The top three overall options on the ESPN full-season Player Rater are pitchers Clayton Kershaw, Max Scherzer and Chris Sale, and this shouldn’t come as a great surprise to anyone. After all, they were three of the top four pitchers selected in ESPN average live drafts -- the injured Madison Bumgarner is missing and not an All-Star this year, obviously -- and there’s a strong track record for each strikeout hurler. However, several top-10 starting pitchers so far are massive surprises, and that’s usually how we find our fantasy MVPs. After all, if Kershaw was expected to be great and he is great, that’s not the same as a pitcher taken 20 rounds later or in free agency providing substantial value.
Every All-Star contest features pitchers few would have expected to be there. Last season, Boston’s Steven Wright, current Red Sox lefty Drew Pomeranz and even Bartolo Colon were interesting All-Stars, believe it or not. Once again, there are several stunning names among the All-Star crews this season, and quite naturally it’s going to be tough to expect the numbers to continue. We’ll get to that as we continue with our All-Star stock watch, looking at those who make their living throwing baseballs (here are the hitters), and finding out who the midseason fantasy pitching MVP is as well.