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As explained on my “All-Patriotic” Pitching Staff piece, I will be compiling a list of the best, fantasy points league players in the first half of the season. The next piece will focus on the outfield. This article focuses on the best infielders of the first half of the MLB season.
The Rules: The best players at every infield position will be named along with his “reserve.” Points are based on the scoring system we use in my Head-to-Head Fantasy Points’ Keeper League. All stats are as of July 3, 2013:
|ALL-PATRIOTIC TEAM: INFIELD|
Way back in February, I had both Buster Posey and Yadier Molina as the best two catchers in fantasy (and to some extent, in Major League) baseball, in that order. Sure enough, it’s early July and Posey is at the top of the catching food chain with 240.25 points, while Molina is right on his heels with 231.5. I am still convinced that had Posey not injured his leg in 2011, the Giants would be in the middle of a three-peat.
Other catchers that might give Posey and Molina a run for their money are:
- Joe Mauer
- Carlos Santana
It’s amazing how versatile and varied this position is getting this year. Yes, you still, ideally, want the big bopper, preferably at the prime of his career, that goes up to the plate with cruel intentions. However, seeing guys like Matt Carpenter in the top 5 of the rankings is always a trip. But he’s not the only one that can play multiple positions as Posey, Mauer, Michael Cuddyer, Allen Craig, Mark Trumbo, and Chris Davis are all ranked in the top 15. Heck, James Loney is in the top 15! And of course, let’s not forget that Albert Pujols began his career playing multiple positions before settling down at First Base. A trendsetter of sorts maybe?
But the first three months at the position belong to Edwin Encarnacion (301.25) and his reserve, Paul Goldschmidt (Sports Jerks’ majority rules NL MVP so far with 293.75). Encarnacion seems to be following teammate Jose Bautista’s example on how to resurrect a career. He’s picked up Bautista’s high leg kick and batting eye (and for those that allege that Bautista is on PEDs, you can now take the “eye test” and brag about it to your friends). It is simply amazing how Encarnacion’s patience has developed in the last couple of seasons as he’s gone from a guy that struggled to hit 15 home runs in Cincinnati to being a legit power threat in Toronto.
And Goldschmidt does not get enough pub playing out of Arizona. He’s really improved his plate discipline from last season and has all ready matched his home run total from last season. All of this production and the guy is only 25 years-old. I mentioned back in the offseason that Goldschmidt would have to prove himself before I could place him as a top tier 1B in fantasy circles. Looks like he’s proven himself just fine.
How fitting that the best two 2B are part of the Yankees-Red Sox rivalry. Robinson Cano (289.25) was, indubitably, the best 2B coming into the season and he has not disappointed. However, with 282.25 points, Dustin Pedroia is not too far behind the explosive Cano. Pedroia may be lacking in the slugging department, but he makes up with steadiness, sporting high patience and pitch selectivity, resulting in a higher on-base percentage than Cano.
It’s hard to imagine any other player making a leap for the top two spots by season’s end, but other names to look for in the 2nd half:
- Jason Kipnis
- Matt Carpenter (this guy is everywhere!)
- Brandon Phillips
- Ben Zobrist
- Ian Kinsler
- Jedd Gyorko
Let’s be real, the only reason Jean Segura (269) is at the top spot is because, once again, Troy Tulowitzki (229) is injured for a long period of time. The fact that Tulo is still getting recognition for being the 2nd best SS in Fantasy Point is a testament to how other-worldly his skill set is at the position. I am not a fan of Segura’s approach, but he does have pedigree and the contact skills and bat speed to post the current numbers he’s posting. Plus the speed is legit with 24 stolen bases.
Because of the injury concerns with Tulowitzki and the possibility of a prolonged slump to Segura, here are some other shorstops that might take full advantage of making a run at the top spot:
- Ben Zobrist
- Everth Cabrera
- Ian Desmond
- Jed Lowrie
Sports Jerks’ unanimous First Half AL MVP, Miguel Cabrera, deserves all the accolades and kudos he’s been receiving thus far. Among batters, his 378.75 points are tops among all hitters. It’s no surprise as Cabrera has good plate discipline, but is still talented and powerful enough to make good contact with bad pitches as well.
His backup, David Wright, is having another steady season so far with 259.25 points. He’s on pace to being a 25/25 guy by season’s end.
Other third basemen of not:
- Josh Donaldson (he needs his own article)
- Matt Carpenter (there’s that man again)
- Manny Machado
- Evan Longoria
- Ryan Zimmerman
The biggest contributors to the first half of the 2013 MLB season. Hope everybody has a great 4th of July weekend.