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Roto Roundup: Gary Sanchez, Kris Bryant, Trea Turner and others

MLB: Baltimore Orioles at New York Yankees Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports

2016 Fantasy Football Rankings

Fantasy football season is here and our fantasy football writers have published their early position rankings, some breakout candidates and some ADP analysis from the early mock drafts, and you can find all of these articles in one spot. Check out the articles in the link below.

Early 2016 Fantasy Football Rankings

In addition, Robert Kohnfelder took a look at the top fantasy players for each NFL team in the fantasy football team previews linked below.

Fantasy Football Team Previews

Gary Sanchez: Top 5 fantasy catcher in 2017?

Right now there are three catchers who have hit 20+ home runs: Yasmani Grandal, Evan Gattis and Jonathan Lucroy. A few other catchers, including Wilson Ramos, Salvador Perez and Brian McCann, could join them by the end of the season. Giants catcher Buster Posey, the #1 fantasy catcher coming into the season, is having a sub-par power season, as he has hit just 12 home runs this season.

Among all catchers, there are 15 who have hit 10 or more home runs, and all have 200+ plate appearances this season. If you filter your plate appearance stat down under 100, you see that Yankees catcher Gary Sanchez has hit 10 home runs as well. In 20 games!!!!!!

Sanchez is having an unforgettable start to his major league career, ala Rockies shortstop Trevor Story. Like Story, Sanchez will cool off. After hitting his 10th home run of the season last night, Sanchez is now hitting .403-.459-.883 with 10 home runs, 17 runs scored, and 20 RBI in less than 100 plate appearances. He is making hard contact in 42% of his balls in play, and 43% of his fly balls are reaching the seats. The HR/FB rate is unsustainable, but Sanchez does possess solid power, and will hit for average. He will be the talk of the offseason, as he will be the topic of conversation when we begin ranking players at each position for the 2017 season.

The question will be where to rank him. I can see him nudging into my top five ranked catchers for 2017, along with Posey, Perez, Ramos and Lucroy. I think I would rank him just ahead of Grandal since he should hit for a higher average than Grandal and should hit 20+ home runs in a full season of at bats.

Roto Roundup

The topic of who the MVP is in the National League will probably come down to Dodgers shortstop Corey Seager and Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant. Both lead the NL in fWAR and play for division leading teams who will both make the playoffs. Last night, Bryant showed why he is the favorite to win the award, going 2-4 with 2 home runs, 3 runs scored, 3 RBI and the game winning home run in the 10th inning of the Cubs 6-4 win. Bryant is now hitting .303-.395-.587 with 35 home runs, 107 runs scored, 89 RBI and 8 stolen bases. He now leads all MLB hitters with a 7.3 fWAR. He ranks first in runs scored, tied for second in home runs and in the top ten in RBI among all qualified hitters at the moment. And I thought Phillies third baseman Maikel Franco could put up similar stats as Bryant this season. Yikes.

Cardinals pitching prospect Alex Reyes will make his first start of the season later today vs the Athletics. In 9.1 innings of relief this season, Reyes has yet to give up a run and owns a 13-4 strikeout to walk rate. In 14 Triple A starts, Reyes, went 2-3 with a 4.96 ERA, 1.45 WHIP and a 93-32 strikeout to walk rate in 65+ innings. He can dominate hitters, but does give up the free pass quite a bit. You don’t need me to tell you the potential this guy has, but he will need to improve his control before he can reach his potential.

Orioles shortstop Manny Machado was the only bright spot in the Orioles 14-4 loss to the Yankees last night. Machado went 2-4 with 2 home runs and 3 RBI and is now hitting .305-.358-.564 with 31 home runs, 37 doubles, 89 runs scored, and 81 RBI. He has yet to steal a base in three attempts this season after stealing 20 last season, so no 20-20 club for Machado this season. That said, he should sit atop the 2017 fantasy shortstop rankings next season, but will drop in my third base rankings, as Nolan Arenado, Bryant, and Josh Donaldson are having more productive seasons at the plate. Fantasy owners expecting him to steal 20 bases again this season are obviously disappointed, but it makes sense for the big league club to keep their best player healthy and in the lineup every day.

Diamondbacks outfielder A.J. Pollock announced after busting up his elbow in spring training that he would return before the end of the season, and he held true to his promise, as he made his return last night. Pollock batted second in the Diamondbacks lineup, going 0-5 with an RBI in the Diamondbacks 4-3 win. Pollock will get regular playing time over the last 6 weeks of the season, so get him in your lineups if you can.

Blue Jays catcher Russell Martin was horrific over the first two months of the season, hitting .150 in April and .230 in May, but since then he is back to being the hitter we thought he would be back on draft day. Last night, he went 2-5 with a double, home run, and 5 RBI in the Blue Jays 15-8 win over the Twins. Martin has been hot since the end of May, hitting .262 in June, .292 in July and .303 with 8 home runs and 20 RBI in August. For the season, he is now hitting .249-.344-.419 with 15 home runs, 49 runs scored and 59 RBI. Among all fantasy catchers, he ranks in the top ten in home runs, runs scored and RBI, and should be a top 6-8 option at the position in 2017.

White Sox ace Chris Sale did his part last night, but the lineup behind him could only muster one run in a 3-1 loss to Felix Hernandez and the Mariners. Sale went the distance, giving up 3 runs on 5 hits, no walks and 14 strikeouts, a dominating performance that failed to add a W to his win total. Sale is now 15-7 with a 3.14 ERA, 3.35 FIP, a 1.00 WHIP and a 179-38 strikeout to walk rate in 177.2 innings this season. His strikeout rate has fallen from just under 12 strikeouts per nine to striking out a batter per inning this season, yet he is still one of the best pitchers in the game, but I wonder if he will drop out of the top five next season due to the reduced strikeout rate.

Nationals leadoff hitter and center fielder Trea Turner is showing us all why he should have been called up earlier in the season. Last night, he went 2-5 with 2 runs scored and a stolen base in the Nationals 8-5 win over the Rockies. Turner raised his slash line to .341-.364-.539 with 4 home runs, 9 doubles, 6 triples, 33 runs scored, 20 RBI and 16 stolen bases in 19 attempts. He has produced all that in under 200 plate appearances, and for some reason is still unowned in more than 25% of leagues. Why? Like Gary Sanchez above, Turner will be a hot topic this offseason, as he is outperforming my expectations for him this season. There are three hitters with 40 or more stolen bases this season, Billy Hamilton, Jonathan Villar and Starling Marte. Turner could join them next season.

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