Fantasy Baseball Centerfielder Rankings
We are ranking our top corner outfielders Friday, but now it’s time for the top centerfielders. We broke it down this way because of the coming onslaught of young talented centerfielders. This year could be the rookie campaign for some of the top prospects in the game, many of whom roam center field. Centerfielders are already amongst some of the top performers in fantasy and there is no reason to believe that this youth movement will not further strengthen an already solid position.
1. Grady Sizemore
2. Carlos Beltran
3. Matt Kemp
4. Jacoby Ellsbury
5. Curtis Granderson
6. Shane Victorino
7. Nate McLouth
8. Torii Hunter (Angels)
9. Vernon Wells (Blue Jays)
10. Rick Ankiel (Cardinals)
11. Carlos Gomez (Twins)
12. Coco Crisp (Royals)
13. Willy Tavares (Reds)
14. Chris Young (D’backs)
15. Cameron Maybin (Marlins)
16. Lastings Milledge (Nats)
17. Mike Cameron (Brewers)
18. Colby Rasmus (Cardinals)
19. Adam Jones (Orioles)
20. Aaron Rowand (Giants)
Grady Sizemore (Indians) and Carlos Beltran (Mets) are already elite fantasy performers, though I actually think Sizemore can still get even better. This season is when I expect Matt Kemp (Dodgers) and Jacoby Ellsbury (Red Sox) to take huge strides and move closer to elite fantasy status. Kemp has all the tools and really just needs time to polish. Ellsbury just needs to relax and use his solid tools to steal himself into Jose Reyes like strata.
Solid centerfielders abound with Adam Jones (O’rioles), Aaron Rowand (Giants), and Willy Tavares (Reds) all potential late round bargains. Jones is the only one of the three to really have any upside, but the other two are still very solid. I fully expect Tavares to thrive in that young talent heavy Reds lineup. He is a very solid sleeper to me, and somebody that can be looked at to steal a ton and score a lot of runs. If he could manage to somehow post even a .330 OBP he could have a monster year in Cincy.
I already mentioned the youth movement in center, and here come the names: Cameron Maybin (Marlins), Colby Rasmus (Cardinals), Jordan Shafer (Braves), Andrew McCutchen (Pirates), and Dexter Fowler (Rockies).
Let’s start at the top with Maybin. Maybin is a true five-tool guy who has been bagged on for not yet blowing away Major League competition at the age of 21. Maybin needs to strike out less, but he does draw walks and his speed will buy him some hits. He has a chance to be truly special if he continues to develop power, which he should, and cuts down on the strikeouts.
Colby Rasmus is another guy who is just a solid all-around player. Rasmus does not have the ceiling of Maybin, but he is the safer bet of the two from a more polished standpoint. He is a very good hitter, with some power, some speed, and great defense. Rasmus has been compared to Jim Edmonds, and if he can live up to that fantasy owners will be very happy.
Jordan Shafer (Braves) and Andrew McCutchen (Pirates) are two guys I lump together. They are not necessarily the same player or prospect. I do not like McCutchen as much as most and think he will be at best an average regular with some speed. On the other hand Shafer I do like, but I see him as an average regular too. I just believe more in Shafer being a solid regular over a longer period of time.
Dexter Fowler (Rockies) is a personal favorite of mine and a guy who has a chance to be up pretty early in Colorado. Fowler has a chance to be a five-tool player, but on the worst side should be a game changing speed/defense centerfielder. In Colorado he should flourish as a well above average fantasy performer across the board.
In a position with so much youth it is hard to find a ton of guys going down, but I will mention a couple I just do not love. Mike Cameron (Brewers) still has some pop and some speed, but he fails to make contact too often. When you add to Cameron’s struggles with strikeouts another year on his legs he is not a very solid bet to improve or perhaps even reach his stolen base total from last season (17).
The only other player is less a faller than just a guy I do not believe in a whole lot. Michael Bourn (Astros). Bourn has amazing speed, but cannot get to first. Unless he greatly improves his plate discipline, approach, and bunting he is never going to be an average regular in the big leagues. At this point it would take a great deal of work to turn him into even a Tom Goodwin type outfielder for fantasy purposes.
By: Brian Chmielewski
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