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Ubaldo Jimenez has disproved the notion that the Colorado Rockies can’t have an ace pitcher. Instead of paying to bring in a big name free agent pitcher, they groomed one in Jimenez. He was solid in 2008 and saw across the board improvement in 2009.

2008: 12-12, 3.99 ERA, 1.43 WHIP, .245 BAA, 172 K, 103 BB
2009: 15-12, 3.47 ERA, 1.23 WHIP .229 BAA, 198 K, 85 BB

The key to his success is his ability to produce ground balls. That’s almost a requirement in Coors Field. You keep the ball down, you keep it in the ballpark. He also did a good job of limiting free passes. He went from 4.67 BB/9 in 2008 to 3.51 in 2009. Couple that with an increase in K/9 from 7.8 to 8.2 and you can see why he was successful last year.

He was also very consistent last year.

Home: 102.3 IP, 8-5, 3.34 ERA, 1.25 WHIP, .234 BAA, 86 K, 40 BB
Away: 115.7 IP, 7-7, 3.58 ERA, 1.21 WHIP, .225 BAA, 112 K, 45 BB

And a force down the stretch.

First Half: 115.7 IP, 6-9, 3.81 ERA, 1.32 WHIP, .247 BAA 101 K, 46 BB
Second Half: 102.3 IP, 9-3, 3.08 ERA, 1.12 WHIP, .209 BAA, 97 K, 39 BB

We know he’s Colorado’s ace, but can he be your fantasy ace as well? With numbers like that I think so. I can see him being ranked in the top 12 by season’s end. Personally I would prefer him as a #2 fantasy pitcher (see my SP rankings). If I miss out on Lincecum, Greinke, King Felix, Johan, C.C, Halladay, Haren, and Verlander, I wouldn’t mind having Ubaldo paired with Cliff Lee, Beckett, Wainwright, Kershaw, or Cole Hamels. That would allow me to address another positional need first, and then adding two big guns to my pitching staff.

What’s your take? Do you see Ubaldo as a #1 or a #2 in 2010?

Prediction:  17-12, 3.60 ERA, 1.25 WHIP,  195 K

Past profiles:
Arizona Diamondbacks:  Brandon Webb
Atlanta Braves: Yunel Escobar
Baltimore Orioles:  Adam Jones
Boston Red Sox:  Clay Buchholz
Chicago Cubs:  Geovany Soto
Chicago White Sox:  Jake Peavy
Cincinnati Reds:  Joey Votto
Cleveland Indians:  Grady Sizemore

Here’s an early look at Closer Rankings.

1.  Jonathon Broxton, Los Angeles Dodgers
While I would feel more comfortable handing the ball to Mariano Rivera to close out a game, Broxton is the better fantasy closer because of his high strikeout total.

2.  Mariano Rivera, New York Yankees
How long can he stay at this elite level? Until he falters, I can’t bet against him.

3. Jonathan Papelbon, Boston Red Sox
He’s averaged 37.8 saves with a 1.74 ERA over the past four years without much deviation from the mean.

4. Joe Nathan, Minnesota Twins
The thing that scares me with Nathan is his ERA jumped 1.20 points when moving outside. That could present an issue at Target Field. Of course, his outside ERA was still only 2.79.

5.  Joakim Soria, Kansas City Royals
His numbers have been scary good the past two years for the Royals. He’ll need to stay healthy, and have plenty of save opportunities to justify his ranking.

6.  Jose Valerde, Detroit Tigers
He struggled with just 25 saves last year, but averaged 45.5 the previous two seasons. I’m expecting that a bounce back is in order.

7.  Francisco Rodriguez, New York Mets
He was about the only start that didn’t get hurt last year for the Mets. I’m expecting them to be healthier, despite Beltran’s continued woes, which should lead to more save opportunities.

8.  Heath Bell, San Diego Padres
Not surprisingly his ERA was over a half a run better at home. That’s what happens when you pitch in a pitcher’s park. He still managed 21 saves and a 3.08 ERA in 28 road games.

9.  Brian Fuentes, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
He followed up K-Rod’s record-breaking season with 48 saves of his own. Now that he has a season of closing under his belt, I expect his ERA and WHIP to decrease. He’s almost a lock to be among the league leaders in saves simply by pitching in Anaheim.

10.  Brian Wilson, San Francisco Giants
He’s got a good starting staff to hand him plenty of save opportunities. His strikeouts were up and his ERA down, which is ideal for a closer.

11.  Rafael Soriano, Tampa Bay Rays
Soriano was second only to Broxton for strikeouts by a closer.

12.  Andrew Bailey, Oakland A’s
Bailey was outstanding as a rookie year, and barring a sophomore slump should turn in another solid year. I only fear a limited amount of save opportunities in Oakland.

13.  Billy Wagner, Atlanta Braves
He looked sharp last year for Boston. He should still have the tools to get it done for the Braves.

14.  Huston Street, Colorado Rockies
Street brings a bunch of K’s and a low WHIP to the table.

15.  Trevor Hoffman, Milwaukee Brewers
Hoffman just continues churning out solid seasons. He’s a marvel.

Also check out:
2010 Top 15 First Basemen
2010 Top 15 Second Basemen

2010 Top 15 Third Basemen

2010 Top 15 Shortstops

2010 Top 15 Catchers

2010 Top 25 Outfielders
2010 Top 11 Designated Hitters
2010 Top 25 Starting Pitchers

Here’s an early look at Starting Pitcher Rankings.


1.  Tim Lincecum, San Francisco Giants
The most dominant pitcher in baseball.

2.  Zack Greinke, Kansas City Royals
He’s basically 1-A. Imagine what he and Lincecum would do with more run support.

3.  C.C. Sabathia, New York Yankees
Proved his worth in New York, and should challenge for most wins in 2010.

4.  Johan Santana, New York Mets
He usually starts off a little slow, but nobody pitches like he does down the stretch.

5.  Felix Hernandez, Seattle Mariners
Hopefully his new contract won’t go to his head.

6.  Roy Halladay, Philadelphia Phillies
He wish to play for a contender was granted. His win total should increase. Not having to face designated hitters will likely offset any bump from pitching at Citizens Bank Park.

7.  Dan Haren, Arizona Diamondbacks
His WHIP has been 1.130 and 1.003 in his two years in Arizona. Simply amazing.

8.  Justin Verlander, Detroit Tigers
Verlander bounced back in 2009 and established himself as one of the game’s best pitchers.

9.  Jon Lester, Boston Red Sox
Lester replaced Josh Beckett as the ace of the staff.

10.  Chris Carpenter, St. Louis Cardinals
I don’t think he can live up to the standard he set last year, but he should still be a top ten pitcher.
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Fantasy Baseball Rankings

24 January 2010

If you enjoyed my early fantasy baseball rankings which covered the offensive side last week and will continue with pitchers starting tomorrow, then I have a source for you.

I’m talking about FantasyRundown.com. They have compiled multiple 2010 fantasy baseball rankings of several sources, including Rotoprofessor.com, to help get you into the fantasy baseball swing.

It may be early to think about fantasy baseball, but you know what they say about the early bird…they win fantasy championships.

Here’s an early look at Designated Hitter Rankings.

1. David Ortiz, Boston Red Sox
His average went to hell, but Big Papi slugged 27 HRs with 78 RBIs from June through October (363 ABs).

2. Jason Kubel, Minnesota Twins
Kubel has really developed into a solid deep threat. His average jumped up last year as well. Time will tell how the move to the new ballpark will affect him, but I’m banking on another solid season from him.

3. Vladimir Guerrero, Texas Rangers
He should be very produtive in his new home.

4. Adam Lind, Toronto Blue Jays
Lind had a breakout season last year, but I expect his numbers to decline.

5. Hideki Matsui, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

He’s not playing in as cushy a ballpark nor as potent a lineup. However, he still should be productive if he can stay healthy.

6. Nick Johnson, New York Yankees
His health is also an issue, but the move to the Bronx should be a favorable one.
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Here’s an early look at Outfielder Rankings.

1.  Ryan Braun – Power, Average, Speed. He’s got it all.
2.  Matt Holliday – I love that he re-signed with St. Louis where he hit .353 with 42 runs, 13 HRs, and 55 RBIs in 63 games. 
3.  Matt Kemp – Has a legitimate chance at a 30-30 season.
4.  Grady Sizemore – Now that he’s healthy, Sizemore should  be one of the best dual threats again. Another 30-30 candidate.
5.  Justin Upton – Really blossomed last year. He should continue to grow into an elite  outfielder.
6.  Jacoby Ellsbury – His SBs put you in the driver seat of the SB category.
7.  Andre Ethier – He’s been raking for a year and a half. At 28 he should be just getting started.
8.  Carl Crawford – Another guy who can give you a leg up in the SB category.

9.  Jayson Werth – Big slugger that picks up SBs.
10.  Jason Bay – The move to the Mets should hurt his power numbers, but his RBI production shouldn’t suffer with Jose Reyes and David Wright.
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Here’s an early look at Shortstop Rankings.

1.  Hanley Ramirez – Jose Reyes excused himself from the discussion last year.

2.  Troy Tulowitzki – Tulo emerged as the #2 SS last year combining power and speed. He was a beast from June on.

3.  Derek Jeter – I know he doesn’t have the potential of Reyes, but I think Jeter is well-suited for his new ballpark. In that lineup you know he’s going to rack up the runs and hits. Plus, he supplies a decent amount of HRs and SBs.

4.  Jose Reyes – OK, I’ll stop the bleeding with Reyes, who was not only the second-ranked SS last year, but a top five overall pick. He’ll likely move up a slot when all is said and done, but he has to prove he hasn’t lost his speed first.

5.  Jimmy Rollins – Rollins got off to a miserable start hitting .229 before the All-Star Break. He finished with 100 runs, 21 HRs, 77 RBIs, and 31 SBs, which is enough to keep him in the top five.

6.  Elvis Andrus – Elvis led all shortstops in SBs last year, and he has a good chance of repeating even with Reyes’ return. He showed improvement in the second half of last year, has a year under his belt, and plays in a potent offense, all of which should lead to even bigger numbers in 2010.

7.  Alexei Ramirez – Alexei had a solid year, but was a disappointment in terms of his expectation level. He also made the transition from 2B to SS. He is loaded with talent though and could make a serious run at 25 HRs and 85 RBIs.
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Here’s an early look at Third Base Rankings.

1.  Alex Rodriguez – Evan Longoria is closing fast, but I expect more A-Bombs from A-Rod this year, especially with the World Series monkey off his back.

2.  Evan Longoria – He has surpassed A-Rod in keeper leagues, but in yearly leagues, he’ll have to settle for #2.

3.  David Wright – I’m expecting a return in power. Jason Bay’s arrival should help, especially with Carlos Beltran’s status up in the air. Wright’s speed and average carry him to #2.

4.  Kevin Youkilis – He’ll almost exclusively play First Base this year thanks to the arrival of Adrian Beltre, but he still maintains eligibility. Youk should be a nice source of average and RBIs while providing a good amount of HRs.

4.  Mark Reynolds – I’m expecting a dip in production, but his power and speed still make him a valuable commodity.

5.  Pablo Sandoval – Sandoval could challenge for the batting title. He’s that good a hitter.

6.  Ryan Zimmerman – Zimmerman bounced back nicely setting career highs in runs, HRs, and OPS. As long as he can stay healthy, he’ll be a high-end 3B once again.

7.  Aramis Ramirez – Ramirez is another guy that needs to stay healthy. When he does, he can rake.
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Here’s an early look at the 2010 Second Base rankings.

1. Chase Utley – The most sure thing at Second Base.

2. Robinson Cano – He doesn’t give you the speed Kinsler does, but his average makes up for it. Plus, he’s Kinsler comes with a ton more risk.

3. Ian Kinsler – Not enough risk to move him past #3 though.

4. Dustin Pedroia – He’ll likely lead all Second Basemen in Runs again. He showed his SB production of 2008 wasn’t a fluke by matching those 20 SBs.

5. Brandon Phillips – His lack of runs keep him from being ranked higher. He’s good for 25 HRs and 25 SBs though.

6. Brian Roberts – He quietly keeps churning out 100+ run seasons. His SBs have gone down the past few years, but he’s still a good bet for 30.

7. Aaron Hill – The fluke factor is relatively high on Hill, but his 2008 year was too big to ignore.
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Here’s an early look at the 2010 First Base rankings.

albert-pujols.jpg
1.  Albert Pujols – Simply the cream of the crop.

2.  Mark Teixeira – Could knock in even more Yankees with Curtis Granderson addition. I expect a better average in 2010.

3.  Ryan Howard – His average didn’t kill you last year, but it was still enough to keep him out of the two slot.

4.  Miguel Cabrera – Better average than Tex and Howard, but fewer RBI opportunities.

5.  Prince Fielder – He actually had better numbers than Howard or Tex, but  I think he has a harder time replicating those numbers.

6.  Justin Morneau – His numbers have varied the past four years, but as a whole have been solid. I expect something around the average of those four years with Morneau hitting around .290 with 30 HRs and 120 RBIs.

7.  Adrian Gonzalez – I’d like him more if he got traded, but he still should give you around .280 with 38 HRs and 110 RBIs.
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