2011 Fantasy Baseball: My Top 20 Projected Outfielders for April
Several experts are out there providing just enough fantasy baseball advice for you to make a bunch of mistakes.
I'll give you advice from the mouth of a proven champion and former college player.
Within this presentation, you’ll find the information to make you a title contender all fantasy baseball season long.
Without a long introduction, let’s proceed with tonight’s entertainment…
20. Ben Zobrist: He Could Bust Out for Big Numbers in Tampa Bay
Ben is listed as a multi-position player—strengthening his value.
His home run production dipped last year but could rebound. He batted .238 with 10 home runs and 24 steals in 2010.
He’s in a solid lineup in Tampa—even without Carl Crawford. Evan Longoria, B.J. Upton, Manny Ramirez and crew will continue to rake like Jake.
19. Delmon Young: The 25-Year-Old Has Arrived in the Twin Cities
Young was the No. 1 pick in the 2003 draft.
Tampa Bay picked him, but now he’s maturing in Minnesota. He batted .298 with 112 RBI and 21 home runs last year. I expect him to hit 25 home runs this year.
He should bat cleanup a lot in the middle of a bunch of other hard hitters for the Twins.
He’ll turn 26-years-old on Sept. 14.
18. B.J. Upton: Just Do It
He’ll reach the tender age of 27-years-old on August 21. The Norfolk, Va., native’s numbers should improve across the board this season. He’s shown he’s capable of batting .300 in the majors and last year he batted .237. His career average is .260
He’s getting stronger and could hit 25-30 home runs this year.
17. Justin Upton: His Star Power Just Continues Upward
Upton turn 24-years-old on August 25.
Last year he batted .273 with 17 home runs and 69 RBI on 495 at-bats. This year, he’ll steal 25 bases and bat .290 or better on a poor offensive team.
Opponents could pitch around him.
16. Mike Stanton: Iron Mike Will Stand and Deliver a Lot of Dings
"Sluggo" Stanton will continue to show his immense power and talent.
In the Marlins lineup, Iron Mike will have plenty of at-bats to swing for the hills and score runs.
15. Carlos Lee: The Astros Can Lean on Him to Hit More Home Runs
Can Carlos this year bat any worse than he did last year?
I don’t believe so, and his manager doesn’t either. Lee still smashed 24 home runs in 2010. I expect him to hit 35-40 in a tremendous bounce back season.
14. Jayson Werth: The $120 Million Man Will Shine in the D.C.
Werth could be out to prove he’s worth his contract, and I believe he’ll quiet his critics.
He has all of the physical tools to do it, and Philadelphia will miss him.
Washington has Ryan Zimmerman to assist him and they’ll score some runs.
13. Colby Rasmus: Cold-Blooded Young Cardinal Bird
An All-Star in the making, Rasmus is ready.
Colby is one of the few Cardinals who publicly showed the McGwire thing was a ruse in 2010.
Rasmus fell out with La Russa over listening to McGwire as a hitting coach. The Rasmus family preferred to hit on their own and it appears to be working.
Now he’s a key cog in a revved up Cardinals offense. He could bat in front of Pujols or behind Holliday. Look for his power numbers—and all of his numbers—to increase by leaps and bounds.
Rasmus and the Redbirds are.
12. Jason Heyward: The Sophomore Will Show His Stuff in the "A"
I don’t see him competing for a MPV in 2011, but I don’t expect a sophomore slump from Heyward. He may not start off as hot as he did last year, but he’ll be more consistent.
Chipper Jones will continue to provide leadership and the Braves will have a solid offense in Atlanta.
Heyward could have a breakout season and make it to the All-Star game.
11. Luke Scott: Luke Listens to Manager Obi-Wan Showalter
Here is a point not to miss:
Smack dab in the middle of what could be the hardest hitting offense in the league; Scott could go sky-walking to AL stardom.
He smashed 27 bombs last season on a pitiful team of Orioles in 2010. This season, Baltimore's offense could be electric.
If Luke listens to Obi-Wan Showalter, then the sky is the limit.
10. Nelson Cruz: Nelly Can Hit Them Across the Nile River It Seems
Despite being injured, Cruz was off the charts last year.
The Dominican Cruz learned how to scorch the ball harder from Vladimir Guerrero last year in Texas. Now Cruz is all grown up and could be out to prove he’s an All-Star.
I expect him to get it in and show he’s truly one of the best young sluggers in the game. He could even venture into the chatter for American League MVP.
9. Ryan Braun: He'll Need a Lot of Braunie Points for the Brewers
In terms of fantasy baseball, Braun is hot.
Several experts list Ryan as their No. 1 fantasy outfielder this season. The 27-year-old slugged 25 home runs, had 103 runs batted in and scored 101 runs. Add 14 steals and a .304 average, and it is understandable why the experts like him.
I like him too, just not as my No. 1 outfielder. The Brewers offense could be potent, but not on par with Boston, New York, Cincinnati or even St. Louis.
Is he a championship rosterable player? Of course. He will gain plenty Braunie points.
8. Alex Rios: The South Side Should Embrace Him Big Time
Chicagoans who live around Comiskey Park should appreciate Rios—who is one of the most talented players in MLB.
At 30-years-old, he could have an absolute monster of a season. He can hit for power, average and steal bases.
He’ll be at home in the Windy City this season, but his production will increase with the temperature in Chicago.
7. Andrew McCutchen: "McClutching"
You guessed it.
Unlike a Cameron Maybin, Eric Hinske or a Lastings Milledge, McCutchen is a proven commodity in fantasy baseball—championship fantasy baseball.
He did it despite playing on an absolutely atrocious team in Pittsburgh.
“McClutch’s” value is enhanced by the fact other teams want him. Imagine him at the top of the Texas Rangers lineup.
6. Curtis Granderson: The Grandy Man Can Bounce Back
Granderson may not put up Pujols type numbers, but Curtis was on fire in the latter part of 2010.
His offensive production via the long ball and base knocks helped carry one of my squads to a Yahoo! fantasy championship.
He should be available deep in 2011 fantasy drafts—but not now I guess.
5. Carlos Gonzalez: Gonzo Will Keem It Going
Carlos was on fire last season. He batted .336 with 34 home runs and 117 RBI. He also scored 111 runs and stole 26 bases.
Will the 25-year-old Venezuelan be able to repeat his numbers? I don’t believe so—those are Pujols like number.
Gonzo could outdo his 2010 season.
4. Jose Bautista: He Is Capable of Smashing 50 Home Runs in 2011
I can’t foresee Bautista blasting home runs like he did last year.
He blasted 54 last year. I can see him hitting 35-49 of them, though, in 2011. He could surpass 100 RBI again this year.
3. Matt Holliday: Will He Perform Surgery on Opposing Pitchers?
The Cardinals offense is underrated this year.
Look for "Doc" Holliday to improve on his 104 RBI total from 2010. He’ll also score over 100 runs with Lance Berkman and the rest of the Cardinals including Colby Rasmus hitting behind him.
If teams will attempt to avoid Albert Pujols, then Holliday will operate on them with line drive blasts all over the park.
2. Josh Hamilton: "Ham" Is Hitting Hotter Than a Texas Tuesday
Hamilton could compete for the AL MVP.
He led the league with a .359 average while smashing 32 home runs and stealing eight bases. He should surpass his 100 runs batted in from last year and score more than 95 runs in another monster season.
His average may dip, but he’ll hit .300 this season in the middle of a strong offense.
1. Carl Crawford: "Craw Daddy" Will Be a Thorn in the Yankees’ Sides
In my book, Crawford will have one of his best seasons. No matter where he bats in the Red Sox lineup, he’ll be a source for big numbers.
Last season, he batted .307 with 47 steals, 19 home runs and 90 runs batted in.
Put him in a park with short porches and an offensive juggernaut like Boston and he’ll be electrifying—possibly increasing his 110 runs scored from last year.
He could easily win the MVP this year.