Fantasy Articles

Here are the AtHomePlate.com fantasy baseball rankings at catcher and outfield. We'll release infield later this week, following by starting and relief pitchers and a top 100 cheat sheet.

Catcher

1.      Buster Posey - Pedigree, production across the board and potential playing time at first earns Buster the top spot. Don't be surprised if he adds 5-10 steals this year.

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Carlos Santana breaking his bat.
2.      Carlos Santana - Like Posey will receive playing time at multiple positions. A sub .250 average over 500+ at-bats is what holds him back. Wouldn't argue if you slot him as your top catcher.

3.      Mike Napoli - Fifty-four of his 105 starts were at first or DH and he plays home games at Arlington. Not banking on an average above .275 from the career .264 hitter, though. Handled 400 at-bats just once in his six year career.

4.      Matt Wieters - Final two months of the season netted a .275 average, 12 long balls and 31 RBIs. Shaky situation at first base in Baltimore opens the door for extra playing time for the former elite prospect.

5.      Brian McCann - Eighteen or more home runs in past six seasons and never an average below .269, you know what you're getting out of the Braves catcher. Dwindling doubles rate, just 19 last year after posting 42, 35, and 25 from 08-10 is worrisome. Minimal gap between the top five catchers.

6.      Jesus Montero - Doesn't hold C eligibility yet but will be worth the wait. Will receive most of his playing time at DH and should hit in a high leverage spot in Seattle's lineup. Lack of MLB experience keeps him out of the top tier.

7.      Alex Avila - Many will point to his outlandish .366 BABIP as a reason to stay away. Line drive percentage (21% the past two seasons) and lack infield fly balls (2% the past two seasons) suggest that he'll always have a high BABIP. Not sure what to expect after last year's breakout campaign.

8.      Joe Mauer - Ballpark saps power, lineup minimizes runs and RBI potential. Return to a .300+ average is very likely but the counting stats are the issue here. Montero, Avila, and Mauer comprise the second tier.

9.      Miguel Montero - Poor man's Brian McCann, consistent production should net a home run total in the mid to high teens and a respectable average. If he duplicates last year's RBI total of 86 he'll be a steal.

10.  J.P Arencibia - Won't hit for a bearable average with his high strikeout rate and extreme fly ball tendencies but the power is no joke. Could see him hitting 30 home runs this year.

11.  Ryan Doumit - Has always been able to hit, career .271/.353/.442 triple slash and the Twins will need all the offense they can get. Expected to get regular at-bats at DH and perhaps some time at catcher, first base, and right field. Time away from catcher should help him stay healthy.

12.  Geovany Soto - As inconsistent as they come, batting average varied from .280+ in 2008 and 2010 to under .230 in 2009 and 2011. Take a shot and you'll have a 50/50 chance at a very solid backstop.

13.  Wilson Ramos - Catchers start falling into mediocrity at this point. Ramos didn't show too much power in the minors but put 15 out last year and is still just 24. Should receive more playing time this year as well.

14.  Devin Mesoraco - Upside play, expecting a split between him and Hanigan to start the year but if he's hot out of the gate he could secure more at-bats. In a two-catcher or 20-team league I wouldn't draft him here due to the lack of options in free agency, worth it in a shallow league.

15.  Salvador Perez - Prior to his injury could have seen him as high as 12. Like Mesoraco is an upside play. Would gladly stash him on the DL for a month or so and play A.J Pierzynski in the interim.

Outfield

kemp_matt
Matt Kemp has announce he will go 50/50 this season.
Photo by kla4067, used under creative commons license.
1.      Matt Kemp - Only one long ball away from a 40/40 season with 241 runs/RBI and a .324 average. Could lose 15% off all his counting stats and still be the No. 1 outfielder at the end of the year.

2.      Jose Bautista - Forty homers, 100 runs, 100 RBI and 9 steals in 2010 and 2011, wouldn't bet on anything below a .280 average this year. Supporting cast is underrated.

3.      Curtis Granderson - 2011 no fluke, has been hitting like that since midway through 2010. Hit second most of last year meaning a ton of at-bats and a great position for both runs and RBIs. Average likely tops out in the .280-.290 range, counting stats more than make up for it.

4.      Ryan Braun - Sold my shares in my dynasty leagues. Is now the most feared hitter in the Brewers lineup, meaning more intentional unintentional walks.

5.      Justin Upton - Trimmed K-rate by 8% last year, BABIP dropped by 35%, HR/FB rate was a modest 14.8%, all signs pointing towards another step forward in 2012.

6.      Carlos Gonzalez - Very good hitter in a great park just entering his prime at 26. His numbers in 2011 pro-rated over a 150-game season is what I expect from him: .336 batting average from 2010, a product of his insane .384 BABIP.

7.      Jacoby Ellsbury - Put a lot of stock into the fact that he hits leadoff in a great lineup. A good bet to finish the season with the most at-bats among outfielders once again. His home run total will likely taper off into the low 20's, but the average seems legit based on underlying stats and could see him swiping an extra 10 bags this year.

8.      Giancarlo Stanton - Big gap between top 7 and the following in my books. Possesses light tower power and the addition of Reyes, potential resurgence of Hanley Ramirez will help in many ways.

9.      Matt Holliday - Another one of those old faithfuls, but not too old - just turned 32. Loss of Pujols certainly doesn't help but every outfielder in this range has a reason you shouldn't draft him. Will bet on his track record.

10.  Michael Morse - I'm a believer, turning 30 just before the start of the season and has been a top per-game performer for the past two seasons. Ground ball/fly ball ratio suggests he can hit for average. HR/FB ratio suggests elite power from the 6-5 230 pound monster, but he may miss the start of the season with a back injury.

11.  Andrew McCutchen - Most overrated fantasy player in the game. More fly balls than ground balls last year which results in more homers, but at only 5-10 and 190 the modest power numbers aren't worth the dip in batting average. Hits in a below average lineup, doesn't run as much as he should.

12.  Jay Bruce - Home run total has increased in each of his first four seasons, turning 25 early in the season so progression is to be expected. Wouldn't be surprised to see him hit 40 homers a couple times in his career.

13.  Josh Hamilton - Don't put any stock into his off-season antics. When he's dialed in he's arguably the best hitter in the game. Worth a shot if your league shies away.

14.  Nelson Cruz - Similar to Hamilton in the sense of high risk/high reward. More power potential than Hamilton but won't bring the average. Could steal 10 bases but speed is tapering at 31. Not sure if you ever want him to run with those hammies.

15.  Hunter Pence - When he was traded to the Phils never thought I'd say his team context is off-putting. With Howard and Utley's injury woes not much pop around him in the lineup. Consistent performer still in the prime of his career, set it and forget it type of guy.

16.  Jason Heyward - Throw 2011 out the window. His shoulder injury caused him to alter his swing completely. If you choose to argue that he's an injury risk I can't disagree, but this is a guy entering his third year who hit .277/.393/.456 as a 20-year-old. The cheapest you will get him for the next 12-15 years.

17.  Desmond Jennings - Yahoo ranks him above Morse, Bruce and Pence. I don't see it. Never displayed great or even good power in the minors, his 25 HR pace last year was an outlier.

18.  B.J. Upton - To me he is Jennings with more average risk and a little more pop available three rounds later.

19.  Michael Bourn - Okay with drafting an all speed guy relatively early when he's stolen 50 bases with respectable complimentary numbers the past three years. Atlanta let him attempt 29 steals in 53 games, based on his stolen base conversion rate over his career that puts him on pace for 70 steals this year.

20.  Jayson Werth - As Scott Pianowski pointed out, Werth couldn't hit lefties last year and he usually destroys them. Last year had fluke written all over it.

21.  Lance Berkman - He wasn't nearly as good after his hot start but still hit .300 with 90+ runs/RBI and 30 dingers. If you exclude his 2010 season he's never stopped hitting, interested to see if father time will catch up to him in his age 36 season.

22.  Alex Gordon - I agree, he'll regress in the batting average department. Even so, should still be a very solid four category contributor on an aggressive and underrated Royals offense.

23.  Corey Hart - At 30, still in his prime. Should be good for another 25-30 home run season with a solid average and 170-190 combined runs/RBI.

24.  Andre Ethier - Injury hurt power production last year I'm expecting a return to the 20-25 range. In a contract year if that means anything to you.

25.  Carlos Beltran - Underlying stats suggest nothing fluky about 2011 campaign, was simply healthy for the first time since 2008. Should fit in nicely in St. Louis

26.  Adam Jones - Nothing too exciting to say about the Orioles center fielder. Average to good in every stat, rarely injured, if you're looking for a nice consistent producer as an OF2 or 3 he's your guy.

27.  Carl Crawford - Where to start? He can't hit lefties, which is a problem because he's on a team that as a whole has too many lefties who can't hit lefties. Now that he's gotten paid is running less -- just 24 stolen base attempts last year -- and will likely hit seventh for the Red Sox.

28.  Ichiro Suzuki - Anyone who has ever seen Ichiro take batting practice says he has power that he chooses not to use. Slotted to hit third for the Mariners I think that helps his value. Less steals, but a final line around 80 runs, 10-15 home runs, 80 RBI, 25 steals and a .300 average is what I'm expecting.

29.  Ben Zobrist - Shouldn't be played at outfield but for the sake of argument this is where I'd have him. Solid 20/20 option with some inconsistencies with his batting average but the counting stats will be there no matter what.

30.  Shin-Soo Choo - Despised him heading into last year's drafts and still not a fan. Not enough power, speed or surrounding talent in the lineup. A more expensive version of Ichiro.

31.  Jeff Francoeur - As with his teammate Alex Gordon I feel the regression police are overcorrecting. Like the team situation, every-day at-bats, and raw talent.

32.  Drew Stubbs - Part of his value is that he has some pop for a steals guy, problem is he hits leadoff for an NL team so that power doesn't net him many RBIs. Very good in two stats, a big negative in two, neutral in one. Pass.

33.  Brett Gardner - Alarming number of infield fly balls resulted in a lower batting average but if he can fix that should be a great source of steals and RBIs with an average that won't hurt you.

34.  Nick Swisher - Love players whose floors are high due to their team context. Would contribute 75 runs and 75 RBIs with one hand tied behind his back. At 31 still at the tail end of his prime and brings dual eligibility to the table.

35.  Brennan Boesch - I don't think he's anything special as a power hitter, but he'll provide some pop and is slotted to hit in front of the best 1-2 combo in all of baseball in Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder.

36.  Logan Morrison - His BABIP was abnormally low for a guy with a relatively normal strikeout rate and GB/FB ratio. Improved lineup, entering his third season at age 24, I'm invested.

37.  Lorenzo Cain - Everything I've heard about him is positive. He's hitting .500 this spring which doesn't mean much but can't hurt to have some positive reinforcement. Like every other Royal with any sort of speed will benefit from Ned Yost's aggressive style.

38.  Kendrys Morales - If he was on another club I'd rank him much higher. Don't think he's forgotten how to hit, but not sure how he'll get everyday playing time on this Angel's squad loaded with highly paid outfielders and first-basemen.

39.  Melky Cabrera - Playing in a less stout NL offense, less aggressive manager and perhaps a little regression caps his upside.

40.  Chris Young - He's like that old fat guy in your slow pitch softball league who just hits everything straight up. 20% of his at-bats ended in infield fly balls in two of the past three years. Maybe his HR/FB rate will improve his home run output a bit, but other than that I'm expecting modest contributions in three stats and a huge downer in the average category.

41.  J.D. Martinez - No speed, but slugged over .500 in each of his three minor league seasons. Will likely get him later than you should in your drafts.

42.  Yonder Alonso - Former top prospect and soon to be 25-year-old finally gets his shot at every-day playing time. Opening act with the Reds was promising and while he won't hit .330 a good average and solid power category juice should be expected. Too bad he ended up in Petco.

43.  Colby Rasmus - Nearly tripled his infield fly ball percentage last year and almost cut his HR/FB rate in half. Simply had a bad year. 2010 average was a little fluky but should put up 20-25 homers in a lineup that will allow for solid runs and RBI contributions.

44.  Carlos Lee - Prior to 2011 he had 11 straight 20+ home run seasons. Still hit 18 out with 94 RBI last year with a .275 average. One of my favorite late-round targets.

45.  John Mayberry - Former first round pick finally got his shot last year and impressed. Power, speed, playing time, pedigree, I like everything about him at his current price.

ppp/a29.  Ben Zobrist - Shouldn