The Four Most Puzzling Outfielders in Fantasy Baseball: 2010 edition

Every year, because of the depth of the position, many outfielders go surprisingly un-acquired despite putting up stellar numbers. This is most because people don’t trust their production over the established guys they have on their roster, but objectively looking at numbers, these are four guys who should be owned, and all the experts might say “This guy’s worth a flier,” “someone should totally pick him up,” “AJIofdjsonisubv mindless drivel njishuifdsanofas sleepers osdfonskosvf Billy Butler hofsuifusyb Age-27 season,” and things of this nature. No one picks these guys up though, because frankly, we have no idea what to do with them.

Jonny Gomes – Ladies and Gentlemen, the 22nd-ranked player over the past month, with a line of .383-16 R-5 HR-21 RBI and a steal, could be yours in all likelihood. Not only that, but he plays in the Great American Ballpark, which would be awesome even if it weren’t a phenomenal hitters park. Thankfully, it is also a phenomenal hitter’s park. Gomes is hitting smack-dab in the middle of baseball’s most underrated lineup, behind Brandon Phillips, Joey Votto, the ever-impressive Scott Rolen (11 HR) on the year, and in front of Jay Bruce and the still-bound-to-break-out Drew Stubbs. Tell me that isn’t a good place to be for a guy hitting .300? Not only that, but despite Gomes’ struggles in recent years, he was once quite fantasy relevant, and is still just 29 years old. In other words, perfect place, perfect lineup, solid player. Why then, is he only 23 percent-owned? He was in a timeshare, but he’s played in 9 of Cincy’s last 10 games. The real hesitancy likely comes from the fact that every year, Gomes does this. He explodes briefly. Why should this year be any different? I don’t know, but it seems a shame that the explosion happens for no one.

Angel Pagan – Literally the exact opposite of Jonny-on-the-spot, Angel, who shall heretofore be known to me as The Oxymoron (pronounce the “g” in both of his names, and it officially makes no sense), is in a terrible ballpark in the bunghole of Citi Field (I was going to say black hole, but bunghole’s more fun), in a terrible Mets offense (I don’t care if you have David Wright and Jose Reyes, the Mets will never, ever have a good offense. Or a no-hitter, for that matter) and he has no history of fantasy relevance. Unfortunately, this year he’s made everyone reconsider, hitting at a .330 clip with two homers and six steals in the past month. He probably won’t even reach 17 homers this year, but he can run. I don’t know what else to say. He’s playing well, but I try to avoid owning Mets whenever possible. It’s too painful. Just ask the Villain.

Ladies and Gentlemen, The Oxymoron

Cody Ross – Ah, the never-ending mystery of Cody Ross. Somehow, this little white dude (admittedly, I wrote that without actually knowing his real size. After looking it up? 5-10, 193, or smaller than I am by a substantial margin. Can Congress pass a law that no man named Cody be larger than me? It’s already a law of nature, I just think it should be in writing too) hits home runs by the truckload. He only has four this year, and is doing things other than just swing like Ruben Sierra (I really wanted to link that to a video, but couldn’t find one. If you watched Sierra play, you’d know what I’m talking about), hitting .306 with 26 RBI and 24 runs, which is promising considering he actually does swing like Ruben Sierra, as evidenced by his back-to-back 20-homer years getting far from full-time run. Incorporating an all-around game to his lumberjack ways makes him way more enticing than The Oxymoron, but his lack of history of actually having an all-around game makes me more hesitant to add Ross than I would be to add Gomes.

Fred Lewis – I was a proud owner of Fred Lewis during his fantasy pinnacle, the summer of 2008. In 2009, the fact that he almost never walked started to cause problems for him. Problems like being totally incapable of producing anything more than bupkus. However, this year, leading off for the Bleu Jays (sorry, I gotta incorporate a little French in here), he’s been pretty stellar, 18 R, 3 HR, 4 steals and an average that’s been right around .300. I’m not buying because he still swings at everything, and let’s face it, he’s neither Vlad Guerrero nor Yogi Berra. Heck, he’s not even Pablo Sandoval. I doubt he keeps this up, just like I doubt the Blue Jays set the major league record for homers as a team in a season, which they’re on pace to do.

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