Tuesday July 21st, 2015

We kicked off the second half of the season on Monday by ranking the top 50 starting pitchers for the remainder of the year. Today, we’ll do something similar on the other side of the ball. We're getting into the final stages of the year in head-to-head leagues, and with eight weeks remaining, it’s time to take stock of where everyone stands, especially since any potential trade deadlines are right on the horizon. If you need to make a trade, time is running thin. Below, we present the top 15 for the rest of the season at first base, second base, third base and catcher, top 30 in the outfield, and top 12 at catcher.

First base

  1. Paul Goldschmidt
  2. Anthony Rizzo
  3. Todd Frazier
  4. Adrian Gonzalez
  5. Jose Bautista
  6. Jose Abreu
  7. Albert Pujols
  8. Edwin Encarnacion
  9. Buster Posey
  10. Freddie Freeman
  11. Prince Fielder
  12. Miguel Cabrera
  13. Joey Votto
  14. Adam Lind
  15. Chris Davis

Second base

  1. Brian Dozier
  2. Jose Altuve
  3. Jason Kipnis
  4. Mookie Betts
  5. Dee Gordon
  6. Joe Panik
  7. D.J. LeMahieu
  8. Kolten Wong
  9. Anthony Rendon
  10. Ian Kinsler
  11. Dustin Pedroia
  12. Howie Kendrick
  13. Justin Turner
  14. Devon Travis
  15. Neil Walker

Third base

  1. Josh Donaldson
  2. Nolan Arenado
  3. Todd Frazier
  4. Manny Machado
  5. Kris Bryant
  6. Alex Rodriguez
  7. Chris Davis
  8. Miguel Cabrera
  9. Matt Carpenter
  10. Kyle Seager
  11. Trevor Plouffe
  12. Maikel Franco
  13. Carlos Santana
  14. Jimmy Paredes
  15. Mike Moustakas


  1. Troy Tulowitzki
  2. Hanley Ramirez
  3. Jhonny Peralta
  4. Carlos Correa
  5. Jose Reyes
  6. Brandon Crawford
  7. Alcides Escobar
  8. Justin Turner
  9. Yunel Escobar
  10. Cesar Hernandez
  11. Xander Bogaerts
  12. Matt Duffy
  13. Erick Aybar
  14. Matt Duffy
  15. Jean Segura


  1. Buster Posey
  2. Stephen Vogt
  3. Russell Martin
  4. Yasmani Grandal
  5. Brian McCann
  6. Evan Gattis
  7. Derek Norris
  8. Carlos Santana
  9. Kyle Schwarber
  10. Nick Hundley
  11. Salvador Perez
  12. Francisco Cervelli


  1. Mike Trout
  2. Bryce Harper
  3. Andrew McCutchen
  4. Charlie Blackmon
  5. A.J. Pollock
  6. Justin Upton
  7. J.D. Martinez
  8. Jose Bautista
  9. Brett Gardner
  10. Ryan Braun
  11. Nelson Cruz
  12. Starling Marte
  13. Jacoby Ellsbury
  14. Lorenzo Cain
  15. Mookie Betts
  16. Yoenis Cespedes
  17. Adam Jones
  18. Hanley Ramirez
  19. Billy Hamilton
  20. Carlos Gomez
  21. Matt Kemp
  22. Joc Pederson
  23. Jorge Soler
  24. Giancarlo Stanton
  25. Kole Calhoun
  26. Jay Bruce
  27. Michael Brantley
  28. Josh Reddick
  29. Jason Heyward
  30. Ben Revere

Hitters of the Week

Adrian Gonzalez: .636 BA (7-for-11), 4 R, 2 HR, 3 RBIs, .714 OBP

We had just three days’ worth of games last week, so the hitter stats are going to be over a smaller sample than usual. Even if it were a full week, though, Gonzalez would have been among the better hitters on the diamond with what he did in the Dodgers’ weekend series against the Nationals. He started off the second half with a bang, belting a pair of homers in the Dodgers’ 5-3 loss, and while Washington pitching was able to keep Gonzalez in the yard for the rest of the series, they didn’t exactly contain him. He had five more hits and two walks in the last two games of the series, driving his season slash line up to .295/.369/.545. It has been a banner season for the 33-year-old first baseman.

Lorenzo Cain, Royals: .412 BA, (7-for-17), 2 HR, 3 R, 3 RBIs, 1 SB, .474 OBP

Cain had the benefit of playing one more game than most of the rest of the league because the Royals had a doubleheader with the White Sox, and he took full advantage, going 3-for-8 in the first two games and homering in each of the final two games of the series. Cain is in the midst of a breakout season, hitting .321/.378/.513 with 10 homers, 18 steals, 57 runs and 45 RBIs. The 29-year-old never got a chance to play every day until 2013, but he has improved in each season since becoming a regular for Kansas City.

Carlos Correa, Astros: .455 BA (5-for-11), 1 HR, 4 R, 4 RBIs, .538 OBP

Correa was a driving force for the Astros over the weekend. He was relatively quiet in the series opener on Friday, but went 4-for-7 with a homer and all four of his runs in the final two games. The rookie shortstop has had little trouble adjusting to the majors, hitting .290/.331/.531 with eight homers and five steals in 154 plate appearances. When we look back on the 2015 season in a few years, we will likely remember it, at least in one way, as the debut year for a number of the game’s brightest stars. Correa arrived after the likes of Kris Bryant and Joc Pederson, but he could end up being the best of the bunch.

Hitters of the Weak

Jose Abreu, White Sox: .067 BA (1-for-15), 0 HR, 0 R, 0 RBIs, .222 OBP

While Cain took advantage of the extra game afforded players on the Royals and White Sox last week, Abreu squandered it, collecting just one hit in the four-game series, striking out six times and walking twice. Abreu doesn’t deserve much of the blame for Chicago’s disappointing season, but he hasn’t been nearly as good as he was in his Rookie of the Year campaign in 2014. He’s hitting .286/.337/.473 with 14 homers, which is a respectable season, but that's a far cry from the .317/.383/.581 and 36 bombs he posted as a rookie. One bit of good news for Abreu from the weekend: The hand issue that was giving him problems right at the end of the first half didn’t force him to miss any games.

Jimmy Rollins, Dodgers: .000 BA (0-for-11), 0 HR, 0 R, 0 RBIs, 0 SB, .154 OBP

Apparently the four days off last week didn’t do Rollins much good. His nightmare season continues unabated: He is now hitting .206/.262/.326 this season, and while his defense has been fine, he still has -0.5 fWAR and -0.9 bWAR in his first year with the Dodgers. Down on the farm, Corey Seager is hitting .283/.335/.461 with eight homers and 20 doubles in 284 plate appearances with Triple A Oklahoma City. The Dodgers have a 3 1/2-game lead over the Giants in the NL West, and Rollins’ veteran presence is undoubtedly worth something, but they may not be able to keep Seager in the minors much longer.

Todd Frazier, Reds: .000 BA (0-for-10), 0 HR, 0 R, 0 RBIs, 0 SB, .000 OBP

Frazier had a rough series against the Indians, but he hasn’t really had to deal with a prolonged slump this season, so expect him to bounce back sooner rather than later. The good news for his fantasy owners is that most head-to-head leagues roll over last weekend into this week, so he’ll have plenty of time to redeem himself in the current matchup. He may have taken an 0-for-10 over the weekend, but he’s still slashing .276/.328/.568 with 25 homers and 57 RBIs this season.

Brett Davis/AP

Buy, Sell or Hold

Buy: Kyle Schwarber, Cubs

After a brief stint in the majors in June, Schwarber is back with the Cubs as a result of Miguel Montero's sprained left thumb, an injury that could keep him on the shelf for as long as six weeks. That likely means Schwarber is in the majors to stay. But while the Cubs say they're committed to Schwarber as a catcher, he has played some outfield, and the team has gotten absolutely nothing out of leftfield this year. Chicago could make a trade before the deadline to shore up the offense, but there’s a chance the organization already made its move by adding Schwarber. He’s not going to play every day, but the bet here is that he plays enough to make an impact in fantasy leagues of all shapes and sizes. He absolutely raked in the minors, hitting .323/.430/.591 with 16 homers between Double A Tennessee and Triple A Iowa, and he’s 11-for-28 with three extra-base hits in the majors this year.

Sell: Gerardo Parra, Brewers

Parra is enjoying a breakout season that has made him relevant in all fantasy formats and will likely result in him being shipped out of Milwaukee in the next 10 days. The 28-year-old is hitting .313/.348/.500 with nine homers, six steals and 43 runs scored in 311 plate appearances. While he has always had a bit of speed and good contact skills, the power has come from out of nowhere this season. Heading into 2015, Parra’s best home-run-to-fly-ball ratio for an entire season was 9.5%, back in 2012 with the Diamondbacks. This year, he’s at 13% despite hitting more fly balls, and while he has experienced a dramatic increase in hard-hit rate compared with his career average (34.9% this year compared with 29.5% for his career), that doesn’t do enough to explain the huge jump in home-run power. Put simply, this isn’t going to last, especially after he leaves the hitter-friendly confines of Miller Park.

Hold: Nori Aoki, Giants

Aoki underwent a CT scan over the weekend that showed his fractured fibula is 80% healed, meaning he remains on a timetable to return to the Giants’ lineup by the end of July. He will play in three rehab games before he rejoins the big league club, but it would take an unexpected setback for him to be out much more than another week or so. Aoki has been a catalyst for San Francisco's offense this year, hitting .317 with a .383 OBP, 12 steals and 33 runs. He may be just a three-category player in fantasy leagues, but he has been very good in all three this season. There’s no reason for Aoki's owners to get impatient at this point, as they should have him back in the next week or so.

Prospect Watch

Jose Peraza, 2B/SS, Braves

The Braves are 44–49 heading into play on Tuesday, seven games behind the Nationals in the NL East and six short of the Cubs for the second Wild Card spot, and while there’s a lot of season left, we can be realistic here and say Atlanta isn't making the playoffs. Sooner or later, the Braves are going to have to cast an eye toward 2016. When they do that, it’ll mean promoting Peraza, their top overall prospect.

Peraza is a shortstop by trade, but the only way he’ll man that spot in Atlanta is if Andrelton Simmons gets dealt. More likely than not, Peraza will be a second baseman when he hits the majors, giving the Braves one of the best defensive middle infields in the league. Peraza’s glove is worth the price of admission, but he has taken a step forward with the bat this year, slashing .291/.317/.369 with 24 steals in 383 plate appearances at Triple A Gwinnett as a 21-year-old. Peraza doesn’t have much pop, but he makes a ton of contact and has plus speed, swiping a total of 60 bags in 2014; he will likely reach 40 this year, regardless of where he finishes the season. Whether or not he makes a meaningful fantasy impact this season will depend on when he gets the call to the majors, but his speed will make him relevant immediately upon arrival. No matter what happens the rest of the season, expect him to be a chic sleeper pick in '16.

GIF of the Week

Nolan Arenado has been making headlines with his glove ever since entering the majors in 2013. His bat, rightfully so, has received most of the attention this year, but he’s still getting it done in the field. Just ask Austin Hedges.

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