10 Burning Questions: Alejandro Kirk, CJ Cron, Jose Ramirez (2022 Fantasy Baseball)

Sorry for the week off folks. Covid decided that it wasn’t over for me yet, and I’ve been dealing with the side effects — or effects, I guess — of it for the last week-plus.

Each and every week, I’ll address 10 burning questions that I’m looking either for answers to during the week or questions that may help fantasy managers navigate the week-to-week grind of their team.

Since the All-Star Game is just days away, I wanted to look at fantasy all-stars for each position, as well as the regular sections we have in each piece.

Who is the fantasy All-Star catcher?

It has to be Alejandro Kirk, right? I mean, Willson Contreras ranks slightly higher on the Razzball Player Rater, and Daulton Varsho ranks just a tick below.

But given the draft-day cost associated with the options, Kirk comes out ahead as far as not just providing the best ROI, but elite production, too.

It’s easy to forget that Kirk started the season off on a low note, hitting .245 with no extra-base hits through the first two months of the season. But since May, he’s been red hot, raising his average to .312 and OBP to .396.

Who is the fantasy All-Star first baseman?

I’m trying not to just look at players who were a draft-day value but also gave top production, too. But I’d be lying if I said the return on investment isn’t a big part of things. After all, if you read any of my pre-draft pieces, I talk ad nauseam about the draft being all about value, value, value.

So for first base, while Paul Goldschmidt may be the leader on the Player Rater, it’s two players who are taking advantage of cozy home ballparks that surpass him for the nod.

It’s down to CJ Cron and Anthony Rizzo for me. Cron comes in slightly higher on the Player Rater, and even though Rizzo has a Little League right field that he’s — rightfully — taking full advantage of, Coors Field is the tiebreaker at the end of the day. Cron is doing for fantasy managers this year what we hoped he’d do last year.

Who is the fantasy All-Star second baseman?

Second base is a little more difficult. By the Player Rater, it should probably be Brandon Drury, but no one was buying him before the season and no one is really buying him now.

Unfair? Maybe.

I’m going to go with Jon Berti. There are other players who have been better and are probably more deserving, but the three-week stretch that Berti had in June where he provided 18 stolen bases to fantasy managers was quite the literal ride.

Those steals are more than The Bat projected all but 16 players in baseball to have before the season. That’s a tide-shifting amount for roto players.

Who is the fantasy All-Star third baseman?

Third base was thought to have been a wasteland heading into the season, and those concerns have essentially been validated at the All-Star Break.

For that reason, Jose Ramirez is the All-Star here.

Yes, he was a first-round pick, but along with the stellar production, the argument for taking him there was that you were getting elite production at a bad position.

Ramirez is the No. 3 ranked player in fantasy right now, rewarding those who took him early.

Who is the fantasy All-Star shortstop?

Shortstop is once again loaded with options, and I could hear an argument on about 10 players here. For me, though, I’m going with the flow.

No, not Bo Bichette. I’m not that much of a homer.

I’m talking about Dansby Swanson. Swanson ranks second at the position just behind Trea Turner and pretty comfortably ahead of Francisco Lindor.

All of Swanson’s numbers are impressive — aided in part by a .380 BABIP — but it’s the 14 steals that raise the most eyebrows. The steals are already four more than his previous career high, and he’s only been caught three times.

Swanson is picking up the production for Atlanta after they lost Ozzie Albies, and fantasy managers are reaping the benefits.

Who is the fantasy All-Star outfielder?

I’m going to give you three players here instead of just one since we start so many in fantasy. First and foremost, it’s everyone’s favorite “injury risk” (I’m kidding, it’s a dumb argument) with Aaron Judge.

If it wasn’t for a guy named Shohei Ohtani, Judge is would be your likely AL MVP right now (he still might be!). He’s worth 11.1 dollars more than the next outfielder right now, making him a lock.

Second is rookie phenom Julio Rodriguez. Rookies don’t always produce to the levels that we expect them to out of the gate, and after a slow first month — he was squeezed at an insane rate — Rodriguez has been a complete fantasy stud. What’s been the biggest revelation is that he’s provided top-notch speed that we didn’t expect to see this early. Not only is he a first-round pick for redraft next year, but he’s also a top-five pick for dynasty at worst.

The last spot is tough, and maybe it’s recency bias, but June Kyle Schwarber is always one hell of a drug. We saw it again from him this year, and he’s carried that production into July. He’s had 17 home runs in the two months combined so far, making him the Berti power equivalent.

Who is the fantasy All-Star starting pitcher?

Same thing here. I’ll give three guys because I’m kind.

I haven’t been more wrong on a player from a dynasty perspective than Shane McClanahan. I looked and saw a reliever. A dominant reliever, sure, but a pitcher who profiled more as a backend option than a dominant starter. Crow has been eaten, and it’s so fun to watch him work.

bUt He DoesN’t StRiKe AnYoNe OuT.

Sandy Alcantara says to take that narrative and shove it like he shoves every fifth day.

He is an absolute workhorse who regularly goes more than seven innings. You’d like to see more strikeouts, sure, but you’re looking for a reason to complain and not admit you were wrong if you dismiss him as one of the best arms in baseball.

The last one is tough. It’s between Dylan Cease, Spencer Strider, Tony Gonsolin and Kyle Wright.

You can name all six if you want to give three other guys the nod. But I’m going to give it to Wright just because he’s been one of the most pleasant surprises as he was off everyone’s radar.

Who is the fantasy All-Star relief pitcher?

This is tough. There are a few players who could get the nod, but I’m going with Clay Holmes. He’s the No. 1 ranked reliever on the Player Rater right now, and he helped the Yankees — and fantasy managers — navigate unsure waters after Aroldis Chapman struggled.

Holmes has been filthy, earning a real-life All-Star appearance. Chalk this up as the latest pitcher the Pirates were unable to develop before shipping him off.

Who are Some Players Rostered in 50% of Leagues or Fewer I Should Target?

Here are 10 hitters and pitchers who you should add to your watchlist who are available in 21-50% of leagues (using Yahoo rostership numbers).

Hitters:

William Contreras (C–ATL)

MJ Melendez (C–KC)

Alex Kirilloff (1B/OF – MIN)

Jarren Duran (OF–BOS)

Garrett Cooper (OF/1B – MIA)

Pitchers:

Alex Wood (SP–SFG)

Jhoan Duran (RP – MIN)

Tyler Wells (SP–BAL)

Dustin May (SP–LAD)

Nick Lodolo (SP–CIN)

What About 20%?

Like above, here are 10 hitters and pitchers rostered in 20% of Yahoo leagues or fewer who should be on your deep-league radar.

Hitters:

Kyle Lewis (OF–SEA)

Jose Trevino (C–NYY)

Danny Jansen (C–TOR)

Cal Raleigh (C–SEA)

Ezequiel Duran (2B/3B/SS – TEX)

Pitchers:

Jose Quintana (SP-PIT)

Mitch White (SP/RP – LAD)

Andres Munoz (RP-SEA)

Felix Bautista (RP-BAL)

Ryne Stanek (RP–HOU)


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Michael Waterloo is a featured writer at FantasyPros. For more from Michael, check out his archive and follow him @MichaelWaterloo.

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