We’ve hit the All-Star Break and it was quite fitting to see Vladimir Guerrero Jr mash a homer into the next solar system. The Blue Jays slugger has done nothing short of taking the league by storm, destroying 28 homers into oblivion. I have zero ragerts about placing Vlad on top of the first base list, but Freddie Freeman certainly has had something to say about the move. Freeman is batting north of .350 over the last month and with his running mate Ronald Acuña done for the year, the Braves’ first baseman will have to carry the big boy load down the stretch. Can he do it? Or will the weight of losing Acuña be too much for him to bear. Find out this week, on “Days Of Our Lives”. Sorry, I blacked out. What are we doing?

 

Rank Player Position Team +/-
1 Vladimir Guerrero Jr 1B Blue Jays    –
2 Freddie Freeman 1B Braves    –
3 Matt Olson 1B Athletics    –
4 Jose Abreu 1B White Sox   +2
5 Pete Alonso 1B Mets    –
6 Paul Goldschmidt 1B Cardinals   +1
7 Cody Bellinger 1B/OF Dodgers   -3
8 DJ LeMahieu 1B/2B/3B Yankees   +1
9 Jared Walsh 1B/OF Angels   -1
10 Max Muncy 1B/2B/3B Dodgers   +1
11 Kris Bryant 1B/3B/OF Cubs   +1
12 Anthony Rizzo 1B Cubs   +2
13 Yuli Gurriel 1B Astros   -3
14 Luke Voit 1B Yankees   +2
15 Trey Mancini 1B/OF Orioles    –
16 Ryan McMahon 1B/2B/3B Rockies   -3
17 Eric Hosmer 1B Padres   +2
18 Josh Bell 1B Nationals   +3
19 Rhys Hoskins 1B Phillies   NR
20 Jake Cronenworth 1B/2B/SS Padres   NR
21 Nate Lowe 1B Rangers   +1
22 Joey Votto 1B Reds   +2
23 Andrew Vaughn 1B/OF White Sox   NR
24 Ryan Mountcastle 1B/OF Orioles   -6
25 C.J. Cron 1B Rockies   -2

 

I will lead with a paragraph to “cable” who always tells me I’m too low on Carlos Santana. You’ll notice Santana is not currently on this list. It is precautionary due to the wrist injury. If we get an update that says he’s fine and on Friday he rakes, he’ll land back in his normal spot. But I don’t like wrist injuries for hitters. It tends to sap their power. There is also an embarrassment of riches at first base currently. I wrote down on a whiteboard 15 names that I considered for the last 6 spots. The closest to making the list were Ty France, Jonathan Schoop, Alex Kirilloff, and Dominic Smith, with Jesus Agular and Keston Hiura bringing up the rear. So please “cable”, no need to rant about Santana, even though I know you will.

Cody Bellinger continues to be a fantasy pariah. Re-read that, it does not say pirana. He headed into the All-Star Break on a 7/57 slump and I’m just not positive that he’s healthy (still). I’d rather have the lower-risk bats over him for the rest of the season, even if they lack his ultimate upside.

One player I always struggle with is Rhys Hoskins. I’m a Phillies fan and it’s just painful watching him at the plate, but he’s popped 20 homers. Steamer’s rest of season projections have him hitting another 15 bombs and ranking as the 8th best offensive first baseman down the stretch. Steamer is certainly smarter than me, but I’m not even close to bumping Hoskins up that high. He’s like a poor man’s Joey Gallo, which is useful for fantasy purposes albeit with some consequences.

Andrew Vaughn was not excited to see the All-Star Break here as he nearly hit .400 and mashed 4 homers over his last 10 games. The White Sox slugger is still batting in the bottom half of the order, but if he continues to mash I could see them sliding him up as high as fifth. If you’re in an active league, Vaughn is most likely already rostered, but he’s still below 50% ownership in ESPN leagues.

Yuli Gurriel was flaming hot over the first three months of the year but has seemingly come back to earth. He went 9/46 heading into the break but I wouldn’t expect him to slump for too long. Gurriel’s plate skills in terms of being aggressive without the “Javy Baez-esque” strikeout rate are very impressive.

Like Carlos Santana, I slid Ryan Mountcastle down in response to being DTD after getting plunked by a pitch. However, unlike Santana, we have the expectation that Mountcastle will be good to go come Friday.

A couple of other hitters that were super-hot heading into the break were Wilmer Flores, Garrett Cooper, and Jace Peterson. All three of those are riding the hot hand until it’s over kind of situation. One other name that I wanted to mention that Steamer really likes is Yandy Diaz. However, it’s mostly due to his plate discipline/drawing walks. That’s really useful in a points league and he’s only rostered in 12.8% of ESPN leagues.

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Al KOHOLIC
Al KOHOLIC
1 year ago

Like Voight also and see Rizzo dropping about 10-15 spots.

MAGNUS
1 year ago

Bellinger is clearly underperforming but do not believe it is because of injury.

His swing is visually off since he came back from his last IL stint. He typically releases it on a serious and violent uppercut plane. Wouldn’t be able to swing that hard if there was pain. I see him either hitting ground balls, deep high angled fly balls or striking out all due to his mechanics. Stats due back this up. His Exit Velo is near is career average but Launch Angle is more than 10 degs from his norm of 17, popping up at 12% and striking out at at nearly 30%. Have to mention is incredibly low BABIP of 0.111.

The good news, he appears to be healthy and playing well defensively in center. He needs more at bats and his swing should level off and start to drive the ball. Expect his performance to pick up in the second half and guesstimate something close to the average of 2017 through 2019 seasons.

Full disclosure, I drafted him as the last pick in the 2nd round and have yet to earn any value but was okay because I drafted Acuna. Yes, I am forecasting a positive outlook for Bellinger partially because I must mostly because of the data so.

Harley Earl
Harley Earl
1 year ago

No way Bellinger belongs this high. I’ve had him on a keeper team for four years and he’s clearly still hurt. He is not himself. Look at his numbers. He hasn’t been right since the shoulder injury and surgery from the World Series.

I also have Muncy on the same team and I’ll bet you now Muncy is far better than Bellinger in the second half. Let’s put a Wendy’s spicy chicken super value meal on it! I got Muncy and you got Bellinger, standard 5 categories. Best second half wins. Loser buys!

Harley Earl
Harley Earl
Reply to  Richardo
1 year ago

Haha! The spicy chicken is quite tasty I do admit!

I’d rather make the bet so I can win! lol I’m just really disappointed in Bellinger. He doesn’t look right. I think the shoulder injury hasn’t fully healed. I can see this season being a down year for him.

scoboticus
scoboticus
1 year ago

Nobody in my league wants Josh Bell. He’s only 69% rostered in ESPN. What is everyone missing?

Josh Bell
Josh Bell
Reply to  scoboticus
1 year ago

Its because I occasionally sit for Zimmerman even though I am a switch hitter. Can be maddening.

Raider baller
Raider baller
Reply to  scoboticus
1 year ago

I like Bell a lot too for the second half. Looks like he’s legit after the really slow start.

Frank Rizzo
Frank Rizzo
1 year ago

Got a feeling Voit volts into the top 10 in the 2nd half.