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NL Outfielders: Day Six
by Tim Polko

Today's Fantasy Rx

National League Outfielders without 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.

87.  Orlando PalmeiroHOU AstrosAge: 37B:L   T:L

The two-year deal Palmeiro signed last winter insures that he'll spend a fourth straight year on the Astros' bench, though he really spends most of his time as the Astros' primary pinch-hitter despite his .250/.294/.300 performance in that role last summer. He no longer even possesses the plate discipline necessary to maintain a useful BA, so although he might not hurt you as roster filler, I see no reason to risk employing him in any league.

88.  Marlon ByrdWAS NationalsAge: 29B:R   T:R

Never a good fit for Frank Robinson in Washington, Byrd slipped into the minors for the second half of 2006, posting a .271/.363/.465 performance with 7 HR, 29 RBI, and a 16:31 BB:K in 155 AB for AAA New Orleans(PCL). Signing a one-year deal in Texas gives him a much better shot to contribute given the platoon opportunities offered by the Rangers' left-handed hitting starting outfield trio. I expect Byrd to prosper, and while he won't accrue sufficient playing time to reach double-digit value, he'll return a few bucks of profit if you select him during Dollar Days.

89.  Jose GuillenWAS NationalsAge: 30B:R   T:R

Shoulder problems from 2005 necessitated surgery that fall, which hurt Guillen's power. He also injured wrist tendons at the beginning of spring training, and while he opened the season on time, he contributed little during the first eight weeks of the season. A hamstring strain sent him to the DL in late May, though he again returned quickly after missing only two weeks. He finally started hitting better in July, right before sudden elbow problems led to an unexpected Tommy John surgery for the veteran. Despite this litany of woe, Guillen landed a one-year, $5.5M deal with the Mariners as the club's new right fielder. Perhaps he'll rebound if healthy, registering numbers similar to his 2004 campaign with the Angels, but everything about this deal just screams of a Carl Everett redux to me. Even bidding $15 in the hope of a .270/25/90 season appears overly aggressive given the difficulties encountered by several recent hitters that moved to Seattle

90.  Jason EllisonSF GiantsAge: 28B:R   T:R

While Ellison broke camp with the Giants, he spent most of the second half at AAA Fresno(PCL), where he posted a stunning .406/.452/.536 performance with 1 HR, 18 RBI, and a 14:20 BB:K in 192 AB. He appears a perfect complement to Todd Linden on San Francisco's bench with Steve Finley gone as both youngsters own the skills necessary to secure more playing time. Ellison's speed alone makes him a decent roto gamble, though with Linden clearly set to receive the first shot at any open starting spots, Ellison really only qualifies as a decent endgame option despite his potential to earn double-digit fantasy value.

91.  Paul McAnultySD PadresAge: 25B:L   T:R

Please refer to our Post-2006 Prospect Review: San Diego for my comments on McAnulty.

92.  Chris RobersonPHI PhilliesAge: 27B:S   T:R

Roberson enjoyed four different stints in Philadelphia yet barely performed adequately in the minors, forget about The Show. He only managed a .292/.349/.366 performance with 1 HR, 17 RBI, 25/34 SB%, and a 23:57 BB:K in 284 AB for AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre(IL), and although that speed definitely intrigues me, he otherwise doesn't appear deserving of a big league bench job at the moment. Roberson also ranks behind Michael Bourn right now, and since even Bourn appears unlikely to break in the majors, Roberson doesn't seem a good roto target right now. Perhaps he could emerge during the season, but until he begins contributing with the Phillies, Roberson won't belong on anyone's roto roster in any save the deepest NL leagues.

93.  Mike VentoWAS NationalsAge: 28B:R   T:R

Please refer to our Post-2006 Prospect Review: Washington for my comments on Vento.

94.  George LombardWAS NationalsAge: 31B:L   T:R

Posting a .302/.392/.524 performance with 10 HR, 24 RBI, and a 23:49 BB:K in 189 AB for AAA new Orleans(PCL) earned Lombard his first shot in the majors since 2003, but all he gained from that opportunity was another NRI with the Nationals. Barring another superlative campaign in the minors, Lombard shouldn't see Washington in 2007.

95.  Chris AguilaFLO MarlinsAge: 27B:R   T:R

Aguila couldn't even stay in the majors on perhaps the most rookie-based club in baseball history as he continued to sputter at the plate. Even his .318/.369/.497 performance with 11 HR, 61 RBI, and a 26:54 BB:K in 302 AB for AAA Albuquerque(PCL) doesn't impress me given the advantages enjoyed by all Isotopes' hitters. The minor league deal he signed with Pittsburgh doesn't even give him an NRI, so don't expect Aguila to return to the majors this summer.

96.  Jack CustSD PadresAge: 27B:L   T:R

Once again Cust proved he needs a DH job as he registered a .293/.467/.549 performance with 30 HR, 77 RBI, and a 143:124 BB:K in 441 AB for AAA Portland(PCL). Yet he instead remains stuck on the Padres' 40-man roster, effectively insuring he won't receive more than a few at-bats this year. Given his defensive limitations and abundant strikeouts, both considered severe negatives by the majority of general managers, Cust won't possess any fantasy value until a DH slot opens somewhere like Toronto or Boston, likely leaving him bereft of fantasy value for the indefinite future.

97.  Dan OrtmeierSF GiantsAge: 25B:S   T:L

Please refer to our Post-2006 Prospect Review: San Francisco for my comments on Ortmeier.

98.  Reggie AbercrombieFLO MarlinsAge: 26B:R   T:R

I generally considered Abercrombie one of the most obvious tools goofs in the minors headed into last season, and although he lasted all year with the Marlins, the 18:78 BB:K he posted nicely illustrates his lack of plate discipline. He also demonstrated neither speed nor power, nearly single-handedly dooming Florida's playoff push due to Joe Girardi's insane decision to give Abercrombie a plurality of centerfield starts. While he enters camp in a similar position this spring, I at least expect far less patience from Fredi Gonzalez, so instead look for either Alex Sanchez or Eric Reed to push Abercrombie to Triple-A for the summer.

99.  Quinton McCrackenCIN RedsAge: 36B:S   T:R

Expected to serve on the Reds' bench until a sore foot limited him toward the end of spring training, McCracken barely played during his three months with Cincinnati. While he then signed a minor league with the Twins for the second half, he never escaped Rochester and still hasn't found a team for 2007. Considering McCracken turns 37 in a month and hasn't played well in more than two years, his career may be finished after twelve seasons and a .274/.337/.374 performance in 999 AB.

100.  John GallSTL CardinalsAge: 28B:R   T:R

Please refer to our Post-2006 Prospect Review: St. Louis for my comments on Gall.

101.  Michael BournPHI PhilliesAge: 23B:L   T:R

Please refer to our Post-2006 Prospect Review: Philadelphia for my comments on Bourn.

102.  Michael TuckerNYNAge: 35B:L   T:R

Unexpectedly cut from the Nationals at the end of spring training, Tucker instead spent most of the summer at AAA Norfolk(IL), where he compiled a .265/.381/.411 performance with 6 HR, 33 RBI, and a 49:45 BB:K in 275 AB. Summoned to New York for the last two months of the season, Tucker's terrible batting average in that limited action may prevent him from finding another role of any consequence in 2007. Considering he no longer possesses much power or speed and never held a particularly good batting average, don't risk rostering him even if he surfaces in the major this year.

103.  Terrmel SledgeSD PadresAge: 29B:L   T:L

The third player acquired by San Diego with Adrian Gonzalez and Chris Young in last winter's heist from Texas that only cost the Padres Adam Eaton, Akinori Otsuka, and Billy Killian, Sledge failed to match the breakout of Gonzalez and Young in his return from the hamstring surgery that cost him most of 2005. However, though stuck at AAA Portland(PCL) most of last summer, Sledge posted an impressive .311/.402/.583 performance with 24 HR, 73 RBI, and a 59:75 BB:K in 367 AB. He currently seemed slated to share both the left field and leadoff jobs with Jose Cruz, giving the Padres an intriguingly solid replacement for the departed Dave Roberts. With excellent patience and a decent power stroke, Sledge enters 2007 as a strong sleeper, fully capable of reaching double-digit roto value if he receives 400 at-bats.

104.  Larry BigbieSTL CardinalsAge: 28B:L   T:R

While the deal that sent Aaron Miles and Bigbie from Colorado for Ray King seemed a steal that season, only Miles contributed to the Cardinals' success. Bigbie missed the first month with a broken foot, barley hit during a month in St. Louis, and then headed to the DL with an umbilical hernia. Continued abdominal pain sidelined him for the year, though the minor league deal he signed with the Dodgers last week at least provides hope for a rebound this summer. Unfortunately, despite his decent skills and the potential he displayed with the Orioles, Bigbie needs to regain a regular role in the majors before he'll qualify as more than a fantasy afterthought.

105.  Victor DiazNYNAge: 24B:R   T:R

Among the most intriguing sleepers in deep AL leagues, Diaz nearly opened the year as the Mets' starting right fielder, saw little action in three weeks in the majors, and then headed to AAA Norfolk(IL), where he compiled a woeful .224/.276/.330 performance with 8 HR, 38 RBI, and a 25:99 BB:K in 379 AB over the balance of the season. However, the Shawn Green trade pushed him off the 40-man roster, which prompted New York to deal Diaz to Texas for Mike Nickeas. While he certainly struggled last summer, he really belonged in the majors after two previous solid campaigns at Norfolk. Moving to the Rangers appears an ideal situation for a career reboot, especially considering the former top prospect only turned 25 in January. Expect him to spend a few months trashing PCL pitching before returning to The Show as an injury replacement in the second half, whereupon I expect Diaz to emerge as the Rangers' long-term right fielder. Consider selecting him as an end-round reserve pick in very deep AL leagues, or at least keep Diaz in mind as a good in-season target whenever Texas promotes him.

NL Outfielder Week concludes tomorrow.

Today's Fantasy Rx: Of the nineteen outfielders listed above, only a few seem likely to reach positive fantasy value in 2007, and only Jose Guillen, Paul McAnulty, Michael Bourn, and Terrmel Sledge possess any decent chance of approaching double-digit value. Guillen also appears a bad fit in Seattle and McAnulty lacks a job with the Padres. While Bourn also will struggle to find playing time in Philadelphia, his speed makes him worth owning whenever he appears in the majors. Lastly, Sledge appeared a solid prospect only a couple years ago, so if San Diego deploys him as expected, he could reemerge as both a useful major leaguer and an excellent roto bargain.

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