With the Midsummer Classic come and gone, it is time to look at the Fantasy All-Stars for the first half.
Rather than simply listing the top-ranked players, we are going to take a look at those who have greatly outshone their preseason rankings. It is these type of players that fuel a winning fantasy team.
If you are the owner of these players, this might be your chance to "sell high" if you believe they can't keep up their performance during the second half.
Pablo Sandoval (SF)—A late round pick in most drafts, Sandoval has rewarded his owners with 15 home runs and a .333 average for the first half.
Joe Mauer (MIN)—It is no surprise that he is productive, but no one expected the power behind his .373 batting average. With 15 home runs on the year, Mauer has already set his career high.
Brandon Inge (DET)—You wouldn't know it by watching this week's All-Star events, but Inge has been smashing. He has long been a catching favorite—although he spends most of his time at 3B—and has shown up in more games than your average catcher. With 21 home runs and 58 RBI, Inge has been an owner favorite.
Mark Reynolds (ARI)—Reynolds has been golden thus far, with 24 long balls and 62 RBI. He's a good unload candidate, as those 123 strikeouts will catch up with him soon.
Carlos Pena (TB)—Similar numbers to Reynolds, including the strikeouts. Good trade bait for filling a needed space on your roster. Similar numbers can be found elsewhere, as players like Hank Blalock are available in many leagues.
Russell Branyan (SEA)—Branyan seems to have figured something out, the evidence being 22 home runs and a .280 batting average.
Aaron Hill (TOR)—An absolute steal on draft day. 20 home runs, 60 RBI, 190 total bases, .292 average, and a .820 OPS. Hill is hitting his prime at 27 years old; he is a keeper.
Ben Zobrist (TB)—A true fantasy MVP. 17 HR, 11 SB and a .297 batting average while being eligible at 2B, SS, LF, and RF. He'll be a great plug-and-play option as the season winds down.
Marco Scutaro (TOR)—Does nothing outstanding, but does everything well. Eligible at 2B, 3B, and SS. Scutaro is a good "throw-in" player to ask for in multi-player deals, as he can be overlooked.
See Reynolds, Sandoval, Inge, Branyan, and Scutaro above.
Casey Blake (LAD)—Another one of those all-around solid guys that make for good "throw-in" options in multi-player trades.
Scott Rolen (TOR)—He is healthy and productive...at the moment. A .320 batting average is a good nugget to attract would-be suitors. Time to unload before the DL comes calling.
See Zobrist and Scutaro above
Jason Bartlett (TB)—He's commanding players along the line of Matt Cain in current trades. With eight home runs, 19 steals, and a .347 batting average, Bartlett is solid—his biggest drawback being he is rated in just one position.
Clint Barmes (COL)—His comeback may be complete. Another player that is solid in many areas, but not going to drive a victory in any one category. Eligible at 2B and 3B, Barmes is another good "throw-in" player.
Carl Crawford (TB)—Projected as a late second/early third-round draft pick, Crawford has been first-round material. The All-Star MVP has eight home runs, 44 steals, and a .309 batting average. If you have several holes to fill, look for a team needing steals and ask for the world.
Raul Ibanez (PHI)—An early surprise in the rankings, Ibanez is starting to slide back to his original ranking. Sell now, while he is at 22 home runs and a .309 batting average.
Adam Lind (TOR)—Another player reaching his prime. Lind has delivered power (19 home runs), while maintaining a .306 average. He has talent to maintain his pace, but what will the batting lineup look like in the second half for the Blue Jays?
Torii Hunter (LAA)—A mid-round draft pick, Hunter has delivered in the first half. It may be possible to use his stint on the DL to steal Hunter for the stretch run. You know the lineup around him will be good if healthy.
Jayson Werth (PHI)—20 home runs and 12 steals have made Werth a great pick, although he needs to cut down on the strikeouts in the second half.
Adam Jones (BAL)—Great all-around numbers for this surprising All-Star. He says his knees are fine, but raise the red flags. For me he is a great "sell high" player. Eligible in CF only at this point.
See Werth and Zobrist above
Justin Upton (ARI)—Another great all-around talent. 16 home runs, 12 steals, 172 total bases, and a .301 average. Upton is nearing his career high in at-bats, but should hold up well in the second half.
Nelson Cruz (TEX)—That power is not going away. With 22 home runs and All-Star notoriety now, Cruz could be easily dealt. That smooth swing looks like it could go all year in the Arlington Band Box.
Dan Haren (ARI)—Haren was about a fifth-round draft pick in most leagues, but is currently rated as the second-best fantasy player in baseball. 129 strikeouts, 2.01 ERA and a WHIP of 0.81 are amazing. Probably should have been the All-Star game starter.
Zach Greinke (KC)—See Haren above. 129 strikeouts, 2.12 ERA and a WHIP of 1.08. Greinke should have been starting the All-Star game opposite Haren. 10 wins in the first half while pitching for the Royals and their weak offense? Don't doubt the Zack Attack.
Chris Carpender (STL)—Comeback player of the year? Carpenter is 7-3 with a 2.47 ERA and a .87 WHIP. His biggest drawbacks are the lack of strikeouts and health history.
Ryan Franklin (STL)—If you guessed right from the early season closing committee of the Cardinals, Franklin has rewarded you big time. Many folks thought they were slick for drafting Motte in the late mid-rounds, but the job is Franklin's for the keeping.
Andrew Bailey (OAK)—This All-Star has been a big plus for owners so far. 10 Saves while sporting a 1.92 ERA and .97 WHIP.
Heath Bell (SD)—Gets the loss in the All-Star game, but that team is cursed to lose no matter what. Bell has been solid all year with 23 saves, a 1.69 ERA and a WHIP of 1.07.