First-half fantasy baseball All-Stars filled with draft bargains

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The baseball season is about to reach the intermission of yet another roller-coaster year in which we have seen superstar players turn into superduds (hello, Francisco Lindor, Christian Yelich and countless others), multiple players getting hurt each and every day, and unheralded players taking center stage to provide incredible fantasy value.

Because the past year-plus has been anything but ordinary, this is not going to be your average Fantasy All-Star team. This team is a group of players who have provided big returns on their average draft position in order to make Roto Rage’s first Fantasy Bargain Bin All-Star Team:

First Base

AL: Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Blue Jays

Roto Rage’s first-half MVP, who had a 49.4 average draft position before the season, entered Friday leading the majors in RBIs, batting average, on-base percentage and OPS. He also ranked second in homers and third in slugging percentage. He is following in his Hall-of-Fame dad’s footsteps.

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NL: Ryan McMahon, Rockies

Though he entered Friday hitting .241 with 23 strikeouts in his previous 18 games, the 238th-ranked player is enjoying a breakout campaign with 16 homers, 47 RBIs and four stolen bases in his first 85 games.

Second Base

AL: Jonathan Schoop, Tigers

Not much was expected of him with his 320.7 ADP, but he rediscovered his 2017 All-Star form with 16 homers, 50 RBIs and a .276 average over his first 84 games.

NL: Adam Frazier, Pirates

Outside of very, very, very deep leagues, there is a good chance he wasn’t even drafted with his 406.3 ADP (53rd ranked second baseman). He entered Friday with the most hits in the majors, the fourth-best average, the fourth-most doubles and an All-Star nod.

Shortstop

AL: Carlos Correa, Astros

No asterisk needed this season, as the 26-year-old has proven to be worth his 125.3 ADP, and then some.

NL: Brandon Crawford, Giants

The 34-year-old, three-time All-Star entered Friday with career-best marks in batting average (.275), OPS, OBP, slugging percentage and his most homers since 2016 (16). He also already has tied his career-best mark of seven stolen bases. All this from a guy with a 443 ADP.

Third Base

AL: Rafael Devers, Red Sox

Despite being drafted as the sixth- or seventh-best third baseman (and around 41st overall), Roto Rage believes Devers has proven to be the best at his position. The fact the 24-year-old wasn’t taken as a top-three talent at his position (or a top-20 overall player) makes him a great bargain.

NL: Justin Turner, Dodgers

The 36-year-old continues to produce, hitting .303 with 14 homers, 45 RBIs, 49 runs, a .393 on-base percentage and .886 OPS in his first 81 games. He has outperformed his 196.8 ADP.

Catcher

AL: Salvador Perez, Royals

Despite the fact he walks in just 2.2 percent of his at-bats (worst mark in the majors) and strikes out 26.4 percent of the time, there is no other catcher in the AL worthy of this spot.

Royals
Salvador Perez
AP

NL: Omar Narvaez, Brewers

Entered Friday with the second-best batting average, as well as the sixth-most runs, sixth-best walk percentage, ninth-most homers and the lowest strikeout percentage among catchers with at least 200 plate appearances.

Outfield

AL: Cedric Mullins, Orioles

Career-best marks in every statistical category while hitting .316 with 15 stolen bases and a .933 OPS over his first 85 games. He earned his first All-Star nod after being drafted with a 420.9 ADP.

AL: Adolis Garcia, Rangers

Not sure many fantasy owners knew his name before the season started, but the fact we now know his name, and he is a 2021 All-Star, says all you need to know.

AL: Jared Walsh, Angels

A true breakout campaign for the 27-year-old. He entered Friday ranked seventh in the majors homers and fourth in RBIs.

NL: Jesse Winker, Reds

A 217.3 ADP seems awfully cheap for a guy who hit .301 with 19 homers, 49 RBIs, 56 runs and a .929 OPS over his first 79 games.

Angels
Jared Walsh
Getty Images

NL: Bryan Reynolds, Pirates

Was the 90th outfielder coming off the boards, but wound up hitting .305 with 15 homers, 48 RBIs, 48 runs and a .915 OPS over his first 83 games.

NL: Kyle Schwarber, Nationals

Though he landed on the IL with a right hamstring strain last week, he was not a draft-day target for many fantasy owners. His 18-game stretch from June 12-29 — when he hit .348 with 16 homers, 27 RBIs and a 1.446 OPS — makes him worthy of being a bargain-bin star.

Utility

AL: Shohei Ohtani, Angels

This guy is in a class/world of his own. Runner-up for first-half MVP.

NL: Willy Adames, Brewers

He hit .290 with nine homers, 30 RBIs, two stolen bases, a .372 OBP and a .915 OPS in his first 45 games after being traded to the Brewers in May.

Starting Pitchers

AL: Carlos Rodon, White Sox

Not only was Rodon a fantasy afterthought (146th ranked pitcher with a 415 ADP), but he was an afterthought in Chicago (he was signed to a one-year, $3 million pact without a guaranteed spot in the rotation). He has since thrown a no-no, and ranks second in the AL in WHIP, opponent average and strikeouts (tied with Gerrit Cole). He also is third in ERA.

AL: Robbie Ray, Blue Jays

The 120th-ranked pitcher entering the season, according to FantasyPros, ranks fifth in the AL in strikeouts. He also ranked 10th in opponent average and WHIP while maintaining a 3.36 ERA and career-low 2.31 walks per nine.

AL: Kyle Gibson, Rangers

Far from a strikeout machine (7.76 K/9), but the 33-year-old allowed more than three earned runs in a start just twice while going 6-1 with a 2.29 ERA over his first 17 starts.

AL: Sean Manaea, Athletics

Though he has lost four straight decisions and is 6-6, he still owns a 3.19 ERA and is striking out 9.32 per nine.

AL: Chris Bassitt, Athletics

After losing his first two starts, he is 9-0 with a 3.16 ERA, 108 strikeouts and a .212 opponent average over his next 16 starts. Not bad for a pitcher with a 175.4 ADP entering the season.

NL: Freddy Peralta, Brewers

Over his first 16 starts, the 77th-ranked pitcher heading into the season was 7-3 with a 2.23 ERA, 12.2 K/9 and a 0.87 WHIP.

NL: Jacob deGrom, Mets

Sure, he was the first pitcher off the boards, and generally was one of the first five or six picks of the draft, but even that is a bargain for the production he offers fantasy owners.

NL: Anthony DeSclafani, Giants

Outside of allowing 10 earned runs in a start on May 23, he has allowed three earned runs or less in his 16 other starts while collecting nine wins, maintaining a 2.84 ERA and limiting opponents to a .203 average.

NL: Taijuan Walker, Mets

The 82nd-ranked pitcher entered his start Friday with the 10th-best ERA in the majors.

Taijuan Walker
Taijuan Walker
Robert Sabo

NL: Trevor Rogers, Marlins

After being ranked as the 96th pitcher (318th overall), the lefty ranked 13th in the majors in strikeouts per nine (seventh in the NL), ranking fifth in ERA and 18th in WHIP before taking the mound Saturday.

Closers/Relievers

AL: Matt Barnes, Red Sox

Striking out 15.1 per nine innings while converting 19 saves in his first 23 opportunities.

NL: Craig Kimbrel, Cubs

Over his first 33 appearances, he was 20-for-22 in save chances and opponents were hitting .104 against him. He owned a 0.57 ERA and was striking out 15.3 per nine.


Big Hits

Logan Gilbert SP, Mariners

Pitched seven scoreless innings on Thursday against the Yankees while striking out a career-best eight and walking none. He is 3-0 with a 2.25 ERA, 37 strikeouts and .171 opponent average over his past six starts.

Ben Gamel OF, Pirates

Entered Friday night with a seven-game hitting streak, going 10-for-23 (.435) with four homers, eight RBIs, eight runs and a 1.543 OPS in that span.

Zach Eflin SP, Phillies

Has maintained a 1.50 ERA over his past three starts while going 2-0 with 11 strikeouts, just four walks and a .203 opponent average.

Eric Haase C/OF, Tigers

After going 0-for-16 with from June 17-23, he was 12-for-37 (.324) with five homers, 13 RBIs and a 1.099 OPS in his next 10 games.

Big Whiffs

Christian Yelich OF, Brewers

Though he walked nine times in his first eight games this month, he was 4-for-23 (.174) with one RBI, nine strikeouts and a .604 OPS in that span. He was hitting .174 with 18 strikeouts in 14 games since June 25.

Mike Minor SP, Royals

Before taking the mound Saturday, he had allowed 18 earned runs while going 0-3 with a 10.13 ERA and .318 opponent average in his previous three starts.

Michael Conforto OF, Mets

In his first 15 games since coming off the injured list, he was 5-for-42 (.119) with three RBIs, 16 strikeouts, a .283 OBP and .426 OPS.

Adbert Alzolay SP, Cubs

Went 0-5 with a 7.15 ERA, 23:11 K/BB rate and nine HRs allowed over his past five starts. Opponents hit .261 against him in that span.

Check Swings

  • And now, some first-half awards. The Adam Dunn Award goes to the Rangers’ Joey Gallo, who entered Friday having smashed 23 homers while hitting .239 and striking out in 31.3 percent of his at-bats (and that’s despite hitting .378 with 10 homers and 14 whiffs over his past 11 games).
  • Cy Young: Despite being removed from a few games early and looking somewhat human over his past three starts, Jacob deGrom leads the league in strikeouts per nine (14.28), ERA (1.08) and swinging strike rate (21.6 percent). He also had the best walks per nine (1.08), the third-best strand rate (86.9 percent) and the lowest opponent average (.125). He was simply dominant.
  • Least Valuable Player: Francisco Lindor entered Friday hitting .220 with nine homers, 30 RBIs and a .674 OPS over his first 82 games. Not what’s expected from a healthy top-20 fantasy option.

Team Name of the Week

Boyd Rage

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