AP Photo/Paul Beaty
Coming into the year most fantasy experts assumed it would be a deep field for Outfielders. Many proven veterans were still performing at elite levels while younger outfielders were emerging as full time players. This has held true throughout the 1st half of the 2008 MLB season, but some of the top end talents have not put up the expected numbers. Meanwhile some unexpected studs have came out of no where to lead outfielders.
Top 5 Surprise Stud Outfielders
5. Ryan Ludwick (St. Louis Cardinals) - .333 avg, .413 obp, 13 home runs, 32 runs, 39 RBI. Batting behind Albert Pujols really means something, clearly. We have seen other Cardinals players batting around Pujols have career paces for a time (like Rick Ankiel, Chris Duncan). Can Ludwick keep it up? He had a solid season last year in St Louis with 300 quality at bats with 14 home runs and a .267 average. As the #13 player in the Yahoo! fantasy game you will want to ride this as long as it lasts. He seems to have the talent and while he won't bat .360 like he has the past month, you can expect a solid outfielder who looks to be a solid bet for 30 home runs and close to a .300 average.
4. Ryan Church (New York Mets) - .309 avg, .376 obp, 9 home runs, 34 runs, 32 RBI. Ryan Church is another guy who is the beneficiary of a quality lineup around him. Prior to this season with the Washington Nationals he had shown flashes of power, but this season he has shown he can hit for average as well. People were talking about that trade with the Nationals / Mets as a heist for the Nationals, but Lastings Milledge has not produced even close to Church so far. That said you will probably want to expect a dip in Church's stats from here on out but that still is a career best for him.
3. Nate McLouth (Pittsburgh Pirates) - .311 avg, .397 obp, 12 home runs, 43 runs, 39 RBI, 5 SB. This guy has cooled down a bit otherwise he might be #1 here. McLouth's first month was wild as he was #1 overall at times, but has since cooled down with his average but he has been consistent providing solo home runs still. Another guy who's stats will begin to go down probably, as his average is already slipping. But since Pittsburgh plays him so much and he started off so well, he will still compile quality all around roto statistics by the time the year is finished.
2. Carlos Quentin (Chicago White Sox) - .296 avg, .402 obp, 14 home runs, 35 runs, 47 RBI, 4 SB. Here is a player who just needed a fresh start after not being able to stay in the lineup for the Diamondbacks earlier in his career. In Chicago he is in a masher's lineup so he is protected in the middle of the order and has been driving in a ton of runs, like the guy below. Not only that but he has had clutch home runs, defeating John Lackey and the Angels all by himself the other day. His .402 obp is not a fluke as he has had a great eye for a long time and at this point 30 home runs 110 RBI looks like it might be a light projection.
1. Josh Hamilton (Texas Rangers) - .324 avg, .369 obp, 13 home runs, 35 runs, 58 RBI. Josh Hamilton is absolutely tearing up the American League since he joined the Texas Rangers. He has never walked much as evidenced by his obp but he has so much raw talent swinging the bat that it does not matter. Like Quentin, Hamilton has won a few games himself off of clutch home runs. The 58 RBI speak for itself, leading an upstart Texas Rangers club with guys in front of him like Kinsler and Michael Young getting on base. It is just a matter of staying healthy for Hamilton who has suffered from multiple injuries throughout his career.
These guys were all off the map for the OF's in early April drafts. Some of these players were probably picked up off the waiver wire in your leagues, especially Ludwick.