AL-NL Fantasy Baseball All Stars

by Greg Benson

Baseballs brightest stars will shine when the National League squares off with the American League in Tuesday’s midsummer classic in Minnesota. In his farewell season Yankee captain Derek Jeter leads a talented American League club against reigning MVP Andrew McCutchen and the National League. Many familiar faces are headed to the showdown between leagues along with several first timers, including Josh Donaldson, who will represent baseball best club, the Oakland Athletics. Not everyone who has been a fantasy baseball all-star is headed to the game, but these guys have been first-rate all season long. Below I will break down who I believe are the fantasy all stars of the first half of the season, beginning with the American League. The determination of who is a fantasy all-star is not only based on the numbers but also the value of a player and where he was taken on average in drafts.

American League
Miguel Cabrera (DET)First Base – Miguel Cabrera (DET)This is a fairly obvious choice for first base in the American League and two-time most valuable player Miguel Cabrera is that choice. While this assortment of fantasy all-stars is also based on value considering where guys where drafted, the reality is with the exception of Mike Trout no player hold more value than Miggy, regardless of draft position. After what was deemed a slow start for the Detroit slugger, he now sits atop baseballs RBI leaders with 75. All in all Miggy is the best hitter in the game and he deserves this spot without question.

Second Base – Brian Dozier (MIN)With an average draft position of 196.5 in ESPN standard leagues, Dozier has been the ultimate value pick. He is second in all of baseball in runs scored trailing only Troy Tulowitzki, and has also provided 18 long balls from the keystone for the Twins. Owners who took a chance on the middle infielder in the later rounds have been reaping the rewards all season long while justifying his selection to the fantasy baseball all-star team.

Shortstop – Alexi Ramirez (CWS)A guy who was discussed in my first Hot Topics article all the way back at the beginning of the season, Ramirez has continued his breakout year into the break. Alexi holds a solid .282 batting line paired with 41 runs bated in and 15 stolen bases. The 32-year-old has provided important value in numerous categories while having an average draft position of 142.5, making him a solid addition to every squad.

Third Base – Kyle Seager (SEA)The Mariners hot corner man got off to a sluggish start to his campaign but has come on strong heading into the break. Seager is third amongst all third basemen in home runs and second in RBIs, all while holding a solid .279 batting average. For those who were patient with the slugger, he has shown why you drafted him inside the top 100 in ESPN drafts, providing admirable value across the board.

Catcher – Salvador Perez (KC)Now slated to start the All-Star game do to Matt Wieters undergoing surgery, Perez has been rock-solid for the Royals. He ranks ahead of names including Buster Posey, Yadier Molina, and Wilin Rosario in runs and home runs thus far in 2014, solidifying himself as a top catching option and fantasy baseball all-star.

Outfield – Brandon Moss (OAK)Oakland is the best team in baseball heading into the break; Brandon Moss has been a key cog in their success. He trails only Mike Trout and Nelson Cruz for the outfield lead in RBIs, while also having mashed 21 long balls to pair with his .268 average. Moss has provided a breakout year for owners who took the slugging outfielder in 12th-14th rounds in fantasy drafts.

Outfield – Michael Brantley (CLE)What a season it’s been for the Indians outfield man, Michael Brantley, putting up great numbers in several categories. The Washington native has a .322 average to go with 63 runs, 15 homers, 63 RBIs and 10 swipes, with an average draft position of 224.4. Brantley has been cash money for those who used a late round pick on the 27-year-old stud.

Outfield – Melky Cabrera (TOR)After a disappointing season in 2013, the former All-Star game MVP has rebounded nicely. Hitting second in a loaded Toronto order has allowed Cabrera to get on base and let the big guns do the work behind him. Taken on average outside the top 200 players Melky has been an superb outfield option all season and that’s why he finds himself on the fantasy baseball all-star roster.

Corey Kluber (CLE)Starting Pitcher – Corey Kluber (CLE)Well to be completely honest I didn’t see this coming at all heading into the season. Kluber was undrafted in most leagues but has put up almost identical numbers to Yu Darvish, who was drafted in the top 20 players in majority of leagues. He is 5th in baseball with 142 punch-outs along with an excellent 3.01 ERA and 1.20 WHIP. He might be the waiver wire addition of 2014 when it comes to pitchers, guaranteeing him a spot on the fantasy all-star squad.

Relief Pitcher – Dellin Betances (NYY)A guy who many believe in the true successor to the great Mariano Rivera, Betances has been lights out this year. The 6’ 8” relief man has looked absolutely dominant in his bullpen role for the Yankees this season, accumulating 84 strikeouts in just 55.1 innings. He also sports a 1.46 ERA and a microscopic 0.70 WHIP to pair with his 12 holds and 1 save.

Closer – Fernando Rodney (SEA) – Much like my selection in the National League for a closer, Rodney doesn’t always do it 1-2-3, but his effectiveness cannot be questioned. He leads his respective league in saves with 27 to go along with an earned run average below 2.00. Rodney has been a key addition for the playoff hopeful Seattle Mariners, as he has added solidity to the end of there bullpen.

National League
First Base – Anthony Rizzo (CHC) The winner of the NL final vote has had a productive season manning 1st base for the struggling Cubs. Racking up 20 long balls, 62 runs and 49 RBIs has placed Rizzo in the top tier of first basemen amongst fantasy studs. He is the future of the Cubs and should be drafted a lot higher next year if he can maintain his solid production over the second half of the season.

Second Base – Anthony Rendon (WSH)Heading into the season Rendon’s playing time was the one question regarding how valuable he would be. With the injury to Ryan Zimmerman, the young infielder saw himself carve out a role as an everyday player for the 1st place Nationals. He has provided value in runs; average RBIs and home runs, making him extremely valuable do to his multiple eligibilities.

Troy Tulowitzki (COL)Shortstop – Troy Tulowitzki (COL)Much like the first man disused in the AL, Tulo has been the ultimate fantasy contributor this season. His stats have powered his fantasy owner’s teams into contention in majority of leagues. Plain and simple, Tulo has been the best player in baseball all year long, health permitting itself he could be on his way to winning the National League Most Valuable Player award when its all said and done.

Third Base – Todd Frazier (CIN)Not the most well known name around baseball, which may have changed after his home run derby finals appearance Monday, Frazier has been as good as any hot corner man in baseball. He has hit for power, average, driven in runs and also swiped an impressive 14 bags. There may be some regression in the second half for Frazier but there is no question he deserves to be on the fantasy and real life all-star squads.

Catcher – Devin Mesoraco (CIN)Heading into the season Mesoraco was a highly regarded sleeper amongst fantasy catchers and he has delivered. The Reds backstop has spent time on the DL this year but that has not prevented him from mashing 16 home runs which ranks 1st amongst all catchers. The young signal caller also sports a .304 average on the season providing consistency and power for owners who snatched him up late in drafts or off the wire.

Outfield – Giancarlo Stanton (MIA)Miami does not get a ton of national attention for there baseball team, but that has not stopped Stanton from becoming one of the most tantalizing players in the game. He is tied with all-star teammate Troy Tulowitzki for the most homers in the NL to go along with his .295 average. Drafted on average with the 32nd pick in ESPN drafts, its completely possible Giancarlo jumps into the top ten of 2015 fantasy drafts.

Carlos Gomez (MIL)Outfield – Carlos Gomez (MIL)Perhaps the most questioned player heading into the season after a breakout 2013, Gomez has picked up right where he left off. He provides value in pretty much every category across the board, making him one of the most convened outfielders in all of fantasy baseball, presumably for years to come.

Outfield – Charlie Blackmon (COL)Another name that was discussed in my first Hot Topics article, the bearded Blackmon has had a first half to remember. While Corey Kluber is probably the wire add of the year for pitchers, Blackmon is no doubt his counterpart for batters. He started out extremely hot, leading many owners to sell high on his services, but the outfielder has remained an important part of Colorado’s offense and continued to put up numbers useful to owners. Without a track record of sustaining success he may be a sell high option in the second half if you can find an owner willing to give you value for the Rockies leadoff man.

Starting Pitcher – Johnny Cueto (CIN)After he spent 2013 dealing with injuries Cueto was a forgotten name on draft day for most owners. For those who took a shot on the former dominant hurler the rewards have been more than expected. The Reds righty is tied with King Felix for most quality starts in the major leagues this year. Unlike Felix however he was taken on average with the 182nd pick as opposed to the King who was drafted in the top 25.

Relief Pitcher – Tyler Clippard (WSH)Recently named to the all-star squad for the National League, Clippard has been as good as any set up man in baseball. He has piled up 19 holds paired with his 53:18 K:BB ratio while maintaining a 2.03 ERA and 1.23 WHIP. The goggle wearing 8th inning man has the role locked down in DC and is amongst the top relievers in all of baseball thus far in 2014.

Closer – Mark Melancon (PIT)After last years heart felt story which say Jason Grilli dominate as the Pittsburg closer, a new name is in that role. Melancon has not only piled up 16 saves but also 14 holds, making his value higher than most relievers. However he is now the 9th inning guy for the foreseeable future limiting his holds value but supplanting him a must own closer for 2014 and beyond as it looks currently.

You can follow me on Twitter @Greg_Benson24 for more fantasy news and advice. Also be sure to like us on FacebookGoogle+ and Instagram for all updates from Fantasy Six Pack.

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