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“Foster Your Roster” – 2012 OF Rankings

Sorry for the delay, I’ve been pretty busy with work and a couple of other things. These are all written in my spare time, so I’m trying to get them out as quickly as possible for drafts.  Feel free to comment on the posts or reach me on twitter (@FOSTERurROSTER) if you have questions about guys I haven’t covered.

Outfield has some quality players, but given the amount you need to start, it tends to get shallow a lot quicker than most people realize:

  1. Ryan Braun
  2. Matt Kemp

They are the two top options, but given the choice I’d select Braun, since he’s the safer choice.  Remember, in 2010 Kemp hit .249, so he’s not a lock for .300 despite his success last year.

  1. Jacoby Ellsbury

He likely won’t hit 30HR’s again, but if he hits 20+ to go along with 40 SB’s and an AVG near .300, he’s a top level talent.

  1. Jose Bautista

He had a great season and the power is legit, but he walked 20% of the time in 2011, so pitchers are limiting his ability to damage.  On top of that, his AVG was way above anything he’s done previously, and I can’t suggest paying for that production until you see it’s not a fluke.

  1. Justin Upton
  2. Carlos Gonzalez

Both are great hitters and well-rounded talents, with very hitter friendly home parks.  The deciding factors are Gonzalez’s risk of injury and Upton having his lowest career BABIP in 2011, which could lead to a higher AVG if it returns to prior levels.

  1. Curtis Granderson

I knew the move to Yankee Stadium would be good for him, but 2011 exceeded everyone’s expectations.  I’d be surprised if that wasn’t his career year, but that doesn’t mean a sharp drop in production is around the corner.

  1. Giancarlo Stanton

He is one of the few true 40HR threats in the league, and with an improved lineup he’s likely to have more RBI’s, but his 27.6% strikeout rate is cause for concern.

  1. Andrew McCutchen

He’s a 20/20 player who got a bit unlucky last year and should continue to improve.  The only downside is the lack of support in his lineup.

  1. Matt Holliday

The Pujols departure may actually help Holliday by leaving more RBI opportunities out there for him.  At this stage of his career he doesn’t run as much, but he’s a solid contributor.

  1. Jay Bruce

He’s already hit 32HR’s, and plays in a hitter friendly stadium.  His K and BB% were the same the past 2 seasons, but if he can improve them, then more good will follow.

  1. Josh Hamilton
  2. Nelson Cruz

Both Rangers OF’s are incredibly skilled, but have trouble staying on the field.  I’d plan for a DL trip at some point during the year, but enjoy the production while they’re in the lineup.

  1. Michael Bourn

I typically don’t like pure speed guys, but runs count too. 50-60 SB’s is a rarity that gives you freedom to seek power from guys that don’t run.

  1. Hunter Pencee
  2. Shane Victorino
  3. Shin Soo-Choo
  4. Michael Morse

He was the talk of spring training last year and followed it with a good season.  It is possible that pitchers may have better scouting to work with, but the power seems legit and the Nationals lineup is improving.

  1. Lance Berkman

Even without Pujols, the Cardinals have a decent lineup and Berkman will be in the middle of it.  I don’t think he’ll match last year’s totals, but he should still be a solid performer.

  1. Adam Jones
  2. Ben Zobrist

2011’s .269 AVG seems about right, and it splits the difference between his great .297 AVG of 2009 and terrible .238 AVG of 2010.  He fills every counting category well and is a solid option with position flexibility. 

  1. Howie Kendrick

He very quietly put together a solid year in 2011.  15/15 with a good AVG is certainly attainable, but he’s young enough that he could still make strides beyond that. 

  1. Michael Cuddyer

Cuddyer has always been worth having on your roster, and now he gets the Coors field bump.  He’ll give you multi position eligibility and should produce 20 HR’s, 80 RBI’s, and a .275 AVG on the low end with better numbers as a possibility. 

  1. Ichiro Suzuki
  2. Alex Gordon

He put together a great 2011, but had a BABIP of .358, which was well above any previous season in the majors or minors, so I’m not sold on him having the same success again.

  1. Carlos Beltran
  2. Carl Crawford

If he can get/stay healthy there is no way he has another year as bad as last season.  At a certain point the risk is low enough to justify the potential reward.

  1. Corey Hart
  2. Brennan Boesch

He put up good numbers hitting in the top of lineup in 2011 and I think that will carry over into 2012.

  1. BJ Upton
  2. Desmond Jennings

A lot of hype surrounded him coming up, I think his peak will be similar to Victorino’s prime years.  However, I don’t think his peak will be the 2012 season.

  1. Jayson Werth
  2. Brett Gardner
  3. Lucas Duda
  4. Chris Young
  5. Drew Stubbs
  6. Melky Cabrera
  7. Angel Pagan
  8. Coco Crisp
  9. Jason Heyward

Last season didn’t’ look anything like his impressive rookie year.  He needs he prove he can do it again before considering him more than middle of the pack.

  1. Nick Markakis
  2. Andre Ethier
  3. Cameron Maybin
  4. Jeff Francoeur
  5. Josh Willingham

Often forgetten about, he’ll have playing time in MIN and should for power.

  1. Nick Swisher
  2. Logan Morrison
  3. Torii Hunter
  4. Alex Rios

Later in the draft he’s worth a shot to see if he bounces back.

  1. Jason Kubel

He can hit and ARI is a good park to do it in, but I wonder how often they’ll rotate between their 4 solid OF options, which may limit his playing time. 



  1. 65mustangs

    March 26, 2012 at 12:13 am

    Can’t argue with those rankings at all, spot on as always. You are not the first person to say that outfield is shallow, but I do wonder why so many people think it is. Sometimes I wish there were 6 instead of 5. In a 12 team mixed Roto set-up we need 5 outfielders each, give or take. So, we need to roster about 70 outfielders or so.
    You listed 50 players, none of which I would have a problem owning. Throw in Dexter Fowler, Delmon Young, Cespedis, Bourjos, Bonifacio, Bay, Carlos Lee, Prado, Quentin, Soriano, Joyce, Brantley, Revere, A-Jax, Torrez, Venable, Scott, Smith, Wells, Damon, Craig, Jay, R. Davis, Morgan, Murphy, Pierre, Dejesus, Ibanez, Huff and Reimold and we are at 80, with nearly all of them worth owning or capable of a comeback to ownability. In the outfield, if I can draft 4 that I am really happy with, I tend to get risky with my 5th and one more for the bench. Or I’ll grab a specialist that can help shore up SB or HR. That is not a luxury you have at 1b, 2b or SS for instance. But in most of my leagues I’ll grab one or two from this list as well: Harper,Trout, Viciedo, De Aza, Heisey, Cain, Rasmus, Bourgious, Tabata, JD Martinez, Brown, Sands, Thames or Presley. While it is likely that a good amount of the first 80 will fail, there is an equal likelihood that a good number of the spec picks mentioned above will reach top 40 status or even stardom. When I think shallow, I think of 2b/SS where we need to roster 36 in a 12 team league. That means we are rostering guys like Scutaro, Rayburn, Freddie Sanchez, Pennington and Sean Rodriguez. That is shallow.
    Finally, my favorite thing about the outfield is that during the season when players are getting called up, the odds of an outfielder being able to immediately help your team are far greater than for an infielder, catcher or pitcher. If I miss out on a position in the draft, I’m far more confident that I will be able to find and fill a 5 man outfield during the season than I am with any other position. Whether it be rookie call-ups or a guy finally figuring it out, or getting playing time, etc, outfield is a great place to find them.

  2. Marc Foster

    March 26, 2012 at 9:15 pm

    After drafting a bit, I don’t disagree with what your saying, it is definitely possible to get good OF talent late or cheap. The issue I have is that once you get beyond the top 25 or so there are either serious questions or they are 1-2 category contributors that aren’t as well rounded. So, if you’re assuming 5 OFs per team in a 12 team league that’s about half of the starters in the league and I do everything possible to platoon players.

    • 65mustangs

      March 27, 2012 at 7:56 pm

      I have to admit though that sometimes I am too much of an optimist for my own good. Like the guy who keeps asking out the same type of girl hoping for a different outcome, I have been hopelessly drafting BJ Upton, Alex Gordon, Alex Rios, Dexter Fowler, Delmon Young, Hunter Pence and Nick Markakis thinking that this will be the year. Add Cameron Maybin to my latest man crush list. Needless to say I did not win any leagues in 2011. But, in 2010 I won two leagues by taking chances on Delmon Young, Alex Rios, Hunter Pence, BJ Upton & Josh Hamilton (who covered BJ’s Batting Average) I was getting Hammy, Pence and BJ in the 5th through 8th rounds and Rios and Young at the end of the draft. Except for Pence and a few months of Hammy, those same 5 failed me in 2011 when Gordon finally put it together, but not on any of my teams. Yes, I own all 8 of them again on one or more of my four teams in one combo or another. But, this will be the year! I’m sure of it.

  3. Corey D Roberts

    March 27, 2012 at 12:00 pm

    I liken myself to 65 mustangs approach on OF. I will pop early for a big contributor, but I like to snatch up guys like Allen Craig and Alex Presley. I load up the infield and starting pitching. In our league we have 16 teams with 26 man rosters, so it is pretty deep, and it gives value back to those undervalued players in traditional fantasy formats. I pick relievers, prospects, and trade for those needed areas later.

    • 65mustangs

      March 29, 2012 at 9:52 pm

      In one snake re-draft league I am in we drafted last week. By the luck of the draw, in every round there was no 2nd baseman I liked so I kept drafting other positions. I ended up with a far better SP staff then I usually get and a pretty good OF, and even ended up with both Rollins (5th) and Jeter (10th) rounds. So, finally, in the 18th round I snagged Daniel Murphy to play 2nd. I try not to reach for players at all cost and will punt a position if I just don’t like the value, knowing that at some point, one way or another, I’ll fill the spot. Murphy is not the prototypical 2bman, but as long as he stays healthy and near the top of the Mets order I can see a .300 avg with double digit HR and a few RBI and R. That was what Freddie Sanchez gave you in his heyday. Plus with Jeter at MI I figured I could afford to gamble at 2b. It was kinda cool getting Johan in the 20th as my 5th SP and Derek Holland in the 23rd. I was done drafting SP by the 23rd but I could not resist that pick.

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