Fantasy All-Stars: Who takes the honors?
MLB.com's fantasy baseball department cast its 2015 All-Star ballot based on the following weighted criteria:
1. Season-to-date (through Wednesday's games) fantasy stats -- homers, RBIs, runs, steals and batting average (65 percent)
2. Projected rest-of-season performance (35 percent)
With all due respect to Russell Martin's inaugural campaign with the Blue Jays, Stephen Vogt deserves to start the Midsummer Classic: He leads all backstops with 12 homers and 47 RBIs and has exuded enough pop and plate discipline to provide credibility to his relatively late-career breakout.Video: OAK@SD: Vogt hammers grand slam to right field
Leading qualified catchers in average and tied for first among NL backstops in homers, Buster Posey is the easy choice here, ranking second among his Senior Circuit catcher peers in runs and RBIs.
Among AL first basemen, two-time MVP Award winner Miguel Cabrera is alone in first or tied for the lead in average (.342), runs (38) and RBIs (51); he's third with 15 homers. Honorable mention: Prince Fielder, who has bounced back in a big way following a lost 2014 campaign.
In the five statistical categories we're considering, Paul Goldschmidt -- probably the fantasy MVP of the season to date -- paces NL first sackers in four of them (and he's tied with Anthony Rizzo, another likely All-Star, with 10 steals), including a 57-point advantage in average over qualified first basemen.
In a tough call, Jason Kipnis took the nod over the otherwise deserving Brian Dozier, who paces Junior Circuit second basemen in homers, RBIs and runs. However, Kipnis -- who is hitting .333 -- has a sizeable lead in batting average and ranks second with 10 steals. Jose Altuve -- arguably last year's brightest fantasy star, regardless of position -- also warrants mention.
Dee Gordon might be the player who can most affect a fantasy category without being a one-trick pony. The Marlins speedster has 14 more steals than any Senior Circuit second baseman, and he ranks second in baseball in batting average with a .352 mark.Video: MIA@NYY: Gordon leads off the 4th with a triple
The Blue Jays made the offseason's best trade by acquiring Josh Donaldson, who leads all third basemen in runs and paces AL hot-corner men in long balls and RBIs, all while hitting over .300.
Todd Frazier could receive the All-Star Game's most rousing ovation when he takes the field before his hometown faithful. Such a welcome would be warranted, with the 29-year-old leading NL hot-corner men with 22 homers, 48 runs and eight steals.Video: DET@CIN: Frazier hits walk-off grand slam in 13th
Despite his lengthy absence, Jose Reyes has posted respectable counting stats from atop Toronto's relentless lineup while recording an average that would rank second among his AL positional peers had he accrued enough plate appearances to qualify.
So far this season, Jhonny Peralta has been the No. 1 NL shortstop. He's pacing his positional league mates with a .311 average and ranks tied for first and second among the group in homers and RBIs, respectively. But we did say we'd consider rest-of-season potential, so Troy Tulowitzki's upside and the fact that he's stayed healthy makes him the pick -- and he ranks in the top five among NL shortstops in all fantasy categories save for steals.
Among AL outfielders, Mike Trout leads with 48 runs and sits in a dead heat for first with 18 round-trippers. The 23-year-old also ranks fourth among his Junior Circuit positional cohorts with 39 RBIs and sixth with an average just three ticks under .300. The five-category stud has eight steals, too.Video: LAA@ARI: Trout triples home Giavotella in the 6th
After Trout, there's Jose Bautista, who's tied for first among AL outfielders with 41 RBIs, alone in second with 44 runs and locked in a battle for third with 13 homers. He's done much of that with a shoulder injury that was severe enough to relegate him to designated-hitter duty for more than a month.
Last but not least, George Springer is the sole ALer with double-digit homer and steal totals, giving him the third spot.
In Bryce Harper, Giancarlo Stanton and Justin Upton, we've picked a star-studded NL outfield that would make any fantasy owner salivate.
Not only is Harper tied for second in the NL in runs, he's locked in a battle for second in baseball with 22 homers; in average and RBIs, he's third in his league.Video: Must C Crushed: Harper hits one past ray tank
No player in the game has more homers (24) or RBIs (62) than Stanton, who also ranks among the league leaders at his position with 43 runs. The Miami masher doesn't move mountains in the steals or batting-average departments, but that's OK.
The younger Upton completes this group: Among the top six NL outfielders in the four counting-stat categories, J-Up provides it all, with a healthy .278 average to boot. Video: LAD@SD: Upton hits go-ahead homer off Greinke in 8th
Honorable mention: A.J. Pollock, a runs, steals and batting-average machine.
We're in mid-June, and Nelson Cruz is a legitimate Triple Crown candidate. Enough said.