The other day we went over the top 20 third basemen for 2009 fantasy baseball, finishing up the infield for our 2009 fantasy baseball rankings. Today, we turn our attention to the top 20 outfielders. As mentioned the other day, the top twenty outfielders will need to go to top 40 because there’s so many of them. If you want, check out our 2009 Fantasy Baseball Player Rater. Or a list of all the players with multiple position eligibility. This top 20 for 2009 list will be broken up into tiers, as the other top twenty lists have been. Anyway, here’s the top 20 outfielders for 2009 fantasy baseball:
1. Grady Sizemore – See the top 10 for 2009 fantasy baseball post for Grady Sizemore’s 2009 projections.
2. Ryan Braun – See the top 10 for 2009 fantasy baseball post for Ryan Braun’s 2009 projections.
3. Carlos Beltran – See the top 20 for 2009 fantasy baseball post for Carlos Beltran’s 2009 projections.
4. Carlos Lee – See the top 20 for 2009 fantasy baseball post for Carlos Lee’s 2009 projections.
5. Matt Holliday – See the top 20 for 2009 fantasy baseball post for Matt Holliday’s 2009 projections.
6. Josh Hamilton – See the top 20 for 2009 fantasy baseball post for Josh Hamilton’s 2009 projections.
7. Alfonso Soriano – I came thisclose to putting Soriano in the top twenty overall. I notice there’s a lot of, “What have you done for me lately?” with fantasy baseball rankings. Hamilton’s a top ten player now, Manny’s a top twenty player now, Jessica Shaw says Carlos Lee is so five minutes ago, etc. My general feelings on this, “What have you done for me lately?” mentality will have to wait for another post, but let me say this, Soriano just missed going 30/20 in 2008. That’s a solid year, in what was an off year. Soriano seems to be getting a bit more injury prone with age and he may be a Latin 32, so that kept him out of the top 20, but he didn’t miss by much. 2009 Projections: 110/32/85/.275/15
8. Carlos Quentin – This is the 3rd tier of outfielders. This tier goes from Quentin to Ichiro. I call this tier, “The last guys I’d want to be calling my first outfielder.” In 2010, you’ll be looking at rankings and Carlos Quentin will be higher than he is now, because CQ is a riser. (CQ is also a God-awful Coppola-offspring movie. Could someone give me a running tally of how many dreadful movies Coppola’s nepotism has made us sit through? I loved Rushmore, but Jason Schwartzman sucks donkey balls.) 2009 Projections: 105/35/110/.275/7
9. B.J. Upton – I’m not over ranking Upton just because I watched him hit some home runs in the playoffs. Let’s be real, I’m looking at people who can actually outproduce where they’re being drafted and Upton is one that can shoot to the 1st round in 2010. That’s right; I’m not, um, down on B.J. 2009 Projections: 95/20/80/.280/35
10. Carl Crawford – Even though it feels like Crawford has been around forever, he’s only going to be 27 for the better part of 2009 (turning 28 in August. Oh, that reminds me, Outliers, the new Malcolm Gladwell book is solid. I’m reminded because in Outliers Gladwell talks about how a majority of Major League Baseball players are born from August to October because of the cutoff date for Little League baseball. I usually don’t recommend books because, frankly, you people probably don’t give a flying eff in the ear what books I’m reading.). Crawford’s legs are still capable of 50 steals. His power may never go to the next level, but 15 home runs is doable. So put 2008 out of your mind, you’re not getting it back or that twelve dollars you spent on your “super” haircut. 2009 Projections: 85/15/80/.300/45
11. Matt Kemp – I not only bought into the Matt Kemp hype, I rolled it up in decorative sugar and began to sell it at a local bake sale. You want someone in the fourth round in 2009 that could be a first or second rounder in 2010? Matt Kemp’s your man, man. He’s the future, kids. (Speaking of future, I accidentally wrote 2099 the other day instead of 2009 and I started thinking how someone should cover Prince’s 1999 song in 2099. I think it would do well with Generation X2. Also, I Googled to see if anyone had come up with this idea yet and no one had. So, future boy that’s reading this in 2099 and who decided they were going to cover 1999, this is my idea and I want you to make note of it in your 2099 liner notes. Or I will haunt you.) 2009 Projections: 95/24/80/.295/30
12. Ichiro Suzuki – I’m not drafting Ichiro because he’s always overrated and I don’t believe in drafting outfielders this early who won’t get to double digits in home runs. See Victorino for a lower budget Suzuki. 2009 Projections: 110/7/50/.315/35
13. Alex Rios – This is a new tier. This tier goes from Rios to the end of the list and picks up again on the top 40 outfielders list. I call this tier, “I want these guys on my team, but they’re not a 1st outfielder.” Alexis Rios, potential 30/30 hitter, disappointed me so badly in 2008 that he had to transform into Alex Rios, “Just Take 20/20 And Be Happy” hitter. I’m fine with 20/20. I really am. Don’t I seem fine? Okay, moving on. 2009 Projections: 85/25/90/.295/20
14. Nick Markakis – I have love for Markakis. Remember I was the one who coined the phrase, “I am Sparkakis,” which is sweeping a 7 person section of the eastern tip of Calvert County, Maryland. His walks went up in 2008, which a solid sign that he’s becoming a better hitter and the Orioles are a terrible lineup that rewards people for not pitching to Markakis. His RBIs should bounce back a bit in 2009, but his power doesn’t seem like it’s going in the right direction, which is to say up. At least not as high as I want it. 2009 Projections: 95/25/100/.310/10
15. Shane Victorino – Hello, and a big hearfelt welcome to those of you who just came from reading Ichiro’s 2009 Projections. Now, try and see the difference in Victorino and Ichiro. Go ahead, I’ll wait. Some average in Ichiro’s favor and some power in Victorino’s favor. Maybe I’ve gone completely cracked for Victorino, but if you can get Rollins-type numbers in the outfielder it’s worth something to ya, isn’t it? Okay, maybe I just heart Victorino. 2009 Projections: 100/15/60/.285/35
16. Jacoby Ellsbury - I feel like Jacoby Ellsbury might be a healthier, but riskier Victorino. re: your thoughts — Yes, it is all about Victorino. 2009 Projections: 110/10/60/.285/40
17. Jason Bay - This guy killed me in 2007. Then he ended up returning to past glory in 2008 and making me look bad again because I said he couldn’t do it. At this point, I’m going to assume whatever I say about Bay will come true in its exact inverse. So Bay’s going 10/30 and will bat .082. 2009 Projections: 100/32/110/.280/10
18. Nate McLouth - McLouth’s minor league numbers look like McCrap, but he’s found some power in the majors and it doesn’t seem like it’s going away. He’s also not going to turn into a 40/40 hitter. If you heard an “ouch” last year, that was McLouth bumping his head on his ceiling. 2009 Projections: 95/22/90/.270/22
19. Curtis Granderson – Here’s a guy I didn’t like at all going into 2008 and ended up proving me right. I think he returns more value in 2009, which means he’ll be a worthwhile 2nd outfielder, then he’ll be overrated going into 2010. Do you see a pattern? 2009 Projections: 115/22/75/.275/17
20. Manny Ramirez – Overpaid free agents for $100 (million), Alex. The answer is, “To make a point.” “What is the reason Manny was placed 20th?” Manny went from an average draft pick of 42nd overall in 2008 to 20th overall in 2009. Not to get all Spanish on you, but, “¿Porque? ¿Manny juega en el fountain del chicos o Manny juega por dinero? ¡Que rhetorico!” 2009 Projections: 85/30/90/.300