A lot has happened this season… many disappointments and surprises a plenty. And now that the All-Star break is upon us… it’s time for a first half refresh of the Big Board. Unlike other sites, stolen bases will NOT cause an overrating of players.
The Big Board is a ranking of the Top 50 fantasy baseball players. The ranks are based on past performances, current state, and potential future progression. Also a huge factor is position eligibility. For instance a first baseman who hits .300 is not worth as much as a second baseman that does. So keeping that all in mind, the Big Board.
(Updated as of July 22nd)
Baseball Big Board – All Star Break Edition
- Lance Berkman, Hou, 1B/RF: Killed through the 1st half, especially in May where he hit .471. But in the past 5 years Berkman has done as good or better in the second half. Expect more of the same. Oh yeah, and he steals bases now (career high 15 and counting).
- Hanley Ramirez, Fla, SS: Hanley is 2nd in runs, T-10th in hits, T-5th in home-runs, T-10th in steals, 4th in total bases, and 17th in BA in all of baseball. He’s been a complete all around fantasy player at SS and there’s no reason to doubt it going forward.
- Chase Utley, Phi, 2B: Utley is an amazing hitter, at a prime position, in a great offense. Its hard not to put him higher.
- Josh Hamilton, Tex, CF/RF: With 28 home-runs in one round of a home-run derby, Hamilton is bigger than ever. It’s possible this 27 year old is only getting better as his absence from the game may still have left some dust on his baseball skills.
- Alex Rodriguez, NYY, 3B: A-Rod missed time and plays 3rd base, if not for that he might still be at the top. A healthy 2nd half could mean big things.
- Ryan Howard, Phi, 1B: Career Pre-All Star Break Howard hits .255. Post-All Star Break he’s a .310 hitter. Don’t look now, he’s batting .340 in July and already leads the NL in home-runs (28) and RBI (84).
- Albert Pujols, StL, 1B: Injury plagued or not, .350/.466/.608 keeps him as one of the tops on the big board.
- Jose Reyes, NYM, SS: Reyes had a bad April but nothings been bad since then. In all of baseball Reyes is T-5th in R and SB.
- Ian Kinsler, Tex, 2B: Kinsler has become the best fantasy 2B in baseball. Although he probably won’t end there, the run has been fun. He’s on a 25 game hit streak and hitting .337.
- David Wright, NYM, 3B: A lot of great players hit better in the second half. Yah, Wright is one of them. Already on pace for 100 R, 29 HR and 120 RBI, Wright should only move up the big board.
- Jake Peavy, SD, SP: Playing in San Diego makes almost any pitchers’ numbers look good. Put an ace in San Diego, and you get a Jake Peavy year. One of the easiest fantasy pitchers to lean on in the last two years.
- Ryan Braun, Mil, 3B/LF: The good: Free swinging ways has him on pace for 40 dingers and 114 RBI. The bad: The lack of plate discipline has him on target for only 90 runs and 35 total walks.
- Chipper Jones, Atl, 3B: A healthy Chipper Jones gives the best at bats in the game today. Unhealthy he’s dead weight and a wasted lineup start. Monitor closely, if fever persists, give plenty of bed rest.
- Matt Holliday, Col, LF: Could be one of the best hitters in baseball down the stretch assuming two things: (1) he stays healthy, (2) the Rockies don’t trade him away because they know they can’t resign a Scott Boras agent.
- Grady Sizemore, Cle, CF: Another typical Sizemore season underway. It seems he can do whatever he wants. In the last two years he’s been a power, walk, and steals guy. So this years he’s on pace for 40 HR, 93 BB, and 38 SB.
- Nate McLouth, Pit, LF/CF/RF: Production wise McLouth has been one of the best. In almost any format he’s been top-tier. No reason to doubt him in the second half just because he’s a late bloomer.
- Carlos Beltran, NYM, CF: Has battled some injuries but still has a pace of 110+ R, 25+ HR, 110+ RBI, and 25+ SB.
- Johan Santana, NYM, SP: Johan Santana is one of the best pitchers in baseball. In the second half, it’s been dead obvious. In his career he’s been over a half a run better after the ASB.
- Dan Haren, Ari, SP: Haren leads baseball in quality starts and has only a .95 WHIP. Billy Beane won’t ultimately win on this trade.
- Carlos Lee, Hou, LF: Slow start but hitting .352 in June & July and 3rd in MLB in RBI (76).
- Dan Uggla, Fla, 2B: At 28 Uggla should be in his hitting prime. He may lose his decent average, but not his chance to hit 40 HR’s.
- Adrian Gonzalez, SD, 1B: The second most valuable player in San Diego behind Jake Peavy, Adrian is T-9th HR and 5th in RBI’s.
- Brandon Phillips, Cin, 2B: Not my favorite but a 5×5 stud and a second baseman. Expect 25 HR, 30+ SB and 100 RBI.
- Justin Morneau, Min, 1B: Morneau hasn’t been hitting many home-runs this year (15) but they could come. For now he’s 8th in baseball in singles and hitting .323 with a great pace for over 100+ RBI.
- Miguel Cabrera, Det, 3B: Everyone knows what he can do, but he hasn’t done it. Maybe he was waiting for the warm and muggy weather to hit Detroit. As if Florida weather makes anyone more comfortable.
- Roy Halladay, Tor, SP: Halladay leads the majors with 146.1 IP and he’s done it with a 2.71 ERA and 1.00 WHIP. It speaks for itself.
- Cliff Lee, Cle, SP: On the year Cliff Lee has a 2.31 ERA and a 1.03 WHIP. In the last month he has a 1.90 ERA and 0.96 WHIP. Point is, who knows where it came from, it’s not going away.
- Brian Roberts, Bal, 2B: In a 14×14 league Roberts would be just as good as in a 5×5. His numbers have a potential to get even better as his production doesn’t match what he’s done.
- Jimmy Rollins, Phi, SS: Remember Rollins before 2006 when he hadn’t hit 25 home-runs yet? That kind of production guy is back, except with more steals and the potential for big things.
- Justin Duchscherer, Oak, SP: An ERA of 1.82 after 108 IP is a feat. His .213 BABIP (Balls batted-in-play) shows that more balls will start falling in for the opposition. In the second half though, only a implosion will keep him from a great year.
- Prince Fielder, Mil, 1B: He’s loaded with potential but it hasn’t been seen in 2008. Still he’s a very good 1st baseman.
- Jason Bay, Pit, LF: Projecting at 111 R, 33 HR, and 92 RBI it seems last year was just an off year for Jason Bay. It’ll be interesting to see who, if any, are willing to make a trade for Bay.
- B.J. Upton, TB, 2B/CF: With his position eligibility and his production on a 5×5 scale, he’s been a good player. With his potential he could be very good. He just needs to hit for more power.
- David Ortiz, Bos, 1B: Assuming Ortiz can play anywhere near 90% he’ll be a big part of Boston’s second half. Hitting 30 HR and having 100 RBI is still a possibility.
- Aramis Ramirez, ChC, 3B: Aramis has already walked more than last year and only needs three more to beat his 2006 numbers. One other improvement is Aramis is on pace for his first 100 R year.
- Manny Ramirez, Bos, LF: Projecting as 100 R, 30 HR, and 100 RBI. Can Manny really be replaced after this season? Consistency is Manny’s middle name… well actually its Aristides.
- Mark Teixeira, Atl, 1B: Tex has always been a better second half hitter (1st half: .277/.366/.511; 2nd half: .293/.378/.561) and he hasn’t been too bad so far 17 HR and 69 RBI. He’s also a potential trade replacement for Ortiz if he can’t come back.
- Derrek Lee, ChC, 1B: Lee is still trying to live up to his 2005 performance. But its easy to live with .300+, 100 R, 25+ HR, and 100 RBI.
- Carl Crawford, Tam, LF: Fantasy wise Crawford is doing about as well as expected but he’s not playing like himself. Since 2004 he has never had as bad an AVG, OBP or SLG. But he remains on pace to get more R, HR, and RBI than last year.
- Mariano Rivera, NYY, RP: At 38 years old Rivera may statistically have the most dominant season he’s ever had. Amazing that after a Hall of Fame career, he can still outdo himself.
- Ichiro Suzuki, Sea, CF/RF: At this point, hitting .303, Ichiro could hit between .290 and .340 and I wouldn’t be surprised. For me, I have $10 on less than .310. Hope for the average, but count on 110+ R and 50+ SB.
- Cole Hamels, Phi, SP: Cole doesn’t have as good an ERA as other guys on this list but he has controlled the base runners better than most. His WHIP of 1.02 is one of the best. Add on the 142.2 IP as the 2nd best in baseball, and you got quality and quantity.
- Tim Lincecum, SF, SP: Lincecum has dominated in the weak NL West and gets to do so the rest of the year. The Giants are 14-6 in Lincecum starts. Not bad for a team with only 40 wins.
- Edinson Volquez, Cin, SP: Volquez has slowed down since his torrid start. Bu his wicked stuff is as wicked does. He may walk too many but his .212 average against saves him.
- Vladimir Guerrero, LAA, RF: June and July have looked more like the old Vlad. He’s still not swinging like he did, but the ASB is a great time to adjust.
- Jermaine Dye, CWS, RF: In the last 101 at-bats Dye has 11 home-runs. But even before his hot streak he was doing ok. If Dye can sustain an average, his power will be there too.
- Carlos Quentin, CWS, LF/RF: On pure production value Quentin should be placed a lot higher on the big board. But his last two months make you question whether he can sustain. For now he’s 2nd in the AL in HR and RBI.
- Ryan Ludwick, Stl, LF/RF: Ludwick has always hit and been a power bat, but this year he’s put it all together with the playing time. His average might slip but his power will stay. At the ASB his 60 R, 21 HR and 65 RBI make him a very noteworthy guy.
- Michael Young, Tex, SS: He’s a SS good for 100+R, 10+ HR, 85+ RBI, and hit .300+. And if you like it he’ll get you 200 hits, 40 doubles and about 10 steals.
- Milton Bradley, Tex, LF/CF/RF: In Bradley’s past 413 AB over 2 seasons, he has 86 R, 30 HR, and 87 RBI with a .315 avg. If Bradley can stay healthy, his name will jump way up this list.
On the Bubble: Magglio Ordonez, Det, RF; Corey Hart, Mil, CF/RF; Kevin Youkilis, Bos, 3B; Dustin Pedroia, Bos, 2B; Pat Burrell, Phi, LF; Jacoby Ellsbury, Bos, CF; J.D. Drew, Bos, RF; Nick Markakis, Bal, RF; Miquel Tejada, Hou, SS; Brandon Webb, Ari, SP; Ben Sheets, Mil, SP; Jonathan Papelbon, Bos, RP; Joe Nathan, Min, RP; Rick Ankiel, Stl, CF; Garret Atkins, Col, 3B; Geovany Soto, ChC, C; Mark Reynolds, Ari, 3B
There you have it, our first half stars. Stay tuned for more Big Board updates!
Big Board Archive
To see how the Top 50 have changed, look at our historical baseball big boards here: