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Seven Cubs made the National League All-Star team. Seven. And all four infield starters will be Cubs - the first time that has happened in the NL in more than 50 years.
Are they all deserving of this honor? Let's be honest: No. But, Cubs fans came out in force to vote.
Picking All-Stars in the fantasy baseball realm doesn't come with such ballot-box stuffing. The numbers do most of the talking, and Yahoo! rankings do the rest.
Here's a list of All-Stars based almost entirely on those rankings. I did fudge a bit in a couple of places.
NL: Wilson Ramos
No, Buster Posey isn't even close. Ramos has proven to have been helped immensely by having laser eye treatment in the offseason. His position-leading stats include 13 HRs (tied), 46 RBI, a .944 OPS and a .335 batting average. And his 38 runs and 84 hits are in the top three in both stat lines.
AL: Brian McCann
He would be about the fourth-best catcher stat-wise in the NL. Has 13 HRs to match Ramos, along with 35 RBI in 67 games, meaning he's missed 15 or so games. His .778 OPS isn't much to celebrate either, but imagine how bad the rest of the AL catchers are. Best you can say fantasy-wise about McCann is he's on pace to match his career-best 26 HRs from 2015.
NL: Paul Goldschmidt
No, not Anthony Rizzo, but not Wil Myers either, who is ranked higher than Goldy, but also qualifies at OF (see below). Goldschmidt has produced another stuffed stat sheet - 15 HRs, 58 RBI, 11 SBs, .929 OPS. It is, of course the SBs, that help him edge out Rizzo and his 20 HRs.
AL: Edwin Encarnacion
Looks like the voters got this one right. David Ortiz may be the sentimental pick, and Mark Trumbo may be this year's biggest riser, but Encarnacion's 22 HRs, position-leading 77 RBI and .899 OPS give him the edge.
NL: Matt Carpenter
Yeah, it ain't Ben Zobrist, though perhaps surprisingly, Zobrist is ranked third among NL fantasy 2Bs (well, it surprised me at least). Carpenter barely edges out hard-luck candidate Daniel Murphy, who misses out despite an NL position-leading .349 BA and 56 RBI. Carpenter's NL position-leading .991 OPS and 56 runs give him the nod.
AL: Jose Altuve
Last year he unexpectedly slugged 15 HRs, but his batting average dropped about 30 point - to .313. This year he's doing it all - 14 HRs already (yes, one shy of his career-high for a season with half the season left), 49 RBI, 22 SBs, but also a .350 BA and a .982 OPS. Starting to make a good argument for being drafted in the top three next year.
NL: Kris Bryant
Position is packed with talent, but Bryant is becoming what we all expected. 25 HRs is one shy of his total from last year, and they come with 64 RBI, 68 runs and a .943 OPS.
AL: Josh Donaldson
With apologies to Manny Machado, last year's MVP is stepping up again with 22 HRs and 60 RBI. He's also on pace for 200 hits and a whopping 150 runs. Oh, yeah, the 1.009 OPS ain't bad either.
NL: Trevor Story
Making his case for Rookie of the Year with 21 HRs, 55 RBI. Who used to play SS for COL? Can't remember the guy's name for some reason . . .
AL: Ian Desmond
Again, sorry Manny. You don't make it at either of your positions, as Desmond, the free agent no one wanted after a down 2015, is contributing in every stat category - 15 HRs, 54 RBI, 15 SBs, 63 runs, .897 OPS.
NL: Wil Myers, Bryce Harper, Carlos Gonzalez
Myers is 1B-eligible and could have gotten that slot if I wasn't such a homer, what with his 19 HRs, 58 RBI, 13 SBs, 58 runs and .896 OPS. Harper started so strong that it doesn't matter that he's been fading - 18 HRs, 51 RBI, 48 runs, 11 SBs, .895 OPS. CarGo has done the opposite - started slow, exploded over the last month - but has almost the same stats with 18 HRs, 51 RBI , 54 runs, 2 SBs and a .924 OPS.
AL: Mike Trout, Mookie Betts, Mark Trumbo
Trouty's being Trouty: 18 HRs, 56 RBI, 14 SBs, 62 runs, .999 OPS. Betts leads all OFs in hits (112) and runs (72), and has 18 HRs (a popular number, I guess), 58 RBI, 13 SBs. Trumbo is having a career year with 26 HRs, 64 RBI, .904 OPS.
NL: Nolan Arenado
As mentioned above, his position is so packed he didn't make it there even though he's been as ridiculous as last year with 23 HRs, 69 RBI, 59 runs, .933 OPS.
AL: David Ortiz
Of course we need Big Papi in this game to retire on the right note, but he's earned it with 20 HRs, 69 RBI, 1.106 OPS - all at age 40.
NL: Clayton Kershaw, Johnny Cueto, Madison Bumgarner, Jake Arrieta
Though it seemed impossible, Kershaw, now injured, is on pace to surpass even his own incredible career numbers having already notched 11 wins and 145 strikeouts to go with his 1.79 ERA and 0.73 WHIP. Cueto leads the NL in wins with 13, and brings 115 strikeouts, 2.47 ERA and a 1.00 WHIP to the table. MadBum seems like he should have double-digit wins as well as HRs - 9 wins, 132 strikeouts, 2.09 ERA, 1.02 WHIP. Arrieta, though seemingly running on fumes, has still managed 12 wins, 115 strikeouts, 2.33 ERA, 1.06 WHIP.
AL: Chris Sale, Danny Salazar, Michael Fulmer, Marco Estrada
Sale and who now? Sale is raising talk of Denny McClain with his first-half 14 wins, 118 strikeouts, 2.93 ERA and 0.98 WHIP. Salazar is living up to his previous hype, with 10 wins, 113 strikeouts, 2.36 ERA, 1.14 WHIP. Fulmer, the rookie, started late, but already has nine wins. Estrada edges out a lot of seemingly better pitchers by having a 0.99 WHIP through 105 IP.
NL: Jeurys Familia, Kenley Jansen
OK, another area where I fudged the rankings a bit. Familia is the clear MLB saves leader with 31, though a couple other closers with lower WHIPs and ERAs but much fewer saves are ranked higher. Jansen is the highest-ranked RP in Yahoo! 5x5 with 25 saves, a withering 0.64 WHIP and 47 strikeouts in 35 IP.
AL: Zach Britton, Francisco Rodriguez
Two guys drafted much later than many closers, despite strong 2015 numbers. Britton has 25 saves, K-Rod 23. Both have benefitted from unexpectedly good teams giving them many opportunities.
Disco Danny Ford O'Shea is our man in fantasyland. He welcomes your comments.
The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #197: On The Baseball Beat With The Cubs Conundrum And The White Sox Slog
Herky-jerky season finally coming into focus, sorta. Plus: The Bread Man!; Bumbling Bears; and Seat Geek Stadium.Continue reading "The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #197: On The Baseball Beat With The Cubs Conundrum And The White Sox Slog" »
Posted on Apr 21, 2018