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All the final 2009 fantasy baseball rankings for hitters has been done. For those that skipped the title, today starts the top 20 starters for 2009 fantasy baseball. This is NOT for 2010 (caps for those still wearing their Final Destination 3-D glasses). This is a recap. Will these effect next year’s rankings, sure. But not entirely. (Note: These rankings are from ESPN’s Player Rater. It’s just an objective third party to fairly gauge my preseason rankings. Does this mean I think ESPN’s Player Rater is perfect? No. For one, it weighs Wins very heavily.) Anyway, here’s the top 20 starters for 2009 fantasy baseball and how they compare to where I originally ranked them:

1. Zack Greinke – I’m sure Rudy will cover this at some point in the offseason, but let’s get it out of the way right off the bat.   Greinke showed up on the Risky pitcher post in the preseason.  I count 13 of the 20 pitchers Rudy flagged that did run into troubles in 2009, so I think we can agree it wasn’t an abomination.  The concern with the high pitch count in 2008 for Greinke turned out to be nothing.  Everything was roses.  Red luscious roses like Rip Taylor’s intern tosses at his feet.  Two months under a .55 ERA, more than a K/IP on the year, next to no walks and he didn’t need to talk to the ball between hitters.  Preseason Rank #42, 2009 Projections:  9-7/4.10/1.30/130, Final Numbers:  16-8/2.16/1.07/242

2. Tim Lincecum – A few weeks ago, someone in the comments said Tim Lincecum’s mullet makes him look like someone Ellen DeGeneres should be dating.  It’s funny because it’s true.  Preseason Rank #2, 2009 Projections:  17-8/3.00/1.18/210, Final Numbers:  15-7/2.48/1.05/261

3. Felix Hernandez – To stick with the Ellen theme, F-Her headed the preseason tier I named, “Guys I’m Kinda Gay For.”  Wainwright was also in that tier.  Luckily, I grabbed Hernandez in one league and Wainwright in just about every other league.  F-Her had one bad month (May; 4.34 ERA), topped 200 Ks, a 1.99 ERA in Away starts, a .603 OPS against and 19 wins.  This is about this year, but, I’ll say it, I love him for next year, too.  And, for some reason, I think he’s underrated.  Preseason Rank #21, 2009 Projections:  13-9/3.85/1.33/190, Final Numbers:  19-5/2.49/1.14/217

4. Javier Vazquez – In the preseason, CHONE drooled over Vazquez.  Lots of people disagreed.  CHONE 1, Lots of People Who Disagreed 0.  My abridged comments in the preseason were, “Besides having a last name that would be great for Scrabble, I like him.”  At 33, it was hard to imagine Vazquez having a career year, but that was exactly what he did.  Preseason Rank #34, 2009 Projections:  15-8/4.15/1.25/200, Final Numbers:  15-10/2.87/1.03/238

5. Dan Haren – In the preseason, I said, “Here’s the first pitcher (in the top ten) that I have a legitimate shot at owning in leagues in 2009.   Wins aside, guess who had more value in 2008, Haren or Webb?  Obviously I’m asking the question because it’s Haren.  He beat Webb in WHIP and Ks and practically tied him in ERA.”  And that’s me quoting me!  I did end owning him and he pitched predictably terrific in the 1st half and just-above mediocre in the 2nd half.  Preseason Rank #7, 2009 Projections:  16-7/3.40/1.15/195, Final Numbers:  14-10/3.14/1.00/223

6. Chris Carpenter – Not going to claim I saw this season coming at all.  I always thought Carpenter was a great pitcher, but, frankly, I was worried about him coming off the injury season.  I preached caution; I should’ve preached to ignore me.  Preseason Rank #59, 2009 Projections:  9-5/3.70/1.27/110, Final Numbers:  17-4/2.24/1.01/144

7. Roy Halladay – In 2008, Halladay had a 2.78 ERA and 206 Ks.  This year, 2.79 and 208.  If I had to boil down fantasy baseball success, I’d say you want predictability + upside.  Considering most starters are like shooting fish in a barrel that has no fish in it, Halladay brings a sense of predictability that isn’t easily found.  Preseason Rank #8, 2009 Projections:  16-6/3.50/1.10/165, Final Numbers:  17-10/2.79/1.13/208

8. Adam Wainwright – Had some control problems early in the season, but he straightened those out in a big way in the 2nd half (97/18 K/BB).  Yes, he made Rufus and me very happy this year.  Preseason Rank #23, 2009 Projections:  13-7/3.60/1.20/150, Final Numbers:  19-8/2.63/1.21/212

9. Justin Verlander – With his 2nd season in a row of poor April numbers, it’s fair to say Verlander takes some time to start cooking.  I guess when you rely on a 98 MPH fastball, the warm weather helps the, uh, heat.  Preseason Rank #41, 2009 Projections:  15-9/4.00/1.30/160, Final Numbers:  19-9/3.45/1.18/269

10. CC Sabathia – When you see his ERA went up in 2009 compared to 2008, it’s easy to say he couldn’t handle The Jetstream.  Alas, you’re wrong, doode.  He had a 3.17 ERA at home compared to 3.53 on the road.  It’s all about the home cooking (and eating).  Preseason Rank #4, 2009 Projections:  18-7/3.20/1.10/200, Final Numbers:  19-8/3.37/1.15/197

11. Josh Johnson – Throw out his final start of the season when he may or may not have been suffering from an illness and his ERA would’ve been 3.03.  BTW, don’t you love how ESPN and Yahoo put a guy’s condition in parenthesis in their player card news?  I wish everyone had player cards.  “Last night, Grey grabbed a burger (hungry) then tried to have sex with his girlfriend (headache).”  Preseason Rank #39, 2009 Projections:  13-6/3.75/1.32/140, Final Numbers:  15-5/3.23/1.16/191

12. Matt Cain – Cain was a strange case for me.  (Prepare yourselves for the longest run-on sentence in history.  You may need an oxygen mask.)  I loved Cain coming into the season, ended up drafting him in a few leagues, he got off to an incredible start, I wrote repeatedly on the blog about how his numbers were supposed to regress, so no one would trade for him in any of my leagues because of what I wrote or because they read something similar elsewhere, the more I tried to trade him the better he pitched, then I stopped trying to trade him and he finally regressed in September (5.22 ERA).  Preseason Rank #32, 2009 Projections:  14-10/3.35/1.26/200, Final Numbers:  14-8/2.89/1.18/171

13. Jair Jurrjens – Not that I’m against Jar-Jar, but his K-rate does bore me a bit.  Preseason Rank #48, 2009 Projections:  12-8/3.75/1.35/150, Final Numbers:  14-10/2.60/1.21/152

14. Jon Lester – He had the tale of two seasons.  It (June on) was the best of times, it (April/May) was the worst of times…  If you jumped on his coattails in June when I advised you to, you did pretty good.  Preseason Rank #27, 2009 Projections:  15-7/4.00/1.30/150, Final Numbers:  15-8/3.41/1.23/225

15. Wandy Rodriguez – Hmm… What’s this, snitches? Yup.  Preseason Rank #42, 2009 Projections:  10-7/3.75/1.30/160, Final Numbers:  14-12/3.02/1.24/193

16. Ted Lilly – I avoided Lilly in all of my drafts to my detriment.  But, honestly, when you have F-Her, Haren, Cain, Wainwright, Wandy and Wolf in 90% of your starting spots on your teams, you’re doing okay.  I’ll repeat it ad nauseam in the preseason, but you don’t have to draft pitching early to compete.  The only league I drafted a top pitcher, I took Peavy.  And we know how that worked out.  Preseason Rank #44, 2009 Projections:  12-10/4.30/1.25/160, Final Numbers:  12-9/3.10/1.06/151

17. Randy Wolf – In a 15 team league (that’s deep, ya’ll), I grabbed Wolf off of waivers.  In my 16 team league, I took Wolf in one of my last picks.  Chances are Wolf was not drafted in your leagues, which makes me think Wolf was one of the best value pitching picks off of waivers.  I like Wolf and Wolf Like Me, TV on the Radio.  Preseason Unranked, Final Numbers:  11-7/3.23/1.10/160

18. Josh Beckett – My preseason AL Cy Young pick didn’t fair that terrible, but he’s definitely not winning the award.  The odd thing is my preseason predictions for his numbers weren’t very far off.  Just turned out there were a lot of great pitchers in 2009.  As Jessica Shaw would say, steroids out, pitching and speed in.  Preseason Rank #10, 2009 Projections:  16-10/3.75/1.20/175, Final Numbers:  17-6/3.86/1.19/199

19. Ubaldo Jimenez – Chances are if you owned Ubaldo, you picked him up sometime in May or June after his 7.58 ERA April.  So his numbers are even sweeter in your Active stats.  Preseason Rank #49, 2009 Projections:  10-8/4.20/1.40/165, Final Numbers:  15-12/3.47/1.23/198

20. Cliff Lee – The Adverb moved to the NL and his ERA went up.  Weird!  Guess it’s because the Phillies play in a stadium smaller than a jai lai fronton.  Somewhere in Aruba, J.P. Ricciardi dials his phone.  “Hey, Halladay… You’re welcome!”  Preseason Rank #17, 2009 Projections:  15-10/3.75/1.22/150, Final Numbers:  14-13/3.22/1.24/181

From Around The Web

  1. Chase says:
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    After taking a gander at all the post season rankings so far, I think it solidifies the argument that hitting should take priority over pitching on draft day. All of your predictions were much more closely in line on the batters. Drafting pitching instead of hitting is like picking the mystery box over the guaranteed prize. Anywho, nice post.

  2. Steve says:
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    “… and he didn’t need to talk to the ball between hitters.”

    Ah, but imagine how much sweeter it would be if he did.

  3. Tony says:
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    Draft hitters rounds 1-6 AT LEAST….

    i took beckett in the 7th of my 12 teamer, then took wainwright 2 rounds later in the 9th and look who panned out better….

    Plus i was loaded up already and in the 14th i watched cain go….

    Is it sad i remember my draft from last march? I’m gonna go ahead and answer my own Q, yes yes it is, very sad…. and sick.

  4. Scott says:
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    I may ask this a few more times this offseason, so sorry in advance, but I will be torn by the decision of which 3 SP’s to keep in my NL-only league:

    Kershaw
    Javy Vazquez
    Billingsley
    Gallardo
    Wandy

    Gotta go Kershaw, Javy, Gallardo, right? I’m a little worried about the Braves trading Javy midseason when they’re out of it. If its to the AL, of course I lose him. Does someone want to convince me that Billingsley isn’t worth keeping over any of the others? I am too biased and hopeful that he can now deal with the workload and won’t break his leg in the offseason to disrupt his training regimen, whatever that is.

  5. Scott says:
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    @Tony: Agreed as a general theory. Please no one comment that you drafted some combination of Sizemore, Hamilton, Rollins, Beltran, Soriano, BJ Upton, Quentin, Rios, and Markakis with your first 4 picks and “Look where that got me.”

  6. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @Chase: Yeah, I’d agree with that. If you can find anyone who put 15 of these top 20 pitchers in their preseason top 20, they’re time travelers.

    @Steve: Hehe… So true.

    @Tony: Ha!

    @Scott: Gallardo threw a lot more innings last year than the previous year. I’d probably avoid him in 2010 and go with Bills.

  7. big o says:
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    2010 , a break-out season for felix hernandez ?

    rank the moustaches : grey , rip taylor , ellen , & , f-her .

  8. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @big o: F-Her’s 2009 numbers were 19-5/2.49/1.14/217. Think he’s already broken out.

  9. big o says:
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    @Grey:
    agreed .
    but , next year , i think he actually surpasses ellen .

  10. Stephen says:
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    Looking at this list, how the heck did Ted Lilly become a top 20 fantasy pitcher? Serious! I agree 100% with Tony. There will be no pitchers drafted by me in the first few rounds (even in my 20 team league).

  11. Russ says:
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    Grey, this isn’t germane to pitchers (although I suppose it could apply to some); but I was thinking about Mark Reynolds v. Chris Davis pre-season ’09. Davis got much more love, but Reynolds was the real deal (for ’09). So, I have a glossary suggestion for supposed “bargains” like Davis who are ridiculously hyped (and go 5-10 rounds before they should or for twice+ what they should in auction leagues): “sleeper sell”

  12. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @Stephen: Yeah, rarely pays off drafting pitchers early.

    @Russ: Sleeper sell does make sense, that’s pretty much exactly what it is.

  13. penpen says:
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    @Grey: Sounds like your teams were packed with Wolves Grey. In fact, sounds like you were packing a veritable… Wolf Parade. *rimshot*

    Thank you thank you I’ll be here in Williamsburg all week~

  14. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @penpen: Indeed, a wolf pack.

  15. Chris says:
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    I traded Cain for Bay straight up at the All-Star break for pretty much the same reasons you stated (though I wasn’t yet a reader of yours yet).

    That was a really annoying trade until September.

  16. Asdrubal Bastardo says:
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    “Last night, Grey grabbed a burger (hungry) then tried to have sex with his girlfriend (headache).”

    HAHA!

    And I will take credit for the Ellen reference. Hitters must hate being made look foolish against this guy. He doesn’t look like he should be playing any sport, but he is a man amongst boys (even though he looks like a boy amongst men).

    Anyways, I think I will take your late season advice and not draft a pitcher until I fill my offensive roster next year. Taking fliers on late round pitchers and streamlining the rest doesn’t seem like a bad strategy at all. Plus, the only top tier SP I would want would be F-Her and the Kid, but they will probably go in the 1st or 2nd rounds, which is too early for my liking.

  17. DrEasy says:
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    Looks like with the season being almost over, Grey has gone back to his excellent music collection! Nice musical references.

  18. GopherDay says:
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    @Stephen: This year Ted Lilly was the ONLY cub I ended up with! Boy am I happy I didn’t have any more! I’m not a Cub fan, but I do kind of like Lilly. But I do laugh at whoever has him in my league that has HR allowed as a stat!

  19. Shmorgie S. Board says:
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    I picked up and dropped Ubaldo in April. Go me.

    I still won riding the Wandwagon, Lilly and Wolf-Man. A prodigious pot pourri of profit producing pitchers.

    I wonder what the profits were for the top twenty pitchers, by $ or by difference between actual round value and pre-season ADP? Math geek out there want to do that?

    Ok, so no.

  20. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @Shmorgie S. Board: Believe Rudy’s going to do that in the next week or so.

  21. Shmorgie S. Board says:
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    @Grey: That’s awesome.

    I’ve taken to referring to CC Sabathia as “Black Sabbath.” Is that wrong?

  22. Mark says:
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    Ted Lilly #16? Is this a joke?

  23. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @Mark: From the above post — (Note: These rankings are from ESPN’s Player Rater. It’s just an objective third party to fairly gauge my preseason rankings. Does this mean I think ESPN’s Player Rater is perfect? No. For one, it weighs Wins very heavily.)

    This is a recap, this is not rankings for 2010.

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