Fantasy Baseball – BREAKOUT Outfielders
Here’s a list of Outfielders who could break out in 2009.
Jay Bruce – Bruce showcased some power with 21 HRs in 108 games, which translates to 31 in a full season, which coincidentally is the number he hit last year between the Reds and in AAA. His 2007 numbers project to 162 games as he rose through the ranks from Single A to Double A to Triple A. Does that mean I believe he’ll hit 31 HRs next year? No. It hink he may hit a few more. He had 15 HRs in 64 games after the All-Star Break. At that pace, he’d hit 38 in a full season. I don’t think he’s quite up to that task, but 33 HRs isn’t out of the question, especially in that park. I think he’ll improve his average, which was just .254 last year. He hit .334 in AAA so .270 isn’t out of the question. I expect him to produce 80 Runs and RBIs as well. He’ll need to hit Lefties much better. He hit .190 against them wiht 3 HRs and 9 RBI in 137 At Bats, compared to .286, 18, and 43 in 276 ABs against Righties.
Nelson Cruz - Nelson raked last year hitting .330 with 19 Runs, 7 HRs, and 26 RBI in 31 games. This after hitting .342 with 37 HRs, and 99 RBI in 103 AAA games. He has a history of killing AAA pitching (.328 since 2006) and then struggling in the bigs (.231 in 2006 & 2007). That changed last year when he finally put it together. For the first time he’ll start in the Majors. In a full year he should hit .280 with 75+ Runs, 25+ HRs, and 80+ RBI.
Justin Upton - Many thought last year would be his breakout year. I think he takes steps this year. Aside from his stint in A+ and AA ball in 2007 when he combined to hit .319, he hasn’t really delivered on any level. That said, he has the tools to hit .270 with 70 R, 8 Triples, 20 HRs, and 70 RBI.
Denard Span - Span was groomed to replace Torii Hunter, but missed out on his chance when Carlos Gomez was acquired in the Johan Santana trade with the Mets. Some feel he had a better Spring than Gomez, but the team wanted to have a piece of that trade in the lineup on Opening Day. Span made the most of his opportunity when he was called up. He hit .294 with 70 Runs, 47 RBI, and 18 SBs in 93 games. That projects to 122 R, 82 RBI, and 31 SBs. I don’t think he’ll score that many Runs, but he easily could hit .280 with 100 R, 30 Doubles, 15 HRs, 80 RBI, and 30 SBs.
Adam Jones - Jones made a solid debut with the Orioles after coming over in the Erik Bedard trade, hitting .270 with 61 Runs, 7 Triples, 9 HRs, 57 RBI, and 10 SBs in 132 games. In 2007 he tore up AAA pitching for Tacoma of the Pacific League hitting .314 with 25 HRs and 84 RBI in 101 games. His numbers held up pretty well with Baltimore. He’s a young kid, just 23, and should continue to progress this year hitting .280 with 80 Runs, 15 HRs, 70 RBI, and 15 SBs.
Shin-Soo Choo – South Korea’s Shin-Soo Choo had a mini-breakout last year hitting .309 with 68 Runs, 28 Doubles, 14 HRs, and 66 RBI in 94 games for the Indians. Those numbers project to 117 Runs, 48 Doubles, 24 HRs, and 114 RBI in a full season. While I don’t expect him to reach those lofty numbers, I could see him bat .300 with 90 Runs, 40 Doubles, 20 HRs, and 90 RBI.
Elijah Dukes – You know the M.O. on Dukes. Plenty of talent and plenty of issues. The move to Washington seemed to be a good one for Dukes both on and off the field. On it he scored 48 Runs with 13 HRs, 44 RBI, and 13 SBs in 81 games, which projects to 96 R, 26 HR, 88 RBI, and 26 SBs. I don’t think he’ll quite reach those numbers, but I can see 80 R, 20 HRs, 75 RBI, and 20 SBs if he stays healthy both physically and mentally.
Cameron Maybin – Though his taste in the bigs last year (.500 with 9 Runs, 16 Hits, 4 SBs in 8 games) was much briefer than his 2007 taste (.143, 8 R, 7 H, 5 SBs in 24 games) it was far more successful. He has swiped 73 bases in 299 minor league games. He very well could hit leadoff for the Marlins, which could put his Run total near 100 with 25-30 SBs if he stays healthy and doesn’t need more seasoning in AAA. He’ll turn 22 in April.
Chris Dickerson – Dickerson made an impressive debut with the Reds last year hitting .304 with 20 Runs, 31 Hits, 9 Doubles, 2 Triples, 6 HRs, 15 RBI, and 5 SBs in 31 games. His slugging percentage was an impressive .608. Before you start handing him the Rookie of the Year, his high slugging percentate in the Minors was .479. That came last year though so it’s encouraging. I think where he’ll help you is in the Runs and Stolen Bases departments. He has 135 SBs in 622 Minor League games. If he gets a full season in he could score 80 Runs and swipe 25 bases. I’d expect him to hit about 25 Doubles and 15 HRs bringing that Slugging Percentage below .500.