Inside look at top fantasy players heading into All-Star break

Inside look at top fantasy players heading into All-Star break

We are just about at the intermission of the first-half of this roller-coaster of a season in which we have seen true stars snubbed, superstars perform below career norms, unheralded players come out of nowhere to perform like superstars and a player admit to pooping his pants during a game and still playing (you can’t make this stuff up).

It is time to look back on the most productive fantasy players of the first portion of the season. Here are Roto Rage’s first-half All-Stars:

First Base

AL: C.J. Cron, Rays

He went undrafted in most leagues, so it is amazing to see his name among the most productive AL first basemen (which, in all honesty, is not an impressive list).

NL: Jesus Aguilar, Brewers

He had a fine season last year (.265, 16 HR, 52 RBI, .837 OPS), but did anyone see this coming (.307, 24 HR, 68 RBI, 1.019 OPS)? Obviously not, considering he entered the season as the 63rd ranked first baseman with a 792.0 average draft position, which means he likely wasn’t drafted in your league. Considering he was ranked below the likes of Dan Vogelbach, Adrian Gonzalez and Dominic Smith, it is easy to see why he was ignored. But, his numbers make it easy to call him the first-half MVP.

Second Base

AL: Jose Ramirez, Indians

Entered Friday night tied for the MLB lead in homers, and in the top 10 in about every offensive category.

NL: Ozzie Albies, Braves

Still not sure where the power came from (he hit 16 homers over 1,744 plate appearances over four seasons in the minors), but no one is complaining.

Third Base

AL: Manny Machado, Orioles

Since he still qualifies at third base, this is an absolute no-brainer.

Nolan Arenado
Nolan ArenadoGetty Images

NL: Nolan Arenado, Rockies

How obvious was this selection? Here is a really bad joke with an obvious answer: What is blue and smells like red paint? Blue paint.

Shorstop

AL: Eduardo Escobar, Twins

Jose Reyes — yes, Jose Reyes! — was drafted before Escobar (by almost 100 spots), who has hit just .272 with 14 homers, 54 RBIs with a .844 OPS. Honorable mentions to Andrelton Simmons, Jean Segura and Xander Bogaerts.

NL: Javier Baez, Cubs

He has terrible plate discipline and contact numbers, still strikes out too much, but he still entered Friday hitting .289 with 18 homers, 66 RBIs and 17 stolen bases. Doesn’t hurt that he is eligible at three different positions and was a mid-round pick.

Catcher

AL: Evan Gattis, Astros

His average (.242) may not be pretty, but the 18 homers and 62 RBIs help. Honorable mention to Wilson Ramos.

NL: J.T. Realmuto, Marlins

He hits for average (.317), has solid power (13 homers) and has the ability to drive in runs (44) while playing for one of the worst teams in the league.

Corner Infield

AL: Nick Castellanos, Tigers

Hits for average (.305), power (15 homers), drives in runs (56) and scores runs (53). What else do you need?

NL: Asdrubal Cabrera, Mets

Freddie Freeman is probably the most consistent and reliable option, but Cabrera is the lone offensive bright spot (.282, 17 HR, 52 RBI) on a team with the league’s worst average (.226).

Middle Infield

AL: Alex Bregman, Astros

Sure, Jose Altuve has more hits and stolen bases, and a better average, but Bregman was drafted about 35 spots later and has more homers (19), RBIs (61), walks (53) and OBP (.906). They have also scored the same number of runs (63).

NL: Trevor Story, Rockies

Despite still striking out a ton (100 times heading into Friday), he is having a career year. He is hitting a career-best .289 with 18 homers, 63 RBIs, a .896 OPS and a career-high 12 steals.

Outfield

AL: When you have Mike Trout, J.D. Martinez, Mookie Betts and Aaron Judge in your league, it’s difficult to look at anyone else — no matter how much they are outperforming their draft position. Honorable mentions to Seattle’s Mitch Haniger, Cleveland’s Michael Brantley and Minnesota’s Eddie Rosario.

NL: Nick Markakis, Braves

This is not a typo, nor some alternative universe. The 34-year-old has the fourth-most RBIs (60), the third-most hits (116) and the third-highest batting average in the league. So, while Bryce Harper is killing your average, Markakis, the 107th ranked outfielder entering the season, is helping kill your opponents.

Matt Kemp, Dodgers

Apparently it’s 2011.

Odubel Herrera, Phillies

Before the season, Roto Rage said he was the most underrated outfielder in the game, and he has hit .277 with 16 homers, 52 RBIs and five stolen bases.

Utility

Andrew Benitendi
Andrew BenitendiGetty Images

AL: Andrew Benintendi, Red Sox

Not only is he leading all AL outfielders in stolen bases (17), he is hitting a hair under .300 with 14 homers, 57 RBIs, a .897 OPS and 68 runs scored.

NL: Eugenio Suarez, Reds

His .340 BABIP indicates he will regress a little bit, but hitting over .300 with 19 homers and an NL-leading 69 RBIs is above and beyond what could have been expected in the first half.

Starting Pitchers

AL: Chris Sale, Red Sox

It was your typical first half. You know, 10 wins, 2.23 ERA, 188 strikeouts and a .184 opponent average. No big deal.

Luis Severino, Yankees

He may not have the strikeout totals of Sale or Gerrit Cole, but he has been every bit as dominant. He also has the most wins (14) in the majors.

Blake Snell, Rays

No snub here. He has been a true breakout star.

Charlie Morton, Astros

He had a career year in 2017 at the age of 33. He is even better at 34.

Trevor Bauer, Indians

Corey Kluber, Justin Verlander and Gerrit Cole are worthy of the final spot, but Bauer ranks fourth in the majors in strikeouts (168), seventh in ERA (2.30) and has a .206 opponent average while being drafted much lower. In fantasy, that gives him the edge.

NL: Aaron Nola, Phillies

Tied for the NL lead in wins (12), and ranks third in ERA (2.27) and opponent average (.200). He also ranks fourth in strikeouts (126). He was drafted as a Top 20 pitcher for a reason.

Jacob deGrom, Mets

He has just five wins (insert your best Mets joke here), but has the best ERA (1.68) in the majors, the fourth highest WAR (4.4) while striking out 10.87 per nine innings.

Max Scherzer, Nationals

Has the second-most strikeouts (182) and wins (12), as well as the second-best WHIP (0.90). He also has a 2.41 ERA and is tied for the lowest opponent average (.180).

Patrick Corbin, Diamondbacks

Wasn’t ranked in the top 50 entering the season, but his 11.30 strikeouts per nine and 3.09 ERA and .207 opponent average have made him pretty valuable.

Mike Foltynewicz, Braves

Opponents are hitting .193 against him, and he has a 2.66 ERA over 101 ²/₃ innings.

Reliever/Closer

AL: Edwin Diaz, Mariners

He had 36 saves entering Friday’s action. There were three teams in the majors that didn’t even have 36 wins.

NL: Josh Hader, Brewers

Sure, he has just seven saves in 10 attempts, but his 1.51 ERA and 16.5 strikeouts per nine have made him invaluable in the RP slot.

Big Hits

Wil Myers 1B/OF, Padres

Has at least one hit in eight of 11 games this month, going 14-for-39 (.359) with six homers, 13 RBIs, eight runs, seven walks, two stolen bases and a 1.405 OPS.

Carlos Gonzalez OF, Rockies

Remember him? Well, he is 11-for-34 (.324) with three homers, 10 RBIs, 10 runs, just five strikeouts (he hasn’t walked, not even once) and a .990 OPS over his past nine games.

Marco Gonzales SP, Mariners

Has won his past three starts, allowing just two runs over his past 22 innings (0.82 ERA) with 18 strikeouts, two walks, a .176 opponent average and .421 OPS.

Starling Marte OF, Pirates

Entered Friday night on an eight-game hit streak, going 14-for-31 (.452) with two homers, seven RBIs, five runs, five stolen bases and a 1.210 OPS in that span.

Big Whiffs

Jose Abreu 1B, White Sox

Jose Abreu
Jose AbreuGetty Images

His average has gone from .271 to .253 this month after going 4-for-34 (.118) with no homers, four RBIs, seven strikeouts and a .339 OPS over his past 10 games.

Tyson Ross SP, Padres

Though he pitched better Thursday night, he is still 0-5 with a 6.21 ERA, 26 strikeouts, 17 walks and a .250 opponent average over his past seven starts. He has not won since June 3.

Trey Mancini 1B/OF, Orioles

He has three hits this month, two of which are homers. He is batting .103 with three RBIs, a .522 OPS and eight strikeouts over his past 11 games.

Francisco Liriano SP, Tigers

In his first four starts since coming off the DL, he is 0-3 with a 7.36 ERA, 15:13 strikeout-to-walk rate and a .324 opponent average. He has not won since April 28, going 0-4 with a 5.59 ERA in his last nine starts.

Check Swings

— And now, some first-half awards. The Adam Dunn Award, for the second year in a row, goes tothe Rangers’ Joey Gallo, who has smashed 21 homers and driven in 50 runs but is hitting an horrific .186 and has struck out a league-high 129 times.

— Rookie of the Year: In just 63 games, Gleyber Torres is hitting .294 with 15 homers (second most among rookies), 42 RBIs (second among rookies to Brian Anderson) and a .905 OPS (second among rookies to Juan Soto).

— The “See, I’m For Real, Guys” Award goes to Cincinnati’s Scooter Gennett because, honestly, not many thought he would come close to duplicating last season — hence his near-200 average draft position. Well done, sir.

— LVP (Least Valuable Pitcher): Among qualified starters, the White Sox’s Lucas Giolito is 5-8 with a league-high 6.59 ERA. He also leads the majors in walks with 57 (also the exact number he has struck out) and has hit the most batters (11). He has also allowed the second-most earned runs (71). How useless is he? He is as useless as a bacon cheeseburger at a Bar/Bat Mitzah. He is as useless as a glass hammer. As useless as a knitted condom. As useless as the “G” in bologna (or lasagna). As useless as an ejection seat on a helicopter.

Team Name of the Week

Han Soto

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