Fantasy Baseball: Power Ranking the 10 Best Position Players Post All-Star Break
We're hitting the homestretch of the baseball season (real and fantasy). It's vital for you to make your final additions via the waiver wire and trading to prepare your team for a championship run.
These rankings will help you decide who to target in trading and who to hold on your team.
Go out and win the big one!
10: Hunter Pence, OF, Houston Astros
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Hunter Pence of the Houston Astros is having one of the best seasons of his career. Most people are calling it the best, but I wouldn't go that far yet.
His batting average, on-base percentage and RBIs are above his career average, while his runs, home runs and stolen bases are below.
If Pence can accept a drop in his batting average, he could feasibly pump out more home runs (and thus runs and RBIs), and it will help fantasy owners.
Batting below .285 for the whole second half will still leave him above .300 for the year, while it will also indicate an increase in power numbers. I expect to see this.
Rumors of Pence being shipped to the Philadelphia Phillies would make him a top five player for the second half.
9: Andrew McCutchen, OF, Pittsburgh Pirates
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It seems that playing on a team in contention is really motivating Pittsburgh Pirates' outfielder Andrew McCutchen.
As if he needed it. McCutchen has impressed in his two-and-a-half years in the majors with his combination of speed and power as well as a terrific glove.
This year, he is accepting a small seven point drop in batting average (.277), so that he can reach his annual averages by the mid-way point.
Indeed, last year, McCutchen had 16 homers and 56 RBIs. In just 93 games in 2011, McCutchen has 14 homers and 58 RBIs.
He's on pace to score 88 runs and steal 24 bases. Not bad for a third batter! Expect his pace to shoot up if the Pirates keep winning.
8: Matt Kemp, OF, Los Angeles Dodgers
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Matt Kemp has shown that his small blip in 2010 was nothing but a sour season. While his power stats were good (28 home runs and 89 RBIs), his .249 batting average was not what anyone expected.
Now he's putting it together like in 2009, but with even greater success.
He has 24 homers and 27 steals already and is a lock for a 30-30 season. Kemp might be MLB's best candidate for 40-40 for the 2011 season and for future seasons, which means he's ripe to stay right on pace.
Kemp has been one of the game's best players since his rookie year in 2007, as fantasy players know. Now the whole baseball world knows.
7: Joey Votto, 1B, Cincinnati Reds
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Last year's NL MVP from the Cincinnati Reds isn't having a bad season, but it's far from what fantasy owners expected when he was routinely being drafted in the top 15.
Votto is on pace to hit a paltry 19 homers this year after smacking 37 last year. His RBIs are projected to fall from 113 to 87.
I simply don't see this happening. In other words, he's going to have a big second half.
While Votto won't hit 37 dingers in 2011, 25 homers is not out of the question at all.
With his current .320 batting average, that number of gopher balls would yield 90 to 100 RBIs, putting your team in a great spot with Votto after a tremendous second half.
6: Ryan Braun, OF, Milwaukee Brewers
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Already a legitimate fantasy star, Ryan Braun is having one of his best seasons yet.
On pace to hit over 30 home runs, Braun is wowing fantasy owners with his RBI total. He's on track to rack up 120 of them, a would-be career high.
Perhaps the best thing about Braun this year, though, is his huge bump in stolen bases for the Milwaukee Brewers. He averages 16.4 steals per season, and he already has 19.
A 30-30 season is well within reach.
5: Jacoby Ellsbury, OF, Boston Red Sox
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The lone speedster on this list finds himself here because he has added the power dimension to his game.
While I don't expect Boston Red Sox center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury to make his home run hitting a habit throughout his career, 2011 could just be one of those years for him.
Ellsbury is on track to hit over 20 homers and 80 RBIs. Are we really talking about the speedy Ellsbury? His .314 batting average is the best of his career, but as a .296 career hitter, it's definitely sustainable.
A small drop in homers in exchange for more steals would be just fine with fantasy owners who drafted him to do just that. I expect to see this trend.
I also predict that he'll score over 100 runs for the first time in his career. He's on pace for 106.
4: Matt Holliday, OF, St. Louis Cardinals
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The first half of Matt Holliday's 2011 season was marred with "DTDs" and DL stints. Even with these minor setbacks, he hit 14 homers and 49 RBIs in just 71 games.
Holliday is healthy and will get back to his normal ways, which means a batting average well above .300, 10 to 12 homers, 40 RBIs and the handful of steals that he usually gets. He currently has none this year.
The fact that Albert Pujols avoided a longer DL stint helped both the St. Louis Cardinals and Holliday's fantasy owners that need the protection that Pujols provides.
3: Adrian Gonzalez, 1B, Boston Red Sox
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Going into the 2011 season, Adrian Gonzalez sat atop my Big Board for first baseman. Yes, I had him above both Albert Pujols and Miguel Cabrera.
I look like a pretty smart dude now.
Gonzalez was also my preseason pick to win AL MVP, which wasn't quite as daring of a pick. He looks good to follow through with that, too.
Gonzalez got off to a mild start, but one opposite field home run over the Green Monster set off the new Boston Red Sox star.
He's hitting a scorching .337 with 78 RBIs but only 17 homers. Watch for a small drop in average to compensate for a big boom in homers.
Gonzalez is on pace to hit 26 home runs, but I absolutely think he's getting to 30.
2: Troy Tulowitzki, SS, Colorado Rockies
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Troy Tulowitzki had one of the best months in history during September of 2010. He hit 15 home runs and 40 RBIs in that month alone, which is still amazing today.
Tulo tends to explode after the All-Star break for the Colorado Rockies, and 2011 will be no different. A .252 hitter before the break over the past three years, he bats .332 after the break over the same period.
He's above that .252 batting average as of now with a .274 average.
In his great 2009 and 2010 seasons, he didn't have as many home runs at this point, at 18. The same goes for RBIs.
This could be a terrifying second half for the already second half phenom.
1: Jose Bautista, 3B/OF, Toronto Blue Jays
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What can I say? I'm on the Joey Bats bandwagon!
The guy came out of nowhere to hit 54 homers last year and really disrupted the fantasy baseball world. This year, he's still smashing at that rate, but he's hitting .332, third best in the AL.
I can't figure out Jose Bautista, but who cares? Let's ride this train as long as possible.
The key for another big second half for the Toronto Blue Jays' star is for the top of the lineup to get on base. Bautista has 31 homers and a great batting average but "only" 66 RBIs at this point.
That many home runs at such a high average should have yielded over 80 RBIs by now. More production from the top of the order will help push Bautista's numbers even further.
He's destined to finish atop the Player Rater in fantasy baseball for 2011.