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With more than a quarter of the season in the books, I thought I'd take a look at fantasy standouts over the first 40-plus games. Let's start with the American League:

Catcher- Ramon Hernandez, Orioles

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See, things aren't as bad as they seem for O's fans. Hopefully, he will not be diagnosed with pink eye in Seattle and join the rest of the team on the DL. Hernandez is hitting .316 with eight bombs and 36 RBIs. His batting average has improved in three consecutive seasons as he reached a career-high at .290 last year with the Padres. After 45 games, he leads all catchers in hits, homers and RBIs.

First baseman- Jim Thome, White Sox

This can't be the same guy who managed seven homers last year in 59 games with the Phillies, right? Is there a special Albert Pujols hormone that Thome discovered in the offseason? Chicago's big offseason acquisition is hitting .303 and leads the AL in homers (18), RBIs (43) and runs scored (41). At least I didn't run my mouth about how his career was over before the season started...

Second baseman- Jose Lopez, Mariners

Fantasy sports are all about value. Can you get guys in later rounds that are capable of putting up similar numbers to guys picked early? Lopez certainly fits that mold. Chances are you didn't have him near the top of your rankings for second basemen going in to your draft. After 46 games, he leads all players at the position in hits (58) and RBIs (38) to go along with seven homers and a .302 average.

Shortstop- Miguel Tejada, Orioles

I tried to stay away from players who were expected to do big things, but Derek Jeter is the only other guy who could be considered at this spot. Tejada is hitting at a .343 clip and leads AL shortstops in runs scored (41), homers (13) and RBIs (35). For the record, Jeter is right behind the O's shortstop. He's hitting .354 with 35 runs scored and 34 RBIs. While he only has five homers, Jeter has stolen eight bases compared to zero for Tejada.

Third baseman- Troy Glaus, Blue Jays

Fantasy owners look for power from this position, and Glaus leads AL third basemen in homers (13) and RBIs (38). Alex Rodriguez is still the best third baseman in the majors, but he isn't blowing alway the competition like fantasy owners might have expected. The career .306 hitter is batting .272 with 11 homers and 35 RBIs.

Outfielder- Alex Rios, Blue Jays

Not sure how many people had him penciled in to lead the AL in hitting after the first quarter of the season. Rios is batting .353 after hitting .262 last year. He's sixth among AL outfielders with 33 RBIs, and his nine homers are just one less than he totaled in all of 2005.

Outfielder- Jonny Gomes, Devil Rays

While he has spent most of his time as a designated hitter, Gomes has seen action in the outfield. He has built off the momentum of last year when he hit 21 homers in 101 games. Gomes leads all AL outfielders in home runs with 14 and is second in RBIs with 37. While owners should obviously have him in their lineups everyday, note that Gomes is hitting .435 off lefties and .216 off righties.

Outfielder- Nick Swisher, Athletics

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He leads all AL outfielders with 37 runs scored and trails only Gomes in home runs with 13. Last year, Swisher posted decent numbers with 21 homers and 74 RBIs in his first full season in the majors. However, he hit only .236. This year, he is up to .285.

We'll do the National League and pitchers in the next post.

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