Welcome to the third installment of "A Tale of 20 Teams", a series of articles that try to capture the current fantasy baseball landscape by using the rosters from 20 actual teams as its foundation.
I will analyze current roster movement and player performance for nearly all players that would be rostered in a standard 5X5, 10 Team ESPN League Format.
I chose 20 teams to analyze because it seemed like a manageable number of teams that should still provide for a large sample of players and distinct roster decisions. The breakdown of the leagues are as follows: 9 Roto/11 H2H, 6 Auction Draft/14 Snake Draft.
We will focus on the Outfield and identify who ended up on these teams from a cumulative perspective. I tried to draft for value at nearly every opportunity while going a little more starting pitcher heavy than most; after all pitching wins championships.
ESPN utilizes 25-man rosters with slots for C, 1B, 2B, SS, 3B, 1B/3B, 2B/SS, OF, OF, OF, OF, OF, U, 9 Pitchers, and 3 B.
Remember just because someone is rostered (more often) than someone else does not mean I think they will be more productive. However, if someone is selected on numerous occasions there is a reason for it.
These were all real drafts so I tried to take the best player available while accounting for both the player’s position and team needs. Some minor preseason transactions have already occurred.
Now that the mandatory legal disclaimer is complete let’s check out the Outfielders.
Outfield is historically an extremely deep position that always seems to have more than its share of talent infusion throughout the season. These facts would likely lead one to believe that it is best to wait for Outfielders and draft more scarce positions early, but oftentimes this was exactly the opposite of what I chose to do.
Having to fill five OF slots was one reason to move earlier as was noticing that the upper-level talent was not as deep as one would naturally assume.
This was also a position where many times you were able to find solid value as big names dropped or potential studs did not appear to be respected enough.
Finally, it just seemed like I had a few of “my guys” at this position and did what I could (within reason) to ascertain their services.
Nelson Cruz – OF Fifteen 75 percent!!!
Nelson Cruz is on more of these teams than anyone else in baseball, a whopping 75 percent.
His enormous potential is highlighted by his very impressive minor league track record, solid all-around late season call-up last year, and extremely positive lineup and home park considerations. The best part is that he is a very late round pick poised to be a rock solid second or third Outfielder with season totals approaching 30hr/12sb/105rbi/95r/.285.
Since there was not much of an initial investment if I am completely wrong in my assessment I will be more than willing to dump him for the next big thing (yes, all 15 times).
Remember folks these players are just numbers to you, so don’t fall in love with the names, but do give them ample time to prove themselves as it is a very long season.
Jacoby Ellsbury – OF Eleven 55 Percent
Jayson Werth – OF Eleven
Carlos Quentin – OF Ten 50 Percent
All three of these guys are on at least half of the rosters.
Jacoby Ellsbury has all the talent to be an elite leadoff hitter and is poised to take a large step forward from an already impressive rookie year. He will be elite in stolen bases and runs while increasing his power numbers and hopefully average as well.
Jayson Werth seems like the forgotten man for the World Champions. How he was consistently available where he was boggles my mind as he had an incredibly efficient 20/20 season last year as a part time player and looks to improve on those numbers in an everyday role hitting in a solid lineup all summer long.
Carlos Quentin is another guy that people are not buying into as much as I am. He exploded on the scene last year seemingly out of nowhere but in actuality he has a very legitimate minor league track record to back it up.
He was a late season injury away from AL MVP in his first full season and should at least match those gaudy numbers this year.
Ellsbury, Werth, and Quentin all appear to be brimming with the potential to blow away your initial investment, a true recipe for fantasy sports success.
Carlos Beltran – OF Seven 35 Percent
B.J. Upton – OF Six 30 Percent
Grady Sizemore – OF Five 25 Percent
Ichiro Suzuki – OF Four 20 Percent
Ryan Ludwick – OF Four
I'll just use this Outfield.
Carlos Beltran and Grady Sizemore are both in their prime and are two of the most complete five-category stat stuffers in the game today. With 25/25 and solid run production in the bank both will look to improve their average while playing gold glove defense. If only you could get points for that too!
B.J. Upton has made a smooth transition to the OF and although the lack of 2B eligibility is not good news that power stroke he showcased in the playoffs is. If harnessed for a full season those bombs would take his game to top 10 overall.
Ichiro Suzuki is as consistent as they come as his historically excellent career forges on. That .320 average anchors any roto lineup and the 100 plus runs and 40 stolen bases help out immensely as well.
Ryan Ludwick is the NL’s version of Carlos Quentin as both were unexpectedly yet immensely helpful to owners all summer long. Look for that prodigious power stroke to continue as I see him coming close to matching last years impressive numbers. Even a slight drop-off would still provide positive value relative to his average draft position of 98.
Lastings Milledge – OF Four 20 Percent
Matt Holliday – OF Three 15 Percent
Shane Victorino – OF Three
Xavier Nady – OF Three
Jason Bay – OF Three
Jay Bruce – OF 10 10 Percent
Lastings Milledge and Jay Bruce are both talented youngsters who should have regular playing time for rebuilding squads. Bruce has solid power with the chance for some steals while Milledge has plenty of speed with a little pop.
Xavier Nady and Jason Bay went from teammates with the Buccos last year to valuable contributors on opposing sides of the greatest rivalry in sports.
Bay should be excellent in runs, HR, RBI, and AVG and contribute a few steals as well. Nady is looking to build on last year’s impressive campaign and should be a plus contributor in everything but steals.
Matt Holliday moves away from the hitter’s paradise of Coors Field and into an extreme pitchers park, but he is still Matt Holliday. Look for his numbers to fall a little, but since he fills all five cats he should still be extremely productive.
Shane Victorino came into his own last year and appears ready to lift his game another level. Close to 20 homers with 35 steals is a realistic possibility for the "Flyin Hawaiian."
Ryan Braun~Josh Hamilton~Carlos Lee~Alex Rios
Nick Markakis~Carl Crawford~Raul Ibanez~Andre Ethier
Chris B. Young~Ryan Spilborghs~Adam Jones~Brad Hawpe
Kendry Morales~Justin Upton~Rick Ankiel~Shin-Soo Choo
Elijah Dukes~Coco Crisp~Jordan Schafer~Denard Span
A little bit of everything to be found here, from All-Stars to “hopefully he plays,” I have a feeling that this group will look a lot different in a couple of weeks.
Alfonso Soriano~Manny Ramirez~Matt Kemp~Vladimir Guerrero~Nate McLouth~Curtis Granderson~Magglio Ordonez~Bobby Abreu~Corey Hart~Adam Dunn~Johnny Damon~Hunter Pence~Andre Ethier~Torii Hunter~Vernon Wells
Thanks for checking out this Outfield preview article. We'll take care of the pitchers in short order and then really start digesting how this season is shaping up.
If you enjoyed reading this you should definitely check out "A Tale of 20 Teams" Corner Infield Preview and Middle Infield Preview.
Finally, I would urge you to take a moment and let me know what you think of this format as well as what you would like to read about in future articles.
Have a great day...