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July 12, 2010

Fantasy Beat

The Fantasy All-Stars

by Marc Normandin

The real All-Star game is coming up, which means people have spent the last week or so arguing about who does and doesn't belong on the roster. Since this is a fantasy column though, we don't really care who didn't make the team. We do, however, feel the need to make up a roster of fantasy all-stars from the first half of the season to coincide with baseball's midsummer classic.

This is a simple exercise-just for fun, we're using the player's ranks (according to CBS Sports) and taking the leader from each position. We'll also list the runner-up with their rank, so you get a sense of how close things are. In the comments, we'd love to hear your thoughts on who will still be here and who will be long gone from the rankings by year's end-that's something we can revisit if you have an interest, when the time comes.

Miguel Olivo (#100) .325/.370/.548 11 42  4 42
Victor Martinez (#212) .289/.344/.480   9 38  1 36

Olivo is far and away the most valuable catcher--he's the lone backstop in the top 100 fantasy players. Is Coors involved? Of course. But unless your league adjusts for park, what do you care? If you're wondering, Joe Mauer ranks third, at #227. Just three spots ahead of Brian McCann, and not that far ahead of another former Royal catcher, John Buck.

Miguel Cabrera (#7) .346/.423/.651 22 77  2 64
Albert Pujols (#15) .308/.416/.576 21 64  9 55

I'm not sure what's more impressive: Miguel Cabrera's first half, or the fact that Albert Pujols has been disappointing as the fifteenth-best player in fantasy baseball. I mean, who needs a guy with an OPS of just 992?

Robinson Cano (#22) .336/.390/.556 16 58  2 61
Martin Prado (#49) .325/.367/.484 10 39  4 61

Cano is continuing his development, which progressed last season when he didn't slump in the first half. I was wildly optimistic about Martin Prado, and he's still performing over those levels, which I'm sure his owners (and the Braves) have no complaints about.

David Wright (#12) .314/.392/.532 14 65 15 52
Evan Longoria (#29) .300/.381/.513 13 61 13 54

David Wright ranks right where we put him in the pre-season (and even with more steals than expected!) while Longoria also sits upon his pre-season throne.  Martin Prado and Kevin Youkilis, the third- and fourth-ranked third basemen, aren't even third basemen. The position has been deeper in fantasy baseball than in the real game.

Hanley Ramirez (#23) .301/.381/.485 13 53 18 50
Rafael Furcal (#47) .333/.384/.514  6 35 14 51

It's probably a bad sign when two players who have missed a significant number of plate appearances rank in the top five at the position, but Rafael Furcal and Troy Tulowitzki both pull off the feat and make shortstop look that much more depressing. It doesn't help that while Hanley Ramirez is #23 overall, he was more than likely paid to be in the top 2-3.

Carl Crawford (#4) .321/.380/.521 11 50 31 70
Josh Hamilton (#6) .346/.390/.625 22 64   7 59
Alex Rios (#8) .306/.361/.518 15 49 23 55

Remember that time the Blue Jays traded Alex Rios to the Chicago White Sox in exchange for nothing? Also, everyone's favorite sleeper pick Carlos Gonzalez is the next outfielder in line, ranked #13 overall. Gonzalez is the next-best ranked player I haven't listed in a table either, which would make him the fantasy all-star utility player.

Starting Pitcher IP W ERA SO WHIP
Adam Wainwright (#1) 136 1/3 13 2.11 127 1.00
Josh Johnson (#2) 122  9 1.70 123 0.96
Roy Halladay (#3) 148 10 2.19 128 1.05
Ubaldo Jimenez (#5) 127 15 2.20 113 1.05
Mat Latos (#9) 106 2/3 10 2.45  99 0.97

Jon Lester (#10) rounds out the top 10, while four other starting pitchers sit in the top 20 overall (Cliff Lee, #11; Felix Hernandez, #18; CC Sabathia, #19; Jered Weaver, #20).

Billy Wagner (#14) 37 1/3 20 1.21 56 0.86

I think it's safe to say Billy Wagner had something left in the tank.

There you have it--the 2010 midsummer fantasy all-stars. What do you think? Any surprises? Anyone you think will be in these same positions come October? Let us know in the comments.

8 comments have been left for this article. (Click to hide comments)

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From a pure numbers standpoint, all the info in the article is accurate. But from a FANTASY stand point, I think it's off. A fantasy all-star, in my opinion at least is not the guy necessarily performing best, but the guy performing best relative to his draft or auction price. You mentioned it yourself with regards to Han Ram. Yes, he's the most productive SS by numbers, yet nearly every owner overpaid for him at that production and in fact, he's more of a disappointment to his owners than a all-star. A Latos drafed or a Colby Lewis drafted in late or reserve rounds or, Votto as the the 8th 1B drafted now THAT is a fantasy All-star to me.

I'd like to see an article showing the guys most over produing their draft/auction position. HanRam and Pujols aren't likely to appear on those. Not that you don't need production from your 1st-3rd round picks mind you. Fanning on Grady Sizemore is just as painful as taking a flyer on C. Lewis and having it payoff is exhilrating.

Jul 12, 2010 06:46 AM
rating: 0

I'm not sure that I agree. You seem to be describing a "best sleeper" team. While sleepers are important, it's very easy to lose with an all-sleeper team, even if they're all successes.

Jul 12, 2010 09:57 AM
rating: -1
Brian Oakchunas

As a fantasy player, you are trying to get guys in their typical round and then have them perform better than that round. That's your first priority during the draft and it defines a sleeper--someone who outperforms the spot he was valued at. If every guy on your team performs better than his round (i.e. you had a first rounder who is performing better than the average first rounder, etc.) it would be awfully hard to lose. You'd have to have an incredibly lopsided team.

I do agree, however, that the article was not about this. It was about THE best fantasy players. I would like to see a better metric to explain the rankings, maybe giving a value to each player, rather than just choosing whoever CBS claims is the best. There is no way to know whether their methodology is anything better than an intern updating whoever he thinks is the best every day.

Jul 12, 2010 12:35 PM
rating: 0

Agreed Nater....Brennan Boesch may be the Fantasy MVP simply b/c he was probably undrafted and picked up for a $1 or something like that. Still enjoyed the article Marc!

Jul 12, 2010 07:51 AM
rating: 2

How about a most disappointing team relative to draft position? I suspect that my few could top my Mauer, Aaron Hill, Pablo Sandoval, and Yunel Escobar debacle. Throw in drafting Berkman prior to the injury news and you have a lot of benchwarming done by guys I drafted in the first 10 rounds. Justin Slumpton hasn't done me much good either, other than jacking 3 homers the one week I benched him.

Jul 12, 2010 10:18 AM
rating: 1
Brian Oakchunas

I really liked Hamilton coming into the year. He was an injury risk for sure, but he is a hitter--at least you're not concerned that he'll blow out his elbow. Seeing him perform as well or better than he did before his injury-marred 2009 campaign is not really a great surprise. I can see him keeping it up for sure.

Cano is a great, great hitter. I think there is almost no limit to where he can go. He rarely strikes out but has continued developing power over the last few years. According to Hit Tracker, he had four no doubt bombs this year against one lucky dinger.

Compare that to Martin Prado, a slappy hitter who pulled 10 homers out of his, um, ear. He has three lucky homers (tied for second place on the list), with only two no doubters. As a hitter, his future upside is probably as a David DeJesus clone.

Jul 12, 2010 12:59 PM
rating: 0

I know it's close, but I was surprised to see Prado over Phillips:

AVG: .294 v .325
R: 66 v 60
HR: 12 v 10
RBI: 30 v 39
SB: 10 v 4

I guess it's a question of AVG or SB. You really can't go wrong either way. Though Yahoo has Prado ranked slightly higher as well. I guess in this environment when steals are easier to come by, AVG has more weight.

Jul 12, 2010 14:41 PM
rating: 0
Brian Oakchunas

My system had Prado ahead by a nose hair, but depending on how they do the math, he might get something for having multi-positional eligibility too.

Jul 13, 2010 09:42 AM
rating: 0
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