2010 Fantasy MLB Outfielders ~ Breakouts, Busts and Sleepers
We are back for our next round of Breakouts, Busts and Sleepers. We’ve done the infield; Catchers, First Basemen, Second Basemen, Short Stops and Third Base. This time we're looking at the OF position. Unlike the previous positions we've covered, we use three or more outfielders in every game, and they are crucial to our fantasy numbers across the board. For that reason we are doubling up, with one pick from each league.
So here we go, our various picks for 2010 Fantasy MLB Outfielders
Tab Bamford (Taught Billy Mays everything he knew)
Breakout: Garrett Jones, PIT - 21 homers and 10 steals in 314 ABs last year; also eligible at 1B
Bust: Jason Bay, NYM - huge stadium killed David Wright's numbers last year. He'll be no different
Sleeper: Brad Hawpe, COL - forgotten in many leagues because his numbers are avg, any guy that's consistently 80+ runs/RBI and 20-25 homers is a solid late round pick
Breakout: Nolan Remiold, BAL - put up solid numbers in limited action last year. If he can get an everyday shot, he could be a monster
Bust: Grady Sizemore, CLE - trades have taken all of the talent out of the lineup; he's alone with what's left of Travis Hafner.
Sleeper: Juan Pierre, CHW - stole 30 bases in limited action in LA last year. Could run a TON in Chicago this year.
Ray Tannock (Has never gotten to the center of a Tootsie Roll pop)
Breakout: Nyjer Morgan, WSH - Morgan was cruising along with a solid year for both Pittsburgh and Washington before getting sidelined with a left hand fracture. He still managed to hit .307 with 15 doubles and 42 stolen bases and 74 runs. He’s in good company with Zimmerman and Dunn and he’ll be good for 100+ runs, 45 stolen bases and his RBI production should double to at least 80/
Bust: Carlos Beltran, NYM - Yup, put a stick in him he’s done. Between the knee, the investigation and hitting in that wretched park there is little chance of him being a fantasy elite this year.
Sleeper: Chris Coughlin, FLA - Last year’s ROY, this kid is poised to better himself in 2010 with a Marlins team that was a lot better than I think people remember. He is surrounded by quality hitter that can produce various RBI opportunities and he has even vowed to steal more bases which are always a plus.
Breakout: Jake Fox, OAK - Very big bat, good for quality runs and dingers, and could have a huge year this year. There is a growing concern that Daric Barton may not last at first which would be a plus for the big man with dual eligibility.
Bust: Johnny Damon, DET - I know that Damon hit .282 with 22 homeruns last year in New York, but one has to think he is nearing the end and if you were to take an outfielder from Detroit you would grab a younger Austin Jackson who will hit lead-off instead.
Sleeper: Nelson Cruz, TEX - Cruz hit a wall towards the end of the season last year not producing quite as much as the beginning of the 2009 season due to an ankle injury; he still managed 33 HRs, 20 SB and 76 RBIs, so imagine what kind of numbers he would’ve put up 100% healthy…which he is…right now. Think about that for a second before following traditional cookie cutter advice
Jon Schuman (Still believes the Bay City Rollers are the greatest rock band ever)
Breakout: Carlos Gonzalez, COL - I absolutely love this guy. He has a chance to become Matt Kemp Lite in 2010.
Bust: Carlos Beltran, NYM - Don't count on him being completely healthy at any point this season. Out until late April will turn into, out until mid May. Then we'll all just sit around and wait for him to get hurt again.
Sleeper: Kyle Blanks, SD - He's big, he's strong, he flies under the radar. Blanks has the ability to slug a ton of homeruns, even playing spacious Petco Park.
Breakout: Nolan Reimold, BAL - He's a big strong kid with ton of power potential. He should be able to collect 25 homeruns, and won't cost you an arm and a leg.
Bust: Johnny Damon, DET - Good-bye New Yankee Stadium. Good-bye lethal Yankees line-up. Hello Detroit. Ugh. No chance at a repeat of 2009's numbers.
Sleeper: Franklin Gutierrez, CLE - He's 27 and coming off of a year in which he took a big step forward. Look for another big step in 2010, and a 20/20 season.
Mike Sholty (Brings a portable shower with him to Karaoke night)
Breakout: Jay Bruce, CIN - Bruce was super high on everyone's sleeper lists last year after he came in swinging hard two years ago. Last year he had some big injury and mental problems and couldn't get his stuff together and finish the season out well. This year I fully expect Jay Bruce to be a top 20 OF. He has the potential to be a first round pick in future drafts, he just has to tap into that massive potential and put up numbers. Do not sleep on this guy, especially at his reduced price tag (You can usually get him in the 18th round or later...highway robbery if you ask me)
Bust: Carlos Beltran, NYM - I still think Beltran has some ball left in him, I just don't think you should set your expectations high this year. He's going through some off-the-field issues at the moment and we don't know how close to 100% he will be throughout the year. If you can get him very late (16th round or later) I'd take a speculative chance on him but don't expect top 10 OF numbers from him like he usually produces.
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Sleeper: Hunter Pence, HOU - Pence is an interesting sleeper candidate this year. We know he can hit .280 with 25 HR, but I think he can do more. This spring training he has already got off to a big bang, blasting 2 HR in one game alone. I think at the ripe age of 27, Pence will have a career year and be a top 20 OF.
Breakout: Julio Borbon,TEX - is very low on everyone's fantasy radars, and it's outrageous. This kid will be leading off for Texas every day and I expect him to hit .300 while stealing 50 bags. He will even offer you close to 10 HR, better than other guys like Ellsbury and Bourn. He's the best 15th round pick you are going to find this year, so don't let him pass you up.
Bust: Jacoby Ellsbury, BOS - When I call Jacoby Ellsbury a bust, I don't mean he will be a fantasy non-factor. I totally believe in the kid, I just can't convince myself to spend a 3rd or 4th round pick on the speedy outfielder. Why draft a guy in the 3rd round who gives you .300/8/60/100/60 when you can get Nyjer Morgan or Michael Bourn who will give you very similar numbers much later in the draft? Think about it before buy on his big price tag.
Sleeper: Rajai Davis, OAK - In under 400 AB last year, Rajai stole 40 bags and hit for a .305 avg. While I'm always weary about drafting speedy guys from Oakland (Oakland is always one of the worst teams to get SB from each year), I think that Davis will have the green light to steal at all times. Speed is his game after all. Expect around .300 avg with 50 SB this year, a great late round value for you if you have the need for speed later on in your draft.
Rustyn Rose (Once made out for 3 hours with a cardboard cut-out of Anne Hathaway)
Breakout: Andrew McCutchen, PIT - Fantasy GMs have been waiting on this kids arrival for some time. This season McCutchen gets the full time gig with Nate McLouth gone. He stole 22 bases in just over 100 games. He could steal a good 35 this year and add a .290 average to 100 runs, 24 HRs and about 85 RBIs.
Bust: Raul Ibanez, PHI - Over the last few seasons, Ibanez has quietly become Mr. Reliable, and he really broke out last year. He's getting old and this run of his has got to start tapering if not crashing soon. I think the first drop happens this year. My best guess is 85 Runs and RBIs, a .275 BA, and 25 HRs. Which aren't terrible numbers, but when you consider how high he'll be drafted, that would make him a bust in my book. I also feel like he could see extended DL time this year too.
Sleeper: Hunter Pence, HOU - It's difficult to call anyone with Pence's skills a sleeper, but since his rookie year when he flashed signs of what was to come, he's been pretty mediocre. But he enters this season at full speed, turning 27 in April, and I expect he'll have a career year. Don't fall asleep on Corey Hart either. He was limited in 2009, but should be back to reliable 20/20 baseball this year.
Breakout: Denard Span, MIN - Span was a quiet producer last season hitting .311 with 97 runs and 23 stolen bases in 145 games. Not a lot of power yet, but he showed 4 tool skills. In the season's second half he hit .341 with 43 RBIs. 2010 could be the coming out party for this 26 year old.
Bust: Alex Rios, CHW - This guys no longer the 5 tool Swiss Army knife fantasy managers salivated over. These days we're more likely to spit on his pedestrian numbers. His power is fading, his speed has dwindled, and he looked terrible after the break last year. There's no reason to think moving to Chicago with it's now depleted line-up will improve his fantasy outlook.
Sleeper: Matt LaPorta, CLE - LaPorta will be among many in Cleveland's youth movement, and he certainly has the skills to make the most of the opportunity, if he can stay healthy. I expect him to have a productive season hitting about .280, with 24 HRs and landing on the north side of 80 Runs and RBIs. Wishful thinking? Maybe, but he could very well surpass my expectations.
Fernando Delgado (His real name is Shep Brukoski, but it didn't sound baseball enough)
Breakout: Andrew McCutchen, PIT - A tantalizing talent who brings a mix of speed and power to the Pirates leadoff spot, McCutchen performed admirably in his major league debut in 2009. Over 433 at bats, he produced a .365 OBP and .836 OPS, both excellent numbers for a rookie leadoff man getting his first taste of big league pitching . He displayed a good patience at the plate as well, as evidenced by a 12.74% walk rate and 19.17% K rate, both decent rates which McCutchen can improve upon with more experience. Ultimately, McCutchen's 12 home runs, 74 runs, 54 RBI's, and 22 stolen bases in just two-thirds of a season in 2009 further justified his status as an elite prospect. It is reasonable to expect an 18 HR/30 SB season with a full season of at bats, and that could be on the conservative side. With the tools and talent McCutchen brings to the table, owners can hope for a Carl Crawford-like impact in the years to come.
Bust: Alfonso Soriano, CHC - Don't overpay for this overpaid (in real life) fading star. Most owners already know to stay away from the declining 34-year-old after having been burned the past few seasons by injuries (2007, 2008, and 2009) and, for the first time, mediocrity in 2009. Soriano might not even be worth the middle-round pick (rounds 10-15) or $10 auction price that it would take to draft him. Soriano's .303 on-base percentage last season was the lowest of his career since 2001, and he has seen both his slugging % and OPS decline for 3 consecutive seasons. With Soriano continuing to age, it is unlikely that he will avoid the injury bug in 2010. Let someone else draft him and hope that he plays even half a season of productive baseball.
Sleeper: Colby Rasmus, STL - A hyped prospect in recent seasons, Rasmus has become somewhat of an afterthought in the later rounds of fantasy drafts. But this talented young outfielder could provide some excellent value for owners who are willing to take a little bit of a risk. In 2009, Rasmus played hopscotch around the Cardinals batting order, hitting second in the lineup in front of Albert Pujols one some nights, or hitting fifth behind Matt Holliday on others. Either way, Rasmus will be hitting around some well-established run producers in what should be a good lineup. Still only 23 years old and heading into just his second full major league season, Rasmus showed a glimpse of his potential in 2009 by turning in a .278 batting average and .807 OPS in 82 games before the All-Star break. We can safely assume that the fatigue of his first full major league season took its toll on Rasmus, but it won't be surprising to see him take a step forward and improve on his 16 home runs and 52 RBI's in 2010.
Breakout: Julio Borbon, TEX - Borbon is a lightning-fast speedster who will have the green light to steal bases as the leadoff man for the Texas Rangers. In only 26 games in 2009, Borbon swiped 19 bags while hitting .312 and sporting an impressive .376 on-base percentage. While only a small sample size, that brief debut has gained Ron Washington's confidence and earned Borbon the chance to earn full-time at-bats while leading off. Borbon's biggest obstacle to becoming the AL's version of Michael Bourn is his ability to hit left-handed pitching (only 2 hits in 16 at-bats last season, and a weakness throughout his minor league career). Borbon was sheltered away from lefties last year, but this season he will have to show what he can do against southpaws. Expect some early struggles against left-handed starting pitchers, but if Borbon can settle down and hold his own, a .300 average with 90 runs and 35 stolen bases isn't out of the question setting the table for a potent Rangers lineup.
Bust: Johnny Damon, DET - Damon is moving from one of baseball best lineups in 2009 - the New York Yankees - to one of baseball's most mediocre lineups - the Detroit Tigers. He is also moving from one of baseball's best hitting parks - the dinger paradise known as the new Yankee Stadium - to one of baseball's worst hitter's parks - Comerica Park. Damon is 36, with his diminished fielding skills now considered a liability. All of these factors are a recipe for a drastic and sudden decline. With an ADP of anywhere from 100-130 and an environment which ensures that Damon will fall well short of his production from last season, Damon is a prime candidate to turn in his worst fantasy season in years.
Sleeper: Coco Crisp, KC - Finally given a chance to have a full-time gig in 2009 with the Royals, Crisp had his season cut short by shoulder injuries. This season, Crisp will have another chance to prove himself in Oakland at the top of the lineup. Crisp offers a cheap source of runs and steals in the later rounds of drafts. Crisp's showed fantasy potential in a part-time role with Boston in 2007 and 2008, turning in his best season in 2007 with 7 home runs and 28 stolen bases in 145 games. If Crisp can stay healthy and show some of the improved patience he showed in his brief stint in Kansas City, he could provide a 90 run/10 HR/25 SB season at a bargain price.