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.
First base & DH
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.
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.
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.
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.
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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