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RotoAuthority League Update: Fantasy All-Stars, Hitters Edition

The RotoAuthority League is a highly competitive 12-team fantasy baseball league run by Tim Dierkes. The settings consist of standard 5 X 5 Rotisserie scoring and 23-man lineups along with 3 bench spots. In an effort to keep owners interested as well as to infuse new blood into the league, the teams that finish below 8th place are kicked out of the league each year. The author of this column just hopes he’s not one of them.

We've reached that time of the season when fans vote for who they would like to see play in the All-Star Game. Now clearly the value of a player in real baseball can be quite different from his worth in fantasy baseball. You didn't come here for advice on how to fill out your All-Star ballot, though. Accordingly, let's see which players have been the fantasy All-Stars in the RotoAuthority League. As usual, it's not about overall production but rather profit relative to the investment.

Catcher

Evan Gattis

Owner: Forty 2 Twenty 4

Investment: Free Agent Pickup

Current 5 X 5 Value: $17

First of all, Gattis is the best story of the season from a human interest perspective. In the far less significiant world of fantasy baseball, he's also the leader among players with catcher eligibility in both HR and SLG. He came out of the gates on fire in April and then continued with a solid May. He's struggling thus far in June and no longer playing everyday with both Brian McCann and Jason Heyward back from the DL. Still, it's all gravy at this point, as this is a player who went undrafted in most Mixed Leagues.

First Base

Chris Davis

Owner: Gramma Nutt Crushers

Investment: 12th Round pick

Current 5 X 5 Value: $40

Who knew Miguel Cabrera would be available in Round 12 of fantasy drafts this year? Well, Crush Davis has been the closest thing to Miggy, and he came at a fraction of the cost. With better plate discipline and improved performance against southpaws, Davis is now a fantasy monster. To me, this looks completely legitimate, and I view him as a top ten player going forward. Say hello to a new member of Round 1 in 2014.  

Second Base

Matt Carpenter

Owner: Say It Ain't So Cano

Investment: 21st Round pick

Current 5 X 5 Value: $21

Second base has been somewhat of a wasteland in fantasy baseball this year. Case in point, Daniel Murphy has actually been a top-8 performer at the position even though his numbers don't really jump off the page. The same can also be said for the most profitable player at the position, the versatile Carpenter. Many fantasy pundits recommended drafting Carpenter in the preseason and then waiting for him to attain eligibility at second. Well, any fantasy owners who followed that advice have certainly reaped the benefits. This is a player who is even better in real baseball and looks like a solid option at second base for the next several years.

Third Base

Josh Donaldson

Owner: Brewsterville Bruins

Investment: Free Agent Pickup

Current 5 X 5 Value: $21

Often in fantasy baseball there's wisdom in the masses, and the fantasy community can anticipate breakout performances even before they take place. Sometimes we're not so prescient, but breakout campaigns do make sense in hindsight during the winter. At other times, though, a player takes his game to a new level, and it's difficult to explain even after the fact. For me, Josh Donaldson is one such example. Here's a player my beloved Cubs once traded to acquire the injury-prone Rich Harden, so this isn't a player who comes with a particularly great pedigree. Even so, we're now in mid-June, and he lies just outside the top 5 at third base. What's more, all of this production has come from a player whom any owner could have had in a Mixed League in April.

Shortstop

Jean Segura

Owner: Reedy

Investment: 21st Round pick

Current 5 X 5 Value: $37

The top value at shortstop is also the best player overall. In a season in which stolen base totals are down dramatically, Segura offers a rare combination of power and speed at a relatively thin position. In fact, he's the only infielder with double-digit totals in HR and SB thus far. Like Davis, this looks mostly real to me. Don't expect Segura to be available beyond Round 3 next year in drafts.  

Outfield

Domonic Brown

Owner: Smell the Glove

Investment: 20th Round pick

Current 5 X 5 Value: $28

A post-hype sleeper that has paid dividends, Brown has rewarded any fantasy owners who still believed in his tools. It's rather challenging to figure out whether Brown is for real. After all, he has just 2 No Doubt HR on the season. Also, there's certainly more to plate discipline than taking a walk, but a walk rate around 6% coupled with an ISO near .300 does not seem sustainable. At this point, fantasy owners have already turned a tremendous profit, but here's one player whose second half will be interesting to follow.

Starling Marte

Owner: Forty 2 Twenty 4

Investment: 17th Round pick

Current 5 X 5 Value: $25

Another player whose speed has led to enhanced value due to the leaguewide decline in stolen bases, Marte may be on the verge of fantasy stardom. The key category for his value going forward will be in the BA department. The BABIP is a tad high but not unsustainably so for a player with his speed. If Marte's BA approaches .260, he's a good but unspectacular fantasy option. However, if this is a true .290 hitter, we have another fantasy stud alongside Andrew McCutchen in the Pittsbugh outfield.

Nate McLouth

Owner: Smell the Glove

Investment: Free Agent Pickup

Current 5 X 5 Value: $22

Like Brown, McLouth is another excellent find in the outfield for the current leader in the RotoAuthority League, Tim Dierkes. Here's a player with a truly odd career path. Following the 2008 season, this looked like a fantasy superstar. For several years then, McLouth was simply waiver wire fodder in Mixed Leagues. In the second half of last season, though, something may have clicked in Baltimore. Fantasy owners who speculated early on him in light of his hot start have to be more than delighted with his second-best total of 23 stolen bases in the American League. Even if he slows down going forward, that speed is especially valuable this year, so McLouth will hold significant worth all season long.




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