Outfielder's Choice: Top Ten Fantasy Baseball Outfielders for the 2012 Season

In most fantasy baseball seasons, the outfield is a prime source for all of your statistical needs. If you are in need of stolen bases, the league leaders were both outfielders. If you need power, 3 of the top 4 home run hitters in MLB were outfielders (counting Jose Bautista, who also qualifies at third base). The major league leader in RBI was an outfielder (Matt Kemp). It's not too hard to determine that the outfield is one position you can count on to deliver key fantasy stats. With that in mind, let's review the top ten fantasy baseball outfielders for 2012:
1) Ryan Braun (MIL) -
Not only did Braun's HR total return to the +30 range, his 33 stolen bases almost equalled his previous 2 season totals combined. Extremely durable, Braun delivers in 5 fantasy categories. He is a pure fantasy stud.
2) Matt Kemp (LAD) -
Falling 1 HR shy of a 40-40 season, Kemp was perhaps the best player in fantasy baseball in 2011. Due mainly to a poor 2010 season, Kemp doesn't yet have the consistency of Braun and thus is second on the list of outfielders. A bounce back in average and SB made Kemp a stud in 2011. Expect more of the same next year.
3) Jacoby Ellsbury (BOS) -
What a difference a year makes. Coming off a miserable, injury-riddled 2010 campaign, Ellsbury bounced back huge with an MVP-type season in 2011 adding power to his speed game. His power seemed to come out of nowhere but it is not completely unheard of for a player to add power to his game at 28 years old. Look for a dip in his 2012 HR total but he will still deliver a great fantasy performance.
4) Ichiro Suzuki (SEA) -
You may be shocked to find Ichiro so high on the list but I cannot help but to think this massive baseball talent has one monster season left in him. He is way too proud and his decline in numbers in 2011 will not sit well with him. With an 86% SB success rate last season, his speed game remains intact and a slight bump in power would not surprise. Worth the gamble.
5) Justin Upton (ARI) -
Staying healthy and playing more than 138 games (his previous season high prior to 2011) will be the key to ongoing success for the youngest Upton brother. The tools are there but 2012 will be an interesting season in his career. Expect a similar season to 2011.
6) Carlos Gonzalez (COL) -
Cargo has the talent to be the best fantasy player in the game. Health issues continue to plague him and make him too risky to be drafted higher than he is ranked here. Even in a monster 2010 campaign he missed 17 games. His numbers at Coors Field greatly affect his overall stats but as long as he continues to wear a Rockies jersey, you can take the massive home park stats to the bank.
7) Matt Holliday (STL) -
Last season proved that speed is no longer a weapon in Holliday's arsenal. He can still be counted upon to deliver power and average but nagging injuries took their toll throughout 2011. He is clearly no longer the fantasy stud that he was in his Colorado heyday but he still has something to offer.
8) Carl Crawford (BOS) -
Players have bad years. It's a fact of life. Just don't expect players of Crawford's talent level to have back-to-back poor seasons. Expect a rebound to the tune of.300, 15 HR and 40+ SB. A lot was made of his batting order position in 2011 but if he hits in the heart of the order, his RBI totals will increase as well. Consider 2011 a blip on the radar.
9) Michael Bourn (ATL) -
When you can find a player who totally dominates a particular category (in Bourn's case, he has led the NL in SB for 3 straight years) you want to lock him up for your fantasy team. The problem with Bourn lies in the fact that if he fails to deliver stolen bases, he will be a fantasy bust. While this is true, hitting from the top of the Braves line up and not showing any signs of slowing down, Bourn is worth counting on to lead your fantasy team in the SB category again in 2012.
10) Curtis Granderson (NYY) -
Sure he strikes out a lot and is inconsistent on the base paths but Granderson's no longer hitting in the leadoff spot (as he did often in Detroit) and his swing is perfect for Yankee Stadium. Expect the big HR totals to continue as well as 20+ SB. Add to that the run production that comes from hitting in a potent line up and Granderson is fantasy baseball gold.
When considering fantasy baseball outfielders for 2012, there are many options to supply your roster with speed, power, average and run production. It is a good strategy to look to the outfield to fill in any statistical weaknesses not found in the rest of your roster. Good luck in 2012!
Chris McBrien is a baseball writer for numerous baseball websites and may be found at Dear Mr. Fantasy and can be followed on Twitter @cmcbrien

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Looking for Steals?

Kazuo Matsui has come a long way since he began his MLB career with the New York Mets. After moving on to the Colorado Rockies, Matsui has blossomed. In 2006, Matsui hit .345 in 113 at-bats with the Rockies. So far in 2006, Matsui is batting .291 in 323 at-bats. Quality average for a starting second baseman. In addition to a decent batting average, Matsui is swiping bags at a high rate. In fact, for the month of August to-date, Matsui has stolen 11 bases. That's third best in the majors, behind speedsters Hanley Ramirez and Jose Reyes, for the month. If you're looking for some late speed, he may be your man.


Rising and Sinking

Rising Fastballs

After a slow start, Garrett Atkins has gotten hot. In the past week, he's batting .379, with four homers and 13 RBI. This brings his season totals up to .260 and 53 respectively.

Although he's only batting .235 on the season, Brad Wilkerson has hit at a .308 clip in the past week, to go along with four homes and 13 RBI (same numbers at Atkins.)


He sat out today's game, and hopefully it will help him rest and regain his form. In the past seven days, Prince Fielder is batting just five of 22 with 0 homers and only 3 RBI. His season average sits at .278.

Brian McCann, who was batting .314 after the first month of this season, is now .259 at the plate for 2007. In the past week he's 3 for 20, though he does have one homer and four RBI.

Piazza Back Behind the Plate

It looks like the A's will utilize Mike Piazza as a catcher upon his healthy return. Mike Piazza, the consumate professional, took the news in stride. According to the Associated Press, Mike said, "Whatever they want me to do. ... I was just as surprised as anybody." Having a manager who used to play behind the plate himself, Bob Geren, will certainly help Piazza make the smooth transition back to catcher.


Add Dmitri Young?

In my Yahoo! Sports Fantasy Baseball League, Dmitri Young is currently the 33rd ranked player in the past month, and he is available. Is he worth a pick-up for an extra first baseman or utility player? Let's take a look. He's currently batting .494 (39 for 79) in the past month. Not too shabby. To go with that gaudy batting average, he also has 13 runs, 3 home runs and 19 rbi in the past month. On the season he's batting .342 with 6 dingers and 33 rbi. His downside? One word: speed. He has no stolen bases.

A look at Dmitri's career splits suggest he may indeed be worth a spot on your team. Over his career, his monthly split batting average does not dip below .290 after the month of June. In the month of July, his career splits show 33 homers in 682 career at-bats. Not too bad.

With Nick Johnson recovering from a right leg fracture, Dmitri looks to have a solid lock on first base for the foreseeable future. If he's available in your league and you need some power and average, consider adding him to your fantasy roster.


500 Saves and Counting

He has more career saves than any other player in MLB history. His lifetime ERA and WHIP are 2.70 and 1.04 respectively. He's accumulated 982 strikeouts in 908.1 innings pitched. These stats aren't too shabby for a starter or a reliever, to say the least. Hoffman is a sure-fire Hall of Famer. No doubt about it. Because he isn't in a glamorous position with glamorous statistics to be accumulated (think of Bonds with Homers and Johnson with Ks this year,) he doesn't quite receive the publicity that he deserves. 500 saves is nothing to sneeze at. How much have you heard about this monumental milestone though? It is an achievement sans pareil.


Don't Drop Saito

According to, Takashi Saito will not go on the DL. He may not be available for the weekend series against the Padres, but he should remain on your roster for now. In the interim, you may want to give serious consideration to Jonathan Broxton, who could pick up a few saves for your fantasy team. Mr. Broxton's ERA and WHIP haven't been spectacular in the past month (5.40 and 1.57 respectivel,) but he has had an impressive strikeouts to innnings pitched ratio (18 Ks in 13.1 innings,) to go along with one save.


Help on the Basepaths

Corey Hart of the Milwaukee Brewers looks to have solidified the right fielder job for now. In doing so, it looks like he will be gathering stolen bases at a healthy rate. Last year, Corey swiped 5 bases while being nabbed 8 times in 237 at-bats. So far in 2007, through 118 at-bats, he has taken 8 bases and has not yet been caught. Fantasy Baseball Central would recommend adding Corey to your roster if you are in need of steals.


Pitchers In The Mix

Interesting article by Jeff Gordon over at regarding pitchers who are coming back into the mix. He specifically discusses Roger Clemens, and how we might expect his ERA to increase due to the Yankees need for Roger to pitch further into each game than Houston had needed. Go check out the article, it gives you a good perspective on these returning hurlers.

With the calendar flipping to June tomorrow, it's time to take a look at the men on the mound who excelled in the month of June one year ago. It's Fantasy Baseball Central's "Moneyball" take on pitchers by month. With a critera of a minimum 20 innings pitched (except for saves,) in June of 2006 here are your leaders in each 5x5 pitching category:


  • 44 - Johan Santana and Jeremy Bonderman
  • 40 - Jose Contreras
  • 39 - Erik Bedard and Daniel Cabrera
  • 38 - Jason Schmidt


  • 1.05 - Johan Santana
  • 1.17 - Chris Young
  • 1.60 - Gil Meche
  • 1.77 - Jeremy Bonderman
  • 1.78 - Josh Johnson


  • 0.67 - Johan Santana
  • 0.83 - Francisco Liriano
  • 0.88 - Scott Olsen
  • 0.95 - Chris Young
  • 1.00 - Dave Bush


  • 5 - Mark Redman and Johan Santana
  • 4 - 13 different pitchers


  • 10 - Bobby Jenks and Houston Street
  • 9 - Joe Borowski and B.J. Ryan
  • 8 - Trevor Hoffman and Derrick Turnbow

So looking at these historical statistics, a few things jump out. First of all, several of these players are off-limits either due to the fact that they are injured or they are no longer in such a position to gather these statistics (i.e. B.J. Ryan and Derrick Turnbow respectively.) Some of them you would have a very tough time trading for, and would have to give up an awful lot for (i.e. Johan Santana.)

The one pitcher that you may want to take a long hard look at from this list is Scott Olsen. He currently has 47 Ks in 61.2 innings pitched, but he's on this list from 2006 due to his low WHIP. His WHIP to date in 2007 is fairly high at 1.59 (as his ERA at 5.11.) Let's take a step back to May of 2006 however. Scott's ERA in May of 2006 was 7.98 and his WHIP in the same month was 1.60. One month later in June of 2006 his ERA was 2.12 and his WHIP was 0.88 as mentioned in the list above. This went along with 29 Ks in 34 innings pitched. He may be due for a similar performance in June of 2007, so keep an eye on him.

Fantasy Baseball Prospect to Keep an Eye On

Down in the AAA International League, there is a gentleman by the name of Rajai Davis who is tearing it up on the basepaths. He will eventually be called up by the Pittsburgh Pirates to take a spot in the outfield. In 2006 Rajai swiped 45 bags while coming to bat 345 times. So far in 2007, he has taken 27 bases (while being caught 9 times,) in 197 at-bats. Keep an eye out for Mr. Davis to appear in the bigs in the not-too-distant future. When he does make it up, ensure that you have him on your fantasy league roster.

Is Prince Fielder this year's Ryan Howard?

Ryan Howard was the home run king last year. Is Prince Fielder on track to take over that crown this year? Here's a look at Ryan's splits for last year, and where Prince is this year:

Ryan Howard in 2006

  • April HRs - 5
  • May HRs - 13
  • June HRs - 9
  • July HRs - 8
  • August HRs - 14
  • September HRs - 9

Prince Fielder in 2007

  • April HRs - 6
  • May HRs - 12

Both Ryan and Prince led the league in home runs in the month of May in 2006 and 2007 respectively. Ryan wound up with 58 dingers last year. How many will Prince have before the season is over? Right now, he's on pace to come real close to Ryan Howard's number for dingers in 2006.


Riding Under the Fantasy Radar

One pitcher you may not have heard of but might want to investigate is pitcher Cha Seung Baek of Seattle. In 2006, Cha Seung Baek won four games while starting six to go along with a 3.67 ERA and a 1.14 WHIP. So far in '07, he has two wins in seven starts, with a 4.60 ERA and a 1.23 WHIP. HOWEVER, he has struck out 31 batters in 43 innings pitched which is where his value sits.


Stolen Bases

In the past week, Nick Punto has swiped four bags. This gives him eight on the year and just under half of his 2006 total of 17 swipes in 459 at-bats. So far he has 165 at-bats this season. If you're behind in the stolen bases category you might want to take a look at Mr. Punto. Based on career splits, he tends to hit for average before the all-star break, so you might want to pick him up sooner rather than later.


Fantasy Baseball Closer Report

The folks over at have a nice 2007 Closer Report. They give a good update on recent activites with respect to closers and their impact on your fantasy baseball team. One of the real nice features is the current listing of top closers, along with a 2006 and 2007 comparison of their stats and who the potential back-up closer is.

The number eleven closer on this report is Takashi Saito who is having an excellent season so far (15 saves, 1.64 ERA through May 26.) However, if you're in a keeper league, take a close look at Jonathan Broxton. He is listed in's report as the potential back-up closer for Takashi Saito. In 2006 he had 97Ks in 76 innings pitched to go along with a 2.59 ERA and a 1.23 WHIP. So far this year, Broxton has 27Ks in 25 innings pitched along with a 1.78 ERA and a 1.18 WHIP. Take into account the fact that Saito is 37 years old, while Broxton is 22, and you're looking at a strong chance of Broxton taking over the closer duties (and picking up saves for your fantasy team,) in the not too distant future. Fantasy Baseball Central recommends adding Broxton to your roster now.


Ryan Braun called up

Looks like the Brew Crew called up Ryan Braun to hold down the job at the hot corner. In AAA ball, Braun was batting .342 with 10 homers and 22 RBI in 34 games according to Yahoo! Sports. Looks like he could be an excellent addition to your fantasy team.