur before I make an effort to draft him on a team.
48) Matt Joyce, TB
2011 Points Scored: 334
Matt had owners singing “Joyce to the World” after a .290/.351/.513 (.864 OPS), 12 HR, 41 RBI, 5 SB and 45 run showing in the first half (particularly April/May). The tune changed to “Silent Night” in the second half as Joyce never was able to return to his first half success. Joyce has the RF job secured going into 2012 and should see another 100+ PA to build on his counting stats in a talented Tampa lineup. If he doesn’t tire in the second half, there’s a chance for a very well-rounded season from Joyce at a cost you can afford.
49) Emilio Bonifacio, MIA
2011 Points Scored: 348
Read my Emilio Bonifacio profile here. Depending on your league, Bonifacio should qualify at 3B/SS/OF in 2012.
50) Dexter Fowler, COL
2011 Points Scored: 299
Dexter Fowler had a rocky (pun intended) season in 2011 with injuries, slumps and a mid-season demotion to AAA, but, in the end he impressed with a .288/.381/.498 (.879 OPS) slash line, 5 HR and 10 SB upon his return. While his 5 HR aren’t much for an outfielder, he still was able to hit 55 XBH thanks to 35 doubles and 15 triples. Therefore, what you have with Fowler is a leadoff hitter in front of CarGo/Tulo, hitting at Coors Field with 20-30 SB potential and 50+ XBH output? Count me in in 2012.
Juan Pierre, FA
2011 Points Scored: 395
Juan Pierre’s rankings will be completely determined by his new team. If he is able to find a team where he can receive 600+ PA then he should be considered as a #3 OF ranked somewhere in the 30s of this list, whereas if he finds himself in a reserve role, his value is hardly worth mentioning.
Yoenis Cespedes, FA
2011 Points Scored: NA
Yoenis Cespedes has yet to sign with a MLB team, but when and if he does, he could provide 20-25 HR potential with a AVG that could lead to runs and RBI depending on the team. I’d probably rank him somewhere in the late 30s or early 40s, but his hype is likely to cost much more than that.
Is there an outfielder you're excited about that should've made the Top 50? Feel free to comment on these rankings or ask any other fantasy baseball or H2H questions below. And, check back tomorrow for outfielders 51-100.