Made a crack in the Top 40 outfielders about how you really need to get three in the Top 30 or you’ll have a shaky outfield. However, bolstering a shaky outfield with a couple upsiders from the Top-60 would lessen the pain.
There are a handful of sleepers and potential breakout stars in outfielders Nos. 41-60.
For this list, we’re setting the table with an ADP-based list, then the comments say whether those rankings are an RBI or a strikeout. The projections are provided to make things interesting.
41. Carlos Gonzalez – Breaking the rules with these tiers because Gonzalez and Borbon deserve to be in their own tier, but Morgan, Davis and Jones are being drafted between them. Gonzalez erupted in the second half last season — comparisons: 11 homers to 2, 35 runs to 18, 23 RBIs to 6 and 54 hits to 25. He’s 25 this season and will start in center field for the Rockies. Projections: 70/20/70/15/.280
42. Nyjer Morgan — Struggles against lefties, and he came on strong at the end of last season. But he’s going to be 30 this season. If you feel uneasy about Garrett Jones’ breakout late in his career last season, like a lot of people do, you’ve got to consider Morgan in there too. Projections: 75/5/40/35/.300
43. Rajai Davis – In August, September and October, when Rajai Davis finally got decent at-bats he produced. However, he’s 30 so he fits nicely here between Morgan and Jones. Projections: 65/5/45/40/.280
44. Garrett Jones – Jones is more of a power guy than a speed guy, but he’s got similar questions to Morgan and Davis. However, his question is about power so it’s more difficult to answer. Dude hit 21 homers last season and didn’t play in April May or June. Projections: 70/20/80/10/.275
45. Julio Borbon – Has the potential to produce elite steals if he holds onto the leadoff spot and center field job in Texas. Projections: 75/5/45/35/.300
46. Ryan Ludwick – This begins a new tier. If I had to name it, and I’m about to, I’d name it “Lud-yuck.” It runs to Rivera. Everybody knew Ludwick was not as good as his 2008 season. He was a fantasy option in under 500 ABs last season. I think he gets more than 500 this season. Projections: 75/25/90/5/.270
47. Corey Hart – Followed up consecutive 20-20 seasons with a disastrous 12-11 season. At age 28, and if he avoids the injury bug, he could get back to 20-20. Projections: 70/20/70/15/.270
48. Vernon Wells – Had offseason wrist surgery to repair a problem he’s been fighting with since May of 2008. Unfortunately, his decline started in 2007. Projections: 75/20/75/10/.270
49. Juan Rivera – Hit eight homers and drove in 15 runs in June alone. Still a viable option, just not an exciting one. Projections: 65/20/75/1/.280
50. Nolan Reimold – This should be a three-man upside tier. Let’s bend time and space and float this tier down through Coghlan and around Snyder, Gutierrez and Heyward. I’d draft all of them before I’d draft anybody in “Lud-yuck.” Coming off an Achilles injury, Reimold appears ready to rock. He was having an impressive 2009 before the injury. I’m optimistic with the predictions, and picking him accordingly. Projections: 85/25/90/10/.290
51. Colby Rasmus – Not as excited about Rasmus as I am about Reimold, but the Cardinals prospect is only 24. He could outperform these numbers. Projections: 70/20/65/10/.265
52. Chris Coghlan – Coghlan not getting to double-digit steals in 2009 was surprising. Considering that’s where most of his perceived value comes from, he’s a shaky pick to meet these numbers in 2010. Projections: 85/10/70/15/.305
53. Juan Pierre – Since we’re bending time and space with our tiers, this tier floats through Gomez, skips Snyder and picks back up at Dye through Cameron. Pierre had 40 steals or more in eight consecutive seasons before only getting 30 last year at age 32. At this point in the draft, if you’re taking veterans you’re looking at specialists like Pierre. He’ll get 30 steals again and probably hit .290, but don’t expect much else. Projections: 65/1/35/35/.290
54. Carlos Gomez – Tried to turn Gomez into a sleeper in a Brewers post. He’s deep, deep in sleep. He’s only 24 so there’s room for improvement, but he’s a steals guy who’s better at real baseball than fantasy baseball. Draft slot is too high here. He belongs in the top 80. Projections: 60/5/45/25/.260
55. Travis Snyder – Turned 22 in February, so serious upside. However, for a prospect as highly touted as Snyder it’s interesting that he’s competing for a starting outfield spot considering the questions the Blue Jays have out there. Projections: 65/20/75/1/.270
56. Jermaine Dye – The 36-year-old free agent has turned down job offers for part-time work. He wants a full-time gig, and he hit 78/27/81 in 500 ABs last year. He’s a risky pick here because he doesn’t have a team yet. The projections are for a 500 at-bat season. Projections: 75/25/80/1/.260
57. Nick Swisher – Didn’t quite get 500 at-bats, but still went 84/29/82 at age 29. Expect him to get the same number of at-bats and similar stats. Projections: 85/25/80/1/.245
58. Mike Cameron – Hurt his groin this preseason but attempted a steal in his spring debut. Still, a 37-year-old who’s already tweaking things is worrisome. Projections: 75/20/70/10/.240
59. Franklin Gutierrez – Turned the magical age 27 in February. Last year was Gutierrez’s first season with 500 at-bats and the season before it was his first with as many as 399 at-bats. Could break out and crush these statistics. Projections: 80/20/70/15/.280
60. Justin Heyward – It looks more and more like the 20-year-old (21 in August) will open the season on the Braves roster. He’s hitting .429 this spring with a .619 OBP. Projections: 75/15/70/10/.300
Reminder: No bonus round until we’re done with the Top 80 outfielders.
In case you’re wondering why the projections are in easily digestable numbers divisible by five, that is by design. We refer to players as 20-20 players, or 35-100 players anyway, right? What’s the sense in predicting player X for 74 runs. It’s going to feel like 75 when the season’s over or when you look at them next year, so let’s just say 75.