Byline: Josh Bousquet
COLUMN: Fantasy Sports
The Angels' Vladimir Guerrero is still the best fantasy outfielder. This may not be the most popular statement, but at least now I can't be accused of plagiarism.
New Cub Alfonso Soriano has become the new dandy of this most storied of positions, and yes, he did put together a 40-40 season last year (46 homers, 41 steals). His numbers have always loomed larger than they were, though, because he played second base, the least storied of positions.
Combine that with the increased spotlight placed upon him as the prize of this offseason's free agent class, an apparent better lineup in Chicago, the advantages of hitting in Wrigley Field, and he looks more attractive than Angelina Jolie after 12 beers.
Guerrero, however, batted 52 points higher than Soriano (.329 vs. .277) and drove in 21 more runs (116 RBIs to 95). For some reason, though, experts have impaled Vlad's reputation, as I've seen him listed as low as fifth on preseason outfield lists.
This may be due to some concern over his knees, but Guerrero says he feels great, and manager Mike Scioscia plans to give him some time at DH anyway, so the chances of him breaking down appear slim.
Not to say that Soriano is a bad pick, he should go in the first round of any standard draft league. Removed from the contract-year scenario, though, I'd expect a slight dropoff from his 2006 season, which is like Angelina sober, still not so bad.
This is just a position is full of good picks - the Mets' Carlos Beltran, Tampa Bay's Carl Crawford and Boston's Manny Ramirez are also all legitimate first-round draft choices.
The position's strength also means that one could be served well by ignoring outfielders through the early rounds of a draft. In a 12-team league with three outfield slots, the last three OFs chosen according to my position list would be the Mets' Moises Alou (.301-22-74-2 last year), the Twins' Michael Cuddyer (.284-24-109-6) and the Red Sox's J.D. Drew (.283-20-100-2).
Final lines like those are pleasing to the eye. They're also available throughout my list of 60. And beyond - I picked 60 for its round-number qualities only, there are at least 15 other players who had their names considered for the final cut.
(R.I.P. Ken Griffey Jr., you had a good run).
It's not only the depth of the position that makes it difficult to judge, but the variety of players involved. Alou, Cuddyer and Drew have numbers that help you across a few categories, and...