If you find yourself among the leaders in your fantasy baseball league you are to be congratulated. But it's also time to recognize the players who have placed you in that enviable position.
The first quarter fantasy owner's most valuable players for the 2012 season are...
In standard ten man leagues, Hamilton easily lasted until the second or third round during 2012 drafts. He is mega-talented but a scary selection given his history of injuries - he has only played more than 133 games in a season once in his five year career. There was the horrific scene in Texas last season when a father fell to his death after Hamilton tossed the ball into the stands, an incident that left him understandably distraught. Then he had a turbulent offseason as he was reported to have had a relapse with alcohol use.
Questions lingered in fantasy circles - can Josh Hamilton be trusted?
If you placed your faith in him you have been handsomely rewarded. He leads all of baseball in homers (18) and runs batted in (46). His .384 average leads the American League and is second in the majors behind David Wright. His 33 runs scored also ranks second. He owns an outrageous OPS of 1.225.
MVP (Pitching) Justin Verlander (Detroit Tigers)
It's no surprise to those in fantasy circles that Justin Verlander is being celebrated as the pitcher of the first quarter for 2012. He dominated in 2011 (24-2.40-250-0.92) and hasn't slowed thus far in this campaign. He has won 5 games, owns an ERA of 2.14, and has struck out 68 batters in 67.1 innings.
Yet the two numbers that truly display his dominance are his WHIP (0.80) and BAA (.168).
Honorable mention by position:
Catcher - Carlos Ruiz (Philadelphia Phillies) .358-7-29-21-2 (AVG-HR-RBI-R-SB)
First Base - Edwin Encarnacion (Toronto Blue Jays) .271-13-34-24-6
Second Base - Ian Kinsler (Texas Rangers) .278-5-18-34-5
Shortstop - Rafael Furcal (St. Louis Cardinals) .351-2-18-28-7
Third Base - David Wright (New York Mets) .409-4-22-28-4
Outfield (1) - Adam Jones (Baltimore Orioles) .310-14-29-32-6
Outfield (2) - Matt Kemp (Los Angeles Dodgers) .359-12-28-29-2
Outfield (3) - Carlos Beltran (St. Louis Cardinals) .298-13-32-28-5
Starting Pitcher (1) - Brandon Beachy (Atlanta Braves) 5-1.33-39-0.89 (W-ERA-K-WHIP)
Starting Pitcher (2) - Gio Gonzalez (Washington Nationals) 5-2.22-60-0.99
Starting Pitcher (3) - Cole Hamels (Philadelphia Phillies) 6-2.48-58-1.03
Relief Pitcher (1) - Jim Johnson (Baltimore Orioles) 0-0.92-14-0.81-15 (W-ERA-K-WHIP-S)
Relief Pitcher (2) - Fernando Rodney (Tampa Bay Rays) 2-0.46-19-0.81-13
Relief Pitcher (3) - Jonathan Papelbon (Philadelphia Phillies) 0-2.20-19-0.92-12
Sources: Yahoo! Sports
Robert Watkins is former investment professional and partner. A native New Yorker until 9/11, he considers Pa. his adoptive home. A passionate Yankees fan and Pennsylvania sports enthusiast, Robert is a frequent contributor to Yahoo! Sports and News.