What players have been the best of the best so far? I’ve gone through every position and come up with AL and NL All-stars, along with honorable mentions for each. Let’s get right into it.
AL: Salvador Perez (.290/37 R/18 HR/57 RBI)- Surprise, it’s not Gary Sanchez! In a position devoid of much offensive talent, Perez has hit much better than his compatriots. At the time of writing this, he is leading all catchers in HR and RBI and is third in AVG among qualified catchers (200 AB) and third in runs. That’s even in a weak Kansas City lineup that doesn’t offer him much protection. Part of his success has been that he has managed to stay on the field, amassing the most AB of all major league catchers. Despite his great first half, I wouldn’t bet on a similar return in the second. Historically Perez struggles in the second half (due to overuse), so now would be a good time to sell high, if you can find a replacement.
Honorable Mention: Gary Sanchez (.276/ 38 R/ 13 HR/ 40 RBI/ 2 SB)- Without his injury struggles, Sanchez likely would have outproduced Perez. Even with limited time on the field, he’s been the second best catcher in the AL. He’s a better second half bet than Perez too, so if you can make a swap, I would encourage it.
NL: Buster Posey (.324/ 36 R/ 10 HR/ 35 RBI/ 1 SB)- On a struggling Giants team, Posey has managed to be a bright spot. His .324 average is great and he has provided a nice boost to counting stats for a catcher. Owners can be pleased with Posey, and while that average may drop some, betting on a season average above .300 is isn’t crazy.
Honorable Mention: J.T. Realmuto (.303/ 38 R/ 8 HR/ 34 RBI/ 5 SB)- Much of Realmuto’s value in the past has come from the fact that he’s a catcher who steals, which is very rare. Unfortunately, this year he’s only swiped 5 bags. His counting stats and average are solid enough to make him a top catcher on most teams, but if his days of steals are truly behind him; he won’t be the five category player we’ve come to know.
AL: Justin Smoak (.294/ 48 R/ 23 HR/ 56 RBI)- Though he started this year mostly ignored, Smoak has finally lived up to his first round pedigree. In his age 30 season, he’s been an all-around contributor for teams lucky enough to grab him off of the wire. A simple change in approach at the plate has been the reason for his newfound groove. As long as he can keep from falling back into his old habits, he can be a stable option at first for the foreseeable future.
Honorable Mention: Jose Abreu (.299/ 53 R/ 16 HR/ 58 RBI) Despite a slow start, Abreu has been a solid contributor to any team lucky enough to own him. I honestly consider him interchangeable with Smoak in regards to placement on this list. I only placed him lower because of his higher cost to acquire, which could impact the strength of the rest of a team who went for him.
NL: Paul Goldschmidt (.312/ 73 R/ 20 HR/ 67 RBI/ 13 SB)- The National League is full of All-Star caliber first baseman: Joey Votto, Cody Bellinger, Mark Reynolds (seriously, check his stats), Daniel Murphy (1B eligible in many leagues), Ryan Zimmerman, Travis Shaw, and Anthony Rizzo (more in OBP leagues). This makes it even more impressive when I say I have no second thoughts saying Goldschmidt is the top first baseman in the league. Goldy has been one of the best players in baseball this year, if not the best, and it’s going to continue.
Honorable Mentions: Joey Votto (.315/ 65 R/ 26 HR/ 68 RBI/ 2 SB) Votto has quietly had a fantastic season. In just about any other position he’d be a no doubt choice, or even just in the AL as a first basemen. Votto owners have been very happy this year, and with good reason.
AL: Jose Altuve (.347/ 62 R/ 13 HR/ 50 RBI/ 18 SB)- A true five category contributor. Those are some beautiful stats.
Honorable Mention: Jonathan Schoop (.295/ 49 R/ 18 HR/ 54) Schoop is having the kind of year that you don’t notice until you see his numbers. A very solid under-the-radar contributor.
NL: Daniel Muprhy (.342/ 57 R/ 14 HR/ 64 RBI/ 1 SB)- Murphy has been very solid, yet again this year. His exceptional contact skills have led him to another high average year, and the high-powered Nationals offense certainly helps with those counting stats. It’s amazing the player Murphy is now, compared to three years ago.
Honorable Mention: Chris Owings (.290/ 38 R/ 12 HR/ 49 RBI/ 11 SB)/ Scooter Gennett (.311/41 R/ 15 HR/ 47 RBI/ 2 SB)- I’m splitting this one because I can’t bring myself to give this to Scooter Gennett exclusively. I just can’t. Owings has been a solid for any team this year, with unexceptional but helpful stats in all categories. Combine that with multi-position eligibility and you get a very useful player. Gennett burst onto the scene with a 4 home run game in early June and hasn’t looked back. We’ll see what he can do with more playing time, as the legend of Scooter lives on.
AL: Carlos Correa (.325/ 62 R/ 20 HR/ 65 RBI)- Despite a slow start to the year, Correa has come into his own and been the best shortstop in fantasy. He’s hit .360 since April, if that tells you how hot he’s been.
Honorable Mention: Elvis Andrus (.300/ 52 R/ 11 HR/ 50 RBI/ 20 SB)- Andrus has been one of the best surpises this season. Good production in all categories is something very welcome on any team, and all this production coming from someone considered a very mundane fantasy player earlier this year makes it even better.
NL: Trea Turner (.279/ 53 R/ 7 HR/ 32 RBI/ 35 SB)- Steals are important, and Trea definitely specializes in those. If you have him on your team, you’re almost guaranteed to compete in steals each week. Unfortunately he’s going to be out for a while due to a non-displaced fracture in his hand, but we can still celebrate how great he’s been thus far!
Honorable Mention: Corey Seager (.298/ 57 R/ 13 HR/ 45 RBI/ 3 SB)- Seager’s been about as steady as you could ask for this year, hitting over .300 in 3 of 4 months this season. He’s on pace to to beat his numbers from his great rookie season. If you value him higher than Trea, I wouldn’t blame you.
AL: Jose Ramirez (.332/ 62 R/ 17 HR/ 48 RBI/ 10 SB)- Ramirez has been on FIRE lately. After his breakout last year, he flew a little under the radar to begin the year. He’s been garnering more attention lately due to his insane June (.367 AVG) and July (.429 AVG) There’s nothing you can hate about this guy.
Honorable Mention: Miguel Sano (.270/ 46 R/ 18 HR/ 54 RBI)- Sano has been vital to the Twins team this year (evidenced by his sub .200 average in games they lose) and started off the year as a monster for fantasy owners. He slowed down in June, but has already done enough to secure recognition as a top third baseman. For now…
NL: Nolan Arenado (.301/ 56 R/ 17 HR/ 70 RBI/ 2 SB)- Nolan Arenado. The King of Third Base. Well, maybe. His stats certainly make argument for it. Owning Arenado is always a lot of fun.
Honorable Mention: Jake Lamb (.279/ 54 R/ 20 HR/ 67 RBI/ 4 SB)- Lamb had a very impressive start to the year but has tailed recently. With Pollock back in the lineup, you would hope his production picks back up, but a career .222 AVG in the second half is scary, along with his struggles against lefties. I wouldn’t count on him in the second half.
*I’m only picking three outfielders total, one from each league, and then the next best.
Aaron Judge (.329/ 75 R/ 30 HR/ 66 RBI/ 6 SB)- This would actually be a very respectable end of season line, especially for a rookie player. That makes the fact that these are Judge’s numbers AT THE ALL-STAR BREAK even more INSANE! You can’t bank on the same production for the rest of the year, otherwise we would be looking at one of the best seasons in recent memory. So far though, he’s been the number one player in fantasy and he deserves all the praise he’s been getting.
Charlie Blackmon (.319/ 72 R/ 20 HR/ 61 RBI/ 8 SB)- Blackmon is the type of player who never gets enough credit. Maybe it’s because he plays in Colorado? Or because he doesn’t have a big personality? Whatever it is, just know I appreciate you Charlie and I’m sure everyone else reading this does too. Right guys?
George Springer (.310/ 76 R/ 27 HR/ 61 RBI/ 2 SB)- Springer has been on fire, just like the whole Astros team has been lately. If he keeps this up, he’s a first round pick next year.
Honorable Mention: Bryce Harper (.325/ 69 R/ 20 HR/ 65 RBI/ 2 SB)- Bryce Harper is BACK, and proving that last year’s poor performance was nothing but a fluke. Anyone who got him at a discount during the draft has to be very pleased with that decision now.
AL: Chris Sale (127.2 IP/ 11 W/ 178 K/ 2.75 ERA/ 0.90 WHIP)- Sale has been dominant this year, and showed that his “inflated” ERA (3.34) from last year should be disregarded. He’s back to being a strikeout pitcher, and is performing like the old Chris.
Honorable Mention: Corey Kluber (93.1 IP/ 7 W/ 123 K/ 2.80 ERA/ 0.99 WHIP) Kluber always starts the year rough and rights the ship after a little while (I wrote about it earlier this year actually!). This season started more roughly than others, with his struggles extending into May with a back injury. Since he’s come back he’s been lights out, and you can expect similar results for the rest of the year.
NL: Max Scherzer (128.1 IP/ 10 W/ 173 K/ 2.10 ERA/ 0.78 WHIP)- THE KING HAS BEEN DETHRONED! LONG LIVE MAD MAX! Scherzer has been the best pitcher in baseball this year, and if he can keep it up, I see a CY Young in his future.
Honorable Mention: Clayton Kershaw (132.1 IP/ 14 W/ 159 K/ 2.18 ERA/ 0.88 WHIP)- Just because the King has been dethroned, doesn’t mean he can’t be the Prince right? Well maybe it does, BUT IN THIS CASE, it doesn’t. Kershaw has been very un-Kershaw so far this year (which is really funny to say since he has stellar stats), giving up a lot of long balls. He’s still a good bet to be the number one pitcher in baseball again, and he’s going to give Max a run for his money.
AL: Craig Kimbrel (37.2 IP/ 2 W/ 23 SV/ 68 K/ 1.19 ERA/ 0.50 WHIP)- We can safely dismiss Kimbrel’s struggles last year after this right? When he comes in, the games basically over. He’s straight-up dominate.
Honorable Mention: Andrew Miller (41.1 IP/ 3 W/ 2 SV/ 64 K/ 1.42 ERA/ 0.68 WHIP)- Wait, you put a non-closer? YOU BET I DID. I get it, saves are important, but Miller has been outstanding so far. He’s picked up a lot of innings as the Indians stopper, and has acted as closer, which increased his value by adding saves. Ever heard of a pitcher who’s a five category contributor? Now you have.
NL: Kenley Jansen (37.2 IP/ 4 W/ 21 SV/ 57 K/ 0.96 ERA/ 0.56 WHIP)- Jansen gave up his FIRST walk of the year June 25th. Wait, let me say that again. HIS FIRST WALK. OF THE YEAR. IN JUNE. THAT’S INCREDIBLE! He’s been untouchable this year. Easily the best reliever in baseball.
Honorable Mention: Greg Holland (33.1 IP/ 1 W/ 28 SV/ 43 K/ 1.62 ERA/ 1.02 WHIP)- For someone who didn’t even have the closer role locked down coming into the season, this is pretty great. He leads the majors in saves, and has been a true value addition for those lucky enough to grab him.
Well, that’s everyone. I think I might have gotten a little carried away. Feel free to leave any comments, and I’ll try to get back to you! Thanks for reading, Happy All-Star Break!