Fantasy Baseball: First month All-Star team

The first month of the fantasy baseball season was a wild one. We’ve seen multitudes of injuries (this season is on pace to break the record of Tommy John surgeries in a single season), comeback performances, relatively unknown players shine, and well established players struggle. There are still 20 weeks remaining in the baseball regular season and I’m sure they’ll be just as fun and exciting as the first five.

Without further adieu, here is my fantasy baseball All-Star team after a month of play:

C – Matt Wieters BAL

1B – Jose Abreu CWS

2B – Anthony Rendon WSH

3B – Josh Donaldson OAK

SS – Troy Tulowitzki COL

OF – Charlie Blackmon COL

OF – Giancarlo Stanton MIA

OF – Mike Trout LAA

SP – Johnny Cueto CIN

SP – Masahiro Tanaka NYY

SP – Jose Fernandez MIA

RP – Francisco Rodriguez MIL

C – Matt Wieters BAL

The Baltimore Orioles catcher has served as the electrifying hitter in the Orioles offense with the absence of Chris Davis and Manny Machado as well as the poor play of J.J. Hardy and Adam Jones. Hitting .354 with five homeruns and 18 RBI this early in the season is impressive, but just wait until the team is healthy and hitting like they usually do. Wieters may end up being the top offensive catcher if the batters around him can pick it up.

Other players considered: Yadier Molina STL

Chicago White Sox

Jose Abreu

1B  – Jose Abreu CWS

This was probably the hardest position for me to pick just one player. Adrian Gonzalez and Albert Pujols have both had great seasons, but Jose Abreu has the highest chance of keeping up this level of hitting throughout the course of the season. Abreu broke the record for most homeruns and RBI in a month by a rookie, previously set by Albert Pujols. Jose Abreu is hitting .267 with a league-leading 11 homeruns and 33 RBI. His batting average might not help a fantasy team too much, but his power numbers could be prove to be invaluable. I expect him to quickly hit the Undroppables list.

Other players considered: Adrian Gonzalez LAD and Albert Pujols LAA

[Is Albert Pujols back?]

2B – Anthony Rendon WAS

Batting .311 with four homeruns and 21 RBI, Anthony Rendon has been outstanding. Rendon was either a late-round draft pick, or not drafted at all and is rewarding his fantasy owners handsomely for giving him a chance. His numbers may not stay this high with the absence of both Bryce Harper and Ryan Zimmerman, but Rendon should still be a top-tier second baseman.

Another plus to Rendon is that with the injury to Zimmerman, he has gained third base eligibility. Look for him to keep the high average, although his OBP won’t be too high. Rendon is walking in just 5.7% of his at bats. His fantasy value is high in all leagues, but it does suffer a bit in OBP leagues.

Others considered: Brian Dozier MIN, Chase Utley PHI, Howie Kendrick LAA

Josh Donaldson

Josh Donaldson

3B – Josh Donaldson OAK

With the struggles of other big-name third basemen, such as Miguel Cabrera, Evan Longoria, and David Wright, Josh Donaldson was the clear choice at his position. Donaldson has put up a .280 average as well as seven homeruns and 23 RBI. He hit above .300 last season, so I expect the average to rise a bit, although he hasn’t been getting on base very much. His OBP is just .338 compared to the .384 mark he had in 2013. His OBP and AVG should continue to rise as the season progresses; his fantasy value should climb even higher as the season carries on.

Other players considered: Nolan Arrenado COL

SS – Troy Tulowitzki COL

If the season were to end today, I think Troy Tulowitzki would have to be named NL MVP. After April, Tulowitzki is leading the league in batting average (.385) and leading all shortstops in homeruns (7) and RBI (25). Of course, Tulowitzki’s ridiculous numbers will have to come back down to Earth; his OBP is just under .500 and his OPS is 1.216. It helps that Tulowitzki plays half of his games in Coors Field, but his numbers will still come down.

Right now, Tulowitzki is invaluable. I don’t think that I would give him up for anyone right now. The only thing that worries me about Tulowitzki is his injury history. He only played in 173 games in 2012 and 2013 combined.

Other players considered: Alexei Ramirez CWS

OF – Charlie Blackmon COL

Charlie Blackmon has probably been the most surprising player thus far into the 2014 season. His .380 average is the highest among outfielders and is second overall only behind his teammate Troy Tulowitzki; Blackmon is also tied for eighth in stolen bases among all outfielders. Blackmon is the first player to make my one-month All-Star team that could significantly help a team in need of stolen bases. Personally, I don’t think that Blackmon will be able to keep this type of play up, but he has never seen much playing time. In his first three years in the league, Blackmon never played more than 82 games or had more than 246 at bats. This season, Blackmon has already played in 29 games and had over 100 at bats. He is also about to tie his career high for homeruns and RBI in a season.

Blackmon will continue to see consistent playing time as long as he’s playing at this high of a level. He’s been great in real life and in fantasy. Although if I was a Blackmon owner, I would try to sell him high, but it would be hard to trade someone away who is putting up the numbers that he has.

[Pitchers to stream this week]

OF – Giancarlo Stanton MIA

Giancarlo Stanton has been great for the Miami Marlins this season. Stanton is hitting .267, has clubbed eight homeruns, and is tied for the league lead in RBI with 33 after playing in 29 games. He started the season very well, but his average has cooled off and over the last two weeks he has hit just .208, but has still knocked in 12 runs. Stanton is not going to be a great average hitter – his career batting average is .265 – but his fantasy value comes from his power.

Stanton has only played more than 123 games once in his career, so don’t be too surprised if he hits the DL at some point in the season. His fantasy value is huge and I think he’ll end the season as a top ten outfielder, but he has been lucky to be surrounded by other hot hitters in the Miami lineup – Christian Yellich, Marcell Ozuna, Jared Saltalamacchia, Casey McGeehee, and Garrett Jones all had a fantastic April. Stanton’s value will decrease as his teammates cool off, but he will still be a great fantasy option come September.

Los Angeles Angels

Mike Trout

OF – Mike Trout LAA

Unsurprisingly, Mike Trout is having a great year. He is one of the only players that can fill a team’s average, runs, homeruns, RBI, and stolen base categories. Right now, his average sits at .316 and he’s hit six homeruns and has 18 RBI to go along with 21 runs and four stolen bases. His steals are a little bit low, but it’s hard to complain about the incredible numbers that Trout consistently puts up.

Although it seemed impossible, Trout’s fantasy value has actually gone up due to the incredible season that Albert Pujols has had. It will probably go up even farther when Josh Hamilton returns from the disabled list. I expect Trout to end the season as the number one outfielder. A 30/30 season seems to be in the works.

Other players considered: Nelson Cruz BAL, Justin Upton ATL, Carlos Gomez MIL, Jose Bautista TOR

SP – Johnny Cueto CIN

Johnny Cueto’s 2014 season has been fantastic to say the least. He is the major league leader among starting pitchers in ERA (1.15), batting average allowed (.136), and hits per nine innings (4.21). Cueto has also pitched deep into games. In his first six starts, he has yet to pitch less than seven innings and has pitched two complete games.

2013 was an injury-plagued season for Cueto; he only pitched in 11 games. Before 2013, he had started at least 30 games in four of his first five seasons. Hopefully, 2013 proves to be an anomaly for Cueto and he can remain healthy throughout the 2014 season. Although his numbers will decline, if he starts 30+ games, Cueto should end the season as one of the most consistent fantasy pitchers.

SP – Masahiro Tanaka NYY

The biggest free agent signing of the offseason has paid off so far for the New York Yankees. Masahiro Tanaka has been puzzling batters all season. After April, Tanaka is sporting a 3-0 record with a 2.27 ERA and 0.93 WHIP. Many people questioned how Tanaka would make the transition from Japan to the MLB, but he has handled it very well, in fact, his K/9 is currently higher than it ever was in Japan.

Tanka should continue to have good fantasy numbers. My biggest worry for Tanaka is that once hitters see him more, they will start to figure out how to hit him; he may see a similar decline to that of Daisuke Matsuzaka. If a decline does occur, it is not likely to come in the 2014 season. Tanaka appears to have been a steal for owners that reached to draft him.

SP – Jose Fernandez MIA

After winning Rookie of the Year and finishing third in the National League Cy Young voting in 2013, Fernandez has quickly put his name at the forefront of the 2014 Cy Young race. In six starts, Fernandez is 4-1 with a 1.59 ERA; he has given up just seven runs in six starts, and six of those runs came in one bad outing. Currently, Fernandez is fourth among starting pitchers in ERA (1.59), wins (4), WHIP (0.83), batting average allowed (.174), and H/9 (5.67). He is also ranked second in strikeouts (55) and K/9 (12.48).

In my opinion, Fernandez has been the best pitcher so far this season. He is, and will continue to be, priceless in fantasy leagues. By the end of the season, Fernandez will have cemented himself as one of the best pitchers in the majors.

Other players considered: Adam Wainwright STL, Max Scherzer DET

Francisco Rodriguez

Francisco Rodriguez

RP – Francisco Rodriguez MIL

Everyone was surprised when Francisco Rodriguez came out of the Milwaukee Brewers bullpen to pitch the ninth inning on Opening Day. As the season began, it was assumed that Jim Henderson would be the Brewers closer. After the game, Brewers manager Ron Roenicke told reporters that Henderson would be back in the closer role soon, but that has yet to happen due to Rodriguez’ dominance.

After a month, Rodriguez leads the league in saves with 14. In his 17 appearances out of the bullpen, Rodriguez has given up just seven hits and four walks, but has struck out 24 batters. Rodriguez has been one of the biggest fantasy surprises to this point of the season. The Brewers own the best record in baseball at 21-9. If the Brewers can continue to win games, Rodriguez will keep seeing save opportunities.

Other players considered: Huston Street SD and Sergio Romo SF

For more opinions and analysis visit our Fantasy Baseball page

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>