Thursday, 17 November 2011

Outfielders Choice: Top Ten Fantasy Baseball Outfielders for the 2012 Season

In most fantasy baseball seasons, the outfield is a prime source for all of your statistical needs. If you are in need of stolen bases, the league leaders were both outfielders. If you need power, 3 of the top 4 home run hitters in MLB were outfielders (counting Jose Bautista, who also qualifies at third base). The major league leader in RBI was an outfielder (Matt Kemp). It’s not too hard to determine that the outfield is one position you can count on to deliver key fantasy stats. With that in mind, let’s review the top ten fantasy baseball outfielders for 2012:


1)     Ryan Braun (MIL)

Not only did Braun’s HR total return to the +30 range, his 33 stolen bases almost equalled his previous 2 season totals combined. Extremely durable, Braun delivers in 5 fantasy categories. He is a pure fantasy stud.



2)     Matt Kemp (LAD)

Falling 1 HR shy of a 40-40 season, Kemp was perhaps the best player in fantasy baseball in 2011. Due mainly to a poor 2010 season, Kemp doesn’t yet have the consistency of Braun and thus is second on the list of outfielders. A bounce back in average and SB made Kemp a stud in 2011. Expect more of the same next year.



3)     Jacoby Ellsbury (BOS)

What a difference a year makes. Coming off a miserable, injury-riddled 2010 campaign, Ellsbury bounced back huge with an MVP-type season in 2011 adding power to his speed game. His power seemed to come out of nowhere but it is not completely unheard of for a player to add power to his game at 28 years old. Look for a dip in his 2012 HR total but he will still deliver a great fantasy performance.



4)     Ichiro Suzuki (SEA)

You may be shocked to find Ichiro so high on the list but I cannot help but to think this massive baseball talent has one monster season left in him. He is way too proud and his decline in numbers in 2011 will not sit well with him. With an 86% SB success rate last season, his speed game remains intact and a slight bump in power would not surprise. Worth the gamble.



5)     Justin Upton (ARI)

Staying healthy and playing more than 138 games (his previous season high prior to 2011) will be the key to ongoing success for the youngest Upton brother. The tools are there but 2012 will be an interesting season in his career. Expect a similar season to 2011.



6)     Carlos Gonzalez (COL)

Cargo has the talent to be the best fantasy player in the game. Health issues continue to plague him and make him too risky to be drafted higher than he is ranked here. Even in a monster 2010 campaign he missed 17 games. His numbers at Coors Field greatly affect his overall stats but as long as he continues to wear a Rockies jersey, you can take the massive home park stats to the bank.



7)     Matt Holliday (STL)

Last season proved that speed is no longer a weapon in Holliday’s arsenal. He can still be counted upon to deliver power and average but nagging injuries took their toll throughout 2011. He is clearly no longer the fantasy stud that he was in his Colorado heyday but he still has something to offer.



8)     Carl Crawford (BOS)

Players have bad years. It’s a fact of life. Just don’t expect players of Crawford’s talent level to have back-to-back poor seasons. Expect a rebound to the tune of .300, 15 HR and 40+ SB. A lot was made of his batting order position in 2011 but if he hits in the heart of the order, his RBI totals will increase as well. Consider 2011 a blip on the radar.



9)     Michael Bourn (ATL)

When you can find a player who totally dominates a particular category (in Bourn’s case, he has led the NL in SB for 3 straight years) you want to lock him up for your fantasy team. The problem with Bourn lies in the fact that if he fails to deliver stolen bases, he will be a fantasy bust. While this is true, hitting from the top of the Braves line up and not showing any signs of slowing down, Bourn is worth counting on to lead your fantasy team in the SB category again in 2012.



10) Curtis Granderson (NYY)

Sure he strikes out a lot and is inconsistent on the base paths but Granderson’s no longer hitting in the leadoff spot (as he did often in Detroit) and his swing is perfect for Yankee Stadium. Expect the big HR totals to continue as well as 20+ SB. Add to that the run production that comes from hitting in a potent line up and Granderson is fantasy baseball gold.



When considering fantasy baseball outfielders for 2012, there are many options to supply your roster with speed, power, average and run production. It is a good strategy to look to the outfield to fill in any statistical weaknesses not found in the rest of your roster. Good luck in 2012!

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*Ryan Braun photo by Steve Paluch on Flickr (Originally posted to Flickr as "ryan-braun") [CC-BY-2.0 (www.creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
*Ichiro Suzuki photo by Keith Allison [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (www.creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
*Matt Holliday photo by Barbara moore (Flickr: Matt Holliday) [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (www.creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
*Curtis Granderson photo by Keith Allison on Flickr (Originally posted to Flickr as "Curtis Granderson") [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (www.creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

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