First Quarter MLB Fantasy All Stars
We are nearly complete the first quarter of the regular season. There are a lot of story lines to this point: Harper's call up, Lawrie's temper tantrum, the 1st place Orioles, the Red Sox and so on. This article will be a tribute to the players having outstanding seasons and who I think are providing tremendous fantasy value. Some of these picks were higher draft selections while others went undrafted. My selections are based mostly on fantasy baseball roto scoring. I mean this is a fantasy sports website. Without any further ado, here is my first quarter All Stars...
Catcher: Carlos Ruiz PHI
The 33 year old seems to have found the fountain of youth behind the plate in Philly. Ruiz is hitting .337 so far this year with 6 home runs and 23 runs batted in. Ruiz went undrafted in almost every fantasy league this season. He is slowly climbing the ranks and should be owned in all leagues.
Honorable Mention: Yadier Molina STL
First Base: Bryan LaHair CHC
Bryan entered the season as a "placeholder" at first until top prospect Anthony Rizzo gets called up. LaHair is in his third season as a pro but, he has never played in more than 45 games in any year. He had 5 home runs for his career entering the season and through 33 games, has 10 bombs this year alone. He has a monstrous .352 average and 19 of his 38 hits have been for extra bases. LaHair went undrafted this year as well.
Honorable Mention: Miguel Cabrera DET
Second Base: Jason Kipnis CLE
Kipnis was a late round flyer in this year's drafts, and the sophomore has been a great value through his first 36 games. As a rookie Kipnis played 36 games and had a .272 average with 7 homers and 5 steals in 136 at bats. This year through 36 games Kipnis has a .271 average with 6 homers and 6 steals through 144 at bats. At this pace the Indians young second baseman will finish with a 20/20 season.
Honorable Mention: Ian Kinsler TEX
Third Base: David Wright NYM
Wright has always been a favorite of mine but he is well deserving of this honor through the quarter turn of the season. Wright is hitting .408 with 4 home runs and 3 steals. He was a mid 4th round draft pick this year along side hitters such as Ryan Zimmerman (.230, 1HR, 2SB) and Mark Teixeira (.232, 5HR, 1SB). Wright is currently a top 10 hitter and as long as he is healthy I'd expect him to continue his great season.
Honorable Mention: Emilio Bonifacio MIA
Shortstop: Starlin Castro CHC
The 22 year old shortstop, like Wright, has also been a favorite of mine since making his MLB debut May 7th, 2010. Castro has been lighting up the base paths this year with 12 thefts through 36 games. Starlin sports a .331 average to go along with 1 home run and 22 runs batted in. The Dominican has a bright future, especially in keeper leagues, but I'd like to see some more power. He was drafted in the mid 50's in most drafts behind star shortstops: Troy Tulowitzki, Hanley Ramirez, Jose Reyes and Jimmy Rollins. He is currently the best fantasy shortstop in the game today egding out the veteran's Jeter and Furcal by a LaHair (see what I did there?).
Honorable Mention: Derek Jeter NYY
Outfield: Josh Hamilton TEX
Best hitter in the game, plain and simple. He was, on average, a 4th round pick (just after Wright) in fantasy leagues back in April. Hamilton has a .402 average with 18 homers, 45 RBI's, 31 runs and 2 steals. He will always carry the "injury risk" label with him but, to this point is clearly the league MVP.
Outfield: Matt Kemp LAD
Kemp just recently landed on the DL with a strained hamstring. Prior to the injury he had 12 home runs, 2 steals, 28 RBI's, 29 runs and a .359 batting average. It looked as if he would run away with the MVP award after barely getting beat out by Ryan Braun last season but this recent DL stint will eat into his numbers a bit. He is expected to only miss the minimum but I think we can kiss a 50/50 season goodbye.
Outfield: Carlos Beltran STL
I can't believe I'm putting Mr. Bad Knees in here but the numbers say he deserves it. Beltran has hit 13 bombs through his first 35 games as a cardinal. He has a .295 average with 5 steals, 32 RBI's, 28 runs and has just recently been considered day to day. A DL stint is in the near future for Beltran but he deserves some credit for his great start. Keep in mind he was an 11th round pick entering the year.
Honorable Mentions: Ryan Braun MIL, Adam Jones BAL, Josh Reddick OAK
DH: Edwin Encarnacion TOR
Drafted about 200th overall entering the year, Encarnacion is a top 5 player through his first 38 games. E5 is on base for about 16 steals which would be double his previous career high. The Blue Jays slugger is hitting a home run once every 11.8 at bats.
Honorable Mentions: David Ortiz BOS and Adam Dunn CHW
Ace: Lance Lynn STL
Coming out of nowhere, Lance Lynn posts a 0.90 WHIP and an outstanding 1.81 ERA. With a 6-1 record Lynn has led the Cardinals to first place in the NL Central. Lynn has a 8.87 K/9 rate and an equally impressive .171 batting average against. He was undrafted, think about it! You probably spent an early draft pick on Jon Lester, Josh Beckett, Dan Haren, Tim Lincecum etc. I'm not saying he's better than them, I'm just saying look at the value! That's why he is here.
Honorable Mentions: Jered Weaver LAA and Jake Peavy CHW
Closer: Fernando Rodney TB
Who would have thought the top closers in the AL East would be Fernando Rodney and Jim Johnson. I say it all the time don't pay for saves. Here's why: Mariano Rivera, Andrew Bailey, Brian Wilson, Drew Storen, Ryan Madsen, Huston Street and I promise there will be more.
Honorable Mentions: Jim Johnson BAL
Be sure to hit me on twitter if you want to call me out on any of these players @Awies28