1. Ryan Braun (MIL): For the fourth season in a row Braunâ€™s home run total dropped, but not enough to move him out of the No. 1 rank in his position. While this may be a concern to some prospective owners, it should be noted that he still finished with 25 home runs and 103 RBIs with a .304 batting average in his worst season for the Brewers. I would those down-year numbers any day. Carl Crawford is a close second behind Braun but he should still be taken at the end of the first round.
2. Carl Crawford (BOS): In a contract year Crawford set career-highs in home runs (19) and RBIs (90) while maintaining a .307 batting average in arguably his best season in the Majors. His production landed him a huge contract with the Red Sox and will now be a part of arguably the best offense in baseball. We know he is going to finish with at least 40 stolen bases but now calling Fenway Park home he has the upside of 20+ home runs. He is a safe pick in either the late-first round or early-second round this season.
3. Carlos Gonzalez (COL): Some people across the fantasy world may have had Gonzalez ranked atop the outfield rankings, but with a small sample size it is a safe bet to think that he will finish among the top three fantasy outfielders in 2011. In 2010, Gonzalez finished with 34 home runs, 117 RBIs, 111 runs, 26 stolen bases with a .336 batting average landing him in the top 10 by seasonâ€™s end. He had a ridiculous season, which will make him overvalued in most fantasy drafts. It is hard to even project a player that had that kind of year, but 30 homers and 100 RBIs to go along with 20+ steals is not out of the question.
4. Matt Holliday (STL): Year after year Holliday continues to produce outstanding fantasy value without taking a hit in any one category. He finished the 2010 season with 28 home runs and 103 RBIs while maintaining a .312 batting average. His batting average took a hot for the fourth season in row but it has been as a very low rate so that shouldnâ€™t be too much of a concern. Draft Holliday with confidence because you know what you are going to get out of him.
5. Josh Hamilton (TEX): After winning the 2010 American League MVP Award you are probably wondering why he isnâ€™t higher on my list. The problem with Hamilton is that he always finds a way to miss time due to injury, which should be a red-flag when evaluating him come draft day. I do not doubt his talent, but he needs to prove he can stay healthy for more than one season at a time before he gets looked at as the No. 1 option among fantasy outfielders. With that said he still should be drafted in the second round despite all the negatives that come with drafting a high-risk high-reward player like Hamilton.
6. Nelson Cruz (TEX): Like Hamilton, Cruz has overwhelming talent that can carry a fantasy baseball team. Also like Hamilton, Cruz canâ€™t stay healthy. He has the upside of 40+ homers and 100+ RBIs if he can get the at-bats. In 399 at-bats in 2010 Cruz finished with 22 home runs and 78 RBIs to go along with 17 stolen bases and a .317 batting average. So the five-tool skill-set is definitely there and could benefit those who take a gamble on his health this season.
7. Shin-Soo Choo (CLE): For the second straight season Choo finished the season with a .300 batting average with at least 20 home runs and at least 80 RBIs. He also contributed to his value on the base paths stealing over 20 bases for the second straight year. When players start displaying this type of consistency it makes it easier to accurately project their next season. Expect at least 20 homers, 80 RBIs and 20 steals from Choo this season.
8. Matt Kemp (LAD): Going into the 2010 season Kemp was a border-line first round pick and thought of a great source of production in all categories. The season started out good for Kemp, until a slump came in the second half that really brought down him overall production. What concerns me the most about Kemp was his lack of steals in 2010 (19) compared to his steal in 2009 (34). His power seems to still be there, but he is in danger of falling out of the top 10 among outfielders if his base-blunders continue into 2011.
9. Jayson Werth (WAS): Werth put together his third-straight quality season as a five-tool threat in fantasy baseball. In 2010 Werth finished with 27 homers and 85 RBIs while maintaining a .296 batting average. He is sneaky-fast as well once he gets to first base, totally 53 steals over the last three seasons (13 in 2010). The move to the Nationals may mean decreased production in a lesser offense, but in the end expect much of the same from Werth that he has shown the last three seasons.
10. Alex Rios (CHW): In his first season playing for the White Sox Rios proved to his doubters that he can still produce at a high quality level. He finished the 201 season with 21 home runs, 88 RBIs, 34 stolen bases with a .284 batting average making him one of the top all around fantasy players. The 2010 season proved that 2009 was just a down year and what he did last season seems to be his normal production. Others may still have him ranked outside of the top 10 so be sure to capitalize on his five-tool skill come draft day.
11. Justin Upton (ARI): Upton failed to repeat his breakout 2009 season finishing with 17 home runs, 69 RBIs, 18 stolen bases with a .273 batting average. Although his 2010 numbers arenâ€™t extremely bad, he still declined in every major category and will now have to prove he can return to the top 10 of fantasy outfielders. Upton should be able to rebound with a healthy season, but he is still a risk after last season.
12. Jacoby Ellsbury (BOS): After three very productive seasons, Ellsbury suffered a rib injury that limited him to just 87 at-bats in 2010. He never seemed to be able to shake off the injury, but with the majority of the 2010 season off Ellsbury should be fully healthy come draft day. Be sure to check his progression throughout Spring Training.
13. Andrew McCutchen (PIT): In his first full season as a starter McCutchen repeated his 2009 season finishing with 16 homers, 56 RBIs and 33 stolen bases. McCutchen is only going to continue to get better from here as he matures into an elite-level fantasy player. His ability to flash both power and speed along with a healthy batting average makes him a great addition in any fantasy format and he will come at a reasonable price after the top tier of outfielders.
14. Ichiro Suzuki (SEA): Year after year Suzuki puts up consistent fantasy value despite entering the 2011 season at the age of 37. He finished the 2010 season with a .315 batting average and 42 stolen bases. His 42 stolen bases were up from 26 stolen bases just a year prior, which is a sign that his age is not catching up to him. The Mariner lineup is going to have its troubles this year but Suzuki should be a solid contributor despite the lack of support around him.
15. Shane Victorino (PHI): Victorino set a career-mark in home runs in 2010 in which he hit 18 homers to go along with a career-high 69 RBIs and 34 stolen bases. His stolen base totals met his career average while the increases in power numbers were most likely a direct effect of Ryan Howard and Chase Utley missing time due to injury. While I donâ€™t expect Victorino to repeat his home run totals in 2011, I still think he is a great pick as a No. 2 outfielder in most fantasy formats.
16. Mike Stanton (FLA): Stanton struggled at times after an early-season call up inserted him into the Marlins starting lineup. In 359 at-bats Stanton hit 22 home runs and 56 RBIs but struggled with his batting average on regular basis. His splits from 2010 suggest that he can produce consistent production, which should amount in 30+ home runs and 100+ RBIs with a full season of at-bats in the Majors. Especially in keeper leagues be sure to target Stanton, but donâ€™t over pay based on the hype around him this offseason.
17. Hunter Pence (HOU): For the third season in a row Pence hit 25 homers while hitting at least 72 RBIs for the Astros. He set a career-high in RBIs in 2010 with 91 and cross the plate for 93 runs scored. He quietly put together a great all around season that didnâ€™t get much notice in fantasy circles. He has shown great consistence over the last three seasons and is a great No. 2 outfielder in most fantasy formats.
18. Jason Heyward (ATL): Heyward was able to live up to the hype in 2010 as he won a spot in the Braves outfield in Spring Training and never looked back. He finished the season with 18 home runs, 72 RBIs while maintaining a .277 batting average. Although he struggled at times he still proved why he was one of the top prospects in all of baseball. This season Heyward should take yet another step into becoming a superstar player and could become a top 10 fantasy outfielder by seasonâ€™s end. He is going early in most fantasy league so be sure not to overpay because he will likely still have some growing pains.
19. Corey Hart (MIL): After a terrible 2009 campaign, hart bounced-back in a big way. He finished the 2010 season with 31 home runs and 102 RBIs with a .283 batting average. Although the huge just is a concern Hart seems to have figured out the problems that haunted him throughout 2009 and moved on. However, his stolen base totals have dropped each of the last three seasons and now is more of a four-tool player rather than a five-tool player.
20. B.J. Upton (TB): Upton once again failed to live up to expectations in 2010, failing to halt his falling batting average that has decreased every year since 2007. He finished the season with 18 home runs and 62 RBIs with 42 stolen bases. The stolen bases have been consistent for the last three years so that is nothing to worry about. If he could improve his plate discipline his stolen base totals could go up even more, but donâ€™t count on it.
21. Andre Ethier (LAD): Ethier was off to a monster season before a finger injury slowed him down in May and still finished with 23 homers and 82 RBIs. He did go through a minor slump in the second half of the season that resulted in a .057 slide in batting average, but that shouldnâ€™t be of much concern. He has showed he has the skill set to hit for both power and average so look for Ethier to be a solid contributor in most fantasy formats.
22. Vernon Wells (LAA): Wells bounced back in a major way in 2010 increasing his output in all categories including swiping 17 steals, which was a three-year high. He hit over 30 home runs for the first time since 2006 while maintaining a respectable .273 batting average. Although Wells is now a member of a better all around team, he will most likely take a hit in the power categories due to his home ballpark in Los Angeles. Donâ€™t expect a repeat of 2010, but 25 home runs and 80 RBIs is not out of the question.
23. Chris Young (ARI): After being up and down between the majors and the minors the last few seasons Young was able to secure his spot in center field putting up huge numbers in terms of fantasy. He finished the 2010 season with 27 home runs, 91 RBIs, 28 stolen bases and a .257 batting average, which is great for Young. The increase in batting average indicates that maybe he has finally put it all together and has learned to be patient at the plate. If he continues this trend we may be talking about him in the top 10 amongst fantasy outfielders next season.
24. Jay Bruce (CIN): Bruce was able to increase his batting average by .058 to .281, which helped him hit resurrect his diminishing fantasy value. In 2009 he only helped fantasy teams in the power categories, but with his newly found patience at the plate he is now a contributor in batting average and runs scored in 2010. Although I think he is still a year or two away from reaching his full potential, he would make a great No. 2 or No. 3 outfielder in most formats.
25. Curtis Granderson (NYY): Granderson had a rough start to his career in pinstripes last season, batting just .226 through the first half of the season. He was able to salvage what was left of the season after the All-Star break connecting for 17 home runs and 45 RBIs making him one of the top fantasy outfielders in the second half of the season. His batting average has dropped each of the last three seasons and continues to struggle with left-handed pitching so until he gets that figured out he will be a mid-tier fantasy outfield option.
26. Colby Rasmus (STL): For the third season in a row Rasmus was able to increase his production in all categories cementing his place in the Cardinals outfield. He finished the 2010 season with 23 home runs and 66 RBIs while maintaining a .276 batting average. If his trends continue going in the right direction he has the potential to hit 25 home runs this season, which is a great value in the middle of most fantasy leagues.
27. Delmon Young (MIN): It took almost five seasons for Young to finally breakout in the way that he was supposed to coming up through the Rays farm system, but it happened in a big way in 2010. Young was finally worked into the starting lineup for the Twins and was able to contribute with consistent at-bats. In 570 at-bats Young hit 21 home runs and 112 RBIs while keeping his batting average right around the .300-mark for the whole season. This production is just the start of good things to come and as long as he can stay healthy expect to see an even bigger season from him in 2011.
28. Bobby Abreu (LAA): For the first time in five seasons Abreu failed to reach 100 RBIs, but was still a solid contributor across the board. He finished the season with 20 homers and 74 RBIs to go along with 24 stolen bases and 88 runs scored. His batting average was rather low (.255 BA) for a player of his caliber and may be a sign that he is now on the downside of his career. Looking forward to 2011 Abreu will likely be used as the teamâ€™s primary designated hitter which will benefit him in the health category. Other than that he should be a solid selection for a No. 2 or No. 3 outfielder in most formats.
29. Juan Pierre (CHW): After being stuck in a timeshare system in Los Angeles for two seasons Pierre signed with the White Sox and was given a full-time role and paid dividends to those who took the risk on him in 2010. He finished the season with just one home run and 47 RBIs, but with 68 stolen bases made him a solid fantasy outfielder. He really only benefits owners in the stolen base category so only draft him if you are in need of steals.
30. Carlos Beltran (NYM): For the second straight season Beltran failed to play a full season and gave fantasy owners headaches throughout the season. In 220 at-bats Beltran hit seven home runs and 27 RBIs and was dropped in most leagues. He is now entering a contract-year and we all know what happened last time he was playing for a contract. With that being said I would expect a little more form Beltran this season as he tries to increase his value to earn a big check next offseason.
31. Jason Bay (NYM): Bay had a terrible year in his first season for the Mets hitting just six home runs and 47 RBIs in about half a season of work. Like Justin Morneau, Bay suffered a concussion early in the second half that cut his season short. While he will likely never hit like he did in 2009, he is a prime candidate for a bounce-back year in 2011 as long stays off of the injury report.
32. Nick Swisher (NYY): Swisher has settled in nicely each of the last two seasons in New York rewarding his fantasy owners. With 29 home runs and 89 RBIs he increased his fantasy value after a few poor seasons for the White Sox. He is most likely going to hitting in the No. 2 slot for the Yankees this season which should result in another good season for Swisher. At worst expect 20 home runs and 75 RBIs and use him as a No. 3 outfielder in most formats.
33. Nick Markakis (BAL): Usually a very consistent source of fantasy value Markakis entered the 2010 season as a top 20 outfielder and failed to live up to expectations. He finished the 2010 season with 12 home runs and 60 RBIs with a .297 batting average. While his batting average increased form a year prior, all of his power stats decreased in a drastic way recording 41 less RBIs in 2010 than in 2009. With the additions of Derek Lee, Mark Reynolds and Vladimir Guerrero the Orioles wonâ€™t need Markakis to supply the power anymore so look for more of a role-player role for him in 2011.
34. Michael Bourn (HOU): Bourn is one of the fastest players in all of baseball which results in high stolen base totals each year, but it is the other categories that keep him from being ranked higher on this list. He has hit a total of 10 home runs over the last three years while never going over 40 RBIs in his major league career. His solid production on the base paths has given him value and should be considered in the same category as Juan Pierre just on a worse team.
35. Drew Stubbs (CIN): Stubbs was finally given a full season of major league at-bats and paid off in a major way for those who picked him up off the waiver wire in 2010. He finished the season with 22 home runs and 77 RBIs with 30 stolen bases, missing the 30/30 club by just a few home runs. His batting average is a major concern, especially when trying to project his stole base totals. If he can show more discipline at the plate he has the potential to be in the 30/30 club by the end of the season.
36. Jason Kubel (MIN): He had relatively even splits in 2010, but playing time is a major concern with the breakout season from Delmon Young.
37. Rajai Davis (TOR): Davis is a speed-demon and should be drafted for that reason; just donâ€™t expect much more in the other categories.
38. Austin Jackson (DET): Jackson was one of the luckiest batters in all of baseball last season when it came to batting average on balls in play so donâ€™t expect him to repeat.
39. Angel Pagan (NYM): Pagan took advantage of the injuries endured by Carlos Beltran, but now he will likely be starting in right field so the adjustment may interfere with his offensive production.
40. Jose Tabata (PIT): Tabata quietly put together a solid fantasy season and has the chance to one day reach 50 stolen bases if he continues in this manner.
41. Brett Gardner (NYY): Like Jose Tabata and Rajai Davis, Gardner is a monster on the base paths, but doesnâ€™t have stand out production in any other categories.
42. Carlos Quentin (CHW): Quentin suffered from lingering injuries in 2010 and needs to stay healthy in order to be a consistent fantasy player.
43. Denard Span (MIN): A down year dropped Span significantly in the rankings, but look for a bounce-back season from him since he is now in his prime.
44. Adam Jones (BAL): Back-to-back 19 home run seasons in a plus, but he has failed to reach his full potential and opportunities will be limited with upgrades in the Orioles lineup.
45. Dexter Fowler (COL): He has displayed great abilities on the base paths and will be fighting for a starting job so keep an eye on him throughout Spring Training.
46. Raul Ibanez (PHI): Ibanezâ€™s home runs took a serious hit in 2010, which was his main category on contribution so draft with caution.
47. Carlos Lee (HOU): A major dip in batting average led to a slow start for Lee, but a bounce-back year is in line for this All-Star power hitter.
48. Alfonso Soriano (CHC): Soriano increased across the board in 2010 and should be able to repeat his production this season.
49. Desmond Jennings (TB): Jennings will be competing for a starting job this spring and if he wins a job he is a younger version of Carl Crawford so expect big things from him.
50. Coco Crisp (OAK): Crisp failed to play a full season once again in 2010, but still has plenty of fantasy value based on his small sampled sizes he produced the last two seasons.
Matthew Beck is a Fantasy Sports Columnist for Rotoinfo.com. If you have any questions or comments feel free to e-mail him atÂ email@example.com.Â Also follow him on Twitter @MatthewRBeck for up-to-date Q&A and fantasy information.