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There is only a month left in the season, but already many of you (well, a few of you) have been asking questions about player valuation for 2016. With this in mind, I thought I’d provide one final in-season valuation update before we close the door on this season.

In the linked document you will find values through games of Wednesday, August 31 for:

  • American League Hitters
  • American League Pitchers
  • National League Hitters
  • National League Pitchers

The formulas used to derive these valuations are not based on last year’s statistical formulas but rather on 2016 statistics year-to-date. Average salaries are based on the auction rosters for the CBS, LABR, and Tout Wars AL- and NL-only expert leagues. The formulas are SGP-based off of the aforementioned auction rosters for CBS, LABR, and Tout Wars.

Last time, I looked at the Top 10 hitters and pitchers from each league 81 games into the 2016 season, 54 games into the 2016 season, and through the entire 2015 season. There is no reason to mess with a successful and winning formula, so I thought I’d roll with the same familiar format.

Table 1: Top 10 AL Hitters 2016

Rank

2016 (133)

$

2016 (81)

$

2015 Final

$

1

Jose Altuve

$47

Jose Altuve

$50

Jose Altuve

$39

2

Mookie Betts

$44

Ian Desmond

$41

Josh Donaldson

$37

3

Mike Trout

$40

Mike Trout

$39

Manny Machado

$35

4

Ian Desmond

$33

Xander Bogaerts

$39

Lorenzo Cain

$35

5

Josh Donaldson

$33

Mookie Betts

$36

Mike Trout

$35

6

Xander Bogaerts

$31

Eduardo Nunez

$34

Nelson Cruz

$32

7

Francisco Lindor

$31

Francisco Lindor

$33

Mookie Betts

$31

8

David Ortiz

$29

Manny Machado

$33

Chris Davis

$29

9

Manny Machado

$29

David Ortiz

$32

Jose Bautista

$29

10

Jose Ramirez

$29

Ian Kinsler

$32

J.D. Martinez

$29

Average

$35

$37

$33

As you might expect at this point in the season, the top 10 hitters stabilize. Eduardo Nunez and Ian Kinsler are replaced by Josh Donaldson and Jose Ramirez. Many of the hitters on Table 1 drop in value from the last update, which makes sense, given how outliers tend to normalize over time. This makes Betts’ charge toward Altuve and from fifth to second all the more amazing. Donaldson’s jump to fifth looks impressive on the surface, but he “only” improved from a $32 pace at the halfway point to a $33 pace entering Thursday’s games.

Table 2: Top 10 NL Hitters 2016

Rank

2016 (133)

$

2016 (81)

$

2015 Final

$

1

Jonathan Villar

$38

Starling Marte

$38

Paul Goldschmidt

$41

2

Kris Bryant

$37

Jonathan Villar

$37

Dee Gordon

$41

3

Starling Marte

$36

Daniel Murphy

$36

A.J. Pollock

$40

4

Daniel Murphy

$35

Will Myers

$36

Bryce Harper

$39

5

Nolan Arenado

$35

Carlos Gonzalez

$35

Charlie Blackmon

$34

6

Jean Segura

$34

Nolan Arenado

$34

Nolan Arenado

$34

7

Paul Goldschmidt

$34

Paul Goldschmidt

$33

Joey Votto

$32

8

Charlie Blackmon

$34

Kris Bryant

$32

Anthony Rizzo

$32

9

Ryan Braun

$31

Jean Segura

$31

Starling Marte

$31

10

DJ LeMahieu

$30

Ryan Braun

$30

Ryan Braun

$31

Average

$34

$34

$35

If I were an alliterative headline writer, I might lead here with “Rockies Rule The Roost.” Blackmon and LeMahieu bumped Myers and Gonzalez out of the top 10 in this iteration of the list. Joey Votto is the last $30 hitter in the NL (at eleventh), so Cargo and Myers in particular dropped quite a bit over the last 52 or so games. Bryant is likely to be the real-life MVP by a fair margin, but the league-wide drop in steals makes Villar’s 50 steals ridiculously valuable in fantasy.

Table 3: Top Ten AL Pitchers 2016

Rank

2016 (132)

$

2016 (81)

$

2015 Final

$

1

Justin Verlander

$32

Chris Sale

$40

Dallas Keuchel

$35

2

Chris Sale

$32

Danny Salazar

$33

David Price

$32

3

Corey Kluber

$31

Corey Kluber

$31

Chris Sale

$26

4

Rick Porcello

$30

Steven Wright

$30

Sonny Gray

$25

5

Zach Britton

$28

Zach Britton

$29

Chris Archer

$24

6

Jose Quintana

$26

Cole Hamels

$29

Corey Kluber

$24

7

J.A. Happ

$25

Marco Estrada

$28

Andrew Miller

$23

8

Masahiro Tanaka

$25

Andrew Miller

$27

Carlos Carrasco

$23

9

Andrew Miller

$25

Rich Hill

$24

Wade Davis

$22

10

Danny Duffy

$25

Brad Brach

$24

Felix Hernandez

$22

Average

$28

$30

$26

When it comes to wholesale changes, pitcher lists are way more fun to ooooh and aaaah at than hitter lists, as a few outings can flip things around completely. This is particularly true in a season where no one is dominating. The AL has not had the big-time earners that the NL has had over the last few seasons, but at least one pitcher in the AL had earned $35 or more from 2011-2015. It is very strange to see Verlander at the top of this list again; it did not seem like he would ever return to top status in the AL after his moderate fall from grace over the last couple of seasons.

Table 4: Top 10 NL Pitchers, 2015 versus 2016

Rank

2016 (132)

$

2016 (81)

$

2015 Final

$

1

Max Scherzer

$40

Clayton Kershaw

$52

Jake Arrieta

$44

2

Madison Bumgarner

$35

Jake Arrieta

$37

Clayton Kershaw

$42

3

Clayton Kershaw

$35

Jose Fernandez

$36

Zack Greinke

$41

4

Kyle Hendricks

$32

Madison Bumgarner

$35

Max Scherzer

$34

5

Jake Arrieta

$31

Johnny Cueto

$35

Madison Bumgarner

$30

6

Kenley Jansen

$30

Max Scherzer

$34

Jacob deGrom

$28

7

Jose Fernandez

$30

Kenley Jansen

$33

Gerrit Cole

$28

8

Jon Lester

$29

Stephen Strasburg

$29

Matt Harvey

$25

9

Johnny Cueto

$28

Noah Syndergaard

$29

Mark Melancon

$25

10

Noah Syndergaard

$28

Julio Teheran

$29

Jeurys Familia

$23

Average

$32

$35

$32

Barring a surge by Bumgarner and a sudden recovery and surge by Kershaw, 2016 will not see a repeat of 2015 and three $40+ NL pitchers. Hendricks’ campaign has been something to behold, but for valuation purposes strikeouts remain king, which is why Scherzer is eight dollars ahead of Hendricks at the moment. Jansen has tailed off somewhat, but is still a $30 closer. There is far more stability in the NL than there is in the AL, with eight of the 10 pitchers from the Top 10 at the halfway point of the season staying on Table 4. Kershaw’s first half was so amazing that even with all of the time he missed he will finish with a $30-plus season even if he doesn’t throw another regular season pitch.