With fantasy drafts approaching (some already taking place, it’s imperative we go over the rest of the top outfielders to draft this year in fantasy baseball. If you’re looking for the top twenty of every position for 2008, click here. While I’m admittedly a huge fan of Rudy Gamble’s 2008 player rater/projections tool, I go more on instinct. (BTW, I haven’t lost a league to Gamble since Britney Spears was (supposedly) a virgin. Natch!) So what follows is what will be happening in 2008 for these fantasy outfielders. Don’t believe me; lose your league. I’ll sleep fine.
21. Manny Ramirez – I’ve already written why he should be avoided; click here. People disputed me. People were wrong. When he was 32, his lovable laissez-faire attitude didn’t matter. As time catches up to him, he doesn’t have the work ethic to put up top twenty numbers. I know that reports suggest Manny’s in the best shape of his life. Reports last spring training suggested Jason Schmidt would be the NL Cy Young. I know about the contract. Um, Manny’s a zillionaire. Do you really think he wants to play 150 games this year so he can make twelve million rather than ten? How many Wiis does Many need? Listen, he’ll still be one of the more productive elder statesmen (Hey, Luis Gonzalez, how’s the elbow?), but keep expectations in check. Projections: 85/32/105/.315
22. Hunter Pence – I tend to steer clear of second year players. (Here’s why Ryan Braun will suck.) In the first year, no one knows how to get them out (or catch up to them, if they’re pitchers). In the second year, everyone has the batter or pitcher’s number. Now they must adjust. This ain’t foolproof here; Hanley adjusted well (though I am down on Hanley this year, which you can see here). I’m just saying there are plenty of outfielders, why not go the safe rather than sorry route? Hunter may be great, but you’re going to have to draft him pretty high to get him. Stop with your ADD and wait a year; see what happens. Projections: 95/22/75/.290/17
23. Delmon Young – See Pence, Hunter. I actually like Young more than Pence. In the minors, he showed more potential. I think his ceiling is higher. So why is he below him? Why ask so many questions? The Twins might actually be worse offensively than the Astros. I know! Hard to bee-leave, right? Anyway, Young, Pence and Corey Hart (who placed 19th) are all very close. Corey Hart is on the best team offensively, Pence on the second best, Young third. See how that worked. Projections: 70/20/100/.285/15
25. Hideki Matsui – Why should you draft Hideki? Cause he loves porn. Also, you don’t get much safer. Sure, he had some injury problems recently, but he’s over the wrist and the knee should be fine. Stop looking for an argument. Projections: 105/25/100/.295
26. Vernon Wells – About here is where the caveats begin. Let’s call this Tier: Caveat. Caveat #1, Vernon absolutely sucks for extended stretches. I’m not talking an oh for twenty stretch. He’s stayed in a flunk for whole seasons. Ugh, I kinda want Swisher more. But he’s got caveats too. Well, Wells will steal… Maybe. I am giddy for Alexis Rios (he will be this year’s Holliday) and just maybe Rios can make the difference in that Jays lineup. Projections: 90/30/90/.280/7
27. Jeff Francoeur – Caveat #2, it’s obvious. But he’s still very young and he took almost double the amount of walks last year (I know, double of nothing is still nothing. Cute.). Very solid lineup around him (barring injury to Chipper, which is a thirty game given). I’m beginning to believe in Frenchy. Projections: 85/25/110/.280/5
28. Chris B. Young – Caveat #3, Krispie doesn’t make a whole lot of contact, but when he does, he has a power/speed combo that should make any fantasy owner excited. I had him for a bit last year (Gamble dropped him. Natch, natch!) and I’ve been crushing on Young ever since, even when he was hitting .230 for me. Projections: 90/25/70/.245/32
29. Andruw Jones – I don’t think he’s done-zo, but I watched more than my share of Jones at-bats last year. Caveat #4, He doesn’t care at all. Stop smiling after you strikeout; you’re really pissing me off! 85/32/110/.250 (BTW, speaking of not caring, while I was writing this up, I looked up to see if there was any new Andruw news. Seems he showed up to camp in Miguel Cabrera’s old body. Andruw will be retired by 36. Guaranteed.)
30. Nick Swisher – The move to the new team was a boon to his value, but that was mostly because his pre-trade value was pretty boon-less. Caveat #5, Don’t go drafting Swisher expecting top OF value. He’s okay, but keep expectations in order. Projections: 90/33/105/.250
31. Jermaine Dye – Oddly, he seems like he has a bad attitude and, at the same time, no personality. (Unlike Jason Bay who can’t even sport a bad attitude.) Anyway, Caveat #6, he had one good year amongst many mediocre ones. ’06 was an outlier. Don’t pay for a farkin’ outlier. Projections: 90/25/105/.280
32. Juan Pierre – Caveat #7, he’ll get you steals and maybe an inside the park home run if the official scorer blows a call on a bunt. Projections: 110/0/40/.300/50
33. Johnny Damon – Caveat #8, he relies on his legs and he’s getting old. And he’s getting old fast. Not sure what happened, perhaps diving for Manny’s cutoff throws took a lot out of him. If you don’t know what you’re getting from Damon by this point, you probably shouldn’t be playing fantasy baseball. Projections: 105/15/70/.280/15
34. Jason Bay – Final Caveat, saved for this bum. I was going to leave Bay off completely, but I figured there would be some Pirates fan somewhere that would complain because Bay’s soooo cute and talented and, like, Canadian. Then I re-thought that and decided there are no Pirates fans. Act like you never saw Bay on this list. He’s poison. Projections: crap/crap/and more crap.
35. Shane Victorino – (Now’s the part of the list where I focus on sweet, sweet upside. These are guys you should be looking to draft.) Seriously, draft Victorino. What are you waiting for? I broke him down a few times already, but here’s the one that won me the Phillies Phulitzer. Projections: 115/15/60/.280/40 and Victorino and I get a room. (BTW, cause I know this is coming, Gamble beat me to Victorino last year. Reverse natch!)
36. Matt Kemp – If the price is right, pounce on Kemp. Shandler’s projecting 14/20; Rotowire’s projecting 17/14; I’m predicting… Projections: 95/20/75/.290/20
38. Josh Hamilton – Now the only crack Hamilton knows is the crack of the bat. Oofa! Seriously, folks. He’s the feel-good story of ’06. Like a baseball Mr. Holland’s Opus. Yowsers! Anyway, he does seem to be a bit injury-prone so be careful, but there’s upside in Arlington. Projections: 70/27/80/.300/5
39. Josh Willingham/Jeremy Hermedia – The upside portion of our show has concluded. I’m not advising you draft both Willingham and Hermedia. Actually, I won’t be drafting either, but they’re here cause, well, you know, they belong here. While we’re here — A secret! Don’t draft any Marlin. I love the “Who you gonna call… Maroone!” commercials as much as the next guy, but this team’s going to be wretched. Projections for both: 70/24/75/85/.270 Hermedia’s got more upside and (supposedly) the ability to steal. This has yet to come to fruition.
40. Kosuke Fukodome – I already dropped some knowledge about this hombre on your Fukodome. I veer towards the proven, so here’s another guy I won’t be drafting. Why not take the gamble? One word – KazIwamura. Projections: 65/15/75/.275 and Murton gets some at-bats. Alas…
Tomorrow we go over the pitchers to grab in drafts after the top twenty. You’re welcome.