Now that the 2012 season is over, it’s time to review how my predictions went for each position in fantasy baseball. To that end, I will review my top-10 at each position and give a brief rundown on how each of the ten performed. I’ll also list which player was a “Hit” (someone who lived up to expectations) as well as a “Miss” (the player who simply failed to impress).
Note: All of these rankings are taken from the 2012 BASEBALLGUYS DRAFT GUIDE
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2012 OUTFIELDERS Top-20
1 Ryan Braun
2 Matt Kemp
3 Carlos Gonzalez
4 Justin Upton
5 Jacoby Ellsbury
6 Andrew McCutchen
7 Matt Holliday
8 Michael Bourn
9 Curtis Granderson
10 Hunter Pence
11 B.J. Upton
12 Ginacarlo Stanton
13 Shane Victorino
14 Nelson Cruz
15 Josh Hamilton
16 Adam Jones
17 Jay Bruce
18 Shin-Soo Choo
19 Brett Gardner
20 Jayson Werth
Braun was my #1 player heading into the year. He may have been edged out by Mike Trout for the honor of the best player in fantasy baseball, but Braun was simply amazing and just as good as he was in his MVP effort of ’11.
Kemp hit .303 with 23 bombs, 69 RBIs, 74 runs scored and nine thefts in a tremendous letdown season. Still, his pace for 160 games would have led to an effort of .303-35-104-112-14. If he did that, would you have complained?
CarGo produced a third straight 20/20 effort though he also had three year lows in homers (22), RBI (85), runs (.89) and OPS (.881). All things considered though, he was still an elite fantasy performer.
J. Upton was terrible. Just ask one of his owners. Justin had only 17 homers and 67 RBIs a year after 31 and 88. But was he really as bad as you thought? Not even close despite the popular perception. Upton hit .280, two points better than his career mark, stole 18 bases (he averaged 20 the previous three years), and scored a career best 107 runs, the second highest total in the NL. So much for a terrible season.
Ellsbury appeared in 74 games, the second time in three years that he didn’t make it out onto the field for half the Red Sox games. The talent is undeniable, but his inability to stay healthy is a huge concern, as is the fact that he hit just four homers in 303 at-bats. Remember, he had 32 of his career total of 56 homers in just 660 at-bats in 2011 meaning he has 24 homers in his other 1,675 ABs.
McCutchen dominated as every talent evaluator in the game thought he could. Andrew went 30/20 and just missed out on also going 100-100 as he had 96 RBIs and 107 runs scored. Toss in a .327 batting and you have a top-5 fantasy campaign.
Holliday was supposed to struggle without Albert Pujols, remember? Uh, no. Holliday hit .295 with 27 homers, 102 RBIs and 95 runs scored for the Cards.
Bourn was pathetic at the dish hitting a mere .225 over his final 70 games, but in summation his season was an unqualified success as he hit .274 (career .272) with a career best nine homers and 57 RBIs. Toss in 96 runs (one off his career best) and 42 steals, and he had another elite fantasy season.
Granderson, somewhat surprisingly, hit 43 homers with 106 RBIs and 102 runs scored giving him 2-straight years of 40-100-100. However, he also failed to hit .250 for the third time in four years, and his maddening stolen base trend continued. Here are his steals totals since 2007: 26, 12, 20, 12, 25 and 10.
Pence hit a career worst .253 with a career-low five steals. The good? He hit 24 homers with 104 RBIs, the second number being a career best. A solid though somewhat disappointing effort.
B.J. Upton started the ball rolling late because of injury, but by the end of the season he was a mere two bombs short of his first 30/30 effort. Upton only hit .246, but this was the 5th straight 30 steal effort and a second straight 20/30 performance. He also recorded 79 runs for the 6th straight year.
Stanton flashed his unsurpassed power with 37 homers and 86 RBIs in just 123 games played. What was really surprising to see was the .290 batting average, a number that he will find it hard to replicate given his approach at the plate (143 Ks just 46 walks in those 123 games).
Victorino struggled for large portions of the year and his .255 batting average was a major disappointment as were his 5-year low in RBIs (55) and his 6-year low in runs (72). At least he stole 39 bags, a career best.
Cruz appeared in 159 games, a shocking total for a player who had never taken the field 130 times. Amazingly, his per at-bat numbers were four years worsts as he hit 24 homers with 90 RBIs on the year. Those are solid numbers, but more was expected from him if he was healthy able to play 150+ games. He also isn’t running anymore with eight steals in 2012 and 17 the past two years (he stole 37 bases in 2009-10).
Hamilton had a monstrous season batting .285 with 43 dingers, 128 RBIs and 103 runs scored. For the most part he kept himself out of trouble, and he even managed to play 148 games, a four year high. An effort like this was always possible, but he was as low as he was in my rankings because of the constant off the field concerns and his inability to stay healthy making him a sizable risk. For one year those concerns disappeared.
Jones hit 16 homers in the first 51 games before slowing down the rest of the way to end the year with 32 big flies, a career best. He also stole 16 bases and scored 103 times, more career bests, as was his .287 average (by three points). Add in 82 RBIs and you’ve got yourself one hell of a campaign.
Bruce was very good, but far from the breakout star many predicted. Still, his yearly improvement is impressive and historic.
2008: 21 homers, 52 RBIs
2009: 22 homers, 58 RBIs
2010: 25 homers, 70 RBIs
2011: 32 homers, 97 RBIs
2012: 34 homers, 99 RBIs
Choo didn’t make it all the way back to his 2009-10 heyday, but he was damn impressive (.283-16-67-88-21). His season really took off when he was inserted into the leadoff spot (.310/.389/.493 in 99 games).
Gardner’s elbow literally had him on the edge of a return like six times. In the end he hit .323 with two steals in 16 games after swiping 96 bases with 185 runs scored in 2010-11. A massive letdown.
Werth hit .300 with a .387 OBP, tremendous numbers, but he only appeared in 81 games with five homers, eight steals and 31 RBIs. Just not what his owners, or the Nationals, were hoping for.
Hit: Alex Rios (#23), Dexter Fowler (#33)
I highlighted Rios as the best option outside the top-20 at the position, and for that I drew derision from many fantasy circles. I had the last laugh though as he hit .304 with 25 homers, 91 RBIs, 93 runs scored and 23 steals. Efforts like his win fantasy championships. Fowler was another player that people shied away from, and while his effort wasn’t as good as that of Rios it was still plenty helpful (.300-13-53-72-12 in just 454 at-bats).
Miss: Josh Hamilton, Hunter Pence
Misses due to injury: Ellsbury, Gardner, Werth, Carl Crawford (#21)
By Ray Flowers