Some second-half fantasy baseball rankings

      July 12, 2012 @ 14:15:50 PDT


Actually, mine.

In yesterday's Roundtable, Lord Zola assembled a set of composite rankings based on the contributions of several of his knights.

(This gig might serve as the only context in which anyone will ever refer to me as "Sir." Sir Good. Dig it.)

This wasn't much of a scientific process, so I doubt that any of us are mixing concrete for our individual lists.

I highlighted a few spots where I differed noticeably from the consensus and wanted to explain my reasoning.

(Noticeably, that is, except among the final few entries at each position, where there's a smattering of players who appeared on some lists but not others.)

Some dudes look good in red.

Catcher

  1. Matt Wieters
  2. Yadier Molina
  3. Brian McCann
  4. Buster Posey
  5. Joe Mauer
  1. Mike Napoli
  2. Carlos Santana
  3. Miguel Montero
  4. Carlos Ruiz
  5. Salvador Perez

First base & DH

  1. Joey Votto
  2. Albert Pujols
  3. Prince Fielder
  4. David Ortiz
  5. Mark Teixeira
  6. Paul Konerko
  1. Adrian Gonzalez
  2. Billy Butler
  3. Eric Hosmer
  4. Paul Goldschmidt
  5. Freddie Freeman
  6. Adam Dunn

Second base

  1. Robinson Cano
  2. Ian Kinsler
  3. Brandon Phillips
  4. Rickie Weeks
  5. Ben Zobrist
  1. Jason Kipnis
  2. Dan Uggla
  3. Aaron Hill
  4. Neil Walker
  5. Chase Utley

Weeks' July is a sign of what's in store for the rest of the season. I don't believe that he'd completely recovered, until sometime after spring training, from the severe ankle sprain he suffered last year. (I'm not alone.) He was probably pressing for most of the first half, too.

His most recent plate appearances have been representative of his true ability: Weeks' timing looked much better, and he drove the ball the other way hard. Earlier this season, I was concerned that he wouldn't get back to normal, but I'd be thrilled to take a discounted Weeks right now.

Third base

  1. Miguel Cabrera
  2. Jose Bautista
  3. David Wright
  4. Edwin Encarnacion
  5. Adrian Beltre
  1. Brett Lawrie
  2. Pablo Sandoval
  3. Kevin Youkilis
  4. Martin Prado
  5. Mike Moustakas

Shortstop

  1. Elvis Andrus
  2. Jose Reyes
  3. Ian Desmond
  4. Starlin Castro
  5. Hanley Ramirez
  1. Asdrubal Cabrera
  2. Derek Jeter
  3. Jimmy Rollins
  4. Emilio Bonifacio
  5. Trevor Plouffe

Outfield

  1. Ryan Braun
  2. Carlos Gonzalez
  3. Josh Hamilton
  4. Andrew McCutchen
  5. Matt Kemp
  6. Mike Trout
  7. Jay Bruce
  8. Hunter Pence
  9. Curtis Granderson
  10. Justin Upton
  11. Nelson Cruz
  12. Michael Bourn
  13. Carlos Beltran
  1. Matt Holliday
  2. Jason Heyward
  3. Alex Rios
  4. Melky Cabrera
  5. Shin-Soo Choo
  6. Corey Hart
  7. Bryce Harper
  8. Jacoby Ellsbury
  9. Allen Craig
  10. Mark Trumbo
  11. Adam L. Jones
  12. Jason Kubel

Bruce's indicators look good to me. His .249 batting average will go up, and I expect him to end up with a career-best homer total for the second consecutive season.

I'm a believer in the Melk Man. I just wonder how much a probable dip in his .353 BA and the greater contributions I expect from Pablo Sandoval and Brandon Belt will affect his numbers. No. 17 still ain't bad.

My failure to include Austin Jackson might appear to be an oversight. I believe that he's a vastly improved hitter, and he could easily make this list.

But I still expect some serious BA correction. And his much improved OBP still hasn't spurred him to run more often, despite his stated desire to do so. He's good, but I'm not yet convinced that he's this good.

Starting pitcher

  1. Justin Verlander
  2. Clayton Kershaw
  3. Cole Hamels
  4. CC Sabathia
  5. Jered Weaver
  6. David Price
  7. R.A. Dickey
  8. Madison Bumgarner
  9. Zack Greinke
  10. Cliff Lee
  1. Felix Hernandez
  2. Matt Cain
  3. Mat Latos
  4. Roy Halladay
  5. Yovani Gallardo
  6. Johnny Cueto
  7. Gio Gonzalez
  8. C.J. Wilson
  9. Tommy Hanson
  10. Adam Wainwright

I'm surprised that my colleagues were so high on Stephen Strasburg despite his looming innings deadline. I don't think that the Washington Nationals are going to bend much - if at all - on that one.

Strasburg will probably be more valuable in his next 60 or so stanzas than, say, the 30th-ranked pitcher who'd pitch for the rest of the season, but I don't think that it'll be enough to get him into the top 20. I'm certainly not that confident.

Can we expect Chris Sale to continue to be so dominant? I can't help but think that fatigue will eventually be a factor, even if it's only for a month or so, and fatigue leads to greater injury risk. Otherwise, love him.

I have similar concerns for Jake Peavy, although they're a little less pronounced.

No James McDonald? What can I say? The two-seamer and the slider have been great additions, but I want to see his reaction to adjustments before I put him ahead of most of these arms without thinking twice.

Closer

  1. Craig Kimbrel
  2. Kenley Jansen
  3. Jonathan Papelbon
  4. Aroldis Chapman
  5. Joel Hanrahan
  1. Joe Nathan
  2. J.J. Putz
  3. Rafael Soriano
  4. Huston Street
  5. Chris Perez

I still don't think that the Philadelphia Phillies will make the playoffs, but they'll probably make the second half much more interesting. Charlie Manuel is such a slave to the save statistic that Papelbon is a threat to lead the league in the category after the break.

I love the Fernando Rodney story. The Tampa Bay Rays' personnel people are geniuses.

They're also realists. Their offense won't allow them to compete. I expect the club to sell off some major pieces (James Shields and B.J. Upton, for starters) this time around. They may struggle to generate save opps. Rodney's 0.93 ERA and 0.75 WHIP will go up, at least a little, too.

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About Nicholas Minnix

Minnix is baseball editor and a fantasy football analyst at KFFL. He plays in LABR and Tout Wars and won the FSWA Baseball Industry Insiders League in 2010.

The University of Delaware alum is a regular guest on SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio and Baltimore's WNST AM 1570.

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