Fantasy Baseball 2009 – Ryan Howard and Ichiro

I’m getting excited already for baseball of both the real and fantasy varieties.  Apparently, ESPN has their player projections and rankings up, which is nice despite some key players like Manny Ramirez not being signed and still a lot of starting positions being up in the air.  After looking at their projections and rankings, I thought I would talk about a couple players who I think will cost far too much on draft day than they’ll be worth: Ryan Howard and Ichiro.

Ryan Howard (20th overall) and Ichiro (21) are ranked way too highly for guys who will hurt you in certain categories.  My first thought is that someone like Howard should be paired with Ichiro, as they balance out each others weaknesses (AVG and RBI/HRs respectively).  But what happens if you pair them together?  This is more than conceivable if you’re picking 1st overall and take Howard and Ichiro at the turn for your 2nd and 3rd round picks.  Averaging their ESPN-projected stats together, you get two players with stats of 103 RBI, 90 R, 27 HR, 17 SB, .280 AVG.  That’s a good player, but is that a 2nd/3rd rounder?  I don’t think that is someone you want much more than the projections of Brandon Phillips (34) or  Jason Bay (37).

I also don’t understand why Ichiro is a dozen spots in front of Carl Crawford (33), who is projected for more HRs, almost 50% more RBI(!), and more SB.  This at least balances out Ichiro’s other advantages.  Also, do people actually want Ichiro more than Ian Kinsler (26), whose stats are at least as good and plays 2B?

What is even more amazing is that Ryan Howard is more than 90 spots over a very comparable player.  If you’ve read this far, you can probably guess that this player is Adam Dunn (112).  Dunn is better than a poor man’s Howard – he’s more of a middle class man’s Howard.  He’ll probably end up just a bit lower than Howard in everything except SBs, but they’re closer than you think.  If you’re in a league where you can punt a category (H2H leagues in general), punting batting average with players like Howard, Dunn, Chris Young, Carlos Pena, and some younger players with possible contact problems like Jay Bruce and Justin Upton could be a pretty interesting strategy.

Arbitrary song of the day: The Rolling Stones – Play With Fire

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