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Rounding Third: The RotoWire 200 - Midseason Update

Jeff Erickson

Jeff Erickson is a co-founder of RotoWire and the only two-time winner of Baseball Writer of the Year from the Fantasy Sports Writers Association. He's also in the FSWA Hall of Fame. He roots for the Reds, Bengals, Red Wings, Pacers and Northwestern University (the real NU).

Updated RotoWire 200
There have been a lot of changes since the season began, so it's time to circle back and see how the players rank now as if you're doing a midseason draft. The same assumptions that we had before the start of the season apply here - we're looking at a standard 12-team, 5x5 mixed league with trading allowed. To qualify at a position, the player needs 20 games there last year or 10 this year. Our hypothetical league starts two catchers. Midseason ranks are tricky, because we're dealing with a lot more existing injuries, and player value in roto-style leagues is so much more contextual. Nonetheless, we forge ahead.
1. Miguel Cabrera - How much does consistency matter in your rankings? Cabrera hasn't been the highest-earning player of the season so far, but he's always near the top and he's in the top 10 this year, too.
2. Carlos Gonzalez
3. Ryan Braun - Braun went 11th overall in my NFBC league, probably out of fears of a drop-off after his postseason positive test. His play this season has dispelled those fears.
4. Robinson Cano - Remember April? Yeah, I don't either.
5. Josh Hamilton - The opposite of Cabrera - so much downside health-wise, but it's so hard to ignore what he's done.
6. Joey Votto
7. Matt Kemp - I'd put him first if we could be clairvoyant and know that (a) he won't re-injure the hamstring and (b) will run again.
8. Jose Bautista
9. Albert Pujols - Despite a miserable April, Pujols has earned $17 so far this year, according to our actual dollar values. That's well down the list of hitters, and those that invested in him have lost out, but there have been far worse returns on investment.
10. Andrew McCutchen - I didn't trust him to take the next step, enough that I positioned myself in drafts to not feel compelled to take him in the second round. Oops.
11. Ian Kinsler
12. David Wright
13. Justin Verlander
14. Mike Trout - I'd be curious to see what the average place Mike Trout's owners are in right now, given what it cost to acquire him.
15. Clayton Kershaw
16. Carlos Beltran - Beltran was a tough rank for me, because of his injury risk. But the skills are clearly intact.
17. Adrian Beltre
18. Matt Holliday
19. Matt Cain
20. Giancarlo Stanton
21. Hanley Ramirez
22. Hunter Pence
23. Prince Fielder - I'm giving a bit of a premium towards reliability over current performance with a handful of players like Fielder, Holliday and Pence.
24. Curtis Granderson
25. Jason Kipnis - The only thing really out of line with Kipnis' season so far is the stolen bases. Even if he runs less over the second half, the rest of his line is enough to keep him here.
26. Justin Upton
27. Cole Hamels - A trade to the AL would certainly complicate things for Hamels.
28. Edwin Encarnacion - He's been the seventh most valuable hitter so far this season, but even this feels a little too high.
29. Adam Jones
30. Starlin Castro - Highest producing full-time shortstop this year, and second highest ranking qualifier, only behind Hanley.
31. Michael Bourn
32. David Price
33. Jay Bruce
34. Felix Hernandez
35. Brett Lawrie
36. Elvis Andrus
37. Dustin Pedroia - Showing signs that the thumb injury is affecting him less.
38. Madison Bumgarner
39. Zack Greinke - Another potential trade candidate.
40. Paul Konerko
41. Jose Reyes - A disappointment so far, but his 19 stolen bases indicate health isn't a problem. I expect a much better second half.
42. Gio Gonzalez
43. David Ortiz
44. Mark Teixeira
45. Nelson Cruz
46. Mark Trumbo - Trumbo never will be Joey Votto in terms of his patience, but he's purposefully taken more pitches this year.
47. R.A. Dickey - How much do you believe? The top two teams in the NFBC Main Event both own him.
48. Shin-Soo Choo
49. Melky Cabrera - Cabrera's first half is worth much more than this, but it's pinned so much on that .352 batting average, which I don't think will last.
50. Adrian Gonzalez - Is the shoulder still an issue or not?
51. Alex Rodriguez
52. Brandon Phillips
53. Asdrubal Cabrera
54. Jered Weaver
55. C.J. Wilson
56. Ben Zobrist
57. Dan Uggla
58. Buster Posey
59. Johnny Cueto
60. Joe Mauer - While the counting stats haven't recovered yet, Mauer has demonstrated the power of having a high average in an environment where batting average remains down.
61. Roy Halladay - Halladay is supposed to return from the DL immediately after the All-Star break.
62. Jacoby Ellsbury - The toughest players to rank are those that are currently hurt - one setback could scuttle this ranking.
63. Aramis Ramirez
64. Yadier Molina - Proving that the gains he made last season are real.
65. Yu Darvish
66. Cliff Lee - This might be too low - only hesitation is that he has actually pitched poorly the last three games.
67. CC Sabathia
68. Austin Jackson - I'm a little nervous about this ranking, because a lot of it is predicated on batting average. But Jackson has made real strides in his approach.
69. Alex Gordon
70. Alex Rios - Apparently Rios is good again. Few remember that he was almost as bad as Adam Dunn last year.
71. Mike Napoli
72. Chris Sale - Some second half workload concerns exist with Sale.
73. Pablo Sandoval
74. Matt Wieters
75. Carlos Ruiz - Ruiz has been the most valuable catcher so far, and he does have 11 homers, but again, so much of that value relies on his aberrant .356 batting average.
76. Craig Kimbrel - Only one closer has been worth more? Can you guess who it is, without peaking?
77. Evan Longoria - I'm not really certain where to rank Longo, who is due to begin a rehab assignment soon.
78. Yovani Gallardo
79. Stephen Strasburg - On merit, Strasburg should be 50 spots higher, but the risk of the 160-innings limit looms.
80. Martin Prado
81. Jason Heyward
82. Billy Butler
83. Kenley Jansen
84. Shane Victorino
85. Joe Nathan
86. Michael Cuddyer
87. Josh Willingham
88. Joel Hanrahan
89. Aaron Hill - I'm trying not to overrate Hill on the strength of his recent stretch.
90. Miguel Montero
91. Matt Moore
92. Alejandro De Aza
93. Dan Haren
94. Paul Goldschmidt
95. Colby Rasmus
96. Jose Altuve
97. Mike Moustakas
98. B.J. Upton
99. Derek Jeter
100. James McDonald - Some concerns about his durability, especially because McDonald's rise has been fueled by his slider.
101. Brian McCann
102. Carlos Santana - High-budget catchers haven't performed to expectation yet, but the skills are still there for both McCann and Santana.
103. Adam Dunn
104. Jake Peavy
105. Jonathan Papelbon
106. Andre Ethier
107. David Freese
108. Desmond Jennings
109. Eric Hosmer - It's just agony doing these midseason rankings. Hosmer could easily tear it up or get sent down to make room for Wil Myers. But I'd still try to buy low.
110. Jon Lester
111. Ryan Zimmerman - We know that Zimmerman's shoulder still is an issue - just how much?
112. Aroldis Chapman
113. Jimmy Rollins
114. Ryan Vogelsong
115. James Shields
116. Allen Craig - Here's another tough rank - how much will Craig play once Lance Berkman returns? How can the Cardinals sit him more than once or twice a week, given how much he has hit?
117. Josh Reddick - Again, Reddick on merit deserves to be much higher, but the fear of the unknown drives his ranking lower.
118. Ian Desmond - Because Desmond walks so infrequently, I tend to discount his batting average gains this year. But still, the power/speed combo is tough to dismiss.
119. Johan Santana
120. Josh Beckett
121. Max Scherzer
122. Josh Johnson
123. Mat Latos
124. Corey Hart
125. Jason Kubel
126. Mike Morse - Morse is playing through a tight hamstring. A recent trip to Coors Field helped erase a slow start upon his return from the DL.
127. Bryce Harper
128. Wilin Rosario
129. Chris Davis
130. Mike Aviles
131. Nick Swisher
132. Trevor Plouffe - There still might be time to "buy high" when you're really buying low.
133. Jordan Zimmerman
134. Lance Lynn
135. Fernando Rodney - The answer to the Kimbrel trivia question above. I still can get it wrapped around my head that he's a control pitcher now.
136. Santiago Casilla
137. Ernesto Frieri - Still loses some saves to Scott Downs, but the ratios make it all worth it.
138. Rafael Soriano
139. Jason Motte
140. A.J. Burnett
141. Chase Utley - Homered in his first game back, but can we really expect from him over the second half? Will he run as well and as often as last season?
142. Howie Kendrick
143. Freddie Freeman
144. Jed Lowrie
145. Will Middlebrooks
146. Rafael Furcal
147. J.J. Hardy
148. Jarrod Saltalamacchia
149. A.J. Pierzynski - Of the fast-start catchers, Pierzynski seems to me to be the best to sell-high.
150. Alex Avila
151. Angel Pagan - I hemmed and hawed over Pagan in spring training - I wish I would have stuck to my guns with his original ranking. But I did change it, so no credit given here.
152. Dexter Fowler
153. Alcides Escobar
154. Chris Capuano - What he has "earned" so far is deceptive, as he has nine wins already and the Dodgers are sinking.
155. Chris Perez - Real improvement in his strikeout rate, but like Capuano and wins, Perez's lofty saves ranking is likely to fall along with the Indians.
156. Jim Johnson - See, Chris Perez. Lather, rinse, repeat.
157. Phil Hughes
158. Ian Kennedy
159. Justin Masterson
160. Matt Garza
161. Edwin Jackson
162. John Axford
163. Addison Reed
164. Chase Headley
165. Michael Young - This was the collapse that everyone thought was going to happen last season.
166. Alfonso Soriano
167. Hiroki Kuroda
168. Tommy Hanson
169. Matt Harrison
170. Matt Joyce
171. Adam LaRoche
172. Torii Hunter
173. Kyle Seager
174. Neil Walker
175. Lucas Duda
176. Anthony Rizzo
177. Ike Davis
178. Brandon Belt - Finally freed?
179. Rickie Weeks
180. Jemile Weeks
181. Marco Scutaro
182. Pedro Alvarez
183. Tyler Clippard - I'd rank him higher if I could be fully sure he'd retain the closer's job after Drew Storen's return.
184. Tom Wilhelmsen - I'm a believer - I don't think that Brandon League gets his job back.
185. Jonathan Broxton
186. Casey Janssen
187. Jose Valverde
188. Salvador Perez
189. Erick Aybar
190. Dee Gordon
191. Yunel Escobar
192. Ryan Doumit
193. Carlos Quentin
194. Ichiro Suzuki
195. Ben Revere
196. Dayan Viciedo
197. Wade Miley
198. Ivan Nova
199. Jarrod Parker
200. Troy Tulowitzki - Out for another month, at least, but assuming you can use someone of decent replacement value while he's out, he could provide a huge stretch-run kick.