With the All-Star game this Tuesday, July 11, I thought it would be a great idea to look at the rosters and see if the fantasy values for the players should continue, or if owners should be looking to sell.
C: Buster Posey, Giants
Verdict: Best catcher in baseball. Hold tight
1B: Ryan Zimmerman, Nationals
Raise your hand if you saw this coming (PUT YOUR HAND DOWN, LIAR). After averaging 90 games a season over the past 3 years (and not playing very well in those 3 seasons), Zimmerman bounced back with what might be his best season of his 13 year career. He has been absolutely crushing the ball this year with 41 of his 93 hits going for extra bases. His .610 SLG is among the top 5 in baseball. He has come back down to earth after hitting .420 with 11 HR in April, but even if he continues at his more recent pace, he’s still a .300 hitter with 30 HR and 100 RBI.
2B: Daniel Murphy, Nationals
3B: Nolan Arenado, Rockies
Verdict: Both top 10 hitters. Hold tight
SS: Zack Cozart, Reds
Another surprise starter for the NL, Cozart might be as household of a name yet. He’s been battling injuries as of late but still has a .315/.394/.542 slash line in the 1st half. The increase in power can be traced back to 2 seasons ago. If you combined his injury plagued 2015 and 2016 you get a .254 hitter with 25 HR 7 SB and 78 RBI over 174 games. At SS, this is valuable. The change this year is he has taken a lot more walks. A career 5.3% BB rate before this year, that number has jumped to 11.7%. This has given him better quality at bats and in turn helped his average. He’s far from elite but he has a real shot at being a top 10 SS this season.
OF: Charlie Blackmon, Rockies
OF: Bryce Harper, Nationals
OF: Marcell Ozuna, Marlins
Verdict: All top 12 OF. Hold tight
Clayton Kershaw, Dodgers
Max Scherzer, Nationals
Stephen Strasburg, Nationals
Zack Grienke, Diamondbacks
Carlos Martinez, Cardinals
Verdict: WHAT A ROTATION! Hold tight
Robbie Ray, Diamondbacks
I thought the hype train for Robbie Ray would crash and burn. Instead, it has driven Ray to be the #11 SP in fantasy this season. He has a 3.06 ERA with a 11.5 K/9. He recently went on a stretch of 5 straight wins with a 0.24 ERA and was looking every bit top 10 as you can get. Since June (which includes 2 of those 5 starts during his hot streak) he has a 3.19 ERA and his BB/9 has jumped to 5.5! Last season Ray had a 3.7 BB/9, which is his career average. He had a 4.90 ERA in 2016. Now his FIP was 3.76 so he was a bit unlucky. That being said, there is no way he can keep a 3.06 ERA with that walk rate. His competition will get tougher as well with a number of games against the Nationals, Dodgers, and Rockies left on the schedule. I expect Ray to still get Ks, but they will probably come with an ERA close to 4.00 than 3.00.
Kenley Jansen, Dodgers
Wade Davis, Cubs
Greg Holland, Rockies
Corey Knebel, Brewers
Verdict: All top 7 RP. Hold tight
Brad Hand, Padres
Pat Neshek, Phillies
Verdict: NL only. Both likely to get traded anyway
1B: Paul Goldschmidt, Diamondbacks
1B: Joey Votto, Reds
SS: Corey Seager, Dodgers
3B: Jake Lamb, Diamondbacks
OF: Giancarlo Stanton, Marlins
Verdict: All top 50 players. Hold tight
C: Yadier Molina, Cardinals
Molina is a fine catcher with a low ceiling and high floor. He’s also quietly already reach the most home runs he’s had in a season since 2013. That being said, any catcher outside of the top 2 isn’t very special. Use the ‘All-Star’ tag and try to sell Molina for a better hitter or pitcher.
2B: DJ LeMahieu, Rockies
LeMahieu is a hard hitter to gauge. Nothing really special, but nothing really bad either. He plays at the best hitting environment in baseball, yet isn’t really a power guy. A .300 hitter with 80 R 80 RBI 10 HR and 10 SB is fine. But it may just be the #15 2B this season. Sell him on name value and, of course, the ‘All-Star’ tag.
2B: Josh Harrison, Pirates
Need a better version of LeMahieu? Harrison could very well be that guy. Sure the average is slightly worse and the RBI is as well, but he has more than twice the amount of HR and SB. Harrison is also walking more this season which has led to more SB opportunities. Harrison is on his way to his best season yet and a 20-20 year could be in the making. Plus, not many other people view him as top 150, so his price tag shouldn’t be high.
3B: Justin Turner, Dodgers
Turner is representing the NL by winning the final vote. The 32 year old is now an All-Star for the 1st time in his career. Turner has followed up his 27 HR 90 RBI 2016 season by hitting a crazy .380/.475/.566 at the break. The counting stats are low due to him missing time but check this out. Since returning from the DL on June 9, Turner has 7 HR 16 RBI and 20 R in just 23 games! That pace gives him last seasons stats with much better hitting ratios. Oh, and by the way, he has more walks than strikeouts.
OF: Cody Bellinger, Dodgers
Before I begin, I think Bellinger is an elite talent for years to come. And by that I mean top 10 in fantasy drafts is something in his future. That said, if I’m in a redraft league I’m selling Bellinger to the highest bidder in hopes of landing either a fantasy ace or a top 15 hitter. Despite giving everyone nearly a month head start, Bellinger is tied for 4th in homers and has the 3rd highest slugging percentage. He also has a K rate of 30%. Over the past 14 days he is hitting just .190 with 2 home runs. Bellinger has shown the ability to adapt just about as fast as any player I’ve ever seen. But at such deep positions (OF and 1B), I’m fine with trading him for a scarce position. Expect top 100 production going forward but probably not top 20.
OF: Michael Conforto, Mets
Conforto was well on his way to becoming the top 10 OF most experts projected. But then injuries and poor performance got in the way. Since May 15, Conforto is hitting just .235 with 5 home runs. He also has a 29% K rate, up from 20% prior to May 15. I don’t expect him to play this poorly once he returns from the DL, but the Mets as a ball club is on a downward trend. Maybe next year.
OF: Ender Inciarte, Braves
Did you know Inciarte is a top 50 overall player for the season? Inciarte has a career high HR total and is well on his way to a 14 HR 20 SB season. He’s been very consistent month to month and has really flow under the radar. Still just 26 years old, Inciarte could be coming into his own in terms of his power progression. He also plays on an underrated Braves lineup who just got a top 10 hitter in Freddie Freeman back. This bodes well for his runs scored total. Enciarte won’t put up monster numbers, but his all around production and consistency makes him an intriguing fantasy option.