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News-Herald Assistant Sports Editor Kevin Kleps doesn’t just write headlines and stories. He also checks on his fantasy sports teams. A lot. See if the moves and news from the world of sports affect your fantasy teams.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Fantasy baseball rankings: OF

The best thing about Grady Sizemore from a fantasy perspective: This is a rare case in which it's OK to be a homer.

Cleveland sports fans tend to overrate their best athletes in fantasy -- see Edwards, Braylon -- and Sizemore, the face of the Tribe, will be one of the most desired commodities in many area leagues on draft day.

He's a legitimate 40-40 candidate who does everything in five-category leagues except hit for average.

That negative -- Sizemore has batted only .277 and .268 the last two seasons -- prevents him from being a top-five overall pick in my book. But I do think he's the second-best outfielder in fantasy, and the sixth-best player overall.

I wouldn't reach for him in the top five, especially in points leagues in which you're penalized for strikeouts (Sizemore has averaged 143 K's the last four seasons). But I would feel very good if I was able to acquire him at No. 6, after Albert Pujols, Hanley Ramirez, Jose Reyes, David Wright and Ryan Braun are off the board.

Sizemore's averages the last four years: 116 runs, 41 doubles, eight triples, 27 homers, 81 RBI, 76 extra-base hits and 29 steals.

He batted .289 and .290 in 2005 and 2006, respectively, and it's reasonable to expect him to hit in the .280 range with 30-plus homers, 30-plus steals and 90 RBI.

On to the top outfielders, with a position-by-position recap of all the batters coming later in the week ...

Note: Each player is listed at the position he is projected to play this season, according to the depth charts at … Statistics listed are from the 2008 season.


Rank, player, team: R-HR-RBI-SB-Avg.

1. Ryan Braun, Brewers: 92-37-106-14-.285
2. Grady Sizemore, INDIANS: 101-33-90-38-.268
3. Alfonso Soriano, Cubs: 76-29-75-19-.280
4. Manny Ramirez, Dodgers: 102-37-121-3-.331
5. Josh Hamilton, Rangers: 98-32-130-9-.304
6. Carlos Lee, Astros: 61-28-100-4-.314
7. Matt Holliday, A’s: 107-25-88-28-.321
8. Carlos Beltran, Mets: 116-27-112-25-.284
9. Nick Markakis, Orioles: 106-20-87-10-.306
10. Matt Kemp, Dodgers: 93-18-76-35-.290
11. Jason Bay, Red Sox: 111-31-101-10-.286
12. Carlos Quentin, White Sox: 96-36-100-7-.288
13. Curtis Granderson, Tigers: 112-22-66-12-.280
14. Alex Rios, Blue Jays: 91-15-79-32-.291
15. Magglio Ordonez, Tigers: 72-21-103-1-.317
16. B.J. Upton, Rays: 85-9-67-44-.273
17. Carl Crawford, Rays: 69-8-57-25-.273
18. Vladimir Guerrero, Angels: 85-27-91-5-.303
19. Nate McLouth, Pirates: 113-26-94-23-.276
20. Ichiro Suzuki, Mariners: 103-6-42-43-.310
21. Bobby Abreu, Angels: 100-20-100-22-.296
22. Corey Hart, Brewers: 76-20-91-23-.268
23. Carlos Guillen, Tigers: 68-10-54-9-.289
24. Hunter Pence, Astros: 78-25-83-11-.269
25. Jermaine Dye, White Sox: 96-34-96-3-.292
26. Jacoby Ellsbury, Red Sox: 98-9-47-50-.280
27. Shane Victorino, Phillies: 102-14-58-36-.293
28. Raul Ibanez, Phillies: 85-23-110-2-.293
29. Torii Hunter, Angels: 85-21-78-19-.278
30. Johnny Damon, Yankees: 95-17-71-29-.303
31. Adam Dunn, Nationals: 79-40-100-1-.236
32. Vernon Wells, Blue Jays: 63-20-78-4-.300
33. Andre Ethier, Dodgers: 90-20-77-6-.305
34. Jay Bruce, Reds: 63-21-52-4-.254
35. Chris Young, Diamondbacks: 85-22-85-14-.248
36. Ryan Ludwick, Cardinals: 104-37-113-4-.299
37. Brad Hawpe, Rockies: 69-25-85-2-.283
38. Xavier Nady, Yankees: 76-25-97-2-.305
39. Justin Upton, Diamondbacks: 52-15-42-1-.250
40. Milton Bradley, Cubs: 78-22-77-5-.321
41. Jason Werth, Phillies: 73-24-67-20-.273
42. Rick Ankiel, Cardinals: 65-25-71-2-.264
43. Conor Jackson, Diamondbacks: 87-12-75-10-.300
44. Delmon Young, Twins: 80-10-69-14-.290
45. Lastings Milledge, Nationals: 65-14-61-24-.268
46. Jose Guillen, Royals: 66-20-97-2-.264
47. Carlos Gomez, Twins: 79-7-59-33-.258
48. Denard Span, Twins: 70-6-47-18-.294
49. Aaron Rowand, Giants: 57-13-70-2-.271
50. Adam Jones, Orioles: 61-9-57-10-.270
51. Coco Crisp, Royals: 55-7-41-20-.283
52. J.D. Drew, Red Sox: 79-19-64-4-.280
53. Elijah Dukes, Nationals: 48-13-44-13-.264
54. David DeJesus, Royals: 70-12-73-11-.307
55. Randy Winn, Giants: 84-10-64-25-.306
56. Nelson Cruz, Rangers: 19-7-26-3-.330
57. Mike Cameron, Brewers: 69-25-70-17-.243
58. Willy Taveras, Reds: 64-1-26-68-.251
59. Garret Anderson, Braves: 66-15-84-7-.293
60. Fred Lewis, Giants: 81-12-63-2-.306


As always, the position is deep, but it’s not as loaded at the top as in past years. ... Braun will provide power and hit for average, but his stolen bases dropped from 29 in 2007 to 14 last season. ... Soriano can do it all, but is an injury risk. ... The player with the lowest upside of the top four is also the most consistent: the enigmatic Ramirez, who batted .396 with 17 homers and 53 RBI in only 187 at-bats after he was traded to the Dodgers last year. ... Holliday leaves the friendly confines of Coors Field, where he accounted for 15 of his 25 homers and 59 of his 88 RBI last season. ... Don’t overrate Crawford and Ichiro because they steal bases. Crawford is at least a power threat (he had a combined 29 homers and 157 RBI in 2006 and 2007). ... Another player whose value has dropped is Guerrero, whose 91 RBI last season was his lowest total since 2003. ... A value pick as a second outfielder: Abreu, who has driven in at least 100 runs six straight years and has a combined 67 steals in his last three seasons. ... Quentin is underrated on some sites after breaking his wrist late last season. He needed just 480 at-bats to compile 36 homers and 100 RBI. ... The Tigers’ Guillen makes the move to the outfield, and is a versatile option who should be eligible at first and third base. ... Dunn, who can match Ryan Howard K-for-K, has 886 strikeouts in his last five seasons, but he’s also had at least 40 homers and 92 RBI each year in that span. ... Before you draft the Twins’ Delmon Young, make sure he’s a regular. He’s currently listed as Minnesota’s fourth outfielder and could play behind the promising Denard Span in left. ... Two names to remember: The Braves’ Jeff Francoeur -- who had a combined 48 homers and 208 RBI in 2006 and 2007, but was awful last year (.239, 11 homers, 71 RBI) -- and the Indians’ Shin-Soo Choo. The latter batted .309 with 14 homers and 66 RBI in 317 at-bats last season, but didn’t crack the top 60 because of concerns about his elbow injury.


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