Outfielders Outlook

by Tim Heaney on May 4, 2007 @ 16:00:00 PDT

 


OUTFIELDERS

Table: Do not bench list

Player
Team
Player
Team
Carl Crawford
TB
Andruw Jones
ATL
Alfonso Soriano
CHC
Jermaine Dye
CHW
Vladimir Guerrero
LAA
Johnny Damon
NYY
Carlos Beltran
NYM
Juan Pierre
LAD
Manny Ramirez
BOS
Magglio Ordonez
DET
Carlos Lee
HOU
Adam Dunn
CIN
Grady Sizemore
CLE
Alex Rios
TOR
Matt Holliday
COL
Eric Byrnes
ARI
Vernon Wells
TOR
Barry Bonds
SF
Bobby Abreu
NYY
Michael Cuddyer
MIN
Ichiro Suzuki
SEA
Jeff Francoeur
ATL
Hideki Matsui
NYY
Bill Hall
MIL
Jason Bay
PIT
Rocco Baldelli
TB

UPPER ECHELON

Delmon Young, Tampa Bay Devil Rays

Schedule: 6 games - @BAL (3), @TOR (3)

Analysis: Young allowed his drafters to pat themselves on the back early in 2007, as he recorded a hit in his first 12 games and in 24 of the Rays' 26 games so far. Despite the fact that he has walked only four times in that span, nothing has really been a deterrent to keeping Young from playing (four home runs, 14 RBI), so there's no reason yet to bench him., especially when he could tee off on Baltimore's rotation.

Torii Hunter, Minnesota Twins

Schedule: 6 games - CHW (3), DET (3)

Analysis: Hunter has shown signs of good health this year. Hunter has returned some of his gap power, as he leads the American League with 13 doubles. The biggest bonus for Hunter has been the green light from Twins manager Ron Gardenhire. As his on-base percentage increases, so do his chances to steal bases. His four swipes in 2007 are a solid indication that this trend will continue, despite his matchup against White Sox catcher A.J. Pierzynski and Tigers catcher Ivan Rodriguez, two of the better defensive backstops. Since he still has his power stroke, keep going with Hunter.

Corey Patterson, Baltimore Orioles

Schedule: 7 games - CLE (1), TB (3), @BOS (3)

Analysis: Given his history for underachieving, Patterson wouldn't immediately be at the top of everyone's play list. His start to the 2007 season has brought some fantasy ire (.230, HR, nine RBI). But even when his owners complain about his numbers, they seem to forget the reason they have him in the first place. His five stolen bases are clearly enough reason to keep him on your team; after all, that's why he's stayed on fantasy rosters the past two seasons. This week, he could pad that number against Tampa Bay catcher Dioner Navarro, and if he's extremely lucky, Cleveland catcher Victor Martinez, two catchers that can be ran on. Patterson could commit some felony basepath robbery this coming week.

Raul Ibanez, Seattle Mariners

Schedule: 7 games - @NYY (1), @DET (3), NYY (3)

Analysis: Ibanez has 10 RBI so far this season, but has struggled to hit the right chords in his other offensive categories (.253, HR, eight runs). Ibanez has been one of the better mid-round offensive value picks the past few years because of his place in the Seattle lineup. Although he has failed to show the 30-homer pop, four games against the current slew of Yankee pitching can serve as a cure. If he lines up against the back of the reeling Yankee rotation, Ibanez could rekindle his bat.  

Josh Hamilton, Cincinnati Reds

Schedule: 7 games - HOU (4), @LAD (3)

Analysis: Baseball's latest comeback story can bring a happy ending to your fantasy chapter for Week 6. Hamilton's raw skills were hindered by his personal problems, which he seemed to have overcome. His team-high six home runs in April came when Ken Griffey Jr. shifted to right field, therefore creating a spot for the 25-year-old. The Reds' four-game home stand provides enough reason to keep Hamilton in, as he could provide at least two home runs this week. Especially in deeper leagues, he should stay in your lineup.

Shawn Green, New York Mets

Schedule: 6 games - @SF (3), MIL (3)

Analysis: Green has started well in every category except home runs. His 14 RBI and 15 runs still make him useful as a third outfielder, especially in the Mets lineup. With the Mets facing the two hottest pitching staffs in the National League, Green could have issues trying to keep up with the live arms. This might be the week Green falls off, so hold off on relying on him too much.

MIDRANGE

Nick Markakis, Baltimore Orioles

Schedule: 7 games - CLE (1), TB (3), @BOS (3)

Analysis: Markakis has played his part in the Orioles offense thus far, both driving in and scoring 15 runs. He has a good matchup in the middle of the week against Tampa, so he should definitely be played then. Markakis might be overwhelmed, however, by Boston's scorching pitching staff. If he runs into Curt Schilling, Josh Beckett and Daisuke Matsuzaka in a row that could spell trouble, even for a lefty matched up against right-handed hurlers. He could still drive in some runs, though, but don't expect a large outburst.

J.D. Drew, Boston Red Sox

Schedule: 6 games - @TOR (3), BAL (3)

Analysis: Although most owners are still checking their tickets in the J.D. Drew injury pool, the date hasn't come just yet. And that means they could still ride the Red Sox right fielder until the day comes. For now, hitting in the heart of the Red Sox order could sneak him onto the end of the "Do Not Bench" list. His eight RBI and 12 runs are a testament to his new role as the caboose to the train of designated hitter David Ortiz and outfielder Manny Ramirez. The Red Sox are flying high right now, and there's no reason to take Drew out of the lineup when any of the Sox hitters have potential to do some offensive damage, especially with three games at Fenway Park.

David DeJesus, Kansas City Royals

Schedule: 6 games - OAK (3), @CHW (3)

Analysis: DeJesus has been a spark plug at the top of the Royals lineup, hitting .308 with four home runs, nine RBI and scoring 22 runs. He has accumulated 10 multi-hit games this year, including five three-hit outings and one four-hit contest. DeJesus is making some serious contact. You shouldn't count on DeJesus for sustained power numbers, but with the Royals lineup finally providing some potential for offense, he's worth a slot as a third outfielder or utility player.

Pat Burrell, Philadelphia Phillies

Schedule: 6 games - @ARI (3), CHC (3)

Analysis: Another year, another Pat Burrell saga. After hitting a homer and five RBI, he has gone homerless since April 6. He has still been driving in some runs. He's hitting .318, with one home run and 10 RBI with runners in scoring position. He's coming through when the bases are occupied, so that's a sign that Burrell could be very productive thus far. Six games in hitter-friendly ballparks could encourage a good week for Pat the Bat. Put him in, especially in deeper leagues.

Curtis Granderson, Detroit Tigers

Schedule: 6 games - SEA (3), @MIN (3)

Analysis: He seemed to forget to mention on his blog that he still can't resist a pitch. After knocking a grand slam in the first week, Granderson went six games without a home run or RBI. Now, he has notched three stolen bases, already almost halfway to his total of eight last year. Despite his well-known penchant for whiffs, Granderson is a good threat for runs and speed atop the Tigers lineup. His 19 runs thus far make up for his 28 strikeouts. Feel free to start him if your options deem it necessary.

Geoff Jenkins, Milwaukee Brewers

Schedule: 6 games - WAS (3), @NYM (3)

Analysis: After jumping out in the first week with three consecutive games with a home run, Jenkins tapered off a little before hitting a homer in two of his last four contests. A 4-for-5 outing on Monday with a homer and two RBI helped lead the scorching Brewers past the Cardinals. Every Beermaker is benefiting from Milwaukee's Best, and Jenkins hits in the middle of an order that includes young stud first baseman Prince Fielder and second baseman Rickie Weeks. If your roster is short on power, slide in Jenkins.

Brad Hawpe, Colorado Rockies

Schedule: 7 games - @STL (3), SF (4)

Analysis: After Hawpe had been stymied with only one RBI against lefties, he broke out against righty pitching with five RBI in two games. That's the predicament with Hawpe. You honestly take a legitimate risk in putting him in against southpaws. Luckily this week, Hawpe faces an all-righty rotation in the Midwest. Against the Giants, he will face one lefty in either Barry Zito or Noah Lowry. If at all possible, start him against St. Louis, and watch out for pitching matchups against San Francisco.

OTHERS FOR CONSIDERATION

Josh Willingham, Florida Marlins

Schedule: 7 games - LAD (4), @WAS (3)

Analysis: In Week 5, Willingham had four straight multi-RBI games along with two home runs. Willingham's main asset continues to be his catcher eligibility. He already has 23 RBI in 25 games. His main caveat has been his (ahem) shaky defense in left field, but he has shown drastic improvement in his last few games. Willingham should be in deep leagues as an eligible catcher anyway, and he could occupy a UTIL spot as well.

Ken Griffey Jr., Cincinnati Reds

Schedule: 7 games - HOU (4), @LAD (3)

Analysis: Things almost returned to normal in the fantasy world; Griffey once again missed time, this instance three out of four games due to a chest ailment. Upon his return, he promptly smashed a three-run homer. The lucky part this year in Cincinnati is that the outfield is no longer as overcrowded. Griffey is one of those aces up the sleeve; when healthy, he goes on a tear. Griffey has found his place in right field, and if healthy he should be expected to stay there and on your starting roster if needed.

Kenny Lofton, Texas Rangers

Schedule: 6 games - @NYY (3), @LAA (3)

Analysis: Yes, he's still sticking around. And against left-handers, he has been more than effective. His 11 runs and 11 stolen bases in 24 games show that the soon-to-be 40-year-old can still motor. The Angels' staff only has righties, and the Yankees don't know who will be starting for them tomorrow, let alone next week. There's not much risk putting Lofton in as a fourth outfielder or utility player, especially against the right-handed and injury-heavy rotations he will be facing.

Ryan Church, Washington Nationals

Schedule: 6 games - @MIL (3), FLA (3)

Analysis: Church has finally blessed his owners with some playing time. His 13 RBI and three stolen bases have been a nice addition from the utility spot, or a third outfield spot in deeper leagues. Week 6 could be a good time for him to get some extra stolen bases, with Brewers catcher Damian Miller and Marlins catcher Miguel Olivo on tap.

Moises Alou, New York Mets

Schedule: 6 games - @SF (3), MIL (3)

Analysis: Alou received a day off last Wednesday as he underwent an MRI on his shoulder. With Alou, it was only a matter of time until the injuries started setting in. He had started off well this year, with 11 RBI and 13 runs from the middle part of the Mets lineup. Still, his owners knew the problems with drafting him, and this might start the DL downfall. Either pick up Endy Chavez (Alou's replacement on Wednesday) this week, or find another option.

Dave Roberts, San Francisco Giants

Schedule: 7 games - NYM (3), @COL (4)

Analysis: Roberts has torn up the basepaths in San Francisco with seven stolen bases thus far. He was regarded as one of the better late-round sleepers in 2007, and is paying dividends. Throw in the four games at Coors Field this week, and Roberts is most certainly worth a start.

Chris Duncan, St. Louis Cardinals

Schedule: 6 games - COL (3), @SD (3)

Analysis: Duncan has hit one home run for every 17.8 at-bats this year, and is likely to keep up a similar pace this week against Colorado. However, against San Diego's stellar pitching staff, he might not have the same success rate. Keep him in as a UTIL, but don't expect a booming week. Take the homer(s) with the strikeouts.

Luis Gonzalez, Los Angeles Dodgers

Schedule: 7 games - @FLA (4), CIN (3)

Analysis: Gonzalez has refused to show his 39-year-old game, as he has knocked four home runs with 11 RBI and 16 runs. His batting average still hinders the rest of his numbers, but with a .371 on base percentage, he is still finding ways to help out. If you are desperate in the outfield spot, rekindle an old flame with this geriatric but effective slugger.

Gary Matthews Jr., Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

Schedule: 6 games - CLE (3), @TEX (3)

Analysis: Matthews is excelling in the predicted categories with a .306 average, 21 runs and six stolen bases. This is where he can help you. To all those dreamers who still think he can slug 19 homers again need to take notice of what he actually can do on a normal basis. This could be a good week to get some help in the speed categories: three games against Cleveland (and once again, Victor Martinez) and at the Rangers should produce at least minimal offensive numbers for him.

Aaron Rowand, Philadelphia Phillies

Schedule: 6 games - @ARI (3), CHC (3)

Analysis: Rowand continues his renaissance in the minds and hearts of fantasy leaguers. It was at this point last season that gamers swiped him off the wires with great precision. His .381, 5 HR, 14 RBI, 15 runs and two stolen bases impact every category. If you have him, keep him in. If you don't, snatch him up.

KEY PLAYERS ON DL

Jeremy Hermida, Florida Marlins - Out indefinitely

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About Tim Heaney

Tim's work has been featured by USA Today/Sports Weekly, among numerous outlets, and recognized as a finalist in the Fantasy Sports Writers Association awards. The Boston University alum, who competes in the prestigious LABR and Tout Wars, has won numerous industry leagues in both baseball and football.

He appears frequently, including every Sunday, on Sirius XM Fantasy Sports Radio, as well as every Wednesday on 1570 AM WNST in Baltimore.

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