Top 10 Outfielders Sleepers
It was the tale of two seasons for Fowler in 2011. Well, three if you count the demotion back to Triple-A in between. In his first 57 games, he hit .238 and was only 2 of 8 in stolen base attempts. After being called back up, Fowler hit .288 over his final 68 games while successfully swiping 10 bases in 13 attempts. He's since been projected to start in center field and return to the leadoff spot for 2012. Fowler spent the offseason working out with teammates Troy Tulowitzki and Jason Giambi to improve his conditioning. The switch-hitting Fowler has appeared in more than 400 games in his career but he'll only be 26 years old at the start of the season. When you are looking to fill out the speed columns, Fowler is a name to keep in mind as everything sets up for a career year.
John Mayberry Jr.
In 54 games following the All-Star break, Mayberry hit .299 with 10 home runs and 30 RBI. Despite those impressive numbers he's projected to split time in a platoon with Laynce Nix manning left field as Mayberry struggles against right-handed pitching. Poor defense should keep top-prospect Domonic Brown at bay, at least for the time being. While Mayberry has 20-20 potential, he'll need to prove he can handle righties in order to get enough at bats and challenge for those figures. At 28 years old, this could prove to a make-or-break season for Mayberry's future with the team. The Phils struck gold with another late-bloomer in Jayson Werth a few years ago, could Mayberry be next?
The trade of outfielder Hunter Pence to the Philadelphia Phillies triggered the Houston Astros to call up Martinez, who was hitting .338 with 13 home runs and 72 RBIs over 88 games in Triple-A. Martinez hit in the No. 3 hole for 44 of his 53 games racking up a total of six home runs and 35 RBI while hitting at a .274 clip. In an effort to generate runs, speedsters Jason Bourgeois and Jordan Schafer are likely to be aggressively running the basepaths in front of Martinez to provide him with RBI opportunities. While the Astros lineup is far from intimidating Martinez commands some attention occupying a key spot. Given the position you'll be able to land him at, Martinez should provide some good returns in the power department.
On August 24, Tabata was hitting .281 with a .362 OBP. Over his final 11 games he would only collect four hits and four walks in 44 plate appearances dropping his batting average by 15 points and OBP by 13. In his first 20 games of April, Tabata went nine for 10 on stolen base attempts but just seven of 13 the rest of the way. That reduction in production on the bases can be attributed to a quadriceps injury he suffered in June. While he'll likely fall a bit short of double-digit homers, a healthy Tabata, batting second in a modest Pirates lineup, will provide dividends when it comes to speed.
The move from the power-sapping Target Field to the hitter-friendly Chase Field should prove highly beneficial for Kubel if he can avoid two things. Due to limitations in the outfield, Kubel played a lot of DH with the Minnesota Twins and also struggled against southpaw pitching. As a lifetime .239 hitter against left-handed offerings, he'll likely be in a spilt platoon with Gerardo Parra. If Kubel can play the field at a serviceable level he should find enough at bats to yield solid power numbers for a batter that can be grabbed outside of the top 60 at the position.
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