Editor's Note: Player analysis profiles appear in the positions at which the players are projected. Profiles of players who may be eligible at other positions in your league include fantasy baseball advice related to a potential increase in value as a result. A player must have started at least five games or have played at least 10 games to be eligible at another position. Criteria for fantasy baseball leagues vary, so check your league rules.
Pros: Sizemore's walk-to-strikeout ratio has risen in each of the past three seasons. A high flyball rate in each of those has resulted in an average of more than 28 homers per season; he may only be entering his power prime. The 26-year-old is a virtual certainty for 25-30 steals.
Cons: Improving plate discipline hasn't been reflected in his batting average; in fact, his rate of hits has declined in the past two years, despite a steady contact rate. His all-around skills seem wasted at leadoff.
Fantasy tip: If you want an outfielder who can lay a solid foundation in all categories, Sizemore is your man. A strangely low batting average on balls in play means his average should rebound. Possible value pick in the middle of the first round?
Pros: The U product dispelled any doubts about his impressive rookie campaign (.324-34-97, with 15 stolen bases) in 2007 by avoiding a sophomore slump (.285-37-106, with 14 swipes). He hits lefties and righties. His contact rate and batting eye also took small steps.
Cons: Despite the strides, Braun's average dipped to a more realistic .285 (although .300 isn't out of the question). He's already really good, so how much better can he get?
Fantasy tip: It's a fallacy to think that young players have nowhere to go but up. Even if he has little room to grow, though, Braun displays steady skills and hasn't slumped for long periods despite the many K's. Near the end of the first round, he should continue to pay off.
Pros: This switch-hitter is a graceful athlete with a pretty selective eye. He's a threat for 30-30 every season. He underwent offseason knee surgery before last season; as his strength improved, so did his line (.307-12-46 after the break). He could carry that into 2009.
Cons: You don't find someone much more inconsistent in the first couple of rounds than Beltran. Home runs with the Mets: 16, 41, 33, 27. His flyball rate was disturbingly low last year.
Fantasy tip: It's too soon to say his skills are in decline, and his spot in the order allows him to drive in more runs than a Grady Sizemore. At full strength (which is never a certainty), he's a great pick when the second round hits, but there's always some bust potential.
Pros: Hamilton's story is sensational. The line-drive hitter, clean and with an opportunity to play every day (in Texas, no less), drove in runs at a record pace before the break. He also hit 21 bombs in that time.
Cons: Equally as astonishing but far more overlooked was his sharp second-half decline. There's no questioning his pure talent. Just because he was outstanding in his first full season doesn't mean he'll only get better, though; at 27, he doesn't have much room to grow.
Fantasy tip: The real Hamilton is likely somewhere between his first and second halves - more so the first. He has nearly matured talent wise, but he has a few things to learn, and he's doing it in the bigs. Ideally, he lasts until the third round, but that won't happen.
Pros: You may not believe it, but Manny works hard on his swing, all the time. He's one of the greatest run producers in the history the game, and there are no glaring signs that this will change.
Cons: Before his 2008 rebound, Man-Ram missed significant time in 2006 (knee) and 2007 (oblique). Various ailments warn that age is catching up to him. Manny also adds to the drama: If he's not happy, fantasy owners won't see him at his best - if he even steps on the field.
Fantasy tip: Manny was locked in with the Dodgers, but don't forget the risks associated with him. Health and age are still factors; his attitude is less of one now, but it can't be forgotten. You can draft him with a little more confidence, at least, preferably in the third round.
Pros: Talk about steady: Pencil in Lee for about 30 homers, 100 RBIs and a .300 average. He'll play for Panama in the World Baseball Classic; the pinkie he broke is just fine. For a power hitter, he makes great contact.
Cons: Lee's batting eye has been heading in a negative direction for the past couple of seasons. After the World Baseball Classic, he reportedly showed up a bit overweight. The broken bone was the first significant injury of his career; does that open the door?
Fantasy tip: The Astros' left fielder is about as reliable as they come. Last year's injury has likely triggered some doubt. It makes Lee an incredibly sound choice if you can get him in the third round; no one can blame you if you pull the trigger at the end of the second.
Pros: Sori is another with 30-30 - or better - potential. He might have the quickest and strongest wrists in the game, which fuels his explosiveness at the plate. Very good flyball and line-drive rates verify that he hits the ball hard.
Cons: Contact has always been an issue, and his rate of it has been trending downward. In the past two seasons, injuries have become a significant issue, and he has run less frequently. The Cubs now prefer it that way. He's staying at leadoff, which slashes his RBIs but may keep his steals potent
Fantasy tip: There's some question about whether he'll produce as well in the heart of the order. If Chicago's measures to keep him healthy pay off, he's a fantasy goldmine. However, Soriano carries more risk than you might like in a second-rounder.
Pros: Crawford is a speed demon: Before last season, he stole at least 50 bases in four of five seasons; he came up four short in 2005. He's a pretty safe bet to hit around .300. He makes good contact and has a rising line-drive rate.
Cons: We've been waiting for a boom in power for Crawford for a couple of years, but a pretty dull flyball rate shows no encouraging signs. Nagging maladies have been a problem; last year's finger injury was a show stopper.
Fantasy tip: Based on his abnormally low average on balls in play, he should rebound from .273. If he's on base, he'll run. Just don't draft him hoping for a home run spike. Those who do so overvalue him; he's a second-rounder in a first-rounder's body.
Pros: The A's made improvements on offense by adding Holliday and first baseman Jason Giambi. Holliday has a pretty good batting eye and makes solid contact. He hits for average and power; last year he swiped a career-high 28 bases.
Cons: In his career, Holliday has homered nearly twice as often and about 75 points better at Coors Field, home of his former team, the Colorado Rockies. He moves from an extreme hitters' park to the antithesis of one. Oakland doesn't run much.
Fantasy tip: Holliday is a big what if, perhaps more so than many realize. It's hard to dismiss the 29-year-old's accomplishments, but how much did the Mile High City help him? It's not advisable to take him as No. 1 outfielder. That decision will cost you any shot at him.
Pros: Upton is a driller: He posts a high average on balls in play because he's one of the most explosive hitters in the game. He's on the verge of realizing his 35-homer potential. We know he can steal plenty of bases - 22 in 2007 and 44 last year.
Cons: In November, Upton underwent surgery to repair a torn labrum in his left shoulder; he'll probably miss the first week. That raises concerns about how long the pain will linger, and how much it will affect his home run swing, like it did in 2008. Upton lost his second base eligibility.
Fantasy tip: Outstanding ability and postseason heroics have led to an overvaluation of Upton. He's an exciting pick as a low-end No. 1 outfielder, but he's often drafted higher, despite the risk.
Pros: Vladdy Daddy is a solid bet to hit .300, hit 25-plus homers and drive in 100. He has also been known to chip in a few steals. He should play some designated hitter this year, limiting the repercussions of the daily grind. He's ahead of schedule in his rehab from offseason knee surgery.
Cons: Guerrero, the freest swinger in all the land, has displayed general declines for virtually every indicator: batting eye, contact rate, line-drive rate, flyball rate, flyballs per home run, etc. He doesn't run much anymore, either.
Fantasy tip: The days of Vlad being a No. 1 fantasy outfielder are likely gone, but at 33, he shouldn't fall off the map yet. That likelihood could make Vlad undervalued as a high-end No. 2.
Pros: Talk about a young man who can do it all: Grandy hits for average, hits homers, scores runs and steals bases. His contact rate, batting eye and flyball rate (potential for homer breakout) have all shown steady growth. Granderson's high average on balls in play has remained constant.
Cons: The lefty's line-drive percentage has decreased in his first couple of seasons, so maybe that BABIP will come down a bit, too, as he concentrates on lifting the ball. As a leadoff man, he doesn't drive in a ton of runs. He does all these things well, but none spectacularly.
Fantasy tip: One could view Granderson as a poor man's Grady Sizemore, with a slightly better average. He's intriguing enough that he could serve as a low-end No. 1, but you can get him as a No. 2, which is good value.
Pros: This 25-year-old's maturity at the dish, contact rate and ability to hit for power as well as steal bases make him a potential stud. Two straight 20-homer, double-digit-stolen base campaigns can attest.
Cons: Markakis possesses commendable skills, but his indicators say that he's a year or three away from fantasy stardom. Baltimore's offense has given him little support, and that seems unlikely to change much in the near future.
Fantasy tip: Markakis is a mature hitter and should only continue to climb the fantasy value ladder. He's still a 20-20 candidate and should hit for a high average. The Greek is a low-end No. 1 outfielder if he breaks through; he's preferably a high-end No. 2.
Pros: Maggs is a run producer, pure and simple. He always hits well with runners in scoring position. He still gets on the ball and drives it, as evidenced by his contact and line-drive percentages.
Cons: His home runs-per-flyball percentage has also generally been on the decline; Maggs doesn't have the same pop he used to. After a couple of injury-marred seasons (2004 and '05), he delivered, but last season, an oblique muscle injury sidelined him for half a month.
Fantasy tip: Last year, Ordonez was overvalued because of that .363 clip he posted the season before. He should still hit well over .300, approach 25 homers and drive in more than 100. He's a great No. 2 and a possible value target, especially with that lineup.
Pros: Bay is another five-category contributor, and his new home agrees with him. He batted .293 with nine homers, 37 RBIs and three steals in 184 at-bats for Boston. Nice lineup, great park (mixed with a consistently high flyball rate), solid contact rate.... What's not to like?
Cons: There is the matter of 2007 (.247-21-84), a season that lives in infamy because of all the fantasy owners Bay burned. He doesn't run too often, either; double-digit steals is a bonus at this point.
Fantasy tip: It appears that 2008 was status quo for Bay, while 2007 is an anomaly. He's not safe enough to take as a No. 1, but he's a heck of a pick as a No. 2. He may be slightly overvalued, but he should be worth it.
Pros: McLouth was fantasy baseball's big breakout star (.276-26-94, with 113 runs and 23 steals) in 2008. He made great strides in walk-to-strikeout ratio and contact rate.
Cons: Despite improvements in those categories, his average left something to be desired. Those expecting him to build on that performance would be wise to rethink it. McLouth is 28, so he may have already hit his ceiling; he faded as the year wore on. He'll have much less help after the trades of outfielders Xavier Nady and Jason Bay.
Fantasy tip: Fantasy owners might pay for 2008 and end up disappointed. Expect some minor regression, at least, if simply because it's back to biz as usual for the Bucs. He's a solid low-end No. 2 as a multi-cat contributor, though.
Pros: Kemp has incredible upside. His high average on balls in play is fully sustainable: He drives through the ball with authority to all fields. He stole 35 bases in 46 attempts in 2008, a pace reinforced by his minor league numbers.
Cons: Upside can go unrealized; Kemp strikes out a ton and walks little. His low contact rate also limits his admittedly high ceiling for average. He still needs time to mature physically, too, so don't look for a significant jump in home runs.
Fantasy tip: Kemp is an exciting choice as a No. 2 outfielder, but he comes with considerable risk. The young free swinger would probably benefit if Manny Ramirez re-signs with the Blue. Beware overvaluing his prospects.
Pros: A .300 Average? Check. Thirty-five stolen bases? Check. One hundred runs? Check. A bad season still means good things from the 2001 AL Rookie of the Year. There's nothing to suggest his skills are noticeably in decline. He has been extremely efficient thieving bags in the past three years.
Cons: An ulcer will force Ichiro to start the season on the 15-day DL. Though there isn't much risk of it popping up again, it may sap some of his ability early in the year. More than 10 home runs? No check. Significant RBIs? No check. Ichiro isn't extremely diverse. His line-drive rate has cooled for a few seasons in a row. He's 35; when does his speed start to dwindle?
Fantasy tip: This veteran is a safe way to lay the groundwork in average and stolen bases. You'll probably have to make him your No. 1 outfielder, though, and you'll need to seek power from your other outfielders if you do.
Pros: Finally free from the clutches of the Arizona Diamondbacks, Quentin broke through in a monstrous way (.288-36-100 in 480 at-bats) last year. He demonstrated the batting eye and gap power he was known for in the minors; it really agreed with U.S. Cellular Field (21 homers) and the road (15).
Cons: He posted a higher-than-expected contact percentage (79.5), considering his previous major league work. He also suffered a fractured wrist, which may sap some of his power initially. It also did nothing to curtail concerns that he's injury prone.
Fantasy tip: Obviously, this breakout was a long time coming. There's still risk involved with Quentin because of his checkered injury history, and he has only the one year under his belt. He's legit, but you may have to reach for him.
Pros: Rios is on the verge of delivering that huge year that catapults him into elite fantasy outfielder status. He can hit 25-plus home runs, steal 25-plus bases and drive in nearly 100 runs. He slugged 11 homers after the break - on its way? He has slowly improved at making contact, too.
Cons: Rios is on the.... Stop. Heard this before? Besides, after the break, he also stopped running (nine steals in 12 attempts). His flyball rate suffered through a steep drop-off in the first half before his second half saved it. Will it ever come all at once?
Fantasy tip: There isn't much risk with Rios because he'll produce ... one way or another. He's also 28 years old - prime power year. If - if - you can get him as a mid- to low No. 2, it's a great gamble to take that it's this one.
Pros: Abreu is known for his plate discipline and keen batting eye. He's a 20-20 threat every year, and he should approach 100 runs. His contact rate has actually been on the rise. The Angels are a little more aggressive on the basepaths than most teams.
Cons: The Angels are leaning toward using Abreu in the two-hole, which would cut down on his chances to drive in runs. His new club's offense isn't as prolific as his former team's. Yankee Stadium was generous to left-handed home run hitters, but Angel Stadium is a tad harder on them. Those plate skills are definitely eroding - as are his speed and flyball rate (29.9 percent in 2008). Is he becoming a slap hitter?
Fantasy tip: Abreu is still a solid No. 2 option and perhaps a little overlooked. He's still a good bet to chip in across the board, although don't look for anything close to 100 RBIs.
Pros: The BoSox shipped Coco Crisp to the Kansas City Royals, so Ellsbury will patrol center by himself now. He should be ready, especially if he displays the eye he did in the minors. He makes great contact and has speed to burn.
Cons: This youngster may still have some growing pains to endure. Last year he went through a two-month swoon in which he hit .246. He also went cold on the basepaths. He picked it up at the end, but similar cold spells in the future will frustrate fantasy owners.
Fantasy tip: If you thought Ellsbury was overvalued last year as a part-timer, then you have to be nervous taking him as a low-end No. 2. Still, without competition, 40-plus (-plus-plus?) steals and 100 runs are in the bag.
Pros: In his first year in Anaheim, Hunter once again posted a near 20-20 season. He's a lock to contribute across the board, with the exception of average - where he shouldn't hurt you. His skills at the plate aren't evaporating....
Cons: Yet. Hunter's flyball rate and groundball-to-flyball ratio appear to have peaked a couple of years ago, so a return to 25-plus homers seems a stretch. He's inconsistent - a free swinger - and, in his career, has missed long stretches because of injuries.
Fantasy tip: It figured that he'd run a little more with the Angels; he didn't, and with a power decline, he's trending downward. He's a quality athlete, though, and won't just die on us. As a low-end No. 3, he's more than worth the price.
Pros: Last year, Hart doubled up on 20-20 seasons with the Brew Crew. He was dynamite all around in the first half (.289-15-58, with 13 steals). He's slowly making strides with plate discipline.
Cons: Hart owners suffered through a poor second half derived mostly from his abysmal September (.173-0-10, one stolen base). He struck out four times for every time he walked.
Fantasy tip: He may wear sunglasses at night, but he better get reading glasses for his day job if the batting eye doesn't improve. A bearish September isn't reason to jump ship. However, his skills leave him prone to streakiness. The average should bounce back, but he's overvalued.
Pros: Talks of Damon's demise premature? He hit .303, still displayed a solid batting eye and good contact rate, touched a three-year high in line-drive rate and stole 29 bases - most since 2003. He should be the leadoff man in another stellar Yanks lineup.
Cons: His 2008 average on balls in play was about 20 points higher than his career rate. The Bronx Bombers have a plethora of outfield options, so they'll likely continue to give Damon regular rest. Nagging injuries have become the norm.
Fantasy tip: New York seems to be handling Damon just right, which means he shouldn't have any problems serving as a high-quality No. 3 outfielder. He's a little undervalued in that sense, but don't jump someone to snag him.
Pros: Take an outfielder with the body of a 30-year-old who hits about .290 with 20-plus homers, 100-plus RBIs and 80-plus runs for the Seattle Mariners. Subtract M's and Safeco Field; add Phillies and Citizens Bank Park. What do you get?
Cons: A 36-year-old outfielder who cashed in on an impressive four-year run that began well after his prime years. In 2006, Ibanez drilled a career-high 33 home runs; 21 and 23 followed. He has already passed his apex.
Fantasy tip: The new home can at least stave off any possible decline in power. Ibanez would truly have to hit rock bottom not to be worthy of taking as a No. 3 outfielder. He could be a very high-end one and is worth waiting for. Ibanez may even run a bit again in Philly.
Pros: Young is a five-tool outfielder who has the goods to post a 30-30 season (as he nearly did in 2007). He improved his batting average thanks to small strides at the plate. He hit .278 with nine homers and nine steals following the All-Star break.
Cons: "Improved" means he hit .248 - yuck. It's one thing to accept that kind of mark from Adam Dunn, but from a dude who only FLASHES potential? For 22 homers and 14 steals (2008 returns), keep it. His BABIP jumped big time, so the average could crash again.
Fantasy tip: Right-handers give him trouble, so that limits him. However, the contributions he can give in the counting categories are exciting. He's a high-risk/high-reward type, so when you get to acceptable risk level (No. 3 outfielder), take it.
Pros: There's not much more that will please fantasy owners than delivering on 20-20 potential. Now a regular in one of the most dangerous lineups (and best parks) in baseball, Werth is an attractive draft day chip.
Cons: Werth is a line-drive hitter, but his contact rate doesn't stand out. He takes his walks, but he strikes out a ton, too. Slumps should be expected. Oh, and he decided to deliver at age 29. What took so long? Injuries had always held him back.
Fantasy tip: Werth is manager Charlie Manuel's kind of hitter; he takes his pitches, yet he's aggressive - at the plate and on the bases. Don't expect a repeat of the pace, but the totals are Werth it (too easy!). He's a high-end No. 3 or No. 4 that will require monitoring for cold spells.
Pros: Sophomore slump, Schmophomore Schmump. Pence delivered a souvenir to 25 fans in the outfield bleachers; he also drove in 83 while swiping 11 bases. Improved batting eye and a strong second half (.277-13-37) are positive signs that he's past his 2007 wrist injury.
Cons: A scary low line-drive rate and no noticeable improvement in contact rate make it hard to believe .300 is in his immediate future. He had trouble hitting lefties - and he's a right-handed hitter.
Fantasy tip: Pence smoked lefties in his debut season, and he has proven that the wrist injury is behind him. There's plenty of upside - not tons, but certainly enough - that reaching for him as a No. 3 outfielder might pay big dividends.
Pros: As soon as you select Dunn, you can mark down another 40 homers in Sharpie and then laminate it. The man sees more pitches than a senior advertising exec.
Cons: In the past five seasons, his flyball rate has slowly dwindled; your ink may be wrong this time. His line-drive rate has also fallen, while the groundballs go up, up, up. Oh, and he sees many pitches, but he likes many of them, too (32.4 percent K's from 2001 on). Mark down a sub-.250 average. Nationals Park and Washington's offense isn't as favorable as Great American Ball Park and the Reds' slate.
Fantasy tip: The negatives outnumber the positives, but there are no secrets with Dunn. He'll hit homers just about anywhere because he hits BOMBS. Where you can get him (low No. 2, high No. 3), he's worth the pick, especially if you skirted power early.
Pros: Two straight seasons of more than 35 steals, and he can still contribute double-digit homers. In this prolific offense, mark down 100 runs for a full season. High contact rate and improving batting eye suggest possible gains in average.
Cons: A full season is not likely. Calf injuries have derailed him on several occasions - for double-digit games in a couple of stretches. He sometimes fancies himself as a home run hitter, but he has trouble catching up to high heat.
Fantasy tip: Fantasy owners are putting too much stock into the Flyin' Hawaiian. He should be a target mainly because of his solid average and sizable contribution in the stolen base and run departments. He comes with moderate risk and shouldn't be considered more than a No. 3.
Pros: The biggest impact free-agent pickup of the 2008 season was none other than Ludwick (.299-37-113, 104 runs). He crushed the ball (26.3 percent line drives, 46.5 flyballs) yet still made solid contact (74.8 percent). He didn't let up in the second half.
Cons: Do it again. That's what fantasy owners want to see from a 30-year-old breakout performer. Injuries plagued him for several years. He has always been rated highly for his power, but his poor batting eye and questionable plate discipline give skeptics ammo.
Fantasy tip: Expect regression across the board if only because it's his second go-round. As a low-end No. 3, it's worth the shot to see how close he can come to last year's line. If others are too hot for him, let them have him - not worth the risk.
Pros: Dye's 2008 line (.292-34-96, with 96 runs) is about par for the course. His line-drive, flyball and contact percentages remain steady - no signs of decay. He doesn't strike out much for a player with his skill set.
Cons: Dye has never been big on taking walks, either. What little speed he has seems to be drying up, and the injury bug has been known to bite him. He's approaching the age where it all begins to roll downhill.
Fantasy tip: Approaching doesn't mean has arrived yet. Dye, year in and year out, is an undervalued fantasy asset. He'll go as a No. 3 outfielder, but he may perform like a No. 2. His downside is still acceptable for a No. 4.
Pros: What's he capable of? Witness 2006 (.303-32-106, 17 steals), or go back to 2003 (.317-33-117), to find out. Wells is becoming less of a hacker; his plate discipline is one the rise. Before last year, his flyball rate was also climbing.
Cons: But last year, it dropped to the worst rate of his career. Multiple injuries (shoulder, wrist and hamstring) have softened him in the past two seasons; they have to have some effect on his power. Wells is fanning less, but he also began walking less.
Fantasy tip: Wells seems to come up short of his potential in most seasons. Fortunately for opportunistic fantasy owners, most don't expect much from him. As a No. 3, he's a no-brainer. If he acts like a No. 4, bench him; if he performs like a No. 1, jackpot.
Pros: Hawpe is the seemingly rare Colorado member who hits well at home or on the road. He took big steps against southpaws (.282 against them in 124 at-bats). A nice, rising line-drive percentage and walk rate say buy into him.
Cons: A mediocre contact percentage and climbing strikeout percentage may make you hesitate. Any regression versus left-handers sends him right back into fantasy platoon status. Hawpe has also been frustrating in each of the last two years because of his slow starts.
Fantasy tip: This fella isn't the ideal No. 3 outfielder, but his upside has him hitting .300 with 30 homers; he might have last year had a hamstring injury not cut him down for a couple of weeks. If you have two steady performers in tow, Hawpe might be the way to go.
Pros: The Dodgers finally gave up on the Andruw Jones experiment; Ethier is a regular. He nearly was last year, when he put up a .305-20-77 line in 525 at-bats. He's a line-drive hitter with a pretty good eye and plate discipline who can hit lefties.
Cons: Ethier didn't hit southpaws well last season (.243), though. His ceiling is not extremely high; in fact, he may not be far from it. If the Dodgers re-sign Manny Ramirez, Ethier could once again occasionally take a seat in favor of Juan Pierre.
Fantasy tip: At least the front office finally realized that Ethier and Matt Kemp are the future. Ethier's ceiling still leaves room for a little upside, and he's not much of a risk. Easily worthy of No. 3 status.
Pros: Young has delivered double-digit home run and stolen base totals in each of his first two full seasons. He was considered one of the top three prospects in all of baseball for four years; his five tools were expected one day to construct high-rises with a single motion.
Cons: Make good on that already, will ya? An average of 11.5 homers and 12 steals? I can get that from David DeJesus. Last season, Young didn't hit his first homer until June 7. His batted ball numbers indicated regression.
Fantasy tip: Young is only 23; his body is still maturing. Some improvement in his batting eye gives hope that he's learning. How long will we have to wait, though? He's not a fantasy starter, but considering his upside, you can afford to reach for him by a couple of rounds.
Pros: After much ballyhoo, the 2007 Minor League Player of the Year made his debut last May; he played nearly every day afterward, going .254-21-52 with four steals in 413 at-bats. He's another five-tooler who stirs excitement. He showed slight second-half gains in his batting eye.
Cons: Inexperience is his enemy. Owners have to be prepared for the ups and downs that come with such a second-year man, particularly one who strikes out one-quarter of the time and made contact on only 71.6 percent of his swings.
Fantasy tip: Bruce's ceiling seems sky-high, but is he another whose expectations are too high too soon? He's risky as a No. 3 outfielder, but you'll have to reach to get him. Such an investment could pay well, but it's hard to expect him to outperform those near whom he's drafted.
Pros: The post-hype prospect raked in the minors before posting a .330-7-26 line in 115 at-bats with the parent club in the final month and a half. He has outstanding isolated power, and his solid batting eye should help him hit enough to maintain playing time.
Cons: In three other shots at the majors, Cruz failed to take hold. He hit just 15 homers and drove in only 56 runs while batting only .231. Given the small sample size of his success, he is hardly a proven product. He hasn't run in the bigs like he did in the minors.
Fantasy tip: He's risky because of the lack of track record. If you can snag him as a No. 4 outfielder, do so, because he has upside, at least in the power categories.
Pros: Jackson enjoyed a breakthrough first half (.300-8-47), gratifying many who pegged him as a post-hype prospect. He also stole 10 bases. High ratings on contact, batting eye and line drives say .300 should be an annual benchmark.
Cons: Even that breakthrough ended up being no more impressive than his previous work. His ceiling doesn't suggest more than 20-homer potential. Simply put, Jackson is not glamorous.
Fantasy tip: There is little upside with Jackson. You know what you're getting, which makes him more of a fifth fantasy outfielder. However, he's solid, and sometimes you have to pay for stability. He's more of a, when-all-else-fails kind of pick.
Pros: Fast Willy set a phenomenal career high in stolen bases (68), and he garnered only 479 at-bats. He's always among the leaders in bunt singles, which artificially bump up his average. After he dealt with job insecurity last year with the Colorado Rockies, the Reds are handing him a job.
Cons: His job was in jeopardy because his effort was questioned; Rox manager Clint Hurdle had to light a fire under him to make him go. Reds manager Dusty Baker isn't known as a great motivator. A decent eye, a high contact rate and a solid BABIP.... yet a .251 average?
Fantasy tip: It's not safe to bank on 50-plus steals; his previous career high was 34. Taveras doesn't contribute anywhere else enough to be more than a No. 4 fantasy outfielder, so don't reach for him. His average is a crapshoot.
Pros: The University of Miami product is a slugger; he has put up about 30 home runs and 90 RBIs in each of the past four years. He'll no longer be hitting behind Philadelphia Phillies first baseman and RBI vacuum Ryan Howard. He'll serve mostly as the designated hitter.
Cons: Burrell has hit under .260 in three straight seasons. He's regularly among the leaders in walk rate, but he strikes out a ton because he can be fooled easily. What will the move from Citizens Bank Park do to his power? He is a lifetime .199 hitter, with 19 homers, in 492 interleague at-bats.
Fantasy tip: Power hasn't been an issue for Burrell on the road. How he'll handle the move to the AL, where he'll likely see even more breaking balls, is a reason for concern, though. There is little upside - you know you might get - but the downside is a struggling slugger.
Pros: No matter how crappy the team, Winn is always a fantasy contributor.
Cons: Winn's contact rate dived by more than four percentage points last season. No matter how solid his numbers are, they're never spectacular, and that's magnified by the team he's on. The speed spiked, but he's at the age when it could begin diminishing any day.
Fantasy tip: Winn is an extremely solid No. 5 outfielder, and you don't have to draft him as more than that. He offers no upside, but there is no real downside. Don't reach this high, but don't worry if you settle for him at the end.
Pros: The X man enjoyed a career year (.305-25-97) in 2008. He saw highs in at-bats, homers, RBIs, runs, batting eye ratio (tied) and line-drive rate. He also escaped the premises of Pittsburgh Pirates' penitentiary for the New York Yankees' nectarous fantasy nursery (12 homers, 40 RBIs in 228 at-bats).
Cons: Nady's New York nuggets could have used nurturing; he hit only .268 for the Bronx Bombers. It's always said: Beware players coming off career years, especially when they're on the wrong side of 30. He's streaky, so until the Yanks settle things, PT could be an issue.
Fantasy tip: Nady's name has been thrown around in trade rumors, but he should start wherever he is. However, he's unlikely to play more than 145 games. In the middle rounds, he's a solid fourth outfielder with some downside but a chance to repeat.
Pros: With a fresh start and as an everyday major leaguer for the first time, Milledge was more than solid (.268-14-61, with 24 stolen bases). He has plus ratings for power and speed. Increased all-around production in the second half points to bigger things.
Cons: He batted all up and down the lineup. It was suggested that he's offseason trade bait. Now, the Nats say they envision him as a corner outfielder; he'll battle Elijah Dukes for the job in center. Will he ever find happiness? How soon will the power follow the speed?
Fantasy tip: Milledge was a top prospect for the New York Mets; the fruit bared for the Nats isn't likely to be as sweet, but his upside is intriguing. He's a little overvalued, but if you land him as a fourth outfielder, you're in good shape.
Pros: After two years in purgatory (PETCO Park, in San Diego), Cameron hit 25 homers, drove in 70 and stole 17 bases last year - and he missed the first month. His flyball percentage is riding a three-year wave in the mid-40s, so 30 homers are possible again.
Cons: Cameron drives the ball, but he has never displayed the plate discipline or patience to hit for a high average. Now in his mid-30s, he should expect to see a dip in his speed at some point. He's currently nursing a strained intercostal muscle on the left side of his ribcage. It's more of a nagging injury than a serious concern, though.
Fantasy tip: You know what you're getting here. Cameron is the ideal fifth fantasy outfielder because you can ride him while he's hot, when he'll deliver in home runs and steals. His streakiness makes him not worth reaching for.
Pros: Ankiel has completed the transformation from bust pitcher to big-league hitter. Nearly one in five of his flyballs is a big fly. He produced considerable upticks in line-drive and flyball rate, too.
Cons: His contact rate remained stagnant, and the lefty has problems with southpaws. These problems may always mean platoon job. He'll be streaky and never hit for a high average unless he corrects them.
Fantasy tip: Ankiel can never be more than a No. 5 fantasy outfielder because of his inconsistency and low valleys. However, you know you're getting a player whose peaks (home run production) are high as the highest mountaintop. It's up to you to decide if it fits your team and you can manage that.
Pros: The switch-hitter posted back-to-back quality fantasy seasons in 2006 and '07 - about 20 homers and 15 steals in each. He hits for average thanks to a good eye and plate discipline. Guillen's additional eligibility makes him a valuable utility player.
Cons: Unfortunately, he has missed significant time in three of the past six seasons. He lost the shortstop eligibility that made him most valuable. Multiple position switches may take a mental toll. Signs are there: What little power is dwindling; he's becoming more of a contact hitter.
Fantasy tip: Guillen offers nothing special at the positions at which he's eligible (or will be). However, he isn't over the hill; a full season should result in double digits in homers and steals in the context of a very good lineup. Versatility costs a little extra.
Pros: Guillen provided the Monarchs with something they sorely lacked: a power bat capable of driving in a hundred. He posted his best contact rate of the past four seasons, too.
Cons: "Volatile" describes Guillen in many facets. His flyball rate is fairly steady, save for a 2006 spike, but his line-drive rate fluctuates, as does his average. His 2008 walk-to-strikeout rate was the worst mark he posted this millennium. Oh, and then there's his attitude problem and occasional physical malady.
Fantasy tip: In shallow mixed formats, Guillen can sometimes be found on the waiver wire. For that reason, he's not worth using anymore than a late-round pick on. He's streaky, so ride him while he's hot, stash him when he's not.
Pros: Looking for an overlooked type who can hit for average, hit double-digit homers and shoplift double-digit bases? DeJesus is your man. He has made strides in the patience sector, and his line-drive gain was big. His .322 career BABIP is sustainable.
Cons: His '08 rate of home runs per flyball (9.2) is not. DeJesus doesn't have much power or much speed (career 56.3 success rate on steal attempts). Health is an issue for him every year.
Fantasy tip: DeJesus is about the most boring pick you can make in a fantasy draft. He's basically a sixth outfielder, the type you settle for at the very end because there is no upside left. There isn't here, either.
Pros: He swiped 10 bases in his first full major league season, even as some other offensive elements weren't there yet. He added muscle this offseason and has been stealing bags at a rapid pace this spring. The O's are willing to let him learn on the job.
Cons: His batting eye reflects his inexperience, and he doesn't reach base much. He produced an unfavorable amount of groundballs last year, and he's not fast enough to surmount that completely.
Fantasy tip: Given his youth, Jones is a No. 5 outfielder, at best, in deep mixed leagues. It's probably better to have him as a bench player so he can develop into a 15-15 (or more) threat this year.
Pros: Kubel experienced a spike in flyball percentage, home runs per flyball and, obviously, home runs. After a late start to what was a promising career, in 463 at-bats, he drove in 78. He should spend plenty of time at DH.
Cons: It's a good thing, because in Minny, there's a logjam in the outfield. Serious injuries are what delayed his career, and they will likely limit his ceiling. He still doesn't hit lefties well, so he may remain in a platoon role.
Fantasy tip: Trends suggest there's more upside here, even as a part-timer. He may never be more than a .280 hitter, but he could hit 25-plus homers in less than 500 at-bats. He's a sleeper as a fifth outfielder, more valuable than other names around him in drafts.
Pros: In just 361 at-bats with the Boston Red Sox, Crisp produced a .283-7-41 line, with 20 steals. He landed with KC in a trade, which means a fresh start and more playing time. Extrapolate those numbers, and he's an attractive fantasy commodity.
Cons: Crisp is merely above average, at best, and KC has plenty like that, or worse. He's not a power hitter, but he may envision himself as one - see his rising flyball rate. At spacious Kauffman Stadium, that's a chocolaty recipe for disaster. He may have less freedom to run.
Fantasy tip: His contact rate and walk-to-strikeout rate don't demonstrate alarming trends. He should provide low-end No. 5 or No. 6 outfield numbers, particularly steals, and there's some upside simply because of his increase in PT. Also, his name is easy to make fun of.
Pros: Some say the second Upton could be better than the first. His prodigious talent flashed itself in 97 April at-bats (.340-5-15). At 21, he already possesses great power, and his line-drive rate (20.9) and flyball percentage (41.9) mean more homers are on the way.
Cons: Upton whiffed 34.0 percent of the time; he made contact at a 68.1 percent clip. The outfield is full, with Chris B. Young, Conor Jackson and Eric Byrnes. Upton took a long time to come back from an oblique strain - slow healer.
Fantasy tip: The D-backs won't carry Upton and sit him. If you have depth, he's a great pick as a No. 5 outfielder, because if you gamble and he breaks out like his brother did two seasons ago, you're golden. If not, who cares?
Pros: This former first-rounder has put together a couple of solid seasons after injuries delayed his arrival. Hermida was dubbed a 20-20 - or better - threat early in his career. He's very close to delivering in the home run department.
Cons: Quite a poor batting eye in the bigs for someone who walked nearly as often as he fanned in the minors. He fell off in line-drive percentage and posted a good BABIP (.311), yet he still hit .249. Is he able to avoid injuries? When is he going to run?
Fantasy tip: Don't expect him to pilfer more bases this season, but Hermida's solid swing should bring up his average - if he's a more patient. Stagnant flyball rates don't imply a home run breakout yet; questions exist! He could break out, but he's overvalued; he's a No. 5 at best.
Pros: His first half (.302-17-55) had fantasy owners hopeful that this hot free-agent pickup was flashing his 2004 form - or that of his 2005 first half - again. There's no doubt that he can hit 30 homers and steal 10 bases while batting .300.
Cons: He can, but the likelihood is not so great. It's as if a man with a nervous tic can't put down his J.D. Drew voodoo doll. Half No. 2 was disastrous: .211-2-9 in 86 at-bats. He doesn't run anymore.
Fantasy tip: It was a tale of two seasons for Drew. That's no surprise, so don't pay for anything more than a No. 5 outfielder with upside - his skills are fine. If he's healthy, he might start for you, but the odds aren't in your favor.
Pros: After the Padres began to mail it in, they called up one of their best hitting prospects. Headley showed gradual progress in patience, average and run production in every month from June on. He's a pretty powerful switch-hitter (24.7 percent line drives) and drew walks in the minors.
Cons: Headley is a liability defensively; it could be tempting to replace him if he doesn't produce with the lumber. A good minor league batting eye must open up in the majors, because he's occasionally overmatched at the plate. He must make more contact, especially at PETCO Park.
Fantasy tip: Headley has a lot to learn, but he also has upside that goes overlooked because he toils for the team in America's Finest City. It's a little optimistic to consider him a No. 5, but think about him late.
Pros: Yanks fans say it best: He's just a solid player. Matsui remains composed in the box, drives the ball, has a good eye, makes contact and produces runs. He has driven in at least 103 in his four full (or nearly full) seasons. He should play DH most of the time.
Cons: Godzilla was once the poster child for durability in Japan; his two non-full seasons have come in the last three years, though. The knee injury robbed him of some power. His contact rate is great, but it's slowly withering.
Fantasy tip: You don't want to depend on Matsui as more than a low No. 4 or high No. 5. That's not too risky, but perhaps it's showing more faith in a bounce-back than he deserves. DH at-bats didn't help last year.
Pros: The most obvious: power. He has clubbed 59 dingers and driven in 159 runs in 876 at-bats since 2006 after finally earning a shot in the bigs. He walks often to substitute for other offensive deficiencies.
Cons: The Adam Dunn effect: a mutilated batting average and a penchant for whiffing. He's all-or-nothing if he doesn't walk.
Fantasy tip: You know what Cust gives you. If you want to draft him, prepare for it. Luckily, you can grab him late enough so you will have already had ample chances to build up your fantasy clip.
Pros: When Bradley has played, he has displayed above-average power and batting eye ratios. He has blossomed in hitters' parks and finds himself in one with his new, offensively stacked team. He goes on streaks often and can carry your fantasy team in the process.
Cons: He led the MLB with an absurdly flukish .396 BABIP last year. His K percentage saw a drastic increase. You can't count on him to be healthy for a full season, especially since he's moving to the league without the designated hitter.
Fantasy tip: If you draft Bradley as anything more than a No. 5 outfielder in deep mixed leagues, you're counting on too much from a player who has been inconsistent in both performance and health. He's an acceptable bench option in shallow mixed setups, though.
Pros: A potential contributor of a .300 clip and 30 dingers, Lind found his stroke after the Jays brought back legendary manager Cito Gaston. His new mentor led him to a .286-6-24 second half line in 248 at-bats. He hit .318 with a .380 on-base percentage lifetime on the farm. He'll spend the majority of his time at DH, meaning he can focus on wielding the stick.
Cons: He lacks plate discipline (0.27 batting eye last year). Only 30 percent of his balls in play soared to the sky; he doesn't have speed to run out his increasing amount of grounders.
Fantasy tip: Immense promise lies with Lind, and this offense has young talent galore. If Lind can make more contact, he can pay off as a No. 5 fantasy outfielder at some point this year. It's worth reaching for him in the final few rounds of deep mixed systems.
About Nicholas Minnix
Minnix is baseball editor and a fantasy football analyst at KFFL. He plays in LABR and Tout Wars and won the FSWA Baseball Industry Insiders League in 2010.
The University of Delaware alum is a regular guest on SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio and Baltimore's WNST AM 1570. Follow @NicholasMinnix
Don't miss these great reports....
Recent KFFL releases
Fantasy Football Rankings: Standard Scoring
Fantasy Football Rankings: PPR Scoring
Fantasy Baseball Closer Depth Charts: White Sox chaos coming?
Fantasy Football Rankings: Scoring only