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2011 Projection Review: Outfielders

Oct 31, 2011, 6:30 PM EDT

Matt Kemp Getty Images

What follows is a review of some of my 2011 projections for Rotoworld.com. I’m highlighting my preseason top five for each position and some other notables.

Catchers
First basemen
Second basemen
Third basemen
Shortstops

Outfielders

Preseason Top 10

Carlos Gonzalez – Rockies – $37 – #1
Projection: .314/.366/.561, 31 HR, 112 R, 103 RBI, 23 SB in 602 AB
2011 stats: .295/.363/.526, 26 HR, 92 R, 92 RBI, 20 SB in 481 AB

Gonzalez’s average was down 40 points from his outstanding 2010 season, but if not for the injuries, he would have been right there with the other elite fantasy outfielders. His stats prorated over 580 at-bats: 31 homers, 111 runs, 111 RBI and 24 steals.

Ryan Braun – Brewers – $35 – #2
Projection: .310/.376/.552, 33 HR, 109 R, 107 RBI, 16 SB in 616 AB
2011 stats: .332/.397/.597, 33 HR, 109 R, 111 RBI, 33 SB in 563 AB

Here’s a prediction: Braun gets 10 times as many intentional walks next year. He finished with just two while hitting ahead of Prince Fielder this season.

Carl Crawford – Red Sox – $33 – #3
Projection: .309/.360/.474, 16 HR, 108 R, 82 RBI, 38 SB in 593 AB
2011 stats: .255/.289/.405, 11 HR, 65 R, 56 RBI, 18 SB in 506 AB

Crawford spent the entire season standing too away from the plate and then flailing away at pitches just off the outside corner. He had a 104/23 K/BB ratio in 506 at-bats for Boston. That’s exactly as many strikeouts and exactly half as many walks as he had in 600 at-bats the year before.

Matt Kemp – Dodgers – $32 – #4
Projection: .290/.349/.512, 31 HR, 96 R, 99 RBI, 27 SB in 607 AB
2011 stats: .324/.399/.586, 39 HR, 115 R, 126 RBI, 40 SB in 602 AB

From .249 to .324. Also huge from a fantasy standpoint, Kemp went from 19-for-34 stealing bases to 40-for-51. Kemp had 602 official at-bats in both 2010 and 2011, but he had 45 more hits and 21 additional walks this year.

Matt Holliday – Cardinals – $30 – #5
Projection: .311/.402/.529, 27 HR, 96 R, 116 RBI, 10 SB in 573 AB
2011 stats: .296/.388/.525, 22 HR, 83 R, 75 RBI, 2 SB in 446 AB

The disappointing OBPs at the top of the Cardinals’ lineup took a toll on Holliday’s RBI numbers. Not only did Cards leadoff hitters get on base at a poor .310 clip, but Albert Pujols came in at .366 instead of his usual .430 or so (and even that is a bit misleading, since home runs made up a bigger part of his OBP than ever before).

Jacoby Ellsbury – Red Sox – $28 – #6
Projection: .294/.351/.418, 11 HR, 96 R, 56 RBI, 51 SB in 574 AB
2011 stats: .321/.376/.552, 32 HR, 119 R, 105 RBI, 39 SB in 660 AB

Ellsbury was even better than Crawford was bad. Despite hitting first all season (well, except for a handful of games batting ninth), he finished fourth among outfielders in RBI.

Nelson Cruz – Rangers – $28 – #7
Projection: .286/.352/.525, 31 HR, 85 R, 102 RBI, 20 SB in 545 AB
2011 stats: .263/.312/.509, 29 HR, 64 R, 87 RBI, 9 SB in 475 AB

That’s more the kind of season I projected Cruz to have in 2010, when he shocked me by batting .318. Throwing in the postseason for fun, Cruz finished with 37 homers and 103 RBI in 537 at-bats.

Shin-Soo Choo – Indians – $27 – #8
Projection: .293/.390/.490, 23 HR, 98 R, 97 RBI, 20 SB in 569 AB
2011 stats: .259/.344/.390, 8 HR, 37 R, 36 RBI, 12 SB in 313 AB

A lost year for the two-time 20 HR/20 SB outfielder. I imagine he’ll rebound next year and that could lead to the best run and RBI numbers of his career now that Cleveland’s lineup is looking stronger.

Andrew McCutchen – Pirates – $27 – #9
Projection: .293/.372/.472, 18 HR, 92 R, 76 RBI, 34 SB in 563 AB
2011 stats: .259/.364/.456, 23 HR, 87 R, 89 RBI, 23 SB in 572 AB

McCutchen fanned 30 times in 246 at-bats in the second half of 2010, 62 times in 327 at-bats in the first half of 2011 and then 64 times in 245 at-bats in the second half of 2011. I don’t believe that he’ll keep trending in that direction, but it’s worth watching. He can’t be penciled in as a perennial All-Star just yet.

Josh Hamilton – Rangers – $26 – #10
Projection: .307/.374/.557, 30 HR, 91 R, 100 RBI, 7 SB in 521 AB
2011 stats: .298/.346/.536, 25 HR, 80 R, 94 RBI, 8 SB in 487 AB

Others

Jay Bruce – Reds – $20 – #25
Projection: .271/.350/.505, 31 HR, 83 R, 92 RBI, 7 SB in 549 AB
2011 stats: .256/.341/.474, 32 HR, 84 R, 97 RBI, 8 SB in 585 AB

Throw out his huge May and Bruce hit .236 with 20 homers and 64 RBI the remaining five months of the season.

Alex Gordon – Royals – $8 – #66
Projection: .254/.346/.434, 19 HR, 66 R, 65 RBI, 11 SB in 507 AB
2011 stats: .303/.376/.502, 23 HR, 101 R, 87 RBI, 17 SB in 611 AB

I missed pretty big on all three Kansas City outfielders. I hadn’t written off Gordon, but given the Royals’ past handling of him, I kept the projection pretty modest. That said, if I had projected a breakout, it would have been something more like .270-25-90. The .300 average was a big surprise.

Curtis Granderson – Yankees – $23 – #17
Projection: .265/.343/.485, 29 HR, 97 R, 80 RBI, 19 SB in 559 AB
2011 stats: .262/.364/.552, 41 HR, 136 R, 119 RBI, 25 SB in 583 AB

I’m not sure I’ve ever had a projection quite like this, where I’m close on average and at-bats and yet so far away on runs scored and RBI. Of course, the extra 12 homers had something to do with that. Still, even so, 136 runs and 119 RBI were just remarkable totals. Granderson led the majors in runs scored by 15 and the AL in RBI.

Jason Heyward – Braves – $23 – #14
Projection: .287/.395/.519, 27 HR, 87 R, 91 RBI, 14 SB in 540 AB
2011 stats: .227/.319/.389, 14 HR, 50 R, 42 RBI, 9 SB in 396 AB

I’m still a believer, though next year’s projection is going to be a tough call. I’ll probably drop the average to .270 or so but call for 25 homers.

Adam Jones – Orioles – $16 – #39
Projection: .279/.330/.455, 22 HR, 77 R, 80 RBI, 11 SB in 573 AB
2011 stats: .280/.319/.466, 25 HR, 68 R, 83 RBI, 12 SB in 567 AB

Mike Morse – Nationals – $8 – #62
Projection: .273/.332/.441, 19 HR, 66 R, 75 RBI, 2 SB in 531 AB
2011 stats: .303/.360/.550, 31 HR, 73 R, 95 RBI, 2 SB in 522 AB

Hunter Pence – Astros/Phillies – $24 – #12
Projection: .292/.350/.503, 28 HR, 90 R, 87 RBI, 14 SB in 596 AB
2011 stats: .314/.370/.502, 22 HR, 84 R, 97 RBI, 8 SB in 606 AB

Alex Rios – White Sox – $23 – #15
Projection: .282/.335/.462, 22 HR, 78 R, 83 RBI, 26 SB in 571 AB
2011 stats: .227/.265/.348, 13 HR, 64 R, 44 RBI, 11 SB in 537 AB

Mike Stanton – Marlins – $19 – #30
Projection: .251/.326/.516, 37 HR, 85 R, 98 RBI, 5 SB in 570 AB
2011 stats: .262/.356/.537, 34 HR, 79 R, 87 RBI, 5 SB in 516 AB

Stanton didn’t lead the NL in homers in his first full season as I thought he might, but he wasn’t all that far away. He’ll rate as the favorite for 2012 unless Pujols lands in Wrigley Field.

Ichiro Suzuki – Mariners – $24 – #13
Projection: .316/.362/.406, 8 HR, 94 R, 45 RBI, 36 SB in 658 AB
2011 stats: .272/.310/.335, 5 HR, 80 R, 47 RBI, 40 SB in 677 AB

If he maintained that .272 average, it would have taken Ichiro 736 at-bats to get to 200 hits for the 11th season in a row.

B.J. Upton – Rays – $23 – #16
Projection: .266/.349/.459, 21 HR, 79 R, 74 RBI, 36 SB in 538 AB
2011 stats: .243/.331/.429, 23 HR, 82 R, 81 RBI, 36 SB in 560 AB

Upton had a very good year for a guy with a .243 average, but this makes three straight seasons with an average right in that range. I’d still like to think he can take a step forward, but maybe it’s time for me to stop projecting him to hit .270.

Justin Upton – Diamondbacks – $25 – #11
Projection: .281/.362/.524, 29 HR, 84 R, 91 RBI, 20 SB in 540 AB
2011 stats: .289/.369/.529, 31 HR, 105 R, 88 RBI, 21 SB in 592 AB

If not Stanton, then Upton is a realistic candidate to lead the NL in homers. He hit 16 n 244 at-bats after the All-Star break this year, and it was just his age-23 season.

Vernon Wells – Angels – $15 – #40
Projection: .270/.324/.464, 23 HR, 75 R, 90 RBI, 10 SB in 563 AB
2011 stats: .218/.248/.412, 25 HR, 60 R, 66 RBI, 9 SB in 505 AB

I projected Wells’ OPS to fall from .847 to .788. It hardly seemed overly optimistic at the time.

Jayson Werth – Nationals – $21 – #24
Projection: .265/.356/.471, 25 HR, 95 R, 84 RBI, 17 SB in 552 AB
2011 stats: .232/.330/.389, 20 HR, 69 R, 58 RBI, 19 SB in 561 AB

I projected Werth’s OPS to fall from .921 to .827. It hardly seemed overly optimistic at the time.

  1. halladaysbiceps - Oct 31, 2011 at 7:01 PM

    Matthew,

    Jayson Werth – Nationals – $21 – #24
    Projection: .265/.356/.471, 25 HR, 95 R, 84 RBI, 17 SB in 552 AB
    2011 stats: .232/.330/.389, 20 HR, 69 R, 58 RBI, 19 SB in 561 AB

    Besides his BA and slugging percentage drops, he somewhat redeemed himself, considering the horrific first 3+ months he had. He would be my early pick for 2012 Comeback Player of the Year, if I were a betting man. His numbers will improve as the Nationals improve their lineup.

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