09 Fantasy Baseball Cheat Sheet SP Rankings

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STARTING PITCHER (SP) RANKINGS 2009

1. Johan Santana – New York Mets (30)

Even though Santana has seemingly been a fantasy baseball god at starting pitcher for the past seven years, he will be just 30 years old for the entire 2009 season. Santana is in the prime of his career, and he has a very good Mets offense backing him up. When you combine all of Santana’s strengths against his weaknesses, he is clearly the safest starting pitcher option and extremely deserving of the #1 overall ranking heading into the 2009 season. The 2009 season should net Santana 15-20 wins and 220-230 strikeouts, an ERA around 2.75, and a WHIP no higher than 1.10.

2. Tim Lincecum – San Francisco Giants (25)

Even though Lincecum’s major league experience and track record really only amount to his success last year, Lincecum actually has the potential to be a better starting pitcher in 2009 fantasy baseball leagues than Johan Santana. However assuming the Giants have a hard time winning games in 2009, it wouldn’t be surprising to see a decrease in Lincecum’s win total from last year. Luckily however for fantasy baseball teams, Lincecum has an exceptional chance of once again leading all pitchers in strikeouts in 2009 while posting excellent ERA and WHIP numbers. Something in the range of 15 wins, 250 plus strikeouts, a 2.50-2.75 ERA, and a 1.10-1.20 WHIP seem likely for Lincecum in 2009.

3. CC Sabathia – New York Yankees (29)

Playing under the pressure in New York clearly is not the same as playing under the pressure in Milwaukee or even Cleveland. In Milwaukee they love you if you succeed and they still love you if you fail, in New York they love you if you succeed and they condemn you if you fail. All it takes is one slump to get the fans of New York beating on the back of Sabathia. And with the amount of innings already taxed on his arm, it wouldn’t be surprising to see Sabathia encounter a decent slump sometime during the 2009 season. If this happens and Sabathia’s confidence wavers even just a little bit, it could be a long first year in New York fro him. However even with this all said, Sabathia could post a horrible 4.00 ERA and still manage to rack up 15 wins with the Yankees offense backing him. Let’s hope it doesn’t come to that though, and if all goes as well as it could, Sabathia’s final 2009 stat line could include 20 wins, 220-230 strikeouts, a 3.50 ERA, and a 1.20 WHIP.

4. Brandon Webb – Arizona Diamondbacks (30)

As a ground ball pitcher, Webb has the luxury of not having his armed blown out by throwing mid 90’s with every pitch. Webb’s mid 80’s regular throwing motion helps his elbow and shoulder out tremendously, while also allowing him to stay healthy and pitch 200 plus innings year in and year out. At age 30, Webb should easily post numbers to be a top 10 overall fantasy baseball starting pitcher in 2009. Webb’s final 2009 stat line should look something like this: 18-20 wins, 170-190 strikeouts, 3.00 ERA, 1.15-1.20 WHIP.

5. Jake Peavy – San Diego Padres (28)

Much like Johan Santana, Peavy has also seemingly been a top fantasy baseball starting pitcher forever now. Yet at just age 28 for the 2009 season, Peavy actually has the potential to be better than his CY Young form has already shown. If Peavy remains with the Padres for the entire 2009 season his win total may remain low, but if he is traded to a winning team sometime during the 2009 season, his win total could skyrocket. 12-15 wins, 200 strikeouts, 2.80-3.00 ERA, 1.20 WHIP on the low end, with the potential for 18 wins, 220-230 strikeouts, 2.50-2.75 ERA, and a 1.05-1.10 WHIP on the high end for the 2009 season.

6. Cole Hamels – Philadelphia Phillies (25)

Age just age 25 and already having three years of major league pitching experience under his belt, Hamels who has improved his numbers during each of those three years, should continue this trend as he appears to have an excellent chance to post career high numbers across all scoring categories in 2009. Backed by an excellent Phillies offense, 18-20 wins, 200-220 strikeouts, 2.80-3.00 ERA, and a 1.00-1.05 WHIP are possible for Hamels in 2009.

7. Dan Haren – Arizona Diamondbacks (28)

Haren proved in 2008 that his one year breakout campaign in Oakland in 2007 wasn’t just luck or a fluke. At just age 28 for the 2009 season, Haren is in the prime of his career and is backed by a solid Arizona offense. A career year could be in store for Haren in 2009, with numbers approaching 18-20 wins, 220 strikeouts, a 2.80-3.00 ERA, and a 1.10 WHIP.

8. Roy Halladay – Toronto Blue Jays (32)

Just when we think maybe, just maybe, Halladay is starting to wear down, he goes out and posts a 20 win, 206 strikeout, 2.78 ERA, and 1.05 WHIP season in 2008. At age 32, Halladay is definitely at the pinnacle of his career, and I don’t expect too much of a drop off in production in 2009. 15-18 wins, 180-200 strikeouts, a 2.80-3.00 ERA, and a 1.10 WHIP can be expected from Halladay for the 2009 season.

9. John Lackey – Los Angeles Angels (30)

After missing the first month and a half to begin the 2008 season with an injury, Lackey still posted very good fantasy baseball stats by the end of the year. With health and age on his side entering the 2009 season, Lackey has the potential to post 15-18 wins, 180 strikeouts, a 3.00-3.25 ERA, and a WHIP around 1.20.

10. Cliff Lee – Cleveland Indians (30)

Even though Lee will enter the 2009 season as a top bust candidate on many fantasy baseball managers lists, his 2008 season doesn’t seem to be all just complete luck. Lee was always considered a top pitching prospect, and he already had an 18 win and two 14 win seasons in the major leagues in 2004, 2005, and 2006 already under his belt. It was just Lee’s absolutely horrible 2007 campaign that made his 2008 season look unbelievable and down right ridiculous. Yet the simple story is that the guy can pitch, and he has proven he can pitch in the past. And while expecting another season of his 2008 totals wouldn’t be smart, Lee still has the potential and ability to deserve a top 10 overall starting pitcher ranking heading into the 2009 fantasy baseball season. Expect numbers around 15-17 wins, 150 strikeouts, a 3.00-3.30 ERA, and a 1.25 WHIP.

11. Chad Billingsley – Los Angeles Dodgers (25)

Now that Derek Lowe is gone, Billingsley will be relied upon heavily by the Dodgers in 2009, as he will be expected to take over the role as the pitching staff ace. At just age 25 for the 2009 season, Billingsley has a young arm that is entering its prime. After posting 16 wins, 210 strikeouts, and an ERA at just 3.14 during the 2008 season, Billingsley definitely has the potential to become a top 10 overall fantasy baseball starting pitcher by the end of the 2009 season. 15-18 wins, 220 strikeouts, an ERA around 3.25 or below, and a WHIP around 1.25 seem like great possibilities for Billingsley in 2009.

12. Ervin Santana – Los Angeles Angels (26)

Santana finally returned to fantasy baseball glory in 2008, and at just age 26 for the 2009 season, he has the potential to be very good for the next five years. 15-18 wins, 220 strikeouts, 3.50 ERA, and a WHIP around 1.15 is possible for Santana in 2009.

13. Francisco Liriano – Minnesota Twins (25)

Liriano will enter the 2009 season two years removed from Tommy John surgery, and his outlook for a breakout and career year in 2009 is very possible. At just age 25 for the 2009 season, Liriano has the potential to post numbers in the range of 15 wins, 230 strikeouts, an ERA around 2.75, and a WHIP around 1.15 for the 2009 season.

14. Edinson Volquez – Cincinnati Reds (26)

As one of the top young starting pitchers in all of major league baseball, Volquez proved to fantasy baseball teams in 2008 that he is capable and worthy of being a top 10 overall starting pitcher for years to come. Volquez has a great chance to post 15-18 wins, 220 strikeouts, an ERA around 3.30, and a WHIP around 1.25 for the 2009 season.

15. Roy Oswalt – Houston Astros (31)

As the Astros pitching ace for the past seven years, Oswalt should once again be a top 20 overall fantasy baseball pitcher in 2009. Expecting 15 wins, 160 strikeouts, an ERA between 3.00-3.50, and a WHIP no higher than 1.20 seem likely for Oswalt in 2009.

16. Josh Beckett – Boston Red Sox (29)

After dominating the 2007 season, playoffs and World Series, Beckett had a season to forget in 2008. A return to 15 wins, 180 strikeouts, 3.80 ERA, and 1.15 WHIP seems likely for Beckett in 2009.

17. Felix Hernandez – Seattle Mariners (23) BREAKOUT

Equipped with a CY Young arm, Hernandez is not only the entire future of the Seattle Mariners at just age 23 for the 2009, but he has the potential to be a top 5 overall fantasy baseball starting pitcher in a year or two. Much like other star pitchers on losing teams, Hernandez will likely struggled again to post just 12 wins in 2009. However Hernandez’s other stats are excellent as he could easily tally 200 plus strikeouts, an ERA around 3.50, and a WHIP around 1.25 for the 2009 season.

18. Carlos Zambrano – Chicago Cubs (28)

Zambrano is young, consistent, and very reliable in fantasy baseball terms, so expecting another top 20 overall starting pitcher performance from him in 2009 is nearly guaranteed. 15-18 wins, 170 strikeouts, an ERA around 3.80, and a WHIP around 1.30 is a great bet for Zambrano in 2009.

19. Daisuke Matsuzaka – Boston Red Sox (28)

Luckily for Matsuzaka, the high powered Red Sox offense nets him plenty of wins. However Matsuzaka’s WHIP of 1.32 over the past two years is a bit of a concern, as a high ERA is likely to follow. If you want wins, Matsuzaka is your guy, but otherwise his ERA and WHIP numbers are just average. 15-18 wins, 180 strikeouts, a 4.00 ERA, and a 1.30 WHIP can be expected from Matsuzaka in 2009.

20. James Shields – Tampa Bay Rays (27)

A ton more reliable than Scott Kazmir, Shields could easily be considered the Rays #1 starting pitcher in 2009. If I am at a fantasy baseball draft in 2009, I take Shields over Kazmir three out of four times. Backed with an excellent offense in Tampa Bay, Shields could easily post 15-18 wins, 180 strikeouts, an ERA around 3.50, and a WHIP around 1.20.

21. Joba Chamberlain – New York Yankees (23) BREAKOUT

Chamberlain has the potential to emerge as a top 15 overall fantasy baseball starting pitcher by the end of the 2009 season. 15-18 wins, 200 plus strikeouts, 2.80 ERA, and a WHIP around 1.20 is possible for Chamberlain in 2009.

22. Justin Verlander – Detroit Tigers (26)

After a down year in 2008, Verlander is still a young ace flamethrower with an excellent run producing offense backing him. Verlander could easily reclaim his position as a top 15 overall fantasy baseball starting pitcher by the end of the 2009 season. A final stat line in 2009 could include 15-18 wins, 200 strikeouts, an ERA around 3.75, and a WHIP around 1.25.

23. Jon Lester – Boston Red Sox (25) BREAKOUT

At age 25 for the 2009 season, Lester with his health issues taken care of, is in the perfect position to post a career year in 2009. Lester will likely be drafted in the middle rounds of your 2009 fantasy baseball draft, however he has the potential to be a top 10 overall starting pitcher in fantasy baseball leagues by the end of the 2009 season. 15-18 wins, 200 plus strikeouts, 3.30 ERA, and a WHIP around 1.20 is possible for Lester in 2009.

24. Scott Kazmir – Tampa Bay Rays (25)

Even though Kazmir is considered the Rays pitching ace, his health has always been his major downfall. So accounting for time he likely misses during the 2009 season, expect Kazmir to tally 180 innings pitched, 12 wins, 190 strikeouts, an ERA between 3.25-3.50, and a WHIP around 1.25 for the 2009 season.

25. Erik Bedard – Seattle Mariners (30)

After joining the Mariners to begin the 2008 season, Bedard was supposed to become the pitching ace the Mariners needed to make the playoffs and eventually a World Series run. Unfortunately as we all know, Bedard clearly did not do his job in 2008. However if he can remain injury free in 2009, a bounce back year could easily be in store for Bedard this season. With this in mind, the potential for 15 wins, 200-220 strikeouts, an ERA around 3.25, and a WHIP around 1.20 is possible for Bedard in 2009.

26. Ryan Dempster – Chicago Cubs (32) BUST

A career year in 2008 will be extremely tough for Dempster to match in 2009, however he should still be good for 15 wins, 170 strikeouts, an ERA around 3.25, and a 1.25 WHIP for the 2009 season.

27. Chien Ming Wang – New York Yankees (29)

After a torn tendon and sprained foot shelved Wang for most of the 2008 season, a return to form and a potent Yankees offense could net him 15-18 wins, 100 strikeouts, an ERA around 3.75 ERA, and a 1.30 WHIP in 2009.

28. Rich Harden – Chicago Cubs (27)

After finally being able to stay healthy and start 25 games last year, Harden teaming with a very good run scoring Cubs offense in 2009, has the potential to post 15 wins, 170-190 strikeouts, an ERA around 2.50, and a WHIP around 1.15.

29. AJ Burnett – New York Yankees (32) BUST

Burnett has always had the potential to be a top 20 overall fantasy baseball starting pitcher, however constant injuries have kept him from achieving excellent fantasy baseball stats. A place in the Yankees rotation should give him plenty of run support to make a run at 20 wins, however after posting a career high 221 innings pitched in 2008, Burnett may be knocking on the injury bugs door for the 2009 season. You can definitely take a chance on Burnett, but just don’t draft him over other proven starting pitchers.

30. Adam Wainwright – St. Louis Cardinals (27) BREAKOUT

After overtaking the injured Chris Carpenter in 2008 as the Cardinals ace starting pitcher, Wainwright at just age 27 for the 2009 season, is entering the prime of his career and ready for a breakout campaign in 2009. If Wainwright can manage to stay healthy and pitch 200 innings, he has the potential to post 15-18 wins, 140-160 strikeouts, an ERA around 3.30, and a WHIP around 1.20.

31. Ben Sheets – Free Agent (31) BUST

Sheets has the potential to be a top 10 overall fantasy baseball starting pitcher year in and year out, however his constant injury history has limited him throughout his career. Currently a free agent, Sheets will need to rely on a good team signing him if he can be counted on for more then 10 wins during the 2009 season. If we keep our expectations modest, then 8-10 wins, 150 strikeouts, a 3.30-3.50 ERA, and a WHIP around 1.20 seems realistic for Sheets in 2009.

32. Derek Lowe – Atlanta Braves (36)

After posting four consecutive seasons (2005-2008) with a 3.00 something ERA, and a WHIP at 1.27 or below, Lowe looks to be one of the top 30 overall fantasy baseball starting pitchers for the 2009 season. Lowe could post 15 wins, 140 strikeouts, an ERA around 3.50, and a WHIP around 1.20 with the Braves in 2009.

33. Zack Greinke – Kansas City Royals (25)

Greinke isn’t unknown, but with two excellent fantasy years under his belt and not many wins to show his success, his 2009 fantasy baseball draft ranking will actually be pretty low compared to the other starting pitchers available in fantasy baseball leagues. 15 wins, 180-200 strikeouts, a sub 3.50 ERA, and a WHIP around 1.25 seem likely for Greinke in 2009. Best of all, Greinke could actually do better than those stats suggest, and he could easily finish the 2009 season as a top 15 overall fantasy baseball starting pitcher for the 2009 season.

34. Yovani Gallardo – Milwaukee Brewers (23) BREAKOUT

With Ben Sheets out of town, the once prized prospect Gallardo will get a chance to be the Brewers pitching ace in 2009. If Gallardo can post 200 innings pitched for the Brewers in 2009, his stats should come close to 15 wins, 200 strikeouts, a 3.30 ERA, and a WHIP around 1.20.

35. Matt Garza – Tampa Bay Rays (25) BREAKOUT

While Scott Kazmir, James Shields, and now even rookie David Price get all the attention on the Rays pitching staff, Garza at just age 25 for the 2009 season is entering the prime of his career. With an excellent offense backing him, Garza has the potential to post 15 wins, 180 strikeouts, a 3.50 ERA, and a 1.25 WHIP. By the end of the 2009 season, Garza could actually be more valuable in fantasy baseball leagues than both Kazmir and Price.

36. Scott Baker – Minnesota Twins (27)

With Johan Santana gone and Francisco Liriano out for a majority of the 2008 season, Baker took over the #1 starting pitcher role in 2008 and did an excellent job for the Twins and fantasy baseball teams. Now entering the prime of his career at age 27 for the 2009 season, another increase in production from Baker is likely. 12-15 wins, 160-180 strikeouts, an ERA around 3.50, and a WHIP around 1.20 seem like a great bet for Baker in 2009.

37. Chris Young – San Diego Padres (30)

The only downfall to Young’s fantasy baseball game is his lack of wins. However with a sterling 3.46, 3.13, and 3.96 ERA, combined with a 1.13, 1.10, and 1.29 WHIP over the past three seasons, it is completely absurd that Young only recorded 27 wins out of 80 starts! Overall, Young’s lack of wins is solely placed on the failure of the Padres offense and not Young’s pitching ability. Yet even if he cannot tally more wins in 2009, Young’s overall stats will be very helpful for fantasy baseball teams in 2009. Numbers in the range of 10 wins, 160-180 strikeouts, an ERA around 3.40, and a WHIP around 1.20 seem likely for Young in 2009.

38. Joe Saunders – Los Angeles Angels (28) BUST

After wadding through the Angels rotation over the past two seasons, everything finally clicked for Saunders during the 2008 season. Expecting 12-15 wins, 120 strikeouts, an ERA around 3.50, and a WHIP around 1.20 seem like a good bet for Saunders in 2009.

39. Oliver Perez – New York Mets (27)

After posting a very good season in 2007, Perez regressed in 2008 and posted just an average season in fantasy baseball terms. Now after resigning with the Mets, Perez has the potential to tally 12-15 wins, 200 strikeouts, an ERA around 3.80, and a WHIP around 1.25 for the 2009 season.

40. John Danks – Chicago White Sox (24)

Danks busted out last year, and at just age 24 for the 2009 season, he should has the potential to improve significantly upon his 2008 stats. With better run support from the White Sox in 2009, Danks could easily post 15 wins, 180 strikeouts, an ERA around 3.25, and a WHIP around 1.20.

41. Jered Weaver – Los Angeles Angels (26) BREAKOUT

Weaver didn’t have a breakout year as many expected in 2008, and in reality he was actually just very average to below average by fantasy baseball standards in 2008. Now entering his fourth year in the majors, Weaver could easily have that breakout year everyone is expecting. 15 wins, 200 strikeouts, 3.75 ERA, and a WHIP around 1.20 is possible for Weaver in 2009.

42. John Maine – New York Mets (28)

After a breakout year in 2007, Maine regressed a bit in 2008 and posted average stats for a fantasy baseball starting pitcher. Expect numbers in the range of 12 wins, 180 strikeouts, 3.90 ERA, and a WHIP around 1.25 for Maine during the 2009 season.

43. Justin Duchscherer – Oakland Athletics (31) BUST

As Oakland’s all-star in 2008, Duchscherer finished the 2008 season as a top 20 overall fantasy baseball starting pitcher. Entering the 2009 season, Duchscherer will be Oakland’s pitching ace and he has a good chance at posting 12 wins, 130 strikeouts, an ERA around 3.25, and a WHIP around 1.15.

44. Aaron Harang – Cincinnati Reds (31)

After an extremely disappointing season last year, Harang will be looking to bounce back in 2009. Expecting numbers in the range of 12 wins, 180-200 strikeouts, a 3.75 ERA, and a WHIP around 1.20 are reasonable for the 2009 season.

45. Javier Vazquez – Atlanta Braves (33)

Even though Vazquez tends to have a somewhat high ERA around 4.00, Vazquez’s potential and main fantasy baseball asset lies in his ability to stay healthy and post high strikeout totals. Now in Atlanta for the 2009 season, Vazquez could easily post 12-15 wins, 200 plus strikeouts, an ERA around 4.00, and a WHIP around 1.30.

46. Jeremy Guthrie – Baltimore Orioles (30)

Guthrie has been the only Orioles starting pitcher who has been consistent and down right good over the past two years. While the high win totals aren’t there because the Orioles can’t win many games, the rest of the stats are very good for Guthrie. Expect 10-12 wins, 130 strikeouts, an ERA around 3.70, and a WHIP around 1.20 during the 2009 season.

47. Matt Cain – San Francisco Giants (24)

Before CY Young Tiny Tim Lincecum came along, Cain was considered the Giants best young starting pitcher who was eventually going to be their future ace and CY Young candidate. However after three consecutive disappointing seasons, Cain’s value has dropped tremendously in fantasy baseball leagues. Yet with so much potential, Cain and his 24 year old arm could finally breakout in 2009. 10-12 wins, 200 strikeouts, an ERA around 3.50, and a WHIP around 1.25 is possible if Cain finally pitches up to his potential during the 2009 season.

48. Josh Johnson – Florida Marlins (25) BREAKOUT

Assuming Johnson can stay healthy for all or a majority of the 2009 season, he has the potential to be a top 30 overall fantasy baseball starting pitcher by the end of the 2009 season. Johnson has the ability to post 15 wins, 200 strikeouts, an ERA between 3.25-3.50, and a WHIP around 1.25.

49. David Price – Tampa Bay Rays (23)

Already an uber hyped prospect, Price looks ready to take over a starting pitcher role for the Rays in 2009. His innings pitched should be limited to around 180 innings, so expecting 12-15 wins, 180 strikeouts, an ERA around 2.80, and a WHIP around 1.15 seem likely for Price in 2009.

50. Fausto Carmona – Cleveland Indians (25)

Carmona was a huge disappointment in 2008 after his superb 19 win and 3.06 ERA season in 2007. But then again, the entire Cleveland Indians team disappointed in 2008 after their World Series appearance the year before. A rebound is very possible from Carmona in 2009, as he will be just 25 years old during the 2009 season. Carmona will likely get drafted very late in your fantasy baseball draft, and he could provide excellent late round value with 10-12 wins, 130 strikeouts, an ERA around 3.50-3.75, and a WHIP around 1.20.

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