Fantasy baseball top five: Minnesota Twins

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5. SP Scott Baker

Baker took the type of jump that is expected from young starters in 2008. He improved his numbers across the board from a season before, and established himself as one of the better young arms in the American League. His ERA and WHIP were great last season, and he gets enough strikeouts that he won't kill you.

4. SP Francisco Liriano

After missing a season and a half with arm trouble, Liriano returned to make 14 pretty solid starts last season. His velocity was there and he still showed the ability to miss bats. The one problem was control. During his dominant 2006 season, Liriano walked 32 batters in 121 innings. Last season he walked 32 in 76 innings.

Of course the biggest question mark with Liriano will be heath. If he can make 25-plus starts, he'll be a very valuable pitcher. High risk, high reward, to be sure.

3. CL Joe Nathan

Aside from Mariano Rivera, has there been a more consistent closer this decade than Nathan? Even at 34, he was as good as ever last season: a WHIP under 1.0, a sub-1.5 ERA, and 39 saves. Expect more of the same in 2009.

2. 1B Jusin Morneau

1. C Joe Mauer

Even though he's out right now, Mauer gets the nod over Morneau because of how light the catcher crop every year. Morneau's power numbers really dropped last season, too, as he hit just 23 home runs. Mauer is more valuable in real baseball than the fantasy version because of his stellar defense, but his fantasy batting average is as good as any player in baseball.

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Matt Wood is a web editor for suntimes.com and editor of CenterstageChicago.com. He is also a contributor for satirical sports publication The Heckler. Have a fantasy question? E-mail him.

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This page contains a single entry by Ricky O'Donnell published on April 1, 2009 2:18 PM.

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