40 Games into The Year: Whose Leading the Way?
With roughly a quarter of the 2019 MLB season already in the books, theBRKDWN will be looking at the best fantasy player for each position on the diamond so far. This will include three outfielders, five starting pitchers, and two closing pitchers as there is more than one deserving players for these spots.
Willson Contreras (ChC) C
- The young Chicago Cubs catcher has established himself as one of the best back catchers in the league this season. The 27 year-old is having a great bounceback season from 2018 where be only slashed .249/.339/.390 with 10HR and 54RBI. This season he is batting .304/.417/.617 with 10HR already matching his total from last year with twenty four RBI. Contreras is providing great fantasy value to his fantasy owners to put all doubt that last year was an off year.
Cody Bellinger (LAD) 1B
- Bellinger is the current front-runner for NL MVP with a ridiculous season thus far. While he may play most of his games in the outfield, he is a first base option in Yahoo fantasy leagues as well. Bellinger has slowed down considerably in May but he still broke the record for most RBI before May with 37. Bellinger is currently batting an absurd .407/.486/.772 with 14 HR and 38 RBI, Bellinger has also stolen six bases so far proving he isn’t just a hitting machine.. He has been a top three fantasy player so far this season and should remain in the top 15-20 for the rest of the season.
Javier Baez (ChC) 2B
- The ultimate utility player, Baez can play 2B, SS, and 3B but for the purpose of this list, he is the best fantasy 2B so far this season. The NL MVP runner up last season, Baez has continued his growth into a bonafide superstar. This season he is batting .323/.360/.627 with eleven HR and 29 RBI. The Cubs have been surging the past few weeks and with Baez in the heart of the daunted Cubs lineup, fantasy owners believe he will continue his elite production throughout the season.
Paul DeJong (STL) SS
- The young shortstop for the Cardinals, has finally capitalized on his flashes of potential shown in the past two seasons. DeJong is batting .321/.408/.564 with seven HR and nineteen RBI. DeJong also has 15doubles and will smash his his career high of 26through the rest of the season. Fantasy owners are thrilled with this production from DeJong however his health is always in question as he’s missed over 100 games since his debut in 2017.
Nolan Arenado (COL) 3B
- A perennial threat for the NL MVP award, Colorado Rockies all star Arenado is the best third baseman in the league. After a slow start by his standards, Arenado is now batting .319/.364/.594 with 10HR and 33 RBI. Arenado is on pace to have a great season should he continue swinging the hot bat. A top regular top five overall pick off the board, Arenado is always up there with the best of them.
Christian Yelich (MIL) Outfielder #1
- Last year’s NL MVP is having another spectacular season for the Milwaukee Brewers. The star outfielder has currently been battling it out with Cody Bellinger for the front runner for the 2019 NL MVP award. Yelich is batting .338/.454/.744 with 16HR and 38 RBI so far this season. Yelich is also providing great fantasy value other than his bat with eight stolen bases. Yelich will continue battling it out with Bellinger for the remainder of the season.
George Springer (HOU) Outfielder #2
- Astros center fielder George Springer has been exceptional this season. One of if not the best leadoff man in baseball, Springer has been tearing up AL pitching this season. After a torrid hot streak with his bat, Springer is now batting .323/.400/.652 with an AL leading 15HR and 38 RBI. After a bit of a down year in 2018, Springer has bounced back in a big way for fantasy owners and should continue his hot start to the season.
Michael Brantley (HOU) Outfielder #3
- While many people would think Mike Trout the best player in baseball will be somewhere on this list, it is another Michael that appears here. Michael Brantley is very quietly having a great first season with the Astros. The 32 year-old is currently batting .333/.378/.585 with 10HR and 29 RBI. The Astros are almost unstoppable at the moment and their lineup should continue to rake against opposing pitchers.
Justin Verlander (HOU) SP #1
- The third Houston Astro on this list, veteran right hander Justin Verlander is continuing to best father time so far. The 36 year-old future Hall of Famer currently has a record of 6-1 with a 2.51 ERA and 0.82 WHIP. Verlander always is among the leaders in strikeouts with 68 so far this season. Verlander has also issued only 14walks in nine starts and will continue to be a top three fantasy pitcher the rest of the season.
Luis Castillo (CIN) SP #2
- The Cincinnati Reds have finally found their ace. The ascension of Castillo in a welcome surprise for Reds fans and fantasy owners alike. Castillo currently has a record of 4-1 with an impressive 1.76 ERA and 0.99 WHIP. Castillo currently has 70strikeouts this season but has issued 24 walks. Castillo will look to establish himself as one of the better young pitchers in the game and fantasy owners will hope that the Reds offence can give him better run support.
Zack Greinke (ARI) SP #3
- Another veteran pitcher, Zack Greinke has had another solid season for the Diamondbacks. The 35 year-old right hander has a 5-1 record and has crafted a 3.16 ERA and 0.93 WHIP with 57 strikeouts and only seven walks. The Diamondbacks are in a re-tool stage of sorts and with Greinke leading the rotation and playing up to his standards, fantasy owners should have no concerns with his age going forward.
Hyun-jin Ryu (LAD) SP #4
- The Dodgers have another dominant lefty in the rotation and his name is not Clayton Kershaw. Ryu has been spectacular this season and especially lately having a no-no bid end in the eighth inning. Ryu currently has a record of 5-1 with an impressive 1.72 ERA and 0.73 WHIP with 54 strikeouts with giving up an absurd three walks through his nine starts. The Dodgers are the class of NL and and Ryu being part of the elite rotation is a reason why.
Jose Berrios (MIN) SP #5
- The young pitcher for the surprise Minnesota Twins has pitched like an ace so far this season. The Twins currently sit atop the AL Central with both consistent offence and pitching being main contributing factors. Berrios currently has a record of 6-2 and has crafted a solid 3.05 ERA with 1.08 WHIP with 54 strikeouts and 11walks. Fantasy owners should be pleased with the production from the Twin’s starter as they continue to surprise the rest of the MLB.
Kirby Yates (SD) CP #1
- San Diego Padres closer Kirby Yates is having a great season so far. The right handed closer has a record of 0-2 but has managed to make 16saves this season and has crafted an ERA of 1.35 and 1.15 WHIP with 37 strikeouts and giving up eight walks and is averaging 1.37 K/inning. Yates will continue to be a solid closer for the Padres as well as fantasy owners.
Felipe Vazquez (PIT) CP #2
- After a breakout season with the Pirates in 2018, Vazquez has continued to develop into a great closer. Vazquez has a record of 1-0 with 12saves so far this season. He has crafted an outstanding 0.48 ERA with 1.07 WHIP with 30strikeouts and five walks. Vazquez has a 1.67 K/inning so far this season. The Pirates may not be the greatest team for Vazquez to pitch on but he is almost always reliable in save opportunities.