Outfielder rankings

1. Alfonso Soriano, Cubs

Let me get this straight. The Tribune Co. can dish out $136 million to Soriano, but a certain sports producer/blogger can't get a raise so he can stop living off $1 Totino's frozen pizzas? No one said life was fair I guess. Anyway, there's nothing Soriano can't do. In '06, he became the first player in history with at least 40 homers, 40 doubles and 40 steals. And he was playing at RFK Stadium. Soriano's had at least 35 homers and 30 steals in four of the past five seasons. The best fantasy player in the world not named Albert Pujols.


2. Carl Crawford, Devil Rays

His home run totals and batting average have increased every year he's been in the league. At 25-years-old, there's no reason that trend can't continue. Crawford led the majors with 58 stolen bases in '06, while hitting .305 with 18 homers and 77 RBIs. He's averaged over 54 stolen bases over the past four seasons and look for him to eclipse 20 bombs in '07.


3. Vladimir Guerrero, Angels

His three-year averages: .327, 34 HRs, 116 RBIs. Guerrero also stole 15 bases last season. He gives you a better average and better power numbers than Crawford, but the Devil Rays' young star gets the edge because of speed.

4. Carlos Beltran, Mets

He won't hit for average (.275 last season), but Beltran's power came back in a serious way as he slammed 41 bombs in his second season with the Mets (after hitting just 16 in '06). Beltran joined Soriano as the only players in the majors with at least 40 homers and at least 15 stolen bases. Hitting in the stacked New York lineup, he also scored a career-high 127 runs.

5. Manny Ramirez, Red Sox

If 'Manny being Manny' means hitting .310 with 40 homers and 120 RBIs, I'm OK with it. He's hit at least 35 homers in eight of his past nine seasons and has been a consistent fantasy star for 12 years. The only downside? In '06, Manny had fewer than 500 at-bats (because of injury) for the first time since 2002. He turns 35 in May.

6. Grady Sizemore, Indians

In just his second full season, the 24-year-old led the majors with 92 extra-base hits, including a league-leading 53 doubles. Oh, and he led the AL with 134 runs scored, hit .290 and stole 22 bases.


7. Matt Holliday, Rockies

How much of his success is because Holliday hits in Coors Field? Depends on who you ask. But more importantly, who cares? He broke out in his third season, hitting .326 with 34 homers and 114 RBIs. Holliday also had 45 doubles, scored 119 runs and stole 10 bases.

8. Jason Bay, Pirates

He's scored over 100 runs and driven in over 100 in consecutive seasons. Bay also set a career-high with 35 bombs in '06 and stole 11 bases.

9. Carlos Lee, Astros

He signed a fat six-year, $100 million contract with the Astros in the offseason. If Lee can steal 19 bases (his total in '06), I'm convinced every major league player should be able to steal at least that many. Lee has hit at least 30 homers in four straight seasons, and his new home won't have a serious impact on his numbers.


10. Ichiro Suzuki, Mariners

Batting average, steals and runs. That's what Ichiro gets you year in and year out. In '06, he hit .322 with 45 steals and 110 runs. He's in a contract year, which normally means something, but after the money dished out this past offseason, let's be honest. He could hit .198 and break both of his legs – a team will still pay him $90 million over six years.

11. Andruw Jones, Braves

He's hit at least 34 homers in six of the last seven years, and those numbers have taken a jump in the past two seasons. Jones hit 41 bombs in '06 after hitting a career-high 51 in '05. Jones had 129 RBIs last season, his best total ever.

12. Bobby Abreu, Yankees

He hit .330 after being traded to New York last season. Abreu's had at least 100 RBIs and 30 steals in three straight seasons. However, his power took a hit last year when Abreu hit just 15 homers, the lowest total of his career.


13. Vernon Wells, Blue Jays

He signed a seven-year, $126 million contract with Toronto in the offseason after batting .303 with 32 homers and 106 RBIs in '06. Wells also had a career-high 17 stolen bases last season and has exceeded 600 at-bats in four of the last five seasons.

14. Jermaine Dye, White Sox

He had a career year in '06, hitting .315 and setting highs with 44 homers and 120 RBIs. Why isn't Dye ranked higher? He's hit over 30 bombs just two other times in his career and didn't eclipse 100 RBIs from 2002-2005. Matching last year's numbers will be a difficult task.

15. Johnny Damon, Yankees

He failed to hit at least .300 for the first time in three seasons, but Damon made up for it by hitting a career-high 24 home runs. He also had 25 steals, his highest total since 2003. Atop the Yankees lineup, Damon is a lock to score at least 100 runs for the 10th straight season.


16. Juan Pierre, Dodgers

He got a five-year, $45 million deal with Los Angeles after one season with the Cubs. Pierre was very good last year, hitting .292 and stealing 58 bases. He hasn't missed a game in four seasons.

17. Hideki Matsui, Yankees

He played in only 51 games last season because of a broken wrist, but he didn't miss a game the previous three seasons. Matsui should hit around .300 with 25 homers and over 100 RBIs.

18. Adam Dunn, Reds

He'll kill you with average (.234 in '06), but there are few better sources of power (40 or more homers in three straight seasons). Dunn's value largely depends on your league's scoring. He had the lowest average of any player with at least 500 at-bats and led the league in strikeouts with an insane 194. However, Dunn is in his prime so it's fair to expect 40 homers and over 100 RBIs.


19. Torii Hunter, Twins

After a slow start in '06, Hunter rebounded with a career-best 31 homers to go along with 98 RBIs and 12 stolen bases. Keep in mind he's playing for a big contract. 

20. Gary Sheffield, Tigers

He played in just 39 games last season with the Yankees because of injury and now finds himself in Detroit. Sheffield had at least 34 homers and 120 RBIs from 2003-2005. A .290 average with 30 bombs and 100 RBIs is not unrealistic -- that's assuming the 38-year-old stays healthy.

And the rest:

21. Chone Figgins, Angels -- 114 SBs over last two seasons


22. Jeff Francoeur, Braves -- 29 homers, 103 RBIs in first full season

23. Corey Patterson, Orioles -- stole career-high 45 bases in '06

24. Alex Rios, Blue Jays -- 17 HRs, 15 SBs in 128 games last year

25. Delmon Young, Devil Rays -- talent outstanding for 21-year-old

26. Michael Cuddyer -- career-highs of 24 homers and 109 RBIs in '06

27. Magglio Ordonez, Tigers -- .298 with 24 HRs and 104 RBIs last season


28. Rocco Baldelli, Devil Rays -- .302 with 16 homers in 92 games after returning from injury last season

29. Raul Ibanez, Mariners -- 33 HRs, 123 RBIs last season

30. Barry Bonds, Giants -- needs 22 HRs to break Hank Aaron's record

30a. J.D Drew, Red Sox -- health always a concern, but managed 20 HRs and 100 RBIs last season

And the best of the rest (in no particular order):

Mike Cameron, Padres-- 22 HRs, 25 SBs in '06


Dave Roberts, Giants -- 49 SBs, .293 avg. in '06

Willie Taveras, Rockies -- 67 SBs over last two seasons

Brad  Hawpe, Rockies -- 22 homers, 84 RBIs in '06

Nick Markakis, Orioles -- 14 homers post All-Star break in rookie season

Pat Burrell, Phillies -- averaging 30 homers and 106 RBIs over past two seasons

Ken Griffey Jr. -- 62 homers over past two seasons


Scott Podsednik -- 40 or more steals in four straight seasons

Coco Crisp, Red Sox -- 22 stolen bases in 105 games with Boston

Austin Kearns, Nationals -- 24 HRs, 86 RBIs in '06

Josh Willingham, Marlins -- 26 HRs, 74 RBIs in '06

Ryan Freel, Reds -- at least 36 SBs in three straight seasons

Craig Monroe, Tigers -- 28 HRs, 92 RBIs in '06


Jacque Jones, Cubs -- 23 or more homers in three straight seasons

Gary Matthews Jr., Angels -- .313 with 19 homers last season