In our 2009 fantasy baseball rankings, we’ve gone to the top 60 starters and top 60 outfielders thus far. But since it’s advisable by me and everyone else that has every wielded a fantasy baseball quill to draft pitching late, I figured I needed to give you twenty or so more to bring the tally to the top 80. There will be a top 80 outfielder post too. Christmas came late, ya’ll! In mixed leagues, if I’m drafting this late and I have a choice between an NL pitcher and an AL pitcher, I’d prefer to go for the NL pitcher. They pitch to other pitchers and mostly weaker offenses. That is a post in itself. Also, a lot of these pitchers (and others which will be highlighted during the season) will be smart pickups for some match-ups but aren’t worth starting every game unless they get on a roll. Anyway, here’s the top 80 starters for 2009 fantasy baseball:
61. Manny Parra – This is the first tier of the top 80 starters. This tier goes from here to Smoltz. I call this tier, “Major issues with all of these pitchers, but I’ll still be looking at them late in deep leagues.” Parra will have a sleeper post dedicated to him. Promise. See, the thing is, I likey Parra. Like likey likey. Though, at times last year, his walks were A to the trocious. 2009 Projections: 11-9/4.10/1.40/160
62. Gil Meche – Meche has been below a 4.00 ERA for two straight years. Last year, he posted nearly 8 strikeouts per nine innings. His FIP was 3.61 last year. Still not convinced? Neither am I. Though it’s hard to argue with him as an AL-Only option. 2009 Projections: 12-10/4.00/1.33/160
63. Bronson Arroyo – Great guy to have in leagues with an innings category or a bad guitar players category. 2009 Projections: 12-10/4.25/1.40/150
64. Kenshin Kawakami – Went over him when he signed with the Braves. 2009 Projections: 12-8/4.35/1.40/120
65. Chris Volstad – With a douchey name like he’s a character in a Bret Easton Ellis book, you’d think he’d strikeout more hitters. If his K/9 wasn’t so bleh, I’d like him more. 2009 Projections: 10-7/4.00/1.30/110
66. Randy Johnson – Son, Randy Johnson’s got acne craters older and bigger than you. He could be a great steal late in drafts as long as you only expect 15 starts. 2009 Projections: 7-4/3.50/1.20/90 in 15 starts
67. Dave Bush – You could draft him and only start him at home (3.82 career ERA) like the Brewers did at times last year. His low WHIP always makes him a worthwhile gamble and incongruous with his ERA. 2009 Projections: 10-10/4.20/1.18/120
68. Paul Maholm – Last year, Maholm really broke out. And, when talking about the Pirates, a breakout is considered a low 4.00 ERA. 2009 Projections: 10-8/4.10/1.25/150
69. Aaron Cook – Jon Garland with a better ERA. That’s about the best compliment I can… *pinkie to mouth* cook up. 2009 Projections: 12-8/4.00/1.36/90
70. Edwin Jackson – For about three years, I’ve waited patiently for Jackson to turn the corner from Prospect Ave. Right now, he seems headed to Journeyman Lane, but he’s still young. 2009 Projections: 11-9/4.50/1.50/120
71. John Smoltz – Went over Smoltz when he signed with the Sawx. 2009 Projections: 5-2/3.00/1.16/60 in 12 starts.
72. Jesse Litsch – This is a new tier. This tier goes from here to Lannan. I call this tier, “I’m not drafting any of these guys under any conditions.” Litsch is the Blue Jays number two starter. Something tells me they’re not going to be competitive this year either. Litsch can also be found at the top 20 risky pitchers for 2009 post. 2009 Projections: 5-7/4.50/1.30/55 in 20 starts.
73. Todd Wellemeyer – A thirty-year-old breakout? Whatevermeyer. 2009 Projections: 6-8/4.75/1.35 in 20 starts.
74. Rich Hill – Match Game Host, Gene Rayburn, “Last year, Rich Hill was really bad.” Studio Audience, “How bad was he?” Gene, “He was so bad he ____.” Went over him further when the O’s got him. 2009 Projections: 4-5/4.75/1.45/60 in fifteen starts.
75. Joe Blanton – Too bad he’s not a lousy pitcher and injury-prone so Carrasco could slide in. 2009 Projections: 12-10/4.75/1.40/110
76. Pedro Martinez – Wasn’t that long ago he was carrying around a good luck dwarf and celebrating a championship. Now that dwarf is doing better than Pedro’s career. 2009 Projections: 6-7/4.70/1.50/80 in 20 starts.
77. Nick Blackburn – Very little to see here. 2009 Projections: 10-8/4.30/1.34/85
78. Jon Garland -I didn’t go over him when he went to the Diamondbacks, because there’s not much to say. He’s a much better real world pitcher, racking up innings, than a fantasy pitcher. He didn’t get 100 Ks last year in 197.2 innings. Bleh! 2009 Projections: 12-10/4.75/1.42/95
79. John Lannan – Don’t you dare draft him. He will suck your soul and crush your girl-like emotions. 2009 Projections: 6-9/5.00/1.44/80
80. Brad Penny – This is the last tier. This tier goes from here to Shawn Hill. I call this tier, “You can do much worse very late in deep leagues.” If you throw out Penny’s season last year, where he looked miserable and hurt, he would be coming off a 16-4/3.03/1.31 season in 208 innings. If healthy, he could be a steal late. 2009 Projections: 14-10/4.00/1.30/130
81. Aaron Heilman – Went over him when Heilman was traded — the 2nd time. 2009 Projections: 9-4/4.00/1.15/120 in 20 starts.
After the top 80 starters for 2009 fantasy baseball, there’s a lot of names, but these three stand out:
Carlos Carrasco – Went over him in the Carrasco keeper post. Big things, I tell ya. Big…. Things. Not sure if he sees time out of the gate, but watch him if a Phillies pitcher gets injured. 2009 Projections: 5-2/3.00/1.32/60 in ten starts.
Mark Buehrle – He’s not flashy with those Big City Ks. You probably won’t want to own him. But for the better part of two years, I’ve owned him off and on. He’s usually good for a few ‘worth-owning’ streaks a year. 2009 Projections: 13-10/4.00/1.35/120
Shawn Hill – Usually I end the lists with an exciting name. But, guess what? We’re almost 100 deep into the starters so exciting was barfed into an airplane toilet about six tiers ago and flushed out somewhere over Guatemala. Word is Shawn Hill will be healthy for the 2009 season, but keep your expectations in check because he’s never been healthy in his career. Then again, you probably have no expectations of Shawn Hill. In NL-Only leagues, I’d take a very late flier on Hill. 2009 Projections: 8-6/4.10/1.26/110 in 20 starts.