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One thing I noticed when picking my own fantasy baseball All-Star team this year was that many of the players who are traditionally most highly regarded - the ones we called the top 10 position players and top 10 pitchers back on draft day - for the most part didn't make the cut.
So many of those lead dogs have had disappointing seasons - or have been too waylaid by injuries to receive serious consideration. Rather than let those failures slip by without comment, I've included not only my All-Stars on this list, but also the big names who have flamed out:
C: Carlos Ruiz, PHI. Sorry, A.J. Pierzynski, you've had a great run this season but Ruiz, has been exceptional for a bad team, hitting over .350, with 30 extra-base hits and an OPS of .999.
Flamed out: Carlos Santana, CLE. Picked by most as the top fantasy catcher and among the top 1Bs, Santana is hitting .220 with just five HRs.
1B: Edwin Encarnacion, TOR. 22 HRs and 58 RBIs from an unexpected source, he could have also made my list as a 3B.
Flamed out: Adrian Gonzalez, BOS. Perhaps not even the most disappointing player on his team, but 6 HRs from a player who made the pre-season top 10 is too paltry. Albert Pujols has rebounded somewhat from a horrible start to save him from this distinction.
2B: Robinson Cano, NYY. The rare occasion where the top player at his position actually has met expectations in the first half. Cano's 20 HRs, 47 RBIs and .313 batting average overshadow Indians rookie Jason Kipnis, who has 20 SBs.
Flamed out: Dustin Pedroia, BOS. Many of the flame-outs could be Boston players. Pedroia has fought through injuries, but has not produced like the pre-season No. 2 player at the position.
3B: Jose Bautista, TOR. The Mets' David Wright really deserves this nod, with a .354 average, but Joey Bats has fought back from a horrible April with 27 HRs and 64 RBIs.
Flamed out: Evan Longoria, TAM. He hit well enough when he was playing, but has spent much of the first half on the DL, in what could have been his biggest season yet.
SS: Derek Jeter, NYY. I kept him out of my top 10 at a weak position, but the old man has been just plain impressive with a position-leading 99 hits.
Flamed out: Troy Tulowitski, COL. Another top 10 player (actually heard he was No. 1 overall in some leagues) who has spent most of the first half on the DL. Not his fault, but that won't make those who picked him in the first round feel any better.
OF: Josh Hamilton, TEX; Ryan Braun, MIL; Carlos Gonzalez, COL. Hamilton had a great first half just in the first six weeks, playing well ahead of a pre-season rank of 33. Braun is another of just a few top picks who have fully paid off, with 22 HRs, 55 RBIs, 13 SBs and a .309 average. Gonzalez is having his best season all-around.
Flamed out: Matt Kemp, LAD; Jacoby Ellsbury, BOS; Justin Upton, ARI. Kemp may be the biggest overall disappointment - Hamilton-like talent and potential, but nagging injury. Ellsbury also found himself again on the DL. Upton has no such excuse, having played so poorly he was benched for a stretch.
SP: R.A. Dickey, NYM; Matt Cain, SF. One pitched two consecutive one-hitters, and all the other could muster was a perfect game. These two are way out ahead of the pack, especially Dickey with 12 wins and a 2.15 ERA.
Flamed out: Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee, PHI. This pretty much speaks to where Philly is in the standings, with Halladay on the DL and Lee still winless - not all his fault but more his fault than most people are saying, according to his 4.13 ERA. Tim Lincecum just misses this honor with a 5.60 ERA.
RP: Jim Johnson, BAL. Came out on nowhere, and has been lights out for the Orioles with 23 saves and a 1.30 ERA.
Flamed out: Heath Bell, MIA; Carlos Marmol, CUBS. Bell has blown five saves, but it feels like about 10. He's one of the big reasons Miami has been so inconsistent. I know Marmol has his job back, but even when he's saving games, he's a wreck. He could have had a nice comeback year with a crappy team and not much pressure on him, but 25 walks in 23.2 innings says it all.
* Yahoo! Roto Arcade has its All-Wiener team, with a few names we recognize.
* Bleacher Report eyes the top 10 rookies for the second half. Locals Anthony Rizzo and Jose Quintana make the list.
* Full Spectrum Baseball likes Tigers outfielder Quintin Barry as a hot waiver wire pick-up.
Dan O'Shea is our man in fantasyland. He welcomes your comments.
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