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The other day we went over the top 20 third basemen for 2010 fantasy baseball, finishing up the infield for our 2010 fantasy baseball rankings.  Today, we turn our bejeweled eyeglasses to the top 20 outfielders for 2010 fantasy baseball.  The top twenty outfielders will need to go to a top 40 then a top 60 then a top 80.  What I found overall from ranking the outfielders is that speed’s back like the go-go 80s when half the league was on coke.  So I ranked power outfielders ahead of ones whose value came from speed.  More on that in the post.  As always, these top 20 outfielders are broken up into tiers with my projections.  Anyway, here’s the top 20 outfielders for 2010 fantasy baseball:

1. Ryan Braun – See the top 10 for 2010 fantasy baseball for Ryan Braun’s 2010 projections.

2. Matt Kemp – See the top 10 for 2010 fantasy baseball for Matt Kemp’s 2010 projections.

3. Matt Holliday – This is a new tier.  This tier goes from here to Ellsbury.  I call this tier, “Still number one outfielders.”  See the top 20 for 2010 fantasy baseball for Matt Holliday’s 2010 projections.

4. Grady Sizemore – See the top 20 for 2010 fantasy baseball for Grady Sizemore’s 2010 projections.

5.  Carl Crawford – See the top 20 for 2010 fantasy baseball post for Carl Crawford’s 2010 projections.

6. Jacoby Ellsbury – As mentioned before on this blog, speed guys are a lot like new cars.  The minute you drive a speed guy off the lot, he loses a lot of value.  Don’t believe me, try to trade Ellsbury for a guy of similar value.  A guy who can easily go 10/60 needs to be in the top of the outfield rankings, but I tend to look for speed from SAGNOF middle infielders (Andrus, Everth Cabrera, etc) or later round SAGNOF outfielders (Pierre, Borbon, etc).  Is it nice to have an Ellsbury-type and not have to worry about steals later?  Sure, but if something happens to Ellsbury and your entire team is built to not worry about steals, you may have to worry.  2010 Projections:  105/10/65/.300/60

7. Justin Upton - This is a new tier.  This tier goes from here to Bay.  I call this tier, “Who said the outfield is deep?”  Above, there’s four power threats and two speed threats, now a guy that went 26/20.  Wow.  Don’t get me wrong, I love Justin Upton, but this is the top of the outfield?  Where did the Carlos Lees, Mannys, Sorianos and Berkmans go?  As mentioned earlier in the preseason, you could’ve found 27 players who contributed 20 steals, but only eleven outfielders that had 30 homers.  Obviously testing for steroids is working better than testing for Red Bull.  re: Upton; His fly balls fell and his homers surged.  Not a great recipe for success.  I wouldn’t be surprised to see him in a holding pattern in 2010 rather than a huge step forward.  But his holding pattern is still better than most players’ peak and the high ranking is also for his tremendous upside.  2010 Projections:  80/27/95/.290/20

8. Curtis Granderson – Don’t blame me for this ranking; blame the outfield.  Where else am I supposed to rank a guy who can steal 20 bags and hit 30 homers?  I know his splits; I know the so-called psychological toll playing for the Yanks takes; I also know he can pull 30 homers over the short porch without much effort.  As I said when Grandy was traded, the average last year should’ve been higher.  He’s not going to win a batting title, but .275 is doable.  2010 Projections:  110/30/80/.270/20

9. Jayson Werth – It feels like people don’t trust Werth, but he’s been caught stealing 4 times in 44 attempts in the last two years and his power doesn’t look fluky.  From May to September, he hit at least 6 homers every month so it’s not like his numbers were inflated with an insane month or two.  2010 Projections:  85/30/100/.270/18

10. B.J. Upton – He’s definitely shown he can’t be relied on for 20 homers, but you can count on him for 40 steals and 10 homers.  The low average can only partially be written off as bad luck; he also swung at more balls outside the strike zone.  I think they’re tied together.  He was unlucky, started pressing and things got progressively worse.  At least that’s my missing bang theory.  2010 Projections:  90/14/65/.275/40

11. Ichiro Suzuki – Here’s my thought on Ichiro.  Yes, he hits .330+ consistently, but your fantasy baseball team only needs around .280 to be in contention.  You should get .280 with a few .260 hitters, a few .280 hitters and a few .300 hitters.  So Ichiro’s unnecessary average gorging.  2010 Projections:  100/10/55/.330/25

12. Jason Bay – He nearly ended up in the next tier.  What held him out was his ability to steal.  Just don’t trust him like I should considering his year in, year out numbers.  I have this feeling that he will hit 25 homers and steal 5 bags with a .265 average.  My fears are probably unrealistic.  Like my fear of electric eels.  (<–Yes, I’m on Twitter, but I don’t check it much, so, yeah, do what you do.)  2010 Projections:  85/28/105/.270/10

13. Adam Lind – This is a new tier.  This tier goes from here to Markakis.  I call this tier, “Power threats with weak speed.”  There’s instances when I would skip this tier and jump to the next one.  If I drafted Ryan Howard in the first round, I’d want someone from the tier, “Speed threats with weak power.”  (That tier starts in the top 40 outfielders, which can be found in the 2010 fantasy baseball rankings once it’s posted.)  The reason why the power threats with weak speed came first in the rankings is because power is a lot harder to come by than speed.  I know, tell that to 1998 and it would laugh.  Okay, now about Lind.  It’s weird how I feel like sometimes a hitter breaks out and everyone scrambles for him, then other times a hitter breaks out and people are tepid about believing it.  Lind broke out last year.  There’s no reason to believe he’s going to lapse into bust territory this year.  2010 Projections:  85/35/110/.300/2

14. Josh Hamilton – Never to be one to resist a talented guy who just had a tough year, I couldn’t stop myself from putting Hamilton higher than most ‘perts.  Is Hamilton still injury prone?  Dur, of course.  He’s still only 28 entering the 2010 season and he has big time talent.  2010 Projections: 85/28/100/.275/7

15. Andre Ethier – I still find it hard to believe Ethier’s power, so I can’t promise you I wouldn’t skip over Ethier in a draft if I felt a real power squeeze on my fantasy team.  2010 Projections:  80/24/95/.285/7

16. Carlos Quentin – Here’s an extended look at Carlos Quentin for 2010 fantasy baseball.  2010 Projections:  80/28/95/.275/5

17. Nelson Cruz – I was tempted to put Cruz even higher, but then I realized Bill James’s projections of 36 homers and 21 steals with a .284 average shouldn’t be taken at face value.  James sure has it bad for Rangers, huh?  If Cruz were to reach those projections, that’s number one outfielder shizz.  But we’ll try and be a bit more sober with him.  2010 Projections:  80/32/95/.275/15

18. Adam Dunn – Dunn’s projections can be found at the top 20 1st basemen for fantasy baseball post.

19. Adam Jones – A record breaking third Adam makes the top 20 outfielders.  Four seems out of reach, unless when someone says Adam Lambert plays for the other team, they mean a baseball team.  Jones got knocked out of almost all of September with a strained ankle, but he should be ready to go in time for spring training.  At 24, he should be able to take the next step with his power and speed.  I’m very excited about watching Pacman make it rain this year.  2010 Projections:  95/27/85/.280/15

20. Nick Markakis - After last season only true loyalists would stand up and shout, “I am Sparkakis!”  He doesn’t have much more than 25 homer power or 10 steal speed. (He does have more speed, but I think the Orioles are slowing him for risk of injury.)  But he won’t kill you on average, Runs or RBIs.  Not as exciting as once perceived, but still solid.  So maybe it’s “I am Sparkakis” with a period rather than an exclamation point.  2010 Projections:  100/24/100/.300/7

  1. Steve says:
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    Ph

  2. Steve says:
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    ew, it’s not just me.
    Every mock I’ve done, I’ve been in the mid to late second round wondering where all the 100/30/110/.300 outfielders are. And this confirms it.
    They’ve died out as a species.

  3. Big Mike says:
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    @Grey: No Victorino or Manny? What do you project for those 2?

  4. TheQuestforMerlin says:
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    Hi Grey,

    Actually a follow up to a keeper forum comment I posted for you.

    How would you like Nelson Cruz if he batted out of the 6th/7th spot for the year? Would it make a big difference to your projections? I think I read somewhere that Ron Washington was pushing him towards the 6th/7th spots (with a 3/4/5 of Hamilton, Guererro and Davis).

    TQ4M

  5. Eddy says:
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    I was actually goin to ask the same question that QuestforMerlin asked. Is this Cruz with batting middle of the lineup projection or back-end lineup projection?

    Looks like I should go out of my way for Lind then, if YOU give him that power projection then it must be the TRUF!

    And do you consider J-Upside’s line as the floor?

  6. Tony says:
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    @Big Mike: I think they’re gonna be in the top 40 post.

    @grey….. lotsa iffy question mark guys in the OF, not alot of sure bets.

    AND….Is it just me or is BILL JAMES frikkin crazy? Seriously? He’s a professional? His opinion/stat lines are highly regarded?

    HE’S A LOON!!! He predicts everyone to hit 45HR’s drive in 140, and steal 30 BASES!

    I recently just started looking at fangraphs and his predicitons on players are hilarious. But can you really take his predictions seriously? I dont think so.

  7. BostonFansAreStoopid says:
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    “He was unlucky, started pressing and things got progressively worse. ”

    To assume BJ Upton was pressing would also assume he gives a shizz.

  8. I too am missing Victorino here, and will draft him before Ethier, Quentin, Jones, maybe others. What’s the deal Grey? Why no Aloha?

  9. ThePoonTycoon says:
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    i get to keep 5 guys, and my last keeper spot is coming down to bj upton, hamilton, and cruz. i’m already keeping teixeira, braun, morales, and rollins (though i am shopping morales around as trade bait). i’m tempted to watch how spring training goes and just keep the one that goes off regardless of how irrelevant that is as an indicator of regular season success.

  10. Omnificent says:
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    I love your rankings, but I do not understand how you have Dunn 18 on this list of “thin” outfielders but 15 on your list of 1st basemen (which you consider a stronger position going into 2010)? Is it because your expected steals from OF should be higher? Still doesn’t seem to make sense to me.

  11. Ian says:
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    Great analysis, Grey. I was especially interested in seeing what your thoughts were on Justin Upton.

    Why the disparity in his run/RBI numbers? Do you see him hitting 5th or lower in the lineup? I assumed he’d be hitting 3rd with his run/RBI totals being closer to 90/90 or higher if he has a good, consistent season.

  12. Frank Rizzo says:
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    I will gladly take Lind and Quentin in the 4th and 5th rounds this year. Lind is legit and Quentin is going to bounce back. I believe the White Sox are the class of the AL Central, and this is a Tiger fan talking.

  13. GopherDay says:
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    Quentin and Beltran both burned me last year. I’m only going to try and draft one of them this year.

  14. Antrim Warriors says:
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    I’d move Markakis up to around the 13 spot.

  15. Cheese

    Cheese says:
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    @Omnificent: I’m pretty sure it’s because you usually only fill 1 1B spot, maybe a CI as well. The OF can be 3, 4, or 5 spots to fill. Let’s assume you start 1 1B and 3 OF. In a 12-team league, there will be 12 starting first basemen at any time, compared to 36OF. Therefore, Adam Dunn wouldn’t even be a starting 1B using Grey’s rankings, but would be a valid #2 OF because there are so many spots to fill for that position. Thus, 1B has more depth (maybe not total number of players, but definitely in quality to fill your 1B spot with) Hope that made sense…

  16. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @Steve: Yeah, I think they went the way of the dodo.

    @Big Mike: They’ll be in the top 40.

    @TheQuestforMerlin: Between Hamilton, Vlad and Davis something’s gotta give. Cruz should bat 6th. Around the same place as last year.

    @Eddy: re: Upton — Yup. re: Cruz — He’ll probably start 6th, might bounce up to 5th, could go to fourth. Washington’s lineup was pretty fluid last year.

    @Tony: Stephen was telling about how you should only compare James to James and Chone to Chone and so on, so it’s unfair to compare James to Chone, but I like shorthand and shorthand tells me James is optimistic.

    @BostonFansAreStoopid: Ha!

    @pubscout: As I said in the Lind blurb, the power threats came before the speed threats, but I could see going with the speed threats first if that’s how you were building your team. Victorino will be in the speed threats tier.

    @ThePoonTycoon: Ha, sounds like you got it figured out.

    @Omnificent: It’s because there’s so few 30 homer threats in the outfield. As I said in the Lind blurb, the top tier on the 40 outfielders rankings could slide into this post, which would drop Dunn to around 25th or so.

    @Ian: I don’t trust the people around Upton to get on base or drive him in.

    @Antrim Warriors: They’re in the same tier, so it’s kinda tomato-tomahto.

  17. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @Cheese: That’s also a factor.

  18. Tony says:
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    in a mock the other day a guy was going on and on and on about Pierre and how he should produce top 30 overall value this year…. and can be had past the 14th ish round….

    I dont know about top 30, but Pierre is def’ly on my radar of guys to snap up when i get past the 12th round. Easily can steal 50 bases and bat .300. Just needed the PT, which he wasn’t getting in LAD, but should in CHI.

  19. Simply Fred

    Simply Fred says:
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    @Tony: Big-O:
    The concern I have with Arod is risk. 138 games in ’08, 124 last year. Off roids, getting older. Understand his upside is tops, but do you take risk at the top of the draft? Just seems as if Arod there is a reasonable likelihood of continued fall as much as a rebound. ???

  20. Tony says:
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    @Simply Fred: well obviously he missed last year healing from his hip injury/surgery, which he posted a 30-100 season even with the time missed…. and STOLE BASES, which would be the one part of his game i woulda thought would disappear and didnt

    I dont worry about AROIDS health, I think he’ll be fine and post a monster season. AT THIRD BASE.

  21. Chris says:
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    Just an FYI that a good majority of Markakis’ steals in past seasons were on the back end of a double steal with Roberts. So, his steal numbers are pretty dependent on if Roberts is on 2nd ahead of him or not.

  22. brett says:
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    Sizemore: 110/27/80/.270/25
    Granderson: 110/30/80/.270/20

    And Granderson wasn’t injured last year. If he makes it to me in the 4th i’m all over it.

  23. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @Chris: Good to know.

    @brett: Yeah, not far off, but I’d say Sizemore has a bit more upside in the steals department.

  24. majortommy19 says:
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    ?????? No love for Jay Bruce? The guy was on pace for 40 HR’s last year! Go back and read your own sleeper 2010 post, no no the part about Snooki eating the pickle, the part about his BABIP bad luck. The dude raked in the mid 3’s in the minors. I am not saying he is going to hit .326 like he did in “septober” but we can expect a .275(wanted to say .285 wich is not crazy) mid 30 to low 40 HR’s and depending on how the rest of the lineup performs(here’s looking at you Votto and Phillips) 80-90 rbi and 70-80 runs. Throw in 8-12 steals and holy Jason Bay numbers Batman!

  25. big o says:
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    @Grey:
    looking forward to your ranking (and thoughts) of raburn .

  26. Tony says:
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    @majortommy19: i’m a fan of bruce, but putting him top 20 preseason is kinda crazy… i’m hoping for what you’re hoping for tho…

    @brett: the sizemore/grandy comparison is a good one. One of the main reasons i always hate taking sizemore so early is his average… but grey is right he can steal more bases than grandy, plus grandy wont need to with Aroids and tex knocking him in before he gets a chance.

    @Chris: i’m not the biggest fan of markakis, was last year, his steals are a mirage, thats a great tid bit of info, thanks.

  27. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @majortommy19: He’s coming, but until he does it once he’s not going to be in the top 20.

    @big o: Is he your Blalock this year?

  28. Simply Fred

    Simply Fred says:
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    @Tony: Have been updating my tables as Grey posts projections. So, I have compare for this day’s post of James’ predictions and Grey’s. % James (greater) relative to Grey:

    R, 1.08; HR, 1.05; RBI 1.04; SB 1.02; AVG 1.00

    Overall, 1.04. Perhaps not as outrageous as some would perceive?

    Haven’t run the numbers for other positions, but did comment to Grey the other day that he must be getting soft. :-)

  29. majortommy19 says:
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    Dude, your turning into ESPN on me! hahaha No seriously!
    on a side note, is there a player less exciting than Andre Ethier? Not a .300 hitter, not a 30hr guy, not 100 rbi guy, not a 15 steal guy. He is like that girl at the bar that looks good from a distance but is ehh up close!

  30. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @majortommy19: Yeah, I kinda agree with you on Ethier. It’s why in his blurb I’m a little lukewarm on him.

  31. Tony says:
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    @majortommy19: he did hit a bunch of walk off homers tho last year? doesnt that count extra? LOL

  32. majortommy19 says:
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    He and Hunter Pence are the same dude except Ethier is much hunkier(remember when Pence was a rookie and they made the Joe Dimaggio comparisons, I am still laughing about that!).

  33. majortommy19 says:
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    @Tony: hahahaha
    you sound like that guy in my league who says CG’s should count for more!

  34. RedSoxFreak says:
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    Your Adam Jones projections seem to be a bit above other people. I thought I was being overly optimistic in my belief in him, but it’s good to see another believer.

    A 24 year old kid who lowered his K-rate and BB-rate looks to be a maturing hitter. His ISO is rising. His BABIP last year was .310 which is reasonable if even a little on the low side given his above average speed.

    His free-swinging ways mean the average won’t be much more than .280, but I think the power will only go up.

  35. Probable Party Starter says:
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    I have a gut-feeling about Pence this year and hopefully it isn’t (chanelling Grey) pound-foolish. I consider his “effort/heart” the polar opposite of BJ Upton’s, whom I secretly avoid yearly.

  36. Simply Fred

    Simply Fred says:
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    @Tony: OK, the real deal breaker for Arod is that Kate was the source of his energy; with her by the wayside, he will be a shell of a man. :-)

  37. cws05nuts says:
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    @Tony: I think you also see how crazy James has gotten with some of these bosox offseason moves.

  38. cws05nuts says:
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    @Frank Rizzo: Guaranteed Carlos gets hurt.

  39. Mendoza says:
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    Stuck on this 1 last Keeper Decesion….

    BJ Upton or Zobrilla

    Already have Lincecum, Kemp, Sizemore, and M. Reynolds

  40. curly q. link says:
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    Grey still working over keepers. Two questions.

    Ellsbury in the 9th or Votto in the 11th (already keeping Fielder).

    Your mustache or Tom Selleck’s in the Magnum PI days?

  41. Nate says:
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    @Grey Was Choo close to the bottom of this list? His numbers stack up pretty well against a guy like Ethier…a few fewer HR, more SB and a higher avg…

  42. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @curly q. link: My mustache. Votto if you have a CI spot, if not Ellsbury.

    @Nate: Yup, he’s near the top of the top 40.

  43. royce! says:
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    Regarding Bill James’ optimism — I was thinking that because his offensive projections seem to always be higher than CHONE or ZIPS or Grey’s or basically anyone’s, that his pitching projections must necessarily be worse. I check like 10 pitchers’ ERAs and he was all over the place, sometimes higher, sometimes lower. That’s not to say that the aggregate isn’t higher, but it seemed that he isn’t at least consistently pessimistic about pitching in the way I expected.

    It just seems that if James were correct, the total runs scored in all of baseball would be higher. That might be a naive or idiotic way of thinking about it, but there you go. I drafted Dice-K last year.

  44. Steve says:
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    @Grey: Kinda makes one yearn for the #5 pick and a shot at Braun.

  45. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @Steve: There are a decent amount of outfielders in the middle range. But, yeah, a bit short on top ones.

  46. Cheez Whit says:
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    If Carlos Gonzalez can go 20/20 and hit north of .280 wouldn’t he be more valuable in most formats than Hamilton, Quentin or Eithier?

  47. Simply Fred

    Simply Fred says:
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    @royce!: Right on regarding, yes, total runs scored would be significantly higher.

    RE ERA: WHIP the most stable, followed by K with ERA being quite a bit less reliable (and tougher to target). It is understandable that projections are more eratic (no matter the source).

  48. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @Cheez Whit: It would be close, but they have a much longer track record.

  49. Dave says:
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    @royce!: there was an article on THT explaining the Bill James system. The just of it was that it doesn’t account for injuries and basically assumes the best possible amount of playing time for every player.

  50. Jay says:
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    What? No love for Choo? I know he’s not going to put up 30/30 on anyone, but given this will be only his second full season, and he’s in that 27ish range where doubles hopefully turn into homers, I could easily see a line of 90/25/90/.300/20. I’ll take that average and the 5 cat help over Either and Adam “there’s a good chance I bat .240 this year so you are pretty much stuck going after Ichiro if you get me” Dunn. Do you disagree?

  51. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @Jay: He’s in the next tier on the top 40, which I said above is interchangeable with this tier. Just a matter of how you’re building your team.

  52. Keith says:
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    Doesn’t Bourn have to beat out BJ Upton?

    Bourn had more runs (97 vs. 79), more SB (61 vs. 52) and a higher BA (.285 vs. .241). I think that trumps 8 more HR and 20 more RBI.

    The one major difference is BA but Bourne is the leadoff guy in Houston and Bartlett is supposed to start there in Tampa making me think Upton is going to be a #8/#9 guy.

  53. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @Keith: Upton is a .275 hitter, not a .241 hitter. Upton has more than 8 homer power above Bourn. Bourn hit .229 in 2008. You shouldn’t look at just last year when deciding on what someone will do.

  54. Keith says:
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    @Grey: While I understand looking past 2009 I think Bourn finally became who he could become in 2008. I think he’s no longer the guy who hit .230 in Philly. He fits well in the leadoff spot, where he can slap the ball since nobody in Houston is ever on base in front of him. And yes you’re right that Upton is more than 8 HR better than Bourn (probably closer to 15) but I don’t trust Upton to hit .275. Maybe, as a burned keeper owner I’m way overreacting to last year but Upton seems like such a wishy-washy player.

  55. Keith says:
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    I meant Bourn became who he could become in 2010. AKA reached his potential.

  56. Neil says:
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    @majortommy19: He also hit .200 against lefties

  57. Byrone says:
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    “Above, there’s four power threats and two speed threats, now a guy that went 26/20. Wow. Don’t get me wrong, I love Justin Upton, but this is the top of the outfield? Where did the Carlos Lees, Mannys, Sorianos and Berkmans go? ”

    hi grey. meet steroid testing.

  58. Keith says:
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    You have Quentin ahead of Cruz but you expect Cruz to equal or exceed Quentin in everything. Is Cruz lower because he doesn’t have a track record or does Quentin have the possibility of being a lot better if he stayed healthy for a year so you moved him up?

  59. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @Keith: Could be…

    @Byrone: Yeah, definitely.

    @Keith: Cruz has those intangibles you mention going against him. Quentin’s safer, if he stays healthy. Cruz, even if healthy, is only one year removed from being a Quad-A player. I like Quentin’s risks better.

  60. Keith says:
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    Thanks Grey! Amazing site.

  61. Gyurky says:
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    I am in an 18 team keeper league. I was offered Crawford ($50) for Either ($25) I need steals but I am afraid of a Crawford second half down turn. Any thoughts?

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