Shopping for an outfielder is sort of like shopping for a BMW. No matter what model you look at, you know it’s gonna be a pretty nice vehicle—I personally don’t own one, but you get the idea. The Outfielder position is as vast as the ocean, and luckily there really isn’t a significant drop in talent until you get to the near bottom.
But the difficult part is deciding just who you want as your guys. You can draft for power only, speed only, hitting only, or a combination of all three.
Here’s my take on the top ten choices out there; let’s see where you guys stand and let me know what you ‘all think.
1. Ryan Braun
Braun owners had a very up-and-down 2009 season as they saw his power numbers drop, but his hitting actually improved. But the thing about Braun is, even though his power numbers took a dip, he is still an all around player who can provide a multitude of stats. He is good for at least 30 home runs and 30 doubles, and can easily reach the 20 stolen-base mark.
Braun’s only Achilles' heel is his strikeout rate (121 in 2009) but when you’re swinging for the fences, you have to expect that rate to be a bit inflated. He isn’t the only option you should consider at number one, but he is definitely among one of the best.
2009 Statistics: .320 - 32 HR's - 114 RBI - 113 Runs
2010 Projection: .309 - 30 HR's - 120 RBI - 115 Runs
2. Matt Kemp
Imagine how better Matt Kemp’s number would’ve been had Manny not loused things up and miss a chunk of the 2009 season. Despite not having Manny there, Kemp still showed just how capable he really is hitting .297, 26 homeruns, and scoring 97 runs. As if that’s not enough for ya, he also stole 34 bases and managed 101 RBI.
Again, there are a couple of guys here in the top tier that could be considered a No. 1 pick, and if I wasn’t so distrusting with Manny and the rest of the Dodgers lineup, he would definitely be ranked No. 1 here.
2009 Statistics: .297 — 26 HR's — 101 RBI — 97 Runs
2010 Projection: .310 — 28 HR's — 99 RBI — 108 Runs
3. Carl Crawford
Crawford comes in at No. 3, and while he won’t grab your attention with his power numbers, he is quite possibly the king of stolen bases. Crawford had 60 (that’s right, 60) stolen bases last year, and while that is more than enough to win your stolen base category, it is his ability to hit and drive in runs that make him a delicious selection. Too bad he won’t be in Tampa for very much longer, but in fantasy it doesn’t matter anyway.
2009 Statistics: .305 — 15 HR's — 68 RBI — 96 Runs
2010 Projection: .307 — 20 HR's — 82 RBI — 102 Runs
4. Matt Holliday
Power, speed, excellent eye at the plate, Holliday has just about everything one wants in a top outfield pick, and he plays on a very well put together team in St. Louis. While the future is unclear as to whether or not Holliday will own up to his overly paid contract, one thing is perfectly clear: He is a lifetime .353 hitter at home and can even be good for around 10-15 stolen bases.
2009 Statistics: .313 — 24 HR's — 109 RBI — 94 Runs
2010 Projection: .315 — 28 HR's — 119 RBI — 105 Runs
5. Curtis Granderson
Granderson got more than a nice contract and a high profile team when the Yankees snatched him up; he also will be afforded a hitter’s park that is very kind to lefties, and fantasy owners should enjoy an overall increase in Granderson’s stats. Homeruns should come easier, his RBI count will increase heavily thanks to the Yanks superb hitting, and naturally his runs scored will also elevate a bit, making him a fine choice if you’re drafting for power.
2009 Statistics: .249 — 30 HR's — 71 RBI — 91 Runs
2010 Projection: .282 — 32 HR's — 90 RBI — 115 Runs
6. Grady Sizemore
Sizemore, and his sub-par 2009 season, is now behind him, and fantasy owners are looking at a steal of an outfielder if Sizemore continues to drop in ADP and not attract anyone’s attention. He dealt with a ton of injuries last year, but still managed respectable numbers, and 2010 should be a bounce back year for him, so don’t count out Sizemore just yet.
2009 Statistics: .248 — 18 HR's — 64 RBI — 73 Runs
2010 Projection: .281 — 29 HR's — 92 RBI — 100 Runs
7. Manny Ramirez
Manny is Manny, and while his best year may be behind him, you can still count on him to be a fantasy stud until his legs break and his eyes fall out. The thing is. though, Manny’s age and high mileage frame could allow a crafty fantasy owner to draft a comparable back up to him and enjoy the ride of a one-two outfielder punch. Not worthy of a No. 1 pick, but not worthy of being ignored either.
2009 Statistics: .290 — 19 HR's — 63 RBI — 62 Runs
2010 Projection: .301 — 28 HR's — 95 RBI — 92 Runs
8. Adam Lind
In case you forgot, Adam Lind stormed onto the fantasy scene last year hitting 35 homeruns and 114 ribbies, and nearly everyone was awestruck over his sudden breakout. 2010, however, may not be the same with the Jays losing some key hitters, and the projected DH spot for him. Still, he could be that competent back we were talking about earlier.
2009 Statistics: .305 — 35 HR's — 114 RBI — 93 Runs
2010 Projection: .287 — 29 HR's — 107 RBI — 90 Runs
9. Jason Bay
Everyone keeps talking about the move to Citi Field will dramatically hurt Bay’s fantasy worth; yeah, um-hmm, isn’t this the same guy who played for the Pirates…successfully? Bay isn’t a top-five guy, granted, but he will still be good for plenty of fantasy fodder. If you are trying to focus your efforts to other positions first, Bay should still be around for you to grab; just don’t wait too long.
2009 Statistics: .267 — 36 HR's — 119 RBI — 103 Runs
2010 Projection: .280 — 26 HR's — 107 RBI — 100 Runs
10. Ichiro Suzuki
Is it me, or is this guy ageless? Every year, you are guaranteed to find him in the top-ten outfielder rankings, and as a career .333 hitter who will always afford you 25 stolen bases at minimum, you know why. Ichiro is getting a bit old, so that is a cause for concern, but he still makes for a quality addition to your team and with the addition of fellow speedster Chone Figgins, you can bank on another fine year for Ichiro.
2009 Statistics: .352 — 11 HR's — 46 RBI — 88 Runs
2010 Projection: .340 — nine HR's — 66 RBI — 101 Runs
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