September 16, 2008

Who are the 50 most valuable fantasy players going? Are saves "worth" more or less than stolen bases? How do you compare a hitter to a pitcher on an equal playing field? We at have a tool called the Player Rater, and each week I will discuss the top-50 fantasy baseball players based upon the rankings provided by this tool using the following parameters: a 12-team mixed league using standard 5x5 scoring with 14 hitters, nine pitchers and a $260 salary cap.

1. Albert Pujols, 1B, STL: Pujols is hitting .360 overall, right behind Chipper Jones for the batting title (.365), thanks to a .375 mark over his last 53 games during which time he has posted a 1.172 OPS.

2. Matt Holliday, OF, COL: Holliday has had a slow September hitting .250 with a .693 OPS and just one home run in 13 games.

3. Cliff Lee, SP, CLE: Lee hasn't lost a start in 12 starts (11-0), and he has amazingly walked a total of just 28 batters in 29 appearances.

4. Lance Berkman, 1B/OF, HOU: Berkman has a .827 OPS against left-handed pitching, a number that improves more than .250 points against righties (1.094).

5. Hanley Ramirez, SS, FLA: After falling one home run short of a 30/30 season last year, Hanley made it this season when he recently hit his 30th home run (he has 33 SB).

6. Jose Reyes, SS, NYM: The past two weeks have not witnessed the Reyes we are used to seeing as he is hitting just .191 with only three runs scored in 11 appearances.

7. Roy Halladay, SP, TOR: Since the start of 2005, a span of 114 appearances, Halladay has posted a 3.08 ERA and a 1.10 WHIP, not to mention a 62-27 record.

8. Alex Rodriguez, 3B, NYY: Arod is just 4-for-18 (.22) the past week though he has still knocked in eight runs to push his total to an even 100 on the year.

9. David Wright, 3B, NYM: Since the start of August, Wright has been ripping it up with a .319-11-31-33 line in 40 games.

10. Tim Lincecum, SP, SF: In 11 starts since the All-Star break, Lincecum is 6-1 with a 2.19 ERA, 1.03 WHIP, 102 Ks in just 78 IP.

11. Manny Ramirez, OF, LAD: Manny has eight home runs and 22 RBI over his last 19 games and is batting a stupendous .395 in 42 games since coming west.

12. Grady Sizemore, OF, CLE: Over his last five games Sizemore has at least two hits each time as he has gone 11-for-21 (.524) though he hasn't gone deep in 19 games.

13. Francisco Rodriguez, RP, LAA: In 21 appearances during the day, K-rod has allowed but a single run (0.47 ERA) and a .169 BAA.

14. Dustin Pedroia, 2B, BOS: Pedroia leads second baseman in AVG (.327), runs (114), hits (201) and doubles (50).

15. Josh Hamilton, OF, TEX: Hamilton is once again on fire hitting .388 with a 1.054 OPS in 13 games in September though he has gone deep only once.

16. Ian Kinsler, 2B, TEX: Kinsler was 9-for-19 (.474) this year with a man on third base and less than two outs on his way to knocking in 17 runs.

17. CC Sabathia, SP, MIL: Sabathia has two shutouts to tie for the AL lead, and his three shutouts since joining the Brewers also leads the NL.

18. Mariano Rivera, RP, NYY: Rivera has 10 saves over his last 16 appearances during which time his WHIP has been a stupendous 0.72.

19. Aubrey Huff, 1B/3B, BAL: He has knocked in more than 100 runs for the third time in his career and is just three off his career-high of 107.

20. Carlos Beltran, OF, NYM: Beltran is hitting .375 the past two weeks with 22 runs produced in 11 games (10 RBI, 12 runs).

21. Ryan Braun, 3B/OF, MIL: In an absolute freefall at the worst time as the Brewers continue to fall, Braun is just 7-for-48 (.146) the past two weeks with a single RBI.

22. Chase Utley, 2B, PHI: Though he has 31 bombs, he hasn't gone deep in 22 games.

23. Nate McLouth, OF, PIT: Scintillating the pat two weeks, Nate is slugging .700 with three home runs, 15 RBIs, 17 runs scored and six steals.

24. Jason Bay, OF, BOS: Strong as ever the past two weeks, Bay has gone deep four times with 12 runs scored in 12 games.

25. Carlos Quentin, OF, CWS: Quentin was a much more effective hitter this season during the day (.340/.450/.647) than at night (.262/.366/.534).

26. Jonathan Papelbon, RP, BOS: September has been a rough month for the Sox closer as he has allowed four runs in six innings while permitting 11 hits leading to a 1.83 WHIP.

27. Ichiro Suzuki, OF, SEA: Ichiro is four hits from another 200-hit season despite hitting .296 over his last 54 ABs.

28. Mark Teixeira, 1B, LAA: He has only one home run over the last nine games, but he still is hitting .349-10-34-32 in 41 games in Anaheim.

29. Ryan Ludwick, OF, STL: After hitting 16 home runs and knocking in 42 runs in July and August, Ludwick has slowed tremendously in September (one home run and three RBIs in 12 games).

30. Justin Morneau, 1B, MIN: Though his average has dipped since the All-Star break (.286), he has still knocked in 56 runs in 55 games.

31. Brandon Webb, SP, ARI: Though he had eight shutout innings in his last effort, he is still 1-3 over his last four starts (7.89 ERA, 1.89 WHIP).

32. Brian Roberts, 2B, BAL: Roberts is three doubles away from his career-high of 50, and he is just seven runs short of his best mark in that category as well (107).

33. Chipper Jones, 3B, ATL: In a spirited battle for the NL batting title, he is hitting .365, Chipper has seemingly lost his ability to drive the ball with just five home runs his last 53 games.

34. Jose Valverde, RP, HOU: Who has been better the past three weeks? Valverde has nine saves in nine appearances with 14 Ks, one BB and a 0.00 ERA.

35. Alex Rios, OF, TOR: Rios is hitting like Tony Gwynn the past 42 games with a .333 average to boost his overall mark to .295.

36. Bobby Abreu, OF, NYY: Abreu has pushed his average up to .301 thanks to a tremendous run at the plate that includes a .346 average over his last 53 games.

37. Kevin Youkilis, 1B, BOS: Youkilis is up to 105 RBI on the year and he has been great at knocking runs in the past nine games (11 RBIs).

38. Johnny Damon, OF, NYY: Though he has three home runs, three steals and 11 runs scored in 13 September games, that production has come with a cost since he is hitting just .241 with a .305 OBP.

39. Matt Kemp, OF, LAD: Kemp is hitting only .209 in September (9-for-43) and it has been 14 games since he went yard.

40. Joakim Soria, RP, KC: Over his last eight appearances Soria has racked up a win and five saves while allowing just four hits and no runs over 8.1 innings.

41. Ervin Santana, SP, LAA: Struck out a season low three batters in his last outing though he did manage to record his 200th K of the year in the outing.

42. Miguel Cabrera, 1B/3B, DET: Though he has posted 17 RBIs over his last 18 games, he has platted just one run in his last five games.

43. Nick Markakis, OF, BAL: Though he is 6-for-16 (.353) the past week, Markakis is hitting just .222 over his last 36 ABs.

44. Cole Hamels, SP, PHI: In three September starts Hamels has posted a 2.89 ERA though his WHIP is 1.45. He is 2-1 in those three starts.

45. Ryan Howard, 1B, PHI: Leads the majors in home runs (44) and RBI (133) despite a .244 average which has improved of late thanks to a run of 17-for-48 (.354).

46. Raul Ibanez, OF, SEA: Underappreciated but supremely productive, he has pushed his numbers up to .310-23-106 which includes a .389 average over his last 72 ABs.

47. Jermaine Dye, OF, CWS: Dye has rebounded a bit of late hitting .321 the past week with five RBIs.

48. Johan Santana, SP, NYM: Over his last 12 starts Johan is undefeated at 5-0 with a superb 2.47 ERA and a 1.11 WHIP.

49. Alfonso Soriano, OF, CHC: He has the power swing working of late with a .300-5-8-8-2 line in his last 10 games complete with a .700 SLG.

50. Adrian Gonzalez, 1B, SD: On fire right now despite hitting in the middle of a poor offense in San Diego with five home runs and 15 RBIs over his last 14 games.

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