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NL Outfielders: Day Three
by Tim Polko

Today's Fantasy Rx

National League Outfielders with Positive Draft Value

Quick Key to the tables:
B = Bats.  T = Throws.  Age = Player's Age as of October 1, 2006.
Proj. = Rotohelp's projected 2006 stats and fantasy values for each player.
2006 = Each player's final 2006 stat line and fantasy values.
AB = At-bats.  H = Hits.  BA = Batting Average.  HR= Home Runs.
RBI = Runs Batted In.  SB = Stolen Bases.  R = Runs.
Pos = Position qualification based on 20 appearances or max. # of games in 2006.
4x4 = BA, HR, RBI, and SB in 12-team, $260 leagues with 23-man rosters.
5x5 = BA, HR, RBI, SB, and R in 12-team, $260 leagues with 23-man rosters.
RAR = Runs Above Replacement; aRAR = RAR adjusted to
consider a player's 2006 defensive rating in Scoresheet fantasy baseball.

We ranked players by position in order from the highest draft value in a 4x4 league to the lowest. As the majority of fantasy leagues allow you to keep anyone traded to the other league, we listed all players in the league where they began the season.

37.  Luis GonzalezARI DiamondbacksAge: 39B:L   T:R

While Gonzalez clearly wants to prove the Diamondbacks wrong for not re-signing him after seven seasons in Phoenix, Gonzo unfortunately appears poised for a complete collapse upon leaving Arizona for Los Angeles. He doesn't belong in the lineup against any left-handers yet signed a one-year deal for $7M with the Dodgers to replace J.D. Drew, which leaves him in the unenviable position of filling the lineup slot of someone with an OPS as much as two hundred points above Gonzalez's likely mark. Of course, Gonzalez still owns excellent plate discipline and possesses decent power potential as indicated by his fifty-two doubles, a total that ranked second in the league in 2006. I just unfortunately can't envision the 39-year-old managing any significant rebound after departing an environment clearly comfortable for Gonzalez in almost every way, making him an increasingly risky gamble as bidding climbs into the teens.

38.  Randy WinnSF GiantsAge: 32B:S   T:R

Signing a three-year extension for $23.25M last February seemingly robbed Winn of the motivation to build on his outstanding debut with San Francisco in 2005. However, he didn't really post bad numbers. Winn just settled below his career norms after posting a bunch of career-best marks the previous year. I see little reason he can't enjoy a solid rebound, especially if he hits near Bonds after a summer spent miscast as a leadoff man. The only real problem for Winn is that he simply isn't an asset for the Giants in right field, his destination for 2007 following the Dave Roberts acquisition. Nevertheless Winn offers plenty of upside to fantasy teams as one of the few players with a good chance of contributing $4-5 in all five primary roto categories, so consider him a bargain anywhere shy of $20.

39.  Shane VictorinoPHI PhilliesAge: 25B:S   T:R

The 2005 International League MVP easily won a job in spring training and then spent the season as one of baseball's busiest fourth outfielders, enjoying a third of the year as Aaron Rowand's injury replacement in center, serving another two months primarily as Pat Burrell's defensive replacement, and concluding the campaign by sharing right field with David Dellucci in place of the traded Bobby Abreu. Victorino returns to that lost role in 2007, only this time as the certain starter following Dellucci's departure. Current reports also suggest that he likely will both to bat second and steal at his leisure, making Victorino a potential breakout star, especially if he regains his missing plate discipline from the minors. Hitting between Jimmy Rollins and the Utley/Howard/Burrell heart-of-the-order could propel Victorino to $30 in 5x5 leagues, and I suspect he'll approach that mark in most other formats, too. Consider him a steal at anything under $20.

40.  Jeff DaVanonARI DiamondbacksAge: 32B:S   T:R

A smart GM would try Eric Byrnes as soon as possible to clear left field for a platoon of DaVanon and Scott Hairston, saving money, adding more prospects to Arizona's loaded system, and most importantly clearing Carlos Gonzalez's path to the majors. DaVanon would prosper in such an arrangement since he really qualifies as a switch-hitter more in name than fact since he appears incapable of hitting most left-handers. However, he excels against right-handers and could fix the Diamondbacks' dilemma regarding their non-existent leadoff man. The one problem with this plan is that DaVanon missed the last two months of 2006 due to ankle surgery to repair a torn tendon, and as he also needed minor shoulder operation, he likely will start the year very slowly. I still see plenty of upside here, but DaVanon really just looks like an excellent reserve pick at the moment despite his double-digit upside.

41.  Aaron RowandPHI PhilliesAge: 29B:R   T:R

Among the most aggressive fielders in the majors, Aaron Rowand, foe of shoddily-constructed outfield walls throughout the world, broke his nose and left eye socket in mid-May, costing Xavier Nady a 3-RBI double and the Phillies two weeks of Rowand. The primary return for Jim Thome, Rowand slumped right after returning from that injury, hitting just .223 in June and July and generally adding little to roto teams. While he mildly rebounded for a couple weeks in August, he then collided with Chase Utley in mid-August, fracturing his ankle and ending his season. He currently appears on the trade block despite his defensive prowess as the Phillies seek a power-hitting corner outfielder who can bump Shane Victorino to center. Yes if he remains in Philadelphia, Rowand should prosper in his second NL campaign. A $20 season appears within his grasp if he avoids further injury, though given his track record, hedge your bets by dropping out of any bidding that heads past $15.

42.  Jim EdmondsSTL CardinalsAge: 36B:L   T:L

A variety of maladies led to Edmonds finishing the season with his fewest at-bats of the decade, although he obviously remained sufficiently healthy to secure his first World Series ring by helping boost the Cardinals to their first championship since 1982. Edmonds, the Cardinals' key second banana to McGwire/Pujols since 2000, re-signed in November for a relatively reasonable two-year deal for $19M, though he really needs to avoid the DL to justify the outlay. Of course, after missing much of the second half in 2006 due to post-concussion syndrome that developed as a direct result of his aggressive style of play, I consider 450 at-bats as a likely ceiling for Edmonds this year. He also no longer possesses particularly superlative power, so although he could approach 30 HR and 100 RBI one last time if everything breaks right, I see little reason to push beyond the mid-teens given the 36-year-old's increasing statistical downside.

43.  Ken Griffey Jr.CIN RedsAge: 36B:L   T:L

Remaining on the field for more than 300 at-bats for only the second time in the last five years didn't prevent Griffey from slipping to a .252/.316/.486 line, his second-worst performance since joining the Reds. However, he only hit the DL in 2006 with an inflamed knee tendon that sidelined him for nearly a month in the spring, otherwise remaining on the roster even when a dislocated toe benched him for most of September. The broken left hand he suffered in a minor home accident two months ago just adds to his litany of injury woe since reaching Cincinnati, reinforcing a rapidly growing belief that the 37-year-old never will approach his former glory. While still a first-ballot Hall of Famer, Griffey barely merits $10-12 bids this year and only merits pushing into the teens in leagues with daily transactions.

44.  David DellucciPHI PhilliesAge: 32B:L   T:L

Foolishly allowed to enter free agency by Philadelphia after the club dealt Robinson Tejada and Jake Blalock to acquire him from the Rangers last spring, Dellucci signed a three-year deal for $11.5M with Cleveland, where he should start against all right-handers, most likely hitting 5th behind Travis Hafner and Victor Martinez. He never received the playing time he deserves on the Phillies, and although I expect him to suffer a BA hit after spending a few years in excellent hitters' parks, Dellucci should return a few dollars of profit if you can land him for less than $10. .

45.  Corey HartMIL BrewersAge: 24B:R   T:R

Posting a .320/.391/.560 performance with 4 HR, 21 RBI, 11/13 SB%, and a 12:25 BB:K in 100 AB for AAA Nashville(PCL) last spring apparently convinced the Brewers that Hart required no more seasoning. While he rarely left the bench in the first half, he emerged as a regular down the stretch following the Carlos Lee trade and Kevin Mench's subsequent failure to impress anyone in Milwaukee. Hart's .270/.310/.492 averages in 189 second-half at-bats provide a decent baseline for his 2007 production, though considering he only turns 25 next month, he still could develop into a fantasy stud if he rediscovers his speed from the minors. With the Brewers already declaring Hart the certain starting right fielder and seemingly promising no fewer than 500 at-bats for the youngster, he likely will turn a small profit even if bidding crests near $20.

46.  Ryan ChurchWAS NationalsAge: 27B:L   T:L

Never a favorite of Frank Robinson, Church shockingly failed to break camp with Washington last spring and even spent a short while down at Double-A. However, once returned to a starting job in the second half, he posted a .305/.376/.550 performance in 131 second-half at-bats that suggests he could remain quite productive if new Nats' manager Manny Acts simply deploys Church against all right-handed pitchers. While Church doesn't possess particularly impressive skills at the plate, his respectable combination of power and plate discipline provides needed offensive upside to a club fairly barren of players likely to exceed an .800 OPS. Unless Church clearly falls out of favor during spring training, he looks like a decent sleeper around $10.

47.  So TaguchiSTL CardinalsAge: 37B:R   T:R

Right now Taguchi seems set to resume his duties as the Cardinals' fourth outfielder and likely platoon partner for Jim Edmonds. Of course, Taguchi possesses little power and only belongs on fantasy rosters due to his speed. He similarly could drop from the roto radar if Preston Wilson reemerges in St. Louis this spring. Taguchi just isn't someone who offers double-digit upside under almost any circumstances, so treat him strictly as endgame filler in leagues where you really need an extra dozen steals from your fifth outfielder.

48.  Cory SullivanCOL RockiesAge: 27B:L   T:R

Few players burned us as badly in 2006 as Sullivan, who began the year on our roster in over a half-dozen leagues yet contributed very little to our teams as his hold on the starting centerfield job gradually eroded throughout the summer. Yes, we now realize that he basically echoed his 2005 numbers, albeit with a worse BA due to greater contact problems. However, he also demonstrated significantly increased power potential, so if he somehow finds regular playing time in 2007, he finally could emerge as a $20 asset. Unfortunately for Sullivan, he enters camp with little shot of even making the Rockies following the acquisitions of Willy Taveras and Steve Finley. Sullivan probably needs a trade to regain any significant fantasy value, and until he receives that change of scenery, he looks like little more than a Dollar Days' flyer.

NL Outfielder Week continues tomorrow.

Today's Fantasy Rx: A couple of rising fantasy stars should pace these outfielders in 2007 as both Shane Victorino and Corey Hart appear set to blossom into $20 players. Considering you might be able to roster both for that sum in some leagues, grabbing whomever emerges as a bargain around $15 in your league should net you both a solid third outfielder and excellent trade bait. Randy Winn also appears in a remarkably similar situation, albeit without the long-term potential that will attract much interest from rebuilding squads.

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