Forget April's mantra. It's not too early anymore. In fact, with 502 games of the 2,430-game major league schedule already in the books, we've officially passed the one-fifth mark of the season. Enough baseball has been played that it's time for a reality check on what we think of players for the 2009 season, and to redo our rankings.
The original ESPN fantasy rankings had their genesis in January, almost a month before the first pitcher reported to throw the first pitch of spring training. They were then reviewed, updated, massaged, tweaked and rearranged throughout spring training right up until Opening Day. But one thing did not change: we hadn't seen any of these guys swing a bat or throw a pitch in a meaningful contest. If all rankings are best guesses, preseason rankings include the most amount of speculation, extrapolation, personal bias and, well, what we like to call "SWAG," a "scientific, wild-ass guess." The point of those rankings were to help you draft a team that could compete in 2009. Hopefully, we accomplished that. But championship teams aren't built on draft day. Only the foundation is laid. Now that it's settled, it's time to, squeezing this analogy for all it's worth, make sure we're building a house out of bricks and not out of twigs or straw.
With that in mind, eight ESPN fantasy baseball experts were asked to redo their rankings for mid-May to the end of the season. That means stats accrued to this point don't count. Alex Rodriguez isn't missing any time, Manny Ramirez hasn't driven anyone in and everyone from Zack Greinke to Jamie Moyer has a 0.00 ERA.
The rankers, in alphabetical order, are Pierre Becquey, Matthew Berry, Tristan H. Cockcroft, Jason Grey, Christopher Harris, Eric Karabell, AJ Mass and Brendan Roberts. You can use the drop-down menu to see how each ranked 275 players. We then threw out the highest and lowest mark for each player to come up with an average ranking for the top 250 players in ESPN.com standard leagues.
You can use these rankings to inform trades, adds and drops, or simply to see how smart you were to draft Player X higher than we had him ranked in April (which we've included). As you can see, there's a lot of difference of opinion on almost every player; we agreed on Albert Pujols as the consensus No. 1, but it was all downhill from there. But that's good, because after all, there are still 1,928 games to be played, and until the last out of the season has been recorded, we're all just putting our best SWAG forward.