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Fantasy Baseball Rankings 2012: Up-and-Coming Names Destined for Fantasy Stardom

Jesse Pantuosco@@JessePantuoscoContributor IIFebruary 16, 2012

Nobody could have predicted Morse's career year in 2011
Nobody could have predicted Morse's career year in 2011Greg Fiume/Getty Images

Plenty of new fantasy stars emerged on the scene in 2011.  Some of these players will fall back to the middle of the pack in 2012, but not everybody will crash and burn.  Here are a few players you can continue to expect big things from this season.

Ryan Vogelsong, SP, San Francisco Giants 

Vogelsong, who had the best season of his career last year at age 34, was one of last season’s feel-good stories.  Sure you can question the 6’4” hurler’s age, but I expect Vogelsong to have another outstanding season.  The Giants just made him a rich man (two-year deal worth $8.3 million), so I’m betting Vogelsong will be on a mission to prove he’s worth the money.  Plus, with a healthy Buster Posey back in the lineup, Vogelsong should receive better run support in 2012.

Miguel Montero, C, Arizona Diamondbacks

And you thought Seattle’s Jesus was the best Montero in the big leagues.  He may not even be the best Montero at his position.  Arizona’s Montero had a career year, leading major league catchers in RBI (86).  If he’s healthy, he could drive in close to 100 runs.

Michael Morse, 1B, Washington Nationals

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While most experts are predicting a drop-off for Morse, I’m expecting him to be just as solid in 2012 as he was in 2011.  His .303 average last season was actually only a tad higher than what he’s hitting for his career (.296).  Even in minimal playing time the year before, the 6’5” Morse still had good power (15 HR in 98 games).  The 29-year-old outfielder should be in the 30 HR, 100 RBI range again this season.

Jason Motte, RP, St. Louis Cardinals

Oddly enough, Motte did not win the closer’s job until the Cardinals made it to the World Series last year.  Now that he’s officially “the man” in St. Louis, Motte should dominate hitters just like he did in the playoffs.

Andrew McCutchen, OF, Pittsburgh Pirates

McCutchen did not hit for a high average last year (.259) but he still gave fantasy owners plenty of RBI (89) and stolen bases (23).  If McCutchen stops swinging for the fences and improves his contact rate (126 strikeouts a year ago), he’ll be closer to his lifetime average of .276 this season.

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