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The RotoWire 200: Falling Down

Jeff Erickson

Jeff Erickson is a co-founder of RotoWire and the only two-time winner of Baseball Writer of the Year from the Fantasy Sports Writers Association. He's also in the FSWA Hall of Fame. He roots for the Reds, Bengals, Red Wings, Pacers and Northwestern University (the real NU).

The RotoWire 200
by Jeff Erickson

This is our second update of the top 200 list. I'll do one more update next week (probably on Tuesday or Wednesday after I return from Tout Wars). Please note that we will only have comments on players that have status changes. If you want to see the previous player comments, please see the previous article. For an expanded list, please see our Top 350 Rankings, which will be fully updated by Tuesday, Mar. 15. Once again, this list presumes a 5x5, 12-team mixed league that starts two catchers and does not have an innings-cap. There is a positional scarcity component applied for catchers and a lesser boost for shortstops.

1. Albert Pujols, 1B
2. Hanley Ramirez, SS
3. Troy Tulowitzki, SS - Some discussion in the comments on Tulowitzki's ranking that I thought I'd address head-on here. Regarding his injuries - nearly all of them have been of a fluke nature (man vs. immovable objection, immovable object wins, immovable object remains undefeated). The quad injury he's had in the past is of some concern regarding his stolen bases, but on the flip side, I don't think his power is a risk. Add in the lack of elite shortstops in the game, and I think that the high ranking is defensible. Your mileage may vary. I did make one change, moving Hanley ahead of Tulo -because while Hanley's power has slid the last two years, I don't think it's the start of a permanent trend, and he's done it longer, and he runs more often.
4. Joey Votto, 1B
5. Carlos Gonzalez, OF
6. Ryan Braun, OF - Minor rib cage strain. Given the Brewers' experiences with Corey Hart, watch to make sure that this wasn't a misdiagnosed rib cage strain.
7. Miguel Cabrera, 1B - The released details of Miggy's arrest and the events leading up to it are troubling, but I'm holding steady in my ranking here.
8. Carl Crawford, OF
9. Evan Longoria, 3B
10. Robinson Cano, 2B
11. David Wright, 3B
12. Alex Rodriguez, 3B
13. Adrian Gonzalez, 1B - (Shoulder) Made his spring training debut Saturday.
14. Roy Halladay, P - No change in opinion on Halladay's projection, but the move down suggests that there's less of a profit in drafting Halladay here, if the rest of your league is playing “chicken" in drafting starting pitchers.
15. Mark Teixeira, 1B
16. Ryan Zimmerman, 3B - Zimmerman has missed a little time in spring training with an oblique injury.
17. Matt Holliday, OF
18. Josh Hamilton, OF
19. Jose Reyes, SS
20. Kevin Youkilis, 1B - Small boost to reflect how much his value will rise once he becomes third base eligible again.
21. Ryan Howard, 1B - If Chase Utley is out for an extended period and/or is a fundamentally different player, Howard will have fewer RBI chances.
22. Prince Fielder, 1B
23. Jon Lester, P
24. Nelson Cruz, OF
25. Dustin Pedroia, 2B - Pedroia keeps steadily progressing. Utley's downfall is Pedroia and Kinsler's gain.
26. Tim Lincecum, P
27. Matt Kemp, OF
28. Justin Upton, OF - Shoulder seems strong and manager Kirk Gibson might run him more.
29. Felix Hernandez, P
30. Shin-Soo Choo, OF
31. Ian Kinsler, 2B - Having a superb spring training.
32. Jose Bautista, 3B/OF
33. Buster Posey, C
34. Andrew McCutchen, OF - A wrist injury turned out to be a false alarm.
35. Brian McCann, C
36. Victor Martinez, C
37. Clayton Kershaw, P
38. Adam Dunn, 1B
39. Cliff Lee, P
40. Adrian Beltre, 3B - (Calf) Expected to play Monday after missing 17 days.
41. Jacoby Ellsbury, OF
42. Jay Bruce, OF
43. Rickie Weeks, 2B - Weeks returned to action after missing a couple of days with a groin injury.
44. Joe Mauer, C - (Knee) Mauer is catching bullpen sessions right now, but he hasn't seen any game action yet, let alone caught any spring training games.
45. Derek Jeter, SS
46. Carlos Santana, C - Santana's knee has held up well so far, and now he's getting a little bit of time in at first base.
47. Josh Johnson, P - So far Johnson looks healthy this spring.
48. Ubaldo Jimenez, P - Dealt with an early thumb problem that doesn't seem to be a concern now.
49. Jimmy Rollins, SS
50. Cole Hamels, P
51. Jason Heyward, OF - Dealing with a sore back - missed 20 games with various injuries last year.
52. Hunter Pence, OF
53. CC Sabathia, P
54. Dan Uggla, 2B
55. Justin Verlander, P
56. Brandon Phillips, 2B
57. Zack Greinke, P - "Basketball is my favorite sport. I like to dribble it up-and-down the court."
58. Michael Stanton, OF - The Marlins hope that Stanton can get back in game action from his quad injury by Mar. 20th. I'm moving him down a little both because of that and because of his batting average risk.
59. David Price, P
60. Justin Morneau, 1B - (Concussion) Back in game action, no setbacks so far.
61. Drew Stubbs, OF - Stubbs has been named the Reds' leadoff hitter, at least for now.
62. Chris Young, OF
63. B.J. Upton, OF
64. Alexei Ramirez, SS
65. Jayson Werth, OF
66. Mat Latos, P
67. Stephen Drew, SS
68. Billy Butler, 1B
69. Dan Haren, P
70. Pablo Sandoval, 3B - Positive reports abound about his physical fitness.
71. Jason Bay, OF
72. Alexis Rios, OF
73. Andre Ethier, OF
74. Brian Wilson, P
75. Shane Victorino, OF
76. Jered Weaver, P
77. Shaun Marcum, P
78. Nick Markakis, OF
79. Colby Rasmus, OF
80. Geovany Soto, C - Soto got a bump in my rankings and projection after I gave him more playing time.
81. Ichiro Suzuki, OF
82. Mariano Rivera, P
83. Joakim Soria, P
84. Aramis Ramirez, 3B
85. Chase Utley, 2B - Utley has been diagnosed with chondromalacia in his right knee, and the Phillies really don't know when he'll be ready to play. Even if he doesn't miss much time, he could run far less frequently.
86. Elvis Andrus, SS
87. Heath Bell, P
88. Carlos Pena, 1B
89. Pedro Alvarez, 3B
90. Max Scherzer, P
91. Matt Cain, P - Slowed this spring with some inflammation in his pitching elbow - expected to pitch Monday.
92. Francisco Liriano, P
93. Yovani Gallardo, P - Opening Day starter with Greinke now hurt.
94. Delmon Young, OF
95. Carlos Marmol, P
96. Paul Konerko, 1B
97. Neftali Feliz, P - It's not settled yet, but it's also more likely that Feliz closes this year.
98. Tommy Hanson, P
99. Nick Swisher, OF
100. Ben Zobrist, 2B/OF
101. Matt Wieters, C
102. Michael Young, 3B - Almost universally disrespected in the drafts that I've seen so far.
103. Aaron Hill, 2B
104. Roy Oswalt, P
105. Kendry Morales, 1B - Scouting reports suggest that he won't be ready for Opening Day, even if the Angels still insist that he will.
106. Bobby Abreu, OF
107. John Danks, P
108. Kelly Johnson, 2B
109. Adam Jones, OF
110. Vladimir Guerrero, DH
111. Huston Street, P
112. Curtis Granderson, OF
113. Corey Hart, OF - Oblique strain - suffered a setback a week ago when he tried to come back too soon.
114. Chad Billingsley, P
115. Aubrey Huff, 1B
116. Ricky Romero, P
117. Vernon Wells, OF
118. David Ortiz, DH
119. Michael Napoli, C
120. Carlos Lee, OF
121. Brett Anderson, P
122. Clay Buchholz, P
123. Casey McGehee, 3B
124. Chris Carpenter, P - (Hamstring) Still might make it in time to be the Opening Day starter.
125. Carlos Quentin, OF
126. Mark Reynolds, 3B
127. Adam Lind, DH
128. Tim Hudson, P
129. Austin Jackson, OF
130. Torii Hunter, OF
131. Ted Lilly, P
132. Rafael Furcal, SS
133. Colby Lewis, P
134. Starlin Castro, SS
135. Brian Roberts, 2B - Still out with back and neck woes - he'll get an MRI on Monday.
136. Jorge Posada, C
137. Dan Hudson, P
138. Jonathan Broxton, P
139. Jonathan Papelbon, P
140. Michael Bourn, OF
141. Juan Pierre, OF
142. Carlos Beltran, OF - Beltran was already moving from center field to right field before the Mets announced that his left (non-operated upon) knee has tendinits.
143. Trevor Cahill, P
144. Kurt Suzuki, C
145. Ike Davis, 1B
146. Gaby Sanchez, 1B
147. Miguel Montero, C
148. Grady Sizemore, OF - Sizemore hasn't played in a spring training game yet and probably won't play until a few weeks into the season.
149. Brandon Morrow, P
150. Martin Prado, 2B/3B
151. Ryan Dempster, P
152. Angel Pagan, OF
153. Denard Span, OF
154. Josh Beckett, P - Appears to be clear of the concussion symptoms suffered early in spring training.
155. Philip Hughes, P
156. J.J. Putz, P
157. Brett Gardner, OF - Could get a few games at leadoff.
158. Michael Cuddyer, OF/1B
159. Gio Gonzalez, P
160. John Axford, P - Overcame a bout of food poisoning.
161. Madison Bumgarner, P
162. Matt Garza, P
163. Andrew Bailey - Just beginning game action, starting to throw curveballs.
164. Francisco Rodriguez, P
165. Jose Tabata, OF
166. Alfonso Soriano, OF
167. Howie Kendrick, 2B
168. John Buck, C
169. Ian Desmond, SS
170. Coco Crisp, OF - DUI hasn't hurt his performance this spring one bit.
171. Chris Perez, P
172. Jonathan Sanchez, P
173. Raul Ibanez, OF
174. Neil Walker, 2B
175. J.J. Hardy, SS
176. Andres Torres, OF
177. Gordon Beckham, 2B
178. Jose Valverde, P
179. Jeremy Hellickson, P - Slow start because of a sore hamstring.
180. Joe Nathan - So far, so good.
181. Ricky Nolasco, P - Coming off of knee and thumb injuries.
182. Wandy Rodriguez, P - Shoulder tendinitis.
183. Javier Vazquez, P - Vazquez will miss Monday's start with elbow discomfort. Any further negative news and he drops off the list entirely.
184. Chris Iannetta, C
185. Mitch Moreland, 1B - Needs a fast start to hold off a playing time crunch.
186. Ryan Raburn, OF
187. Chone Figgins, 2B
188. Miguel Tejada, SS
189. Ryan Franklin, P
190. Anibal Sanchez, P
191. Ervin Santana, P
192. Brandon Lyon, P
193. Adam LaRoche, 1B - Sore shoulder, currently sitting out.
194. Ian Stewart, 3B
195. Jason Kubel, OF
196. Travis Snider, OF
197. Brian Matusz, P
198. Brad Lidge, P
199. Jorge De La Rosa, P
200. Hiroki Kuroda, P

Dropping Out:

- Derrek Lee, 1B (127) - Besides the offseason thumb surgery, Lee now has wrist discomfort. This could get ugly.
- Chris Coghlan, OF (172) - Hasn't yet played center field, also has a sore shoulder in addition to rehabbing his surgically repaired knee.
- Marco Scutaro, SS (189) - Not much to distinguish from other shortstops in this tier, plus Lowrie is a threat.
- Alcides Escobar, SS (196) - I don't like him any less, but he's not costing anything near this much to acquire.
- A.J. Pierzynski, C (200) - Like Scutaro, I'd rather go after some upside here than put in a low ceiling, medium floor guy.

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