Fantasy Baseball: Examining MLB players on pace for monster seasons

·Yahoo Fantasy Contributor
·5 min read

MLB teams reached the midpoint of their season when they played their 81st game near the beginning of this week. And the midpoint of the year provides an easy opportunity for fantasy baseball managers to assess the end-of-year paces for their players by doubling the totals they have produced thus far. Here are some of the notable paces across baseball, which should put a fresh perspective on the value of certain players.

Aaron Judge – 60 HR

Judge is on pace to do something memorable this season by producing the ninth 60-homer season in MLB history. The imposing slugger leads the Majors by three homers over the nearest competitor and also sits first in runs scored and fourth in RBI. And as the icing on the cake, Judge is on pace for his first career double-digit steals total. He is No. 1 on the Yahoo Player Rater, but has only a narrow lead over Paul Goldschmidt, Shane McClanahan and Trea Turner.

Julio Rodriguez – 30 HR, 40 SB

Rodriguez had a Yahoo ADP of 200 during draft season and was selected in fewer than half of all leagues. Fast forward three months, and the 21-year-old is on pace for 30 homers and 40 steals. He has been a top-15 player thus far, despite hitting .205 with zero homers and a .544 OPS during April. Now that his initial struggles are in the rear-view mirror, Rodriguez could be a top-5 player during the second half. And with a strong finish, he will be well-positioned to go No. 1 overall in some 2023 drafts.

Julio Rodriguez has been one of the biggest fantasy baseball draft values of the season. (Photo by Alika Jenner/Getty Images)
Julio Rodriguez has been one of the biggest fantasy baseball draft values of the season. (Photo by Alika Jenner/Getty Images)

Pete Alonso – 138 RBI

Players regularly produced 140-RBI seasons during the early 2000’s, but that feat has not been reached in over a decade. Alonso is ready to take a real run at that plateau this year, as the centerpiece of a Mets lineup that ranks fourth in runs per game. Reaching 140 RBIs will take a bit of luck or a real hot stretch, but the good news is that according to Statcast, Alonso’s SLG and wOBA should be a little bit higher than they are at the moment.

Trea Turner – 118 RBI

Few managers had Turner pegged as a run producer, but that is exactly what he has become in the Dodgers high-scoring lineup. The 29-year-old has primarily hit third in Los Angeles’ loaded offense this season, which has him driving in more runs than he is scoring for the first time in his career. Turner is hitting over .300 for a third straight year and is on pace for another season of 30+ steals, which means that managers have mostly received what they wanted when drafting him early in the first round. And the extra RBI are a nice bonus.

Jorge Mateo – 40 SB

Is Mateo worth rostering in fantasy leagues? The answer to that question depends on your needs and format. The speedster has been a batting average drain (.193) and is contributing little in homers (6), RBI (22) and runs (28). But he ranks third in steals, which places him as high as the 200th most valuable fantasy asset depending on the scoring format. Mateo should stay on waivers in all points leagues but there is likely one team in a categories league that can use his unique skill set.

Sandy Alcantara – 232 IP

Alcantara is averaging more than seven innings per start, which puts him on pace to become the first pitcher since David Price in 2016 to throw at least 230 innings. Price narrowly led the field that season, with four other hurlers within five innings of his final total. On the other hand, Alcantara is crushing the competition, already leading the next closest competitor by more than 10 frames. Because of his massive innings total, the Marlins ace has a greater impact on the ERA and WHIP categories than most managers realize. Alcantara has been the No. 2 fantasy pitcher thus far and the projection by this writer is that he finishes the year in top spot.

Josh Hader – 50 SV

Aren’t saves hard to find these days? Well, that isn’t much of a problem for those who drafted Hader. The Brewers closer should finish this season with one of the 20 highest saves totals of all-time, and with a strong finish he could rank among the top 10. He has just one blown save and has allowed a total of five runs in 27.2 innings. Hader remarkably has zero wins thus far, but some good fortune on picking up victories during the second half will make him by far the most valuable reliever of 2022.

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Dylan Cease – 250 SO, 80 BB

Well, at least Cease takes matters into his own hands. The White Sox ace could pull off an unusual feat this season by leading the Majors in both strikeouts and walks. He currently ranks second in free passes (behind Yusei Kikuchi) and sits third in whiffs, trailing only Corbin Burnes and Shane McClanahan.

Adam Cimber – 16 W, 8 SV, 20 HD

Take it from someone who watches the Blue Jays on a daily basis, manager Charlie Montoyo has the utmost confidence in Cimber. Toronto’s skipper uses 31-year-old is as many high-leverage situations as possible, which has led to eight wins, four saves and 10 holds by the midpoint of the season. Cimber leads all full-time relievers in victories, ranks among the top-20 in holds and the top-50 in saves. Wins as a reliever definitely have a luck aspect to them, but they also come from being used in close games, and Cimber is primed to pick up a few more victories in the second half. He is rostered in just 24 percent of Yahoo leagues but should be added in all daily formats during the coming weeks.

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