While there are a ton of quality outfielders to choose from for fantasy baseball there is still a clear pecking order at the top.
While it is always important to maintain balance with speed and power in a lineup, when it comes to picking your first outfielder, that's the time to take the best on the board and go from there.
So, when selecting your first outfielder, try to land one of the following five:
No. 5: Matt Kemp, Dodgers
Matt Kemp brings it all to the table. He gets on base, hits for power, steals bases and produces runs. Well, at least he used to do it all.
Kemp led all fantasy players in points in 2011, and he was primed to pull off the feat again last year, then he was derailed by a nasty hamstring injury. The injury kept him out of 51 games.
So, in a season after he stole 40 bases, he swiped just nine last year.
At 28 years old, Kemp's days of stealing 30-plus bases may be over. Also, there is the concern that Kemp will again be forced to miss significant time with an injury.
No. 4: Carlos Gonzalez, Rockies
Like Matt Kemp, Carlos Gonzalez was undone by injuries last season. In fact, this 27-year-old has been undone by injuries the past two seasons.
Still, despite playing in just 135 games last year, Gonzalez hit .303 with 22 home runs and 85 RBI.
When Gonzalez can play he produces in a big way. It is simply a matter of keeping him on the field. The good news on this front is that his injuries have been minor. There isn't anything to suggest that there is a chronic problem brewing.
While it would be foolish to expect him to play in 162 games next season, somewhere in the neighborhood of 140 is a solid expectation.
No. 3: Andrew McCutchen
Andrew McCutchen, already in the midst of an impressive career, took his game to the next level last season. As a result, he finished fourth in fantasy points for 2012.
There is no reason to think that McCutchen will do anything but improve on those numbers this season. McCutchen is 26 years old, and he has been on a steady climb of improvement over his four seasons in the majors.
McCutchen has improved his WAR by over a point in each of his pro seasons.
This is a player that is going to bring your lineup a little of everything, and do so at a high level.
No. 2: Ryan Braun
Ryan Braun entered 2012 with more question marks than the typical reigning MVP as he was followed by the PED controversy that surfaced after he won the MVP.
His numbers, across the board, were comparable to his MVP season, and that was despite losing Prince Fielder to protect him in the lineup.
Braun is a well-rounded and consistent player. He has also been able to avoid serious injuries. In all but his rookie season, Braun has played in at least 150 games.
Braun is one of the safest fantasy picks you can find.
No. 1: Mike Trout
Rookie phenom Mike Trout is back for his second season and there is no reason to expect anything other than another stellar season.
In his rookie campaign, he hit .326/.399/.564 with 30 home runs, 49 stolen bases, 129 runs and 83 RBI in just 139 games.
While it would be foolish to expect this kind of success from any player, Trout is just 21 years old, and he should still be making adjustments to the majors, which will lead to even more success.
Even if Trout does suffer some regression, he would still have outstanding numbers. If you have a chance to draft Trout, jump at the opportunity.
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