Fantasy Baseball Position Breakdown '09

Bret HoffmanCorrespondent IMarch 26, 2009

GLENDALE, AZ - MARCH 13:   Josh Hamilton #32 of the Texas Rangers at bat during a Spring Training game against the Los Angeles Dodgers on March 13, 2009 at Camelback Ranch in Glendale, Arizona.  (Photo by Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty Images)

Before going any further, please realize you are about to embark on a journey.

This article is an in-depth, postition-by-position breakdown for fantasy baseball drafters to use in 2009.

In fact, I wrote this article for a blog site,, that a buddy and I just started last week.

A lot of research and effort went into compiling this thing.

An explanation, though it's only my opinion, is offered in an attempt to justify my rankings. Of course, I'm not naive enough to believe that everyone is going to agree with me, so I openly welcome your opinions, good or bad.

This list is based on keeper fantasy baseball leagues, as opposed to leagues that redraft every year.

Also, this list is intended for the inexperienced fantasy goer, the new guy on the block who could use a little guidance in his first draft.

For you gurus out there, you probably won't find much, if anything, you don't already know.

Please remember that this is an opinion article only. However, I do follow the MLB very closely and am an experienced fantasy player.

By the way, I chose Hamilton as the cover boy simply because he had a phenomenal 2008 campaign and I love his story. He's good for baseball.

So, without further adieu, here we go!


Bret's 2009 MLB Position by Position Rankings


Catchers are pretty thin this year, so grabbing a good one early might be a good idea

1) Joe Mauer (though he's having some back trouble, he's still a batting champ and only 25)

2) Geovany Soto (rookie of the year last year, only going to get better)

3) Russell Martin (can hit and run, also plays third base, which can come in handy)

4) Chris Iannetta ( had 18 home runs last year, turns 26 this year)

5) Victor Martinez/Kelly Shoppach (Martinez might move to first base, you have to own both)

6) Brian McCann (hit .301 with 23 home runs and 87 RBInot too shabby at all)

7) Ryan Doumit (if he can stay healthy)

8) Matt Wieters (supposedly a stud, only thing is he might begin season at Triple-A)

9) Mike Napoli (hit .273 with 20 home runs, has to stay healthy)

10) Ivan Rodriguez (playing well in the WBC earned him a shot with the Astros, I like it)

Others to watch: Kenji Johjima, Kurt Suzuki, Dioner Navarro, John Baker, Taylor Teagarden/Jarrod Saltalamachia, Yadier Molina.

Don't Count Out: Jorge Posada, Jason Varitek, A.J Pierzynski, Gerald Laird.


First Base

If you end up with any of the top seven, I can guarantee you'll be happy.

1) Albert Pujols (the guy is a beast and still relatively young)

2) Miguel Cabrera (still young, eligible at first and third base, will have a better year this year)

3) Justin Morneau (solid in every category, MVP candidate)

4) Mark Teixeira (will be even better with the Yankees lineup protecting him)

5) Kevin Youkilis (hits for high average, has good pop, gold glover, durable)

6) Ryan Howard (hits for a lot of power, just needs to cut down on the K's)

7) Lance Berkman (though a bit older, is still an absolute stud)

8) Derek Lee (older, but still a stud too)

9) Prince Fielder (had a bit of a down year last year, but I blame the veggies)

10) Adrian Gonzalez (probably the most underrated, had 36 home runs and 119 RBI last year)

Others to Watch: Carlos Pena, Joey Votto, Chris Davis, Adam LaRoche, Kendry Morales, Connor Jackson, James Loney, Mike Jacobs

Don't Count Out: Carlos Delgado, Jason Giambi and his Power Stache, Lyle Overbay, Todd Helton, Paul Konerko


Second Base

Probably one of the weakest postions, which makes the standouts here even more valuable.

1) Dustin Pedroia (MVP, hits for average and power, still only 25)

2) Chase Uttley (nobody hits for more power at the position)

3) Ian Kinsler (stud in the making, had breakout campaign in 2008)

4) Alexi Ramirez (hit .290 with 21 home runs and 77 RBI out of nowhere)

5) Dan Uggla (increasing power numbers every year, just needs to cut down on the strikouts and errors)

6) Brandon Phillips (hit 21 home runs with a .260 average to go along with 23 stolen bases)

7) Robinson Cano (had a bad year last year, I look for him to rebound this year)

8) Brian Roberts (stole 40 bases last year while hitting .296 with nine homers)

9) Jose Lopez (hit .297 with 17 home runs and 89 RBI)

10) Mark DeRosa (had 21 home runs and 87 RBI in 2008)

Others to Watch: Placido Polanco, Howie Kendrick, Orlando Hudson, Kelly Johnson, Ricky Weeks, Akinori Iwamura, Felipe Lopez, Freddy Sanchez, Kazuo Matsui, Alexi Casilla.

Don't Count Out: Rich Aurilla, Luis Castillo.


Third Base

1) David Wright (stud, need I say more?)

2) Evan Longoria (stud, one of the best overall keeper options)

3) Alex Rodriguez (has the injury to go along with the steroid issue, so he slips to third)

4) Aramis Ramirez (hit .289 with 27 home runs and 111 RBI)

5) Chipper Jones (had a tremendous 2008 season, can still be one of the best if healthy)

6) Jorge Cantu (hit .277 with 29 home runs and 95 RBI)

7) Melvin Mora (hit .285 with 23 home runs and 104 RBI, downside is he's 37)

8) Adrian Beltre (hit .266 with 25 home runs and 77 RBI, keep an eye on his shoulder)

9) Alex Gordon (hit .260 with 16 home runs and 59 RBI, fairly high ceiling for improvement)

10) Kevin Kouzmanoff (hit .260 with 23 home runs and 84 RBI, and he's only 27)

Others to Watch: Mark Reynolds, Garret Atkins, Joe Crede, Chone Figgins, Pedro Feliz, Pablo Sandoval.

Dont Count Out: Scott Rolen, Mike Lowell, Carlos Guillen, Eric Chavez, Hank Blalock, Casey Blake, Troy Glaus (if he gets healthy).



1) Hanley Ramirez (young, hits for average and power, one of the best overall keepers)

2) Jose Reyes (young, stole 56 bases in 2008, good average with decent pop)

3) Jimmy Rollins (stole 47 bases, decent average and power, he's 30 now though)

4) Stephen Drew (hit .291 with 21 home runs and 67 RBI, can stay healthy unlike big bro)

5) Derek Jeter (he's 34 but still in great shape, almost a lock to hit .300 with double-digit home runs)

6) J.J. Hardy (hit .283 with 24 home runs and 74 RBI, tore it up after the all-star break, only 26)

7) Rafael Furcal (hit .357, but back injuries hampered his stats, can be good if he's healthy)

8) Mike Aviles (hit .325 with 10 home runs and 51 RBI in only 102 games, fairly high ceiling)

9) Michael Young (solid across the board, reliable)

10) Troy Tulowitzki (still only 24, look for a rebound year)

Others to Watch: Jed Lowrie, Orlando Cabrera, Khalil Greene, Elvis Andrus, Gordon Beckham, Jeff Keppinger, Yunel Escobar, Martin Prado.

Dont Count Out: Miguel Tejada, Ryan Theriot, Nomar Garciapara, Edgar Renteria, Christian Guzman.


Designated Hitter

1) David Ortiz (if he's healthy, he's a beast, losing Manny does hurt him a bit, only DH eligible)

2) Vladimir Guerrero (not much left in the knees, but as a DH he's worth a shot)

3) Aubrey Huff (can stroke, also has other postion eligibility)

4) Jason Kubel (he's 26, hit .272 with 20 home runs and 78 RBI)

5) Travis Hafner (health hazard, but if healthy can help you in the power categories)

6) Pat Burrell (hits for power, but only hit .250, now with the Rays, OF eligible)

7) Jim Thome (plenty of power left, but he only hit .245)

8) Jack Cust (plenty of power, but a horrible average as he hit just .231)

9) Hideki Matsui (solid player, but he's getting old)

10) Luke Scott (good power numbers, but only a .257 average)

Others to Watch: Travis Snider, Billy Butler.

Dont Count Out: Hank Blalock, Ken Griffey Jr, Gary Sheffield, Kevin Millar, Nick Swisher.



This is the deepest positon. It's pretty hard to narrow the list down to 10, so I went with 15. It was still tough.

1) Ryan Braun (young, solid across the board, be weary of the rib injury but still take him)

2) Josh Hamilton (strong chance to at least get close to 2008 or pass them, either way its good)

3) Grady Sizemore (a 30-30 guy in home runs and steals, only 26)

4) Carlos Beltran (hit .284 with 27 home runs, 112 RBI, and stole 25 bases, he's 31 now)

5) Matt Holliday (I don't expect a big let down in Oakland like the experts do)

6) Alfonso Soriano (can still give you double-digit power and steals)

7) Jason Bay (hit .286 with 31 home runs and 101 RBI, will have a lot of oppurtunities in that offense)

8) Carlos Quentin (only 26, hit .288 with 36 home runs and 100 RBI, has wrist problems)

9) Manny Ramirez (you know he's going to hit, but there are health and attitude issues, and he's 36)

10) Magglio Ordonez (hit .317 with 21 home runs and 103 RBI, he's 35 though)

11) Ryan Ludwick (hit .299 with 37 home runs and 113 RBI)

12) Carlos Lee (hit .314 with 28 home runs and 100 RBI, he's 32)

13) Vernon Wells (solid numbers, good if healthy)

14) Adam Dunn (a lot of power, sub-par average, also first-base eligible)

15) Jay Bruce (a very promising prospect, he's only 21, expect big things to come)

Others to Watch: Hunter Pence, Cory Hart, Nate McLouth, Chris Young, Ichiro Suzuki, Bobby Abreu, Torii Hunter, Curtis Granderson, Shin-Soo Choo, Nick Markakis, Shane Victorino, Willy Taveras, Matt Kemp, Andre Ethier, Jermaine Dye, Johnny Damon, Xavier Nady, BJ Upton, Carl Crawford, Jacoby Ellsbury, Alex Rios, Milton Bradley, Juan Rivera, Adam Lind, Coco Crisp, David DeJesus, Delmon Young, Denard Span (for my buddy Smurf), Justin Upton, David Murphy, Brad Hawpe, Rick Ankiel, Colby Rasmus, Brandon Moss, Tony Gwynn Jr, Lastings Milledge, Elijah Dukes, Josh Willingham, Ryan Church, Cody Ross, Cameron Maybin, Jeremy Hermida, Josh Anderson, Kosuke Fukudome, Norris Hopper.

Dont Count Out: Raul Ibanez, Garrett Anderson, JD Drew, Jeff Francoeur, Mike Cameron, Brain Giles, Jose Guillen, Eric Byrnes, Andruw Jones, Cliff Floyd.


Starting Pitching

Like the outfield, pitching is also very deep. Again, I went with 15 picks.

1) CC Sabathia (going to be even tougher to beat as a Yankee)

2) Tim Lincecum (just pray the mechanics dont break the youngster down)

3) Johan Santanna (won 16 games with a 2.53 ERA, still one of the best in the business)

4) Brandon Webb (won 22 games in 2008)

5) Cliff Lee (last year's Cy Young winner in the A.L.)

6) Roy Halladay (won 20 games in 2008)

7) Josh Beckett (if healthy, he is one of the most dominant pitchers in the game)

8) Jon Lester (still only 25, tough competitor with room to get even better)

9) Jake Peavy (only won 10 games but had a 2.85 ERA so it wasn't all his fault, still only 27)

10) Cole Hamels (only 25, won 14 games in 2008, has had some elbow problems)

11) Roy Oswalt (the little man can still pump it and win his fair share of games)

12) Daisuke Matsuzaka (won a lot of games, but also had issues with walks that may haunt him)

13) A.J. Burnett (won a lot with the Blue Jays, imagine how he'll do with the Yankees)

14) James Shields (Big Game James won 14 games last year and could do better in 2009)

15) Scott Kazmir (one of the better lefties in the game on a surging young team, still only 25)

Others to Watch: Dan Haren, Ervin Santanna, Edinson Volquez, Chris Young, Carlos Zambrano, David Price, Ricky Nolasco, Chris Carpenter, Adam Wainwright, Yovani Gallardo, Felix Hernandez, Erik Bedard, Francisco Liriano, Justin Duchscherer, Matt Garza, Chien Ming Wang, Joba Chamberlain, John Lackey, Joe Saunders, Jered Weaver, Brad Penny, Justin Verlander, Jeremy Bonderman, Derek Lowe, Fausto Carmona, Javier Vasquez, Jair Jurrjens, Aarron Cook, Jeremy Guthrie, Jesse Litsch, Gavin Floyd, Mark Buehrle, John Danks, Gil Meche, Zack Greinke, Scott Baker, Homer Bailey, Dana Eveland, Rich Harden, Armando Galarraga, Oliver Perez, Mike Pelfrey, Brett Myers, Joe Blanton, Daniel Cabrera, John Lannan, Ryan Dempster, Johnny Cueto, Aaron Harang, Wandy Rodriguez, Paul Maholm, Joel Pineiro, Kyle Lohse, Max Scherzer, Clayton Kershaw, Chad Billingsley, Matt Cain, Jonathan Sanchez.

Dont Count Out: Ben Sheets, Hiroki Kuroda, Jason Schmidt, Pedro Martinez, Randy Wolf, Bronson Arroyo, Andy Pettitte, Kevin Millwood, Tim Hudson, Curt Schilling ?, Dontrelle Willis, Randy Johnson, Tom Glavine, Bartolo Colon, John Smoltz, Barry Zito, Sidney Ponson, Livan Hernandez, Jamie Moyer, Mike Hampton.


Relief Pitching

1) Francisco Rodriguez (dont expect another record-breaking year, but still a lot of saves)

2) Jonathan Papelbon (could easily be the No. 1 closer in 2009)

3) Joakim Soria (only 24, had 42 saves and a 1.62 ERA in 2008)

4) Mariano Rivera (old, but still reliable)

5) Brad Lidge (was a perfect 41-41 in 2008, I won't promise a repeat though)

6) Joe Nathan (had 39 saves and a 1.39 ERA in 2008, could finish top five easy)

7) Jose Valverde (had 44 saves in 2008)

8) Jonathan Broxton (only 24 with a high ceiling, could become elite eventually)

9) Bobby Jenks (had 30 saves and a 2.65 ERA with back problems, imagine him healthy)

10) Kerry Wood (can still be dominate if healthy, had 34 saves for the Cubs in 2008)

Others to watch: BJ Ryan, Francisco Cordero, George Sherrill, Carlos Marmol, Huston Street, Justin Masterson, Jason Isringhausen, Brandon Lyon, Joey Devine, Brad Ziegler, Mark Lowe, Frank Francisco, Mike Gonzalez, Matt Lindstrom, JJ Putz, Joe Hanrahan, Kevin Gregg, Matt Capps, Chris Perez, Jason Motte, Jon Rauch, Chad Qualls, Manny Corpas, Heath Bell, Brian Wilson.

Don't Count Out: Trevor Hoffman, Troy Percival, Chad Cordero.


By: Bret Hoffman (March 19, 2009)

Posted by The Sport Spa at 8:12 AM 0 comments


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