Saturday, 12 January 2013

Outfield of Dreams: Fantasy Baseball Outfielders in 2013

When looking at all of the spots on your fantasy baseball roster, outfield is the one position that can deliver stats across the board. In fact, it is very difficult to win your fantasy league without a big contribution from your outfield spots. It’s always a good idea to grab at least one of the top guys at the position and fill in the remaining OF spots with players that can contribute in different ways. Here are some of the top choices:

Ryan Braun (MIL)
With all due respect to the 2 AL MVP candidates from 2012, Braun should be the first player off the board on draft day. He delivers in all 5 categories and has done so for several years. Even with Prince Fielder’s departure and a PED scandal to deal with, Braun once again delivered a stud fantasy performance last year. Fantasy baseball’s “Top 5” has had some turnover in recent years but Braun has been a consistent presence there. Draft him with confidence.

Matt Kemp (LAD)
He vowed to take a run at a 50/50 season in 2012 and while the speed declined, before he went down with an injury Kemp was mashing the ball. The Dodgers lineup has gotten better around him and this should allow him to put up some gaudy run production stats. He has progressed well in his offseason injury rehab and should be ready to go for spring training. He wasn’t pleased with losing out on the NL MVP Award in 2011 and will be out to prove himself this season. A monster season wouldn’t surprise.

Mike Trout (LAA)
Ranked behind Bryce Harper on many prospect lists entering 2012, Trout put up a historic campaign. The only question is if he can repeat. The power was a surprise and it will be interesting to see how the 21-year old responds to AL pitchers making adjustments to him. Atop many ranking lists entering 2013, Trout will no doubt be one of the first picks off the board in most drafts.

Jose Bautista (TOR)
When he got off to a slow start last year, many people were quick to write him off as a flash-in-the-pan. However, the power was still there with 27 first half home runs (including an amazing 14 in June alone). Also, a freakishly low BABIP last season (.215) helped keep his BA down. His patience at the plate and incredible bat speed alone are indicators that he’ll rebound in 2013. Surrounded by an improved lineup this year, “Joey Bats” should once again put up elite fantasy numbers. Don’t let him slip too far in your rankings.

Carlos Gonzalez (COL)
Playing half his games at Coors Field has certainly increased his overall fantasy value but “Cargo” can put up some big numbers, to be sure. Staying healthy has always been an issue but so long as he’s in the lineup, he will produce across all 5 categories. A second half swoon cost him even bigger numbers last year (due in part to injury). He doesn’t always get the green light on the base paths but so long as he plays for the Rockies, his inflated home stats will deliver big time fantasy value.
One of these years, Stanton is going to mash 50 home runs and no one wants to miss out on that power potential. A diminished line up around him may rob “Mike” of some run production but the potential is simply too big to ignore. The holes in his swing could lead to a lower BA this season and he doesn’t offer any speed but the promise of an NL home run crown make him an enticing pick.

Josh Hamilton (LAA)
There is lots to like and lots to dislike about the new Angels outfielder. His off –the-field issues are well documented (and always cause for concern). He’s a high risk/high reward player if there ever was one. However, as any fantasy owner that had him in the first half of 2012 wil attest, Hamilton can lead your team to the top of the standings when he’s on his game.

Adam Jones (BAL)
He got off to a great start last season. In 2013, he’s in his ‘magical’ baseball age of 27 years old and could take things to the next level. He might be held back on the base paths in 2013 due to the team’s conservative base stealing approach. That being said, it just feels like Jones has a monster fantasy season in him and if it is going to happen, 2013 should be the year it does.

Andrew McCutchen (PIT)
He’s at or near the top of many pre season rankings but there are a few warning signs to consider. His BABIP was very high last season. As a result, he may regress to his previous sub-.300 BA levels. Also, he tends to get caught stealing a bit so that keeps his speed game in check somewhat. Although his power has trended upward, be careful not to over-reach for him on draft day.

Jason Heyward (ATL)
As talented as they come, his nightmarish 2011 can be attributed to a debilitating shoulder injury. Heyward has legitimate 30/30 potential and if he can correct the holes in his swing, he can also deliver a decent BA to help you out. The Braves lineup has the ability to make some noise in 2013 and Heyward should be right in the middle of things this season. He’s going to break out big time soon and don’t forget that he is only 23 years old. He could anchor your squad for years to come.

There are a lot of options when it comes to filling your fantasy outfield in 2013. Be sure to establish your roster with a stud or two and you’ll be on your way to success.

* Ryan Braun photo by Steve Paluch on Flickr (Originally posted to Flickr as "ryan-braun") [CC-BY-2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons
* Jose Bautista photo by Keith Allison on Flickr (Originally posted to Flickr as "Jose Bautista") [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons
* Josh Hamilton photo by Keith Allison [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons
* Jason Heyward photo by i created the image (i created this file) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

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