Friday, June 29, 2007

Phanatic Phantasy All-Star Team

By Michael Rushton
Phanatic Magazine

Since everyone else gets to pick their own All-Star squads, I have decided to do the same. However, since I need to fill my fantasy column for this week, I'm going to select my players bases solely on their fantasy impact.

Also, I'm just going to put together one All-Star team, meaning it will be a combination of NL and AL players.

The envelope please...

Catcher - It comes down to Los Angeles' Russell Martin and Victor Martinez of Cleveland, but the nod goes to Martin. Their averages are close enough to cancel out, and Martinez has the edge in homers and RBI, while Martin is up in runs. So, the deciding factor ends up being stolen bases. Martin has 13 while Martinez has none. SB's are a tough category to get a hold of outside of a few players, so it's a huge plus anytime you get that kind of base path production from a catcher.

Honorable mention: Martinez (Cleveland)

First base - This one is a no-brainer and it's Prince Fielder, who leads all first baseman with 27 homers, seven more than Justin Morneau's 20. Also, unlike a Ryan Howard or Paul Konerko, Fielder isn't hurting in the average department by hitting .282. He is also tops at the position with 63 RBI.

Honorable mention: Morneau (Minnesota)

Second base - Few things are a sure bet, but Chase Utley is one of them. He actually trails Dan Uggla by one homer for the lead among second baseman, but his RBI total (64) and lofty .331 average vaults Philadelphia's Utley to the top of the list by far.

Honorable mention: Brian Roberts (Baltimore)

Shortstop - The Mets' Jose Reyes seemed like a lock for this spot early in the season, and still gets the nod here, but barely. I'm going Reyes over Florida's Hanley Ramirez because the New York shortstop is still hitting over .300, while his 38 stolen bases have probably been single-handily winning you that category each week.

Honorable mention: Ramirez (Florida) and his .322 average, 11 HR's and 23SB's.

Third base - David Wright gets the...okay, I'm just kidding. This one has been decided since day one, and it is the other New York third baseman, Alex Rodriguez, dominating this spot. With a stat line that reads a .327 average, 28 homers, 78 RBI, 72 runs scored and nine stolen bases, he's the MVP of the major leagues, let alone the fantasy world.

Honorable mention: Miguel Cabrera (Florida)

Outfield - Three spots here with a pair of Detroit Tigers getting the first two. Magglio Ordonez is hitting an incredible .377 with 13 homers and 68 RBI. And, if your league does this sort of thing, he has a 1.087 OPS as well. Gary Sheffield, meanwhile, seemed like a lost cause when the season started, but has rebounded for a .289 average, 18 homers and a surprising 10 stolen bases. Finally, I'm giving the last spot to Adam Dunn of the Reds. Dunn's 23 HR's are no surprise, but his .271 average and seven stolen bases have been pleasant for anyone who drafted him while seemingly sacrificing their AVG category.

Honorable mentions: Tough to leave out Ichiro Suzuki (Seattle) and his .364 average. Carl Crawford (Tampa Bay) and Carlos Lee (Houston)

Starting pitcher - We'll tap three pitchers for our All-Star squad. Jake Peavy of the Padres is the obvious choice to anchor our rotation. Peavy has 113 strikeouts and a ridiculous 2.14 ERA and 1.07 WHIP. He also has nine wins and has been dominate all year. Next, the old reliable Johan Santana and his 114 strikeouts. Santana has eight wins, but also six losses. However, you can't ignore his 2.83 ERA and 1.05 WHIP. Finally, Dan Haren squeaks into the final spot. The Oakland ace has nine wins, a sub-two ERA at 1.91 and an awesome 0.94 WHIP. His 93 strikeouts aren't bad either.

Honorable mentions: Chris Young (San Diego), Brad Penny (Los Angeles) and Justin Verlander (Detroit)

Closers - Two spots here. First is J.J. Putz of Seattle. His 22 saves are enough of a blessing, but how about a 0.99 ERA and 0.58 WHIP. Good to see Putz prove all those injury-doubters wrong. Second, Francisco Cordero of Milwaukee. A league-high 27 saves after being run out of Texas last year with a 2.16 ERA and 0.99 WHIP.

Honorable mentions: Jose Valverde (Arizona) and Takashi Saito (Los Angeles)

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