The outfield position is the most loaded of any position. If you get one of the top picks in your draft you probably want to spend it on Albert Pujols, Alex Rodriguez, Jose Reyes, or Chase Utley because you can wait until the seventh or 8th outfielder and still get someone who could hit 40 HR and 120 RBI. But if you can’t get the very elite infielders then definitely grab one of the top three outfielders.
1. Alfonso Soriano – There is no defense and no baggage in fantasy baseball. Alfonso Soriano is simply the all around run producing machine that he is on offense. Soriano has a mixture of power and speed that is possibly only matches by Jose Reyes and Carlos Beltran.
2. Carlos Beltran – After everyone in their grandmother blasted Carlos Beltran in 2005, Beltran came out and not only lived up to expectations but actually surpassed them. Nobody thought Beltran had the power to hit 40 HR and 120 RBI but that’s about what he did. Willie Randolph and Beltran have both said that Beltran will run more this season.
3. Vladimir Guerrero – Guerrero is still a pretty good all around option himself. Guerrero should hit 30 to 40 HR, 110 to 120 RBI and steal 15 bases, the only thing that separates him from Soriano and Beltran is I expect a few less steals.
4. Carl Crawford – Crawford is going to get you a ton of steals and his other numbers have improved too but I think he has hit his limit. Don’t expect more than 20 HR and 80 RBI but his number of steals and runs still makes him another one of those rare all around players.
5. Carlos Lee – Lee has been a consistent 30 HR and 100 RBI. Playing in Houston means that he’ll not only have a lineup that includes Lance Berkman but he’ll also be batting in a hitter’s ballpark.
6. Manny Ramirez – Ramirez is oddly consistent for a man who is not all there sometimes. This could be the season he loses it though. I don’t see any reason why the Red Sox will improve from last year and will probably finish third again which will probably cause Manny to lose focus part way through the season.
7. Jason Bay – Bay’s numbers are slightly misleading. Bay had an outstanding first month but didn’t really match that the rest of the year so his numbers were helped by one hot month. If Bay can get hot for more than just one month he could make the next jump into the top five.
8. Matt Holliday – The Rockies sluggers are no longer homerun hitters that live on the thin air of Colorado. The hitters that Colorado has now can hit anywhere in country. Holliday proved that last year by hitting .326, 34 homeruns, and 114 RBI while scoring 119 runs and stealing 10 bases.
9. Grady Sizemore – Sizemore is the leadoff hitter for a very good young offense. Last year Sizemore had a very good all around season with 50 doubles, 10 triples, 20 homeruns and 20 steals. The one fault is that he also struck out 150 times last season.
10. Vernon Wells – Wells started off last year looking like he was really going to take off and maybe become one of the top three or four outfielders. Unfortunately the second half saw some injuries and the Blue Jays lineup slumped. If the Blue Jays lineup can stay consistent throughout the year Wells can finally make that final jump.
11. Bobby Abreu – Abreu has always been a good fantasy player because of his combination of speed and power. In 2006 his power numbers dropped during his first 98 games with the Phillies. His final 58 games with the Yankees Abreu turned it around and he should have a big season playing a full season in the Yankees lineup.
12. Andruw Jones – Jones is in the prime of his career and has hit 92 homeruns and 257 RBI in his last two seasons. The only thing holding Jones back is that after improving by 35 strikeouts in 2005 Jones has seemed to revert back to his free swinging ways. Jones is going to strikeout a lot and will provide a very low batting average.
13. Ichiro – Ichiro still has the ability to be a top ten outfielder but he’s older than most of the outfielders on this list. Even though it doesn’t seem like he’s been in the Majors that long Ichiro is 33 years old. He’s pretty durable so it might not have a big impact but I’d at least expect the stolen bases to come down.
14. Johnny Damon – Damon had a very good first year with the Yankees. Any time you’re the leadoff hitter in the Yankees lineup you should be a contender for the league lead in runs. Damon also hit a career high 25 homeruns and his stolen bases increased from the past couple seasons as well.
15. Jermaine Dye – Some people are going to look at Jermaine Dye’s numbers from last year, 44 homeruns, 120 RBI and .315 average and are going to draft him too high, don’t make that mistake. Dye had a career year and at 33 I don’t think he’ll keep it up. Over the past three years Dye average 33 homeruns and 95 RBI, expect somewhere closer to that.
16. Hideki Matsui – Matsui is almost like a reverse Johnny Damon. Damon is going to be scoring a ton because he bats ahead Jeter, A-Rod and Abreu but he’ll still get some RBI too. Matsui will get a ton of RBI because he bats after Jeter, A-Rod, and Abreu but will also score some runs too.
17. Gary Sheffield – Even though the Tigers beat the Yankees in the playoffs and went to the World Series their offense doesn’t put up the kind of numbers that the Yankees do. Sheffield will still be a great slugger but his numbers will probably go down a little bit in his new lineup.
18. Juan Pierre – Pierre is second behind Ichiro in hits since 2001 and he’s going to steal 50 bases or more. Pierre also gets out a ton though. In the past four years Pierre has gotten out more times than any player. Two of those years he finished first in the Majors and the other two years he finished second.
19. Alex Rios – Rios is a step below Soriano, Beltran and the others but will provide good all around numbers on a lesser scale. It’s not out of the question that Rios hits 20 homeruns, steals 20 bases and knocks in 80 runs.
20. Delmon Young – Young is definitely one of the favorites for American League Rookie of the Year this season. Many people think that Young will be a 40-40 player down the road but for now expect him to have 20-25 homeruns and steals. There is always the question of whether he’ll blow up like last year, which cost him a 50 game suspension.