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We've about reached the halfway point of the 2021 season -- if not officially, then at least technically. While some of the players we thought would be the best indeed have been, the landscape is quite different from three months ago and still evolving, it turns out.

I thought it would be fun, then, to consider what redrafting for the second half (not the official one, but the technical one) would look like, and I've put together what I think are the optimal first two rounds.

My initial inclination was to reduce the number of starting pitchers from earlier in the year. Between falling spin rates due to the recent foreign substance crackdown and rising workloads following an unprecedentedly short season, I get the impression the position is about to take it on the chin.

But ultimately, I decided that the threat of attrition made the most reliable starting pitchers even more valuable. The middle class is likely to suffer the most.

So eight of these 24 picks are pitchers, with the other 16 being hitters. Only one of the first nine picks is a pitcher, though, and it's probably the one you expect.

Round 1
1
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Ronald Acuna Atlanta Braves RF
Power, speed, improved contact skills ... he's been everything advertised and more.
2
Vladimir Guerrero Toronto Blue Jays 1B
He was billed as a generational hitting talent when he arrived two years ago, and boy is he making good on it now.
3
Fernando Tatis San Diego Padres SS
You may be inclined to take him ahead of Guerrero in 5x5 leagues since he's every bit the base-stealer Acuna is, but I still harbor concerns about his shoulder and the bimonthly freakouts associated with it.
4
Jacob deGrom New York Mets SP
As the spin rates decline for most every other ace amid a foreign substance crackdown, it's never been clearer that deGrom stands alone atop the starting pitcher ranks.
5
Juan Soto Washington Nationals RF
It's been a disappointing first half for the most darling hitter of draft prep season, but the underlying numbers still point to him challenging Guerrero for best pure hitter moving forward.
6
Shohei Ohtani Los Angeles Angels DH
June turned out to be his best month yet, so it doesn't seem as though everyday duty is having any ill effects. He's becoming more usable as a pitcher, too, not that you'd every dream of removing his bat from your lineup.
7
Trea Turner Washington Nationals SS
Just to demonstrate how far ahead of the pack Acuna and Tatis are, Turner's home run output may end up being only half of theirs, and yet he's still one of the better power/speed threats in the game.
8
Mookie Betts Los Angeles Dodgers RF
It's hard to suss out exactly what's wrong with Betts, especially now that hitters aren't being nerfed like they were in April, which has me trusting it'll sort itself out in due time still. The track record is so strong, and so many of the underlying numbers are so close to normal.
9
Jose Ramirez Cleveland Indians 3B
You could make the case for Ramirez over Betts based on power production so far, but Betts at his best is still a better bet for batting average. It's not like Ramirez has been running all that much either.
10
Yu Darvish San Diego Padres SP
He's a more distant No. 2 among starting pitchers than some of the others who've since disqualified themselves. His spin rates are down, too, but he continues to do his thing.
11
Max Scherzer Washington Nationals SP
It's the highest the 36-year-old has ranked all season, but we'll need someone as ironclad as him as attrition kicks in and reduced spin rates add to the chaos.
12
Freddie Freeman Atlanta Braves 1B
He's typical Freddie Freeman by the expected stats, still profiling as a cinch .300 hitter. I'm presuming he'll be one moving forward.
Round 2
13
Brandon Woodruff Milwaukee Brewers SP
It's still possible his innings catch up to him at some point, but the Brewers have treated him like a workhorse all season. And he's responded with some of the best ratios of any pitcher.
14
Gerrit Cole New York Yankees SP
The strikeout rate has cratered and the home runs have escalated with his decline in spin rate this month. Still, most of his starts have been "good." Can't help but wonder if the other shoe will drop.
15
Bo Bichette Toronto Blue Jays SS
Batting in a loaded Blue Jays lineup has elevated his numbers beyond his individual production (check out the OPS), but you have to love a shortstop on a 30-homer, 25-steal pace.
16
Zack Wheeler Philadelphia Phillies SP
The 31-year-old's next-level breakout becomes all the more inspiring when you see his spin rates holding steady. Big volume and big strikeouts are all you can ask for.
17
Kevin Gausman San Francisco Giants SP
He's a distant No. 1 at starting pitcher in points leagues -- and behind only deGrom in 5x5 -- but few seem inclined to take him at face value. My own perspective is that he deserves as much benefit of the doubt as anyone during a tumultuous time for pitchers.
18
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Mike Trout Los Angeles Angels CF
He's at the six-week point of a six-to-eight-week timetable, but we haven't gotten much insight into his progress. Otherwise, he'd be an easy first-rounder.
19
Xander Bogaerts Boston Red Sox SS
He's been as steady as they come so far, but it's hard to imagine a .330 batting average holding all year. Still, it's nice to lock up shortstop early.
20
Trevor Story Colorado Rockies SS
I wouldn't have much doubt about Story rebounding to his usual first-round production if he was staying in Colorado, but in the final year of his contract for a franchise going nowhere, a trade would make sense.
21
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Clayton Kershaw Los Angeles Dodgers SP
The 33-year-old deserves another round of appreciation with the entire pitcher pool suddenly in turmoil, consistently pitching deep into games with his highest K/9 in six years.
22
Nick Castellanos Cincinnati Reds RF
His power pace has slowed a little, but he's nonetheless living up to our expectations for him in a hitter's park.
23
Jose Altuve Houston Astros 2B
He's back to being a standout at the weakest infield position, and we were fools for ever doubting him. It's true Marcus Semien has outperformed him to this point, but Altuve seems the more likely to sustain.
24
Bryce Harper Philadelphia Phillies RF
He seemed like he was coming around in June after an injury-plagued couple months, and Statcast still loves him, granting him his second-highest xBA and xSLG since his MVP 2015 season. It's a better-safe-than-sorry sort of ranking.
Also considered
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Shane Bieber Cleveland Indians SP
We still don't have a timetable for his recovery from a right shoulder strain, which leaves too much uncertainty for only half a season's time.
Corbin Burnes Milwaukee Brewers SP
His effectiveness appears to have suffered with his spin rate, a la Cole, but unlike Cole, his workload is about to become a major concern.
Rafael Devers Boston Red Sox 3B
I couldn't shake the feeling that Manny Machado will actually be the better third baseman moving forward, so I decided to leave both for the third round.
Carlos Rodon Chicago White Sox SP
He's been amazing, but the White Sox have to curtail his innings or else Scott Boras will be all over them. The left-hander threw 7 2/3 last year and hasn't thrown even 130 since 2016.
Marcus Semien Toronto Blue Jays 2B
I'm getting close to ignoring the expected stats with him and just enjoying the power and speed at either middle infield spot, but they suggest he has overperformed in batting average by 40 points and in slugging percentage by 70.
Jesse Winker Cincinnati Reds LF
His month-by-month breakdown is been remarkably steady (not to mention studly), but his history of disappearing for lengthy stretches is still in the back of my mind.