Who is the most valuable fantasy player going? Are saves "worth" more or less than stolen bases? How do you compare a hitter to a pitcher on an equal playing field? We at Rototimes.com have a tool called the Player Rater, and each week I will discuss the top-50 fantasy baseball players based upon the rankings provided by this tool using the following parameters: a 12-team mixed league using standard 5x5 scoring with 14 hitters, nine pitchers and a $260 salary cap.
1. Matt Holliday, OF, COL: Over his last 50 games he has made a huge play for the top spot, which he now possesses hitting .356-14-39-51-14, and in case you missed it, that has led to his first 20/20 season (24 home runs, 23 stolen bases).
2. Lance Berkman, 1B/OF, HOU: The king is dead. For the first in basically forever, Berkman is no longer the fantasy leader after a stretch of 10 games with just one home run and three runs scored.
3. Albert Pujols, 1B, STL: Pujols has gone deep four times in seven games and is now two home runs and 13 RBIs away from his eighth straight 30-100 season.
4. Ian Kinsler, 2B, TEX: Hopes to return to action by mid-September from his hernia injury. Kinsler has been amazing this year with RISP hitting .413.
5. Hanley Ramirez, SS, FLA: Hitting .250 the past week while dealing with an injured thumb, Hanley hit 23 home runs in his first 93 games but has only gone deep five times in his last 35 games.
6. Jose Reyes, SS, NYM: Since a terrible .240 mark in April, Reyes is hitting .316 over his last 453 AB to boost his overall mark to .303.
7. Grady Sizemore, OF, CLE: With four home runs in his last seven games Sizemore has pushed his total to 31 which when combined with his 34 steals gives him his first 30/30 season.
8. Alex Rodriguez, 3B, NYY: After back to back months hitting over .335, Arod has slumped to just .253 in 79 August AB, though he still has scored 20 times in just 22 games.
9. Josh Hamilton, OF, TEX: Over his last 34 games he is hitting just .274 but he has managed to go deep eight times with 21 RBIs.
10. Brandon Webb, SP, ARI: Webb has won his last eight appearances, one off the total of 9-straight wins that he ripped off to start the year.
11. Cliff Lee, SP, CLE: We have all been waiting for the other shoe to drop, and it just hasn't as Lee has continued to produce excellent numbers since the break (6-0, 2.72 ERA, 1.19 WHIP, 5.83 K/BB).
12. Carlos Quentin, OF, CWS: He continues to pound the ball at an amazing rate for a guy who was a late round flier in mixed leagues with 14 home runs and 32 runs scored over his last 34 games.
13. Roy Halladay, SP, TOR: Earned his 15th win the last time out and is the only pitcher who has won at least 15 games in each of the past three seasons (including this year) in the American League.
14. David Wright, 3B, NYM: His second half inspires confidence that as great as he has been, there still might be more to come (.324-8-29-33 with a 1.002 OPS in 36 games).
15. Ryan Braun, 3B/OF, MIL: Despite his injury struggles of late Braun has produced virtually identical number this season (32 HR and 90 RBIs in 488 ABs) as last season (34 HR, 97 RBIs in 451 ABs).
16. Ryan Ludwick, OF, STL: His month of August (.341-8-21-19) continues a resurgence after a poor June (.228 with three home runs) leaving him just five RBI short of 100.
17. Francisco Rodriguez, RP, LAA: Already has 50 saves, just the 11th time in history that the plateau has been reached.
18. Tim Lincecum, SP, SF: Over his six starts he has thrust himself into the middle of the Cy Young talk with a 1.50 ERA, 1.00 WHIP and 57 K in 42 IP (12.21 K/9).
19. Chase Utley, 2B, PHI: After going deep 19 times in his first 57 games he has gone deep only 12 times over his last 72 games, though he still leads the position with 31 dingers.
20. Ichiro Suzuki, OF, SEA: The average is slowly climbing, up to 312, with hits in nine of his last 10 games.
21. Jonathan Papelbon, RP, BOS: He hasn't allowed a run since the All-Star break with 16 shutout frames and a miserly 0.50 WHIP.
22. Mariano Rivera, RP, NYY: After a brief hiccup he has looked like the Rivera of old the past four outing with four K, one BB and 5.2 scoreless innings.
23. Matt Kemp, OF, LAD: Amongst batters in the National League with at least 115 K, he has 131, Kemp is the only one batting over .295 (he is hitting .298).
24. Carlos Lee, OF, HOU: If he doesn't play again this season, as appears almost certain, his .314 batting average and .368 OBP will be career-highs.
25. Aubrey Huff, 1B/3B, BAL: Over the past 10 games Huff has produced 15 hits with six games of at least two hits to raise his average to .305.
26. Jason Bay, OF, BOS: Hasn't slowed much at all since day one with the Sox hitting a robust .333 with 20 runs and 18 RBIs in just 21 games.
27. Kevin Youkilis, 1B, BOS: One of the main reasons he has 89 RBI is the fact that he is batting .358 with a 1.015 OPS in 123 AB with RISP.
28. CC Sabathia, SP, MIL: Still undefeated in 10 starts in the National League (8-0), he has only hurled less than seven innings twice and has allowed as many as three earned runs only once.
29. Brian Roberts, 2B, BAL: August has been his best effort of the season as he has hit .357 with 22 runs and six steals in 23 games.
30. Dustin Pedroia, 2B, BOS: Pedroia is first at the second base position in hits (170), second in runs scored (97), second in average (318), third in doubles (40) and seventh in RBI (64)
31. Dan Haren, SP, ARI: After a couple of rough outings this D'backs ace rebounded with an 11 K, one BB outing in his last appearance.
32. Mark Teixeira, 1B, LAA: Someone should tell this guy that the season starts before July as he is once again ripping it up since the All-Star break (.380-10-29-28 in 34 games).
33. Manny Ramirez, OF, LAD: After that incredible start with the Dodgers, his jets have cooled as he has gone six games without an RBI.
34. Jermaine Dye, OF, CWS: Though his average has slumped terribly of late (.226 in August), he still has six long ball and 14 RBIs in the 21 games.
35. Nick Markakis, OF, BAL: Steady as she goes for Markakis who's first half production (.301/.402/.493) nearly mirrors his second half work (.303/.404/.469).
36. Chipper Jones, 3B, ATL: Over his last 21 games (.292 with one home runs and a sickly .375 SLG) Chipper has looked nothing like the first half terror he was to pitchers.
37. Ryan Dempster, SP, CHC: He hasn't allowed more than two earned runs in any of his last seven starts to lower his ERA to 2.85 which would be a career best for a guy who owns a lifetime 4.58 mark.
38. Alex Rios, OF, TOR: Over his last eight he has started to swing the power bat once again with six doubles and two home runs.
39. Joe Nathan, SP, MIN: He allowed a run the last time out to break a streak of 11 scoreless outings leaving him with a 1.12 ERA overall.
40. Justin Morneau, 1B, MIN: He isn't likely to record his third straight 30 home run season with only 20 so far, but he has already recorded his third straight 100-RBI effort with 102.
41. Corey Hart, OF, MIL: When he puts the first pitch in play he has been tremendous (.402), though that number falls precipitously to just .140 when the count goes 0-2.
42. Rich Harden, SP, CHC: Has amazingly stayed healthy long enough to start 21 games and the results have been simply dynamic (9-2, 2.00 ERA, 1.03 WHIP and 162 Ks -- good for a 11.57 K/9 mark).
43. Johan Santana, SP, NYM: What a shock. It's the second half and he is dominating once again (4-0, 2.20 ERA, 1.01 WHIP).
44. Xavier Nady, OF, NYY: Has at least one hit in each of the past seven games during which time he has gone deep twice and produced six RBIs.
45. Bobby Abreu, OF, NYY: Though his average has picked up markedly in August (.341) he has a season worst total of only one home run on the month.
46. Johnny Damon, OF, NYY: In addition to hitting .312 Damon currently boasts a .384 OBP which would be a career-high (.382 in 2000).
47. Carlos Beltran, OF, NYM: Beltran is nearing yet another 20/20 season (19 HR, 17 SBs) though he has only four home runs and two stolen bases in his last 37 appearances.
48. Cole Hamels, SP, PHI: Over his dominating last four outings he has 22 K and just three walks, good for a 7.33 K/BB.
49. Shane Victorino, SP, PHI: The Flyin' Hawaiian continues to rake going 11-for-25 (.440) with seven runs in his last seven games.
50. Nate McLouth, OF, PIT: Been missing in action for almost a week because of the flu and when he has been on the field of late its been ugly (zero home runs, four RBI in 18 games).