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MLB Fantasy Fever
We're just a week away from the Midsummer Classic, which, despite the bastardization of the game by Bud Selig, remains a "must-see" on the sporting calendar. Unfortunately, due to roster limitations and obligations, not all of baseball's finest get the opportunity to participate in the all-star spectacle. This has spawned the concept of the inaugural Whatifsports.com 2010 Fantasy All-Star rosters. Our selection committee was given two simple guidelines when constructing the starting lineups for both leagues:
1. Let the numbers speak for themselves.
2. Understand the preseason "value" of the selection. For example, young phenoms David Price and Felix Hernandez are having exceptional years. However, would you rather have Hernandez in the 4th round or Price in the 9th? Exactly.
Keeping these restrictions in mind, we present the Fantasy All-Stars of 2010.
AL: In many preseason rankings, this player was slotted in the high 20s at his position. Worse, he wasn't even the highest graded 1st baseman on his own team. Yet through the first half of the season, this 4-time All-Star is hitting .299 with 20 bombs and 58 driven in.
Our AL choice: Paul Konerko.NL:
To summarize, Player A is statistically superior in every category despite playing in three less ballgames, equating to 12-15 missed at-bat opportunities. Unlike Charlie Manuel, politics don't dictate our All-Star selections, meaning "Player A" gets the nod at 1B.
Our NL choice: Joey Votto. (And in case you haven't deduced the identity of the three remaining players: Albert Pujols, Adrian Gonzalez, and Ryan Howard, all of whom were initially picked over Votto.)
AL: Although he was a trendy choice in the preseason, there's no denying this pick deserves to start in the WIS All-Star gala. Second in the AL in hitting at .342, this second baseman has also added 16 HRs, 55 RBI and 59 Rs.
Our AL choice: Robinson Cano.
NL: Brandon Phillips has excelled for the Reds since moving to the top of the lineup, hitting .307 with 64 runs. However, BP was a top-5 preseason choice in most leagues at the position, while our candidate barely cracked the top-25. Yet our choice is raking with a .331 average, 57 runs and 36 ribbies.
Our NL choice: Martin Prado. (While we are discussing the Braves - Omar Infante? Really? What, was Mike Fontenot unable to play? It's not like Atlanta needed a representative, as Prado, Tim Hudson, Brian McCann and Jason Heyward are headed to Anaheim. Fans get blasted all the time by the media for making their ballots a popularity contest, but Manuel has gone relatively unscathed for going with Infante over Votto, Miguel Olivo, Matt Cain, or the entire Padre pitching staff. Go figure.)
AL: Although he hasn't been able to keep up with his April tear, his performance is still noteworthy, given that this SS was ranked in the 300s in overall player ratings to begin the season.
Our AL choice: Alex Gonzalez, whose 15 home runs are tops for shortstops in the majors.
NL: Statisically, Hanley Ramirez is the top-rated NL shortstop in 2010. However, most mock drafts had the Florida Marlin as a second or third overall pick, and in that regard, Ramirez has been somewhat of a disappointment. Instead, we are going with a .335 hitter who, despite only appearing in 52 games, has accumulated 30 RBI, 44 Rs, and 12 SBs.
Our NL choice: Rafael Furcal. (In case you needed more evidence of the irrationality of the Infante inclusion, Furcal has appeared in six less games, yet has a batting average 30 points higher, 8 more RBI, 21 more runs, and 9 more stolen bases. Let's move on before my head explodes.)
AL: Coming into 2010, this third baseman was ranked in the low-teens at his position. Yet at the halfway point, his production has earned him his first All-Star Game invitation, hitting .340 with 12 HRs, 54 RBI and 41 Rs.
Our AL choice: Adrian Beltre.
NL: Our selection on the Senior Circuit is second at his position in HRs (17) and RBI (57), and is rocking a .301 average. Not bad for someone who was projected as the 24th best third baseman before the season.
Our NL choice: Scott Rolen.
AL: Our first nominee is arguably the top fantasy performer of the 1st half, which is incredible considering he was going as late as the 7th round in mock drafts. But after slugging 20 home runs to go along with a .340 average and 61 RBI, there's no questioning the candidacy of Josh Hamilton on our roster. Our next pick is batting .315 on the season with 10 homers and 51 RBI. Ranked as high as 200 in overall player ratings, Magglio Ordonez has exceeded expectations in 2010. We rounded out our OF with Alex Rios, whose stat line reads: .299 BA/13 HR/45 RBI/49 R/22 SB. Although Rios was snubbed from Joe Girardi's Anaheim lineup, I'm sure induction on our squad is adequate consolation.
NL: Young gun Carlos Gonzalez has been phenomenal in 2010, hitting .295 with 14 HRs, 52 RBI, and 49 runs scored for Colorado. Before he missed extended time due to injury, Andre Ethier was a serious Triple Crown-contender. Regardless of appearing in just 64 games, Ethier has 13 jacks, 49 RBI and 40 runs to go along with a .324 average. Corey Hart, whom most projections had going in the 15th-17th round range in mock drafts, gets the final spot thanks to smacking 19 dingers and driving in 61 runs.
AL: At age 38, Andy Pettitte was considered to be in the twilight of his career. Yet through 16 games in 2008, Pettitte is supporting a 10-2 record with a 2.82 ERA in 105.1 IP. Pettitte was going in late rounds of mocks, and even an undrafted Pettitte was not an anomaly in many leagues. This sentiment gives the Yankee left-hander our starting pitcher selection.
NL: On the opposite end from Pettitte on the age spectrum is Mat Latos, who's all of 22 years young. Latos has an absurd 0.96 WHIP and 2.62 ERA in 99.2 IP through 16 games with the Padres in '10. While Latos was a highly touted prospect heading into this season, this type of production was unforeseen by most fantasy forecasts, as Latos was ranked in the low 300s in overall player rankings.
AL: Closers are always hard to gauge during draft day for fantasy owners, as one or two relief pitchers always fall through the cracks. This year's diamond in the rough is Tampa Bay's Rafael Soriano, who has amassed 22 saves so far in 2010. With a 1.42 ERA in 31.2 IP, Soriano has emerged as one of the AL's most effective firemen.
NL: Like there was any doubt: Jonathon Broxton. Ox has racked up 17 saves on the season, despite going almost an entire month without a save. (In an unrelated note, although he's never logged a minute on the court, I'd love to see Broxton declare himself a free-agent in the NBA. That proposal might seem ridiculous until you remember that Drew Gooden earned a 4 year, $32 million contract. Using this scale, Ox is worth the max.)
That'll do it for this week. The "Dumb and Dumber" Quote of the Week is dedicated to those venturing on a summer road trip:
Lloyd: We don't usually pick up hitchhikers... but I'm gonna go with my instincts on this one. Saddle up partner!
Let us know what you think of Whatifsports.com's Fantasy Fever. Shoot us an email at BtB@whatifsports.com.
WIS 3-Step Process1) MLB SimMatchup - Who would win between '27 Yankees and the Big Red Machine?
2) MLB Dream Teams - Create your own Major League Baseball roster by drafting players throughout history!
3) SimLeague Baseball - It's fantasy baseball taken to the next level. Compete for prizes!