Tuesday, July 13, 2010

First-half Fantasy All-Stars

Since we've got a few days without a meaningful baseball game (unless you buy that "this time it counts!" nonsense from the MLB All-Star Game), it's a great time to take a step back and evaluate the first half of the fantasy season.

As always, there's no fan voting, no managerial or player choices, no stuffing the ballots and no popularity contests here. Just the cold, hard stats to tell us who are the 2010 Fantasy All-Stars so far.


Joe Mauer
and Brian McCann are bigger names, but it's journeyman Miguel Olivo who leads all catchers in RBIs and is in the top three in runs, homers, steals and average. Sure, a lot of that is due to the Coors Field factor - Olivo's hitting .400 at home, .215 on the road - but he's still been the best backstop this year.


What a turnaround for Miguel Cabrera. He entered the season as a big question mark because of last year's drinking incident and now stands as a legit Triple Crown contender thanks to a .346 average, 22 homers and 77 RBIs, all of which lead the majors.


For all the discussion about Hanley Ramirez loafing it in the outfield, he hasn't been a slouch at the plate, where he's in the top five in each of the big five categories among shortstops.


Robinson Cano might not steal bases (2), but he does everything else exceptionally well - .336 average, 16 HR, 58 RBIs, 61 R. Sure, it helps that fantasy stalwarts Chase Utley and Dustin Pedroia are hurt, but Robbie was already outpacing them before their injuries.


Remember when everybody was upset about David Wright's power outage (10 HRs) last year? He's got 14 so far this year, along with the most RBIs (65) in the NL. He's also got the most steals (14) among third-sackers and is hitting .314.


The underappreciated Carl Crawford is putting together a career year with .321 average, 31 steals, 70 runs scored (tops in the big leagues). Good timing for the soon-to-be free agent.

Josh Hamilton has put a down 2009 in his rearview mirror. The fully healthy Texas slugger has 22 homers, 64 RBIs, 59 runs scored and is hitting a robust .346 with 1.015 OPS.

Corey Hart is a surprising third choice in the outfield, but the guy does have 21 homers and 65 RBIs after all. Not bad for somebody who started the year as a platoon player for the Brewers.


Rangers DH Vladimir Guerrero has enjoyed quite a resurgence in the Lone Star State - 20 HRs, 75 RBIs, .319 average, which place him among the league leaders. So much for being washed up ...


Anybody predict Ubaldo Jimenez to be the league's best pitcher in 2010? Not only does the Rockies ace have a league-high 15 wins, but his miniscule 2.20 ERA and 1.05 WHIP have been helping fantasy squads all year, and his 113 Ks, while fewer than some other aces, are certainly enough to help you stay competitive.

There's no clear-cut answer at closer. Carlos Marmol leads in strikeouts (78). Joakim Soria leads in saves (25). Jose Valverde is tops in ERA (0.92). Mariano Rivera has the best WHIP (0.62). But I'm going with a guy who's competitive in all those categories, Heath Bell of the Padres (24 saves, 1.88 ERA, 1.33 WHIP, 50 Ks, 4 wins) by a hair over Billy Wagner, Rafael Soriano, Neftali Feliz and a few other worthy candidates.

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