On Monday I finished up the hitters recap with the 21 – 40 outfielders for 2008. That’s after going over the top 20 catchers, top 20 1st basemen, top 20 2nd basemen, top 20 shortstops, top 20 3rd basemen and the top 20 outfielders for 2008. Phew… Now exhale through your nose, Downward-Facing Dawg, and inhale as we look at the top 20 starters for 2008. As we went forty deep with the outfielders, we’re going to need to go forty deep with the starters. The hitters showed a definite lack of offense in 2008 so that must mean the top 20 starters are deep with quality choices, right? Look at the big brain on generic italicized voice. I based these rankings on the ESPN Player Rater, which I don’t fully agree with, but I want the rankings to be as neutral as possible. For a better player rater, download our fantasy baseball player rater. Anyway, here’s the top 20 Starters for 2008 in fantasy baseball and how they compared to where we originally ranked them:

1. Roy Halladay – When Borowski, Todd Jones and a host of other schmohawks missed the bowl for three months straight, Halladay’s 246 innings of a 2.78 ERA and 1.05 WHIP was just the kind of disinfectant your staff’s bathroom needed.  Preseason Rank #13, Preseason Predictions:  15-7/4.00/1.25/120, Final Numbers:  20-11/2.78/1.05/206

2. CC Sabathia – Nearly topped the list and he had an awful April. Take a look at this ‘pert roundtable. People were falling over themselves to unload Sabathia. He was shelled in the playoffs! He threw 600 trillion pitches in ’07! He looks like a fat Dontrelle and now he’s pitching like one! Sometimes it’s best to hold tight. Preseason Rank #4, Preseason Predictions:  20-9/3.40/1.15/210, Final Numbers:  17-10/2.70/1.11/251

3. Tim Lincecum – Here’s a guy I warned everyone about in the preseason. Am I dumb or prejudiced against the non-mustachioed? Probably a bit of both, but I worried Lincecum would struggle a bit on a decimated team. A lack of offense when coupled with a very young pitcher… Anyway, he did fine. Obviously. Dur. Preseason Rank #31, Preseason Predictions:  10-7/ 3.75/1.25/170, Final Numbers:  18-5/ 2.62/1.17/265

4. Cliff Lee – You had to disregard everything you’ve ever learned in your life, including basic math, to trust Lee to rank this high. That’s why Karabell, the Forrest Gump of fantasy baseball analysts, was the only ‘pert to predict this. Somewhere in a rough, tumbleweeded neighborhood, Hater Bell shakes his fist at the gray sky. Preseason Unranked, Final Numbers:  22-3/2.54/1.11/170

5. Johan Santana – Didn’t it seem like he had a mediocre year? I mean it was mediocre for him with yawnstipating wins, but it’s still top five for starters. That’s not really mediocre. Actually that’s not at all mediocre. Weird how The NY Media misinterprets things, right?  Jeter might be the tenth best shortstop in the majors and you’d think he discovered a neverending box of Dunkin’ Donuts Munchkins™. While Johan throws 200+ Ks and a 2.53 ERA in 234.1 IP, and people are wondering if he’s lost it. Preseason Rank #2, Preseason Predictions:  18-9/3.10/1.06/240, Final Numbers:  16-7/2.53/1.15/206

6. Cole Hamels – Hamels was my preseason Cy Young pick; he might have had a chance with some more run support. He finished with the second best WHIP amongst Major League starters, top ten for ERA and 66th in run support. For some runs next year, maybe he can brushback his opponents and hope they do the same to Victorino. Preseason Rank #7, Preseason Predictions:  20-7/3.20/1.10/210, Final Numbers:  14-10/3.09/1.08/196

7. Brandon Webb – Another stellar year for Webb as he led the NL in Wins. Though Webb does go through long stretches where he’s nearly unusable. In fact, if you throw out April and July, Webb had a 3.86 ERA in ’08. That’s right; Webb’s “blah” with makeup on it, otherwise known as “pretty blah.” Preseason Rank #3, Preseason Predictions:  19-7/3.10/1.20/190, Final Numbers:  22-7/3.30/1.20/183

8. Ervin Santana – Going into the 2008, Ervin was homeschooling for the better part of two years while making Wandy Rodriguez seem like a Road Scholar. Then 2008 came and Ervin myth busted his way to solid Home/Away Splits. Now if he can figure out what the deal is with Mentos and Diet Coke. Preseason Unranked, Final Numbers:  16-7/3.49/1.12/214

9. Dan Haren – Post All-Star break numbers were once again, “Win a Date With a Tad Mediocre.”  Preseason Rank #8, Preseason Predictions:  17-9/3.60/1.20/210, Final Numbers:  16-8/3.33/1.13/206

10. Ryan Dempster – What ESPN said in February, “Dempster has little value as a starter…” What I said to ESPN, “Stop sending me your stupid magazine. I don’t read it.” What ESPN said, “It’s free.” What I said, “I still don’t want it and why are you calling me at 6 o’clock in the morning on a Saturday?” What ESPN said, “To tell you about ESPN Total Access Rewards!” What I said, “I don’t want ESPN Total Access Rewards.” What ESPN said, “In order to get the free magazine, you have to sign up for ESPN Total Access Rewards.” I said, “I hate you.” Preseason Unranked, Final Numbers:  17-6/2.96/1.21/187

11. Rich Harden – “They call me, Mr. Glass” ended up staying healthy and putting together a solid year. Just remember, he had a healthy year this year and still only pitched 148 innings. Preseason Unranked, Final Numbers:  10-2/2.07/1.06/181

12. Ricky Nolasco – In 95.2 Post-All-Star break innings, Nolasco struckout 98 against 12 walks. I’ll put it another way. Nolasco walked twelve batters in fourteen games. Here’s that same information with numerals instead of words and exclamation points. Nolasco only walked 12 guys in 14 games!!!  Preseason Unranked, Final Numbers:  15-8/3.52/1.10/186

13. Mike Mussina – 1 ACROSS, Yankees Pitcher falls just short of 300 wins and won’t make the Hall of Fame. (FYI, Tommy John doesn’t fit.)  Preseason Unranked, Final Numbers:  20-9/3.37/1.22/150

14. Derek Lowe – In 2007 and 2008, Lowe struckout 147 and gave up 194 hits both years. Elias Sports Bureau said this is the first time in history a pitcher has given up exactly the same amount of hits and struckout the same amount two years in a row. Okay, they didn’t say that, but it sounds like something they would say. Here’s some more things Elias could’ve said around their office last week, “For the first time since July, Ralph in Human Resources tried to fool Parking Enforcement with a homemade handicapped sign.” “For the third time in less than a week, our CEO called Jayson Stark a ‘pain in the ass,'” and “For the first and last time, John in Accounting ate Mexican for lunch.” Preseason Rank #33, Preseason Predictions:  15-7/3.90/1.30/140, Final Numbers:  14-11/3.24/1.13/147

15. Roy Oswalt – Grey’s 12-year-old cousin texted this in, “Chillax about Oswalt’s year end numbers lQQking like he continued his eversoslight steps backwards. In the 2nd half, he was DOMINANT. l8r…” Preseason Rank #10, Preseason Predictions:  15-7/3.60/1.22/150, Final Numbers:  17-10/3.54/1.18/165

16. Ben Sheets – Somehow he went the whole season without pulling a Kotchman. Matter of fact, Kotchman went the whole season without pulling a Kotchman. Luckily, Furcal picked up the “Pulling a Kotchman” slack. Preseason Rank #32, Preseason Predictions:  60-Day DL, Final Numbers:  13-9/3.09I/1.15/158

17. Edinson Volquez – I told you to pick Volquez up on March 18th so you were forewarned. But I didn’t have the foreskin to predict quite how well he would perform. Preseason Unranked, Final Numbers:  17-6/3.21/1.33/206

18. James Shields – The credo goes, third year starters (aka starters with 40 – 70 starts of Major League experience) are most likely to breakout. As far as credos go, that’s as good as any. I love Shields because he made good on the credo.  Preseason Rank #18, Preseason Predictions:  14-6/3.75/1.10/185, Final Numbers:  14-8/3.56/1.15/160

19. Chad Billingsley – See Shields, James or one quarter of an inch above. I like Billingsley even more going forward, but there will be plenty of time in the offseason for me to extol (<–15th Century Word of the Day!). Preseason Rank #36, Preseason Predictions:  16-7/3.20/1.30/190, Final Numbers:  16-10/3.14/1.34/201

20. Daisuke Matsuzaka – In the spirit of globalization, I had my Dice-K comments translated into Japanese then translated back to English for our Razzball readers. Here’s what I was left with, “Dice-K’s outlying numbers warned of impending tsunami. Luckily Red Sox bring Hello Kitty toaster and make bread of opponents.  Sayonara.” Preseason Rank #23, Preseason Predictions:  17-7/4.00/1.25/200, Final Numbers:  18-3/2.90/1.32/154

  1. Beamer says:

    Way to go. I’m impressed. 400 posts in one year is some heavy duty posting indeed.


  2. Now, I can’t say I understand what I read here very often since I don’t even watch baseball but I do know the main man behind Razzball is talented in many different aspects… and so I came by to congratulate you on the 400 classic articles you’ve amassed in one year.

    And of course I can’t leave here before wishing you a Happy Blogiversary! May we have many, many more years with you!

  3. Grey

    Grey says:

    @Beamer: @fragileheart: Thanks, guys. I appreciate it. This year I’m going to try and write 401 articles while wearing no pants. That’s some David Blaine-shizz.

  4. Well done on all the great work in the past year – I wrote you a celebratory limerick but the dog ate it.

    I suppose, this requires a Baseball comment to remain on topic so:

    Whooow, Baseball!!

  5. Grey

    Grey says:

    @Ken ‘Babe’ Armstrong: I’ll assume the ‘Babe’ is a nod to the baseball icon and not your dreaminess. Thanks for the well wishes. Send cash in lieu of flowers.

  6. BigFatHippo says:

    @Grey: Wow, you have a fan club. Soon we’ll all be singing folk songs about you.

    “The Ballad of Grey”

    Who plays you in the movie, Pacino or Tom Selleck?

  7. Grey

    Grey says:

    @BigFatHippo: A ‘stached Michael J. Fox, of course.

  8. BigFatHippo says:

    @Grey: Ha, can he even grow one? Straight to video I’d imagine.

    Go Rays, I can picture BSA curled up in the fetal position, clutching his Big Papi doll while sucking on the baby’s pacifier. Shakes fist at TV, “DAMM YOU Kazmir!”

  9. Grey

    Grey says:

    @BigFatHippo: I’d imagine there would be some trouble finding a video distributor but then it would find a small, cultish audience of people that could quote every line.

    Yes, BSA will be shielding (or should I say Kazmiring) his eyes tonight. I don’t even think a romantic dinner with Jerry Remy lit by his Johnny Pesky Pole candlesticks will help.

  10. Steve says:

    Am I right in assuming that the networks (and thus MLB) will be somewhat underwhelmed by the prospect of a Phillies/Rays World Series?

  11. Grey

    Grey says:

    @Steve: Yeah, I don’t think the casual fan will be glued to the set.

  12. Steve says:

    @Grey: Here’s a rare treat – today’s game is actually live on TV here.

    Once ESPN concludes its World’s Strongest Man coverage!

    Lucky I have three big TV screens right by my desk :-)

  13. BigFatHippo says:

    @Grey: Damm, I thought we’d bring BSA out and we hear from the Kiwi sector.

    @Steve: Who ya got? I’m goin Rays all the way. Magical year ends in world Series win.

  14. Grey

    Grey says:

    @Steve: By any chance, is Shane Victorino in the World’s Strongest Man competition? If not, the fix is in.

  15. Steve says:

    @BigFatHippo: Don’t really like Boston (why, I’m not sure), so Rays for me.
    @Grey: No sign of the Flyin’ Hawaiian. Looks like a bunch of eastern European ‘roid ragers.

  16. Grey

    Grey says:

    @Steve: Weird, cause Fox TV was making him seem like he could do anything. Maybe he flew to Tel Aviv to administer some ‘peace.’

  17. Steve says:

    That Upton fella hits it pretty clean doesn’t he?

  18. Grey

    Grey says:

    @Steve: Yeah, he’s going to be something special.

  19. BigFatHippo says:

    @Sawx fan who caught the HR ball and cheered

    Hey pal, he’s not out. Knock it on the field, whatta ya kiddin me?

  20. BigFatHippo says:

    @Grey: Ha

    BSA woulda stuck his face in front of the yellow line and deflected it.

  21. Steve says:

    Think it is Dave O’Brien and Rick Sutcliffe doing the game here. What’s the Razzball view of those two?

  22. Grey

    Grey says:

    @Steve: Let’s just say ESPN isn’t using their “A Team” for their international broadcasts.

  23. BSA says:

    @BigFatHippo: Hey I woke up just in time to see that dumbass hit a dinger. Oh yeah and Shaddap! Callin me out lets go Dirtdawgs!

  24. BigFatHippo says:

    @Steve: At least you don’t have to listen to Joe Morgan.

  25. BSA says:

    Time for a beer – its gonna be a long one if I have to keep watching big Papi strikeout and stand there in disbelief AGAIN!
    Is there enough man-love going on for Dice-K or what?

  26. BigFatHippo says:

    @BSA: You don’t like BJ? I’m pulling your Mancard.

  27. BSA says:

    @BigFatHippo: Not the BJ I am watching with the pussy strip down the middle of his head. Reminds me of some of those strip clubs down in ATL. Nice trim!
    Pulling my mancard – HA – I lost that when I got married and had kids! Aren’t you still trying to get yours back?!

  28. Steve says:

    @BigFatHippo: That’s only because Sunday Night Baseball has finished. During the season it’s a steady diet of Joe from 12.05pm every Monday.

    The thing that annoys me about guys like Morgan and Sutcliffe is that they get fixated on a particular thought and hammer it all game long – even if what’s going on in front of their eyes at that moment doesn’t actually bear it out.

    It’s like they have a book of baseball wisdom and select a few ‘nuggets’ to use for each broadcast – whether they’re relevant or not.

  29. BigFatHippo says:

    @BSA: Love Big Papi, he can play on my team anytime. Hope Kaz breaks JD’s face with a high heater.

  30. BigFatHippo says:

    @Steve: You hit the nail square on the head. They have cheat sheets, hot topics to talk about during the broadcast.

    My dad came back from Wrigley one time with Harry Carey’s cheat sheet. (The old man was a Cub fan, go figure.) Don’t know how he got it, I assume whiskey sours were involved in the transaction.

  31. BSA says:

    @BigFatHippo: Papi .161 BA in post season with 8 Ks and a team BA of .241. That is the problem, you don’t have him on your team. You have team BA of .292. You can have Papi’s 2008 post season.

  32. BSA says:

    @Grey: I’d be found sitting and texting in the front row to the left of side of the Sawx dugout. Weren’t the fans on the monster ready to throw that guy and the ball back on the field?

    The announcers put it right – drill BJ’s ass off the plate. Not like Kaz on Tek either.


  33. BigFatHippo says:

    @BSA: How long did you guys have to wait for a World Series championship?

    Give Papi a break man, he helped get you two. One against my guys and I was happy for them. Cussed first, then appreciated the accomplishment.

    We’ll give the Rays their day in the sun this year, Cards and Sawx will be back.

  34. BSA says:

    Wonder what two players won’t be on my team next year?

  35. BSA says:

    OK, what three players? How do you pay that kind of money for Monster seats, bring your glove, and miss the ball?

  36. BSA says:

    @BigFatHippo: That conversation is for another day. Not in the middle of some of the ugliest baseball I’ve seen from the Sox. I can’t even say ugly – wimpy is the word. Crappy starting pitching with wiffle ball bats.

    I’ll give the Rays their due in a few days.

    Remember I am also a Celtics fan so I can appreciate a “Last to First Season”

  37. BigFatHippo says:

    @BSA: Let it out man. Tell us how you really feel, then accept your fate.

    Magical year by the Rays. Reminds me of the Dodgers in 88 when Gibson hit the homer and Mickey Hatcher ran to first on every walk. (Mickey Hatcher? WTF)

  38. Steve says:

    What size feet does Youkilis have? They look enormous.

  39. BigFatHippo says:

    @BSA: Larry Bird is one of my favorite players of all time. I was a Sixers fan growing up so should have hated him but just couldn’t do it.

  40. BSA says:

    @BigFatHippo: Wait til the beers kick in! What happened to Grey by the way? Call my ass out then sit down? Shoot must be watching the game with his girlfriend’s mother who is so pissed she won’t let him near the keyboard.

  41. BigFatHippo says:

    @BSA: Grey has to give her a nightly foot massage, bunions and all. She has feet like Youklis so it takes a while.

  42. BSA says:

    @BigFatHippo: Call me Obama tonight – I’m worried if I am going to see any Red Sox make it past first. I am worried about the Patriots next Sunday. I am worried about this 5 run deficit. I am worried about Grey coming out of that foot rub alive. That’s what I am worried about

  43. BSA says:

    I’m worried about Tek and Ortiz getting booed in the same series. I am worried about being down to 17 outs.

  44. BSA says:

    I’m worried about Tek watching two nice pitches sail on bye. I’m worried about having to listen to these announcers for 5 more innings. That’s what I’m worried about.

  45. BigFatHippo says:

    @BSA: Haha, do you approve that message?

    The only thing left to do is…..Change (whatever that means)

    Methinks the beer kicked in, did for me.

  46. BSA says:

    @BigFatHippo: Change – I need to go change my pants after watching Garza laughing at the crowd’s response to Tek striking out – AGAIN!
    and yes I approve that message…..
    Holy Fuck give me a bat I can swing like that!

  47. Grey

    Grey says:

    Ooh… Just went out for a little while and came back to 5-0. Ouch. What happened? Upton go deep again? Where was this power during the season?

  48. Steve says:

    @Grey: Upton didn’t – but Pena and Longoria did.

  49. BigFatHippo says:

    @BSA: This is fun, I could listen to your meltdown all night, so to speak.

    Leadoff walk doesn’t help does it? Damm, heart of the order coming up.

  50. Grey

    Grey says:

    Watch out, world! Here comes Rays vs. Phils. Frankly, I’m excited. Not sure if anyone else will be. I’m rooting for the Rays and I hope this thing goes 7 games.

  51. BSA says:

    @Grey: He’s trying to increase his value for next year’s draft. Let’s hope Hideki drills Upton’s ass to give hims something to remember his trip to Fenway in October.

  52. Grey

    Grey says:

    @BSA: Half of me just wants the Rays to win so I can see the one lone Rays fan riot in the streets of downtown Tampa.

  53. BSA says:

    @BigFatHippo: Yeah lead off walk helped A LOT! Striking out Upton helps as well.

    @Grey: Watch out world here comes the first banner for the Rays because this series has them walking REALLY TALL!

    By the way is GOMES the MILLAR of the Rays!

    I want to slap the cheerleader.

  54. BSA says:

    @Grey: Have you ever watched a Rays game during the season? There is one guy who sits just to the left of homeplate and he never shut up. The stadium was so quiet and he was so annoying you could hear him the whole game. Even Jerry Remy mentioned how annoying he was during the telecasts.

    That is your lone REAL RAYS fan who will be rioting in the streets.

  55. BSA says:

    @BSA: Hey wait where does Hippo live again? Tampa?

  56. Grey

    Grey says:

    @BSA: Oh, yeah. I watched them multiple times. Their fans are pathetic. I’m assuming there’s going to be more Yankee fans at the World Series than Rays fans.

  57. BigFatHippo says:

    @BSA: Lead off walk is better than walk off lead. You’re still in it, keep the faith.

  58. BSA says:

    @Grey: Its kind of sick but check out the guys behind homeplate. I think they’re sitting on their hands and are thinking, “How much did I pay to experience this up close and personal?”

  59. BSA says:

    @BigFatHippo: Faith: don’t let your love turn to hate
    Right now we got to
    Keep the faith

    If I didn’t have faith I would have gone to bed in the third.
    There’s another gem, “The Red Sox are in deep trouble.”

  60. Grey

    Grey says:

    @BSA: Eh, no real fans can afford those seats anyway. Unless you’re Ben Affleck.*

    That was sarcasm. He’s about as real a fan as everyone who attends a Rays game, except for the Lone Crazy Fan or LCF but not to be confused with the Least Common Factor.

  61. BigFatHippo says:

    @BSA: That’s not me to the left of home plate. If I wanted to annoy Jerry Remy I’d go to Fenway.

    Probably get knifed, but I’d go just for the fun of it.

  62. BigFatHippo says:

    @Grey: Think Ben Affleck even knows who Johnny Pesky is?

  63. BSA says:

    @Grey: LCF- I almost thought you were referencing the Red Sox starting pitchers this series.

    On the fake fans:
    If I didn’t say it already I work in a middle school and the kids went to NY today and one kid asked me if he should were his Boston hat on the trip. You know me I told him, if you’re a fan wear it. He responds, “Nah, I think I should were my Yankee hat since I am going to NY. I told him to get away from me.”

  64. BSA says:

    @BigFatHippo: You know Affleck has taken some photo ops with Pesky only to walk away saying, “Who was that?”

    They wouldn’t stick you in Boston, that’s too quick! You might be dragged up to the bleachers, beat down, and escorted back to your seat with a pat on the back so you can try it again. We’re all about second chances!

  65. Grey

    Grey says:

    @BSA: This is gonna sound a bit like Bill Simmons, but I think the Sox are going through what Rocky went through in the first half of Rocky III and the Rays are Clubber Lang.

  66. BSA says:

    This sucks – I’ve seen this Kazmir before and he is untouchable in his current state.

  67. BSA says:

    Hey girl can I hit ya back – That commercial cracks me up!

    Anyways back to baseball – I agree and that is why Papi should have shut his mouth after game one.

    I am worried about how bitter that pill will be for him to swallow from his recliner next week! I am worried about having to listen to all the pundits tell me the Sox lost because they didn’t have Manny. That is what I am worried about.

    My name is BSA and I approve this message for change!

  68. Grey

    Grey says:

    @BSA: That commercial kinda creeps me out.

  69. BSA says:

    Kinda like the clown in the background?

  70. BSA says:

    There is your white flag! Papelbon in the 7th.

  71. BSA says:

    “Trying to put the hammer down.”?
    “The champagne is on ice.” Hopefully a jinx in the making.

    Check out those poor TB fans in the front row. They don’t know how to act!

    That guy with the yellow sign ain’t leavin without some bruises.

  72. Steve says:

    Astonishing observation from Rick Sutcliffe:

    Dustin Pedroia plays to win.

  73. BSA says:

    Sorry Papi.
    Sniff, I belive, I believe (he says with fingers trembling)

  74. BSA says:

    Hippo – what was that about Nancy Drew?

    Another gem – Bedlam in Beantown.

  75. BSA says:

    Pinch hit for Tek – What can Casey do?

  76. BSA says:

    “And somewhere men are laughing and somewhere children shout;
    But there is no joy in Mudville — mighty Casey has struck out. ”

    but Kotsay catches up to one and brings up Crisp who only needs a single, while the Mini-Papi waits on deck for a rattled Wheeler.

  77. BSA says:

    Write this one down – “This one will be a comeback of all comebacks!”

    Side note, still won’t challenge being down 3-0 to the Yankees.

  78. BSA says:

    The crowd goes wild for Coco Puffs!

  79. Grey

    Grey says:


  80. Steve says:

    @Grey: Crikey. Worth staying at work for.

  81. BSA says:

    Nancy Drew continues the Mysteries as they go to Tampa. Its all about the jinx, “The champagne is on ice.”

  82. Freak says:

    I wonder if Joe Maddon regrets taking Kazmir out for no reason.

  83. Grey

    Grey says:

    @Freak: It’s all part of the master plan to show how brilliant he was to save Shields for Saturday.

  84. BSA says:

    @Steve: Crikey is right (whatever that means) worth staying up and having to go to work on 5 hours of sleep.

    ****Will now take comments to next post****

  85. it is stuff like this why i love this site:

    20. Daisuke Matsuzaka – In the spirit of globalization, I had my Dice-K comments translated into Japanese then translated back to English for our Razzball readers. Here’s what I was left with, “Dice-K’s outlying numbers warned of impending tsunami. Luckily Red Sox bring Hello Kitty toaster and make bread of opponents. Sayonara.” Preseason Rank #23, Preseason Predictions: 17-7/4.00/1.25/200, Final Numbers: 18-3/2.90/1.32/154

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