With the All-Star break approaching, it’s time to take stock of the first half’s best and worst performances. Here now is the 2017 All-Bargain team – players who have delivered exceptional profit on their preseason average draft position. We’ll cover the busts next week.
Catcher: Brian McCann, Houston Astros (ADP: 175)
In his first season with the Astros, McCann has maintained his usual steady production – remarkably, he is on pace for his 10th consecutive 20 HR season. He’s even hitting .265, which would be his highest average since 2011 if it holds up. It has a decent chance to, with Houston smartly giving McCann more breathers than other teams in years past.
First Base: Justin Smoak, Toronto Blue Jays (ADP: 541)
Plenty of deserving candidates for this spot with a bunch of former top prospects finally breaking out around their age-30 seasons, but Smoak has been the best of the bunch. He’s hitting .300/.368/.592 with 22 homers and 97 R+RBI. Not bad for a guy whose highest pick this spring was 288.
Second Base: Jed Lowrie, Oakland Athletics (ADP: 501)
Lowrie had offseason surgery to repair a deviated septum that was preventing him from getting proper sleep. It certainly appears to have helped, as he’s tracking toward a career year. It remains to be seen if the oft-injured Lowrie can avoid a disabled list stint, but if he does, he has a chance at 20 homers and 100 runs along with a quality batting average.
Third Base: Travis Shaw, Milwaukee Brewers (ADP: 304)
He’s been overshadowed by teammate Eric Thames, but Shaw is having an incredible breakout season in his first year with the Brewers. The 27-year-old is hitting .291/.357/.554 and already has a career-high 17 homers to go along with seven stolen bases. Boston probably wishes they’d kept him instead of trading him for an injured reliever.
Shortstop: Zack Cozart, Cincinnati Reds (ADP: 378)
Cozart has been a useful real-life shortstop for most of this decade, but hadn’t made much of an impression on fantasy owners. That’s certainly changed after putting up a .323/.405/.561 line with nine homers and 73 R+RBI in just 59 games (he recently returned from a brief stint on the disabled list).
Outfield: Aaron Judge, New York Yankees (ADP: 343)
Well, who else would it be? Judge was an afterthought in drafts this season (his ADP was worse than Howie Kendrick’s!!!), and he’s the best player in the game right now. Not much more you can say. While we can’t just assume he’ll maintain this level of performance, here’s what his final line would look like if he did: .325/.448/.686, 54 HR, 140 R, 124 RBI, 12 SB. That is, in a word, disgusting.
Starting Pitcher: Alex Wood, Los Angeles Dodgers (ADP: 353)
Wood wasn’t even guaranteed a rotation spot this spring, which doubtless contributed to his negligible draft cost. All he’s done is produce one of the best first halves of any pitcher in the game. Wood is 9-0 with sparkling ratios (1.83 ERA, 0.91 WHIP), striking out well over a batter per inning, and has allowed just two home runs all season.
Kyle Bishop is a lead MLB columnist at RotoBaller.com. His articlesare your secret weapon for winning fantasy leagues.