Outfield Bargainsby Chris Neault
June 24, 2009
We are nearing the All-Star break, and this is typically when fantasy teams really get cranking with trade offers, retooling their lineups, and start dissecting the numbers a lot more closely. We'll take a look at four outfielders who could be a major bonus to fantasy teams for the rest of the season.
Colby Rasmus, St. Louis: He reminds me of Grady Sizemore, but with less speed. Don't think just because he only has one stolen base this season that he doesn't have the wheels. In the minors, he averaged nearly 15 steals per season, which may translate to 10-12 in MLB. I don't care who you are, if you hit behind Albert Pujols, you're going to get the best opportunities possible to produce. Rasmus has been a top prospect for a few years now, and he is finally starting to show his skills at the major league level. He could eclipse the 40-double mark this year, and while his average should dip to a more reasonable .270-ish range, it wouldn't surprise me to see him accrue 65 RBI by season's end.
Nolan Reimold, Baltimore: Formerly the No. 3 prospect in the Orioles organization, Reimold has finally earned every day playing time with the Birds. The way he has been playing, he could be the dark horse for AL ROY. The power is there, and his plate discipline has been pretty darn good. I would compare him to Conor Jackson, except with more power potential. Once some of his teammates begin to rebound from slumps (Brian Roberts, Melvin Mora), the RBI opportunities will rise. I could see him finishing the season with close to 20 HR and 70 RBI with a .280 average.
Chris Young, Arizona: You don't go from hitting 54 HR and 170 RBI combined over the previous two seasons to hitting a measly six HR in nearly 250 plate appearances this season. His walk and strikeout rates remain very similar to the past few seasons, which is encouraging, but the main difference is that his GB/FB rate is so much lower than what has been the norm for him. He could be pressing a bit, so it could be a batting mechanics issue causing him to keep popping the ball up (his HR/FB rate is down sharply). If he can figure things out, expect a rebound in the second half. He is nursing a groin injury right now, but it is unlikely that he will need to miss any great length of time, so I would try to trade for him now while you still can get good value. He may even be lingering on some free agent lists in some mixed leagues.
Jay Bruce, Cincinnati: This guy launched 21 HR as a rookie last season and has had a very rough go of it in 2009. His BABIP is currently the lowest among all qualifying players in MLB at a ghastly .199! A guy with this type of talent simply should not be hitting this badly. While a demotion doesn't seem likely, he may benefit from some time off to get his head straight. In the meantime, check and see if he is available on your free agent list and snag him for what could be a resurgence in the second half. He is way too good to keep hitting this poorly (just look at how he severely crushed minor league pitching).
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