Fantasy Baseball Rankings 2013: Top 10 Outfielders
It's never too early to talk baseball, and with spring training just around the corner, fantasy players are already formulating their strategy for success.
Pitchers are easy to find in fantasy drafts, but outfielders can go quickly. The main guys on the list don't change much, but there are some underrated players who deserve a look come draft day.
For once, this list won't be dominated by New York Yankees or Boston Red Sox. The players on this list will come from teams all over the league. Some are established veterans and others are blooming stars.
Fans should be able to guess most of the names on this list, but there will be a few surprises as well. It's important to realize that this ranking also takes into account what the outfielders have around them.
So with spring training starting this month, get excited for some baseball. Feel free to pick your favorite players in your draft, but make sure you pick them at an appropriate time.
With all that being said, it's time to unveil the list of the top fantasy outfielders for this upcoming season.
*All stats are from ESPN.com
Carlos Beltran (St. Louis Cardinals)
Alfronso Soriano (Chicago Cubs)
Jose Bautista (Toronto Blue Jays)
Yoenis Cespedes (Oakland A's)
Andre Ethier (Los Angeles Dodgers)
Justin Upton (Atlanta Braves)
No. 10: Nick Swisher, Cleveland Indians
2012 stats: .272/.364, 24 HR/93 RBI
This might be the biggest surprise on the list.
Nick Swisher took what was offered and went to Cleveland. He will be inserted directly in the middle of the Indians lineup, and he should continue to drive in runs.
In his career, he has been good for anywhere from 20 to 30 home runs with at least 80 RBI.
His numbers may have been higher in New York had he been in the middle of that lineup. He now gets the chance to be the main guy in Cleveland.
How good was he with runners in scoring position? He hit .301 with 11 home runs and 74 RBI in those situations. Those are pretty good numbers.
If the Indians can get on base for him, Swisher will be one of the best fantasy outfielders in the game.
No. 9: Carlos Gonzalez, Colorado Rockies
2012 stats: .303/.371, 22 HR/85 RBI
After years of being left off the squad, Carlos Gonzalez finally made the NL All-Star team in 2012.
His production has declined slightly in recent years, but he is still putting up solid numbers. One reason to draft him is because of he plays at Coors Field.
If Troy Tulowitzki can stay healthy, it will help increase Gonzalez's numbers. He has great power, but his numbers outside of Colorado are the reason he is so far down here.
He hit .260 with only 27 home runs on the road in the past three seasons, but his numbers at home are good enough to make this list. At Coors Field, he hit .361 with 55 home runs during that same stretch.
Once he learns how to hit outside of Colorado, he can start climbing up this list.
No. 8: Jay Bruce, Cincinnati Reds
2012 stats: .252/.327, 34 HR/99 RBI
Jay Bruce will be turning 26 a few days after Opening Day, but he is already one of the best outfielders in the league.
The rising star hit .281 two years ago, but has seen his average decline as his power increases.
He has hit at least 20 home runs in every year since coming to the big leagues, and his RBI total has increased as well.
Last season, Bruce ranked fourth in the National League with 74 extra-base hits (via MLB.com). He led the Reds in every major productive category and often gets overshadowed by first baseman Joey Votto.
The right fielder has made two consecutive All-Star teams and is only getting better. With Shin-Soo Choo, Brandon Phillips and Votto now all hitting in front of him, he should get more opportunities to drive in runs.
He will probably be around for a few rounds, so take him if you get the chance. Don't forget that he plays half of his games at Great American Ball Park.
No. 7: Matt Holliday, St. Louis Cardinals
2012 stats: .295/.379, 27 HR/102 RBI
Matt Holliday gets the nod over teammate Carlos Beltran because he has been more consistent throughout his career.
He has hit at least 24 home runs and knocked in more than 100 runs in six of his past eight seasons. In the seasons he did not get to those milestones, he hit 25 homers with 88 RBI in one and missed time with an injury in the other.
The left fielder was a great acquisition by the St. Louis Cardinals in 2009 and is now the star of the lineup.
Holliday has also maintained an on-base percentage around .400 in every season since 2006. He is very consistent and should continue to produce for a good offensive team.
No. 6: Giancarlo Stanton, Miami Marlins
2012 stats: .290/.361, 37 HR/86 RBI
The only reason you shouldn't draft Giancarlo Stanton in the first two rounds is because of the team he has around him. With the trading of Emilio Bonafacio, Jose Reyes and Hanley Ramirez in the past year, the Marlins don't have much around their young superstar.
At 23 years old, Stanton had a monster season in 2012. The right fielder established career highs in batting average, home runs, OBP, OPS and slugging percentage, all while cutting down on the strikeouts.
Stanton has tremendous power, so he will still get his fair share of home runs.
He would be higher on this list if he had players around him to help out, but the Marlins got rid of most of their productive pieces in the offseason. Pitchers won't have to pitch to Stanton because there's nobody behind him.
If he stays in Miami all season, he will have to put up the numbers with very little protection.
No. 5: Andrew McCutchen, Pittsburgh Pirates
2012 stats: .327/.400, 31 HR/96 RBI
Had the Pittsburgh Pirates managed to make the postseason, nobody could argue with giving Andrew McCutchen the MVP. As he faded, his team fell out of contention as well.
Since his debut in 2009, his home run and RBI totals have each increased. He is one of the game's best center fielders, but he doesn't get a whole lot of attention outside of Pittsburgh.
A two-time All-Star, McCutchen just continues to improve on a team that can't get over the hump. If the Pirates can get a winning season anytime soon, McCutchen will be the reason.
Now that the league has heard of him, he will likely get less pitches to hit. Still, he has a great eye at the plate and doesn't strike out for a man of his status.
McCutchen was hitting .370 at one point in August, so he can do it all.
No. 4: Mike Trout, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
2012 stats: .326/.399, 30 HR/83 RBI, 49 SB
The greatest rookie season in the history of MLB almost ended up with Mike Trout winning the AL MVP.
As a rookie, he took the league by storm. It was fascinating to watch and will be tough to top. The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim will be the favorite to win the AL, so Trout will have additional pressure on him this season.
The 21-year-old has unbelievable athletic ability, speed and power. He will be at the top of the lineup with Albert Pujols and Josh Hamilton hitting behind him, which means pitchers will have no choice but to face the youngster.
It may seem too early to put him among the list with these players, but that's how good his rookie season was. If he can do it every year, he'll be No. 1 in no time.
No. 3: Ryan Braun, Milwaukee Brewers
2012 stats: .319/.391, 41 HR/112 RBI
Say what you want about Ryan Braun, his numbers are consistent.
He has at least 25 homers and 97 RBI in all six of his seasons in the majors, so it's a safe bet to say that he will continue that trend.
If he was going to drop off, it would've been last year with the loss of Prince Fielder and the controversy involving his NL MVP. Instead, he had better numbers than what he put up in 2011.
He was one of the only players in the National League to have more extra-base hits (80) than Jay Bruce, so he does a lot more than just hit home runs.
Fantasy is all about the numbers; Braun would be a safe pick given how consistent he has been in his career.
No. 2Josh Hamilton, Los Angeles of Anaheim
2012 stats: .285/.354, 43 HR/128 RBI
Now that he is Trout's teammate, Josh Hamilton will be in one of the greatest lineups in baseball history.
Injuries have been an issue for him, but he is an extremely talented hitter. He has an AL MVP, a four-homer game and has been named to five AL All-Star teams.
He will need to adjust to hitting in a new ballpark, but that shouldn't be a problem for a guy with his power.
He has hit 30 home runs with 100 RBI three times in his career, but they have come in every other season. Unfortunately for fantasy players this year, he accomplished that feat last year.
Don't worry. He's in a stacked lineup, so he will still get his crazy stats.
As long as he cuts back down on the strikeouts, he will be worth the first-round pick fantasy owners use on him this season.
No. 1: Matt Kemp, Los Angeles Dodgers
2012 stats: .303/.367, 23 HR/69 RBI
When healthy, Matt Kemp is arguably the best player in baseball. He wasn't able to stay healthy last year, but he still put up some good stats.
Before last year, he was always good for at least 26 home runs, 90 RBI and a .290 average. He has hit above .300 in three of his seven seasons so far, and he has only had one down year in terms of average.
In 2011 he batted .324 with 39 HR, 126 RBI, 40 stolen bases and a .399 OBP. Those numbers are ridiculous. It's even more ridiculous that he didn't even win the NL Most Valuable Player that season.
He may put up even better numbers now that he's in a lineup with Carl Crawford, Hanley Ramirez and Adrian Gonzalez.
Kemp is worth taking in the first round because he has unlimited potential in spacious Dodger Stadium.