Matt Kemp of the Dodgers is talking 50-50. That’s 50 home runs; 50 steals. In the same season. That’s the kind of talk I like to hear from the leading hitter of my fantasy baseball team.
No one’s ever done it before, but Kemp says it’s possible and he’s going to show everyone how to do it. Even if he comes up a bit short, that’s still one hell of a fantasy baseball season.
Kemp and current two-time home run king Jose Bautista of the Blue Jays should be the first two outfielders taken in most drafts, but they’ll have plenty of company right behind them.
In my draft rankings, the next-best options are Carlos Gonzalez of the Rockies; Jacoby Ellsbury of the Red Sox; Curtis Granderson of the Yankees and Justin Upton of the Diamondbacks. After this, the picks lose a lot of their clarity.
According to CBSSports.com, you could fill out the lower portion of your Top 10 with Josh Hamilton of the Rangers, Andrew McCutchen of the Pirates, Shane Victorino of the Phillies and Matt Holliday of the Cardinals.
Fortunately, there’s plenty of value to be found deeper on the list. I’ve included the following players’ preseason ranking by CBSsports.com and stats from the 2011 season:
Ryan Braun of the Brewers, No. 23
33 HRs, 111 RBI, .332 BA, 33 SB, .994 OPS
Plenty of people believe Braun cheated last year and got off on a technicality. I believe Braun is a bargain as the 23rd-ranked outfielder.
Giancarlo Stanton of the Marlins, No. 12
34 HRs, 87 RBI, .262 BA, 5 SB, .893 OPS
He’s going by Giancarlo now, not Mike, but what does remain is his tremendous power. Stanton is still learning the game and has about as much upside as anyone playing today.
Adam Jones of the Orioles, No. 36
25 HRs, 83 RBI .280 BA, 12 SB, .785 OPS
Jones is another terrific talent who is in the beginning stages of putting it all together. This could be his breakout season, and at No. 36 he is certainly worth the risk.
Good guys to have around: Drew Stubbs of the Reds and Howard Kendrick of the Angels. Stubbs has 30-30 potential and Kendrick, who is also eligible at second base, should benefit from hitting in front of Albert Pujols.
Keep an eye on: Jason Heyward of the Braves and Colby Rasmus of the Blue Jays. Their day is coming … but is it this season?
Ready to bounce back: Jayson Werth of the Nationals and Andre Ethier of the Dodgers. I like Werth more than Ethier, but both players still have plenty left.
This is the final eight fantasy baseball reports concerning best market value for each position.