A Look at the Hitters and Pitchers Heading into Fantasy Baseball 2009

nate dunnContributor IFebruary 26, 2009

So I was a little overwhelmed last year when I said I'd give my top five or 10 at each position. I ended up getting bored writing about guys like Bengie Molina and Aaron Harang who I could care less about.

Instead of breaking down every position, i'm looking at my favorite top 15 Batters and Pitchers. Less reading for you, less writing for me. We all get cookies.

It's a new year, with another year of knowledge under our belts. We all fell for the Erik Bedard, Justin Verlander, and J.J. Putz hoaxes.

Not enough were ready for Tim Lincecum and Dustin Pedroia. Heck, if you read my blog (normskitchen.blogspot.com), the video alone would've convinced you that Lincecum had a ceiling of potential.

Predictions aren't easy. Maybe I got lucky picking Lincecum. Putz was my No. 1 closer. Aaron Harang was one of my top 10 starters for 2009. Those guys were lucky to finish on someone's roster. So what's the best way to predict?

Follow your gut. I hinted at it in my first post about Fantasy Baseball 2008 and couldn't agree more. Pick the guy that you think is worthy if it means burning a high pick.

I tried letting Lincecum fall more than I should've last year, and ended up with Javy Vazquez. Ryan Braun was a stud for me after I grabbed him in the second round.

So here's how the cookie crumbles.

2009 Batters

1. Albert Pujols - Shame on you if you didn't pick Albert in the first round last year.
2. Miguel Cabrera - Lost his third-base eligibility, but who gives a crap? Dude can hit.
3. Mark Teixeira - Chalk up Tex for another 162 games played. Love this guy in '09.
4. David Wright - Will be a top-five pick for years to come.
5. Jose Reyes - Speed kills. Reyes is the Chris Johnson of MLB.
6. Grady Sizemore - Born to be a star. I'd love to see him bat third. A true fantasy stud.
7. Hanley Ramirez - Loses Miggy and still puts up huge numbers.
8. Curtis Granderson - Granderson is the guy with cycle potential every game.
9. Carlos Lee - El Caballo was on his way to a top-10 fantasy '09 finish before getting injured.
10. Alex Rodriguez - Will A-Roid put the crap behind him and return to fantasy prominence?
11. Evan Longoria - Bats in the middle of a sick lineup. 40 HR 130 RBI potential.
12. BJ Upton - All those HRs in the playoffs will transfer over to the '09 regular season.
13. Lance Berkman - Big Puma loses OF eligibility, but stretches the depth at first base.
14. Ian Kinsler - Bats in front of Josh Hamilton. Need I say more?
15. Justin Morneau - Canadian, eh?

2009 Pitchers

1. Brandon Webb - If you don't believe me, look at his career stats. 180 IP his rookie season. 200 + IP since.
2. Tim Lincecum - Will strike out 300 before his career is over.
3. Scott Kazmir - Rays will ride Kaz's arm to the playoffs.
4. Cole Hamels - World Series MVP.
5. Johan Santana - Off-season knee surgery, however, he's still dominant.
6. CC Sabathia - Brewers threw the crap out of CC on a near-playoff appearance.
7. Francisco Liriano - Comeback kid of 2009.
8. Felix Hernandez - This is the year the King puts it all together.
9. Dan Haren - Pitched awesome in his first National League season.
10. Jonathan Papelbon - This year's K-Rod.
11. Roy Halladay - Strikeouts were way up in '08. Fluke?
12. Rich Harden - High risk...high reward.
13. Matt Garza - The Rays will be forever thankful to the Twins.
14. Joe Nathan - Mr. Consistent. Been doing it for five years.
15. Justin Verlander - He'll be a bargain in every league.

AL Cy Young - Roy Halladay.  AL MVP - Miguel Cabrera.

AL Darkhorses - Scott Kazmir, Curtis Granderson.

NL Cy Young - Cole Hamels.  NL MVP - David Wright.

NL Darkhorses - Dan Haren, Ryan Braun.

Stay tuned.