After I posted the top 40 starters for 2009 fantasy baseball, there was a public outcry in the comments. Where is so and so?! It was as if I butchered their bunny rabbit like the Roger and Me lady. No one’s butchering your bunny rabbit, friend. Your bunny rabbit’s fine. Unfortunately, I don’t think your bunny rabbit’s a top 40 starter. Your bunny rabbit, friend, is a top 60 starter. How’s dem carrots? BTW, while the 2009 fantasy baseball rankings are the gospel, they aren’t set in stone. I update them occasionally. Anyway, here’s the top 60 starters for 2009 fantasy baseball:
41. Justin Verlander – This is the first tier of these starters. This tier I call, “Guys I took grief for leaving off my top 40 starters list.” Every other ‘pert has Verlander in the 25 to 30 range. There’s lots of anecdotal evidence why he wasn’t that good last year. The new pitching coach picked out a flaw in his mechanics, at Tigerfest Verlander admitted his arm was tired from 2006, Inge’s butt pats aren’t as firm as Pudge’s, etc. Maybe these things are true, or maybe no one wants to admit Verlander is not the pitcher he showed in 2006. In 2006, Verlander left a huge amount of baserunners on. His ERA that year was 3.63. His FIP ERA, which is basically ERA without fielding, was 4.35. So he was really a 4.35 ERA pitcher the year that he was tremendous. Then throw in his Ks have gone down, his walks have gone up. I purposely left him off the top 40 starters because I don’t want him on any team at the spot he’s being drafted. In the end, Verlander is a 4.00 ERA, 1.30 WHIP pitcher. That’s fine, it’s just not a 25 to 30 range pitcher like others would have you believe. 2009 Projections: 15-9/4.00/1.30/160
42. Zach Grienke – I think Rudy’s 20 risky pitchers post says it all on Greinke. I’m especially concerned this year about pitchers who went from reliever to starter in the last two years. Remember Reliever to Starter to DL. It’s not that I won’t draft one, I just want to preach caution. Then you throw in the fact, Greinke’s two years removed from a nervous breakdown and he plays for the Royals. Put on the breaks, people. The Royals are not this year’s Rays. 2009 Projections: 9-7/4.10/1.30/130 and starts missed.
43. Brett Myers – See Greinke, Zach or 1/18th of an inch above. 2009 Projections: 12-5/4.30/1.32/130 and starts missed.
44. Ted Lilly – Also mentioned in the 20 risky pitcher post. Caveat emptor as they say in Honduras. 2009 Projections: 12-10/4.30/1.25/160
45. Ryan Dempster – See Myers, Brett then see Greinke, Zach then see 20 risky pitchers post. I’m probably most concerned about Dempster from this tier. His 2008 screams outlier. Here, listen… Dempster’s 2008 season, “Outlier!” See? 2009 Projections: 9-7/4.50/1.35/120 and starts missed.
46. Derek Lowe – This is a new tier. I call this tier, “Guys I’d draft to be my third or fourth starter.” This tier goes from here to Kuroda. Derek Lowe has proven himself to be a reliable workhorse, just nothing that flashy in the K department. A steady pitcher from one or two of your starters helps you when you take fliers on other guys cough David Price cough. I already went over Derek Lowe’s move to the Braves in detail. 2009 Projections: 14-10/3.60/1.22/140
47. Clayton Kershaw – The walks worry me. 52 in 107.2 innings is P to the lenty. That’s why he’s this low. The Ks have me excited. He’s definitely worth a flier. I do think he can outperform this ranking. 2009 Projections: 11-6/4.20/1.40/140
48. Jair Jurrjens – There’s concern about his jump in pitches/innings last year from the previous year, but he throws a low percentage of curves/sliders and lots of sinking fastballs. He’s not going to be an ace, but there’s good reason to believe he can be a solid number two to three. 2009 Projections: 12-8/3.75/1.35/150
49. Ubaldo Jimenez – Walk numbers like Kershaw but in Coors would usually lead me to tell you to pass, but his stuff is nasty. Like first name ain’t baby nasty. I’d be careful about the leagues where I grabbed Jimenez though. Walks in Coors could explode in your face in any league shallower than 12 team ones. 2009 Projections: 10-8/4.20/1.40/165
50. Fausto Carmona – Didn’t like him last year. I like him this year. Last year, he had a lot going against him. This year he still has no Ks against him. So I don’t like him that much. Everything in moderation, except moderation. You can quote me on that or whoever I just bogarted it from. 2009 Projections: 14-9/4.00/1.25/120
51. John Maine – He was pitching hurt last year and losing some speed on his fastball when he looked like crizz-ap. I don’t think he’s going to be an ace, but he could move up these rankings if he is indeed healthy in the spring, which he is claiming he will be. 2009 Projections: 13-7/3.85/1.35/150
52. Scott Baker – Mentioned in the 20 risky pitcher post and had a high amount of men left on base, but has enough ability to induce strikeouts to make me like him to an extent. I’m a bit of a whore for Ks if you haven’t noticed. 2009 Projections: 12-6/3.95/1.22/150
53. Andy Pettitte – I don’t want Pettitte in all leagues just those AL-Only ones. He’s way past the point of “accidentally” backing his ass up into a Clemens syringe. 2009 Projections: 15-10/4.40/1.40/160
54. Hiroki Kuroda – Doesn’t have the K/9 ratio to get too excited about and he was one of the largest FLAKES in the majors last year. (A FLAKE is basically a pitcher who goes from excellent to unusable from start to start. A FLAKE is also Manny Ramirez.) 2009 Projections: 13-9/3.90/1.25/120
55. Oliver Perez – This is a new tier. This tier goes from here to Pelfrey. I call this tier. “No thanks.” Perez can be great. Doesn’t matter, I’m off him like black off rice. 2009 Projections: 14-10/4.50/1.42/190
56. Gavin Floyd – Everything from last year points to him having more luck than stuff. In fact, CHONE projections for 2009 has Floyd at a 5.05 ERA. I just threw up a little in Gavin Floyd’s mouth. 2009 Projections: 12-11/4.50/1.32/140
57. Jeremy Bonderman – Bonderman’s career took a left turn down an alley in the red light district of Amsterdam and now it’s living with an STD in Copenhagen and it changed its name to Jan Lingön Strudel. Until Jan Lingön Strudel shows me a year where he’s worthwhile, I’m not drafting him. 2009 Projections: 9-10/4.50/1.40/125
58. Armando Galarraga – He had a FIP (ERA independent of fielding) of 4.88 compared to his real world 3.88. Or, I guess, imaginary world. Also, mentioned in the 20 risky pitcher post. 2009 Projections: 9-10/4.50/1.26/110
59. Chris Carpenter – There’s plenty of pitchers to choose from, give Carpenter a year to prove himself. That’s all, one year. Or maybe until the All-Star Break. Just don’t draft him out of the gate. It’s not worth the ulcer. 2009 Projections: 9-5/3.70/1.27/110 in 20 starts
60. Andy Sonnastine – Not that you thought I was a prostitute, but I wouldn’t touch him if you paid me. Also, mentioned in the 20 risky pitcher post. If you want to read a contrary opinion, Fangraphs likes him in 2009. You say tomato, I say marginal starter who doesn’t strikeout enough hitters. 2009 Projections: 9-9/4.50/1.30/100
61. Joe Saunders – What I said about Sonnastine2 2009 Projections: 11-7/4.15/1.26/95
63. Justin Duchscherer – Because this awful tier just won’t end, I had to make this the top 63 starters plus 2 post. Are you happy with yourself, Justin Dook-sheer? 2009 Projections: 5-7/3.85/1.15/70 and missed starts.
After the top 60 starters for 2009 fantasy baseball, there’s a lot of names, but these two stand out:
Jeremy Guthrie – Anyone who has read Razzball for longer than a minute (not an Urbandictionary minute which is actually long) knows that I love me some Guthrie. Hopefully he continues to be underrated. 2009 Projections: 12-10/3.90/1.25/130