Fantasy: Top 100 Outfielders for 2006 (Part 1)

1. Vladimir Guerrero: Vlad tops the rankings and is a certain top five pick. He should have more playing time in ’06 after enduring a pesky jammed shoulder and other injuries in ’05. You can bank on .320-35-115 with 100 runs and double digit steals. He’s still fairly young, and should earn $35 worth of value in ’06. Problem is, bidding in auction leagues may go into the $50-60 range.

2. Miguel Cabrera: Cabrera is a superstar in progress, and ranks just a hair behind Vlad in my system. He’d be best applied at third base. I expect Cabrera to top Vlad’s RBI and run totals due to more more at-bats. Even without any steals, Cabrera is worth a good $35.

3. Manny Ramirez: Even with his recent discontent, Manny is still Manny. Look for the typical huge power numbers and a good batting average. Last season was his worst season since 1998, but decline phase Manny is still elite. He might not supply the lofty batting averages of his prime, but he’s still worth more than $30.

4. Jason Bay: Bay looks like a late first round/early second round pick. He’s a trendy choice this year, but is a decent bet to get fewer at-bats and steals, and have a batting average below .300. He’s still excellent in five categories and should be ranked above Bobby Abreu.

5. Carl Crawford: Look for Crawford to hit .300 while setting a career high in home runs. He’ll also score 100 and steal more than 40, and that makes for a huge overall contribution from one roster spot. He should be valued close to $30.

6. Bobby Abreu: Expect Abreu to bounce back a little bit from 2005 (not that his 2005 was bad). He’ll continue to boost your totals in all five categories, and isn’t significantly worse than Bay or Crawford.

7. Grady Sizemore: Another five category guy who slipped into the top ten after a breakout season. He’ll only be 24, and should improve in all categories in 2006.

8. Ichiro Suzuki: Ichiro is a lock to give you 680 at-bats with an average between .300 and .330, a feat that may be worth more than $10 in itself. He’ll also score 110 runs, swipe 35 bases, and hit at least 10 home runs. Ichiro is a great buy-low candidate if his owner is disenchanted after his .303 average in ’05.

9. Chone Figgins: Given that outfielders are plentiful, you probably want to use Figgins elsewhere. You can expect 55 steals, a .300 average, and 110 runs, which is worth at least $25, regardless.

10. Carlos Beltran: Beltran should improve in every category in 2005. He is simply better than .266/.330/.414. The pressure should lessen somewhat, and he’ll go back to being a .280-25-100 guy with 100 runs and 20+ steals.

11. Gary Sheffield: His batting average might slide a little bit in his age 37 season, but Sheff still provides reliably huge power numbers. Problem is, he’ll probably cost significantly more than the $25 he’ll earn.

12. Matt Holliday: I look at Holliday as a sleeperish candidate for ’06. He’s not fully a sleeper, as most folks know he can hit 20 home runs and steal 10 bags. But there’s a fair chance he hits .310 with 25 home runs, 100 RBIs, and 15 steals. That would be worth at least $20, and I don’t see the bidding getting that high.

13. Juan Pierre: Pierre should return to the .300 range, score 100 runs, and swipe 60 bases. Each team probably needs one of these types, and Pierre is as reliable as they come.

14. Andruw Jones: I think we’re looking at a .270-45-115 season from Jones, so he’ll have the lowest average so far on these rankings. But that’s still not Adam Dunn range, and he still has similar power numbers.

15. Barry Bonds: In my opinion, Bonds will absolutely rake in about 350 official at-bats. Call me optimistic, but I have him hitting .330-40-85 with 88 runs scored. If you’re still seeing Bonds in the sixth round of a draft, you need to put him on your team.

16. Willy Taveras: I’m cautious to rank Taveras this high, as it’s based mostly on stolen base potential. Sure, Taveras is capable of hitting .295 with 100 runs scored. But his real asset is the ability to swipe 60 bags. Back in the minor leagues, he was getting on base like nobody’s business and stole 55 bases in 103 games.

A Hardball Times Update
Goodbye for now.

17. Brian Giles: Giles is certainly more reliable than the two players ranked above him. You’ll get something close to .300-20-100 with 110 runs and 10 steals. It’s a shame because he could’ve been a 25+ home run guy in another ballpark.

18. Coco Crisp: Crisp’s trade to Boston served to further increase his already growing value. He’s got an outside chance at posting a 20/20 season, and should hit .300 while scoring 100 runs. That performance is worth about $20 in a mixed keeper league.

19. Hideki Matsui: Godzilla might struggle to hit more than 20 home run, but in the Yankees lineup he can’t help but score and drive in 100. He’ll hit .300 as well.

20. Ken Griffey Jr.: I have Junior down for .281-37-103 with 93 runs in 540 at-bats. He hasn’t had that many at-bats since before the milleninum, but I’m really not equipped to predict the timing of his next injury. This is what a healthy Griffey can do, so take that information and run with it. I still think he’s a fine pick at a position later than this, assuming you know how to work the waiver wire for some decent outfield production in his absence.

21. Adam Dunn: Plenty of folks are saying this is the year he hits 50 home runs, but then again they were saying the same thing one year ago. I’m going with 42 bombs plus a .253 average. Dunn is what he is and it’s quite helpful in fantasy if your team’s batting average can sustain it.

22. Lance Berkman: Should be something close to .300-30-100 for Berkman, and you can’t complain about that.

23. Jonny Gomes: Over a full season, I expect Gomes to exceed 30 home runs. He’ll hit around .270 and add about 15 steals too. He should be worth $17, so don’t be shy.

24. Scott Podsednik: He’s a one-trick pony, and I can see his batting average dropping to the .280 range. But there aren’t many players capable of 70-80 steals. Just make sure your team can survive zero home runs and 30 RBIs from an outfield spot.

25. Johnny Damon: Damon’s best asset his ability to score 120 runs atop the Yankees lineup. He’ll steal 15 bags, drive in 80, and hit near .290 as well. A helpful, balanced contribution, but watch out for his reputation. Bidding over $15 would probably result in a loss for you.

26. Carlos Lee: I expect a bit of a dropoff in the home run and RBI categories for Lee, accompanied by an increase in runs and batting average. He’s still a reliable outfielder who will tack on double-digit steals as a bonus.

27. Randy Winn: Let’s not get crazy—we all know Winn won’t post anything near the 1.071 OPS he did in 230 at-bats with the Giants. Nonetheless, he’ll hit close to .300 with double digit home runs, 100 runs, and 20 steals. A productive all-around benefit.

28. JD Drew: You know the story with Drew—he’s guaranteed to miss time due to injury. My guess is that he finds a way to get 450 at-bats this season, but it’s tough to predict. If I’m right, look for something like .295-28-80 with 100 runs scored. If you know how to work the waiver wire, Drew can still be quite valuable.

29. Chad Tracy: Tracy spent a lot of time batting second in the order, limiting his RBI opportunities. If Arizona lets him hit fifth all year, he could approach .300-30-100. He’s probably best utilized at third base once he gains eligibility.

30. Jermaine Dye: Despite being a fairly decent bet for .270-30-100 with some steals added in, Dye doesn’t seem to get much respect in fantasy leagues. In a non-keeper league, you have to take him over Jeremy Hermida.

31. Vernon Wells: Wells will post numbers very similar to Dye’s. That’s not a bad thing, though we expected more after his 2003.

32. Brad Wilkerson: Wilkerson makes for a nice sleeper now that he’s joined Texas. I expect Dye/Wells type numbers from him, though his batting average is more of a risk. If the Rangers decide to bat him leadoff, his runs will increase and RBIs will go down.

33. Aubrey Huff: Huff has shown signs of decline lately, but he’s still on the right side of 30. The Devil Rays are praying for an uncharacteristic hot start to pump up his trade value. I still think he can hit .280-28-100 in ’06.

34. Preston Wilson: Health will be a major factor for Wilson in ’06, but he should avoid center field for the most part with Houston. If he can get 550 at-bats, he looks like a good bet for .265-30-100 with maybe 10 steals.

35. Jeremy Hermida: Everyone’s favorite Rookie of the Year candidate will show what he can do, with 500 at-bats with the Marlins. I think he could go close to 20/20 in his rookie season, adding a .280 average and 90 runs scored. A great keeper league pick, though the hype is becoming deafening.

36. Magglio Ordonez: Mags looks like a value pick for ’06, as he’s certainly still capable of .310-20-95 if healthy. If he can be had for less than $10, it’s a no-brainer.

37. Torii Hunter: Hunter should have no problem providing a 20/20 season, with an emphasis on the steals. He’s unlikely to help your batting average, but he won’t hurt it either.

38. Brady Clark: Most folks expect Clark’s batting average to dip below .300 in ’06. He should still have double digit pop and steals plus at least 90 runs scored, so that’s got value.

39. Raul Ibanez: A solid .290-20-85 guy, Ibanez added nine steals last year to boot. He doesn’t get much respect in mixed leagues, but is a respectable contributor.

40. Reggie Sanders: Kansas City’s new cleanup hitter looks like a sleeper if he can get anywhere near 500 at-bats. He’ll have the option of being the designated hitter so it seems possible. Sanders can probably hit .265-25-90 with 20 steals, certainly helpful numbers.

41. Jim Edmonds: My, how far he has fallen. As Edmonds gets older and more fragile, expectations are down to .270-28-85. If you want to gamble on his health and see a 40 home run season coming, feel free. But all signs point to fantasy mediocrity.

42. David DeJesus: As a Royal, DeJesus figures to get little if any respect in mixed leagues. But I’m expecting .300-13-70 with at least 90 runs scored. DeJesus can be had for almost nothing and is likely to provide positive value.

43. Milton Bradley: Bradley only deserves this ranking if he’s capable of getting 500 at-bats, a feat he’s achieved just once in his career. But I like him for .300-20-70 with 15 steals given the playing time.

44. Emil Brown: Yet another unheralded Kansas City outfielder appears towards the bottom of the top 50. A lot of your teammates may laugh if you start touting Brown’s abilities, but he’s entirely capable of .280-20-90 with more than 10 steals. He’s not being picked above Jeff Francoeur or Jose Guillen, but I’ll think he’ll be better.

45. Kevin Mench: Mench is due for that first 30 home run season, though it may be accompanied by a .270 average and not many steals. Try not to be seduced by the charms of a guy whose only fantasy asset is the home run category.

46. Pat Burrell: Burrell looks like a .280-30-100 hitter, but that’s deceiving. He’ll supply zero steals and a surprisingly low run total, so he figures to come into 2006 as an overrated outfielder.

47. Shawn Green: .280-25-80 outfielders aren’t hard to come by, and Green is one of those. At least you know what you’re getting.

48. Aaron Rowand: Rowand’s ability to steal bases makes him surprisingly valuable. .275-15-75 with 95 runs and 18 steals is entirely possible. Rowand’s run total may benefit greatly if he hits second in the order.

49. David Dellucci: Dellucci is a stealthy 30 home run guy, but his average is ugly and he won’t get many RBIs if he bats leadoff. He can add a couple of steals though.

50. Jason Lane: Lane may approach .280-30-85, and makes a fine endgame choice with some upside.

Next week we’ll look at outfielders 51-100.

Comments are closed.