2019 Fantasy Baseball All-Star Team: Who joins Josh Bell and Cody Bellinger on the squad?
Chris Towers goes through each position to put together the ultimate All-Star roster for the 2019 Fantasy season to date.
Picking a real All-Star roster is straightforward. You either pick every player on your favorite team or, if you're over the age of 14, you try to pick whichever player is having the best season at each position. Mike Trout makes the All-Star roster every season, and for good reason: He's the best player in baseball every season.
Picking a Fantasy All-Star team is a bit different. Mike Trout is always among the most valuable Fantasy options in the game each season, but you also have to spend the No. 1 pick or a significant amount of auction capital to acquire him. And, since Fantasy baseball is all about finding excess value, draft position matters when determining who the most valuable players are in any given season.
So, when putting together my 2019 Fantasy All-Star roster, I had to take into account draft position. In this case, I used FantasyPros.com's aggregate ADP from across the industry and compared that to 2019 Roto rankings, to identify which players have given Fantasy managers the most value.
Plenty of these guys will be playing in the real midseason classic, too. But they're here because, if you have them on your Fantasy roster, you're probably in pretty good shape so far.
2019 Fantasy All-Stars
BOS Boston • #7 • Age: 28
It's nearly impossible to buy into what Vazquez is doing, but to date, there hasn't been a better value at the position. Entering the season with 10 career homers, he finishes the first half with 13, while hitting a career-best .300. There's a better-than-even chance you're dropping Vasquez in a month, but if you've had him in your lineup so far, you're well ahead of the pack at catcher.
Josh Bell 1B
PIT Pittsburgh • #55 • Age: 26
Bell tweaked his swing prior to the 2018 season, but it took until 2019 to fully click. He's been one of the five best hitters in Fantasy this season, and he's in the 98th percentile in average exit velocity, so there's not much reason to think it's a fluke. He's just absolutely crushing the ball.
DJ LeMahieu 2B
NYY N.Y. Yankees • #26 • Age: 31
Who cares about Coors Field? Turns out if you never strike out and spray line drives all over the field, it doesn't much matter where you play. LeMahieu is, incredibly, just three homers shy of his career high, though with his all-fields approach, this is one case where calling Yankee Stadium home might be even better than Coors.
BOS Boston • #11 • Age: 22
Admittedly, I was pretty much entirely off the Devers train coming into the season. It just didn't look like he had any truly above-average skills, though at 22, it was obviously premature to write him off. Devers has been everything we hoped he would be this season, finally making enough contact for his power to play up even further. He's probably benefited from just a bit of good luck, with a .372 expected wOBA vs. a .393 actual mark, but even regressing to that level would make him one of the best hitters at the position.
Ketel Marte CF
ARI Arizona • #4 • Age: 25
At first glance, Marte may not have much in common with Josh Bell, but he was also a swing changer who needed a full year to see the full impact of his work. Marte has maintained above-average contact profile while ranking in the 72nd percentile in average exit velocity. That's a dangerous combination for pitchers, and one that could make his breakout stick.
MIL Milwaukee • #22 • Age: 27
So, last year wasn't a fluke. Yelich has taken his game to yet another level, ranking third in the majors in average exit velocity, while outrunning concerns about home run regression by raising his flyball rate from 23.5% to 38.2%. The only question for 2020 and beyond is whether he's surpassed Mike Trout as the No. 1 player in Fantasy for good.
LAD L.A. Dodgers • #35 • Age: 24
Bellinger has been nearly as good as Yelich in 2019, and his improvement has been even more shocking. He has turned into one of the best plate-discipline hitters in the league, with just one more strikeout than walk heading into the final game before the break. That has helped his already impressive raw power play up more in games, while turning him into a legitimate batting title contender. Bellinger was an upside target in drafts this season, but nobody could have seen this coming.
SEA Seattle • #16 • Age: 26
Santana has always hit the ball incredibly hard, as his 26.8% line drive rate and .364 career BABIP can attest, but he struck out too much and hit the ball on the ground too often to take full advantage. He's still striking out too much, and probably always will, but with a groundball rate down to 39.3% from 48.9% last season, his power looks a lot more sustainable these days.
Pete Alonso 1B
NYM N.Y. Mets • #20 • Age: 24
Alonso was going a lot higher than that by the end of draft season, but it was never high enough. He's come exactly as advertised, with arguably the most impressive raw power this side of Joey Gallo. He has 30 homers heading into the break and seems like a pretty good bet to end up with 50. Sometimes, it makes sense to buy into elite tools, even without a track record.
Hyun-Jin Ryu SP
LAD L.A. Dodgers • #99 • Age: 32
All Ryu has done is repeat last season's incredible performance while staying healthy. Health has always been an issue for him, but talent never was. Given how few pitchers make it past 150 innings while being effective these days, he probably should have been drafted a lot earlier than he was. We've learned our lesson.
CHW Chi. White Sox • #27 • Age: 25
If you time traveled here from 2016, you'll have little trouble believing Giolito is one of the best pitchers in baseball. The rest of us are still trying to process it. He's struggled with command a bit of late, but Giolito's stuff has never looked better in the majors, and he should continue to be a useful source of strikeouts and rate stats moving forward, even if he regresses a bit.
Matthew Boyd SP
DET Detroit • #48 • Age: 28
Boyd has had a bit of an opposite season from Giolito; he was untouchable early but has scuffled of late. Still, he's on pace for 260-plus strikeouts, and he's done so by turning into the Midwest's answer to Patrick Corbin. Assuming this recent bump in the road is just that, Boyd has emerged as a must-start Fantasy option and should be one of the most sought-after pitchers in the league at the trade deadline.
Will Smith RP
SF San Francisco • #13 • Age: 30
Sometimes, we just outsmart ourselves. Smith's Fantasy value took a bit of a hit this preseason due to concerns about the rebuilding Giants likely looking to trade him, but that looks like a flimsy excuse now. Sure, he may still end up traded somewhere he won't close, but of the 19 true closers drafted ahead of him, nine have either already lost their jobs, have a tenuous hold on them, or have been placed on the IL. Here's a lesson: Prioritize talent at closer, not role. The latter is a lot harder to predict.
MIL Milwaukee • #53 • Age: 26
Speaking of talent, Woodruff has cemented himself as one of the most talented in the league in his first extended opportunity to start. Armed with one of the best fastballs in the game, he has showed masterful command to go along with his swing-and-miss stuff and looks like a must-start pitcher moving forward — and one of the best dynasty options around, too.
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