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In 2009, the ESPN fantasy baseball rankings were found inside Matthew Berry’s boob-shaped ice cubes and were later thawed out.  These rankings were then transcribed by an intern who had nothing for breakfast but a Bloody Mary that was heavy on the Tabasco.  Anyway, let’s look at a few choice selections in the top 30 in the ESPN fantasy baseball rankings:

15. Dustin Pedroia – Two ahead of Chase Utley in their rankings.  I already put Pedroia in the overrated fantasy baseball category.  Listen to PE’s Don’t Believe the Hype as ESPN’s fossil fuels drain the rest of the fantasy baseball world of its brain matter.

20. Ryan Howard – Last year his average was .251.  This year they project him for .251.  How convenient!  ESPN’s rankings are famous for their Monday morning quarterbacking.  If Howard hits .265 this year, does anyone want to bet me ESPN projects a .265 +/- .002 for 2010?   I love how they claim he’s a two category guy THEN (caps for emphasis and for those reading from across the room) project him for 100+ Runs.   That makes him a three category guy.  Also, you can count on three fingers how many 1st basemen give you steals and those 1st basemen don’t give you anywhere near 50 HRs and 140 RBIs.

21. Ichiro Suzuki – ESPN’s projections are 104/8/53/33/.314.  Hmm… Isn’t he guilty of the same thing they’re getting down on Howard about?  Oh, wait, they do have Ichiro one slot lower than Howard….  My bad!

29./30. Manny Ramirez/Evan Longoria – ESPN says about Manny, “Manny should continue to bring the fantasy goodness,” and they project him for 92/32/107/.319/2.  ESPN says about Longoria, “Don’t be afraid of the hype.”  They project him for 98/36/113/.272/10.  With those projections for a 3rd baseman, it makes perfect sense to rank him behind a potentially unmotivated outfielder and ten slots behind Ichiro. /sarcasm

I’m going to stop here before my ulcer flares up.  The ESPN fantasy baseball rankings are your grandfather’s fantasy baseball rankings.  They are out of touch.  They try and tell you what they think their mass audience wants to hear.  They are not telling you what you need to know.

  1. Freak says:
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    I don’t mind their rankings. Makes it easier to get guys I want.

  2. I totally agree w/Pedroia and even though I am a big Red Sox fan, there is no way I’d take him even close to that high (that being said, from a Red Sox fan perspective, here’s hoping he outshines all of our pessimism).

    Here’s to hoping the managers in my league treat ESPN as gospel so I can grab either sleepers or some great options later in the draft. Last year, Thome somehow fell to round 17and I grabbed the (then little-known) Soria in round 14. :-)

  3. Ian says:
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    Have you seen where they put Carlos Quentin? On the other hand, You might not want to look.

    It’s like one guy projects the numbers, another guy writes up a blurb about said player, and another assigns a rank to this player, but these 3 guys never communicate with each other!

  4. Gary says:
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    I’m pretty sure ESPN’s fantasy baseball analysts are all former top-40 radio djs or something ridiculous like that.

  5. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @Ian: I saw it, but I had to cut myself off at the top 30 otherwise this post would’ve been about 2500 words of hate.

  6. Frank Rizzo says:
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    espn is down on Alexei Ramirez. I’m really hoping to get him in my yahoo league as either my starting SS or 2b if I don’t get Hanley, Jose, Utley, or Kinsler. Alexei is a backup plan, my dream would be getting a Jose/Utley 1st and 2nd round but the chances of that are slim.

    I will probably reach for him some if needed because I believe in the guy, however, how much of a reach is too much? I’m in a 10 team league. Will he fall to the 4th round?

  7. Steve says:
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    @Grey: A-Ram (42), A-Gonz (57) and The Flyin’ Hawaiian (83) are other ‘interesting’ prognostications over there.

  8. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @Frank Rizzo: If you don’t get Hanley, Reyes, Utley, or Kinsler, I’d absolutely reach for Alexei, but I think round 5 is plenty early enough, unless you know for a fact that you have leaguemates that are excited about him, then I guess I could see a round 4 reach. That is a bit early for him though.

  9. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @Steve: Yeah, there’s a lot of them, fo sho. Quentin was the other one that I found to be egregious.

  10. Steve says:
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    @Grey: Oh – the Quentin ranking goes without saying.

    On the other side of the scale, they have Felix ranked pretty high…

  11. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @Steve: I don’t remember where they have him, but I liked him as well. He’s battling for a team that could give him 9 Wins or 20 Wins, as Lincecum showed last year. F-Her is still very young and he’s going to be worthwhile to own. He has shown himself to be a bit fragile, but my projections seem about right at 13-9/3.85/1.33/190.

  12. Steve says:
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    @Grey: They have him at 59. You’ve got him at 98. He seems more of an 8th-rounder than a 4th-5th rounder (assuming 12 teams), or am I being to hard on him?

  13. Christopher says:
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    Looking at the espen (that’s a stupid name for a network…) rankings makes me believe fantasy baseball has an owner version of the teenage pop-music lover: wants all the packaging, none of the substance…

  14. Frank Rizzo says:
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    @Grey: My leaguemates are exactly who I’m afraid of for Alexei. I’m thinking round 4 also and wouldn’t feel too bad about the reach if I don’t get Hanley or Reyes. I could live with waiting on 2b and taking Cano later but SS is so thin it’s freaky.

  15. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @Steve: No, you’re not being too hard. They’re being too generous. He’s about an 8th rounder.

    @Christopher: Yup.

    @Frank Rizzo: Go to the 4th for him. It’s not too far of a reach.

  16. Steve says:
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    @Grey: Do you see him as a No.1 starter in the event that the usual suspects up to and including Billingsley have gone?

  17. Fman99 says:
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    I saw one of my league mates printing both the CBS and ESPN rankings.

    Haw haw.

  18. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @Steve: He has #1 starter stuff, but I don’t see him as a #1 starter. He needs to up his Ks a little and come out on the better side of 15 Wins at least once before I crown him a number one. He’s close though. I’d put him at a Number 1.5 starter.

  19. Christopher says:
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    Playing off of Rizzo’s SS woes, with the same assumption I don’t get Utley/Han-Ram/Reyes, I’ll grab as much power as I can early, shoot for Al-Ram for SS, and wait on Ian Stewart or maybe whoever starts for SF for 2B…

  20. Christopher says:
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    @ Fman99: shoot your league mates the link to fox sports, too!!!! Don’t forget to play up the “Expert” analysis at ESPN as Grey pointed out…”Hey, those Howard projections are spot on…”

  21. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @Christopher: re: Fox Sports In actuality, I’ve never looked at Fox’s fantasy coverage once. Though I’ve heard from Rudy it’s pretty atrocious.

  22. IowaCubs

    IowaCubs says:
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    I did a mock draft at ESPN the other day and had to quit half way through in disgust at their rankings. Oh wellz, as long as their fantasy hosting interface stays the same, I’ll use them.

  23. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @IowaCubs: Brings up a good point… Everyone should make sure to rearrange their rankings before their draft. It would suck to be in a real draft and not be able to find Carlos Quentin because they shoved him down in the 70s or something.

  24. Tony says:
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    They’re good and bad. Yahoo does the same. This is why you need to make your own pre-ranks. Holliday is like 29th in yahoo, votto is at like 108 or something? I can see Holliday there (well really i can’t but i’ll at least say it COULD happen) but the fact Big Papi is ahead of him? No way. And votto that deep, smells delicous to me. Thats saying he can’t perform better than a 9th rounder? Erroneus on all counts!!!

  25. cockyphoenix says:
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    Holy wow those rankings were bad. I could only do about thirty seconds before I started to lose my mind. I’m not going back there no sir

  26. James says:
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    @Tony: I reworked all my draft targets after I saw Votto at 108. There is no way I can let someone in my league get him at that position. He is the best value pick if you are in a league that sticks to the Yahoo! rankings when drafting.

  27. James says:
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    The bottom line is you need to lock it up.

  28. Garrett says:
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    As much as I don’t like them, you still need to familiarize yourself with the ESPN rankings, since all your leaguemates will have ‘em.. I know most peeps in my league will have them, so helps to know where you don’t have to reach etc based on where ppl are going to go in your draft.

  29. James says:
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    @Garrett: Great point!

  30. Russ says:
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    I’m really sorry to hijack these comments, but I couldn’t find anywhere to contact the people who run RotoFeed. I have gotten this same post about ManRam 15 times (not exaggerating, I started counted after it duped) over the last two days. I’ve also seen a few others duped. It is me or RotoFeed?

    This is the offending post: http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/rotofeed/~3/545252614/mlb-rumors-dodgers-getting

  31. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @Russ: No idea what Roto Feed is. If it’s in our blogroll, my bad. They prolly asked nicely.

  32. Russ says:
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    @Grey: actually, you’re part of them…or something. I’m not sure where I heard of it (maybe searching for “fantasy baseball” in Google Reader) but RotoFeed is the only baseball feed I’m subscribed to and it’s how I get your posts. It’s like a conglomeration of fantasy baseball feeds all in one.

  33. @Tony: In Yahoo!’s defense, I’m pretty sure their rankings are determined by some sort of algorithm, rather than experts. Votto’s 69 runs last year are probably hurting his O-Rank*.

    *Some weird rank in Yahoo! that sounds dirty.

  34. @Russ: Yeah, I know the guy from RotoFeed. Nice enough guy. Not sure the issue on the Man-Ram post though. You can just get our RSS feed directly if you want at: razzball.com/feed/

    Count me as a naysayer on Alexei Ramirez. He’s projected for .280 and 17 HRs. Lucky to get 10 steals given his 13 for 22 performance last year. I’m not convinced he’ll be of significantly greater value than low round 2Bs like Mark Ellis, Mark DeRosa, and Freddy Sanchez. I’d rather have him than those guys but I’d use 4th/5th round for power (something around 95/25/95 or more), a strong starter, or a top closer (IF you are in a normal league where people draft closers at this time – should wait until 6th/7th round if you’re in a ‘expert’ league).

  35. Fman99 says:
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    I get the RSS feed direct from this site to my Google Reader set up, it works great.

    Then I come here to lay down the verbal smizzack, and make dick jokes.

  36. Russ says:
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    Ya, I think I’m going to drop RotoFeed and just subscribe to all the sites I really like.

  37. Jeremy P. says:
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    was just reading a few of Matthew Berry’s “draft kit” articles, I waded through the 60% of each article where he’s boasting about being a ladies’ man and telling us how much he’d like to sleep with certain hollywood actresses just to finally get to the baseball stuff

    and then he bases his predictions on shit like “I have a feeling” or “this guy gives me warm & fuzzies”

    That’s it, I done – I’m never reading another Matthew Berry article again. I’d say that the douchebag could go get fucked, but that’s what he wants to happen. Screw you, ESPN.

    Am I the only one who thinks Berry is that dude from The Princess Bride? – http://keitholbermannisevil.files.wordpress.com/2007/03/wallace-shawn-vizzini.jpg

  38. YY says:
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    Ay bro thanks for da heads up on those players. I always felt that ESPN’s rankings were kinda screwed because they rank players on name recognition alone. So are you basically saying those 5 players should be avoided or get them at the right price?

  39. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @YY: Yeah, at he right price these guys are fine. Actually, two of the 5 names above I like more than ESPN.

  40. Billy says:
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    thanks for the great advice, this is my second yr doing FBB, sadly last yr i followed CBS/ESPN’s rankings… lets just say i got rapped at the draft, and wondering why i kept missing out on players… What round would you start drafting pitchers?

  41. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @Billy: Between Rounds 6 and 8 I look at starters. I try not to look at closers until Round 10.

  42. @Freak: Totally agree. I like ESPN’s fantasy system for running a league, and the rankings make my drafts so much sweeter.
    @Jeremy P.: I think that if you can get through all the chaff, Matthew Berry has some decent insight. Of course, I value the information I gather from Razzball much more, but that’s why I don’t ever tell my league mates about this site, and hype ESPN/CBS/Yahoo to them as good sources for draft prep.
    I don’t really have the time or patience to pre-rank on both ESPN and Yahoo. Instead, I create my own cheatsheet and let the site rankings throw off the other owners at the draft. Many non-sleepers fall to me just because of the faulty ranking systems used on the main sites.

  43. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @ap: Ok, and?

  44. Mark says:
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    Matthew Berry’s Love/Hate came out and Ryan Howard was the cover boy.

    The reason: the categories you speak of. Now correct me if I’m wrong, but if you get Carlos Beltran and Nate McLouth aren’t you getting the same numbers essentially from drafting Howard and Jacoby Ellsbury? I think it’s stupid just to go by the number of categories and not include the margin a player wins a category by.

    *I don’t work for ESPN, but if hired by ESPN I will retract my statement and happily go along with the .002 batting average differential quota for 2010 and do everything I can to shut down opposition to this system.

    **I don’t work for ESPN, so you don’t need to be too worried.

    ***Yet…

  45. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @Mark: Haven’t read it, but I assume it’s terrific.*

    *Sarcasm.

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