In our seemingly interminable lists of 2009 fantasy baseball rankings, we’re covering the last of the top 40 starters for 2009 fantasy baseball. ¡Muy excitemento! The other day we did the top 20 starters for 2009. Check them out, you know you wanna. This list could go another sixty deep and maybe I’ll go through the next sixty without all the hazarai. I talked about how I don’t draft many guys from the very top starters, instead I wait. Well, the starters on this list are the ones I choose from. I wouldn’t mind Vazquez, Cain and Wainwright on my fantasy team. Or Garza, Weaver and Young. Or… Well, you get the picture. I like just about all of the guys on the bottom of this top 40 list. For a more general idea of where people are falling, look at this 2009 Fantasy Baseball Player Rater. Also, to help with drafting, here’s a list of players with multiple position eligibility. Or read how previous year’s pitch counts make for risky pitchers. Anyway, here’s the rest of the top 40 starters for 2009 fantasy baseball:
21. Felix Hernandez – This is a new tier. This tier goes from here to Joba. I like to call this tier, “Guys I’m Kinda Gay For.” If I could have a 12-team staff of F-Her, Liriano and Wainwright in every league, I’d take it. How’s dem apples? Delicious! You know what’s weird about Felix Hernandez? He’s like twelve. Still. He has to be the oldest 22 year old ever. If you told me he had grandkids, I wouldn’t blink an eye. I still love him. 2009 Projections: 13-9/3.85/1.33/190
22. Francisco Liriano – Now’s the season to get on the Liriano train. Next stop, Fantasy Worth. As the case is with Frank Jobe surgery, it usually takes a year of pitching to get back up to speed. The year’s up, snitches! To paraphrase Fiddy, “Get Liriano or Die Tryin’.” 2009 Projections: 11-5/3.25/1.25/160
23. Adam Wainwright – It’s no shock to those who have read Razzball for longer than a millisecond — Ooh, so I, like, just found Razzball from doing a Google search and, like, hey, glad to be here. Thanks, random italicized voice. — that Wainwright is higher on my list than on some ‘perts’ lists. I’ve been a fan of Wainwright even when he Wentwrong last year. I should’ve known after the bullpen experiment in ’06 that he’d breakdown in ’08 in unforeseen ways. Live and learn, dawg. Live and… You finish it. 2009 Projections: 13-7/3.60/1.20/150
24. Joba Chamberlain – Member in 1987 when everyone wanted to lay on the hood of that Jaguar with Tawny Kitaen? Joba’s Tawny Kitaen. 2009 Projections: 12-3/3.00/1.18/130 in 20 starts.
25. Ricky Nolasco – This is a new tier. This tier goes from here to Bedard. I call this tier, “Um, Reservations.” This tier is a group of guys I’d draft but I’m not as excited about these guys within this list’s contexts. If Joba’s Tawny Kitaen on Whitesnake’s car, Nolasco’s Tawny Kitaen beating up Chuck Finley. That’s not quite the compliment that it sounds like. 2009 Projections: 11-8/4.00/1.15/160 in 25 starts.
26. A.J. Burnett – Before everyone has a conniption about how low I ranked Burnett, let’s look at a few things. A) He had a healthy year in 2008, where he pitched over 200 innings and he came in only 24th on the top starters of 2008. B) He’s never pitched 200 innings in back-to-back seasons. C) There is no C. Deal with it. 2009 Projections: 13-9/4.15/1.30/140 in 20 starts.
27. Jon Lester – His WHIP scares me. His lack of Ks scares me even more. He cut his walks in 2008, which is a solid sign. I’m just not sure if 2008 was something concocted for Lester by Make-A-Wish or if he’s the real deal. 2009 Projections: 15-7/4.00/1.30/150
28. Ben Sheets – (UPDATE: With elbow surgery in Sheets’s immediate future, punt.) For a long time I’ve stated that if Sheets can stay healthy, he’ll win a Cy Young. Frankly, I don’t think that’s true anymore. His K/9 wasn’t that great over a full season last year and he left quite a few on base. Then you throw in his injury history and he’s not really worth the headache. 2009 Projections: 10-4/3.50/1.17/140 in 20 starts
29. Chien-Ming Wang – All he does is win games! No, seriously, that’s all he does. In addition to the All-Star Break Home Run Derby, MLB should have a strikeout contest where a non-strikeout pitcher faces off against a strikeout hitter. Like you wouldn’t watch Chien-Ming Wang face off against Mark Reynolds. May the slightly more fit survive! 2009 Projections: 17-7/4.00/1.30/120
30. Aaron Harang – I blame Dusty. Dusty ruins careers. Ask Prior. Ask Wood. Ask Dusty Jr. Go ahead, be the bat boy in the World Series and trip players. Harang was going along nicely with a mid-3 ERA until the relief appearance on May 25th when he blew away nine hitters in 4 innings. You know what Harang did for a few months after that? You know exactly if you owned him. He shit your fantasy house for three months. Then had an ERA of 3.07 in September. Cust kayin’. 2009 Projections: 12-9/4.00/1.25/155
31. Erik Bedard – I do think he could jump into the top 10 if he stays healthy, but that “if” seems Milky Way Galaxy-sized. 2009 Projections: 9-6/3.35/1.15/140 in 20 starts
32. Matt Cain – This is a new tier. This tier goes from here to the end of this list. I call this tier, “I’m targeting these guys, boi!” This might sound crazy to you but Cain could out pitch Lincecum in 2009. Or they both could meet somewhere in the middle. A very solid, productive middle. 2009 Projections: 14-10/3.35/1.26/200
33. Yovani Gallardo – His injury shouldn’t stop him from being productive in 2009. The only thing that makes me reluctant to rank him higher is all the time he missed in 2008. 2009 Projections: 12-6/3.50/1.25/150 in 170 IP. If he can go more, the numbers get more delicious.
34. Javier Vazquez - When Vazquez was traded to the Braves, I went over Vazquez for 2009. The abridged version of that post is, “Besides having a last name that would be great for Scrabble, I like him.” 2009 Projections: 15-8/4.15/1.25/200
35. David Price – I like Price, too. I do, boo. I just think the Rays are going to play it smart and rest him here and there, bump him here and there, and sit him late in the season. So he might only get about 140 innings. He can be valuable, but I’d keep expectations in check. 2009 Projections: 10-4/3.50/1.10/120 in 20 starts.
36. Max Scherzer – I went over this shizz in a Scherzer keeper post-a-ma-thing-a-ma-jiggy-wit-it. Fact or fiction, I’m going to take a flier on Jobacum in some leagues no matter what the Baby Backs say his role will be in the spring. Fact! 2009 Projections: 9-3/3.25/1.20/100 in 15 starts
37. Jered Weaver – Ryan Dempster was originally ranked here, but I removed him for Weaver. I imagine the only people who will have a serious problem with this will be Cubs fans and we all know they’re not at all vocal. 2009 Projections: 14-9/3.75/1.25/160
38. Matt Garza – What if I told you Garza could have an ERA below 3.50, would that be something you’d be interested in? 2009 Projections: 14-10/3.50/1.25/140
39. Josh Johnson – Momma Grey once said, “When in doubt, go for a nice K rate.” Johnson’s only this low because of the injury history. 2009 Projections: 13-6/3.75/1.32/140
40. Johnny Cueto – I ended the top 20 with Edinson/Edison/Julio Volquez and I’ll end this list with Cueto. Cueto’s entire 2008 was to guile your dopey ass into forgetting about him in 2009. Don’t fall for it. He’s the mothereffin’ butterfly and he just flapped his wings in Indochina. 2009 Projections: 14-10/3.75/1.25/165 (<–optimistic, but whatevs)
After the top 40 starters for 2009 fantasy baseball, there’s lots of guys, but these four stand out:
Chris Young – After going so downbeat at the end of the top 20 starters post, I felt the need to end upbeat on this one. So these four guys I’m all cheery on. Young was covered already in a 2009 fantasy sleeper post. 2009 Projections: 11-7/3.50/1.22/160
Brandon Morrow – As long as he comes at a decent price. Please don’t go after him too early. He still could end up the closer of the M’s and let’s not forget it’s the M’s. How many games do you think he’s going to win? 8? 9? 2009 Projections: 8-4/3.45/1.20/120 in 20 starts.
Kevin Slowey/John Danks – So many pitchers, so little room. I almost listed Greinke/Myers here instead. I imagine the only people who will have a serious problem with their absence will be crazy wife beaters. 2009 Slowey Projections: 14-10/3.90/1.17/130 2009 Danks Projections: 14-10/3.90/1.28/160