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We are slightly past the halfway point of the season (in terms of games played, not the All-Star break), so it is time to look at fantasy valuation yet again.

In the linked document, you will find values through games of July 4 for:

  • American League hitters
  • American League pitchers
  • National League hitters
  • National League pitchers

The formulas used to derive these valuations are not based on statistical formulas from a year ago, but rather on 2017 statistics 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 the auction rosters for CBS, LABR and Tout Wars.

In 2016, my mid-year update was completed exactly 81 games through the major-league season (on average). Even though this update is slightly past this point, it is useful to compare how the top 10 are doing this season when compared to the 2016 top 10 in terms of earnings.

Table 1: Top 10 AL Hitters

Rank

2017 (midyear)

$

2016 (midyear)

$

2016 Final

$

1

Aaron Judge

$41

Jose Altuve

$50

Jose Altuve

$43

2

Jose Altuve

$38

Ian Desmond

$41

Mookie Betts

$42

3

Elvis Andrus

$37

Mike Trout

$39

Mike Trout

$41

4

Jose Ramirez

$34

Xander Bogaerts

$39

Brian Dozier

$31

5

Mookie Betts

$33

Mookie Betts

$36

David Ortiz

$30

6

George Springer

$30

Eduardo Nunez

$34

Ian Desmond

$30

7

Carlos Correa

$29

Francisco Lindor

$33

Miguel Cabrera

$30

8

Corey Dickerson

$29

Manny Machado

$33

Ian Kinsler

$29

9

Mike Trout

$28

David Ortiz

$32

Josh Donaldson

$29

10

Cameron Maybin

$26

Ian Kinsler

$32

Jose Ramirez

$29

Average

$33

$37

$33

In 2016, Altuve fell from a $50 pace to a $43 season in AL-only. This does not mean that Judge is going to lose value in the second half, but the odds of him keeping up this pace, particularly in batting average, seem slim. The supercharged offensive context has pushed the values at the top down considerably, with only Judge on pace to earn $40 and only five others on pace to earn $30 or more. The relative stability in the Top 10 stands out. Three of 2017’s top five were in 2016’s final top 10.

Table 2: Top 10 NL Hitters

Rank

2017 (midyear)

$

2016 (midyear)

$

2016 Final

$

1

Paul Goldschmidt

$41

Starling Marte

$38

Jonathan Villar

$38

2

Trea Turner

$38

Jonathan Villar

$37

Jean Segura

$36

3

Charlie Blackmon

$35

Daniel Murphy

$36

Paul Goldschmidt

$35

4

Bryce Harper

$34

Will Myers

$36

Charlie Blackmon

$35

5

Joey Votto

$34

Carlos Gonzalez

$35

Nolan Arenado

$33

6

Daniel Murphy

$32

Nolan Arenado

$34

Daniel Murphy

$32

7

Ryan Zimmerman

$31

Paul Goldschmidt

$33

Joey Votto

$32

8

Marcell Ozuna

$30

Kris Bryant

$32

Kris Bryant

$32

9

Dee Gordon

$30

Jean Segura

$31

Starling Marte

$31

10

Travis Shaw

$29

Ryan Braun

$30

Ryan Braun

$30

Average

$33

$34

$34

In 2016, the Top 10 was dominated by stolen bases at the halfway mark of the season. 2017 does have some stolen bases at the top, but there is much more balance, with Turner and Gordon the only hitters on the list whose value mostly derives from steals. Goldschmidt, Blackmon, Votto and Murphy all repeat from 2016’s end-of-year ranking. The Nationals are dominating in both fantasy and real life, with four Nationals in the Top 10 overall.

Table 3: Top 10 AL Pitchers

Rank

2017 (midyear)

$

2016 (midyear)

$

2016 Final

$

1

Chris Sale

$47

Chris Sale

$40

Justin Verlander

$34

2

Craig Kimbrel

$34

Danny Salazar

$33

Rick Porcello

$33

3

Dallas Keuchel

$33

Corey Kluber

$31

Corey Kluber

$31

4

Jason Vargas

$32

Steven Wright

$30

Chris Sale

$31

5

Corey Kluber

$30

Zach Britton

$29

Zach Britton

$28

6

Ervin Santana

$29

Cole Hamels

$29

Andrew Miller

$26

7

Lance McCullers

$27

Marco Estrada

$28

Masahiro Tanaka

$25

8

Carlos Carrasco

$25

Andrew Miller

$27

J.A. Happ

$25

9

Michael Fulmer

$25

Rich Hill

$24

Aaron Sanchez

$23

10

Roberto Osuna

$25

Brad Brach

$24

Jose Quintana

$22

Average

$31

$30

$28

Even if Sale fades in the second half like he did in 2016, he appears to be well on his way to a $40 season. If he does not fade, Sale is on his way to a historic season. The midyear and final rankings from 2016 offer excellent insights into how fickle pitcher earnings are, particularly compared to hitter earnings. While many of the 2017 names seem “safe” there is a good chance that at least half of the pitchers in Table 3 will not be on this list at the end of the season.

Table 4: Top 10 NL Pitchers

Rank

2017 (midyear)

$

2016 (midyear)

$

2016 Final

$

1

Max Scherzer

$53

Clayton Kershaw

$52

Max Scherzer

$40

2

Clayton Kershaw

$49

Jake Arrieta

$37

Clayton Kershaw

$35

3

Zack Greinke

$34

Jose Fernandez

$36

Madison Bumgarner

$35

4

Alex Wood

$33

Madison Bumgarner

$35

Jon Lester

$34

5

Kenley Jansen

$32

Johnny Cueto

$35

Kyle Hendricks

$33

6

Stephen Strasburg

$31

Max Scherzer

$34

Johnny Cueto

$31

7

Carlos Martinez

$27

Kenley Jansen

$33

Jose Fernandez

$30

8

Robbie Ray

$27

Stephen Strasburg

$29

Kenley Jansen

$30

9

Greg Holland

$26

Noah Syndergaard

$29

Jake Arrieta

$28

10

Gio Gonzalez

$25

Julio Teheran

$29

Noah Syndergaard

$28

Average

$34

$35

$32

Kershaw’s 2016 mid-year earnings were a mirage, as he was already hurt and we knew he would slip significantly before the season ended. With both Kershaw and Scherzer healthy this season, we could see both pitchers top $45 at year’s end. Wood, Martinez and Ray were all breakout candidates to varying degrees, and it certainly helps that so many of the top projected arms from 2017 were felled by injury. The NL had a fair amount of stability in 2016 between the midyear rankings and the final ones, with only Strasburg and Teheran falling off by year’s end.

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