There is nothing like striking up a debate amongst the readers of our wonderful fantasy game by anointing the mid-season all-stars. We are not talking about the Aaron Judge or Yordan Alvarez types, but the out-of-nowhere stars that carry your team to the top. We are talking about the Randy Arozarena in the playoffs or Shane Spencer in September. This week, we dive into the surprising names who returned the biggest bang for the buck based on expectations moving into the season. We also assess if we can expect the production to continue in the second half. Without further ado, these are the hitter profile’s infield All-Stars!
Catcher – William Contreras
Starting his season in AAA, Contreras had glimpses of the show in both 2020 and 2021 showing off his power potential if nothing else last year. Joining the big league club at the beginning of May and gaining full playing time by mid-month means we have seen about two full months of William this season. Considering he was likely not drafted in most leagues, he sits only three home runs beyond his brother for the MLB lead at the Catcher position in 30 less games. While there are great arguments for guys like Jonah Heim or Cal Raleigh, Contreras gets the All-Star nod. I expect much of the same for the rest of the season from this young catcher.
First Base – C.J. Cron
Maybe it is the cool Colorado air or maybe it is all luck (his BABIP is up nearly 50 points on the career average), but C.J. Cron is making noise for the Rockies. Drafted in the spring as one of the last starting options at first base, he has arguably performed as a top-five option at the position. With 20 long balls and 65 runs batted in already, good for second in all of baseball, he has been a savior to many fantasy teams. While there is some regression in the profile, I would be happy with 80% production the rest of the way. Runner-up at the position might be Rowdy Tellez who is almost certainly assured a bench spot on our All-Star team.
Second Base – Jon Berti
Super utility man, Jon Berti, has had an amazing season for Roto managers. He has played every single position on the diamond outside of first base, catcher, and pitcher. That flexibility has kept him in the lineup throughout the season after going undrafted in the majority of leagues. While he offers limited power, he makes up for it with run-scoring and his speed on the base paths. Since June 1, he has stolen 21 bases which would be matched for the league lead in only just over a month’s time. With the green light, he should continue to be a valuable Roto asset in the second half.
Shortstop – Tommy Edman
Another super-utility man sits just outside the top ten in WAR for the season in Tommy Edman. He is nearly two-thirds of the way to his career-high in steals placing him firmly in the top five speed threats. He has also flashed useful 15 homer power. His biggest contribution may be his run-scoring production placing him top five in the league there as well. Amazingly he has actually slightly underperformed according to his xBA and xHR. I see no reason that he doesn’t finish the season with well over 100 runs and 30 steals. Not too bad for a guy you could grab in the 8th round! This was certainly a tight race with Jeremy Peña and Willy Adames.
Third Base – Brandon Drury
There are only nine players at this point that have 50 or more runs and 45 or more runs batted in on the season. The names are guys like Trout, Betts, Freeman, Judge, and Brandon Drury? Yes, the guy who has jumped around the league and is now on his fourth team in Cincinnati is making some noise. An ADP of 750 means some of us are drafting way too many rounds and that he was free for all to have this preseason. That said, if there was one guy on the list to sell now it would be Drury. Outperforming his homer expectations by five and leveraging merely average exit velocities, this ride is likely to end.
Thanks for stopping by. Who do you think will be our second-half fantasy All-Star infielders? I think that we might want to give Justin Turner a second look while Diego Castillo might surprise us in Pittsburgh.